Tag Archives: feminism

Feminist Fashion #3 NWS

Previous posts: 1, 2

February’s Vogue Paris has an editorial featuring models Lara Stone and Travis, photographed by Steven Klein and entitled “Lara Fiction Noire.”

The one clever thing is that there are no guns anywhere in the editorial, this attempt at noir fiction:

In this sub-genre, the protagonist is usually not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. He is someone tied directly to the crime, not an outsider called to solve or fix the situation. Other common characteristics…are the emphasis on sexual relationships and the use of sex to advance the plot and the self-destructive qualities of the lead characters. This type of fiction also has the lean, direct writing style and the gritty realism commonly associated with hardboiled fiction.

The images (not work safe):

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substitutions aren’t necessarily a good thing.

I was reading old blog posts from Greg Mankiw when I stumbled on this one:

Todd D. Kendall, an economist at Clemson University, reports that more pornography leads to less rape:

The arrival of the internet caused a large decline in both the pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of accessing pornography. Using state-level panel data from 1998-2003, I find that the arrival of the internet was associated with a reduction in rape incidence.

I’ve previously seen that report, back in my first fumbling forrays into feminism. Of course, Mankiw is far from a shining example of a feminist, even if he did go watch the Sex and the City movie with his wife.

Too bad rape and pornography aren’t about lust for sex but about lust for power. And in the case of those two behaviors, one is more culturally accepted than the other. So people with a little morality recognize that one is a little better than the other, as rape manifests itself in violence and psychological damage, while pornography can narrow this damage down to a select group of people (the actors/actresses).

In any case, while eliminating rape is a priority for feminism, I doubt any feminist would consider that goal as the end-all, that’s-it-we’re-done. I’d rather establish equality between genders. Too bad it’s impossible when porn consumers are still operating under Let’s-Uphold-the-Patriarchy through porn usage instead of rape.

Note: I understand that plenty of people have written about this before but I am too lazy to look up links.

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I just made up a simple rule-of-thumb.

It addresses the truth that women’s bodies are held to be within the public domain: Guys, if what you do to a female would be construed as “gay” if done to a male, it’s not appropriate. And the same holds true for gals going through the same motions.

Note: I am not endorsing homophobia in any way.

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why I like the label “feminist.”

As I’ve been reading feminist discourse and feminist blogs, I’ve stumbled on a large number of women and men and people who have chosen to reject the label of “feminist” and distance themselves from the “feminism” movement.

But while the different brands differ radically and I certainly don’t like the tactics of certain groups, nor agree with the ideas of other groups (sometimes the two do overlap), I cannot reject [insert type of feminist here] groups for the blatant [insert hypocritical/misogynist/hurtful tactic(s) here] of some high-profile members of that group, because that would be an attack ad hominem, although it is fine to call them out on it.

For instance, rejecting anti-porn/prostitution feminists and feminism because of some blatant slut-shaming. (However, when the method points out a specific disconnect within thinking, I pause a little more. Note: purtek identifies as a feminist.)

Most of all, feminists have successfully lobbied for important changes and improvements, and to disconnect myself from feminism is, for me, a rejection of this fight for equality. And in other people’s eyes, I will not be a part of this fight for equality. I can argue that MRAs and misogynists and “regular folk” think that feminism is really about radical men-hating women putting themselves above The Men, and so distancing myself from feminism is a good thing. That I will find more sympathy from the public. Or that various sections of feminism are really racist and focused on middle-class white women and ignore transpeople and etc. etc. and that I am better forging into the woods on a path of more righteousness. But that would be ignoring the fact that misogynists won’t like any type of “let’s make everyone equal” regardless of the fact that it comes labeled as feminism, humanism, womynism, or with no labels at all. And it would be ignoring the fact that many people are working within the feminist movement to right the disconnect between white hetero middle class and everyone else.

Also, this is a fight not easily won. And the more we are split, the harder it is to fight. It is easy for the oppressors to keep the oppressed down – I’m thinking back to the Chinese/Japanese Americans (Koreans, Indians, the rest of Southeast Asia, and everyone else are never mentioned in history textbooks, so sorry, I have no clue how those groups behaved. Maybe I’m supposed to assume they didn’t exist in American history until the 1990’s, but a little note would be nice) of the 1800s, who did not hesitate to keep African and Mexican Americans down to raise their status. It still happens, you know.

But I won’t force anyone from rejecting. I’m not going to, that’s all.* I’m a feminist.

*This calls into question: Can I say, I don’t approve, but I don’t have a problem with it? Sounds kind of like, I don’t have a problem with gay people, but I wouldn’t want my kids to be gay.** Dear, you have no choice over whether your kids are gay or not.
**This is another interesting argument. Do you not want your kids to be gay because you are a closet homophobe, or because you don’t want them to go through the hurt of being an oppressed class in society? Or is the second option really just benevolent paternalism, and you’re just a closet homophobe anyway? [I have no answers.]

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child pornography and pedophilia.

A recent Supreme Court ruling has (again) declared representations of child pornography (drawn, digitally drawn etc) to also constitute child pornography.

Jill from Feministe has a nice post analyzing the intentions behind the ruling.

Whether that’s “really” child porn isn’t a closed subject, I don’t think. No, it’s not using actually children, but it is digitally altering adults to look like actual children. It is banking on the idea that pedophiles or people which pedophilic sexual urges will believe the images feature actual children.

And all of that rests on the premise that what makes child porn child porn is the appearance of it, not necessarily the actual age of the person in it. The actual-age argument is one that Ren and lots of others rely on, and it makes a lot of sense. But I remain troubled by it, especially in light of the fact that a whole lot of people who look at child porn go on to molest actual children. I don’t buy the argument that there’s a big fat line between what people enjoy in their pornography and what they enjoy in real life, especially when it comes to things like this.

The guy who’s looking at naked children is doing it because he thinks naked children are hot. That’s a big problem in itself, and a bigger problem if he decides to seek out some sort of sexual interaction with the kind of people he’s attracted to.

Emphasis mine.

So I haven’t seen any child pornography, but I doubt that the children are happy and “consenting” to the sexual advances of adults in the videos. Thus, child porn promotes the rape of children. And even if the children do “consent” in the porn, it would promote the heavily unbalanced power play of an adult seducing a child. Which would be rape.

But to call attraction to children itself “a big problem” gives me pause. The act of sex with children (rape) is illegal. But should the attraction be condemned? Society reacts so viciously to pedophiles
and convicted child rapists. We declare them automatic monsters, regardless of whether the person in question is a pedophile or not. Very few people would voluntarily choose to become pedophiles, in my opinion, except for those who find that molesting children is a good way to exert power. But to turn to children in the first place – I’m so disgusted by the thought that I can’t comprehend it. And I imagine it is that way for most of the population.

But what happens is that pedophiles find that they are rejected from society. Any mention of “I need help, I find children erotic” brings a reaction of “you’re a monster. Get away from my children!” And then what do they do? Because regardless of how you feel about pedophiles, as long as they haven’t raped a child, they’re still human. And even after they’ve raped a child, it’s arguable, but they’re still human.

So what should they do? If society condemns the act but not the attraction, that sets up for some serious compartmentalizing. So I have no clue on this topic. Thoughts?

P.S. My previous stance on pornography has changed. I now believe that any portrayals of live adults in pornography is exploitive, even if the sex is safe and both parties are enjoying pleasure and nobody is being hurt. It is still putting on display the bodies of one, two, or more people and focusing on specific body parts. However, safe, pleasurable, consenting sex in the form of literature/art is fine by me. As long as it doesn’t promote abuse, misogyny, violence, and the negative gamut of porn.

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not a good way to pick up girls.

Katherine Zoepf has been doing a NYTimes blog series on dating in Saudi Arabia. Her latest entry is about numbering – when Saudi boys drive in cars alongside the cars of Saudi girls and wave their phone numbers on cardboard and send Bluetooth messages, hoping to get some reply.

But I want to draw attention to this portion of the post:

I looked around. We were surrounded by several other cars, all containing young men and all trying to get the attention of the figures in the GMC, while simultaneously trying to edge each other off the road at high speed.

“Isn’t this getting a bit dangerous?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said Fahad. “Sometimes the girls get really scared, there are so many cars chasing them. Sometimes they’re in their car, crying and screaming for us to go away. It’s fun to make girls angry.”

Just in the sentence before, Fahad admits that the girls “get really scared,” but then he dismisses their genuine fear as getting “angry” and says that “it’s fun.” I’m sorry – can he repeat that again? “Crying and screaming” equates fun? I’m charmed.

This eerily parallels claims in the U.S. of harmless, fun, but ultimately very hurtful jokes. For instance, that rape jokes are funny. Or that fun can never hurt people.

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good for Vogue (maybe).

So it’s official. Vogue Italia is having an all-black issue.

Let’s hope they get it right, and not wrong.

I find it interesting that the Vogue UK blurb first calls it an issue that will “feature only non-white models” and then says the issue will be “featuring black models.” Non-white = black?

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