Has anything changed since the feminist movement of the seventies, or are we still fighting the same battles?

 

In my view, it’s a mixed bag. Women in the West are generally more economically independent and have more varied career opportunities than were available 40 years ago (though most non-western women are not so fortunate). On the whole, I think women are less willing to accept sexist behaviour from their partners and expect them to pull their weight more on the domestic front (though there’s still an imbalance in the division of labour, with women taking more responsibility for housekeeping and childcare).

 

On the other hand, I feel that we’ve gone backwards when it comes to the objectification of women’s bodies. Back in the seventies we complained about things like the Miss World contest and ads with women draped over cars and motorbikes, but in retrospect that was really tame stuff compared to the commodification of the female body that goes on now. It makes me feel like a prude (and I’m not), but I feel shocked at the way women’s liberation seems to have resulted in sexual images of women being used to sell everything from shoe polish to chewing gum. And the claim is that it’s all an expression of women’s freedom. And don’t get me onto the subject of fashion – especially girls wearing cripplingly high heels and bum-hugging skirts and bare midriffs in deepest winter. And I don’t see much in the way of feminist critiques of all this, so maybe feminism’s moved on and I’m just stuck in the seventies.

 

What are the issues for todays' feminists?

Tags: feminist-challenges, feminists, seventies, sexual-objects, women

Views: 37

Replies to This Discussion

THANK YOU for your precious input on how feminism needs not advance but only hold ground. Well, that really says it all.

Until the next swing in the cycle, yes.  Then, you push back hard.

 

You don't keep pushing off in the extremes, when you've got a large, grassroots push in the opposite direction.  That only gets you labeled an extremist and mocked in the mainstream media.  This is basic political strategy.  It's about choosing your battles.

Sandy, I agree with you, and there's lots more than that which is worse now. But the one thing I wanted to say is, you have no need to accept that "prude" crap they try to pin on us when we object to being constantly sexualized and treated as if that were our only value and purpose.

Those who want to perpetuate the position of women as the second/sex class scream that we're uptight and that all the objectification and consumption of women like disposable consumer products harmless. Well it's NOT. And we are not prudes for pointing it out or refusing to capitulate!!

That word is used against us for a reason - because they want to set up a false dichotomy in which our only choices are to acquiesce to objectification or be considered uncool. Well fuck that. It's a LIE.

(And man, I haven't been around here for a bit but I can see there are some assholes here who can't stand us speaking up for ourselves and have to try teaching us how wrong we are. F off, you dicks!)

"F off, you dicks!"

I concede.  The eloquence of your argument cannot be refuted.

How amusing.  Absolutely no eloquence was intended.  Do you not understand linguistic register?

No matter...you also clearly mistook yourself for someone I may have thought worthy of address with the use of polite discourse. I assure you, such is not the case.  I have herewith granted you one exception.

Henceforth, if you should feel you deserve any sort of response from me, you may substitute the following in place of such lacunae:

*crickets*
I see you've been occupied with your thesaurus since I shamed you into switching from the vernacular.  Well, some progress, at least, has been accomplished.

There are so many things I can think of, but I think I'll point out some which affect me as a woman in the south:

 

-The american standard of beauty is still thin, blonde, and pale. As a woman of color, I tend to just lift my eyebrows when I am(often) informed I do not fit such mold and because of that, should just take what I can get(no thanks!). Where is the beauty in diversity I keep hearing about? In fashion mags a good bit of the models are still White and young. As you can gather, I'm a big fan of what Dove is doing.

 

-Speaking of fashion, when did it become a great idea to wear a skirt so short that your protologist can tell you what you had for supper two weeks ago? I'm not against sexy clothes or even heels(if it makes you feel pretty, go for it but please put some inserts in!) but I am against dressing improperly for the season. You will still be pretty in jeans and a sweater. No need to get frostbite on your noonie because you want to look "cute".

 

-In the realm of sex, I keep reading articles about how women are expecting more out of sex, but when I look at my friends, they are just happy if the guy juggles their boobs around. And there is still that sterotype that a woman who is sexually adventurous will put out for anyone. Hense the boys(sorry, they aren't real mean) will call you a cocktease if you flirt and don't put out. As my boyfriend(very astutely) puts it: men call girls who wouldn't sleep with them bitches and women who do sleep with them sluts(they are shooting themselves in the foot I tell you). Anyway, there is still that pressure to sleep with him "to keep him" even if you don't feel ready. It shows a lot of character for a guy to sit there and be alright with waiting(or even initiating the waiting himself).

 

-Back on fashion. When did six year olds start dressing like 40 year old strippers??(nothing against strippers but the outfits...no). When I was six, I was happy when one of my shirts didn't have puffy paint on them. Now, girls are demanding expensive jeans and t-shirts with the word "jailbait" on them. I was born in the 80's, so my family was still pretty conservative. Girls in my family didn't even wear "adult colors" like black until they became teens. I'm not saying we should get back to that, but we need to really pull in the kinderwhore look going on.

 

-Sex Work. I'm most likely alone in this, but I really think that we need to freaking legalize prostitution. Not because I think women being paid small amounts of money to do the really icky things we say "no" to is great, but more of a "if we regulate it, they can get testing and actually prosecute abusive pimps." I'm going to sound jaded in this, but prostitution now really just amounts to slavery. Also, we need to help rein in the vitrol being thrown at those who do work in the sex industry(like strippers and even porn stars). We can't say that women need to be treated with respect in one hand, then give the angry eye to a woman who chose(yes, chose) to go into pornography. That being said, pornography itself needs to be more regulated. Right now, the major fantasy is this: ugly man bangs hot chick he'd never meet in real life unless his name was Donald Trump. From that, there are variations on this theme which go from the goofy "Pirates(dear me...I never laughed so hard at bad acting) to the very disturbing "rape porn" which is peddled by the smaller groups. There are female owned porn-houses(is that what we are to call them) like Violet Blue and so on. But sadly they get passed over for the "bitches and hoes with gaping holes XXXI" film. And don't get me started on the laughable interracial porn business. It makes me roll my eyes.

 

-Education. We are making greater gains in education, accounting for more of the Doctorates and up but we are still a minority in Science and Math. The idea that a girl who knows science or math is an unlovable nerd should be dealt with. And we honestly need to push girls more in that area, and really praising them when they get it the answers right.

 

-Our Daughters. I don't have children yet, but when I do, I want to be able to tell them with a straight face that their intelligence is just as important, if not more so than the outside. Because what use is it to have shiny hair and not be able to do long division? Some circles(my family included) really pushed beauty over brains, but since I didn't fit in the "beauty", I went for the brains. My mom was the same way, and let me tell you it is a never ending source of facepalming having someone act like they are better than you(who is going to college and childless) just because they are better looking. Or even skinnier.

 

Our Friendships. We tend to say that we want equality, but we from time to time don't treat our fellow females with the same respect and dignity we want. We call them "bitches" when they do something we don't like(I'm not a fan of that word. It conotates that the woman is an unfeeling animal which only use in life is to be humped by another dog). Or we call them "whores" when they sleep with the guy we like(but they didn't know because we said nothing). I'm not saying that we should treat the mean girls as they treat us, but instead rise above it. And really get to know some stalwart friends. Because your boyfriend/husband/lover can only hug you so much because your cramping. But he doesn't understand that you feel like someone is treating your uterus like a football(hike!). He only sees a very cranky(rightfully so) you. Having good female friends can help you out in that area. But they tend to be hard to find, because the society we are raised in. We are taught to be suspicious of each other, attack them with a smile on our face because men are a dwindling resource(wtf...not everyone is straight..) and our guy is just the end all be all. Or we feel like we have to one up them. It shouldn't be so. It really shouldn't.

 

-Relationships.We need to, as a whole(all women not just us) be honest about what we want. Yes, it may hurt some feelings and even make you feel like an ass, but being honest in a relationship frees everyone. It frees you from pretending to be something you aren't and it frees him from the very same thing. Because if you want someone who is George Clooney but you settle for Barney Fife, you might not be too happy.

nice post. I'll say this, I've been thankful to many black women who've helped me be more comfortable with my slightly oversized body and musculature. I've met amazing women in SE Florida and the Caribbean. Canada, though you'd never think that from the way Canadians portray themselves, holds extremely high standards on skinniness. It's a hoighty toighty attitude that is prevalent across the country and across our own cultures. I also agree that prostitution and porn need to be regulated. Mature women in porn may be there of their own volition now, but most porn start barely out of their teens because their economic choices are limited by circumstance, that is not "own volition". There are some who state that women in porn are well paid, but that's only the celebs. The bottom half or porn workers are paid per scene, at rates not much higher than prostitution, with no royalties. A 100$ job in a bordello or 100$ job for a scene in a film that will travel the world and make many others rich, that is not fair payment. I liked where feminism was headed in the 80s, but we've lost ground since then, cheerleaders, pageants, procreation, objectification, moralisation, have all regained ground since the 90s, we are regressing.

I agree with you there. I just want to know: what the heck do we need cheerleaders for? I mean, I know it's a sport in it's own way(people actually can get hurt from it) but it isn't regulated as one. Almost as if the coach wants crippled kids.

 

pageants don't bother me as much, because I tend to ignore them. But honestly, it does foster a bit of a "princess" attitude about things. And the last thing we need is a girl who thinks that her self worth is attached to how she looks in a bikini.

 

The procreation thing, Yes, I get so blooming angry when some guy tries to tell me that I need to become a mother because that is what nature and God intended. Nothing against motherhood, but why is being a mom such an accomplishment? Granted, for women like me who suffer from fertility issues it seems like a big one, but seriously. Emotions aside, why?

 

The objectification thing. Oh gosh yes! And it's weird that I see it more in Christian circles than in the "sinful world". The big thing, when I was a fundie, was to stay a virgin until you are married. There is no mention about emotions, struggling with wanting to rip off your boyfriend's clothes, nothing. And I asked one time "what do you do if you just don't like him that way?"(as in want to have sex with him). No one really thought about that. I guess because it detracts from the church...

[...] was to stay a virgin until you are married. There is no mention about emotions, struggling with wanting to rip off your boyfriend's clothes, nothing. [...]

 

Have you watched Big Love? in season two when the male teen pokes his girlfriend for the very first time it goes like this:

-you ready?

-ready.

(each gets half undressed)

(guy lays on girl)

(guy reaches ineptly for penis)

(poke) 3 seconds....

(done)

No wonder first times can be so painful, painful consequences of no sex ed!

 

I was lucky my teen years were in a very liberated society, I had no virginity issues whatsoever, and copulation was a gradual process through years of experimentation :)

Lucky, you are.

I was told that if I were to lose my virginity before I was married, that I'd lose value. Because apparently I was a house.

 

When I did lose my virginity, it literally was a form of rebellion(I was almost 21). My mom upon finding out, if I am correct, called me a whore.

Wow, that's harsh...

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