Posts tagged with ‘feminism’ include the following:
[Someone on Facebook posted this algorithmically generated status.]
She’s a militant caricature of women’s rights activism.
He’s a first-amendment-thumping stand-up comedy fan who likes to talk about atheism.
And now they have to share the same internet!
When Nathan and Faye’s tickets get swapped, guess who ends up at the Richard Dawkins lecture and who goes to see the Vagina Monologues?
it’s kinda funny how hard it is for people to accept that Brienne is really like super butt-ugly. I mean even I find myself thinking while I’m reading, “She’s just ugly by the narrow-minded ultra-feminine standards of that time, she’s probably actually really hot!” But the thing is, it’s okay that she’s ugly, it’s an important part of her character, but like, man, why do we have such a hard time accepting not-hot fiction ladies?
Because people think the solution to women (and men) feeling like shit about themselves is to stretch the standards for physical beauty.
(It’s not that American readers can’t accept ugly women—that’s a bit of a misleading way to phrase it. It’s that they can’t bear to place that label on the woman in their head, because of how terribly cruel they think it is. It’s easier for them to place it on a man because it doesn’t feel like you’re taking everything away from him and reducing his worth to zero.)
The most crippling thing in America is for a person to feel their body isn’t nice to look at. Welp, that’s not all, or even most, of what your body’s for. But everyone’s telling you it is. How do we fix that?
You can change beauty standards to an extent, but you can’t eliminate them. That’s a lazy solution, anyway. “Everybody deserves to feel beautiful” is a mentality that suggests that it’s of paramount importance to be considered physically attractive, so that problem won’t change.
The solution isn’t to broaden your definition of “physically beautiful” to encompass every possible person, it’s to broaden your definition of beauty to encompass more than the physical. That’s become such a cliche that nobody seems to absorb it.
Eventually, the solution is to broaden your definition of “worthwhile” and “valuable” to encompass more than just “beautiful.”
People who are really affronted when they see someone asserting any sort of framework for physical beauty are really exposing that they hold physical beauty in much higher regard than they ought to—that they are the narcissistic children of a narcissistic culture.
Kristen Schaal has that quote about being called too ugly to be on TV, and it boils my balls when people respond “whaaat, nooo, she’s so cuute, she’s so pretty, your standards of beauty are just too narrow” and think they’re being progressive. Maybe she is kind of cute; that’s not the point. That shouldn’t be the quality we need to defend. It shouldn’t be what gives her permission to be on television.
It’s like if someone were to say “Obama’s not white enough to be president” and you were to respond “awww, nooo, he’s white enough! your standards for whiteness are just too narrow.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to the lyrics of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” but they’re kind of rapey.
"Say, what’s in this drink?"
The whole conceit of the song is that she wants to/needs to leave and he’s trying to keep her there against her will/better judgment.
I wanted to make a less rapey version. So I did that. This is it.
(Female vocals provided by Madeline Kling.)
You can grab it here.
This is a part of my counter argument to someone who disagreed with my assessment of slutty/sexy costumes as a harmful combination of demeaning and indulgent.
"Suggesting that [sexy/slutty] costumes play into defining looks as a woman’s most important characteristics [sic] still affects women who do want to be sexy."
Everyone WANTS to be sexy. Everyone wants to be desired. But only the arrogant and the insecure (males and females alike) incorporate that desire into their everyday behavior. It’s nice to be wanted, sure, just like it’s nice to be complimented. But fishing for compliments is indulgent and annoying, and fishing for desire is equally so.
People, regardless of gender, who parade their sex around (slutty) are as annoying as intelligent people who parade their intelligence around (pretentious/pompous) or rich people who parade their wealth around (snobbish). Peacocking is fine in a situation where you’re actively trying to attract a single person that you like, but as a lifestyle, it’s vulgar. It’s called being showy.
That’s not a gendered accusation, it’s a human psychology/sociology issue.
The reason women are said to look slutty more often than men are is because physical attractiveness is valued more in women. In men, the analog social trait is wealth. The male equivalent of a slutty looking girl is a douchebag who flashes his cash and his car and anything else that serves as an indicator of wealth. Some people find it attractive, but most people consider it tasteless.
“Women should dress how they want.”
Of course people have the freedom to dress however they want to. But NOT the freedom not to be judged for how they present. Nobody has (or deserves) that sort of exemption. That is such a silly thing to feel entitled to.
We have freedom of speech, but we can’t get angry when people judge us for what we choose to say.
Dress is communication. Since people don’t spin a wheel to choose their garments, we can assume they’re chosen deliberately. Dress is a huge part of the presentation of the self. And that, just like any choice and any presentation/performance, reveals things about the person doing it. Which is a transmission. It’s communication.
And if that message is “look at me!” then it’s bloody annoying and you’ll be judged accordingly.
(It is, however, inexcusable to interpret the message of any form of dress as “rape me!”. THAT argument is called victim-blaming and it’s unacceptable.)
Why Boys Have it Easy (-er) on Halloween
"Slut-shaming" is a very loaded term. It’s a thing, but it’s not applicable here.
Hugo Schwyzer, a feminist blogger and gender studies professor at Pasadena City College, says it well:
(Hugo’s status as an advocate for women and men has been questioned by both groups, but that doesn’t nullify every one of the observations he’s made.)
…those of us who advocate for girls aren’t primarily concerned that girls are showing too much skin. Rather, the problem lies in the compulsory sexualization that is so much a part of today’s Halloween celebrations for teens. A lot of us are more upset by the absence of options than by the absence of fabric; we know that pressuring girls to act sexy is not the same thing as encouraging them to develop a healthy, vibrant sexuality that they themselves own. I don’t have a problem with “sexy bar wench” costumes; I have a problem when those sorts of costumes are the only ones young women are expected or encouraged to wear.
One year, when I was little, I wanted to be Peter Pan for Halloween. My mom made me a costume and it looked awesome—I was so excited. I got to school, and a horde of Scream killers, Freddies, Jasons, and chainsaw murderers teased and laughed at me for having a “girly” costume. Because from a young age, boys are pressured to assert their junior masculinity in multiple ways, one of them being their Halloween costume. Tights and a cap-and-feather weren’t violent or dominant enough.
Things got better as I grew up. I could be pretty much whatever I wanted for Halloween, because there was a lot of diversity in what I saw other guys wearing. Ninjas, Ghostbusters, and Robots were still there, but so were judges, clowns, Hunter Thompson, mailmen, etc.
In many ways, it’s a microcosm of how media works. The brilliant tagline of Miss Representation comes to mind: you can’t be what you cant see. Lots of media paints a reductive/harmful/inaccurate/impossible picture of men, but it’s diluted by the sheer diversity and variety of male characters there are. There scores of strong and noble heroes, but there are also scores of meek and introverted geniuses, and scores of savvy, calculating villains.
Characters…costumes. You get it.
Now look at women. Look at women on Halloween. My female peers were pressured into being princesses and ballerinas as kids. Then they grew up, and what was the variety they were presented with? Sexy nurse, sexy cat, sexy teacher. Sexy ghostbuster, sexy clown, sexy ninja.
The praise that most frequently falls on a little boy’s ears is “did you lift that by yourself? you’re so strong! you’re going to grow up to be big and strong!” This, of course, reflects and reinforces the values we use to assess males. It outweighs “you’re so smart” and the especially rare “you’re so handsome.”
BUT by nowhere near as much as “you’re so pretty!” dominates the ears of little girls. It’s the go-to compliment. Girls are raised by media and even by unwitting parents to derive most of their confidence from their appearance. They’re taught that their value is in their body and their face, and so it remains that way. And “pretty” eventually morphs into “sexy.”
When my male friend chooses a costume, he might choose one because it’s scary (Werewolf) or cool™ (James Bond) or funny (Austin Powers) or esoteric (Captain Kirk). Some guys think of costumes based on what will show off their bodies, but it’s an even mix. Those guys are out for validation—they want to be looked at and found attractive. And that’s a natural (if often overindulged) desire.
When my female friend chooses a costume, she has to face the inevitable question: sexy or non-sexy? That’s the first question. Our culture has made it so. If she doesn’t want to show off her body, or doesn’t feel she has the “right” body to show off, she settles on a non-sexy costume. Then she has to accept that she’s going to line up for pictures in her cool homemade robot costume with a group of friends that are showing more skin than not, and she’s going to be perceived as the frumpy one. Some people will perceive it as a sign of weakness or unattractiveness or prudishness. Even if she doesn’t subscribe to that cultural mindset, she’s surrounded by people who do.
It’s not like girls naturally have the show-offy mindset of the Chippendales guys, it’s just that they’re told by the culture that it’s all they have to offer.
The argument that dressing in a low-cut belly-shirt and booty shorts for Halloween is an empowering display of the female form will never sit right with me. Even if that is truly the intention in some cases, and that validation and craving desire have nothing to do with it, we live in a culture where a girl’s appearance is viewed as her most important characteristic, and I think these costumes just play into that.
Like Hugo says, “I don’t have a problem with “sexy bar wench” costumes; I have a problem when those sorts of costumes are the only ones young women are expected or encouraged to wear.”
If the same kind of diversity that exists in men’s costumes existed in women’s costumes, it would even out. There would still be “sexy bar wenches” here and there. That just means that someone elected to use their once-in-a-year chance to costume publicly to show off their body. (Like dudes who dress as Chippendales strippers.) I personally think doing that reflects a mindset I don’t approve of, but it’s not really harmful. Just a little annoying and indulgent.
There’s nothing wrong with showing off, but I’d love to see girls showing off by being scary or funny or cool™ or esoteric. Sexy isn’t the only thing worth being.
(Cue the retaliation of: “there are scary-sexy and funny-sexy and cool™-sexy and esoteric-sexy costumes out there!” Right. But why add the compulsory sexy?)