Tag Archives: patriarchy.

Is “Feminism” a Self-Defeating Label?

I’m a pretty slow learner when it comes to social media. I feel like I just mastered Facebook when it started going out of style. Unfortunately for me, social media sites are important tools when it comes to blogging. I’ve been making an effort to expand my horizons, starting with Twitter. So far, my favourite thing about Twitter is the hashtags.

Even before I started posting on Twitter, I would check to see what was trending and to follow conversations about race and gender that unfolded around hashtags like #WhyIStayed, #BringBackOurGirls, #GamerGate, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, etc. Recently, when I went to tag a comment with “#feminist”, I noticed that the first two tags to show up were “#FeminismIsAwful” and “#FeministsAreUgly”. When I decided to make a comment about it, it wasn’t long before I got a response.

I’d like to consider what Jacob is saying. First, let’s set aside the long history of smearing feminism by calling feminists ugly for a second here.

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In Defense of the Warrior-Princess

Last Wednesday, Kat gave us a post titled “Why I Decided to Stop Being a ‘Tough Girl’ and Just Be Me“, a thought-provoking piece on femininity.

I passionately disagree with it.

Let me break it down here.

In her post, Kat referenced this quote by actress Zoey Deschanel:

This idea- that women were or are pressured to be “men”- isn’t a new one. Plenty of folks have made the same observation and there is absolutely truth to that. In fact, we’ve even managed to turn it into a trope at this point, the “warrior-princess”. Continue reading

Please Don’t Kill the MAGIC!: A “Rude” Apologist Speaks Out

There’s a lot that I could have written about given that San Diego Comic-Con is in full-swing, but lately I’ve been flooding the blog’s Facebook page with so much superhero-related stuff I think I can pass on it. Instead, I refer all of you to the following music video, which you should watch before reading further:

“Rude” is a song by Canadian reggae band MAGIC!, and given their place of origin I was surprised to see that the track hit the top of the charts in the States. That kind of airtime is going to get you a lot of attention, which in turn is going to lead to a variety of different responses.

Before moving forward with those, however, we should probably make sure we’re all on the same page.
Essentially this is three minutes and
forty-five seconds of frontman Nasri Atweh asking the father of the woman he’s in love with if he can marry her and being denied over and over. He then tells the aforementioned dad that his approval is not actually needed, and that he will “marry her anyway”. Alright, let’s move on. Continue reading

Shame Day: Sinfest and Feminism

Every day, without fail, I read three webcomics.

Cyanide & Happiness, SMBC, and Sinfest.

Here’s what greeted me when I read Sinfest today:

Sinfest: July 15, 2013.

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Let’s Talk About The Hijab

We make no pretension of being unbiased here at the CWR. We have our particular axes to grind and banners to wave. Evan, you’ll notice, often covers the place of Asians in culture- in no small part because Evan is a combo of a few Asian peoples himself, and more directly affected by that issue. I, alternatively, grew up in the Middle East, and after having spent pretty much the entirety of my life with Arabs and Muslims (not the same thing, shouldn’t have to explain that), I’m more sensitive to Middle Eastern issues- Islamophobia in particular.

I could spend all day railing on the treatment of the Middle East/Arabs/Occupied Palestine/Muslims/etc. The way Arabs/Muslims are singled out for scrutiny and criticism. Casting Indian actors to play Arabs, since Arabs don’t match their own stereotype. The lack of appreciation for the key role the Middle East played in preserving and advancing science and philosophy.

You get the idea.

So rather than trying to tackle a single issue that could be (should be, and has been) covered by an entire academic book, I’m going to hit up super-specific issue.

The hijab. Continue reading

Wither Feminism?

This isn’t the first time I’ve lamented about the sorry state of feminism in the culture wars, and it certainly won’t be the last- nevertheless, the time has come for me to really lay out exactly what it is that’s killing feminism.


Sure feminism was necessary at one point, but it’s just not relevant anymore
.

You never hear that stated outright, but it seems to be underlying most responses on why feminism isn’t as major an issue was it was in the 70s or the 60s or the 50s or whenever exactly it was that the last wall of patriarchy supposedly fell.

Let’s face it, women can vote, run for and hold public office, be CEOs or workers, and so on and so forth. Really, shy of being able to serve in combat (American women, anyways), one might argue that all doors are now open. This mentality even seems to be affected most contemporary feminists, who though I am sure have the very best intentions, really can’t find much to rail about themselves. I’ve been through blog post after blog post, article after article, and found that overwhelmingly the subjects being discussed are mostly rants against Todd Akin (not to say that idiot doesn’t deserve it) or retrospectives on the battles of the past. Take a look at the contents of the latest Ms. magazine:

With Wonder Woman at the helm, the issue celebrates 40 years of fearless reporting with 40 Ms. and key feminist moments that shaped our history; birthday letters from dozens of life-long readers; and essays from founding editors Gloria Steinem and Letty Pogrebin, and current Executive Editor Kathy Spillar.

In the special 40th anniversary issue, you’ll also read about:

– What’s at stake for women in the 2012 election

– The significant ballot initiatives in your state

– Record numbers of women running for office

That’s their central points for their fall issue.

Now let’s take a look at Jezebel.

I had a rough time sifting through the articles for one that best demonstrates my point (I know Jezebel isn’t so much a “feminist” website as it is a “women’s interest” one- though exactly what that means I can’t rightly say)- for the most part, they seem tangential at best. “What is it with Women and Law and Order: SVU?”  or “Should Women Run? You’re Damn Right They Should.

That last one’s not talking about running for office- it’s literally about jogging. ‘Cuz apparently there was some blog post asserting that women with a certain body type aren’t cut-out to be runners, and that merited a response. Sure, whoever said that was wrong, but is that what feminists have been reduced to? Chasing down solitary quips of (comparatively) benign misinformation in the ugly bowels of the blogosphere? If that’s the standard for a worthwhile target, Evan and I should be beaten to death for mixing up when the premier of Community is going to be shown.

Please don’t beat us to death…

If this is the substance of the contemporary feminist movement, can you really blame people for feeling that all that’s to be done has been done? Can you really blame people for stereotyping self-proclaimed feminists as just angsty or contrarian? Is feminism just going to wither away?

I hope not- there’s still plenty of work to be done.

See this picture?

It’s from Dove’s “True Beauty” campaign. A series of advertisements aimed at combating anorexic and unrealistic standards of beauty. I’m sure the owners of Dove- a corporation by the name of Unilever- would be proud.

You know what other company Unilever owns?

Yep- these guys.

Now as I have family who read this blog, I’ve got embedded for you below the mildest Axe commercial I can find- be assured that it’s prudish and progressive compared to the rest of ’em.

That’s what we’ve got here- a corporation that on one hand is hawking their products by telling you that you’re beautiful just the way you are, and on the other hand depicting women as mindless dolls in low-cut dresses who can be manipulated with aerosol bottles. The latter alone would be a slap in the face, but that fact that the company is two-faced enough to shamelessly operate both utterly discredits their “True-Beauty Campaign” and exposes the fact that they’re ready, willing, and able to use feminism itself as a vehicle for controlling and objectifying women and perceptions about ’em.

This is Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, and he can go **** himself.

See, there’s this offshoot of modern feminism called “Sex-positive feminism” (you might know it by other names), which broken down to its most basic elements asserts that women’s use of their sexuality is empowering- and while no one would deny sexuality as an integral part of any human being- more often than not, this line of thought is used to justify strip clubs, prostitution, pornography, etc. as being actually good for women.

Now I’m not going to start accusing the founders of “Sex-positive feminism” of selling out their own movement- I don’t think that’s what their intention was. But then again, such things are what the road to hell is paved with, and even if the goal of this off-shoot was to make sexuality just as empowering as brains or brawn, the simple truth of the matter is that the prostitute isn’t probably viewed by her client as being a more well-rounded person because of her job. Heck- using this logic, I might argue that a twelve year old Honduran girl whose working for 32 cents an hour in a sweatshop is likewise “empowered”.

Strange how “Dead by 26 feminism” isn’t quite as popular…

Feminism isn’t dead- it’s just got a knife at it’s throat, and if saving feminism from becoming a tool of the very system that it was first established to combat isn’t a worthwhile endeavor- I don’t know what is. To anyone who would complain that all the important battles have been won- I present to you this. “Your solution to saving feminism is by saving feminism?” you might ask- and hey, it’s a valid point. But this isn’t just some circular exercise- this is a struggle for what’s really empowering. It’s a fight over messages- will we be told “These shoes are empowering!” or “No- they are shoes– empowerment comes from how far you walk and how much butt you kick.” Isn’t that worth something?

At the very least it beats writing an angry article about how body shape doesn’t exclude you from jogging.

P.S. I know I should also say some stuff about the “Slut Walks” (“Slutwalks”?, “Slut-Walks”?), the issue of rape, the continued problems of worker-manager ratios, etc. but it’s past 1:30 in the morning- please excuse the narrowness of this post.