Incoherent with rage.
JCPenney is in hot water today for marketing a t-shirt to little girls that promotes outrageously sexist messages. But while they’ve been busying yanking that shirt from their online availability, we find that this gem is still available.
The shirt says that a girl’s best subjects are boys, shopping, music, and, dancing — sentiments that don’t deviate too much from the other design encouraging little girls to think of themselves as too pretty to study mathematics.
Facepalm. So much for the aforementioned victory for net activism.
“Hollywood Insiders Admit Hollywood Hates Women” by Irin Carmon at Jezebel.
- “In my experience, girls’ revealing themselves as candid and raunchy doesn’t appeal to guys at all,” Stacey Snider, a partner in and the C.E.O. of DreamWorks Studios, says. “And girls aren’t that into it, either.”
- Another thing no one is into: A successful woman. We knew that, and yet this is devastating nonetheless: “To make a woman adorable, one successful female screenwriter says, “you have to defeat her at the beginning. It’s a conscious thing I do—abuse and break her, strip her of her dignity, and then she gets to live out our fantasies and have fun. It’s as simple as making the girl cry, fifteen minutes into the movie.”
- But everyone likes a hot girl, if she’s not too successful or intimidating. Of [actor Anna] Faris, a “leading agent” says, “What Anna has going for her, to be crass, is that guys want to nail her.”
- As we know, that is necessary but insufficient. She has to be sexy, but not have sex. Faris’s new film with Mylod, What’s Your Number, is about a woman who learns from a ladymag that if she sleeps with one more man than the twenty she already has, she’ll never get married. The studio executive debate over the number is instructive, as they wring their hands over how many would make the character an unrelated slut. (You have to wonder how many women these studio executives have themselves fucked, and how they might mentally reward themselves for each notch over twenty.)
No worries, because one executive concludes that “there’s an innocent quality to Anna’s sexuality, and an inherent kindness to her, that makes it possible to make a movie about sex and have it feel like she’s still a sweetheart.” Good thing she has big eyes and bottle-blonde hair — otherwise she’d just be a nasty slut.
- Faris knows this herself: “Our answer to ‘Wedding Crashers’ was ‘Gold Diggers,’ ” she says of an upcoming movie with Kate Hudson. “But the big hitch was, nobody’s going to like those girls if they seem like sluts… We realized we can’t make an actual female ‘Wedding Crashers,’ because then it would be ‘Call Girls.’ “
- The step-by-step dissection of why things suck so hard for women in comedy requires rare moments of self-awareness by men in comedy: Seth Rogen thinks Faris is hilarious, is honest about himself: “If ‘Pineapple Express’ “—a druggy comedy he starred in with James Franco—”had been about two girls, they wouldn’t have made it. And if I were a woman I wouldn’t have a career.” (We’re rooting for Best Buds in this regard.) And here’s Airplanedirector David Zucker on why the classic comedy formula of a fat guy and a thin guy doesn’t work with women: “Maybe women have a built-in dignity, and if a woman slips on a banana peel …” After a moment, he concluded, “You know, maybe it’s just that I’ve never tried it.” Maybe!
“I support safe spaces. Because America is already a safe space for white, middle class, heterosexual, cisgender males, and I don’t fit under all of those categories. Because we may have a Black president, but we are not post-racism. Because you may have a Gay Best Friend, but we are not post-homophobia. Because everyone may be created equal, but that doesn’t mean everyone is treated equally. Because privilege exists. Ignoring the fact makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution. Love, the Committee on Thinking Like a Respectful Human Being.”
Um…it just came to my attention that this got tumblr popular…I’m the originator of this flyer. I made it because the Republican group at my university put a flyer under everyone’s door decrying the safe spaces we have for gay and black students on campus. So in case you’re wondering why it specifically targets those two groups…now you know.
Thanks for the support!
My name is Augusta and I’m actually the person that started the petition on Change.org. I am not a parent, although I have spoken with many (I believe rightfully) outraged parents on the subject at hand. I started the petition not as a parent, but as a 21 year old woman who personally understands the harms of gendered advertising on girls and women of all ages. I was a little disappointed in the commenting responses of this and other articles, so I wanted to take a moment to respond to criticisms of the petition.
I run a feminist blog, and read a post by another blogger condemning the ad, and after watching it, I had to agree. These shoes have no counterpart for young boys, who to my knowledge are not somehow immune to obesity or inactivity. That alone made it clear to me that these shoes were not being marketed because of any substantive health value, but to exploit the insecurities and body image struggles of increasingly young girls. (For some perspective, consider that 77% of young girls between ages 10 and 14 think that they are ugly, 80% of 13 year old girls have tried to lose weight, and 50% of girls between the ages of 10 and 13 think that they are overweight according to an international survey commissioned by Dove.
I’d also like to point out, as most of the articles do, that Shape Ups have been proven to do absolutely nothing for your health. They don’t burn more calories, they don’t make you more active, they don’t teach your kids better nutrition. And I have to say, most of the comments I’ve seen that have greatly disappointed are dead set on commenting on the “size” of kids today. But it isn’t necessarily size that makes people unhealthy, but poor nutrition habits. Skinny people who eat horribly are prone to exactly the same health problems as heavier people who eat badly, just as heavier people can be perfectly healthy with a good diet. If anyone were actually legitimately concerned with the health of this country’s children rather than their futures as thin and conventionally attractive adults, we would be demanding that corn subsidies end, and that corn and its byproducts stop being integrated into absolutely every food item available to us. We would be funding programs that teach children about nutrition rather than about the BMI, and public schools wouldn’t be shutting down gym classes and sports left and right.
And again, allow me to point out that little boys can be heavy too, not just little girls. So why is this product just marketed to seven year old girls and up? The answer is simple: by this age, girls are already self-conscious and used to being bombarded by ads and products that reinforce that they are not good enough, and must fit into a narrow mold.
Finally, I’d just like to point out the double standard that I’ve seen from commenting communities on this issue. Just a few weeks ago, CNN published an article entitled, “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps”, and yes, it was as offensive as it sounds. I hear so much about little girls growing up too fast, wearing makeup too young, having sex too early. But from reading these comments, it seems that growing up too fast seems only to apply to individual lifestyle choices, and not to fat shaming and body policing. Keep in mind, safe consensual sex doesn’t kill people, but eating disorders do.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions! firstname.lastname@example.org
G4TV is holding a contest for their female viewers giving them a chance to be a 'booth babe' at E3. Yep. A beauty pageant. →
I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how fucking offended I am by this. Male gamers would have to write an essay, answer questions that test their knowledge, create something with purpose. But females? Oh no, their looks and sex appeal are clearly what we value them with as human beings and gamers and clearly define who deserves to go to E3.
Seriously, what the fuck were they thinking?
“HEY YEAH LET’S SHOW OUR FEMALE AUDIENCE HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE THEM AS HUMAN BEINGS WITH A PASSION FOR GAMING BY HOLDING A BEAUTY PAGEANT! AND THEN WHEN THEY WIN, INSTEAD OF GIVING THEM SOMETHING NON-DEGRADING TO DO OR ALLOWING THEM TO JUST ENJOY E3, WE’LL PARADE THEM AROUND LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT TO ATTRACT MEN TO OUR BOOTH.”
Needless to say, won’t be watching G4TV from now on. I strongly encourage everyone, with or without a vagina trophy, to tweet or email G4TV, or post on their forums, to let them know how backwards and sexist this is, and remind them that they do have a female audience who they’re doing an excellent job of objectifying and isolating. You can do so here.
This is bullshit.
“Yeah, the trouble is, although these characters were marginally better than the original Damsels in Distress, they still ended up having to be saved in the final act by the male hero. There would usually be a scene (or three) where the “Strong Female Character” would be trapped by the villain and put into sexy clothing, I guess as a punishment of some sort. And even when she was being strong, she was always doing it in the sexiest way possible. She’d never, say, get a black eye or a broken nose in a fight. Her ability to fix cars (a powerful, masculine trait) would basically allow her to get sexy grease all over her slippery body. Her ability to shoot a gun was so the film’s advertisers could put her on a poster wearing a skimpy outfit with a big gun between her legs. All in all, the “strength” of her character was just to make her a better prize for the hero at the end – and for the horny male audience throughout.”
This is one of those posts where I’m either going to be happy I published it, or regret it terribly.
This was sent in privately via email, so I’m going to leave the name and address off. It was in response to this post about a 15-year-old boy who threatened to post nude photos of a girl online…
Men = people and women = women.
“The tendency to include women as a special type of human being, alongside men who get to be regular people, is a specific example of a more general phenomenon in which some people, but not others, are marked as a specific kind.”
It drives me nuts that this is still going on in a society in which many people insist that “we’re equal already”, that the fight is over. I’m sick and tired of being OTHER. I get that marginalized groups need their own spaces sometimes but don’t try to sell it to me like I have some kind of special needs that the rest of society (read: men) find ridiculous.
We have posted in the past about how airlines use images of female flight attendants in ads to appeal to customers with promises of caretaking, eye candy, flirtation, and emotion work. Katrin sent in another example. This Cathay Pacific ad, which appeared in the U.K., presents Karina Yau, a flight attendant, to customers as the perfect caretaking woman — one who just wants to listen to you, not talk:
Notice also the passive stance — arms pulled into the body, her face turned away and eyes averted, hand fiddling with her coat sleeve. The text reads:
Karina went from fashion model to flight attendant — and still doesn’t think that life has had any real ups and downs. You can meet her and other members of the Cathay Pacific team at www.cathaypacific.co.uk. And while you’re there, check out our great fares to over 110 destinations worldwide. If you see Karina on your next flight, you might recommend a favourite book — she loves to read.
A post on the Cathay Pacific blog about Yau describes her as “modest.” At Cathay’s website you can “meet the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special.” It includes photos and bios of some employees, and I found Yau’s. The text they chose to highlight reinforces the emotion work she engages in for customers — “of course” she “smiled and apologised immediately.”
The ad and the features present customers with the promise of more than just a flight attendant who will do her job well. This flight attendant is the ideal of femininity: she’s beautiful (a former model), she’s submissive (apologizes immediately!), and she’s interested in you — your thoughts, your taste in books — whoever you are.
I wonder to what degree this draws on a specifically racialized femininity — the stereotypical depiction of Asian women as particularly submissive and docile. But since this ad ran in the U.K., I don’t know if that stereotype is as relevant. Readers, what say you?
I’m not from the U.K., but I doubt that the docile Asian woman stereotype isn’t present there as well as the U.S. Western Nations: Equal Opportunity Racism.