About Face – a body-positivity activism group protested in front of Victoria Secret this weekend. You can read about their protest here I love it when people take action against the powers that oppress them, particularly when their action speaks volumes to a public that might not even realize how they are being oppressed. That’s … Keep reading →
While I hate the term ‘plus-size’ because it instinctually implies larger than ‘normal’ – I love that the Huffington Post published and advertised (via an emailed mailer) and article entitled “Best Plus Size Models: Who is Dominating the Industry Right Now” and I love that they included some models who are ‘genuinely’ fitted to larger clothes – versus the more traditional larger sized model who is anyone over a size 6.
It’s also worth noting that two of the mentioned models are on the cover of French Elle and Quebec Elle: Justine LeGault and Tara Lynn. Bravo Elle! How about some of this body positivity on US magazine Covers. That said, there is a part of me that wonders what impact magazines still have. Do any of you regularly read magazines or has our western media guzzling culture become completely reliant information derived from the internet and other high-tech sources?
Either way – check out the Huffington Post article – I smiled.
Lately, I feel like every time I’ve sat down to write up a little something for the loyal followers of feminist cupcake – my attention is immediately diverted to something more pressing – like my students or my dissertation or the multitude of doctors that help me deal with my Hashimoto’s disease (Bastard! – and also a plague. If you haven’t had your thyroid antibodies checked and you’re feeling a little wonky, I suggest you bully your MD into ordering you some tests. And if you find you have heightened antibody levels see a functional doc – a lot more help there for hasi than an endocrine doctor. Just sayin’ ).
Finally, Summer is here and this cupcake is back! (I have high expectations – expect posts from me every week).
So without futher ado here are the top five feminist moments I would/should have shared with you recently if I had the time:
1. Boycott Abercrombie and Fitch. I don’t know how many, if any of you shop there, but if you do refrain. A&F’s CEO has recently spouted some really ugly comments about fat women. boo-hiss. Check out Virgie Tovar’s interview on CBS NEWS.
2. Some super TED videos out there recently – have you seen Jackson Katz… or Courtney Martin…?
3. Did you run into the images of the real life Barbie and the anime girl? For me, this is a little creepy. Plastic Surgery is one of those issues which feminists from different waves debate ad nauseam. I think these two women ask us to consider this issue just a little deeper or differently. If nothing else, I think you find this unsettling.
4. Licia Ronzulli – the Italian MEP who brings her daughter to work – inspires me. The Guardian wrote a piece recently about her – and if nothing else the mere images of this woman doing her job and being a mother at the same time allow us to recognize that perhaps it is our conceptions of what is acceptable in the workplace that limits all people’s social positions.
5. The New Dove, “Real Beauty Sketch” videos were highly problematic so much so that I hate to share them – but if you didn’t see it here it is:
The best discussion I saw on the issues with this video was written by Golda Poretsky- “Why Dove’s Latest Real Beauty Video Gets It All Wrong.” – Basically, as Golda points out – this video is racist, sizeist – reliant on the same old beauty ideas and most importantly tells women that they should base their self esteem on how others perceive them. Read Golda’s article – in fact, hang out with Golda for as long as you can. Her work is awesome.
Last bit tonight, I promise. But as I imagine many of you know women’s rights are under attack and tonight the issue at hand is that the Republicans in the Michigan state legislature feel that saying the word vagina is inappropriate – and in light of this they have banned two female state representatives. If I lived in Michigan I would be marching in front of the capitol building with some seriously fun vaginal picket signs. Alas – Michigan you are so far. Instead I will mention this craziness to all I see and sport a Vagina pin – Thank you Zazzle.
For your reading pleasure Jezebel has published response to this lunacy entitled, “25 Republican-Approved Ways to Say ‘Vagina’ Without Offending Political Pussies,” which I imagine will make you both cringe and giggle – but either way I think you should read it because while I am still I’m gonna say vagina and all the other terms that describe my body – such as vulva, clitoris, fallopian tubes, period and whatever else you can think of whenever I see fit – in the classroom, legislature, hallway, bedroom and/or supermarket – I will henceforth endearingly refer to my vagina as the lovely and illustrious Ms. Kant from now on.
Tell me Ladies – how will you respond to this throwback into the dark ages?
I’ve been working on a lesson about the representation of women and race in hip hop videos – which includes a variety of elements – but they key texts are bell hooks article “Gangsta Culture – Sexism and Misogyny: Who Will Take the Rap?” from the book Outlaw Culture and the documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. My class discusses lots of things in response to the ideas in these two texts but one element that I wanted to note here on Feminist Cupcake is that there has been cultural shift that has occurred when we consider how we represent female Hip Hop artists. Consider “Ladies First” By Queen Latifah and Monie Love, which was released in 1989:
At the very least this video is an attempt to represent a message of empowerment and most likely many would consider it exactly that – radically empowering art. It features imagery and lyrics that are political – women who have fought for women’s rights, riots against apartheid in South Africa, messages that work against stereotypes of both women and the black community and there are no objectified images of naked booty shaking background dancers. Okay, so that’s the good stuff…now the scary.
This is Lil’ Kim’s “How Many Licks,” released in 2009:
An anatomically correct doll? Candy Kim? Really? This is clearly and image of a completely objectified and overtly sexualized female? What happened to the Women of Hip Hop? Really what happened to the idea of Hip Hop as a subversive art form that worked to overturn stereotypes and fight the power? remember Salt and Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”?
Where’ are the hip hop groups like this now?? Groups with positive messages which inform the population about their safety and new ideas of empowerment? Artists like Lil’ Kim encourage the understanding of women as objects and this understanding creates a culture in which women are abused and assaulted. If you are not familiar with these ideas about the objectification of women’s bodies check out Jean Killbourne’s “Killing us softly 3″ – there is a fourth version but it’s not available on the internet for free:
So after months of wanting to see Miss Representation – I like many – watched it on the OWN network this week. The films website says, “The film explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.” And, really – it’s awesome. Do me a favor – show it to your friends and family who say that sexism is a solved issue, so feminism is no longer needed
Disclaimer: This as was pulled because it was believed that it could inspire or encourage detrimental behavior to those who have a propensity towards an eating disorder:
I think I first came across it on the Huffington Post, but Chloe on Feministing also wrote about this debacle. Yoplait pulled the ad after comments from the National Eating Disorder Association. According to the NEDA press release, Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of NEDA said that the language of the ad “was seriously problematic for those affected by eating disorders and anyone who may have a predisposition towards developing one.”
I think yoplait did the right thing by pulling the ad – but scarier for me was watching the ad and realizing that I’ve had these conversations with myself – I’ve even had them out loud with my friends – feminist friends. Maintaining a positive body image in a western culture obsessed with thinness is complicated – even when we are “enlightened” by feminist thinking. What are the steps we can take to avoid this obsession in future generations of women?
I was wondering if this ad triggered the same kind of thinking for any of you? I’m going to think some more and get back to you on this in a couple of days – but still any thoughts?
A friend turned me on to these body shop ads today:
I read a little about this campaign here and in NYT.
I find myself wanting to buy these Barbie dolls so I can give them to my daughter someday That said, we all know that women of all shapes and sizes have body image issues – rooted to our ideas of ourselves as defined by attractiveness to sexual partners whose idea of beauty is defined by the media – even if we look like Barbie, right? And yet, I find myself love love loving the Body Shop. So it’s Jcrew and Body Shop for me this year!