Every single word of this.
The body monitoring though.
jesus h christ hallelujah preach
My brilliant professor- Caroline Heldman- love her!
I very much want to highlight the bit where she notes that this leads to lousy sex. I’ve had a lot of women who are drowning in this stuff argue that pointing it out is somehow anti-sex or sex negative. It so totally isn’t, and is in fact the opposite: Sex is SO much better when you’re doing it for pleasure and/or bonding with people who are attracted to you the way you are. As she notes, when you’re constantly putting on a show, instead of being in the moment, it’s impossible to let go and really be in your body, and in the moment with your partner(s). Stop trying to be a picture in a magazine, and also stop fucking people who want you to be that way.
People think feminism means that there’s a group of women somewhere that want to take trousers with pockets away from men and give them to women, and give men trousers with fake pockets, while in reality feminism is the general idea that everyone should have trousers with pockets, because pockets are awesome.
we’ve taught girls to romanticise nearly everything a boy does. when i was younger i thought it was cute that boys chased the girl even after she said no. i loved it when after a girl moved away from a kiss, the guy would pull her back and force it on. i thought a guy saying ‘i won’t take a no for an answer’ was passionate and romantic. we’re literally always teaching girls to romanticise abusive traits.
I think some of this also stems from the “good girl” ideal. We’re taught that wanting, much less asking for, love and/or sex is brazen, unfeminine, or downright sinful. We’re taught that we’re supposed to make ourselves as tempting as possible and then just wait to be pursued, rather than being an active partner in courtship.
Additionally, we’re taught that we are nothing—that we might even not survive—if we don’t win and keep a male partner. (And TBH, even just a few generations ago, a woman surviving on her own was a rare thing, so that’s not an unreasonable fear.) Since getting/keeping a man theoretically means giving him things he can’t or won’t get on his own, those are the things we’re taught to play up: Sex and domestic skills, basically.
All that adds up to: We desperately want men in our lives, but don’t get to ask for that. Net result: when a guy pursues us, even aggressively, we get excited, because it’s evidence that we’re desirable—wanted—and therefore have a chance of surviving. We do incredibly painful, expensive, and time-eating things to ourselves to meet men’s approval. Tolerating—even welcoming—aggressive pursuit is in keeping with that.
Younger girls and women—ones who have grown up knowing they’re allowed to get an education and have a career and therefore don’t need as much male approval to survive—don’t have quite as much of this problem. Likewise for women who are confident in their attractiveness/other desirable qualities. But the messages are still there. Our mothers and grandmothers and of course the media still teach us how we must be—pretty, deferent, sexually available, good housekeepers and mothers—to make men happy. They still teach us what is “romantic” based on old paradigms for women’s behavior. And since questioning that leads to painful awareness and cognitive dissonance, a lot of girls and women simply don’t, and keep playing the part they’ve been taught, even when there’s no point—even when it’s counterproductive.
Conversely, boys and men ALSO get the same messages about what women supposedly want, along with a dose of abject fear of being violently corrected if they don’t display enough sexual prowess and manly dominance. They, too learn that aggressiveness is supposedly romantic, and a sign of virility, and play their part, because they, too are trying to please men: The alpha males who will abuse them if they at all seem weak.
This whole thing is a recipe for utter disaster, but we keep playing our parts because we fear the consequences—abuse and isolation—of not doing so.
I really wish we had more diverse media examples of confident women’s sexuality. Women who don’t look, act, or dress like a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog have great sex every day, but we almost never see it.
The net result is that millions of young women come to believe that if they want to get laid, that’s what they should be, even if that bears absolutely no resemblance to who they are outside of their sexuality. Out of bed, women come in millions of different flavors, but once sex comes into the picture, suddenly almost everyone is trying to be the same thing, or at least as close to it as they can get. Needless to say, this tends to lead to lousy sex.
Sex itself does not begin and end with a busty, blonde 22-year-old in a push-up bra, so why is that almost all we see for symbolic representations of it? Even if one aspect of the archetype changes—age, race, or body type, for instance—everything else stays the same. Boring!
Folks, you don’t have to do the boobies-heels-and-minidress thing to convey that you’re interested in sex. Just be yourself, and directly ask the person you’re interested in. I can pretty much guarantee that any sex that results from this approach is going to be a thousand percent better than what you’ll attract the other way, because your partner will be wanting to have sex with you, not the person you’re trying to be.
The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for works of fiction to have exactly one female in an ensemble of male characters, in spite of the fact that roughly half of the human race is female.
Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female viewing audience, the main characters will tend to be disproportionately male. Said only woman will almost always be used as half of a romance subplot
In many series, men will have various different personalities, but women will always be The Chick. (x)
Someone once told me that the reason half the population is missing from these teams is that most of them are at home tending the kids instead of out adventuring. You don’t often see children in these things, either, after all, and someone has to be minding them. So it’ll only be a rare woman, and usually a young one who has yet to be married or have children, who will be on the team. (Her being unmarried and childless of course also makes it easier for her to hook up with the hero.)
Naturally, this bullshit is mired in a concept of womanhood—and parenthood, for that matter—that’s at least three generations out of date. Most women now spend most of their 20s and early 30s either single or partnered WITHOUT kids. They’re out in the workforce; they should be on these teams, too.
There are also other factors: Improved healthcare means that lifespans are longer and people are still plenty healthy and strong in their 40s and 50s. So even women who have children young should be perfectly capable of going adventuring once the kids are at least self-minding teens. Families are also smaller than they once were, so most women aren’t losing two decades of their lives to raising little ones. Finally, plenty of men are primary or equal caregivers for their children, which also frees up a lot more women to go out and kick ass as needed. And this is all aside from other childcare arrangements: extended family, nannies or day care, school when the kids are old enough, etc.
Bottom line: Parenthood does not comprise the entirety of a woman’s adult life. I can accept that excuse for slightly fewer women on these teams, but not for there being only one or two.
Feeling a tad reckless tonight, so I’m going to go all out with an unpopular opinion or three. I spose I may lose followers, but … eh.
Going to put the Moffat part of this aside for the moment and focus on what Fink says above, because holy shit, it’s so fucking true it hurts.
Joss Whedon is not a feminist, and in fact has actually contributed to an entire generation’s corrupted idea of what feminism is. I won’t say he’s not talented. He has a gift for writing dialogue, and is fairly decent at plotting, too. I’m pretty darn happy with what he’s contributed to the MCU so far. But I am so freaking tired of him and his work being held up as some sort of great thing for women when he’s really no different from every other fanboy with a fetish for Badass Babes.
1: He did not invent action heroines.
Wonder Woman was kicking ass decades before he was even born. He also didn’t do anything new on TV when he did Buffy. As I posted about a couple of days ago, there were a TON of women heroes on TV in the ’70s and early ’80s before the Backlash kicked in. Buffy wasn’t even unique in her era. She debuted in a landscape that included Xena, Janeway, Ivanova, and many, many more. The only thing different about her is that she was a high school girl, which meant a lot of girls around the same age identified with her in a way they didn’t with the older women. But that still doesn’t make her groundbreaking. Saturday morning cartoons already had teen heroines way before she came along.
2. He seems to be allergic to women who aren’t young and conventionally attractive.
Granted that this is a problem across all mass media, but only a handful of his female characters have been older than 35 without being someone’s mom or a very minor role. None of them have been fat or genuinely butch, either. He doesn’t allow his women to have power unless they’re also attractive.
3. The only queer characters he has are het-dude-fantasy friendly.
Where are the queer men? Where are the older lesbians? Where are the queer women whose bodies and sexuality don’t appeal to straight guys?
Again, this is a problem with all mass media, but someone who brags about being a feminist should know better.
4. He has a thing for victimizing his women in titillating ways
Yes, he tortures most of his characters, when he’s not actually killing them off, but let me give you one image for Exhibit A: Naked River in a box. Ew.
Generally speaking, Joss only writes women that he would personally want to fuck. The fact that his particular fetish is for women with combat and weapons skills doesn’t change that.
You want a truly feminist writer? Show me one who writes women who aren’t to his or her personal sexual taste and who also aren’t either stereotypical mother figures or one-note villains. Show me one who writes lesbians who don’t have sex scenes that look like something out of het-dude-aimed porn. Show me one who writes identifiable women of color, trans women, and women with disabilities. Luckily, we’re finally starting to get writers who do this, but they’re still rare, and almost non-existent among mass-distribution media. And they’re still not Joss Whedon.
I really wish we could stop using gender labels to describe interests, traits, and behaviors. It’s essentialist bullshit, and it denies the gender identity of people who don’t have certain specific traits/behaviors assigned to their gender, or who have them, but have a gender identity that’s different from the label.
I especially hate these terms being used in discussions of sexism and gender justice. If you’re defending wearing makeup or enjoying raising children, then say that in so many words. Don’t say that you’re defending “femininity.” When you use that word, you’re implying that a woman who doesn’t wear makeup or want to be a parent is somehow less of a woman than those who do. You’re also implying that a man who enjoys makeup or parenting is less of a man.
The gender labels on these things are entirely arbitrary, and in many cases exist as a way of propping up a sexist status quo. It shouldn’t be surprising that many consider economic self-sufficiency a “masculine” thing, for instance. It’s easier to keep women dependent on men if you imply that it’s unfeminine for them to earn their own way. Likewise, framing parenting as inherently feminine is a good way to keep men working long hours to line someone else’s pockets instead of developing relationships with their kids.
Everyone’s gender identity is a personal thing, and it shouldn’t be subject to bean-counting tallies of exactly how many boxes they check off in column M or column F, because those columns are bullshit to begin with. If a woman’s traits, behaviors, and interests fall almost entirely in column M, but she still identifies as a woman, then she’s a woman, and no less of one than someone with a lot of Fs.
Power, Mickey Mouse, and the Infantilization of Women, Dr Lisa Wade (via ecoprudefemme)
You can tell a girl she’s smart her whole life, encourage her in school, buy her a chemistry set, send her to math camp, help her apply for college scholarships in STEM fields, and she’s still eventually going to walk into a classroom, a lab, or a job interview and have some man dismiss her existence, deny her funding, pass her over for a promotion, or take credit for her work. How about you work on getting those assholes out of power and quit telling me not to call girls pretty.
Is there a reason we can’t do both? The push against focusing on girls’ physical aspects is about more than their own self image. It’s also about a culture-wide effort to get everyone to see that a woman’s greatest value is in what she does, not what she looks like. “Pretty” is an accident of DNA, not an accomplishment.
- Posted 3 months ago
- Reblogged from sugarbooty with
- 58,327 notes
- not to mention that it creates an artificial hierarchy among girls and women
- girls who are NOT pretty have much lower achievement rates in general
- because they've been constantly told they're worth less than the pretty ones
Re: last reblog
It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation, but I think the reason women tend to be less visible in mainstream entertainment is because of the subjects it covers. There are, of course, good stories about home, family life, and relationships, but most dramas take place on a larger scale: They are stories about war, politics, law, money, etc. Because women are so poorly represented in those worlds, they’re necessarily poorly represented in fictional stories about them.
Note that I’m not saying women shouldn’t have lives outside of home and relationships, or that we don’t or shouldn’t care about larger-scale issues. I’m just saying that until very recently—within my own lifetime, in fact—few women even had jobs outside the home, so most stories set anywhere but home simply wouldn’t have included them except as a way to establish the male lead’s personal life.
For generations, men simply didn’t “see” many women outside of domestic and sexual contexts in the real world, so it didn’t occur to them to include many of them in their stories. Traditionally, men had only a few women in their lives with whom they had anything but fleeting contact, so the only time women appeared in larger-world stories was within those roles: mother, lover, wife, child. In every other aspect of a man’s life, he was surrounded by other men. Most male writers therefore wouldn’t have even thought to include women in other roles; women were simply invisible to them. Women outside the home would’ve been a novelty, and therefore if they were included in those roles, it would’ve been as a plot point, not just as part of the mix of secondary and tertiary characters and background players.
(Interestingly, this applies even though so many women worked during WWII: The men were all off fighting, and when they got home, women gave up their jobs. Outside of a rare few military women, and a few younger women earning a living while they waited to get a husband, those soldiers just never directly saw many women in the workplace, so it still wouldn’t have seemed natural to them.)
A perfect example of this is Tolkien. In his culture, women represented marriage and children, and everything else in life was almost entirely men. He did of course feel love for his wife, but generally speaking, women didn’t exist in his world outside of her. It’s therefore not surprising that his stories have few women, and most of the ones who do exist play roles related to romantic love, home, and family. The two exceptions are Galadriel and Eowyn. The former fits a queen archetype—one of the few real-world contexts in which Tolkien would’ve regularly seen women—and the latter gets a story because she rejects the world of women in favor of the world of men. (It’s also implied that she makes this choice because she’s mentally maladjusted; once the war is over and everything’s fine again, she settles down with Faramir and goes back to her “normal” role as a woman.)
Yes, of course there have always been women existing alongside men in the world outside the home, but in the Western world in the modern era, they have been the exception, not the rule. A few girls and young women got to go on adventures before they got married and had children—and therefore we do see stories about such—but once those kids come along, women’s adventuring days are over. Until very recently, with delayed childbearing and the ready availability of childcare, women older than ~30 who weren’t too busy with their kids to go out and play with the boys were basically unicorns. (There is something to be said here about gender, class, and domestic labor in general, but I’ll leave that for another post.)
All that said: Davis is right that storytellers can and should choose to do better than the real world. At the very least, we’re responsible for representing the proportion of women as it is in the 21st century, not as we remember it from our more gender-segregated childhoods, but we should also do better than that. Just as visibility increases acceptance for LGBTs, people of color, and other marginalized groups, it’s the same with women outside of traditional contexts. The more women warriors, judges, cops, astronauts, chemists, professors, senators we see in our stories, the less jarring—and therefore upsetting to people who dislike change—it will be to see more women in those roles in the real world.
People who prefer the status quo, because they find the presence of non-straight-white-dudes in “their” worlds a threat to their unearned dominance will naturally resist changing how they write to help change the world for the better. Therefore, those of us who do want to see that change are going to have to work extra hard to balance them out. Simply putting more women in our stories—all over our stories—is the least we can do.
Singer of classical stuffs.
Shameless fanthing.Queer/Genderqueer. Feminist. Progressive. Gen X. Northwest snob. Journalist and media-deconstruction nerd. Happily married and an adoptive parent of a most excellent little boy. Endless pontificator on topics both sublime and ridiculous. Expect both breathless pop-culture squee and wordy rageflails about social justice.
My "home" fandom is Primeval, but these days I'm most heavily into Vikings, Game of Thrones and Arrow. Check my fandoms masterlist to see the other stuff I usually post about. If it has a kickass chick, a charming rogue, and/or an adorkable nerd in it, I probably like it.
I'm an incurable OT3 shipper, particularly of the alpha male/beta male/alpha female flavor, but I ship some pairs, too (het, slash and femslash.) See my ship list for details.
I don't have much time to make fanworks these days, but I have a few fics up on AO3 and some vids on YouTube (under Talea100.)
Fun fact: I had crushes on both C-3P0 and Data.