Things we liked, or didn’t like, from around the internet this week.
Who do you wear makeup for?
Of course! Of course we should make sure that women obsess over their appearances above all else, hate their bodies, and spend their lives running from aging and then pretend that this conversation is all about ‘judging women’. SHUT UP WORLD. This argument is the same one that derails every single conversation about prostitution. “Stop judging me!” ensures that every conversation about male power and sexism is personalized into an “I choose my choice!” concept of female empowerment and twists ‘choice’ into something completely personal and devoid of social and political context.
(I, Tallulah, would point out that I sometimes wear makeup as a defense. Red lipstick is my battle paint. I’m aware that is still buying into cultural tropes about beauty, but I do do it for me. Because it makes Me feel better. That’s not so much “I choose my choice” as “I recognise the patriarchal paradigm in which I live, and I am choosing to indulge it to take what strength I can from it”.
On short skirts and consent and grey areas. (trigger warning.)
Shakesville’s Today in Fat.
But the worst thing is that it didn’t get any better when I left, when I supposedly became free to express myself in whatever way I wished. My happiness at now being able to wear jeans (they had been outlawed for being “too Western”) turned into glee at being able to wear short skirts, low-cut tops, whatever I wanted. But now, again, I was not allowed my own sexuality and instead, that of others was thrust upon me.
My own sexuality is whatever makes me feel aroused, and because I’m a unique individual, the things that turn me on won’t always turn the next woman on.
Strong Female Characters (can we retire that phrase yet?) in real life.
The New Statesman reviews The Year in Sexism.
The US Violence Against Women Act expires. Lest we feel smug, let’s remember what’s happened to rape crisis and counselling services in New Zealand, shall we?
Penny Red on Rape Culture:
Rape does not have to be a fact of life. It is not your responsibility to be cautious, to restrict yourself, to be quieter and better-behaved so that men don’t rape you. If you choose to live your life in fear of male violence, nobody will think any less of you – the fear is pertinent and legitimate, and sometimes there are grave consequences for women who talk too loudly and flirt too much and take too many risks. Yet there are also consequences for those who don’t.
This is pretty great parenting.
The new feminism:
Meanwhile, it is hard to tear the feminist blogosphere away from endless debates about the sitcom Girls and whether “ladyblogs” are, in fact, feminist. A heavy focus on reproductive rights is necessary, but it crowds out much else. Domestic work more often refers to the division of work between career ladder-climbing husbands and wives than to full-time domestic workers. The online world of feminist commentary has made a diversity of voices available, but navel gazing often predominates.
Some great posts and articles on bodies and size and fat. On Feminist Philosophers, what say you found a magic pill for weightloss? Would you take it, even with all the nasty side effects? And via Feminist Philosophers, a link to a post on Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty: On feminist philosophy and weight loss. The post discusses an article in feminist philosophy journal Hypatia: if you have access to a university library, you may be able to track down the article. A quote from the article:
“I realized that maximizing my ability to move, quickly, effectively, strongly, was entirely conducive to my feminist aspirations and
activities. I wasn’t aspiring to skinniness or frailty, just the opposite: I wanted to bring strength and vigor to whatever struggle I chose. I wanted to get to my fighting weight.”
The New York Times discusses a recent study which suggests there is a lower mortality risk for people seemed to be overweight. And Echidne has an extended discussion of the study, and of the New York Times article: On Fat And Mortality. The Recent Meta-Analysis.
What makes the debates about fat so very nasty is the moral, even prudish tone. Being fat is seen as a behavioral problem, as a form of moral failure, as one of those deathly sins: greed or gluttony, made manifest. It’s one of the human vices one cannot hide the same way one can hide, say, cruelty or avarice. It’s viewed as ugly. Fat people have no willpower! Fat people are greedy! Fat people are Lesser Than Us Thin People.
All that is over and above any medical arguments about overweight or obesity. It’s the moralizing zeal of others which truly hurts anyone labeled overweight and the odd assumption that one can make those moralizing comments openly because, after all, being fat is bad for you.