Posts Tagged With: sexism

Blue Valentine

So this post is very late on the band wagon but I finally got around to watching this movie. I wasn’t feeling the story-line too much but honestly, I watched it so I could examine it’s “controversial” scene and understand why exactly the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) wanted to stick it with a NC-17 rating. By the way, this scene is a single scene depicting a woman receiving oral sex. And watch it I did…. and I have to say I’m flabbergasted. There was absolutely nothing “extreme” about it. You don’t see anything of anything. All you really see is a couple enjoying thoroughly enjoying themselves while fully clothed. Now what is so wrong with that?

It’s stuff like this that’s really hypocritical. There’s movies upon movies of men receiving oral sex from women, and they just get an R rating and sometimes even a PG-13, but the few times it’s the other way around, oral sex on women is seen as pornographic in nature. Double standard much?

If you don’t understand why ratings are important, Ryan Gosling explains it perfectly: “A lot of people think, ‘What’s the big deal if it’s NC-17, the kids under 17 can’t see it,’ but that’s not true. What it really means is it can’t play in a major theatre chain and you can’t have ads for the film on television. It stigmatizes the movie in a big way. What we’re really saying is not that our kids can’t see this movie but nobody can see this movie unless you live in a big city and there’s an arthouse theatre.” Anyway, Harvey Weinstein’s fought against the MPAA and was able to reduce the rating to R so all was made well again. Right?

Wrong. Keep your eyes open the next time you watch a flick involving violence. It can be anything – action, horror, thriller, comedy etc and almost always, you will notice that a movie that has gratuitous violence can easily skip past high MPAA ratings but a movie depicting sex get’s slapped with a NC-17 rating. Saw 3D has a woman bisected by a buzzsaw. Blue Valentine has a woman orgasm by oral sex. Which movie do you think teens were allowed to see?

We live in a culture in which violence, and especially violence towards women, is tolerated to the point that it becomes white noise. Meanwhile, sex remains a taboo topic. What it comes down to is this: media’s representation of people enjoying sex is so skewed towards men that it’s immediately considered problematic when women are portrayed as sexual beings. A woman’s naked body gives a film an R-rating, but a woman (even clothed) enjoying sex can land a film in the no man’s land that is NC-17. How messed up is that? It’s high time our media reflects reality, and allows women to be fully-fleshed, sexual beings instead of the sexualized object the MPAA clearly prefers.

“For the last three decades many Americans have puzzled over a system that gives an R to a movie in which a women is carved up by a chainsaw and an NC-17 to one that shows a woman sexually pleasured. From such ratings one might conclude that sexual violence against women is OK for American teenagers to see, but that they must be 18 to see consensual sex. What message does this send to the kids the MPAA presumably means to protect?”

– Carrie Rickey

“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”

-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’

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Cause and Effect

The person who posted this did so to demonstrate the misogyny present in two major religious texts. Now there’s no denying thatthere is misogyny present in most religious texts, and that people often use religion as a justification for sexism. However  I dislike this graphic because it seems to imply that religion is the reason for sexism.

Religion can be used to justify sexism, but religion isn’t the root cause of sexism. Religion, like everything else, was created in a patriarchal culture. Thus, religion will be influenced by patriarchal norms. Religion isn’t inherently sexist, it only becomes sexist when the society that created it is sexist in the first place.

So really, we need to stop blaming religion for bigotry that is the result of the greater society as a whole, and atheists need to remember that being non-religious doesn’t automatically make them less sexist than someone who is.

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Yassss!

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“Why the need for an “I hate other girls” proclamation? Is there some underlying desperation for male approval, some need to prove that you’re so different from all the other girls out there, when all that boils down to is that you’re one of those chicks who just wants dudes to like her? And you do it by insulting and generalizing about other women. And here’s the thing, once you do it, you start to make it OK for everyone to do it. So saying, “Girls are bitches” or, “Girls are shallow and catty” just opens up the door for guys to say those things. It’s one of the ways that society at large helps to keep women down: by turning us against one another, even subtly. And I know that girls who hate other girls are the first ones to say, “Oh, I’m not like that. I’m like a guy! I like guy things, and guys are easier to be friends with.” So you probably shouldn’t be surprised that all those women that you’re being a jerk about aren’t banging down your door to be your friend. Because by saying all of that, you’re being shallow and catty. You’re reducing women to stereotypes while somehow frantically begging everyone not to apply that stereotype to you.”
Persephone Magazine: “Self-Fulfilling Prophesies: The ‘I Hate Other Girls’ Trap”

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men — friends, coworkers, strangers — giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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Would You Lay Off?

In case you hadn’t heard, Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy.

This is what some guys on Twitter had to say about it:

If you don’t understand why she, or any other person with breasts for that matter, decided to go ahead and have the procedure done, then see the below comic:

Angelina made a careful medical decision to protect herself from the risk of breast cancer. Instead of praising Angelina on her bravery or commending her on being so open about it in such a toxic, judgmental society, there’s thousands of people making comments about her breasts themselves. Some joking, some serious, some speculating that her partner will leave her because she’s somehow less of a woman without her natural breasts, some just plain offensive: sexist, misogynistic and holyfuckingwhoa chauvinistic.

Seriously… what is wrong with people?

This woman is trying to prevent a fatal illness that she knows she has the gene for, and has had a family member die from. By having her breasts removed, her chances of getting breast cancer went from 87 % to under 5%. Why does her worth tie into whether or not she has breasts? Isn’t she worth anything as a woman and a person? It’s time for society to grow the fuck up. This woman, and others like her, is fearless.

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“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

– Angelina Jolie

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The “Sex Sells” Myth

“I will lose my mind if I hear the “sex sells” fallacy one more time. Sex does not sell. If sex sold, we would see penises where we see boobs. Naked men would be on everything that naked women are on.” – Source

But that’s not the case, is it?

If sex really sold, we would see the same amount of objectification of men and women in every aspect of our lives but that’s not really the case. I’m not denying that the portrayal of men in media isn’t problematic because it certainly is. Body dissatisfaction, depression and eating disorders are on the rise for men, as much as it is for women.  But if you take a close look at how men are being portrayed, they’re mostly in positions that exude power, authority and confidence. In the case of women however, we’re either turned into objects themselves, along with whatever object the ad is selling or we’re depicted in vulnerable, submissive positions. Female objectification and male objectification are very different things, solely because men, in the larger scheme of things, are not so systemically and narrowly reduced to their physical/sexual attributes.

A women’s studies class at the University of Saskatchewan decided to flip the switch and produced a video of images that reverse and play against traditional advertising tropes. But here’s the thing – when you attempt to replace female bodies with male bodies you don’t really objectify men in the same way. This is because our culture’s gaze is so inherently male and so the male body isn’t able to be manipulated, sexualized and victimized in the same way female bodies are. Indeed, the tropes of female body-as-prop are so well-worn, such a part of our cultural landscape, that simply changing up the bodies in the images isn’t enough to actually threaten the male form. In fact,  they’re funny. Because that’s how we culturally interpret a man in a “woman’s role.” It’s comedy.

In reality, the male gaze isn’t purely “male” – it’s something that women have interpolated and now own, too. We are just as critical and questioning of female bodies – if not more! – than men are. And upsetting the female-as-object paradigm in media images is only part of the answer. It’s equally critical that we show female bodies in stronger, more powerful archetypes, too.

And to end this post with a little chuckle, I give you this:

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“I have a daughter who’s 10 and we walked past a billboard the other day advertising a TV programme. There was a row of men in suits and a woman in a thong. My daughter said, “Why is it like that? It’s to sell it, isn’t it?” She knows that already. I said, “Yes, it’s a shame a young woman would want to be portrayed in that way,” and she said, “But it’s her choice, isn’t it? Nobody made her do that.” So how do you explain the Gramscian concept of hegemony to a 10 year old? If the culture is so all pervasive that you can’t think outside of it, how are you making genuine choices?”

– Monica Ali

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Oh snap

There are just some things I will never not re-blog. This is one of them. Take note kids.

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Curious

Fact: I like to talk a lot about social justice issues – mainly ones that involve gender but not limited to just this area. And for that, I suppose there are people who might roll their eyes and wish I would shut up and give it a rest already, but I’ll have you know that I’m not constantly complaining all the time. In fact, through a trial and error process, I have learned to choose my moments, decipher the type of crowd I’m in and gauge how receptive they will be to my thoughts and opinions and hope to god that when I do, I won’t be branded a party pooper or a feminazi. I have yet to master the skill of speaking up regardless of what the crowd will think of me though. My blog on the other hand is different altogether, because this is the one outlet I can use to truly express my myself, not without judgement of course, but without having to potentially “bore and burden” people around me with the topics I write about on here.

Having said that, it’s curious to me that people would wonder why it is that I choose to write/talk mostly about the struggles of women. Is it not weirder still that I wouldn’t? And isn’t it even more weird that people would tire of hearing me voice myself than tire of the system that has caused me to raise my voice? It’s interesting to me how people fail to make that association. Maybe I wouldn’t be such a damn whiner if I honestly didn’t have anything to complain about but unfortunately that’s not the case. Consider this: who among us has ever wanted to speak about such things? As Andrea Gibson would say, “What little girl dreams of growing up to write ‘rape poems?’ About violence? About the muffled voices of women worldwide?” To not speak about it is more questionable to me, and really, isn’t that what we should be rolling our eyes at?

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The Difference Between This And That

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“I am distrustful of anyone who says they prefer the label “humanist” to “feminist.” You’ve heard the argument before. It’s an attempt to downplay oppression against women and avoid acknowledging male privilege. “Humanist” is taken. It has a definition. It’s a life philosophy that affirms humans’ ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment guided by reason and compassion rather than supernaturalism. Many humanists are feminists and vice versa but “humanist” isn’t just a word you made up, bub.

Co-opting “humanist” is disingenuous and lazy. Not all humans are on a level playing field. There is inequality between men and women (and among women), and the feminist movement seeks to rectify that. It was called the “feminist” movement for a reason.”

(Source)

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Hardy Har Har

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Baby Steps

This was in the Times of India last week:

I’m happy to see the issue of violence against women being addressed in Indian media. While I appreciate the fact that it tries to eradicate rape culture, it does put masculinity in a suffocating box. Just like sexist expectations of femininity can imprison women, sexist expectations can imprison men too. The message shouldn’t be to tell men to act like “real men” (because what the hell is that anyway?) but instead to act like decent, good human beings. Still… I’m glad that something is being done. While the ad isn’t perfect, at least it’s a step in the right direction.

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