Tag Archives: masculinity

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

 

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

“Man Up”: More Harm than Good

“Man up!” “Grow a pair!” Just two ways to tell someone they need to be tougher, more masculine, like a real man. This dominate idea of what masulinity: of being, strong, tough, and emotionless actually is more harmful for males than it is empowering. Jackson Katz, author of Tough Guise, indicates these images of being a “macho man” like Rambo or the Terminator teach men to be a man and to be powerful you must be violent, especially toward women. The ideas endorse using violence as a way of getting why you want (a reason why there is an increase in school shootings in the past 20 years). The ideas teach men that you should remain emotionless because “big boys don’t cry”.

So next time you hear someone say “Man Up” or “Grow a pair” Respond with one of the following ways:

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

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