Tag Archives: Sexism

Objectification Or Art?

Tavi just wrote a blog post about Terry Richardson. If you’re unfamiliar with either, I’ll describe them quickly. Tavi is a young (I think she might be 13 or 14 now) fashion blogger. She attends runway shows, serves as somewhat of a muse for certain designers, has been featured in Vogue, etc. Unfortunately, she’s also often heavily criticized and hated on. This is because people are assholes. Now, I don’t particularly like her style (then again, I know nothing about fashion and no doubt looked about a million times worse in my teens) but I’d never say a bad thing about her. I like this kid. She’s half my age and writes twice as good as I do, she’s doing her own thing and she’s getting to meet her idols. She rules.

I feel I shouldn’t even have to explain who Terry Richardson is. If you don’t know him, you most likely know his work. He’s a very famous photographer who’s worked for oh, I don’t know, just about every magazine ever. Physically, he’s most recognizable for his big ass glasses, great band t-shirts, plaid shirts and thumbs-up pose. I personally think he’s extremely talented despite the fact that outside of his editorials, his work has a very consistent (if not predictable) aesthetic. Anyway, this post isn’t about whether he’s talented or not.

A few months ago a model accused Richardson of sexually exploiting the young girls who pose for him. Other models have corroborated this claim. A stylist allegedly quit after becoming fed up of watching Richardson abuse two teenage Eastern European models who didn’t speak English. In an interview with The Guardian, Richardson was quoted as saying, “I don’t think I’m a sex addict, but I do have issues. […] I was a shy kid, and now I’m this powerful guy with his boner, dominating all these girls.” Excuse me; ‘dominating’? What a douchebag. Of course, many big-name industry people immediately defended the highly influential photographer, saying that it’s the models’ own fault for sucking Uncle Terry’s dick. They weren’t forced to – they simply chose to.

This is some of what young Tavi had to say about the situation:

“The girl should never be put in the position in which she has to refuse. I mean, sure, she could just not say yes, but there’s another person to blame, and that would be the person who could just not pressure a girl into performing those kinds of acts.”

“And, let’s clarify: you don’t love women just because you have sex with them and like taking pictures of their ladyparts.”

“I can already see the comments reading, ‘You feminists are so uptight! Let a stranger manipulate you into doing weird things to him for once in your life, gosh!'”

My goodness. I’m not sure if I want this girl to be my best friend or my daughter or what. Could she be any more awesome? You can read the rest of her post here.

I included some [COMPLETELY NOT SAFE FOR WORK!] questionable photographs Richardson has either taken or gotten someone else to take after the cut. I guess you can form your own opinion about his work. Objectification? Art? Something for him to jerk off to on his days off?

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Fetal Homicide

I can’t believe I missed this! I’m catching up on my Savage Love podast listening (thanks again, Dee) and apparently, a bill was recently passed in Utah that would make it illegal for a woman to miscarry. The “reckless act” that leads to the miscarriage (being a victim of domestic violence, for example) could be considered criminal homicide and the woman in question could face life in prison. This is beyond insane. One in four women have miscarriages! And like Dan (the host) said, how is Utah going to keep track of pregnant women? Compulsory tests? The uterus police? Apparently, this all stems from a case in which a 17 year old girl paid someone $150 to beat her until she lost her baby. I suppose the first solution Utah thought of would be to criminalize all such acts (though really, how often does this happen?) but wouldn’t it have been easier to, oh, I don’t know, MAKE LEGAL ABORTIONS MORE ACCESSIBLE? Also, Dan went on to explain that a pregnant woman in Iowa fell down the stairs and found herself jailed for two days for “suspected feticide”. K, I really hate the world now. Like even more than before. Thankfully, I doubt the Utah law will be approved (it’s currently awaiting the governor’s signature), but just the very idea of people with authority backing it up is frightening. Remind me never to move to the Mormon State. Or Iowa. Not that I would ever do that, but you know.

Read more here.

-Melissa

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The Radio Still Sucks

A few summers ago I was driving around with the windows down (my shit box car doesn’t have A/C), singing along rather obnoxiously loudly to whatever crappy song was being played on the radio, when Inner Circle’s “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” came on. At first I was like, “Yes! A song from my childhood – I know all the lyrics to this one”, but then, as I was singing, I was like “Wait a minute – is this song about rape?” And uh, yes, it totally is.

“Girl I want to make you sweat
Sweat ’til you can’t sweat no more
And if you cry
I’m gonna push it some more”

I’m sorry, Inner Circle, but that is no way to romance a lady. If I’m sweating and crying, you better get the hell off me. Push it some more and I will punch you.

This got me to thinking about other pop songs that get nonchalantly played on the radio despite their out-there sexual content. The airplay these songs get legitimizes the often-deviant behavior described in the lyrics. I’m no prude (in fact, some say I’m a sex fiend), but this is simply too much.

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Grow Up, Please

I’ve had an unusually dramatic weekend. It’s been brought to my attention that someone from my past has been going around calling me names. Apparently, I’m a sex fiend and a slut. She’s said other immature, hurtful things as well but none of them offended me as much as those comments. The girl’s omnipresent cattiness is one of the many reasons I’m happy to have cut her out of my life, but I feel I need to say something about the “slut” thing on behalf of women everywhere (that’s just how I roll).

People absolutely need to stop judging women based on the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Social constructions of sexuality and gender have deemed it ‘natural’ for a man to want and seek sex, whereas when a woman does the same, it’s labeled ‘wrong’, ‘disgusting’ and of course, ‘slutty’. A man who has lots of sex is a player; a woman who has lots of sex is a whore. This double standard has been around for a long time but because it’s never affected me personally, I’ve never bothered dissecting it.

Why has it never affected me personally? Well, I don’t know what constitutes a “slut” in this specific girl’s eyes but, at 24, I can count the number of men I’ve been with on one hand. I’ve only ever been with guys I liked and truly cared for. I’ve never had a one night stand or a fuck friend. In terms of numbers, I’m probably the least sexually experienced girl I know.

However, I firmly believe that even if I had an extremely large pool of partners and countless anonymous experiences, it would still be no one’s goddamned business but my own. Really, no one should be discussing or making up lies about my private, personal sex life. I may be nowhere near the kind of person she’s described me as being, but even if I were, accusing a woman of loving and having lots of sex shouldn’t be an insult. When you think about it, it pretty much sounds like a compliment. So, uh, thanks, I guess.

-Melissa

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Female Directors in Hollywood

I hope VD (har har) was kind to everyone. I had a good one. Then again, with Godiva and Lindt chocolates, the Bodies exhibit, all-you-can-eat sushi and a comfy bed, how could I go wrong? Actually, something must have gone wrong because I had explosive diarrhea like ten minutes ago. Story of my life.

Anyway, I just read a sort-of cool but mainly horrible article about female directors in Hollywood. I mean, I’m sure we can all agree that a great film is a great film regardless of the director’s gender. I’m not disputing that. However, it’s clear that there is a gigantic lack of female directors out there, successful or not. Three years ago, only seven per cent of the Directors Guild of America were listed as female directors. SEVEN. I’m not even that surprised. I don’t recall watching a single female-directed film during the entire two and a half years I spent studying cinema in college.

The piece I referred to is useful in that it reminds readers that some pretty entertaining movies were directed  by women. But, um, that’s about it.

The problem I have is with the patronizing tone and language used within the article. It basically presumes that everyone regards women as delicate flowers, incapable of hurting someone or being horny or pooping or doing any of that MANLY STUFF THAT MEN DO. The author writes that most people would have trouble believing that a female directed movies like The Hurt Locker (which is a fantastic film, by the way) because it depicts violence, Lords of Dogtown because it’s about skateboarding and recklessness and Wayne’s World because it centers on rock’n’roll and crude humor, for example.

…is that a fucking joke?

How stereotypical. If we’re going to go down that route – how come no one is surprised when a chick flick is directed by a man? No one flinched when Nick Cassavetes was praised for The Notebook. What about Sense and Sensibility, A Walk to Remember, Stepmom, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and almost every single Sandra Bullock movie ever? They were directed by men, too.

If you don’t think any of that is particularly insulting, here’s a line about Wayne’s World pulled directly from the article:

“It’s no wonder this movie made the list—with its numerous sexual innuendos, rock-and-roll references and crude humor, it’s hard to believe that Penelope Spheeris was able to direct it.”

It’s hard to believe that she was ABLE to direct? What’s much, much harder to believe is that the article’s female author is questioning a female director’s ability to handle sexual innuendos. God, not a sexual innuendo! Anything but that!

Personally, I’m completely unfazed by the fact that women can direct a movie that includes a fart joke (did you know that Billy Madison was directed by a woman, too? GASP).

The conclusion one can reach based on this article is that men can do whatever they want without shocking anyone, but women can’t even reference rock’n’roll without someone’s jaw dropping. And by the way, no one is surprised that Amy Heckerling directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Everyone knows she directed that movie. The woman wrote and directed Clueless, for God’s sake!

-Melissa

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Cosmopolitan Crap

I used to read Cosmo mags all the time when I was younger because I stole them from my work. I was a 16 year old virgin who hadn’t ever seen a dick, yet I couldn’t resist the promise of juicy sex tips. What were the 194 new ways to please my man? What was the secret sex move that drives 72% of men wild? What could I tell about his personality from his bulge? There was so much I needed to learn! Of course, the magazine’s intrigue wore off after just a few issues. I recall reading one particular article suggesting women show cleavage to land that promotion they’re after. I couldn’t believe it. If I remember correctly, a photo of a model wearing glasses floating near the tip of her nose, a leopard print bra peeking out of a mostly-unbuttoned shirt, a form-fitting pencil skirt and unbelievably high heels ran alongside the article. Coincidentally, that is what I wear to the office every day (except on casual Friday – that’s when I break out the ol’ PVC corset). All jokes aside, I was fuming. I convinced myself I’d start a petition – or at the very least, write a letter – in hopes of shutting this bullshit magazine down.

Well, I got lazy, but on the bright side, the article served as a wake up call. After that, I was able to see the magazine for what it truly is: formulaic crap designed to generate mass profit off women’s fears and insecurities. OK, so that wasn’t exactly the revelation of the century, but trust me – millions of women read this thing every month, from cover to cover, and use it as an instruction manual.

Let’s have a look at the January 2010 issue, shall we?

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Not Gonna Buy These Shoes

I’ve been forced out of blog hibernation by a sexist commercial. OK, I know that I whine about stuff like this a lot, but I refuse to apologize for being offended by the blatant degradation of women. Sorry [but not really] if that makes me a tight ass. Speaking of tight asses, that’s sort of what the commercial is about.

You’d think that I first saw this gem during an NFL game’s half-time period or whatever it’s called, but I didn’t. The truth is that I saw it while watching Tyra. I’m ashamed to say that I watch that show so let’s move on immediately.

I don’t get how Reebok is trying to convince women to buy sneakers by airing a commercial that’s made to appeal to men during a daytime television program aimed at women. Do you follow what I’m saying? Me neither. I got lost after the first few words of that sentence. I think it’s because of how outraged I am.

So I took to the internet. After having gone through Reebok’s Youtube channel, I found a commercial that’s even worse.

I guess it’s a campaign of some sort, which I’m sure will be discussed extensively by every blog ever. And that’s the point. I almost hate that I’m writing about these ads because it’s exactly what Reebok wants. Ugh.

I hope you understand that the whole, “Make your boobs jealous (with your ass)” tagline reduces women to nothing but those body parts. I mean, those parts are great and all, but focusing on them all the damn time makes women insecure and men ignorant.

Smart, mind-challenging advertising is successful when done right; it’s a shame that most companies refuse to put that kind of effort into their ads and settle for zooming in on an ass or tits.

-Melissa

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