I’ve been very lax with blogging due to UNIVERSITY! I am very out of practice with this writing for a blog stuff so you’ll have to forgive me.
Though the silence on here hasn’t just been to do with university; recently I’ve found that lots of feminism on the internet seems vastly counter-productive in terms of outcome. Some things, such as the amusing but informative attacks on the Femfresh* Facebook page (see here for an explanation of what happened) seem to have produced a really positive outcome, the Facebook page was taken down and the whole things seems to have been considered a bit of a disaster in terms of advertising strategies.***
However some pieces of feminist activism seem to increasingly come down to this:
And I am not sure how I feel about this, yet. Women should be able to point out sexism without being told they are being too sensitive, but also going round the internet having weirdly circular battles about things in a kind of ‘look at my intellectual argument, LOOK AT IT’ way just doesn’t seem to *do* much. And I fear it pushes out people who could be most impacted by feminism. A while ago I was thinking that it might be nice to have some kind of evidence based collation of feminist activism, what works and what doesn’t, not because anyone should stick to rules but I think I’d find it useful in engaging with those who don’t rate feminism. But I’ve known non feminists to use the phrase evidence-based-feminism, as a form of attack and way of denying human emotions and experience. Basically I feel a bit jaded.
The Olympics have just finished but before it started there was a documentary on Victoria Pendleton:
Here is Vicky with a lovely bike. (The Pashley Poppy) It’s lovely, she’s lovely, her outfit is lovely. She’s awesome! Also fast. Fast and awesome. <3
In it she mentioned femininity and sport. (The below quote isn’t from the documentary but it has a similar gist! I can’t find the actual quote.)
“When I first stated racing internationally I would look at the girls and think, ‘My gosh, do I have to cut my hair off and get really big to show I’m committed?’ People would say ‘She’s too small, too puny, too girly. She doesn’t take it seriously.’ Well, I have to sit in my room for hours before I compete, so I get my eye liner perfectly straight, or do my hair. A lot of people assume I fulfil the role of a girly girl because I have to do it in order to be noticed, but that’s not it. I genuinely enjoy a good dress-up and always have done. I wouldn’t want to change that for the world.”
I am a little torn on this, in one way I am really glad someone is standing up for femininity and why it’s important to some women and why it isn’t stupid or vain to straighten your hair for example but can be part of your own identity and how you carry yourself as a human. That it can exist WITH being good at sport not at odds to it. But the other side of this is that women doing ‘masculine’ sports or who are masculine in physical appearance or dress are attacked. (E.g. the Williams’ sisters, Zoe Smith (Argh, we all love her, right?) and Semenya Caster.) and I’m really glad Victoria Pendleton is staying true to herself (and women being capable AND feminine is something I am very passionate about people realising is possible) but in the mainstream media the pressure on women to be stunning as well as do their jobs as athletes is huge. It’s the most attractive athletes who get the best sponsorship deals in general, and the most attractive athletes who get the press. Of course this isn’t anything we don’t already know but it is something I’m finding increasingly depressing.
Also I’ve realised quite a lot of this post is to do with advertising or sponsorship. This ran in a magazine for One Direction fans (click to make big if you want to see disgusting sexist text):
It’s a seriously disgusting piece of girl hate, (I’m pining for J17 if I am honest!) but realised today why it’s so worrying for me; clearly it’s vile but if you read any magazine aimed at women or girls (or boys or men) they are all trying to sell you stuff. You are supposed to see a pretty kitchen and want to buy a pretty kitchen, you’re supposed to see a model in a pretty dress and want to buy it; even the bits that aren’t advertising in Cosmo are advertising. And I’ve come to the conclusion the Caroline S piece is related to this because happy, well adjusted and confident little girls don’t need to buy ALL THE STUFF IN THE WORLD; happy, well adjusted and confident little girls don’t need to hate on a woman because she’s older than an age they’d find acceptable to go out with their idol. Teaching girls to distrust and hate one another teaches them they have to be better than the next girl. Being better than the next girl involves buying ALL the make up and ALL the dresses and ALL the shoes and still feel insecure deep down because that’s what girl hate does. It stops little girls concentrating on becoming interesting, funny, complex humans and teaches them to wear a pretty dress in anger and hate. I can’t say I’ve entirely worked out my feelings about this, but it has added to my unease that it’s not in government or business interests to combat this stuff, articles are published online specifically to wind up left or right wing people and get hits from ‘offended’ people. I’m not offended though, I’m angry and sad and I also wonder how we can really combat this kind of sexism.
* A ‘lady’ hygiene product more interested in calling a vulva a squiggly wiggly noo-noo than dealing with actual hygiene of the vulva.**
**NB I think it is essential that women feel they can call any part of their body whatever they like but women’s personal and private relationship with their bodies shouldn’t be used in a public advert campaign to infantilise women’s genitalia.
***Though I think it’s a shame that no one has ever done this for P&G ‘Sponsors of Mums’ adverts which are among the worst I have ever seen. ONLY WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD CHILDREN LIKE TO KEEP THEIR HOMES AND CLOTHES CLEAN YOU GUYS! Men and women without kids are either useless or dirty. (Who doesn’t love a cleaning advert portraying men as weak and idiotic and unable to do ‘women’s work’. So funny! So true! Men, you idiots, you can’t possibly be expected to understand how to put a wash on!****)
**** I suspect I could teach my cats to put a wash on, but not a man; they’d shrink all the clothes and then put in a red sock with a white wash! What idiots, eh?