Tag Archives: femininity

Why people just seem to miss the boat on Slut Shaming and Body Policing

This semester I’ve become very passionate about a small subset of feminism. I’ve been taking my Intro to Research Methods course, in which you are supposed to write a research proposal. My proposal is about examining slut shaming rhetoric on the blogs Total Frat Move and Total Sorority Move. If the term slut shaming is new to you, don’t worry. It’s a coined term of art that has only appeared in the past 5-10 years but the concept it describes is one as old as time (probably, anyways). Soraya Chemaly, a writer for the Huffington Post, defines slut shaming as the “embarrassing, insulting or otherwise denigrating a girl or woman for her real or extrapolated sexual behavior, including for dressing in a sexual way, having sexual feelings and/or exploring and exhibiting them.” It’s a growing epidemic according to Leora Tanenbaum, author of the book “Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, who states that by the time a female graduates college, she will have experienced slut shaming at some point in her life. Body policing falls into the categorization of slut shaming. In effect, body policing is the shaming of what a girl wears or looks like because it doesn’t suit her body, whether it shows too much of her “womanly figure” or whether someone thinks she’s too skinny or overweight to wear whatever she’s wearing.

So I’m guessing your wonder what brought me to talk about this subject today. Well while on a study break I came across this post on my Facebook:

body policing

I agree with the the original post, the picture. The reason we police women’s bodies and tell them what/what not to wear is to “protect them” from the boys who will automatically degrade them or be distracted by their attire. This is treating the symptom to the problem. The reason that men do this sort of behavior is because of how we social men to associate to women. Men are taught that they should dominate others to have power, especially women (a reason why their is a sexual assault epidemic in our society). Men are told that women are yours for the taking whether she wants you or not (which is reinforced by certain types of pornography and other types of media). These and other small behaviors teach men and women that its the WOMAN’S fault for the MAN’S behavior.

Here’s the problem I have with the comment:

1. This woman assumes that women and girls dress in “provocative” or “racy” clothing because their trying to get males attention. While yes, some people do, some women do it because they like a certain outfit, it could be hot outside, or she just wants to feel good about herself and dressing like that gives her confidence. REGARDLESS, a woman should be about to wear whatever she wants because it is her body and most of the people making the policies (ie school boards) are predominately male.

2. She says that women to respect themselves. However she links that if you wear A TANK TOP you don’t have self respect. I can respect myself and wear whatever I god damn please. This specific type of logic tells women that you only dress a certain way so you can have a man, when I wear whatever I want because I feel like it. I can wear a body con dress out because I look hot in it and I gives me confidence, not because I’m trying to get a man.

3. She says dressing in a certain way is detrimental to your health. The reason it’s detrimental to our health is because we’ve created a society where women are blamed for men’s actions. The reason women can’t dress in a provocative fashion is because we teach men that women are for their taking and they should be violent to anyone (but especially women) if they want to dominate anyone. If you want to STOP the problem with violence against women, treating the symptoms haven’t solved anything. Teaching women self defense, having women go out in groups, etc has been a strategy going on for a while. While sure it may have helped, slut shaming, rape and other forms of violence against women are a thing that women have to protect themselves against on a daily basis. If you really want to end this epidemic, we need to teach the young males of society that power does NOT come from violence and domination. We need to teach young males that women are AUTONOMOUS and have the right to dress how they want without any reactionary action taken from the. We need to teach young males how to RESPECT women, regardless of what she wears, how she acts sexually, or what she denies you. These solve the root of the problem and until these underlying causes are addressed, we will continue to have these violence acts verses women.

What do you think?

Sam

 

Beyoncé: Modern Day Feminist Spokesperson

In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Beyoncé spoke out about the double standard that women face when expressing their sexuality.

She was quoted saying

“There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy.”

As well as:

“You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

In December, Beyonce released a new album, which she had hoped would open up a conversation to address this double standard and start sparking a feminist response. Well, she was right. Women can learn 5 things from Beyonce’s album.

1. Her song Pretty Hurts questions the beauty standards that women are held to; many of which are self destructive.

2. Blow tells women that getting sexual pleasure should be a two way street.

3. Partition- Women should enjoy sex just like men– that includes feminists.

4. Mine teaches girls that motherhood and relationships can be tough for everyone.

5. Flawless teaches girls to be your own independent women (and do more than just be a housewife).

I think Beyonce is an great spokesperson for feminism because she is a popular figure who can incorporate the feminist message into a way that will be openly accepted. Plus she’s pretty much flawless.

retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/
retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/

What do you think?

Sam

Lorde: Fighting the Photoshop trend

I recently came across an article about how singer, Lorde is combating the photoshop epidemic. Recently Lorde found a magazine posted her picture with her skin highly photoshopped and perfected. In response, she tweeted the photoshopped picture next to the originial:

retrieved from http://www.upworthy.com/
retrieved from http://www.upworthy.com/

Her tweet said “i find this curious – two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)”

I think this statement against the photoshop epidemic in Hollywood is fantastic. I think it is a way that stars can help give regular girls confidence in their flaws when they accept that the pictures in the magazines aren’t real (which many young girls don’t realize). I think more star speaking out against this practice will help younger girls avoid unhealthy behaviors to make their bodies look like the pictures in the magazines and it will help show that everyone is against this harmful practice.

What do you think?

Sam

Target Photoshop Fail

A buzz on the internet these days is Target’s photoshop fail. Swim season is coming up so Target is starting to market their link of swimwear on their website.  A recent “thinspiration” phenomena is the thigh gap: or when you stand with your feet together your thighs don’t touch. This desired trait is pretty problematic because it is unattainable for most women and when your thighs are that thin it can indicate serious weight problems. Target posted this picture of a model wearing one of their pieces of swimwear:

retrieved from: http://www.policymic.com/
retrieved from: http://www.policymic.com/

The problem with this picture is that it’s clearly obvious they photoshopped the picture to make sure there was a thigh gap. The is a section of the bottom of the swim suit that is missing. Besides the thigh gap photoshop you can tell that they made her torso thinner due to the morphed appearance of the arms.

I think there should be bigger repercussions from consumers to companies that have these shady practices when it comes to body image. This bad example shows how bad the problem is and much we try to change beautiful girls to unattainable beauty standards which just perpetuate unhealthy relationship towards food and exercise (ie not eating, developing eating disorders, and obsessive exercise) in order to try and attain these things that are unrealistic. If customers backlash to these practices that harm the health and psyche of young girls, then maybe we could create a change in how the fashion/modeling industry presents women in advertisements and magazines

Ban the B-word

A new campaign has gained national attention recently: Ban Bossy. This campaign has gotten the support of many female celebrities, such as Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and Jennifer Garner:

This campaign interrogates why we call assertive young boys “leaders” and “independent” but we call young girls “bossy”, “stubborn” and “pushy” as if they should be quiet and not try to assert herself in school or in groups with her classmates. This labeling of soley females leads girls to hold back and try to blend in with the crowd instead of stand out in the classroom or in other social groups. I think that this campaign is a good way to help to negate the terrible gender stereotypes on young women. I’ve always been outspoken and very assertive, and it always bothered me to be called bossy. I think that young girls should always be encouraged to speak their minds and try to excel and lead in groups.

What do you think? Good campaign? Good Message?

Sam

Academy Awards Ignorance? Uproar about Jared Leto’s lack of knowledge about the Trans* Community

Jared Leto has won several awards for his role as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyer’s club, however, members of the trans* community are very upset at the ignorance he has for the people of the community and the oppression and struggle they face on a daily basis. Many have problems with the script of Dallas Buyer’s Club itself, believing the film in and of itself does not accurately portray the story and that the portrayal of the characters are stereotyped and inaccurate

He’s been quoting saying he deserved to play the role as a transgender woman, as a cisgender (one who identifies with the gender they were born as) male, instead of a transgender woman playing the role he was given because “it goes both ways” despite the fact that members of the trans* community rarely get to play roles of cisgender characters. In fact, more often than not- cisgender actors portray transgender characters, and don’t accurately portray the lives of members of the trans* community.

His acceptance speech at the Golden Globe shows ignorance as well. Making inappropriate jokes about getting his entire body waxed and “ladies know what” he’s talking about (having a very traditional gender role script because only ladies get their bodies waxed). As well as referring to the trans* community as the Rayons (his character’s name) of the world instead of by their identity, which many view as problematic.

What do you think? Do you believe that Leto was insensitive to the trans* gender community through his role and his actions after the filming?

Sam

Woody Allen: Child Abuse Controversy

retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/
retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/

Recently, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter brought up her long-time accusation of the sexual abuse her father inflicted upon her during her childhood, after his life-time achievement Golden Globe. Dylan Farrow’s letter to the public was published on the New York times blog and has stirred up a lot of debate among the public, most of whom do not want to admit that one of our “most beloved” actors could have done something so horrendous.

Despite the facts of the case, which there has been a history of some sort of abuse and Connecticut police has enough probable cause to charge Allen with crimes, the American public continues to shame Dylan, trying to make her recant her long time statement. Celebrities like Stephen King say that these allegations aren’t true and Dylan is just being a “palpable bitch”. Sadly these sort of things aren’t unique to Dylan. Rape victims are often blamed and shamed into recanting their statements– this is very common in the United States where we put the victim on trial in order to discredit any chance that what she’s saying may or may not be true to get her perpetrator off. This perpetuates on of many rape myths that women make false rape allegations most of the time– when in reality, only 28% of rapes are reported. In a study, the FBI discovered that an 8% of rapes are “unfounded” meaning maybe they were falsely accused, but that label also includes situations where the women didn’t fight back, the attacker didn’t use a weapon, the attacker and victim had a prior relationship, or if the victim didn’t sustain injuries. When combining these two statistic- only 2.2% of rapes are false accusations (at best).

So when there is a history of abuse in this case and the likelihood of a false alligation is at best 2.2%, why do people continue to believe that Woody Allen didn’t abuse his daughter? Well, we don’t like to think that someone who is so beloved in our culture could truly be a monster. Take the example of iconic Bill Cosby– who was accused of drugging and raping women on multiple occasions, was never charged and settled out of a civil suit with one victim. We idolize these actors, and they get off because they have all the money and power to buy off victims or scare them into not reporting and scaring the cops not to touch them because it could ruing their careers. I think instead of blaming the victim we should take a look at the structures of our society that lets rich men with lots of power get away with horrendous crimes.

What do you think?

Sam

Keeping your last name brings more success?

retrieved from: http://www.tuscanaresort.com/
retrieved from: http://www.tuscanaresort.com/

Despite being an undergrad, the more time I spend on facebook, the more and more I see my peers (from high school and college) getting engaged, getting married, and starting families of their own. Many girls my age are starting to think of planning weddings (let’s be real, most of us have wedding pintrest boards) and trying to settle down with a significant other.

I came across an interesting article saying that if a woman keeps her last name she is going to be more successful. This study found more women who are getting married at a younger age (in their 20’s) are less likely to take their husband’s last name than women getting married at an older age (in their 60’s). The study also cites that women in higher prestige jobs (such as medicine, entertainment, or arts) are more likely to keep their last name, which is one reason they’re more successful. Most women also get married at an older age when they choose not to take their husband’s last name, so they already have a career and an identity fully formed.

The study cites that women who don’t take their husband’s name are perceived as not being committed to a marriage and end up being paid less than if they took their husbands last name. I think this is problematic. I think that women should not be forced to take the name of the man she chooses to marry– I think that it should be her decision or a decision she makes jointly with her hubby-to-be. I think choosing not to take a husband’s last name just indicates that that person already has a developed identity and doesn’t feel the need to change it. I also think on the flip side, women who choose to take their husband’s last name shouldn’t be perceived as weak, or dependent on a man– I think both of these decisions are a personal choice that a woman decides how she wants her identity to be (if she wants it to change or not) post-wedding.

What do you think?

Sam

Bikini Season is upon us: How do you feel?

retrieved from: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2014/01/cosmo-labels-bikini-model-plus-size-facebook-explodes/
retrieved from: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2014/01/cosmo-labels-bikini-model-plus-size-facebook-explodes/

It’s (somewhat) near the beginning of the year and most women and men are concerned with their New Years resolution of dropping a few pounds. A controversy recently occurred when  Cosmo  posted a picture of a plus sized model doing a bikini photo shoot in Australia for one of their upcoming issues. This usually wouldn’t be much of an issue except this girl is far from plus sized. Comso’s picture received hundreds of comments but the most interest one read:

“Dear Cosmo, Kindly take your ideas of ‘plus size’ and shove them up your ass sideways. Sincerely, Every man on the planet who has had to reassure his perfectly healthy and proportioned woman she’s not fat because assholes like you perpetuate this idea in her head that she’s ‘plus sized’.”

 

Another problematic issue that has errupted over social media is the “bikini bridge” picture. These pictures are posted on profiles such as facebook and instagram an only

retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/09/the-bikini-bridge-to-nowhere.html
retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/09/the-bikini-bridge-to-nowhere.html

show the bottom half of one’s bikini, which is elevated by protruding hipbones. This is just one of the many ways in which the culture of “Thinspiration” is being perpetuated. Thinspiration is a new wave of websites and blogs that are dedicated to advocating weight loss at any cost and market towards young women. These types of pictures emerged in the nineties but the blogs and websites solely dedicated to this message have emerged more recently in the past decade. These websites (many of which are on social media sites such as tumblr, pinterest, and instagram) include pictures of emaciated girls who have clothes hanging off their frail looking bodies and have ridiculous diet tricks to help you lose weight fast.

retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/victorias-secret-fashion-show-2013_n_4272715.html
retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/victorias-secret-fashion-show-2013_n_4272715.html

Last month was Victoria’s Secret’s Annual Fashion show which everyone either loves or hates. Most girls and men love to see the fit models wearing extravagant lingerie however, many disapprove of this show because it gives women a false idea of what “sexy” should be. Most of these women are on extreme diets, eating nothing but protein shakes the week before and having to abstain from water 24 hours before the show and then binge on burgers and fries as soon as the show is over, or these models have a type of body that allows them to be super tall and naturally skinny. The problem is that we glorify  these rare body types that are unattainble to most of the population and say “This is beautiful. You have to be like this to be pretty in our society” and that is asinine.

I have continuously seen pictures like all of these above and question what sort of values are we teaching to the young women of our society. We shame girls who are a healthy weight but they have curves, and we instill ideas that if your bones are protruding then you’re not thin enough to be pretty. I’m personally guilty of not being happy with how I look but I think that it’s important that we remember as women that there is no correct body size. There’s also sort of a double bind that people face, we are told by the media, fashion companies, and each other to be extremely thin like fashion models and are told by men that we should be voluptuous like Kate Upton. I think instead of being bothered by the constant bombardment of messages of what we SHOULD look like, women need to learn acceptance of our bodies and love our bodies for what they are.

What do you think about body size? Do you agree or disagree?

Sam

Feminism– It’s for everyone

Hi I’m Sam and welcome to my blog.This blog is meant to show how both gender are told how they should act under patriarchal norms in order to be a “good male” (ie a tough guy) or a “good female” (ie a sexy, yet virginal women).

For my first post, I want to show that  that feminism is for everyone: men, women and any gender in between. Despite it being called “feminism“, depicting the idea that it’s ideals only advocate for women, the basic belief of feminism is that everyone should be equal, and most norms are problematic. Feminists advocate for the rights of all LGBTQ members, whether they identify as male or female, and they are one of the few supports for male victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Feminist understand that males are also affected by patriarchal norms, which force men to do things like keep emotions hidden from people or “over preform” masculinity.

I think something that’s important to note, it that many consider feminism a “dirty word” and its terrible to be known as a feminist. I think this is the case with many celebrities such as:

Katy Perry, who claims “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women”,

Carrie Underwood who says” I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation. But I am a strong female.”

Lady Gaga claims “I’m not a feminist! I love men! I hail men.”

 

retrieved from http://www.justjared.com/photo-gallery/2802089/beyonce-press-conference-complete-video-backstage-pics-02/
retrieved from http://www.justjared.com/photo-gallery/2802089/beyonce-press-conference-complete-video-backstage-pics-02/

And Beyoncé who claims that she doesn’t want to be called a feminist: “I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like ‘bootylicious.'”

It’s problematic that these awesome women deny the term feminism because they are role models which most women in the United States and even the world look up to. These women deny the term because (1) they mispercieve feminism as being a concept that condemns all men and (2) they don’t want to be associate with the stereotypical feminist who is seen as bitter, angry and unattractive because she doesn’t shave or wear a bra. When these role model celebrities use the term feminist as a four letter word, they hurt the movement as a whole because more people accept that feminist are bad and shouldn’t be listened to.

 

However, there are some celebrities who embrace the concept and the name feminist. For example:

 

retrieved from http://all-about-celebrty.blogspot.com/2013/02/ellen-page-bra-size-height-weight-and.html
retrieved from http://all-about-celebrty.blogspot.com/2013/02/ellen-page-bra-size-height-weight-and.html

Ellen Page says “But I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Geena_Davis_(Cropped).jpg
retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Geena_Davis_(Cropped).jpg

Geena Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, which analyzes how females are portrayed and advocates for equality. Geena says “It’s all about feminism. Feminism simply means equal social and political status for men and women. There’s nothing radical about it or about using that word or having that as a goal. We’re simply trying to elevate the status of the female characters to equal. We take up half the space in the world so it would be great to see roughly half of characters be female.”

 

 

 

Amy Poehler created the website “Smart Girls At The 

retrieved from http://bcgavel.com/2014/01/17/opinion-amy-poehler-for-commencement-speaker/amypoehler/
retrieved from http://bcgavel.com/2014/01/17/opinion-amy-poehler-for-commencement-speaker/amypoehler/

Party” whose mission is to “Our aim is to help young women and the young at heart with the process of cultivating their authentic selves. We change the world by being ourselves, and being ourselves is a life long quest. Smart Girls hopes to provide some fun reference materials along the way.” When asked if she was a feminist she replied, “Yes, I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5’2″ or whatever. I was lucky that I came through a system that had many people who did much more hard work and road-clearing before I got there.”

 

 

My favorite response to being asked if one was a feminist came from Joseph Gordon-Levitt when he was interviewed on Ellen recently.

 

retrieved from Equality for Women facebook page
retrieved from Equality for Women facebook page

When Ellen asked him if he was a feminist he responded “‘I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely! It’s worth paying attention to the roles that are sort of dictated to us and that we don’t have to fit into those roles. We can be anybody we wanna be.'”

The reason I love this answer is because it really encompassed the view of feminist that this blog emulates, which is that patriarchy isn’t about males being bad– it’s a dominate system which victimized both men and women to their norms and we should look to where we get the norms of our society and question their validity.

I hope everyone enjoyed my introductory post– stay tuned for more posts on representations!

Sam