Category Archives: Feminism

FEMINISM FRIDAY: Moar Christmas Shopping

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Boys are the best things for girls. With magazines that tell girls that boys are the best things for them in close second.

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MANCARD

No, but seriously if you even think about using this card to buy candles or tampons we will confiscate this card from you, only after having used it to hack of the testicles you don’t deserve.

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FEMINISM FRIDAY: Christmas Shopping

Welcome to the first of hopefully weekly installments of Feminism Friday!

Now, of course I’m a feminist everyday, and sexism happens everyday, and everyday I see little acts of sexism. So the aim of these posts are to gather up all the feminist fury I’ve built up in the week, to showcase them and have a little rant.

So, this week in everyday sexism: Christmas Shopping!

I’m doing a little grocery shopping on day when I come across THE CHRISTMAS ISLE and find these little gems

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It’s a range of products such as tools and torches – I.e. USEFUL things that everyone needs to use – that are targeted at MEN with the reasoning placed to their individual taglines: BECAUSE EVERY MEN SHOULD <insert universal concept such as being able to breathe or think>

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THIS KEYCHAIN WILL EQUIP YOU FOR EVERY SITUATION YOU WILL EVER COME ACROSS.

imageThis is a small cheap torch attached to a keyring that is claiming to assist men see the world the way they wish they could view it. For only £3? The future is now, people.

I feel a little sorry for men. Oh boy it’s a …. magnifying glass. I have always wanted one of those that is a great present. Another travel tool kit? Oh, yeah, because that is something I wanted. It is something I enjoy having and not a stable element of every home for completing tasks that are fun and definitely not chores.

Then we move to the LADIES section.

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Because women aren’t required to ‘have all the answers’ or ‘be equipped’.

What they NEED is CHOCOLATE.

and to be ‘made’ beautiful.

and shoes.

They don’t get to ‘see things their way’.

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They get a little Glam.

What does that even mean. Is this keyring claiming to make you automatically and instantly more Glam? Boy, you can get a lot for £3 nowadays. Also, notice the fact that it’s functional is irrelevant. Its Glam and that’s all that matters!

 

 

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Why Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke is probably the worst song ever written.

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1. It’s an annoying song. You’re walking though a store one day – or, say, working a shift in a store perhaps – when you hear this song, with a very heavy and repetitive beat. You don’t even need to hear the lyrics, this song is annoying. So annoying. Thirty seconds in, you’re considering going to the front desk and asking them to save you from this torment. Or request that they never play it again at the risk that you may quit. Or leave the store, whatever. 

2. It’s lyrics are linked with rape-culture. A few days later you’re hearing all this controversy about a song called ‘Blurred Lines’ which supposedly about rape. You listen to it, preparing to be disgusted and the first thing that strikes you is it’s that goddamn song. It’s following you, and it turns out to be about rape. The chorus goes a little like ‘You’re a good girl/ I know you want it’ and the title itself, ‘Blurred Lines’, are references to dubious consent, and uncomfortably close to things often reportedly said by rapists to or about their victims.

Well, this has to be the worst song ever you think. But it gets worse.

3. It’s lyrics are generally sexist. You listen a little closer to the song, and are further disgusted by the lyrics. The girl that the song is directed at is repeatedly referred to as ‘bitch’, and also as an animal that needs domesticating. A particularly charming line is:

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Lovely.

4. It’s lyrics generally badly written.

‘You wanna hug me / Hey, hey, hey / What rhymes with hug me? / Hey, hey, hey’

Rugby.

Bubbly.

Ugly.

A little wiki search tells you that they spent 30 minutes writing the song. Unsurprising.

5. Robin Thicke claims it’s totally about female empowerment!

No, really. “That’s what great art does. It’s supposed to stir conversation […] It’s saying that women and men are equals as animals and in power. ” X

He claims they wrote it to encourage girls to embrace their animal instincts, to not be afraid to be ‘bad girls’.

He claims this message is ‘actually a feminist movement in itself.’ 

And if that’s not bad enough,

6. He wrote it about his wife.

‘She’s my good girl. And I know she wants it because we’ve been together for 20 years.’ X

Is it just me, or does that make it even creepier?

7. It’s video is awful. You decide to look up the video and instantly regret it.

I’m sorry, but how do they think they can claim this song is about men and women being equal, when the video features women literally being used as objects.

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Flitting around, naked, posing, pulling vacant or silly expressions, being grouped and prodded by the guys. Who, fyi, are completely clothed. Yeah, I am now completely buying that this song is about equality.

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Supposedly the video’s aim was to be tongue-in-check. The director claimed ‘I wanted to deal with the misogynist, funny lyrics in a way where the girls were going to overpower the men. […] It also forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators. I directed the girls to look into the camera, this is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position.’ X

Excuse me when I say that this wasn’t exactly how I read the message of the video myself. Apart from the fact that the guys are still very predatory and controlling in their actions towards the girls, the only claim the girls could possibly have to power over the men would be with their bodies.

Thankfully, some great people on youtube have responded with feminist versions of the song and it’s video, this one is particularly great and spot on!

Unfortunately, this is currently one of the top comments,

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And so the plight continues.

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You Better Check Yo Privilege

Let me tell you about Privilege.

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The idea of privilege confused me at first. Its something that social activists and/or people on the internet go on about a lot.

The concept is actually pretty simple, and altogether reasonable. Privilege is something you have if you are not a minority. If you are white, you have white privilege. If you are not Trans, you have cisgender privilege. If you are not disabled, able privilege. Male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc etc.

Privilege essentially means, you don’t have an opinion on the topic.

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Everyone has some form of privilege. EveryoneIf you have never been sexually abused: you have privilege. If you don’t live in a third world country: privilege. 

If you’re in a situation involving people and/or the subject over which you have privilege, it means that you have be aware of said privilege and therefore your inherent ignorance in this situation. You have to be aware that anything you say could, and probably will, be offensive to the minority you have privilege over. You have to accept your privilege. You have to be humbled by your privilege. You have to basically learn to live with the fact that you are privileged scum and know nothing about anything. You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know.

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Below is an episode of the Youtube cartoon Foamy The Squirrel, in which Foamy and his human Germaine are exercising their white, heterosexual privilege.

Many white and/or heterosexual people may be familiar and sympathise with the complaint of ‘Why are black/gay people allowed to make fun of us?’. This is example of a situation in which you need to check your privilege, my friend. 

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In all seriousness, black and gay people have been oppressed for hundreds of years. Gay people have been considered the epitome of evil in almost every form of civilisation across the world. Black people were freaking slaves. It’s pretty fair to assume that white, heterosexual people do not have a full understanding of what those particular forms of oppression are like. If comedians occasionally ripping on you is all you have to worry about, be thankful. You don’t have to come face to face with discrimination everyday. You don’t turn on the TV, see 90% white, heterosexual people, and only see representatives of yourself in token characters, or obscene stereotypes. If someone is being particularly offensive, or outwardly threatening towards you, call them out on it, sure. But check your privilege, dude. White, heterosexual people aren’t so great that you can’t take a hit about not being able to dance properly or having a dull sex life. Take a joke.

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On the other hand, I will admit as a gay person, that some behaviour towards straight people is ridiculous. Many minorities outwardly hate people with privilege, and treat every single one of them as an oppressor. These people are out of line. If someone starts yelling or typing in all caps, don’t get defensive. Take a moment to think, am I doing something to offend them. Ask them, did I offend you somehow. Apologise for your lack of understanding, thank them for their patience. If they’re just being an offensive dick to you, leave it. Some people have a lot of hate, or too little trust, and they use privilege as a reason to act out. Try and be the bigger person. And for the love of god, don’t claim that you ‘can’t be racist/homophobic, I have a black/gay friend!’ Coz that means nothing, and just makes even more of a ‘privileged scumbag’.

In this next cultural reference, I present some screenshots from the web comic Homestuck, in which Kankri is giving his relative Karkat a lecture on privilege.

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An extreme, but oddly accurate, parody of the angry, high-and-mighty, over-obsessive with political correctness, social justice warriors of the Internet – in particular, Tumblr. Funnily enough, he shortly after is sexist towards female characters, then denies his own male privilege. I will yet again, press that y’all should go read Homestuck. 

Some opinions I personally have on the case of privilege:

1) Equality is the most important thing.
If there’s anything else you want, it’s probably wrong (in my opinion). If you’re the kind of person to say something alike to ‘I don’t want equality, I want to treated better’, you’re part of the problem. You know, in my opinion.

2) Say it loud, Say it proud.
Saying that equality is the target, equality is not easy, and getting an oppressed minority to become ‘equal’ to society takes huge steps. A lot of people – straight and gay – complain about things like gay pride and pro-gay campaigns, complaining its making too much of a big deal about it all. One person once told me that ‘hey, gay people, we are over it. Why don’t you get over it?’ What these people don’t realise is a) there are an enormous amount of people who won’t be over it by a long margin, b) how much putting the issues out there means to some people, and c) telling us to pick up our business, sweep it under the carpet and get on with our lives is highly insulting. All minorities need to make a noise, gain themselves attention and spread the knowledge because until we/they have the same kinds of acceptance and rights as everyone else, how can we be just another part of society? And how else compete with things that have been accepted as the norm for centuries? Not by being quiet and reserved about it, that’s for sure.

3) Live Your Life
In my opinion, there are two kinda of minority individuals. The first is the kind that wants to fight. That sees all the oppression and privilege in the world and wants to fight it. They start by taking anything that applies directly to them and fight for that, using their own everyday experiences as ammo for hate and anger towards oppressive forces. Sometimes they may actively choose to deny the structures set by society and oppressive forces: whether it’s their financial situation, living situation, sexuality, sexual expression, gender, gender expression etc. They don’t feel like they personally fit in with the ‘normal’, heteronormative, gendernormative, societal values, and wish to defy and deconstruct them. These are their feelings and this is their lives.
The other kind are those who need to fight. Those that are born a minority – whether its race, class, gender, sexuality, etc etc. and experience oppression as part of their lives, experience pain and distress caused by said minority trait. These people don’t see oppression everywhere they go. They don’t deconstruct society. It’s highly likely that they still support equality, disagree strongly with racism and misogyny etc etc, but they haven’t dedicated their lives to it. But, life has dedicated it to them. So they fight for their rights. They fight to be considered equal. They want to gain help and support where needed to live their lives free from pain, stress, depression and oppression. They just want to get on with their lives.

4) But don’t live a life led purely by anger.
Anger is not a bad thing. Anger pushes us and encourages us to act and fight. But it’s not a positive thing either. Anger is the root of hate. Hate is the root of evil. ~IN MY OPINION~

5) Hate the Game, Not the Player.
Hate Male Privilege, not males. Hate White Privilege, not white people. Hate Heterosexual Privilege, not heterosexual people. Etc, etc. Many people will disagree with me, but fighting hate with hate is not the answer. Plus, believing that, for example, a man is a man therefore he must belittle and objectify women, is the same form of stereotyping, prejudice and ignorance that exists in misogyny, homophobia, racism… Etc etc etc.

I hope you’ve all learnt something today.

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April 3, 2013 · 6:05 pm

Sadie Hawkins: Empowering Women! to Define their Lives by the Men they Date

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Glee does an episode about a Sadie Hawkins dance – a dance where traditionally girls ask the guys – where the plot basically consists of a cast of female characters feeling upset that they haven’t got men in their lives, who take the opportunity to ask out men for the sake of a dance, and as a result feel ’empowered’ enough to have control over other aspects of their lives, and generally feel better about themselves.

Because they were able to ask some guys out.

Not just asking a guy to a regular dance regardless of gender roles, because you like him.

Not, say, just going to dance on your own and/or with friends because you want to have fun.

Not taking the opportunity of having ‘control’ over who you may ask to decide that you want to go alone.

Not feeling empowered enough to, say, join the football team or apply for a university scholarship regardless of if you once had a chance permitted to you by a school dance to ask who you want to go with.

Not, say, just not going to the dance altogether because its a bunch of misogynistic bullshit that maintains a structure that you must be of a certain gender to ‘have control’ over who you may or may not go with and therefore allows other dances to continue their boy-ask-girl social rule.

No – they are put into a situation where they have the option of either asking a guy or be there alone, a situation practically pressed upon them, and use this opportunity to desperately grab the first guy that will say yes to them (or to guilt a gay guy to go with you and then convince yourself that this means he returns your feelings).

The idea of Sadie Hawkins is fun, and yes reverses the gender roles, but the idea that it’s ’empowering’ to women is insulting. Hey girls, now it your turn to have the power over who you can date! How about encouraging women to ask out whoever they want, whenever they want, not just at one set aside dance?

I found it unacceptable that characters like Lauren Zizes and Sugar, who previously demonstrated power in their relationships and had guys fighting and proving themselves to be with them, couldn’t get up the courage to ask a guy out, and ended up sitting at the side at the dance, proclaiming themselves ‘losers’.

Why weren’t there groups of boys sitting at the side, upset that no one asked them? Why weren’t they seen freaking out about whether they’re pretty enough to get asked out? Why did they go to the dance, alone, and have fun with their friends regardless, while the girls – supposedly ‘in control’ of the dating situation – sit at the side?

These girls were afraid of asking, afraid of being rejected. In an earlier scene Tina is turned down – by a guy that a) has every right to say no if he so chooses, and b) is gay – and she describes it as the ‘most embarrassing moment she’s ever experienced in glee club’. The other girls are afraid of this humiliation too. So why aren’t men upset when they’re turned down?

What this suggests is that women are always at risk of getting hurt by male rejection. Whether its being offered or accepted, if they don’t have a date, then they’ve failed. They feel ashamed and ‘un-empowered’. They won’t go for that football scholarship. They will be doomed to an existence of loneliness and mediocrity, all because they did not have a date for that dance that one time.

Sadie Hawkins dances provide women with the means to claim a man for themselves, for there has to be a man out there that isn’t taken, right? And some man is better than no man, right? Sugar asks the guy she rejected last year. Lauren asks a guy she’s previously had no interaction with. Beiste went to her Sadie Hawkins with a guy that was stoned the whole time. But they felt so empowered, in that one moment of having a crummy guy attend a school dance with them, that they changed their lives and became better people. So inspiring, guys. I feel empowered as a women just writing this.

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