Saturday, June 30, 2007

Feminism 101

Just finished reading "Female Chauvinist Pigs" by Ariel Levy. She is a great writer, very straightforward with a clear thesis backed up by facts and opinions from individuals across the board.

She maintains that the new "feminism" 1. women acting like men (being overly aggressive, putting down other women, attending strip clubs) 2. strippers and porn stars claiming that their professions are powerful and liberating. 3. average women jumping up on the bar and whipping off their shirts or showing their breasts for Girls Gone Wild, etc. IS NOT FEMINISM AT ALL.

Sorry ladies, but you and your bodies are being used and abused by the mainstream media and corporations ready to make a profit by any means possible. The psychology is interesting. First of all, we are surrounded by advertisements on billboards, commercials, magazines and movies, depicting what women are "supposed" to look like. These models have fame and money based on their it makes sense that other women would think exposing their bodies will also bring them fame and fortune. At the same time, they are persuaded to buy products which will improve their bodies...make up, clothing, vaginal-plasty...

I understand that these women (in the prostitution industry or not) feel "powerful" because they are choosing when and when not to display their bodies. But why expose yourself at all? Aren't their other ways to feel powerful? And why is the same standard not held to men? Why is a woman judged mainly for her body, and not for her mind?

Ariel Levy pointed out a perfect example: in the recent Olympic Games, the female competitors also appeared in Playboy, with little to no clothing. It is as if it was not acceptable that they be famous only for their skills. Furthermore, in order to look "feminine," we must see that they do indeed have female parts. Again, why are all the male athletes not appearing in Playgirl?

I understand that the Feminist movement has been fractured and divided over the years. I know that each person should be free to choose what empowers them. If taking off your clothes and having sex with strangers makes you feel strong and powerful, fine. But please do not claim that this is moving women and feminism forward as a whole, because it is not. It is holding women to the same submissive and abusive standards that we have been chained to for thousands of years. And keep this in mind - 65-90% of women in the porn/prostitution/stripping industry have been sexually abused, assaulted and/or raped as children or teenagers. Therefore, their ideas of sex and love are coming from a misguided and harmful place; their power was taken away...and they are trying to reclaim it in ways that are still harmful to them. Add on the fact that our youth and adult population looks to pornography for guidance in their first (and continued) sexual encounters, and your result is one very sad, abused and ignorant population.

I shall end (for now) with some interesting notes and inferences from Ariel's book. and of course I can't contain myself and added my extra opinions in parentheses :

-From the porn industry's point of view, if you don’t buy, or even worse, criticize their magazines or videos, you are obviously embarrassed and uncomfortable with sexuality. (The industry will never admit that their system is just inherently abusive. So in their opinion, there must be something wrong with the viewer. And of course, this terrible idea is consequently implanted into our minds as well - that the industry is right and we are wrong to resist it).

-Most Female Chauvinist Pigs want to be like men and profess to disdain women who are overly focused on the appearance of femininity. But they shun these girly-girls while simultaneously fixating on them in magazines and pornography.

-Acting like a F.C.P. may get you ahead, either in money or favor, but you are simultaneously reinforcing the system that traps you.

-Jenna Jamison claims to hold power and sexual liberations but she cannot look at her own sex tapes. She was also a victim - beaten and gang raped in highschool and sexually abused by her boyfriend’s friends. (one of the 65-90% I referred to before).

-$1billion on abstinence only education from 1996-2006. Yet there isn’t a single study that shows this approach works. Instead the United States has one of the higher teen pregnancy ratings and 1 our of every 4 teenage girls will get an STD. (add this to my previous statement of women and men looking toward porn for guidance).

[In reference to stripping, etc]:
-"If you think you are being brave, you think you are being sexy, you think you’re transcending feminism. But that’s bullshit." -Susan Brownmiller (fuck yea!)

-"If we believed that we were sexy and funny and competent and smart, we would not need to be like strippers or men or like anyone other than our own specific, individual selves. That won’t be easy, but ultimately it would be no more difficult than the kind of contortions FCPs are constantly performing in an effort to prove themselves. More importantly, the rewards would be the very things Female Chauvinist Pigs want so desperately, the things women deserve: freedom and power." -Ariel Levy


Dennis said...

Good write up.

Ramon said...

Abstinence programs DO work. What makes them seem ineffective is that the target population sees a reduction in teen pregancy and a decline in the STD rates WHILE THEY ARE IN THE PROGRAM. Later, when there is NO FOLLOW UP the rates of pregnancy and stds rise to the level of the control population in the geographic regions in which the study or program is conducted.
The implication is that continued education and follow up would prove more effective. So when criticizms are leveled at abstinence programs those CRITICAL of them should specify what they are referring to. For instance, to say they don't work is deceptive if the original population being studied is not the same population that is said to have failed. Studying the target group YEARS afterwards with NO followup program is the same as testing teens for algebra YEARS after their last algebra class. Of course they'll fail at the same rate as their peers. But continued education is the key.
In addition, abstinence programs that don't work are generally crippled by deficiencies in study or program design, so criticisms may be invalid if there is no distinction between those that worked and those which did not. Such deficiencies are in the form of falsified information being taught to teens.
Furthermore, the polarizing effect of "anti abstinence" forces creates publicity which implies abstinence programs are failures, and downplays any successful program.

"These abstinence programs are helping to create strong, well-rounded individuals," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "These programs offer a more comprehensive message than just saying no to early sexual activity. They are helping young people with larger issues such as healthy relationships, self-esteem, life planning, good decision-making and effective communications. These are some of the real skills that underlie successful development and growth in every area of a young person's life."

Ill Logic said...

So what you're saying is that abstinence programs work as long as they're never-ending.

Basically, sex education that refuses to teach anything other than abstinence is equal to putting tightly wrapped gauze on a gash. Sure, it may prevent you from bleeding out, but if you remove the gauze it will immediately resume to bleed profusely.

Those children that you can scare into brainwashing that sex is evil unless in marriage will be terrified about normal and healthy sexual emotions, and will most likely develop sexual psychological aversions. Basically, if they're terrified to have sex, it will ruin them as sexual beings.

Those children that you CAN'T scare into brainwashing that sex is evil unless in marriage will have sex anyway, and, being uneducated in the proper process of std prevention, birth prevention, the proper use and care of prophylactics and the pros and cons of abortion, will either infect themselves or become parents well before they are capable, bringing more children that are doomed to a life of poor education and unnecessary sacrifice.

I would provide neutral statistical sociological, psychological or educational theory studies to back up my points, but I'm confident that you will not read them, considering that the only references you used were from websites designed to convince people into why abstinence is the best choice, which makes them invalid. Their lack of neutrality leaves them with no credibility in the eyes of any intellectual that you would wish to convince.

I know why you chose those websites, also. It was because you cannot find any self-respecting neutral body to back abstinence only education. Why?


Know And Be Free said...

Well said Ill Logic, my thoughts exactly.