“The Masculine Mystique” is now called “XY Feminist”. I’ll be blogging here on an irregular basis, or contributing to one of my other related projects:
- The List of Male Privileges – The project that started this whole blog.
- The Arrow – A blog covering my first attempt to write a radical feminist science fiction novel. I’m looking for suggestions and feedback from anyone interested in the project, so I will be tossing out my ideas about sci-fi and occasionally posting drafts as well.
- Feminist Game Reviews – There’s a ton of sexist and misogynist video games out there, as Feminist Frequency has shown in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. So I’m posting reviews for the rare games where you don’t get stuck playing sexist stereotypes, and where the female characters are not degraded or assaulted. Submissions are also welcome!
- Ad-response stickers – An old project from my college years. After some particularly misogynistic ads went up in a nearby subway station, I made these nifty little stickers so that people could make their objections to the ads known. Unfortunately, this shit happens all the time, so I’ve kept the stickers online (sold at cost) for anyone else who wants them.
- My Goodreads page, where I post some of the great books that I have read, and occasional reviews of them as well!
I hope you find something useful here, and comments are always welcome.
In my last post, Nadia pointed out that the “adult” women’s Halloween costumes I ranted against were not nearly as revealing as the actual outfits used in pornography:
“…The link you showed me was far from revealing. From your link I thought I was expecting: bikinis, ankle high heels, short shorts that shows a person’s behind, and somehow reveal lots of breasts. You know, half naked clothing.”
She concludes that women shouldn’t be judged by wearing revealing clothing:
“Showing a bit of skin is natural and shouldn’t be seen as something ‘sexy’ or demeaning. Society demonizes women’s bodies and makes us want to be ashamed of expressing our bodies, for ourselves not anyone else.”
And I agree with Nadia on both counts: the costumes that I linked to were mildly pornulated at best, and they were not nearly as bad as the outfits typically associated with mainstream pornography.
But with a major Hat Tip to Twisty, I still believe that they are a big problem, even for women who want to express their bodies through these costumes.
As I noted years ago on this blog, Halloween has been pornified beyond all recognition. But don’t take my word for it, things have gotten so bad this year that even the Daily Show has taken notice:
[Damn WordPress hates embedded players! GAH!]
But the pornification of Halloween has another pernicious consequence for women. Halloween was one of the few holidays where people were encouraged to let their creativity and imagination run wild. But as women are culturally forced into tighter and tighter halloween costumes, their imaginations and creativity are forced out.
“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
This is part three of a multi-part series on the dangers of sexism in the mass media. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.
The Normalization of Sexism and Misogyny
Last time, we looked at how the mass media created a spike in youth cigarette smoking. But cigarettes were a success story. There was at an effective pushback to the media’s glamorization of cigarettes, and the levels of youth smoking were greatly diminished . Unfortunately, unlike cigarettes, the heyday of mass media misogyny is far from over.
Wednesday: “Don’t worry. We’re getting out of here.”
Joel: “But…it’s Disney.”
Wednesday: (takes a deep breath)
~Addams Family Values (1993)
This is part three of a multi-part series on the dangers of sexism in the mass media. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
The Mass Media and Normalization
In Part 1 we covered several cognitive biases that make people susceptible to mass media influence, and in Part 2 we looked at how damaging mass media messages have pushed susceptible people over the edge.
Yet, there are still those in the absolutist free-speech movement who would claim that these are only harmless words. For them, considerations for a minority will always take a back seat to personal sovereignty.
And when the calls for respect come from minority groups (women, ethnic minorities, survivors of sexual violence, the disabled, or anyone else regularly targeted by South Park ) you’ll find that the number of people taking the absolutist position will increase dramatically, but I digress.
Those who take the absolutist position on free-speech typically treat bigoted and abusive media stories as isolated incidents. As if it was only one violent story, or one sexist video game, or a few backhanded comments made by one celebrity in isolation.
But bigotry is never spoken in isolation. It’s never one novel with an assaulted female lead, or one bigoted opinion article, or one damsel in distress, or one dick with a web comic/expo. This shit comes in droves, from all sides.
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”
This is part two of a multi-part series on the dangers of sexism in the mass media. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1 first.
The Mass Media and Extremists
There are many who argue that people can easily resist the messages of mass media. They point to pornography or violence in the media, and blithely say that no one has killed or raped because of them. And while I agree that is usually the case, it is sadly not true for everyone.
“The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.”
One common response to Anita Sarkeesian’s critique of sexist tropes in video games is to acknowledge the sexism exists in video games, but then argue that it doesn’t harm anyone.
This is really just a derivative of the common argument that sexism in general doesn’t harm anyone. However, there are some nuances here that need to be teased out. If you run into someone who uses this argument on you, feel free to debate with them ad nauseam . Or, if your time is more valuable, give them a link to the following article.
I was originally going to write about the whole Suzanne Moore / Julie Burchill / MtF debacle, but Heather McNamara has already posted an eloquent response to the whole disaster, so you should really just watch her You Tube video to get caught up on the current row. I’d rather focus on an issue near and dear to me that was missed by the circular firing squad: that of male privilege, and how it has helped to drive a wedge between trans-women and cis-women.