Tag Archives: feminist

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

 

The Representation Project

I found an interesting video confronting gender norms. This video is an advertisement for a larger movement called the Representation Project. Lead by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a up and coming documentary film maker who has filmed Miss Representation (a documentary about misrepresentations of women in the media) and The Invisible War (a documentary on rape in the military), this project aims to bring awareness to the problematic norms that shape society and cause problems to the youth and members of our community. The video includes speaker Jackson Katz, who has his own documentary Tough Guise, about how hypermasculinity in the media teaches young men to rape and is a cause of the school shooting epidemic.

I think projects like this are really important. While individuals like myself can do small projects to affect our local community and promote education where we are located, individuals have limited resources and time. When big time stars such as Rosario Dawson and these well known documentary film makers take on an advocacy like this, they draw more attention on a larger scale. They have the resources to help make a grassroots movement across the country and hopefully make political and societal changes if enough people get involved. I hope you enjoy the video– it pretty much sums up what my advocacy project was this semester.

What do you think?

Sam

Advocacy Project Update

Thanks so everyone who came out last week to the Quad and helped me out. The project went well. We got lots of looks from the tours for the incoming freshman but we talked to over 30 people which is great! We had lots of people who already knew about gender norms and we had some people stop by who hadn’t heard about gender norms. I think the biggest success of my project was hearing everyone’s different perspective and educating many people, even people who didn’t stop to get an interview because they were still listening as they were walking by. Stay tuned: in the next week I will post the video of my finished project here– it’s going to be awesome!

Thanks,

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

25 survivors of Rape Speak Out

I found this awesome post about 25 Male Survivors of Rape speaking out about their abuse. I think this is a really important post to be going around social media. We tend to classify sexual assault as a women’s issue. While women are predominately the victims of sexual assault and rape, men are also a common victim in this problem. Rape and sexual assault are crimes of control and power not crimes about getting sex. These crimes are usually committed by people they know. Until we question the reasons why males (and sometimes females) feel a need to dominate and control over people through physical domination, we will not solve the problem of sexual assault for any gender.

What do you think?

Sam

Extra! Extra! More on the Wage Gap!

I earlier briefly discussed what the wage gap is. To contextualize it, i found a few political cartoons that help you understand it.

retrieved from http://leftycartoons.com/
retrieved from http://leftycartoons.com/

This first cartoon I enjoyed specifically because the problem of assertive women being considered a bitch isn’t just a problem in the work place. I find a huge problem with this double standard of men being expected to be assertive and sometimes argumentative. If women do they’re a bitch. The tradition idea of women is that they are submissive and don’t object to their male counterparts. It’s very unfortunate that because if you, as a woman, break out of that mold, if you are independent and stand up for yourself, it’s considered a bad thing.

retrieved from: http://leftycartoons.com/
retrieved from: http://leftycartoons.com/

This cartoon really sold it for me because it refers to the double edged sword women face when entering the workforce while having a family. Women are usually expected to care for the children when they’re sick (Not true in all cases, there are many dads who leave work to care for their children– kudos to them), women are expected to care for older relatives when they get old and need being cared for, and women give birth to little ones. Sadly the US is really behind on provided family and maternity leave to both men and women who are in the work force. And while men too are the victims to the lack of enforcement of the Family and Medical Leave Act, a lot of the burden falls on women to take the unpaid leave due to the expectation to follow gender role norms. So women who choose to have a career are forced to choose: be a career woman, leaving someone else to care for kids and relatives (and be perceived as a bad mother) or sacrifice your career to take care of those you love.

Recently today, in honor of Equal Pay Day, Obama signed an executive order that prohibited the pay discrimination of female federal contractor employees. While this is a good first step it does not go far enough– in order to have equal pay, we need enforcement of all government employees (state and federal) as well as all private sector employees to paid equally regardless of their gender.

What do you think?

Sam

 

Wage Gap: What is it and why is it troublesome?

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

Women in the United States are at a disadvantage: the wage gap. Women are unable to get equal pay for equal work. Now sadly, many don’t believe that the wage gap exists. Studies shows the wage gap starts right after college. So female college students, now not only do you have to worry about a finding a job (in a terrible economy) but unfortunately you wont make as much as men with the same education and experience who are in the same position as you. Personally, as a woman who will have to face this it makes me upset that even if I’m as qualified as a man, I can’t make as much as him just because I have lady parts. This wage gap is also really detrimental for families where the women is the bread winner and makes the majority (if not all) the income for the household. The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963. While it did help with some of the pay gap it still is a problem. Earlier this year, the Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed and then killed in both the House and the Senate, being blocked by the GOP and those who don’t believe the wage gap exists; this is the second time the bill wasn’t passed (it was proposed in 2009 as well). This bill would have updated the 50 year old Equal Pay Act, getting rid of red tape and loopholes, help track unfair payment practices, increase penalties for payment violations and much more.

There are a couple of reasons why I find this issue of importance. First, I attend a school where there is disproportionately more females than males and I would hope that they are aware of this sort of issues that they will be facing in the next couple years and hopefully we can start doing something about it like start writing letters to our congressional representatives telling them we want this passed to better our future and to help those who are already at a disadvantage (which would probably be helpful since I go to school in a pretty conservative state). Second, this is an issue that affects more than just women. It affects the children of single mothers or homes where the mother is the primary source of income for whatever reason. It affects husbands or significant others who may have to find higher paying jobs that may not be as preferable in order to make up for loss income. It is a family issue. It also is an issue of fairness and equal opportunity. I today is an especially important day to talk about it since it is Equal Pay Day- a day used to raise awareness for this issue. Women are paid on average o77 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified make. By the time a woman is 65, she will have lost $431,000 due to the wage gap. The numbers are worse for women of color: black women make 69 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes and latina women make 59 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes. Do what you can– call your representatives and help make change on this issue.

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