Sex sells. It's one of the truisms of marketing and capitalism - we use images of sex to sell everything from deodorant to cheeseburgers, cars and shaving foam. So why do so many people who embrace capitalism decry the actual selling of sex? Why can we suggest that, hey, wear this tie and you'll get a blowjob, but saying hand over some money and get a blowjob is beyond the line? Why are marketers and advertising agencies held up as creative geniuses for using sexual imagery to sell products that might seem unrelated to sex, while women and men who sell sex directly are seen as disgusting or damaged or both?
International Women's Day, on the 8th of March, has expanded into a weekend. This week many International Women's Day events have got started to celebrate the 8th and women. So we are jumping on the bandwagon in anticipation of Saturday. This Friday we are talking about the women who inspire us and deserve to be celebrated on International Women's Day...
Babies are boring. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Boring AND demanding, that's like the worst combination ever. It's up (or down) there with racist and jolly or drunk and deep. Oh I know some of them look cute and they will ALL totally let you draw eyebrows and a moustache on them then photograph them and post the photos online. But deciding to adopt or make a baby is a massive undertaking that requires a lot of patience, support and unconditional love because while you might always want and love a baby I'm pretty convinced you aren't always going to like it. And that's fine. That's useful to know and acknowledge that they aren't always going to be a joy, which is a good reason why motherhood is often so highly lauded. It's also probably why many people think it must be a full time occupation (I am not using that to mean 'job'). If you've given birth and are parenting the child then obviously you are a full time mother.
Cancer is a strong word. It is so strong that there are only some cancers we feel able to bring up and talk about. Others still only qualify for a whisper. It's unsurprising that the cancer the Sun newspaper has chosen to alert its readers to is breast cancer. Not just because breasts are the Sun's spirit animal, but because it is an acceptable cancer to discuss. Breast cancer campaigns have successfully pushed their message to the forefront of charities we are aware of. Just as we know the red ribbon signifies support for HIV and AIDS charities we know that the pink ribbon. In support of the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel the Sun has moved Page 3 to the front page to highlight their battle against cancer in Page 3 V Breast Cancer and features a Page 3 model checking her breasts. Or, y'know, giving them a quick feel. In the name of breast cancer awareness and it's Check 'em Tuesday you understand, not titillation.
As it has been noted by many a blogger, columnist and person-on-the-street that feminism is hard. It is hard. As with all major movements and ideologies there is division. Which is annoying but can be used properly as a discussion or debate point, not an arguing block. Many columnists like to use their larger and better recognised platform to snark about the lowly bloggers who do nothing but point things out holes in their argument. Because you know what's harder than feminism? Engaging. When a celebrity announces an interest in feminism all that matters so a certain section of feminists seems to be 'that is all well and good but have I ever seen your pants because if so DENIED'.
Here's a thing a lot of people seem to struggle with. It's pretty out there but I think you can handle it. Women are real people. I know, I know. You think we're just going all out for clickbait but it's true and we are all about the hard facts. However with all the 'real women wear/eat/defecate/breathe/have curves rhetoric it's easy to see how confusion can arise. We're putting more and more of our lives online, you probably have your CV up on the web, do your shopping online, make plans for socialising on various sites and you might search for singles online, so the lines between what's real and what's not are blurring. Which makes it unsurprising that the site MyGirlFund has become so popular in which women are paid to act as 'internet girlfriends'. You might as well add another virtual thing to your life.
The site Jezebel is worried about feminism becoming fashionable, citing 2013 as the year young female celebrities were falling over themselves to identify as feminist. Model Charlotte Free fretted feministly on her Tumblr: "feminism is not an accessory or a phase u can grow out of dont get me wrong, im way stoked that more people are admitting to be, or becoming feminists but i wish it didnt take it being 'trendy' to get where we are now. [sic]" Feminism might not be an accessory but it is cool now and we want you to know that we were feminist before feminism was cool. Now we have had to come up with a new movement to identify with, or at least new names for feminism...
I believe it was the too-brilliant-to-induce-envy Tavi Gevinson who introduced us to 'resting bitch face'. Even going as far as to create a guide for those who struggle with furrowing their brow in a dismissive expression to demonstrate levels of high bitchnosity. Since this guide was published girls and women across the world have been able to express their displeasure with the flicker of an eyebrow and the crinkle of a forehead. Then two or so years later Taylor Orci wrote the script for a short film drawing attention to "Bitchy Resting Face" in a plea to the general public not take BRF personally. It's just their face! However, many members of the general public do seem to take it personally and believe women in particular should tread the streets with a smile in their face and maybe an upbeat Taylor Swift song in their heart. I'm willing to bet most women's first taste of mild street harassment (for it is street harassment) was being told to smile. Or cheer up. Smile! you live in a patriarchy.
Dare to Use the F-Word is a new monthly podcast series created by and for young feminists. Street harassment, food activism, body image and slut-shaming are among the diverse issues discussed in the series, which is produced by Barnard College and the Barnard Center for Research on Women and aims to spotlight contemporary issues and activists. The podcast is available for download on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to the series.
In a recent episode, Barnard President Debora Spar, author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, talks with feminist media activist Jamia Wilson about how the drive for perfection affects young women today. Following the interview, President Spar shared her thoughts on the direction of feminism for the next generation.
People often appear to be under the impression that feminism is but a question of who opens the door. And who gets to grow a moustache. But mostly door opening and holding. Nobody questions the odd omission of any BAN ALL DOORS or CAMPAIGN FOR REVOLVING DOORS IN ALL BUILDINGS from any feminist projects or slogans. Which is perhaps indicative of how much thought people who think feminism is about misandry have given to the subject. The death of chivalry is regularly mourned and/or celebrated by male and female columnists depending on what publication they are writing for. Why the decline in chivalry? Apparently it's never a question of people being increasingly selfish or thoughtless and therefore bad mannered. It's feminism.