What’s this? Did I just read a little feminist commentary on Yahoo Sports??

Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports wrote the following this morning:

Cheerleader Melissa Kellerman was barely into the middle part of her 15 minutes of fame when the Dallas Cowboys pulled the plug. Kellerman, a 22-year-old student in her fourth year with the team, became a national sensation on Thanksgiving when she was accidentally tackled on the sideline by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten(notes). CNBC’s Darren Rovell reported that Kellerman was forced to delete her Twitter account after posting two messages on Friday morning about the incident. Her Tweets were good-natured and innocuous.

Cowboys cheerleader knocked over by Witten forced off Twitter

Those were pretty much the perfect tweets: Clever, self-deprecating and a bit funny. (We’ll even ignore the winking emoticons.) Why did she have to delete her Twitter account? Do the Cowboys believe cheerleaders are only to be seen, not heard?

I love it! A genuine critique of what looks like gender-policing to me!!

Still thinking about Saudi and the “tempting eyes”

Yesterday, I quickly threw up a post about how Saudi Arabi is trying to pass a law that women in Saudi to cover their eyes….Check it out on The Daily Beast.

My thoughts about this are endless — I find my self in a tizzy about the idea of extremes. In other words, I don’t think we can dictate what other cultures perceive as empowerment. Shrouding – wearing a hijab – may be understood by the Western Feminist as oppression, but it is not always understood by the wearer a source oppression. Let me give you two popular culture references to the opposing opinion. First, an old episode of Jack and Bobbie, which btw was a really good show – you should check it out. In this episode Christine Lahti’s character tears into a Muslim girl’s identity and belief in God as unevolved, uneducated and oppressed. The girl, Hebba responds that wearing a Hijab is part of her ‘liberation’ – fast forward to the second minute to see Hebba’s argument:

Secondly, look at this cartoon:

Clearly – this cartoon about the western feminist perspective’s failure to understand a Muslim woman’s desire to wear a hijab.  So, my point is – I get the complexity here – the idea that there are  women who wear a hijab and still maintain a sense of empowerment and who am I to tell them that they are wrong – that my kind of empowerment is the only kind? And furthermore, I tend to think that we have to – absolutely must – allow for “choice.”

… but I also recognize extremes – which often result from choices that are made in an uneducated, abusive  or oppressed context – I think that porn stars often fall into this category and so can women who are illiterate or uneducated and completely shrouded -or women who are subjected to female castration without a genuine understanding of the consequences. In my gut I feel that this cannot be a state of empowerment because it represents a fanatic extreme that is based on a patriarchal of kyriarchal state. Does it look like empowerment to you?

Still – it’s complicated right — more complicated than we originally think. It is so easy to fall into the trap of seeing your perspective as the right one – but this of course is the flaw of colonialism and conversion – which if you ask me have been at the root of most major atrocities.  And yet — I find myself asking once again…

WTF – What constitutes tempting eyes?

Did you ever think about the gender orientation of teen heartthrobs?

Noah Brand over at No, Seriously What about the Menz? has posted an interesting little ditty about the gender bending/ feminiszing orientation of about 100 years of male teenage heartthrobs and the consistent gender policing of the masculine and  heteonormative backlash that ensues in response to these teens. The article is entitled Twilight, Bieber and Valentino.

The ideas that Noah is presenting have always fascinated me – in particular I have wondered why ‘feminized’ or ‘feminine’ men are regularly the fixture on the covers of teen fan magazines and other teen focused media directed at young girls. My thinking and pondering is two-fold – what makes these ‘feminine’ boys typical heartthrobs for teen girls, i.e what is the attraction, and when and why does the shift occur that leads women to pursue or desire traditional or hegemonic masculinity – which is violent and controlling? In some ways, I wonder if these young men look ‘feminine’ to us because they are so young – which ties into the whole idea that as men age they become distinguished – or rather they become more ‘masculine’? Clearly, I haven’t got this figured out but I have thought about it a lot — and  so has Noah over at NSWATM. Mostly, I’m interested in how the switch occurs  – wondering why women – even feminist women –  are attracted to the construct of hegemonic masculinity and define their sexuality in response to it –  (see bell hooks essay, “Seduced by Violence No More”) – when at some point they were attracted to softer, sweeter more compassionate images and ideas. And at the same time I wonder if the softer, sweeter ideas are the products of  a feminine gender identity – the whole Disney princess bit? How will we ever know?

Drifting from the intellectual banter… when I was in middle school I had a thing for two teen heartthrobs, Fred Savage – who I’m sure y’all remember from The Wonder Years – and Noah Hathaway – who was Atryeu in The Never Ending Story.  Early on in grad school, I came across a copy of The Never Ending Story in a five dollar bin. Without a second thought, I bought it.  (Side note: I also bought a copy of Space Camp that day – quality film, y’all.)  Anyway – I got home excited to watch – popped in the DVD and promptly felt like a pedophile. Tis same thing occurred when I re-watched The Wonder Years. Both Noah Hathaway and Fred Savage were kids in these productions, but as I grew my memories of them grew with me. In other words, I remembered men – but they were barely pubescent teens.  Take a look:

Weird, right?

Who was your heartthrob in middle school? Have you taken a look lately? Because I think you’ll find that your tastes have matured and somewhere along the way… Which clearly, we’re thankful for – but when we went from lusting after teens to lusting after men did we also incorperate hegemonic constructs of masculinity into our desire?

An Afternoon in Boston…and by the way what’s up with PETA?

Randy and I are up in Boston for a good friend’s wedding, so we spent the afternoon traipsing around my old stomping grounds and few things happened that I wanted to share with you all. First, we had the pleasure of  walking past Roxy’s Grill Cheese Food Truck:

Randy noted that the Roxy Logo was similar to the new feminist cupcake logo, which I thought was pretty cool.  We ordered two sandwiches – a mac and chorizo grilled cheese and a fall inspired grilled cheese which had butternut squash, raisins and granny smith apples – can you say yum?!?! The food truck idea is so awesome – I am totally going to look this up from now on — in fact, I’m thinking I need to share more of my food exploits with y’all. Because to be honest, when I’m not thinking feminism, I’m thinking travel and food. So, if in Boston on a Friday afternoon, definitely hit up Roxy’s Grilled Cheese – they park outside the public library in Copley Square.

Secondly,  I wanted to share this gem, which they were selling at a novelty store on Newbury St:

I don’t have a whole lot of deep thoughts to go with this moment – To be honest, my first reaction was to giggle but ultimately, I think I’m offended by the ‘designer beaver’  because it’s objectifying and represents the vagina a plaything to be manipulated.

Finally, there was  another weird objectification moment at the Copley Square farmer’s market – Have y’all seen the PETA Pilgrims?  I didn’t have a camera with me, but here is an example:

Apparently sexy pilgrim outfits promote tofurkey…  This is not the first time that I’ve seen PETA use the objectification of women as a tactic for saving animals — the argument is vegetarian is “sexy.”  Take a look:

It seems so bizarre to me that a group of people who are trying to save the lives of animals would do so by capitalizing on the objectification of female bodies. I was particularly frustrated by this image, which seems to sexualized violence towards women in order to make a point about cruelty to animals:

PETA also makes fun of and perpetuates fat prejudice:

I am all for a discussion of animal rights – I am horrified by the cruelty that animals suffer at the hands of human beings – factory farming, puppy mills – these things are sickening things and you can and should read about these issues. BUT I am also horrified by PETA’s advertising campaign. Is this the kind of thinking we genuinely want to see for those that are working with a social justice issue – or isn’t the goal to rise above the commercialization and commodification of humans/animals as objects so that we can end the world’s inequalities??

Clearly, PETA doesn’t get it.

I don’t know that much about hip hop but…

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:

Feminist Wiki!

This is the description of the scope of the Feminist Wiki project:

The scope of WikiProject Feminism includes articles about feminism, women’s rights, women’s health, the herstory of women’s rights, notable women’s rights activists, concepts related to feminism, the herstory of feminism, notable feminists and philosophers, and works of feminist literature and feminist philosophy. Our goal is to find, expand, create and identify all the substantive topics in feminism and women’s rights and to expand the presence of these topics on Wikipedia.

  • You don’t have to identify as a feminist to join WikiProject Feminism; however, you may want to Google the definition of feminism, which advocates that women have equal rights with men.
  • If you have knowledge of, an interest in, or simply want to help improve articles pertaining to feminism, you are welcome to join.
  • WikiProject Feminism welcomes participants of all genders.
  • WikiProject Feminism is not sexist, racist, ageist, classist, ableist, biphobic, heterophobic, homophobic, or transphobic. As with the rest of Wikipedia, trolling (posting intentionally provocative or disruptive comments) will not be tolerated. If this happens, the trolling user will be warned per WP:TALK and WP:EQ and will be removed from the task force’s list of participants.

Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Feminism

This is not intellectual at all…LFO’s Summer Girls

But there was a time when I listen to this band constantly as a Joke — but I don’t remember at which point of my life that I was laughing at this with my peeps…if it was you, let me know…


Perhaps I should listen to this entire song and see if it’s horrifyingly obejctifying….maybe later.

Actual Feminist Cupcakes!!!

So – somewhere in the UK there is a woman making feminist cupcakes!! Look here at Subversive Cupcakes.

I am totally going to make gen – u – ine feminst cupcakes as Christmas and Chanukkah presents!! (Please note mine will not be as violent as these – I am a little taken aback by the hurting teeth – but I love this idea.)

There is also another feminist cupcake out there…http://thefeministcupcake.tumblr.com/