This year I decided to organize the Tel Aviv Slutwalk. Last year, the event was sabotaged by the police (and the weather), while this year a non-feminist organization tried to co-opt the Slutwalk to promote their own political agenda… All very vexing, and so I decided that the event would be safer in my radical little hands.
One of the added values my cohorts and I are trying to bring about in this year’s march is to underline how rape culture affects absolutely everyone, but also how voices that are often silenced anyway, are doubly or triply silenced when it comes to sexual violence. So we’ve invited women from all walks of life, from different ethnicities, refugees, trans* folk, people who are discriminated against for being deaf or in a wheelchair or for any other disability, fat women, lesbian and bisexual women, young and old women… And so on – to share a text saying why she needs the slutwalk. We make a poster of it, and put it on the event page. The results have been nothing short of amazing. The images are in Hebrew, so here is just one sample (though you can see the entire album here if you’d like):
As a teen, I need the Slutwalk because the fact that my breasts have developed does not mean that anyone has the right to mention it all the time, or to touch my breasts. Because I’m tired of all the adults around me interfering with my sexual life, and thinking that is legitimate. As a teen, I have not yet entirely learned how to say no, or to run away or protect myself, and I find myself just freezing in shock and waiting for someone to come by and help me.
As a teen, this is my opportunity to learn to say no, before I get used to being harassed.
I usually do not do any type of fundraising on this blog… But today I decided to make an exception. This event is just that important to me. I set up a page for anyone who want to buy a tank top for the event, or just make a donation. So I thought I’d open up the opportunity here as well, on the off-chance that someone here wants to support this effort.
The funds will go towards signage and such, and any leftovers will be sent to our sister slutwalks in other cities.
Donate here, or check out the page with the shirt for sale. Not sure what I would do with international orders for an actual shirt, I guess it depends on the amount of the donation 🙂 The shirt without shipping is about $8-10. So I guess I would send it to you for a donation of $20 and above. Just let me know!
Although this Olympics required some extra covering up, beach volleyball is one of those sports that not everyone watches for the game. Nate Jones, over at the Metro, had the insight to ask the question, “What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?” The results he found on getty images were entirely amusing. I guess it really takes a trained eye to take sports shots that look this good.
Known as India’s Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi stole from
the rich and gave to the poor. Her story evolved from being a member of a “lower” Indian caste, being forced into marriage at the age of 11, being raped and tortured… First by her husband, then by the police, and later by upper-caste members of her village. She escaped, and took revenge upon her tormentors (she stabbed her husband and dragged him out to the village square; later, she shot dead the villagers who raped her).
Ibtisam Mara’ana is a Palestinian-Israeli documentary filmmaker, perhaps best-known for her film Paradise Lost, considered to be the first film to be made from the perspective of a Palestinian woman. She is the founder of Ibtisam Films, a documentary film production house.
For Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, being an LGBT rights activist means the daily threat of violence, imprisonment, and death. In Uganda, homosexuality is punishable by long jail terms, and violence is common. Her colleague, David Kato, was murdered last year because of his activism and voice against Uganda’s discrimination.
Nabagesera is widely recognized for her fearless human rights activism as founder of the LGBT rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda.
A genderqueer love story; A 13 year-old girl who knows more about slut-shaming and why it’s wrong than almost any adult I know; Pink tanks; Transgender Israeli man gives birth; Why you should buy girl scout cookies; Metonymy; Who’s the queerest of the queer?
It’s another Thursday Round-Up!
Edit: The video seems to have been removed — perhaps because of all the hackles it raised? I hope so! But you can still see who and what is behind it, and get a full nauseating look at their agenda at the Honest Girl Scouts website.
Some good response videos here and here. And this one by a queer former girl scout → ————————————————- (And someone needs to explain to Huffington Post that transgender is NOT gay)
Queerer Than Thou
I love this comedy, which aims to answer the age-old question —
Who’s the queerest of them all? (Which is all eerily familiar…)
(“I’m so queer, I’m beyond identity politics…” 🙂 )
I love learning new stuff. Here are two words I was not familiar with before:
Microaggression: The idea that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as non-physical aggression.
An explicit derogation characterized primarily by verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions.
Characterized by communications that convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s racial/cultural/gender heritage or identity
Characterized by communications that exclude, negate, or nullify a person’s psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality.
Metonymy: A figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, “Hollywood” as used to represent the American movie industry. Or, “The pen is mightier than the sword”, whereas “pen” represents the written word, and “sword” represents physical force.
It’s another round-up! Today: gender & bullying, gender & socialization, little girl rant, penis mom, tropes, and did I mention a new favorite blog? If you don’t think this one is crazy brilliant, you can get your money back.
And an interesting note: When I was putting this post together I went to Google to look for images. I started with “gender bullying”. I got images of girls bullying boys, and some of girls bullying girls. Some of the boys looked genderqueer to me, and I thought that might be a good angle – so I went looking for genderqueer images. But losing focus on the erasure of sexism bothered me. So this time, I looked up “boy bullying girl”. Again, I got lots of images of girls bullying boys, and a few of girls bullying girls.
In the end, I could not find one single image that was real, or even real-looking, of a boy (or boys) bullying a girl. Not one. (Just some cutesy braid-pulling stock images).
Truly, it seems that boys never harass girls. Must’ve been a figment of my imagination. And that girls are the only bullies out there [puke icon].
Gender & Socialization
Socialization of little girls:
One little girl’s rant about girl stuff and boy stuff:
(Riley for prez…!)
Though meant to be gender neutral, it’s usually a guy trying to get away from a girl. When two women are together, somehow that doesn’t deter men – they just ask for a threesome.
I saw just this scenario on Rizzoli & Isles (please don’t ask why I was watching that…). Three notes: Indeed, used by a woman. But — they were extremely uncomfortable about it, squirmy, and inexplicit. So they “hugged”. Meh. Then — predictably — the guy (soul mate?) asked for a threesome.
Personal and work pressures make it difficult to be as focused as I’d like on my pet topics. But these great blogs and articles keep coming my way, so I thought I’d share some. If it works out I’ll do it regularly.
December 6 was Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, held each year on the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, where 14 young women were killed for being women.
In this moving post, Marvelist shares her own story and her thoughts on Canada’s decreasing support for gender equality.
I wanted to post this before the 16 days were over… Oh well. It’s worth noting anyway.
Nobel Women’s Round-Up: If you click on nothing else, DO check out the Nobel Women’s Initiative 16 Days of Activism blog: Each day features another amazing woman activist from a different part of the world: Palestine and Israel and the Congo and Iran and South America… Well, there are a lot of amazing women out there!!
Of course, I had several tearful moments watching three women accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Women from areas fraught with violence, who were brave enough to find their personal power, raise their voices, become leaders, and make a change.
Heifer International – an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty – opine that these three women can start a movement.
What do you think of thongs for 10-year-olds with slogans like “eye candy”? Underwear for teens with “Who needs credit cards…?” written across the crotch? Tini-Bikinis for toddlers? High heels for 5-year-olds?
Last week I wrote about what Disney princesses teach little girls, and it’s pretty scary. Except that this is only one of a multitude of ways in which little girls are socialized to be partners in their own objectification. Examples include (but are certainly not limited to):
Teaching girls that it is more important to be pretty than to be smart (or successful/independent/fill-in-your-positive-value-here).
Sexualizing girls from a young age
Silencing. Girls are taught to avoid confrontation (so they have trouble saying and meaning NO). They are taught to please. They are taught that their role is to nurture others (often at their own expense). They are taught to apologize for having opinions. They are taught to be comfortable in support positions/the back row.
Each of these can be broken down into sub-categories, and I could probably happily spend my life writing a dissertation on each of them if I had the time and resources. Alas, all I have is this blog, but hey, that’s what I started it for. I have a feeling that I can’t begin to do justice to any of the topics in a mere paragraph, so I’ll do a separate post for each.
Part 1: The Lolita Effect, and sexualization of girls in the mainstream media.
In her book, The Lolita Effect, M. Gigi Durham, Ph.D., discusses what pop culture, and especially advertising, teaches young girls and boys about sex and sexuality. She defines five myths that are ingrained in this culture, which make up the Lolita Effect:
Girls don’t choose boys, boys choose girls–but only sexy girls
There’s only one kind of sexy–slender, curvy, white beauty
Girls should work to be that type of sexy
The younger a girl is, the sexier she is
Sexual violence can be hot
She talks about how the mass media undermines girls’ self-confidence, condones female objectification, and tacitly fosters sex crimes. (Here is an in-depth interview.)
I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of this – but how closely are we watching? Little girls are increasingly portrayed in mainstream media and advertising in a sexualized way, and treated as consumers of a sexualized self-image.
Remember in the late 70s early 80s all the controversy around Brooke Shields? At the age of TEN she was photographed by Gary Gross (via Playboy Press) in a series meant to “reveal the femininity of prepubescent girls by comparing them to adult women”.
Later, at the age of twelve, she triggered another media frenzy when she portrayed a child prostitute in the movie Pretty Baby. The movie included four Shields nude scenes (note: the original version of the movie with these scenes is no longer available; today’s version on DVD has edited out the nudity).
And later yet, at the age of fifteen, Shields let us know on national television, in no uncertain terms that “nothing comes between me and my Calvins”. Hard to interpret that in a non-sexualized way.
The thing is that back then, this still stirred controversy. Brooke Shields was not in any way mainstream. Let’s take a look at some of what’s being presented to little girls *these* days:
In 2006, UK supermarket chain Tesco marketed this in their online TOYS AND GAMES section with the words:
“Unleash the sex kitten inside…simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go!”
“Soon you’ll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars”.
The store subsequently removed it from the toy section and repackaged it as a “fitness accessory”, but continued to deny that it was sexually oriented. However, Tesco continued to face public outrage due to padded bras and other sexy items it marketed to young girls.
Other UK chains that targeted sexy clothes and underwear to pre-teens include M&S, ASDA, and Argos, while US retailers Walmart, and Abercrombie & Fitch also marketed push-up bras, padded bras, and thongs to girls as young as six years old. French Jours Apres Lunes markets lingerie for pre-teens. And have I mentioned Tini-Bikinis for toddlers?
Major UK retailers have since signed on to a government guideline banning such items for children under twelve (12-year-olds can still be sexualized freely). A&F, on the other hand, were pretty happy with the publicity they received (they eventually removed the word “push-up” but left “padded”).
Whether or not public pressure is applied on a case-by-case basis, there is still a very clear truth being outlined here: That there is a MARKET for this. This article suggests that 30% of clothing sold to girls is sexualized. And much has been written on how girls’ Halloween costumes are increasingly sexualized.
The fashion world hasn’t missed out on the party. This ten-year-old model featured in French Vogue in lipstick, high heels, and provocative poses has become the darling of fashion if not of parents:
Finally, lest anyone think that all this is objectionable from “merely” an ideological perspective, or that parents are being “moralistic” when they oppose this, the American Psychological Association concluded in their 2010 task force report that sexualization negatively affects girls and young women across a variety of health domains:
Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person’s confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.
Mental and Physical Health: Sexualization is linked with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women – eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.
Sexual Development: Sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.