July 20, 2010

'Take a Breath,' Honey. It's just Sexism.

Filed under: Sexuality — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 4:29 pm

My post, Sexist Meat Market:Pamela Anderson’s Newest Campaign for PETA, which was posted here and at Elephant Journal has garnered some interesting and thought-provoking feedback. Much of it has been insightful and extremely intelligent and some of it has been an affirmation of the reasons why we need to continue deconstructing images and creating dialogue.

The comments from the post at Elephant Journal, a journal catering to the “enlightened,” “conscious,” and “progressive,” proves that sexism is still en vogue, should not be taken seriously and enlightenment ends when it comes to women’s issues.

The list of comments below has been compiled from Elephant Journal’s facebook page and the post located on their blog. Critics accused me of being “too serious,” “too sensitive,” “selfish,” “whiny,” “prudish” and, get this, sexist.


June 29, 2010

Why American Apparel Sucks

Interview: Jennifer Berger on About Face and American Apparel

Originally posted at Feminist Frequency. Cross-posted with permission.

For full post, related articles and transcript, click here.

Aditional links provided by Feminist Fatale:

April 21, 2010

Axe wants you to "showerpool" this Earth Day

Leave it to AXE to bring us Showerpooling just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day tomorrow. AXE Canada, in conjunction with WWF-Canada, bring you “showerpooling” as an environmental measure aimed at helping Canadians conserve water by showering with friends.

I have no issue with environmentalism, water conservation or co-showering. But, AXE’s main intention is not water conservation. It’s selling a heterosexual male fantasy that includes slippery encounters with multiple women. Remember, these are the people that want to give you hair action and have a history of over-the-top sexually explicit ads that usually involve fantasized orgies of some sort (remember, “real men” are uncontrollable sex monsters). Does anyone remember the  2005 ad with the shower and a row of towels labeled: his, hers, her sisters, her roommate’s?

Or what about the AXE shower power tool for your man parts? After all, no “real” guy uses a loofah and the shower power tool “washes off  Jessica’s perfume off your ear” and “scrubs Jessica’s Mom’s perfume off your knees.” (Read the analysis at Sociological Images here.)

Earth Day 40 is big business and AXE is just another company seeking to profit from this event by selling the idea of one man having sex with multiple women by using their shower gel. Check their facebook page. It’s no big secret. Every image shows one man with one or two, five or ten women. And the last image in the sequence is the showerpooling essential, their stinky body wash.

Yeah, I’m all about water conservation and showering with my partner, my toddler son or some of my best friends. According to AXE, though, showerpooling is an act of water conservation that can only be performed by one man with several women with shower gel in hand. Afterall, “it’s not just environmentally friendly, it’s all kinds of friendly.” Wink.

If I’m going to conserve water in the shower, I’ll do it without a group ratio of 1:5 men to women, and without their sexist and toxic product (a toxic product doesn’t seem environmentally friendly, does it?). Or I’ll just cut down my own shower time.

April 17, 2010

Sexy kids (toddlers and infants)

In light of the recall for padded kiddie bikinis (via Salon Broadsheet):

Today in dispatches from obvious-land: 7-year-olds don’t need padded bikinis. That’s what the British clothing line Primark learned after it was lambasted by children’s advocacy organizations for introducing a sparkly pink-and-gold bikini, complete with cleavage-boosting cups for the tween set. Primark removed the top from the racks yesterday, apologizing and donating any profits from the teeny-weeny bikinis to a children’s charity.

I turn your attention to these past posts on the same subject matter:

September 11, 2008:

Selling adult sexuality to toddlers

September 24, 2008:

Virgin waxing and botox babies: the cash keeps flowing

Sexy Girls, Sexual Boys

October 8, 2008

More sexy girls…ugh!

April 12, 2010

Feminism, Sex and Lady Gaga

Yes, I was disappointed with Lady Gaga’s interview with the Norwegian press. It left me confused. Lady Gaga  is vocal on the ancient and persistent sexual double-standard that promotes male sexuality and suppresses female sexuality. She marches for gay rights. How could she deny being a feminist? Huh?

But, that confusion and disappointment has turned around for several reasons.

I was happy to recently read that she dropped the f-word to the LA Times and self-identified as a bit of a budding feminist as a reflection of her status as an  ever-evolving woman. Super cool. Like Noelle Williams, author of the article that revealed Gaga’s new affinity for the feminist label, I believe this young, dynamic and out-spoken woman has the ability to shift the young public’s perception of feminism and feminists. The bottom line is, Gaga has the power to influence.

That’s why her recent comments to the Daily Mail got me excited. She was talking about sex, safe sex, conscious sex. What’s not to get excited about?

She started by commenting on the rate of HIV infections among women:

‘The rate of infection worldwide is higher than ever for women in our particular demographic,’ says Gaga. ‘Those most at risk are women in my age bracket, 17 to 24 [she is 24], and Cyndi’s, which is 38 to 60 [Cyndi is 56]. Part of the problem is that women in those groups are not getting tested. Here in the UK, for example, the statistics are that 73 per cent of women have not been tested for HIV. This is a disease that affects everyone, not just the gay community, and right now it’s mostly affecting women.’

The bottom line? Protect yourself. Don’t let someone convince you not to use a condom. Many young heterosexual women don’t use condoms because they fear disapproval or rejection from the men they want to be with. And that compromises their safety and health. What a positive and powerful message to send to young women in a culture saturated with endless sexually explicit images and messages (and simultaneously disempowers women, encouraging them to be silent).

I was equally excited to read her statement on sex, celibacy and a woman’s right to choose to be sexual or not:

What it’s about, she concludes, is having the confidence to stick to your guns. ‘I remember the cool girls when I was growing up. Everyone started to have sex. But it’s not really cool any more to have sex all the time. It’s cooler to be strong and independent.’

Incredible! Thank you, Gaga. Thank you for using the spotlight to relay intelligent and important messages on timely and pertinent issues.

“It’s cooler to be strong and independent.”

YES! How often do young girls and women hear that? Not that often in our pop culture arena. There have been scores of articles reporting on the increase of oral sex and intercourse among tweens. Many of my students are TA’s in elementary and middle school and they’ve had first hand experience with 12 year-old girls performing oral sex for tween boys.  One student told me he walked in on his friend’s little sister giving her male friend a lap dance. When they asked her what she was doing she replied, “playing MTV.” She was 9 at the time.

Sex and feminism have had an ever-changing relationship. Pro-sex feminism was a response to the critique of pornography and female objectification made by anti-pornography feminists such as the group W.A.P, Women Against Pornography. Feminists since the new millennium have been quick to point out that, yeah, enjoy your sexuality but don’t rest your sole sense of empowerment on sex. I won’t tackle that entire issue here. I just want to point out that Gaga’s statement on sex, the decision not to have sex, to feel empowered to make conscious decisions for yourself is totally feminist and totally awesome. It’s also very much needed as a counter to the ceaseless and confusing messages about sex that bombard young women today. Thank you, Lady Gaga.

March 18, 2010

Slut shaming Rielle Hunter

Check out the thought provoking and insightful take on Rielle Hunter at Womanist Musings.


Rielle had sex with a married man and has thus become the modern day scarlet woman.  She made no promises to Elizabeth Edwards and in fact had no relationship with Ms. Edwards, therefore; it puzzles me why she is being shamed alongside John Edwards.

If he had truly wanted to stay faithful to his wife, nothing that Rielle did could have caused him to sway.  Edwards made an active choice to be unfaithful and therefore; if we are going to judge or blame (though I feel we should do neither) it should be him. Edwards was the one that was deceitful.

People have latched onto the photos [in her GQ interview] of Rielle to justify the slut shaming.  Attacking how a woman chooses to dress and then making a correlation to sexual behaviour, is one of the most obvious ways in which patriarchy works to eliminate female agency.  What disturbs me most, is watching women jump on their high horse to finger wag, completely oblivious to the fact that they are supporting their own oppression.


March 17, 2010

AXE wants to give you some "hair action"

Filed under: Media Gallery — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 6:29 pm

AXE, the purveyors of ad smut, are back with a new series of advertisements promising to give you “hair action.” The first one is the one that makes me recoil the most knowing that it’s based on the fraternal “bro-bonding” ritual that announces one’s hook-up victory. Ew.

May 20, 2009

Advertisers have sunk to a new low

I’ve been scrutinizing and collecting advertisements for over a decade thanks to the work of Jean Kilbourne and my studies in media literacy.  I’ve seen some terrible ones over the years.

But, this one…Via Feministing.com, this one is one of the most revolting advertisements I have ever seen.

Purity and virginity

Filed under: Gender,Media,Politics,Sexuality — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 5:58 pm

Here’s an interview with Jessica Valenti of Feministing.com on our culture’s obsession with virginity (remember Natalie Dylan and her virginity auction?).

Valenti takes on the many ways that a woman’s morality and personal worth are tied to her sexual purity — from abstinence-only education to blaming rape victims, honor killings to finger-wagging over hookup culture. She points the finger of blame back at conservatives and argues that it’s the myth of virginity, not “Girls Gone Wild,” that’s hurting this generation of young women. Those two competing influences have more in common than some might think: Both teach women that their most valuable commodity is their sexuality.

Sex-themed park shut down

Filed under: Body Image,Gender,Media,Sexuality — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 5:31 pm

China’s sex-themed park was squashed before construction was complete. The giant mannequin legs and pelvis with red g-string is removed from what would have been the entrance. It’s no surprise that the entry did not feature a pair of legs with a penis and banana sling. While objectification has increased for men, rates do not compare to the level of female exploitation, nudity and objectification that run rampant.

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