Monday, July 5, 2010

Feminism: Fact or Fiction?

As a former student of an all female school and as someone who's read way too many feminist sites (Feministing, Jezebel, and Broadsheet come to mind), I've come to realize that some self described feminists see the world in a very different way than I do.

So I decided to make a list of both things that some feminist websites have honestly bitched about and some things that I've just made up. Can you tell the difference between actual feminist righteous anger and what Sadako has fabricated? I'll list stories in pairs. For each pair, one was fabricated by me and one is real, just like Jonathan Frakes instructed us to do on Beyond Belief. Can you figure out which was real and which was a ludicrous fabrication?

1. Food: Yogurt or Barbecue?

A. Barbecue: Chocolate For Men

Anthony Bourdain on his show once said, "Barbecue: it's like chocolate for men." Blatant sexism. Women love meat as much as men do. We will fight for our right to enjoy meat! (And yes, we will riot in the streets Valerie Solanas style if you suggest a meat injection.)

B. Yogurt

Why do yogurt ads always include a pair of women gushing over how much they love eating calorie deficient food? The only thing in our culture that passes the Bechdel test is yogurt ads? It's sexist to assume that women should just sit around talking about how much they love to eat fat free food. It's eating disorder triggering and it assumes that women have nothing better to do than fit into how a man dictates they look: thin! Yoplait, your backs will be up against the wall one day.

2. Fashion: Boyfriend Jeans or Animal Print?

A. Boyfriend Jeans

Can we say heteronormative? Not all women aspire to acquire a boyfriend. Some aspire to have an androgynous female live in. Still others prefer a passel of tabby cats. The term "boyfriend jeans" is SO problematic. At the very least they should be called "Lover of Slightly Wider Girth" jeans. Then again, that leaves aside all the women whose lovers are smaller than they are and promotes the notion that women are to be smaller and daintier than their lovers.

B. Leopard Print

Can we say otherizing women? It's problematic enough to lift from another culture. (Sometimes I feel like even using the term ethnic for my earrings is systematically raping another culture. And then sometimes I realize that I've used the term rape in a casual setting and I might have accidentally set someone's trigger alert off.) But by making women dress in animal print, it's like we're saying they're other. They're different from men, who are the default. Patriarchy at its finest, people.

3. Eyebrows: Overtweezed or Undertweezed?

A. Overtweezed Eyebrows

The trend towards overplucked or even completely plucked brows is dehumanizing to women. It teaches them that once again, taking up less space is the only way for a woman to be acceptable, whether that lack of space happens to be in their hips, thighs or brows.

B. Undertweezed Eyebrows

American Apparel encourages its employees and models to go natural in terms of makeup and eyebrows. Why sexist? It's disempowering. When a woman tweezes or puts on lipstick, she's taking control of her image. Keeping a woman from doing those things is emphasizing her youth and her lack of power. You'll take our tweezers from our cold dead hands, Dov!

4. Rape jokes: M&Ms or Orangina

A. Orangina

Three women, one of whom is a giant CGI giraffe, roller skate on a beach. They pass a cute guy and the giraffe turns, sniffs the guy's ass, and then chases him as he screams. It ends with her skating away as she holds him draped over her shoulder. Uh, guys? Rape? Not funny? Ever? Even when it does involve a giraffe. Stop using our victimized bodies to shill orange soda. Bring back Kel Mitchell as an Orange Soda advocate--not rape victims!

B. M&Ms

A recent M&M ad (for M&Ms that come with a teeny tiny pretzel in them) is indicative of patriarchy and rape culture. Orange M&M freaks out at the idea of a pretzel being shoved inside him. Ha. Ha. Is rape funny? Is it? Is it funny that millions of women are going to endure flashbacks every time they pick up an M&M pretzel pack? Chocolate is the damaged, desecrated, raped woman's one solace. How dare you imbue it with patriarchal baggage?

Hope you enjoyed that!

Want the answers? Here are the ones that weren't faked:

1. A. Broadsheet bitched about Anthony Bourdain's comment.

2. A. I've seen bitching about the heteronormativity of Boyfriend Jeans here on Jezebel, and here on Feministing.

3. B. Jezebel bitched out American Apparel for its stance on eyebrows.

4. B. Jezebel bitched about the M&M rape ad. (No one's complained about the giraffe one yet, but somehow I think the giraffe will get kudos for being fierce and empowered.)

Fight the real enemy, guys.