legitimate criticisms of feminism:
-transmisogyny and the lack of inclusion of transwomen
-the racist history behind it and the lack of inclusion of woc
-ignoring and invalidating women with disabilities
-pretty much anything that falls under lack of intersectionality
-internalized misogyny and girl hate
-promotion of political lesbianism
illegitimate criticisms of feminism:
-a feminist was really mean to me once
-they’re sexist against men
I wrote this last year in a huff, and I am re-posting it now. It’s definitely not a perfect critique, but it does bring up some important things I am thinking about today.
The super hot and smart manybothans (follow asap) and I were discussing how this weird 007/International Women’s Day/Equality video had some seriously transphobic undertones, and I wanted to write a little bit about it. Our discussion brought me to a place where I felt I could write about this, so this writing is as much mine as it is hers.
More often than not in the queer spaces I am a part of, experiences of trans women are erased and devalued. We can call bullshit and pay that fact a disgruntled lip service as much as we want, but perhaps we should get some dialogue flowing about this hurtful, misogyny ridden problem.
Okay, on to the problems I have with this video. First of all, it makes invisible the multiple ways that femininities are embodied, centers this problematic and simplistic and liberal narrative of ‘equality’ around (white) cis women, and is inherently misogynistic towards trans women. In her book Whipping Girl, Julia Serano notes, “mass media images of “biological males” dressing and acting in a feminine manner could potentially challenge mainstream notions of gender, but the way they are generally presented in these feminization scenes ensures that this never happens…thus the media is able to depict trans women donning feminine attire and accessories without ever giving the impression that they achieve “true” femaleness in the process” (p. 44-45). The way this clip takes up ideas of “gender equality” is extremely cissexist and totally devalues and invisiblizes the experiences of trans identified women.
This particular depiction keeps the ciscentric systems and interactions that separate us from one another through ‘male’ and ‘female’ sex assignment intact, and posits trans women as inauthentic women. It does this by perpetuating and sensationalizing a certain narrative of trans experience, and then leaving it totally unaddressed. This misogynistic depiction of ‘007 in women’s clothing’ functions to erase trans women from the equation of who is considered a ‘real’ woman. I think it is really important to make these processes of erasure and exclusion visible so we can begin to challenge the misogyny trans women face and look critically at how that is reproduced in our lives and relationships. To again quote Julia Serano, “once we recognize how media coverage of transsexuals is informed by the different values our society assigns to femaleness and maleness, it becomes obvious that virtually all attempts to sensationalize and deride trans women are built on a foundation of unspoken misogyny” (p. 47).
In the spirit of international women’s day, I am filled with a desire to continue combating the misogyny present in my heart, my relationships, and the ‘community’ events and spaces I am a part of. To end, I would like to employ another quote by Julia Serano, because it touches on how vital it is to address the scapegoating of femininities: “the greatest barrier preventing us from fully challenging sexism is the pervasive antifeminine sentiment that runs wild in both queer and straight communities, targeting people of all genders and sexualities” (p. 343). Serano believes that when we begin to challenge all forms of sexism (including cissexism) we are making the world more livable for people of all genders, because this shit affects all of us (in very different ways).
* I’d also like to note the total blatant LACK of acknowledgment of the multiple differences present in women’s lives, and how that disrupts and complicates notions of ‘equality’. OF COURSE WE ARE NOT EQUAL, but ‘men’ and ‘women’ (and those of us somewhere in-between) are not homogeneous groups either. What about a discussion of the increased discrimination and violence trans folks, queers, poor folk, racialized individuals etc. face? What about how these factors of lived experience greatly complicate the way that (cis)sexism and (trans)misogyny are experienced? Next time 007, i’ll have my intersectional analysis shaken, not stirred.
The first is that true gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.” My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality - my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part." -
OMG I LOVE THIS ESSAY SO MUCH. This is the thing that made me embrace slash a few years ago because before I was like “uh-oh I can’t do that it’s something GIRLS do D:” /coolstorybro
In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.
I’m frustrated in general by the notion that characters are valuable based on their prowess or something rather than, like…their narrative? Male characters sometimes get it but people talk that way about female characters CONTINUALLY.
Yes it’s true, it’s like this weird profiling that ends up penalizing women supposedly in the name of empowering women. It’s such insidious bullshit.
As if female characters have to carry this card summarizing their feminist worth or something? I think it’s just another way of artificially boxing up the female experience.
especially if one character is a proper EXAMPLE. anyone else who enjoys sex too much or doesn’t kill things or isn’t strong all the time or the list goes on is ACTUALLY DAMAGING TO WOMEN!
It’s absurd, as if the only thing female characters are good for are establishing restrictive and reductive ideals, and AS IF THIS IS FEMINIST TO DO.
Ugh I get this all the time in comics fandom, like why would Superman be with Lois Lane when Wonder Woman’s around, and it’s a trope that basically outs anyone who believes it as a sexist. SIGH.
UGH ARE YOU SERIOUS that’s disgusting. Yes, because that’s what love is about, validating one’s “feminist cred”. Yes, because that is what being a Strong Woman is about, being worthy of male romantic/sexual attention. GAG ME WITH A SPOON.
Hahahah, my archive is trash.
I don’t know if I ever wrote an actualfax meta about it, but I’ve had some conversation about it before. My thoughts aren’t really all that great though, I just think that Martin ogles Dany and to an extent Sansa (though I think with Sansa it’s a finer line between showing how she’s objectified and actually objectifying her) more than dudes are ogled. Women in general are also more defined as characters by beauty, I think because it’s more built in to the tropes Martin uses. Also it reflects the society itself holding women to higher beauty standards and more restrictive sexual standards.
There are descriptions of cocks, but not all I can think of are pretty offputting or not exactly titillating descriptions (bulbous and purple, fat and pink, etc).
Pete Campbell, ladies and gentlemen.
This scene would be funnier if it weren’t still so relevant today. This year, Germany has had two scandals involving big insurance companies rewarding their best sales agents (at least, the heterosexual cis men) with sponsored trips to Budapest or Rio, sex workers included on the expense accounts. I’ve also read a brief interview with several sex workers / club owners from Hamburg’s red-light district, who claim that weeks with business conventions (e.g. for health, finance, what-have-you) are their bread-and-butter and that lots of their clients come in all-male groups and pay with the company credit card. Nothing against the sex workers (who are just making a living), but I’m absolutely furious at the companies because that creates a hostile working environment for their female employees. And it’s 2011, not 1965. Wow.
Which is why, re: Mad Men, I’m always annoyed when people are like “LOL, how weird things were back then!” Back then?
But didn’t you get the memo? Now we’re living in the land of magical sparkly unicorns where there are only high-earning lady bosses and no woman gets ever sexually harassed at the workplace and the economic pink collar ghetto doesn’t exist and everyone gets equal pay for equal work and glass ceilings are unheard of and women aren’t doing most of the unpaid care work for their kids and their elderly relatives and all female-dominated jobs are automatically high prestige ones and those poor white middle-class men are being discriminated against and also, Santa will bring me a Shetland pony, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has just emailed me to ask for my phone number, and I’m gonna win the lottery this week.
“There are two standard responses to these kind of criticisms: that it’s only a story and that these tropes only reflect reality (either because their portrayal of difference is true or because their portrayal of attitudes to purported difference is true). It’s arguable to what extend any representational strategies impact on applied cognition and behaviour. But fiction is an important stage for ideas about war, diplomacy, sex and race, not least because we’re freed to engage in a more fulsome emotional investment precisely because it’s not real. Excepting professional researchers, activists and inveterate news addicts, the time spent with such representations outstrips that devoted to engaging them in the realm of contemporary politics. Moreover, fantastical motifs don’t stand apart from more prosaic ones, despite their setting. They layer and map onto the ideas of appropriate social organisation that we bring with us, and they do so in fairly obvious ways.
More damningly, this is fantasy. It’s very conditions stipulate possibility and world-making. So why do the worlds so often echo and telegraph stereotyped copies of our own histories rather than their alternatives and subversions? This is the crux of Moorcock’s critique of Tolkien and others, that they indulge regressive ideals in the name of ‘escapism’, so that even in lands of ghouls and dragons the same parameters of race, sex and nation apply. There is nothing special about the content of fantastic or the speculative when it comes to hierarchical imagination. But its form too easily convinces that the critiques which apply to, say, Sex & The City, lose their relevance in crossing the boundary of genre.”
this article/essay is very good and quite relevant to certain conversations happening at the moment in fandom (also “sansa haters…post on westeros.org.” DUDE <33) i think tbh if all your characters are default white in a fictional, fantasy world than that’s kind of an example of lazy world/character building.
This is a really interesting article about the way in which women are socialized to apologize and be defensive of their emotions. A couple of choice quotes:
You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!
If you’re a woman, it probably does.
It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.
Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.
These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.
When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”
That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.
SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION: A Documentary Film by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman
The story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music -the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.
The film features new performances of the freedom songs by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots; riveting archival footage; and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Ambassador Andrew Young.
The freedom songs evolved from slave chants, from the labor movement, and especially from the black church. The music enabled blacks to sing words they could not say, and it was crucial in helping the protesters as they faced down brutal aggression with dignity and non-violence. The infectious energy of the songs swept people up and empowered them to fight for their rights.
Executive produced by Danny Glover
- CARTER Magazine
So I need to find SOME WAY to screen this documentary and The Black Power Mixtape at my school!!
‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’
‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’
What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons." -
This was such an exciting time in our history. It’s great that she gets to tell her story.