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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

NY Mag has a really great article on young woman and alcohol. Apparently we (the ladies) are have taken to imbibing–with coworks, friends, alone–in more copious amounts.

A couple of disjointed things that struck me about the article:

-Third Wave Feminism is painted as being the spoiled, bratty daughter of the last two waves, doing little more than empowering women to thoughtlessly booz and fuck just like the guys. To this I respond: Yes and no. Thirdwavers are not a cohesive group, and for all the thoughtlessness of the louder popcultury types (I’m looking at you, Jezebel) the strides women of color have made are probably the hallmark of this wave. Not that has anything to do with the article really, but I like to throw it out there whenever I can.

-Speaking of boozin’ and fucking just like the guys,  lets talk about the gender assimilation. As women enter highly competitive male-dominated spheres such as high education and certain sectors of the work force, they adopt (consciously and unconsciously) the attitudes and behaviors of their male counterparts to survive. Its a kind of acculturation, adopting the values and norms of the dominant group in order to be allowed to particpicate.  This is not necessarily a good thing, espeically when the norms adopted are as highly dysfunctional and predispossed to perpetuating inequality as those of professional middle class white men (remember, just because they’re the most powerful and pervasive does not make them right–or even rational).  In the article, one of the women interviewed said something akin to ‘I had to be seen as a bitch to get things done, but the drinking made me appear more personable, less lame than the other women unwilling to party and more appealing to work with’.To get ahead professionally, she had to overcome the gender sterotype of ‘the bitch’ by proving she could be as rowdy and drunk as the next guy.

-The author asserts that the sexual component comes in only so much as it is another aspect of choice. Drinking is an expression of control, because women now have the power to choose when and where they allow themselves the loss of control. Sounds sort of convoluted, but its a sentiment not foreign to me. The author downplays the idea that some women drink so that they may allow themselves sexual dalliances they would otherwise think themselves too shy or morally upstanding to engage in. It is my nonobjective and unscientific observation that this behavior is actually rather typical, even if unintentional. I never thought of myself as the kind of person who got especially trigger happy when intoxicated because I’m generally the very forward go-get-’em sort to begin with. When I stopped to recall how many times I engaged in sexual contact with a new partner during or after consuming alcohol, however, I was totally shocked (but not embarrassed–in fact, I laughed myself to sleep). That isn’t to say that these were isolated incidents, the majority of my sexual relationships are relatively longterm, its just they were helped along initially by alcohol. Stop for a second and think about how many times you were drunk the first time you had sex with someone, not just one night stands but with a significant others or long term hookup–you might just find a curious pattern of behavior.

-Oh, and lets also discuss the place of higher education: the more prolonged the period of education, the more deeply ingrained the questionable drinking habits become. Now, why do we hardly talk about the alcoholism of the well educated? Because, as members of the cultural elite, we have the cultural clot to normalize our habits, no matter disruptive to ourselves/our social group they might become. We can stigmatize the poor and less educated’s alcoholism/drug use as deviant because clearly is perpetuates their cycles of economic deprivation, but let ours slide as simply the youthful antics of undergrads, grads, young professionals harmlessly cavorting because we perceive they have no larger social consequences.

As someone who planed on spending her winter break in a state of near-constant intoxication, I must admit this article made me reevaluate my drinking habits in terms of ideology, biology and interpersonal consequences. Some of the best advice I every got was from a Scotsman on a cruise ship: Be good. And if you can’t be good, be safe.

Paternalism asside, they’re words to live by.

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A friend of mine that shall go unnamed had, “is hoping that McCain’s VP choice won’t make the heads of feminists explode with confusion…that will be quite the cleanup effort” as his Facebook status yesterday. I was annoyed to say the least. I think it was the use to the word “feminist” in particular that got to me – Do people have such a low opinion of people who identify as feminist as to think we would be guiled by the militantly antichoice Palin simply by virtue of her womanhood?

Well the GOP thought so, which is exactly why she’s on the ticket. As Adam Serwer on TAPPED put it

The pick of Palin is dripping with transparent condescension, the notion that the enthusiasm behind Hillary was simply the result of her being a woman, that it had nothing to do with what she actually stood for, and in that sense it’s equally sexist. Palin is essentially a hard-right ideologue, and therefore nothing like Hillary as far as substance is concerned. It’s not very different from running Alan Keyes against Barack Obama in 2004. The conservative media reaction has already engaged in paternalistic language, with FOX News reporting on television that “McCain broke the glass ceiling,” implying in fact, that the pick had nothing to do with Palin or her qualifications, but merely her gender. It’s fitting that the party positing affirmative action as a program that picks people exclusively based on race or gender rather than qualification should do something similar given an opportunity for political advancement.

It is also worth noting that Palin is a member of the Faux-Feminist organization Feminist for Life, an anti-choice organization that swaddles itself with the rhetoric of empowerment while all the while shaming women out of their rights. She’s on record as being against abortion even if her own daughter were raped. Fittingly, Palin is against universal healthcare.

When the women the GOP are trying to woo realize that this is simply pandering of the worst kind, Palin will perhaps become a liability.  Ann Friendmen put it aptly when she said: “After all, most of us understand that a woman candidate is not the same thing as a woman’s candidate.”  Then again, it’s very doubtful the media will run with this narrative when they have a god-fearing maverick beauty queen with a gun. Never mind that she has no clue what vice president even does.

Daily Kos has a great round up of other reasons Palin was an abysmal choice. After my panic yesterday, I feel much more secure that Obama will pull it out in the end. Yes we can; yes we will.

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August 14 (Originally posted by Mireille)
Long gone are the days when there was nothing more sexually suggestive on 7-year-old girl’s panties than Lambchop.

Disney has caused controversy across the pond by selling packs of underpants with the phrase “Dive In” on the front. It’s apparently referencing a line from the bewilderingly successful cash cow High School Musical. I find it difficult to swallow that after the PR fiasco of Vanessa Hudgens’ naked photos Disney would be naive enough to let something like this slide out of its sweatshops and into your local Walmart–Disney, the company parents know and trust for wholesome family entertainment.

And yet there is simply no greater public illustration of the virginal sexual self objectification of young girls than the current crop of Disney stars. Miley Cyrus, who has ad nauseum professed her devotion to abstinence, has many-a-leaked myspace photo like this that make the controversy over her pictures in Vanity Fair seem ridiculous. By willingly injecting her status as zealous virgin into her media narrative, she and so many others (The Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Brittney Spears, Hilary Duff ect. ect.) have found a way to talk about their sexuality (and make the public mind linger on it) with complete impunity.

Miley Cyrus is not at all atypical in her efforts to toe the line between ‘wholesome girl’ and ‘desireable sexual commodity’. Virginal sexual self objectification is a broad social trend–the result of a Pussy Cat Dolls culture coupled with abstinence only sex education. Women learn their self worth is, first and for most, based on their sexual desirability but are shunned if they actually want to engage in sexual activity for their own pleasure. 3 waves of feminism later, women’s public sexuality is still not one of action. Most of us find still needs the constant encouragement and validation of the male gaze. This has not wained, it has worsened–becoming more ingrained in the collective psyche with the ever more ubiquitous image of women as cut of meat. Raunchy Disney lingerie seems only the logical next step.

Perhaps there is a connection between the appalling upswing in the sexualization of little girls and the popularity of To Catch a Predator. As I’m sure I will find myself asking a lot on this blog: Where the hell is Chris Hansen when you need him?

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