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When feminism went nuts

(707 Posts)
LeninGrad Fri 07-Aug-09 04:05:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stuffitlllama Fri 07-Aug-09 04:45:28

"anti-populist fun-sucker" signing in

Thanks Lenin..great link. there was some talk on this a while back.

The freedom to degrade ourselves as well as being degraded by others -- not what was in mind 40 years ago I think.

LeninGrad Fri 07-Aug-09 07:35:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wahwah Fri 07-Aug-09 08:13:48

A good read. I have been horrified by the younger women I know who don't call themselves feminists. When I ask if they're anti racists, they agree they are, but being feminist somehow doesn't mean anti sexist to them. They also don't seem to think about the position of women globally, which is a bit of a worry too.

...and they spend a bloody fortune preening for men. Eyelash extensions, sunbeds, waxing within an inch of their lives and exercising-not to be healthy, but because they ate a biscuit a fortnight ago...

LivingLaVidaLurker2 Fri 07-Aug-09 08:38:56

I hate the way that pornography has become quite so mainstream. (I am not anti-porn... though actually perhaps I am really as it holds absolutely no appeal to me.) I read a copy of Heat magazine recently for the first time in years. One of the 'articles' was about Ashton Kutcher's new film and included a still from the film of the actor clearly having sex. I know, I know it is not real, but I was shocked. Since when was that a suitable image for a magazine aimed at teenagers?

Oh God, and don't even get me started on their obsession with hating women's bodies. I remember once at the end of a year they did a double page spread of all their covers from the year. I would estimate that three quarters on them were of the, "Kate Moss has cellulite!" type.

I am now in my 30s and I really don't think we were bombarded with this when I was a teenager. I am stunned by the fact that Katie Price is seen as this amazing role-model. And before people bundle in; I'm sure she's a great mum - I am talking about the fact that she is a porn model and this is seen by young girls to be an aspirational career route, presumably because, as the article describes, the amount of money she has made is somehow symbolic of feminist empowerment.

It really is all very sad.

(And then, I check myself and think about the suggestive comment I made on the Chris Corcoran thread. Hypocrite, moi?)

Callisto Fri 07-Aug-09 08:40:25

Great article - and about time someone stood up and said that lads mags are not ok and that lap dancing isn't a valid career choice.

Callisto Fri 07-Aug-09 08:42:03

(Callisto worries about publicly leering at Barack a few days ago...)

ABetaDad Fri 07-Aug-09 08:53:26

I agree with what the article says.

A lot of the blame lies in our modern celebrity culture. It is hard to admit but for some girls who are not going to get a highly paid job through their qualifications the choice of appearing topless in a daily newspaper, becoming a minor celebrity and putting on a bit of 'raunch' to have the chance of earning £1 mllion looks like a pretty good option when they feel their only aternative is low pay jobs and no status. Look at female pop stars in pop videos and how they behave and dress in them. Go down the scale to lap dancing clubs and find he same 'choice' being made by women who perform in them.

The problem is that this kind of thinking then feeds through to every part of society so all women begin to feel the pressure to 'act out' male fantasies. It is a classic race to the bottom of degradation driven by commercial pressure as the article suggests.

I do agree that feminism needs a new message and a new image though and it is 'broken brand' even though its underlyng message is not wrong. Its message has just come to be seen by society as old fashioned and hence been rejected by young people as 'not fun'.

Would never vote for her but found myself agreeing wth a lot of what Harriet Harman has been saying recently on havng more women in senior roles to balance and offset and compliment male thinking and we do need that throughout society. That perhaps is what feminsm now needs to be about - the next battle if you like.

sarah293 Fri 07-Aug-09 09:07:01

Message withdrawn

edam Fri 07-Aug-09 09:17:13

Blimey ABetaDad, didn't think I'd see you agreeing with Harman!

Great link. IMO capitalism perverted feminism to its own ends. People fought for the right to work, not for the right to be made to work full-time when their children are very small and they'd rather be at home (as many people would, of course some people enjoy their jobs and choose to go back full time).

KingRolo Fri 07-Aug-09 09:44:13

An excellent article, thanks for the link.

Funnily enough, the petrol station I went to this morning had Nuts dispayed at child's eye level, next to the sweets, at the pay counter. Nobody batted an eyelid. Something has gone badly wrong in the last 10 years.

Nancy66 Fri 07-Aug-09 09:56:37

Sales of the lads mags have absolutely plummeted in the last couple of years - and that seems to be a trend rather than being a credit crunch thing.

Fake tit fatigue perhaps?

Threadworm Fri 07-Aug-09 09:57:07

That is an excellent article. Thanks for the link. Every word of it is true and it makes me want to weep.

KingRolo Fri 07-Aug-09 10:02:39

Nancy, I'd love to think it was tit fatigue but I bet sales are only falling because of the rise of the internet, especially now lads can send and receive images on their phones.

ABetaDad Fri 07-Aug-09 10:07:17

edam - she gave what I thought was a really good 'apolitical' iterview about this a few days ago. Me and DW both worked in the City and we have been saying for years that the place would work far better if there was a lot less maco beaviour and more women in top roles. Harriet Harman made the same point which we agreed with.

Not exactly on the topic of this thread but connected obliquely, me and DW think that if we had more women in senior roles throughout society so it became 'normal' then perhaps young women would feel less pressured and more comfortable in saying 'I can make money, be famous and fullfill myself without taking my clothes off'.

That is a message that just seems to have been drowned out in the commercialised 'pornification' of society.

KingRolo Fri 07-Aug-09 10:17:24

Women - why aren't you running the world yet?

Charlie Brooker talks sense.

Laugs Fri 07-Aug-09 10:18:32

Really interesting article.

I did think it was slightly overblown in places: "Yet while there are female CEOs and politicians, it has never been made clearer to a woman that, whatever her other talents and achievements, her true capital lies in her body." Do you think this, really? I have never, ever considered that my true capital lies in my body, and I doubt if many others have either, particularly beyond a certain age/ career.

It all worries me though. Where I live (Newcastle) there is a big stag night culture and quite a few sports bars whose stock in trade is big screens and big tits. Walk through town on a Saturday afternoon and there are girls out in the street trying to lure men in with the bar's special offers. Typically, they wear something like a bikini with chaps and a cowboy hat, or a very skimpy version of a football kit, leaving nothing to the imagination. I should be worried about these girls, perhaps, but I'm more concerned about my 2 year old daughter and the messages she is picking up from this kind of normalised behaviour, in a city centre in the middle of the day. As an adult (though apparently in the age range which accepts this as the norm) I also find it intimidating.

edam Fri 07-Aug-09 10:26:13

I think you are right, UQD. Certainly that 'big swinging dick' stuff in the City would be less admired.

ZephirineDrouhin Fri 07-Aug-09 10:32:33

Great (but depressing) article, thanks Lenin.

My feeling is that the situation we have now is a pretty much inevitable result of the deference to free market principles that has pervaded society over the past 30 years. The argument that "if there is a market for it, it must be a good thing" has become so mainstream it has become difficult even to question it. I'm not sure how we begin to change this, but perhaps one thing might be to look at what the words "freedom" and "choice" actually mean, and to find a way to reclaim them from consumerism.

cyteen Fri 07-Aug-09 10:38:15

Just marking my place in case I don't get the chance to read it all now...

Jazzicatz Fri 07-Aug-09 10:47:29

This article mirrors the recent book by Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs, which everyone should read as a discourse on why we have never needed feminism so much!

sayanything Fri 07-Aug-09 10:55:13

Great article, but it really depressed me - I found myself nodding in agreement, but thinking "where do we start to fix this?".

I agree that it's all down to free market principles, but not so much due to the fact that there is a market for it. Not everything for which there is a market necessarily becomes mainstream. I think it's more to do with consumerism and ensuring that women will always hate their body enough to spend piles of money on changing it.

Also, I think the internet is a major culprit tbh, much as I love it. The death of John Hughes reminded me that, growing up in the 80s, we were really quite innocent. Porn (soft at worst) was something furtive to giggle over and it was difficult to come by. Now it's a click away and overexposure brings desensitisation.

I'm proud to call myself a feminist and I hate to see how the message of women's sexual liberalisation has been turned on its head to mean that it's now perfectly ok to display your body for the edification of men, a body that, of course, has been groomed and preened to conform with whatever sadistic state is marketed as the ideal.

I'm sorry, this is a rambling, confused post, but I've been bothered about these issues a lot recently (I live in an environment full of women who are happy to trade on their looks to get ahead or simply to find a man who will support them financially and men who are happy to take advantage of that) and the article really depressed me.

KingRolo Fri 07-Aug-09 11:11:06

I agree completely about free market principles being behind a lot of this.

For example, if there was absolutely no money to be made in hair removal would women still be made to feel they should remove their body hair? I wonder how much money Veet and the like make from their creams, how much Gillete make from razors, how much salons make from Brazillians?

cherryblossoms Fri 07-Aug-09 11:36:13

One analysis of the situation might be that, within a capitalist society, capitalism is capable of delivering many of the aims of feminism, in much the same way that it will deliver a new version of a pair of trainers, EXCEPT those items on the political wish list which come into conflict with capitalism.

And, another way of looking at it is that feminist demands/desires will be answered/delivered BUT within a form that is thoroughlly saturated by and amenable to capitalism.

Just a theory.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 07-Aug-09 11:45:28

There is something horrifying abouut life today, the fact that sexualisation and mild porn is seen as the norm. Jus a couple of observations:

-when I first bought Cosmo magazine (early 90s) it was quite a different mag - it had intelligent discussions about post feminism, and also a lot of info about careers. I remember every summer they had a university guide/careers advice, and had interviews with high flying women, such as senior civil servants, bankers, advertsising chiefs. It said that women could achieve anything hat they wanted by dint of their own intelligence. It was quite a different magazine than it is today.
- I hate the way that mild porn is everywhere. Why is it so common for women to shave all their pubic hair? How is it that brazillians are normal, when they only used to be seen in porn films. I also hate and loathe the normalising of Playboy. The Playboy symbol is everywhere - kids pencil cases - and Girls of the Playboy Mansion is seen as wholesome family entertainment, when the whole premise of what Hugh Hefner gets up to is actually vile.
- I have seen some of my dd's friends Facebook pages and it scares the life out of me. 13 year old having photos taken in bikinis, pouting for the camera. I find it scary.

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