Feminism: Still Needed!

Hey everyone ,
I know it’s a bit of a heavy topic for a Friday, but gender politics have been on my mind recently and I’d like to share my thoughts on some things in pop culture that currently irk me. I hope you enjoy it. Also this post will be referenced in the awesome feminist blog Femme Writes in the “Friday Round up” section. If you are interested in some great posts on feminism, please go and take a peek over there! ūüôā

I’m not a militant feminist. I don’t hate all men or blame them, but what I do hate is how blatantly sexist things still seem to be tolerated in our society. The media will tell you that¬†women are now “equal” and “respected”,¬†but to me, that is still not true. Take for example, the over-frequent use of the sexist words “bitches” and “hos” (whores) These words are harmless¬†if used in a teasing or joking way among friends (preferably women) but what pisses me off is how these words are being used in place of a woman’s name or to describe women en masse. It seems that the misogyny has spread from certain forms of music (ie. rap or heavy metal) and is now in everyday vernacular.

Many young girls today seem to be under the impression that feminism is “no longer relevant”, which frankly makes me wonder how they can be so blind, when these sexist terms are so commonplace nowadays! Years ago, for example, some idiot on the street wanted my attention so he started screaming “Hey ho!” at me over and over again!¬†Rest assured, I was not dressed in the latest in “hooker wear”, but¬†even if I was,¬†it was very demeaning and hurtful.¬†But¬†some guys seem to think that it is o.k to call women this at their leisure. In another instance, I was having car troubles and this older man helped me out. Meanwhile, some jackass standing nearby loudly stated that “Women should not be given licences!”

Obviously these types of guys are¬†losers, but it seems that some of their ignorant opinions and/or attitudes are spreading, particularly among younger men. From this perspective, women are no longer sisters, mothers, aunts, girlfriends or wives, but “merely bitches¬†and hos who, as a (mal)function of their gender, are terrible drivers¬†and should rely on a man to get around.” (Don’t believe my negative experiences with this piggish attitude, go on Youtube sometime and read the comments on videos of women driving or hosting their own videos) Macleans had an article recently on how young girls are under more pressure now¬†than ever to be “trashy” while their mothers shake their heads and wonder what the hell happened. These girls express the attitude mentioned earlier that feminism is outdated and they think that by disrespecting themselves that they are considered equal.

Naturally, not all young girls buy into the “bimbo” thing, but it does appear that they are being groomed to not only passively accept being the target of the aforementioned “bitch” and “ho” monikers,¬†but are pressued to spend all of their energy on their surface and not think for themselves.¬†They are taught that they have liberty, but¬†liberty restricted¬†to serving as sexual objects and nothing else!¬†We¬†are inundated with¬†images of women griding against idiots¬†in rap videos or¬†getting regular plastic surgery on¬†reality TV.¬†Magazines are awash with¬†celebrities who have been morphed into¬†cartoons with photoshop! There is apparently nothing worse than an older woman with actual wrinkles on her face, because the only good woman is a hollow immature one.¬†Speaking of which, Twilight is another awful blight in pop culture today, with its backwards, sexist messages.¬†It swings the extreme other direction than the over-sexualized movies and music videos. The only good woman is a pure, virginal girl who subserves all her own needs for her man, whom she follows around like a dog.¬†Still sexism, different approach.

Now I’m not saying we are completely lost, because yes¬†these days¬†there are much more women in the workplace and in senior level positions, birth control is more available, and we enjoy much more liberties and are¬†definitely less persecuted and oppressed in the western world than in many other countries. But women still earn less than their male peers and birth control is only available in certain areas. (The right for choice is also under constant threat from religious fundamentalists) Further, consider the points previously mentioned in slang and¬†popular media. Sexism is still alive, just in¬†more insidious forms.¬†After all the work done by earlier feminists for women to be respected as equals, we cannot let ourselves slip backwards!¬†The fight for equality is still needed here.


Sexist Driving ad from “Body Image vs. Reality Blog”:¬†http://annikabodyimage.blogspot.com/

Last picture:http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/3664552-women-exploitation


16 thoughts on “Feminism: Still Needed!

  1. Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe)

    “Sexism is still alive, just in more insidious forms.” I totally agree! Sexism has gone “underground” in a way, now that men have figured out that it isn’t okay to be overtly sexist, they have to justify it in other ways. My favourite is the, “I was only kidding, don’t you have a sense of humour?” approach. It is so infuriating because, dammit, I have an AWESOME sense of humour. I just don’t find sexist jokes funny.

  2. Pauline Post author

    Jennifer-Agreed! I hate it when people say stuff like that too! And yes, I also have a sense of humor, but there is a fine line between pointing out the differences between the sexes and our quirks and being flat-out sexist and offensive!

  3. artman2112

    i have to agree on much of what was said. the images and messages being fed to younger women especially are appalling to me.

    BUT, we must keep in mind that women are partially responsible for keeping sexism alive and well too. those women gringing against idiots in rap vids could say ‘no i wont do that’. and Miley Cyrus really doesnt need to do a pole dance to “come of age” as an “artist” does she? of course not. and when a super popular star like Jennier Lopez uses award shows as an excuse to cover herself with as little as possible just to nab attention, to simply blame men and the media is not looking at the whole picture. lets face it there are plenty of women out there who WANT to be looked at as sex objects and plenty of women who use sex as a means to an end to get what they want. its a 2 way street and to place all blame on “men” in general is just as sexist as calling all women ho’s.

    ok, let the claws come out ūüėČ

  4. Pearl

    My only explanation for young women not seeing the sexism is that they don’t have enough instances accumulated to irritate?

    My understanding is that the under-20 set get less concentrated dose of being told their limited options and are “ballsier” to call people on nonsense. Still, it’s there.

    Anti-male jokes are pretty tiring too, mostly when people blink and think all the jokes are about inherent nature of genders. It’s bizarre.

  5. Pauline Post author

    Artman-I agree that some women (ie. Christina Aguilera in particular comes to mind) are certainly keeping us back with promoting themselves JUST as sex objects. However, they do this because traditionally they were told at some point by men (indirectly or directly) that the way to get attention is to be objects. But I don’t blame all men (It is possible to complain of sexism without blaming or hating the opposite gender), there are some great male feminists (my husband is one of them) out there. What I do blame is the residual sexism that seems to have re-emerged due to the idea that the fight for equality is over. It’s still not for many people.:)

    Pearl-I just don’t see how they could not have enough experiences with sexism, since I’ve had plenty. I think they are made to feel like complaining about it makes them a “extremist” feminist. There is all this fear about not wanting to appear like a militant feminist, which is silly.

    Anti-male stuff does get tiring, I’m not one for double standards. But due to womens traditionally less advantaged position, male jokes tend to be more tolerated. But this isn’t something that I necessarily agree with 100 percent.

  6. Get Off My Lawn

    I actually think you are wrong about the media. The messages it sends are horribly not modernized. According to commercials, only women clean or do dishes. I have watched my daughter grow from enjoying trucks, planes and ninjas to reviling “boy toys” in favour of cook sets and barbies. (but if her friends aren’t watching, she still practices kung fu in the yard).

  7. archstanton

    Another perspective: I am a born male, but I’ve been looking at my gender ‘role’ and questioning if I am in fact a ‘transgender’ woman. It is a peculiar thing because I am equally disturbed by both conventional male and female gender roles, signs, queues, etc. that are constantly being forced upon us. But I think women (and all progressive people) should look closely at the social reaction toward trans people because it brings to the surface more subtle forms of misogyny and chauvinism in both men and women. For example, to hear men and women say things like, “He shouldn’t even try to look like a girl…” reinforces the idea that women cannot look ‘handsome’ or ‘masculine’ in any way, whether by choice or biology.

  8. Pauline Post author

    Get off my lawn-That is true. I think when it comes to commercials, the media is definitely still stuck in a 50s mentality. How many ads have you seen with men driving to work and women doing laundry? Tons!
    Archstanton-That is an interesting perspective and you are right, transgendered individuals certainly reveal other peoples sometimes narrow ideas on gender roles and what a man or woman “should” look like and be.

  9. Pearl

    >I just don’t see how they could not have enough experiences with sexism, since I’ve had plenty.

    I had plenty by the time I was 7 years old as well. There’s an unrelenting barrage of coding to hetereonormative life pattern of what girls like and boys like and that they will marry each other.

    at the same time the kids under 15 seem to have more models to choose from. the density looks like its less. girls are being told that of course they can be CEO or construction worker. when they get on site, the harassment in business checks the story they are told but for a while the dream is at least being cultivated and fought for and gaining strength.

    being shut out of life experiences in material ways doesn’t dawn on some people until there’s an accumulation of opportunity costs and for some people that doesn’t become really sharp until they are in their 30s and 40s.

    I’m saying there’s a forward motion tho compared to 1920s or 1850s for the mainstream. excruciatingly slow and why wasn’t equity already here and the only default but it seems to be making headway.

  10. XUP

    Well said, sistah! I think what happened was that many men and those “Real Women” did their best to mock and ridicule the feminists of the 1960s and 1970s. And it worked. Somehow, when you say the word “feminist” an image of a homely, hairy, bra-burning crazy woman springs to mind. That’s why whenever we publicly call ourselves feminists, we have to aplogize for it/mitigate it by saying “I’m not a militant feminist” or “I’m not one of those rabid feminists” or something like that. And many women have done their best to distance themselves completely from the feminist label because “it scares men away”. And sadly, attracting men is still many young (and old) women’s primary objective. It’s instinctive. So, part of that distancing is becoming everything that a stereotypical feminist is not — no wrinkles, no grey/natural hair, not an ounce of fat, no braless (indeed bras went to the exact extreme) and plenty of skin — no long skirts, birkenstocks and shapeless tops. That’s my theory anyway and i should probably do a post of my own about it instead of going on and on here.

  11. Pauline Post author

    Robin-LOL. I am woman driver hear me roar! ūüėČ Women are great drivers, I think some men just don’t want to share the road.
    Pearl-We are certainly miles ahead of the 1920s that is for sure and I am grateful for that. But I guess it will be awhile until we shake off sexism completely.
    XUP-Funny, I actually changed the first line of this post to clarify that I wasn’t a militant feminist, but I did resent doing it. (I did it to not alienate anyone) But frankly some men should not be so easily threatened and should listen to what women say next after they declare themselves feminists, instead of getting their backs up right away. As for “Real Women”, they are one of the greatest enemies to actual feminism. You can’t call yourself a feminist with their agenda.
    Anyways, you are absolutely right about many girls not wanting to scare men away by declaring themselves feminists. You should post about this too! ūüôā

  12. thoughtsappear

    I heard a advertisement on the radio for a local motorcycle shop that said something like, “Ladies, we have automatic motorcycles. No clutch so they’re easier to drive!”

    It ticked me off. I ride a motorcycle, and I don’t have any problems with the clutch and shifting gears.

    Obviously only men have the gene to be able to drive manuals.


  13. Pauline Post author

    Darrell-LOL. A R.E.A.L bath? ūüėČ
    Thoughtsappear-That is awful! How totally sexist! As mentioned earlier, some men just are threatened by women drivers.

  14. Pingback: Friday Roundup – Sexism, Abortion Flights, & Banning Women Priests « Femme Writes

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