Posts tagged sexism
I don’t know which one I am — the “mainstream feminist,” the “public feminist,” the “career feminist,” or the “thin-lipped censorius” feminist. I don’t care. These labels are meaningless and yet are tossed back and forth with zeal online, in an effort to win at the game of “step on someone else’s neck to make yourself taller/gain Twitter followers” that internet feminism seems so fond of. Why are you playing that game, Laurie? It’s a bad game. The ones who lose are women.
Laurie Penny. You know better than this. You must know that feminism’s fight against pornography and prostitution is about opposing sexism — not about opposing sex. This is the game that anti-feminist men play. “Oh you hate watching gang-bangs? You must hate sex you ugly prude!” “Oh you think prostitution exists because of patriarchy and colonialism and exploits the most marginalized members of our society? WHY DO YOU HATE BONERS? Put your bible away, Jesus!”

I’ve watched my abusive ex continue to thrive in his community — join all the boards, the parent-teacher groups, spearhead community initiatives. What a guy! And hey, he didn’t abuse you, so WHO’S TO SAY. And who cares when there’s progressive work to be done! Real progressive work. Work that matters. Not just the girl shit. They’re all crazy anyway — the girls.

So keep starting your startups and having your protests and your meetings and keep writing your articles and having your very important discussions about climate change and poverty and union politics and Donald Sterling is such a racist, isn’t he. We’ll all support you, I guess, because we have no other choice. Because where do we go? Where is our community? Where is our Next Top Progressive Website? Where’s our Jacobin? When we launch it will we get profiled in The New York Times?

Oh. No. We don’t get one. We aren’t serious enough. It’s just women’s issues after all. Not Serious Politics. Oh. Because you still want your buddies and your porn and your class of women to fuck and ogle and to listen to your fucking baby-child emotions and to comfort you and support you and be there for you while you work through your fucking damage even though we had to work through ours all on our own. When is it our turn? When will you listen to us?

The leaked conversation between Sterling and his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, wherein we learned that the owner didn’t want his girlfriend (who reminds him that she is, in fact, “mixed” race) publicly associating with black people, also made public his sexist views about women: “I don’t want to change. If my girl can’t do what I want, I don’t want the girl. I’ll find a girl that will do what I want! Believe me. I thought you were that girl—because I tried to do what you want. But you’re not that girl.”
Fans, players, and the media like objectifying women. Sexism is a-ok as far as they’re concerned. Male supremacy is all part of the game. And when the entire league accepts or even perpetuates misogyny and violence against women, it’s unsurprising that it goes unaddressed when owners turn out to be sexists. What’s Kobe going to say? “I couldn’t play for him… because he treats women like objects?” Somehow I doubt it.

It’s unsurprising that Paris doesn’t get the point of feminism. She doesn’t understand why it exists and she can’t relate to it. She thinks feminism is about her and her “freedom” to do whatever she likes. But maybe feminism isn’t about you, Paris? Maybe it’s not about your freedom to successfully perform femininity and your freedom to enjoy catcalls, just as it isn’t about women’s “freedom” to self-objectify.

Feminism is about addressing systems of power that oppress women, globally. It isn’t about you feeling cute. It’s about the women and girls who are raped and abused and murdered every single day, around the world, because they are female. It’s about the fact that most of us do feel afraid, despite the fact that you “weren’t raised that way.” It’s about the fact that performing femininity, even though some of us may have learned to enjoy parts of it, isn’t a privilege in a patriarchy.

You have the right to speak for yourself, Paris. Everyone does. You have the right to feel however you like about your experiences, too. But you’re right — you don’t represent all women. And you certainly don’t represent feminism.

The myth that “beauty is power” is actually super destructive because it tricks young women into thinking that if men want them, they will be empowered, which is, alas, not true. Because the kind of “power” that comes from having men lust after you is fleeting and holds no real weight in the grand scheme of things. It might make you feel good momentarily, until you realize that men don’t respect you because they like your boobs, nor will your fuckability bring things like political power and freedom from male violence. As long as women are seen as (and see themselves as) pretty, sexy objects, they will continue to to be viewed and treated, primarily, as sex-holes for men (i.e. not full human beings but the kind of beings who were invented for men to use and abuse and play with and then discard when they get bored).

- Meghan Murphy

Why not boycott the NFL? (Or, Buy Nothing Day is for bros) 

I saw this Tweet today and, while I don’t completely agree that “Black Friday is a ‘feminine’ Super Bowl,” it did lead me to think about the left’s priorities… Black Friday is, without a doubt, a fairly horrid phenomenon in the U.S. (now extended into Canada), wherein consumer culture, corporate greed, and anti-labour practices collide. The holiday tradition of over-consumption, beginning on Black Friday and ending at Boxing Day Week, in a mountain of things and post-holiday depression, led Adbusters to attach itself to the promotion of “Buy Nothing Day,” which takes place the day after American Thanksgiving.

There have been a number of smart critiques of Buy Nothing Day (and, more generally, Adbusters‘ focus on consumption and it’s branding of non-consumption) and, while I appreciate the efforts of individuals to avoid participating in the buying frenzy that surrounds the holidays, I find some of these boycotts and actions to be overly simplistic as well as conveniently lacking in gender (and, in fact, class) analysis.

When I think of the anti-consumerist movement, I think about white men. The notion of “not buying” on one particular day strikes me as something that’s fairly easy to do so long as you don’t need anything (food, diapers, whatever). Busy, overworked people — particularly those with families — may or may not have the luxery of picking the days upon which they spend money. It’s relevant to note, also, that for single mothers (and, really, mothers in general — single or not), this “consumption” will rest solely on their shoulders, whether it’s buying gifts for the kids or groceries for dinner. How nice that a bunch of “radical” white men have invented a form of activism that completely ignores the realities of many women’s lives. Women, I suppose, should feel guilty for perpetuating capitalism and consumer culture because they had to use their days off to do their Christmas/grocery shopping. If Kalle Lasn can avoid the mall, we all should!

But beyond the fact that Buy Nothing Day is both a classist and sexist invention, I find it interesting that certain factions of the left focus so much on Black Friday and on consumption around the holidays, but conveniently ignore the sexist, capitalist, violent, ridiculousness that is the Super Bowl — a decidedly male-centered celebration. Watching professional football is now a tradition intricately tied to American Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl, specifically, is basically a holiday for men.

I’m not anti-sport. Yes, I’d rather stare at the wall than watch sports on TV, but I understand that others enjoy watching, and that’s fine. But the NFL is not merely about sport. It’s about profit and it’s about advertisers. And it is, therefore, about consumption. And not just the consumption of products, but the consumption of women’s bodies. Think Super Bowl ads.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the decorative ladies required for “sports.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 5.38.28 PM

M.I.A. gets it, calling the Super Bowl “a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, [and] a massive display of powerful corporation d–k shaking”

So why does a violent, sexist, franchise that exists for men and is primarily about corporate profit get a pass while shopping doesn’t? Oh right. Dude culture.

It isn’t complicated. The Super Bowl is about celebrating masculine culture, corporate profit, and objectifying women. At least the holidays are for men and women.

I’m not completely mean and no fun. And I’m certainly not defending a holiday that celebrates both colonialism and consumerism all at once. I’m also not literally asking that all you men to stop watching football if you enjoy such banalities; but I am asking that, in your efforts to fake activism, don’t throw women and the working class under the bus. If you can manage to get all up in arms about shopping, you can also manage to muster some energy for commentary around the corporate greed and sexism that is very much a part of the NFL and the Super Bowl.

Gavin McInnes thinks male violence feeds babies, explains to women what women think 

Throw a little gasoline on the hipster sexism fire, folks — co-founder of Vice magazine* and “Godfather of hipsterdom,” Gavin McInnes threw a misogynistic tantrum on Huffington Post Live during a discussion about contemporary masculinity on Monday. Little known fact: Gavin McInnes is not only a scientist and knower of all facts, but he can SEE INSIDE OUR BRAINS, ladies. And what does he see? Misery.

McInnes drops so many truth bombs in the discussion that it’s hard to know where to begin, but his basic premise is that male aggression is natural and that feminism has made women miserable by forcing them to pretend to be men. You know how we all do that? Yeah. Well now we can stop. “You’re welcome” – Gavin McInnes.

It’s weird because I don’t have any babies and I hate doing chores, yet… strangely… I… feel… happy… what with my intact vagina, my ability to sleep in and the daily joy I experience when I don’t have to clean up another human being’s poo. I’m pretty sure McInnes would like to chalk me up to “anecdotal evidence,” if not for this little thing some of us like to call “history.”

Inside Gavin’s special little head, feminism has made women miserable. The problem with this argument is that, before feminism, women were miserable. And that’s why feminism was invented.

Let’s go ahead and assume that because one doesn’t need to actually read things in order to know ALL TRUE FACTS ABOUT EVERYTHING, Gavin has never heard of “the problem that has no name.” Don’t worry, little buddy. We’ll help you out on this one.

“The problem that has no name” is what Betty Friedan wrote about in her book, The Feminine Mystique. That book was published way back in 1963! (Seven short years before little Gavin would grace this earth with his omniscient presence.) Friedan surveyed women across America during the 50s (So that’s, like, fifty years ago, Gav. Way to stay abreast of cutting-edge research.) and found they were depressed and unfulfilled and didn’t know why. It was weird because they’d been told that fulfilling their “natural” roles as homemakers, mothers, and wives would bring them happiness. Turns out women had been fed a bunch of bullshit — coincidentally, the very same bullshit spewing out of Gavin’s mouth today.

As a professional scientist who knows all facts about everything, it’s odd that he would argue we go back fifty years and try something that already failed once, very badly.

Despite the millions of women around the world who aren’t supported by a male “breadwinner,” McInnes argues that men, indeed, are the breadwinners “in the majority of cases.” Lucky you, 10 million single mothers of the world! Lucky you, 15 million fatherless children in America! LUCKY YOU, EVERYONE! Gavin McInnes is telling the truth about REAL LIFE AND FACTS that fly in the face of history, statistics, and actual research. The courage it must take to blatantly lie in front of the entire world. *Swoooon* Ahem, I mean *blow jooobs*

Since only men run businesses and since men are naturally violent, it’s only reasonable to conclude that violence is necessary to make a living, which one needs to do in order to feed one’s families. ARE MEN SUPPOSED TO JUST LET US STARVE? That they do is beside the point. Also shush, Gavin is explaining science. Male violence is “crucial to our survival” and, as we all know, men are very, very concerned with women’s lives. Hence all the women murdered and beaten and raped by their loving husbands every day.

As we all know (but were afraid to cop to until Gavin McInnes liberated us just right this second), IT’S BEEN PROVEN that women are all miserable, thanks to what else but feminism (Making Women Miserable Since 1920™). It’s weird how he knows so much about what women think and need and feel, as a man. What’s even more weird is that he doesn’t even need to listen to the actual words that come out of women’s mouths in order to be able to see inside their pretty pink brains and know exactly what they want (spoiler: it’s to grow babies and clean Gavin McInnes’ house).

He exhibits this further by calling Mary Anne Franks, another panelist and a professor at the University of Miami School of Law, a “fucking idiot.” Okay girls, who spilled the beans? Next he’s going to figure out how much we love nonconsensual sex and being put in our place. SECRET’S OUT.

Franks points out that statistics show that both men and women are happier when they accept that there is no such thing as innate “femininity” or “masculinity.” In other words, there’s no such thing as a “male brain” or a “female brain.” Men aren’t “naturally” successful or aggressive just as women aren’t “naturally” passive homemakers.

Panelist, Micheal Addis, author of Invisible Men, aptly points out that what Gavin is doing (besides pounding his fists on the cave floor) is how masculinity works. Men are told they must behave in _____ way otherwise they will be called wimps, faggots, or (worst of all) “girls.” It’s those who define “masculinity” in a particular way who bully others into conforming. “This is called the policing of masculinity,” Addis says.

McInnes, of course, denies doing any of this (NO, NO, STUPID EVERYONE, HE’S DOING THE OPPOSITE) and claims we are simply “ignoring the vast majority of how people naturally behave.” Which is funny because it seems that, actually, Gavin is the one who is ignoring the vast majority of everything that’s actually true, scientifically proven, and statistically correct.

“You’re the ones doing the enforcing!” angry Gavin cries, before taking all his toys and stomping out of the room.

“You’ve got guys whose wives won’t even take their last names, who stay at home while the wife makes money… When you swing the pendulum so far away from the natural world, you all look like a bunch of fools.” Because, as we all know, in the “natural world” a lady orangutan’s father will walk her down the aisle in a white dress before sending her off into a life of domestic bliss as Mrs. Ape.

Gavin’s “gut” has told him that the “majority of women like being domestic and shaping lives,” and if anyone knows the real, inarguable truth about what women “like” it’s Gavin McInnes’ gut.

All joking aside, this guy is the whiniest, most childish, cry baby, bully asshole I’ve encountered in some time. I feel so fucking sorry for his wife. If he behaves this way in public I don’t even want to imagine how he behaves behind closed doors.

 

*McInnes left Vice in 2007 because of “creative differences.” Good fucking riddance.

Sinead O’Connor is (mostly) right about Miley Cyrus. Now let the ageism and sexism begin! 

I won’t deny that there were parts of Sinead O’Connor’s viral letter to Miley Cyrus that bothered me.

To say that “your body is for you and your boyfriend” irked me a little for heteronormative reasons but also because it seems frame the female body as some kind of private gift only your boyfriend gets access to. For O’Connor to put herself in the position of “mother” to Miley (“it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love”) is also bothersome because, well, simply because one is an older woman, that shouldn’t make a person necessarily a “nurturing” or “mothering” figure (though I get that O’Connor might feel “protective” of Cyrus in some way). I don’t find the woman = mother stereotype to be particularly useful, progressive, or accurate. Also, Sinead is not by any means Miley’s “mother.” Beyond that, the phrase “young lady” reads as a scolding from your teacher back in 1953.

But to dwell on these flaws is to miss the primary (and the most relevant) point of the letter, which is this: sexualization does not equal empowerment.

O’Connor tells Cyrus that which all girls and young women should know (not just celebrities, though it does impact young women in the entertainment industry particularly), which is that those who encourage you to objectify yourself, those who give you attention because you are appealing to men, those who tell you that power comes from desirability are wrong. Those people don’t care about your well-being and they don’t care about female liberation and empowerment. In Miley’s situation, they care (as O’Connor points out) about profiting off of your naked ass.

The point many are glossing over amongst nonsensical commentary around “slut-shaming” and “judging” is this:

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

Having been in the music industry herself and having lived longer in this world than Cyrus, O’Connor is perfectly in her right to position herself as a mentor of sorts. Of course these days it’s popular to throw older women under the bus, as many immediately did, making O’Connor into your old, no-fun, prudish, mom. This isn’t just a trend that’s popular with mainstream sexists, but with the third wave as well — you may have encountered sexist/ageist attacks on second wave feminists who are regularly accused of being “sex negative” or “stuck in the past” or whatever else we like to say to dismiss women who know more than we do. Sorry, but every 20 year old thinks they know it all. But 20 year olds, in fact, know very little. This isn’t to say that young people must necessarily defer to their elders in all circumstances, but playing to ageist, sexist tropes just makes you sound like a catty, obnoxious, teenager.

Cyrus goes one step further into the misogyny dung heap, accusing O’Connor of being, essentially, “crazy” and making fun of her struggles with mental illness:

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 5.03.23 PM

Some took the obvious “women aren’t victims!” route, trying to frame critiques of a sexist industry and culture as a form of disempowerment in and of itself.

The rest immediately began to accuse O’Connor of “slut-shaming.” And to those folks, I have to wonder if you even have any idea what you are talking about. Objectification and sexualization have nothing to do with female sexuality. Cyrus is not “doing her own thing FUCK YEAH” — she is marketing a sexualized image for profit. And primarily, as O’Connor points out, those who profit from this image will be powerful men who will remain rich and powerful long after Cyrus has been used up and discarded.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 5.01.48 PMSlut-shaming isn’t a real thing, for starters (it’s just misogyny, lovies), but what we need to understand about this COMPLETELY OVERUSED term is that being critical of a culture that pressures women and girls to pornify themselves and offers them few other options in terms of gaining self-worth and power, is not the same as being critical of an individual’s sexuality. This is an image Cyrus is presenting to the public (or being pressured to present) — it’s about representation. If you can’t differentiate between that and Miley’s private desires and/or sex life, then you may want to tread a little more lightly when entering into conversations about feminism and female liberation.

O’Connor says that which we can all see is true: the music industry will try, with all their might, to exploit young women — to “prostitute” them, as she says; meaning to use their bodies and sexualities to profit.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked.

From Terry Richardson’s recent photo shoot with Miley Cyrus

And here’s what O’Connor knows that Cyrus, and many other young women (including myself at that age) don’t know: that power you feel — the power you get from having men want you — is fleeting. Further reinforcing this particular kind of imaginary “empowerment” only perpetuates the idea that, without sexual appeal and without youth, women are useless, irrelevant, and invisible.

While disgusting Terry Richardson (who, by the way, is known to be a sexual predator) is busy turning Cyrus into soft-core porn, we’re all busy trying to make sure everyone knows how empowered! and in charge of her own sexuality! Cyrus is; telling anyone who dares to state the obvious that they are judgy slut-shamers. Why not point your busy twitter fingers at the exploitative industry or the pervy Richardson rather than at those who tell the truth, that “the music business doesn’t give a sh– about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted”?

What O’Connor says is (mostly) right: “Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire.” And she deserves to be listened to and respected, not mocked.

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