Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slut-Shaming Feminism Part II: Of Ropes and Responsibility

DISCLAIMER: Some of the details have been modified to protect the anonymity of my friends...also, I don’t want them to sue me...also, on the odd chance that I publish and make millions, I ain’t giving them shit. :-p

My previous post generated a few more conversations, so I guess it’s more than just 4 of you reading this. A friend of mine relayed a story of a photo competition with climbing gear being the reward. You just had to show an imaginative use for your gear with a designated slogan in mind, and the most imaginative image won. She used her rope in a quite...interesting way. Knowing her, I know it was very sexy and very tasteful. She won the contest and got her gear.

Happy Ending? NO! For the small community in which she competed, she is still getting inappropriate advances from some men. You’ll get creepy advances from men in any environment, but when it’s in a realm where you go to relax and feel safe, I’m sure it’s annoying. The women were worse. They criticized her for doing a “racy” photo to enter the competition. “Using your body for personal gain is wrong!” She lost a few climbing friends because of a damn photo.

The statement, “Using your body for personal gain is wrong”, is a pile of hypocritical bulls***. Have you ever played with your hair to entice a traffic cop to just give you a warning? Have you flirted with a salesman, in whom you have NO romantic/sexual interest, in order to get a little discount on a clothing item? Have you worn a skirt just slightly above calf length when going in for a promotion or interview? Have you worn a low-cut blouse at a bar, because you know it would get a stranger to buy you a drink? Then congratulations: you have used your body for personal gain.

Just to be clear, men do it as much as they can as well. We dress in a manner that will draw someone in. We flex a little bit when someone in which we’re interested (sometimes not interested) touches our arm. I haven’t fastened the top buttons on my dress shirts for about 4 years now. We deliberately buy shirts that are tight around our chests but loose around our torsos so that our pecs look great and you don’t notice our guts. Hell, right now, I’m wearing some pants that I bought only after confirming with a saleswoman and my female shopping friend that I would definitely get girls wearing them. They work.

Let’s stop pretending to be high and mighty and admit that we all use the tools we can to get the little things we want. If we don’t do it by looks, we do with silver tongues. I know that I’m buying that hot brunette at the bar because she batting eyes at me, and she knows that she is open to it because she likes the color/style of my shirt...or these bad ass pants. Pretty much everything we do is to attract someone, whether we realize it or not. Does that mean we’re all just whores selling our best attributes to get what we want?...Eh, maybe. But the important thing is to know when a chauvinistic or patriarchal social construct is manipulating our choice to do something we’re doing and when we’re doing it of our own accord. The best is when we use said construct against itself. That takes true independent thought, and independent thought is sexy...not as sexy as these pants, though.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Slut-Shaming Feminism

As we all know, many things have changed in society. We have a black president in a country that built its economy on the backs of chattel African slavery. Gays can get married and raise families in numerous countries and a few states. Women were just allowed to apply for combat roles in the military. One thing hasn’t changed, though: Women are still can't get a break.

Look at the situation in India. In Afghanistan. In Pakistan. Actually, Look at the fucking USA! People talking about “legitimate rape” and old white men mandating intrusive procedures on women’s...well..lady parts. We are the biggest producers of misogynistic and unrealistic images of women in the media. This country is more obsessed with Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend than the life of one of his schoolmates’ ACTUAL rape and subsequent intimidation, then suicide (Her name is Lizzy Seeberg, in case you’re wondering. RIP). Every time there’s a celebrity breakup with the man’s infidelity involved, we act like “boys will be boys”, and they make an apology tour, and they’re back on top. The second we find out Kristen Stewart cheated on Sparkles the Magic Vamp (Sorry, forgot his name), tabloids label her “trampire”. that is not fair at all. There are so many reasons to not like Kristen Stewart, but demonizing her for some indiscretion of which I’m sure millions of people are guilty every day is ridiculous. Women deserve just as much fair treatment as their penised counterparts.

This leads me to the scenario that occured earlier this week. A photographer friend of mine asked if he could use my house/bedroom to do a lingerie shoot for a local company. The idea of a scantily clad woman in my bed made my mouth say, “yes” before it dawned on me that said woman would be in my bed while I would be at work, but oh well. A few hours later, I received a Facebook post about a photo in which I was tagged. It was from the model; it was a sample photo from the shoot, with a comment thanking me for the use of my house. Looking at the picture, All I could think was, “Oh no. Thank YOU!”

Unfortunately, the other comments were not quite as positive. One guy seemed to just be trolling with absurd comments, and two women seemed to think that my friend was demeaning herself by modeling for such a subject, and not portraying the right image. My model friend is a feminist, which she pointed out, so most angering comment was, “well, you’re not dressing like a feminist”.

What the hell is that? People, seemingly mostly in America, like to pigeonhole people. The feminists of this nation are not immune to this, neither in the pigeonholing nor being pigeonholed. People of the world, or at least the five of you who read this: the feminist is NOT what you think. Feminists do NOT all dress like men and spell “women” WOMYN. They don’t all get snippy if a man opens a door for them every once in awhile. They’re not all porn-hating, asexual militants. They don’t all burn their bras and stand in front of city halls and scream in megaphones about toppling the patriarchy.

You know who feminists are? They are people who see the gross inequality in how women are treated compared to men, and they fight to do something about it. That is the only sterotype that is true about them. They are men and women. They are women who host slut walks in their towns to show that it doesn’t matter how they dress, there is no excuse for sexual assault. They are men who don high heel pumps for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. They are Joss Whedon, who when asked why he writes so many strong female characters, he answered, “because you still have to ask that question”. Furthermore, feminists are human beings, and they can do whatever the hell they want.

We are all sexual beasts.  We want to feel sexy, and like sexy things. Female feminists wear lingerie and hot pumps and tight dresses and dance ‘til dawn and enjoy responsible sexual practises, which may include actual SEX [gasp]! Male feminists respect all that about women, but you’ll probably catch them inadvertently staring at your legs, or breasts, or butts, or whatever gets them off. We're dudes, after all. A woman doing an underwear shoot doesn't diminish her feminism any more than me being a gay rights activist diminish my heterosexuality.

A goal of feminism today is knowing the difference between what is empowering and what is demeaning, and knowing that a woman can make her own decision to do whatever she wants with no more judgement than what a man would endure. It also has to do with respecting a woman AND her decisions, even if you don't agree with them. You can't hold your feminism card if you're trying to slut-shame someone at the same time. Respect each other.

Also, if my friend who modeled in my bedroom reads this, where the hell did you put my bondage ropes?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank You, NRA

Thank the Founding Fathers for the First Amendment. Think of how many times in history that American people may have been silenced because what they said went against the grain of what most of society thought? Would there have been a large abolition movement? Would slavery have ended? Would women have gotten the right to vote and own property? Would we be learning about all the scientific breakthroughs that went against reasoning of the elder times? Would we have been a haven for Jews trying to escape the the tendrils of the Third Reich? Let’s face it: were it not for the First Amendment, it is HIGHLY unlikely that the Civil Rights Movement would have gotten off the ground. All the leaders for whom we name buildings and build statues and monuments would have been quietly silenced and never known. Thank you, Founding Fathers, for the insight to create such a liberating Amendment.

Also, let’s thank the National Rifle Association for using the First Amendment to demonstrate exactly how grotesquely f***ing despicable the organisation truly is. First, Wayne LaPierre responded to the Sandy Hook shooting by saying we need MORE guns in the hands of citizens, all while ANOTHER shooting of innocent people was occurring. Then Ted Nugent likened gun owners to the Rosa Parks of the new generation. Now they announced that the nation’s first Gun Appreciation Day will be 19th January, or as others will recognise, the same weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It makes SO much sense that the NRA would liken the “gun rights” movement to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, because just like everyone’s race, gender, and sexuality, we’re ALL born with guns in our hands.

Having Gun Appreciation Day coincide with the one of the most pivotal individuals of the Civil Rights Movements, whose career was ended by the very item to be celebrated show me what kind of demented f***s run the NRA. Why stop there? Let’s find out when Nicole Brown Simpson’s birthday is, and have Knife Appreciation Day. Let’s have Nail/Wood Appreciation Day coincide with Christmas. Let’s have Suicidal Plane Crash Day on 9/11 next year!

In what kind of fog is the NRA residing that they actually think they are carrying out a civil rights campaign? I’d really like to know, since back in the 1960s, DURING the Civil Rights Movement, the NRA played a key role in writing stricter gun laws in California to take guns away from the Black Panther Party. So owning a gun is a civil right...unless you’re brown...but they’ll definitely usurp the tone of the movement. Gun Appreciation Day founder Larry Ward even said that African Americans would have prevented slavery had they been armed. So true, if ignore the fact that there were numerous armed uprisings that were squashed going back to the 1500s, and also the fact that if slavery had been prevented, THEY WOULDN’T BE CALLED AFRICAN AMERICANS! They’d just be Africans.

So thank you, NRA for showing the world how utterly deplorable you will act to defend people’s rights in this country to bear arms, so long as they’re white. And thank the First Amendment for allowing me to say how disgustingly hypocritical The NRA is. And though the First Amendment disallows me to invite people to beat the living s*** out of Wayne Lapierre, Ted Nugent, Larry Ward, and any other gun nut who equated the the right to use a lethal material good with the struggle for basic human rights with the the butts of their own firearms, I can freely say that I would not be sad if one day, they were found in a ditch beaten within an inch of their lives, wallowing in a pool of their own diarrhea.

...Ah, ‘Merica.

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