Posts in category Sexism

Being a Princess Isn’t Always a Fairytale

One more Reason to Wear Underwear

Here's a little something to ruin your faith in humanity. Bust Magazine ran this article about the legality of taking "upskirt" photos. These are photos in which a woman is out in a public place, such as a mall, a train station, a classroom -- and a guy takes a photo or video up her skirt, down her blouse, etc. These voyeur photos are used for the guy's pervy me-time or even posted in online forums or websites. You'd think this was illegal, but it's not in most states:
"The general precedent is that in public, an individual doesn’t have any reasonable expectations of privacy, simply because he or she’s in public. Stemming from that, physical characteristics that are viewable to the naked eye in public, without the use of special equipment, are fair game."

So basically, it's legal for creeps to take photos or videos of a woman's body parts WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT and even to post them online, as long as they're not using any "special equipment" to do so. Wow. The popular social bookmarking site Reddit even has a subcategory called "Creepshots" especially for these images (NSFW). Their description states:

"Use stealth, cunning and deviousness to capture the beauty of your unsuspecting, chosen target. ... There are a few people who have been upset about the content of CreepShots but it is vital for them to remember this: there is nothing illegal about this subreddit whatsoever. We may be immoral, creepy, sinister (some may even accuse us of being 'disturbed') individuals but there is nothing here that breaks any laws. When you are in public, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. We kindly ask women to respect our right to admire your bodies and stop complaining."


Wow -- that last line just makes me want to punch the guy who wrote it. But even though he'd deserve it, it would be illegal. How ironic. This is only one of the places where these images may end up. If your faith in humanity isn't completely ruined yet, it will be when you start reading some of the comments there, as they encourage and cheer on the photographer and weigh in on the hottness of the body parts of the unsuspecting women. 

I'm honestly depressed now. As the author of the Bust article says:

What about my expectations of privacy regarding the parts of my body that I cover with clothes? That sounds pretty reasonable to me. The majority of the legislation surrounding the upskirt issue seems to state that if I wear a skirt outside of my home, I should expect creeps to take photos or videos of what's under it."
I guess we're asking for it then, right ladies? Simply by being a woman in a public place, we're offering implicit permission to be perved on, like it or not. What about having a reasonable expectation that guys are going to act like decent human beings? Too bad we can't legislate that.

Don’t Become Silent


What Part of Liberation for Women Isn’t for You?

No Nursing in Public


Louis C.K. on rape and the 10 Commandments ...

Nightmare of 1912

A Lesson in Empathy


A high school teacher educates male students about street harassment by confronting their homophobia:

"We were discussing homosexuality ... and several boys made comments such as, 'That's disgusting.' We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.

The lightbulb went off. 'Oh,' I said. 'I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.' The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.

'But,' I continued. 'As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.'


The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

I Had a Dream

Satan’s Way

How Will He Balance the Roles of Dad and Politician?


That question is never asked of male politicians, is it?


The media doesn't generally define a man by his appearance (haggard, hot, old, ugly, fat) or through his personal relationships (husband, father, no kids) - he's just a human being. The focus is on his beliefs, his politics, his professional life, his integrity. His looks are irrelevant & his relationships are peripheral.


Which narrative would more strongly support a political candidate? Which narrative would lead people to take a person more seriously as a leader?


No wonder it's so hard to get more women in politics. :/


Why We Still Need Feminism

I Will Not Love You Long Time



The iconic 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket" offers an example of how racist and sexist terms are created and spread throughout pop culture. The Vietnam War era film popularized a few unfortunate quotes: "me love you long time," "me so horny," and "me sucky sucky." These quotes originated during a scene involving a Vietnamese prostitute bargaining with American servicemen. Regardless of the filmmakers' intent, these quotes have lived on as ways to sexualize and demean Vietnamese and other Asian women.


See the scene here:


If Men Posed Like Women …


The media's treatment of women as sex objects is a ubiquitous fact of life. Advertisements, fashion spreads, comic books, movie posters -- nearly everywhere you look, women are shown in various stages of undress and posed in positions that make them look vulnerable, submissive, and sexually available. Conversely, men are depicted in positions of power or dominance, e.g., standing while a woman is reclining, being fully clothed while she's undressed, etc. These differences reinforce inequality between the sexes. Really, how powerful can a woman feel when she's half-naked and awkwardly contorted?


It's an interesting social experiment to see what happens when men are placed in these typical "female" poses.

The image below features two Vanity Fair covers: the top one with fully-clothed fashion designer Tom Ford, along with a nude Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson; and the bottom one is a Vanity Fair spoof of their own cover with a fully-clothed Paul Rudd and a pretend-nude Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Jason Segel. In a separate issue, Vanity Fair also did a photo spread with comedians Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey, but posed them as typical sex objects. As Entertainment Weekly asks, would it be "... just as uproarious if some of those ladies vamped ironically in body stockings[?] ... Men being objectified is so silly as to be hilarious, but it’s better if funny women are also hot."


Here's a similar set of images showing nude female models huddled together and then one with the guys from the "Jackass" TV series and movies: 


The following "men-ups" were created by photographer Rion Sabean to parody classic pin-up poses. According to Rion, his work focuses on "... gender and sexuality, wherein I attempt to bring light to the scrutiny and judgments of a society that defines human beings under rigid, antiquated terms."


Artist Paul Richmond created a similar series from a gay male perspective. "I began the Cheesecake Boys series to rectify the inequalities in the underwear-flashing art genre known as pin-up," said Richmond.



Here's Richmond explaining how he came up with the concept, along with more examples of his work:



Fantasy author Jim Hines parodied women's poses on the covers of fantasy novels by trying to replicate the poses himself. (He also did a series posing like the men on romance novel covers). "... [M]ost of these covers are supposed to convey strong, sexy heroines, but these are not poses that suggest strength. You can’t fight from these stances. I could barely even walk," said Hines.



  Do these images look ridiculous? Silly? Maybe even homoerotic? Once men are placed in the same sexualized poses that women are traditionally seen in, it becomes clear how absurd -- and sexist -- these poses truly are.  

If It’s Not Hurting You

“That’s not sexist,” he says, as she strips on the screen. “She showed a lot more in that men’s magazine.” “She’s an object,” I say. “Irrelevant to the plot. It’s about telling women, ‘Shut up and look hot.’” But he likes naked chicks, Is that such a sin? Why does he care If it’s not hurting him?   “I’m not racist,” she says. “I have a black friend. I just don’t believe that the races should blend. The illegals come here and steal all our jobs. They need to learn English – they’re ignorant slobs!” Being white makes you lucky – No hoops to jump through. Racism’s not bad If it’s not hurting you.   “The gays force their beliefs and have lots of sex! They’ll redefine marriage – who knows what’s next? They flaunt their lifestyle, even during the day! It’s like they’re all trying to turn our kids gay!” Straights can get married, Show their love with a gem. If they’re blocking gay rights It’s not hurting them.   “You can’t have an abortion, because I don’t agree. I’ll make the decision – you’re public property. You had the sex; in fact, you’re a slut. So you will be punished. Now keep your legs shut.” Women don’t own their bodies, It’s different with men, Having no choice is okay – If it’s not hurting them.   “There’s a war on religion led by liberals and gays! They’re persecuting us when we don’t get our way! This nation is Christian! Your history tells lies. Jesus is the truth!” (Well, it’s my truth in disguise.) Church and state combine When voting from the pew. Legislating belief is fine – If it’s not hurting you.   “The poor are just lazy – they don’t like to work. They want us to pay while they get the perks. Now, perks for the wealthy is the American way! Tax breaks and loopholes let us keep all our pay.” You don’t have to share If the scale favors the few. When the poor kids don’t eat, It’s not hurting you.   You take for granted your freedom and rights If you never have to struggle and never have to fight. You can use your position of privilege and luck To selfishly judge, because who gives a fuck? It’s not your problem. You don’t have a clue What it’s like to be hurt When it’s not hurting you.

Purple Paper Project – Planters


I recently posted a Purple Paper Project ad for Yankee's "man candles". Now, here's another pointlessly gendered product -- mixed nuts.


Apparently, the best campaign slogan that Planters could come up with was: "The manliest mix we've ever assembled". Wow, that's weak. They're trying to sell nuts to guys! How hard can it be? (snicker) Where's the creativity ... or at least some juvenile humor? Fortunately, I can help!:

  • • Available in a canister or in a box of six individual nut sacks!
  • • These nuts aren't for women!
  • • Grab Planters' nuts today!
  • • Are you manly enough to put our nuts in your mouth?
  • • Please, bite our salty nuts!

Planters, feel free to have your marketing department contact me for more.



See more Purple Paper Project ads

A Woman’s Declaration of Independence

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book -- If Beauty Is inside, Why Do We Hate Our Guts?: Pop Culture, Sexism, & Body Image. Read the first chapter here.


It's time to declare independence, to separate ourselves from the bad habits, the stifling expectations, and the negative messages that no longer serve us (assuming they ever did).


It's time to declare independence from media messages that tell us we're ugly if we don't look like the "flawless" images of celebrities on the screen and in the magazines. It's time to stop buying into the manipulation and stop wasting time trying to chase an illusion that doesn't even exist.


It's time to declare independence from the belief that having the perfect body will make us worthy of love and respect. We're already worthy of love and respect in the bodies we have now -- no amount of weight loss or plastic surgery will increase our value.


It's time to declare independence from dieting, from deprivation, from seeing food as the enemy. The American weight loss industry makes nearly $60 billion a year trying to convince us that we're not good enough -- if diets worked, would they be this profitable? It's time to stop contributing to their false sense of hope.


It's time to declare independence from body loathing, from looking at our bodies with disgust instead of love. It's time to appreciate all of the amazing things they do for us -- the jiggly arms that give great hugs, the flabby thighs that carry us through the park, the droopy breasts that fed a child, the wounded heart that still knows how to love, the exhausted brain that still manages to tell our lungs to breathe.


It's time to declare independence from spending so much time, energy, and money trying to fit into someone else's idea of whom we should be. It's time to put ourselves first, to focus on our own desires and do what we want instead of what's expected of us. It's time to trust our instincts and become someone we're proud of. 


It's time to declare independence from shame, from the belief that we're not good enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not clever enough, not sexy enough. It's time to declare that we are already enough -- that we are perfectly imperfect exactly as we are.


It's time to declare independence from the oppressive labels of virgin or whore, straight or gay. Our sexuality does not define us. It can't possibly define what kind of person we are or what's in our hearts or our minds. Any attempt by others to claim otherwise is an attempt to control us, to police our behavior, and to shame us so that they don't have to examine their own ignorance and fear.


It's time to declare independence from the belief that we can bring sexual assault upon ourselves based on how provocatively we're dressed, how flirty we act, or how drunk we get. The only person responsible for a rapist's behavior is the rapist himself. We have a right to feel safe in the world.


It's time to declare independence from legislators who think the female body should be controlled by wealthy, middle-aged, white, conservative men. Our bodies belong to us -- it's time to declare our freedom to make our own decisions about them. Because if we cannot, then we are truly not equal citizens and this country as not as free it claims to be.


It's time to declare our independence from any force that tries to hold us down -- especially those forces that limit us from within.

Life Lessons from my 95-Year-Old Grandma

My grandma just celebrated her 95th birthday. It's hard for me to believe her age, because she hasn't changed much since I was a kid. Sure, she repeats herself a little, but so do I after a few glasses of wine. She walks with a cane since a knee surgery a few years ago, but she'll still show you a few dance moves if you ask. She has fabulous skin, which she attributes to her vitamin E cream and "sleeping on my head" (i.e., on her back with a few pillows). She is so sweet but has a wicked sense of humor. When people ask her how she's doing, her answers are either, "Fine and dandy, sweet as sugar candy!" or "I'm doing them all, and the cute ones twice!" She's my little Jewish grandma who stands at least a foot shorter than me (I'm 5'5"). She often reminds people: "I might be small, but I'm mighty -- Mighty Mouse!" And she is -- she's the leader of the family, always there with advice and opinions, whether you want to hear them or not. (We usually do.)


My grandma was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the middle child of seven and now has just one sister left. She wanted to be a nurse when she was a girl, but she got married as a teenager and moved across the country to California and started a family instead. She and my grandfather owned several businesses, from a neighborhood market and sandwich counter in the heart of Los Angeles to a motel near the coast that catered to travelers and truckers. She and my grandpa raised four children and ran the family businesses together. To this day, she still answers the office phone and does some bookkeeping. She was never just the little woman. Like she says, she's mighty -- Mighty Mouse.


My grandma taught me to trust my instincts, to pause when I wasn't sure and listen to the voice inside. Her 95 years have provided her with a lot of wisdom, so I asked her if she could share a few things with my readers. Here's what she had to say:


On Love:

"Your grandfather always used to tell me, 'As long as I'm with you, I'm happy.' You need to have a man who cares. Couples should be thoughtful of each other. If you want respect, you have to give respect."


On Self-Esteem:

"If you're not for yourself, who shall be for you? You've got to have self-worth and confidence. You have to have respect for yourself."


On Beauty:

"Looks aren't everything -- it's how your mind works and your heart. Don't be jealous of the next person. Make the best of what you have."


On Equality:

"If a man tries to control a woman, he's being very thoughtless. He's being selfish, absolutely. Just because she's female doesn't mean he should be able to take charge. You can't let a man take advantage of you."


On a Woman's Right to Choose:

"You have to do what makes you happy. You have to decide on that yourself. They have to leave it up to the woman."


I love that my 95-year-old grandma's a feminist, whether she realizes it or not. She's loving, strong, witty, feisty, and wise. I hope to be like her when I grow up.


Purple Paper Project – Purex

Not every guy has a mommy or a wife who does their laundry, so either there are lots of guys running around in filthy rags or they're actually washing their own clothes. It's time for ads to start reflecting reality. Real men do laundry, Purex, so you can make cartoon men do it too.

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Lysol

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Bissell

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Yankee Man Candles

I originally created the Purple Paper Project to critique the way advertisers market to women, but after receiving this new ad in my inbox today, I just couldn't resist!  

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Believe in Equality?: “U will be burn in hell for that one”


Advocating for same-sex marriage may not initially seem related to the topics of body image and sexism, but it is. I created and the Beauty Is Inside Facebook and Twitter pages to encourage self-acceptance and to serve as a reminder that our value as human beings lies within, hence the name "Beauty Is Inside". My intent was to inspire people to be the best version of themselves, to question society's limiting messages, and to speak out against them. Each of us has the inherent right to live our lives free from oppression. We deserve dignity and autonomy over our own bodies, including the right to be treated as more than a collection of sexual body parts, the right to control our own bodies and reproductive choices, and the right for consenting adults to love whom we want to love. There is no moral justification that entitles anyone to deny a person of these basic human rights.


But it doesn't keep people from trying. Last Friday, a subscriber to the Beauty Is Inside Facebook page told me that I was going to "burn in hell" after I posted this image:



The person -- a woman -- left this comment (errors left intact):

"So basically your saying that the bible is wrong when it clearly states that Homosexuality is wrong and is a sin. U will be burn in hell for that one."

I'm always surprised when a minority member doesn't see the irony in denying other minorities of their rights. I'm also surprised that a person would condemn me to burn in the fires of hell for believing that people have the right to love who they want. I was not at all surprised by the poor spelling and grammar though.


This comment pissed me off -- not because I fear some fire-and-brimstone afterlife retribution for my evil liberal ways -- but because it's a reminder that some people have such judgment and hatred inside of them and they'll use their religion to justify it. (I don't believe in the concept of hell anyway, so ooh! What a burn!)


Opposing equal rights is a way for a person with a form of social privilege (e.g., being straight, male, white, etc.) to have power over those with less privilege. They selfishly believe that they're entitled to the good stuff, but others aren't. The opposition to marriage equality is no different, but there's the added element of homophobia, which often stems from a person's shameful feelings about gay sex, or just sex in general. We live in a culture that's afraid of, yet obsessed with sex. Just consider how the media treat women's bodies as sexually objectified parts, how the government holds politicized debates about women's rights over our own bodies, how far-right conservatives call women sluts for using birth control, how both conservatives and the porn industry fetishize virginity, and how legislators and voters oppose same-sex marriage because the idea of same-sex sex grosses them out (or even turns them on).


Both exploiting and controlling another person's sexual expression are two sides of the same coin -- it defines people by their sexuality. People are more than mere bodies, so it's dehumanizing to equate what we do with the parts between our legs with who we are as human beings.


I believe that people can be defined much more accurately by their hearts and their minds. If judgmental homophobes want to condemn me to hell for thinking that we all have the right to be loved and accepted, to be treated as equal under the law, and to be defined by more than our sexuality -- then so be it. At least I'll be in good company.



Purple Paper Project – Dimetapp & Robitussin

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Bosch

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Resolve

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Cottonelle



See more Purple Paper Projects ads

Purple Paper Project – Sephora



See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Windex



See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Playskool & Hasbro


See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Swiffer

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – GoodNites


See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – La Salsa


See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Mamma Bella



See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Rimmel & Garnier


See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Carnation



See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project – Jet-Dry

See more Purple Paper Project ads

Purple Paper Project


I'm pleased to announce my new "ad campaign" -- introducing the "Purple Paper Project"! For this project, I'll be critiquing offensive advertising messages with the help of little purple papers and a little snark. Each new ad will be posted here on my blog, and I'll compile them together in the "Purple Paper Project" tab in the right sidebar.


We see about 3000 advertising messages everyday. Even when we're not paying attention, they're always in the background. Cumulatively, these messages affect how we feel about ourselves. In so many ways, they tell us we're too fat, our skin looks like crap, and our house is a mess. They teach us what society expects of us -- and how we're not measuring up. They play on our insecurities, and even invent new ones for us to obsess over (cankles, anyone?). But don't worry, because they're sure to have a product or service that can fix our "flaws"! How very convenient!


The more I started paying attention to these messages, the more I realized how manipulative, insulting, and sexist they were. And I also realized that I was buying right into them. Maybe I did need to lose weight, improve my skin, and clean my house more thoroughly.


Or maybe my weight, skin, and house were just fine the way they were.


Advertising is a one-way form of communication in which powerful corporations try to persuade us to spend our money by manipulating our insecurity. The "Purple Paper Project" is about turning this into a two-way conversation. Consumers have powerful voices too, and it's about time that we started talking back.


To kick this project off, here's an ad from Viva paper towels:



SLUT: See Limbaugh, Unevolved Troglodyte


Rush Limbaugh has been all over the news since his misogynistic rant about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who testified before Democratic members of Congress about birth control coverage being a necessary part of women's health. His rant went on for over three days, during which he called her a "slut" and a "prostitute," along with about 50 other insults. Apparently, each of those insults has now cost him an advertiser, as 50 of them (so far) have pulled their ads from his show. Granted, one must wonder why they ever decided to advertise with him in the first place. As a man who regularly spews sexist manure and the one who coined the term "feminazi," it's obviously not his first sexist rodeo. However, this time enough people grabbed the bully by the horns and put pressure on his advertisers to try to make it his last.


After several advertisers initially dropped him, he made a half-assed apology to Fluke, during which he just reiterated what he'd previously said. At that point, you'd think he might slither away from sexist rhetoric until the heat went down ... but nope. Just last week, he made demeaning comments about author Tracie McMillan, including calling her an "authorette" and stating: "What is it with all these overeducated white women?"


Actually, what is it with all these sexist and ignorant old white men? Clearly he's threatened by "overeducated white women" and "feminazis" -- and rightly so. We tend to think women should be treated with respect and fairness. And when we're called things like "slut," "prostitute," "overeducated," and "feminazi" by a cave-dwelling radio personality, we're likely to call him on his shit.



The most disturbing thing about Limbaugh's vile comments are that he isn't alone. Attitudes such as his underlie legislative and religious efforts to politicize our reproductive health and police our sexuality, and they also underlie violence against women in general. It's all about control. The attacks on reproductive rights aren't even about birth control -- they're about woman control. And words like slut are used to shame us, silence us, and put us back in our places.


One thing that cave-dwelling troglodytes are good at is lighting fires. And Limbaugh certainly lit a big one this time.


Referring to a woman as a "slut" and a "prostitute" for sharing her beliefs about birth control, saying that ”she wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex” and that she should post a sex video as repayment -- these statements aren't merely the sexist tirades of a bloated blowhard -- these are inflammatory comments on a grander scale. They contribute to a culture in which demeaning women is normalized. He's fueling the fires of those who share his misogynistic views, fueling their anger toward women for being immoral sluts because they dare to have sex without shame. He's fueling the justifications of those who see women as sexual objects who owe them sex. He's fueling the anger at women who dare to turn down sexual advances. He's fueling the claims that women ask to be harassed or raped because of how they act or dress. These words fuel the fires of those who share the opinion that women should have no voice, that we should be silenced so that we can't challenge their dominance. These are the beliefs underlying the verbal attacks by trolls on online comment boards when a woman dares to speak her mind. And these attitudes are the beliefs underlying more severe misogyny.


These words aren't uttered in a vacuum. Especially when they're uttered by a media personality with millions of like-minded viewers. Violent actions are precipitated by violent beliefs. In the same way that a disease epidemic affects the weakest members of society first, so does inflammatory rhetoric. Limbaugh reinforces the beliefs of those listeners who share his sexist views; those who have anger issues, antisocial personalities, or other psychological disorders may indeed act out that misogyny. His words fuel their beliefs and their justifications for treating women as objectified less-than-human beings. Thousands of women in this country are physically and sexually assaulted not only by strangers, but also by men they know, including their own partners. Men who see women as equals and deserving of respect do not generally beat and rape women. They also don't call us sluts or prostitutes or try to control our bodies.


A disturbed person may be the one who ultimately lights the match, but vile-hate-spewing-"entertainers" like Limbaugh are the ones providing the gasoline. And both need to be extinguished.


Super Sexism – Not Buying It


Unlike most commercials, those that air during the Super Bowl are ones that people actually want to watch. These $3.5-million-per-30-second-time-slots can be opportunities for companies to be clever, maybe even inspiring ... but instead, many insist on falling back on lazy and uninspired sexist clichés. This is so expected in fact, that, a campaign named after the brilliant documentary film, asked viewers to call out these companies on Twitter with the hashtag #notbuyingit.

Here are the 5 worst offenders, followed by a sampling of You Tube comments that show how sexist messages reinforce viewers' own sexist beliefs:


1) Teleflora -- In what seems more like a Victoria's Secret ad than an ad for a florist, a Victoria's Secret model explains to guys that purchasing a few stargazer lilies is enough to make a girl feel obligated to have sex:



And here are a few comments from enlightened viewers (typos left intact):

  • • "Shes so much more attractive when she doesnt speak lol" (49 thumbs up)
  • • "I was enjoying it, until she opened her mouth." (16 thumbs up)
  • • "It would be so cool to watch a bunch of fat ugly women, chowing down on chips, burgers and fries while they watched this commercial. Those hogs would be spewed out chewed food swearing at the tv. And fat ugly chicks care to comment on this? And how did you react?"

2) Fiat -- In this rarely-used cliché, an attractive woman inexplicably seduces an unattractive geek. She apparently finds being eye-groped a turn-on. I know that I totally wanted to do the last creeper who eye-groped me on the street. I mean what girl wouldn't?


And a few comments:

  • • "Insecure and/or ugly chicks tend call things 'sexist'. Lighten up."
  • • "if i buy that car i'll ride it hard:)"
  • • "This commercial gets 4 boners out of 5. There is nothing more sensual and intriguing than foreign women. American women are so one dimensional, this one is amazing. European and Latin women are the best in the world. American women are total crap!" (48 thumbs up)

3) NFL -- Here's the super-original fantasy of having a bunch of nearly-nude fembots mindlessly standing at attention in the background in case they're needed to fulfill the sexual fantasies of average-Joe-millionaires.


And a couple of comments:
  • • "great ad David! big pimpin!!"
  • • "Expansive girls can be had pretty cheap actually."

4) Go Daddy (shocking, I know!) -- Judging by their consistently pervy Super Bowl commercials, you'd think Joe Francis was somehow behind it all. Not sure what half-naked girls gone wild have to do with web-hosting, unless Go Daddy is the go-to web host for porn sites.


Here's a comment that's actually critical of the ad:

  • • "sexist douche bags run this company and the ads are almost always sexist. Jillian Michaels has lost any self respect as a woman by working with these tools"
And these two commenters quickly put her in her place:
  • • "Oh Stfu.. Your just mad cause you look like shit so you start calling people "sexist" because of their commericals just stfu and sit down.. They have a Job I don't see them complaining about it.."
  • • "You in the Kitchen?"

5) M&Ms -- And last, but not least sexist, and also oddly ironic ... we're introduced to Ms. Brown, an intelligent and articulate female M&M who voices her annoyance at being treated as eye candy, but whose objection gets shut down by an idiot:


Sigh. We feel your frustration, Ms. Brown M&M. We really do.

We All Need Allies


Susan G. Komen for the Cure has just reversed its decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood "after a category 5 shitstorm threatened to completely taint the brand," as Jezebel so eloquently put it. But the Komen brand has already been tainted by their hypocrisy -- if they're supposedly dedicated to women's health, why would they make decisions that support a political ideology that threatens women's health?


Yesterday, a friend defended Komen's right to withdraw their funding, arguing that they've still done a lot of good with the millions they've dedicated to fighting breast cancer. It wasn't my friend's support of Komen in itself that bothered me. It was that my friend is gay, and he didn't seem to recognize the harm in supporting a group that bends over to pressure from the conservative right.


Komen's good deeds don't erase their bad ones, just as the Salvation Army's charitable work doesn't erase their anti-choice and anti-gay "position statements." Komen's actions are part of an onslaught of right-wing conservative attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion access in the past year. These are the same people who'd also fight to prevent my friend from getting married. In fact Karen Handel, Komen's senior vice president for public policy and the one who's been credited with making the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, is also a bit of a homophobe. As the Metro Weekly reported:

During her 2010 Republican bid for Georgia governor, Handel supported defunding Planned Parenthood as well as outlawing gay adoption and criminalizing same-sex marriage statewide. In an interview with 11alive, an NBC affiliate, she was interviewed about her view on same-sex relationships:


Q:  You have said that you are -- you're against gay marriage, right?

A:  Mm hm. Absolutely. Marriage is between one man and one woman. And I've been very very clear about that. And the record is clear about any of the other issues like domestic partner benefits or anything like that. In fact in Fulton, I voted no on domestic partner benefits.


Q:  Are you against civil unions for gays?

A:  Yes. I think that's not an issue that has come forward in Georgia. We have the constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and I don't want to see any taxpayer funding going toward benefits etcetera for a couple that is not married. In our state and for me, marriage is for one man and one woman.


This isn't a coincidence. There's an interrelationship between all forms of oppression -- those who'd oppose the rights of one minority will often oppose the rights of another. In this way, they truly don't discriminate.


Throughout history, it's taken more than just members of a minority group to fight for their own rights. It took more than suffragettes to fight for women's right to vote. It took more than African-Americans to fight for Civil Rights. Today it takes more than homosexuals to fight for the right to marry whom they love. And it takes more than feminists to fight for women's rights to make our own reproductive decisions.


We all need allies.


One hundred years ago, there were plenty of men who weren't too keen on allowing women to vote -- let alone run for office -- a right that Handel now takes for granted. But there were enough male allies to turn the tide. It's infuriating when those in positions of privilege fight so hard to deny minorities these basic rights. It's depressing when others turn the other way and let it happen. But it's a damn shame when fellow minorities throw each other under the bus by failing to recognize that we're fighting similar battles. We all know what it feels like to have our rights determined by the majority. We're in the same damn boat. None of us should be willing to let another one sink.

"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."   -- Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), German Pastor, regarding political apathy

Harm against one is harm against another. We all must remember this ... for the cure to oppression -- no matter the type -- is to fight it together.

Cool Story, Babe


Ugh. Can't a girl enjoy a nice afternoon at the mall? It's bad enough that most stores' mirrors and lighting age us by 10 years and increase our weight by 10 pounds. It's bad enough that stores display boxes of damn hangers that talk about how skinny they are and imply how skinny we aren't. It's bad enough that we have to pass by 10-foot tall posters of nearly naked models in Victoria's Secret's windows. And it's even worse when the local Victoria's Secret is right next door to a See's candy shop. But come on. Seriously? A trip to the mall now has to include cheap insults about women being so intellectually boring that we should just get back in the kitchen? Guess we haven't come such a long way, baby ... when this kind of crap is still being sold.

Now I'm not sure what type of person would purchase this sweatshirt. Maybe the type of fine gentleman who'd also purchase Playboy cologne? Or maybe it would be the type of sell-out wife who'd wear this shirt?


Regardless, here's a "cool story": The next guy wearing this juvenile-not-even-close-to-witty-excuse-for-a-fashion-statement may indeed get some "babe" to make him a sandwich ... it just might be of the knuckle variety.

Whorin’ Ain’t Easy


In pop culture, a whore is demonized -- she's a woman who sells her body for money, a prostitute. She's promiscuous and immoral. She's unclean -- she's a dirty whore, a filthy whore. She's damaged goods and the opposite of virgin. It's a bad thing to "whore yourself out" or to be anyone's bitch. A Google image search for "whore" will bring up lots of porn (so make sure your SafeSearch is on) and quite a few demotivational posters about "attention whores". The whore doesn't have much power -- she's the thing, the object, the product being used.

In contrast, pimpin' is a compliment. A pimp is cool -- he's got money, nice clothes, a fancy car, and all the whores. If you search Google images for "pimp," you'll find pictures of rappers holding wads of cash; flamboyantly-dressed guys doing "pimp walks" in fur coats, big hats, and gold chains; pimps surrounded by scantily-clad hos; and ads for MTV's "Pimp My Ride". Even the pimps' violent language against women is mainstream (e.g., "bitch-slap," "smack that ho," "you're my bitch," etc.). Pimps are celebrated -- they have money, power, and control. They represent another concept that our culture celebrates: capitalism.


The concept of john is neither demonized, nor celebrated -- his role is largely ignored. Boys will be boys (and some boys will be johns) who are driven to seek out sex (in secret, hidden away from wives, girlfriends, or work buddies). A john is just a nameless, faceless customer. He's not particularly shamed like the whore, even though he's vital to the transaction. A john doesn't have a strong pop cultural presence. No one's ever going to "john their ride," nor are they ever accused of "johnin' themselves out". A Google image search for "john" brings up ... just a bunch of pictures of guys named John.

Celebrate the pimp,

ignore the john,

and demonize the whore –

this is what a sexist society looks like.

Here's a real-life "Pimp & Ho Party": Teenage girls running away to escape homes filled with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Forced to live on the streets in bad neighborhoods and sell their bodies, because there aren't many other options. Lingering on sidewalks waiting for potential customers prowling red-light districts in search of anonymous sex. Bending into lowered passenger-side car windows to negotiate bargain-basement-blowjobs with strangers. Risking sexually-transmitted diseases, sexual assault, and violence in exchange for cash. Sharing nightly earnings and bodies with pimps or risk even more violence. Using some of the cash to buy drugs and cheap alcohol to numb the pain.

Seriously, if you think pimpin' ain't easy, you should try whorin'.

Give a Hoot — Don’t Pollute!


I just found out that my own city in the suburbs is considering opening a Hooters. The new Hooters would replace another restaurant which also served a lot of meat -- Fuddruckers. The location is right across from Burlington Coat Factory and Buca di Beppo, bringing a whole new meaning to the term "strip mall."


By opening a location in my sleepy town, it appears as if Hooters has exhausted the tourist traps and they're hoping to expand to the suburban family demographic -- they do have a kid's menu after all. Apparently, Hooters is a family dining establishment when it can make them money, but it's also an adult establishment which offers "vicarious sexual entertainment" when it can get them out of equal employment lawsuits (e.g., requiring weight limits for female servers, not hiring male servers, etc.). Last year, a San Francisco attorney representing the National Organization for Women filed a complaint against Hooters claiming that they can't have it both ways -- that they can't defend themselves as adult establishments in lawsuits, while at the same time be catering to minors who are legally barred from such establishments.


Now, what kind of sick world are we living in if kids and sexual entertainment can't mix? What's next? Will they have to stop selling their "Hooters Gear" for kids? Where will responsible daddies buy their little sons "Hooters Girls Can't Keep Their Hands Off Me" t-shirts, "Your Crib or Mine?" bibs, or "I'm a Boob Man" rompers?


Anyway, back to my neighborhood -- let's just say that families who live in the suburbs aren't too thrilled with their potential new neighbor, as hundreds have let the city know. In addition to its breasts, legs, and thighs, Hooters is known for its wings. What if PETA came to town and used their typical tactics to protest Hooters, right alongside the local community? Would it be a protest or promotion? What a conundrum.


In response to the controversy, Hooter's CEO Rick Leukert was quoted in the local paper with a message to all the haters: "I would challenge them to go to Hooters and to look and see," he said. "The wonderful ladies who work for us are single moms, college students, family women, from all different backgrounds."


Oh, well that's a horse of a different color! People thought they were all just trashy sluts, but turns out they're actual real live women. Carry on then, for no one could have any other possible reason to object.


It's a clever little trick that the CEO chose to divert attention to the women's character, as if that were even the issue. No reasonable person questions whether Hooters girls deserve respect (please note: I said reasonable). Why not instead of debating their character, we debate the underlying sexist society that encourages its members to treat women's bodies as commodities? Or what if we debate the character of the pimps business people who profit from women's sexual objectification? Or what if we examine the psychological, sociological, and economic issues that lead women to see these types of jobs as viable/profitable options?


Surely, these will be the issues debated in the comments section of the local paper, right?


Yeah, right.


Once you wade through the stream of adolescent booby puns, you come across the truly sexist attitudes of the commenters -- and the lone woman who had the nerve to be a voice of reason, but instead became the object of their anger. The comments were primarily attacks on Hooters-hating women, and the attacks fell into three categories:


1) Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

2) You're just jealous because you're too fat/ugly to work there.

3) You're a humorless, butch, flannel-wearing, man-hating feminazi who wants to take away all the boobies. The nerve of some bitches!


How very enlightened and original! It's as if they've attended the Rush Limbaugh School for Women's Studies and Gender Relations. Such intellectual and well thought out arguments! And to think these fine men are members of my own community. The pride their mothers must feel.


While they differed in style, the Hooters CEO and the commenters were participating in the same process: by diverting attention to women's character (favorably or unfavorably), they were justifying their own sexism, their privileged male position in society, and their self-serving "right" to treat women as objects.

That's it -- I'm co-opting the owl idea from Hooters and asking Woodsy to consider moonlighting outside of his U.S. Forest Service gig as an anti-sexism bird of prey. It's about time that our society decides to give a hoot and not pollute ... with trashy places like Hooters. And we can use cutesy owls for it all.


You Tell the Woman!


Here's an excerpt from an awesome little cartoon that shows what it's like to be a woman who dares to participate in the World Wide Web and the wide world beyond. Enjoy (or maybe just get pissed).


Check out the rest here.


Sara Smile … I Said SMILE, Dammit!

Several men -- all strangers -- have told me to smile over the years. At work, on the street, in a store -- I'd hear variations of: "Why aren't you smiling?", "You should smile; you'd look prettier", or just flat-out "Smile!" I assumed it was some awkward form of flirtation, so I generally managed to force out a weak attempt. But it always made me feel uncomfortable and a bit irritated.

Commanding a strange woman to smile isn't exactly the pinnacle of good manners, so why did I feel compelled to do as I was told? Am I supposed to just grin like a fool on command? Don't I have a right to have a shitty day or simply not to feel like walking around with a Stepford-wife smile perpetually glued onto my face? It always felt kind of absurd and controlling.

I hadn't given it much thought until discovering that other women deal with this crap too. Just google "men telling women to smile" to see how common it is. Contrary to what I'd assumed, this is more than just a lame pick-up line. Why would some random jackass think it's at all acceptable to tell a strange woman to smile for him like a trained chimpanzee? What right does he have to dictate to a stranger how she should behave?

Well, if he believes he's more powerful than she is, then he probably believes that he does have the right. And the woman who smiles on command, however begrudgingly, may unconsciously agree. A recent study has found that those who break conventional rules of politeness were perceived as being more powerful. Examples of "powerful" behavior included: smiling less, interrupting others, overstepping boundaries, and speaking in a loud voice. In the study, those who acted rude, inconsiderate, or overbearing were seen as more able to get people to do what they wanted, more in control, and more competent in making decisions.

What would happen if a woman acted in a similarly condescending way? How many women tell male strangers, "Smile, it can't be that bad"? If they did, would they be seen as powerful, or would they just be seen as domineering bitches? We're socialized to be sweet, polite, and nice little girls who turn into sweet, polite, and nice little ladies. We may have gained a significant amount of power in the last hundred years, but we're still expected to act in pleasing ways and smile on command no matter how powerful we are -- or else we'll face the repercussions. And what are those repercussions? Well, there's a good chance that we'd be called a bitch or a cunt for refusing, because the kind of guy who'd command a woman to smile would be the same kind of guy who'd get defensive if she didn't.

In my previous post about how the media treat female politicians, I mentioned how powerful women often face gender-based attacks, which can be based on appearance (fat, ugly), sexuality (frigid, slut), femininity (butch, ball-breaker), or character (liberal, feminist). Even actions that appear to be compliments -- such as flirtatiously telling a woman to smile -- are attempts to direct how she acts and consequently serve as attempts to undermine her power.

When men tell women to smile on command, it's a boundary violation; it's an act of arrogance and dominance. It's a way to police women's behavior by making it pleasing to men. It's the underlying expectation that women should perform for men and serve their desires.

This sense of entitlement permits men to dictate what women should do with their bodies -- whether it's smile, look sexually available, or give birth whether they want to or not.

If this study's results can be broadly applied, then we associate “power” with being inconsiderate, overbearing, and controlling as a culture. This runs contrary to how women are expected to behave (or even how decent men should behave, for that matter). Either the rest of us are going to have to start acting more obnoxiously ourselves, or we're going to have to start redefining power in less obnoxious ways. 

Maybe then I'll feel like smiling.

From the Bibs of Babes


I spotted these bibs at Babies"R"Us while helping my friend choose gifts for her baby shower registry. Interesting how there's no equivalent cool mom bib. Apparently, moms are just supposed to be babes, even from the perspectives of their babies. What's next: My mom's DDs make better milk than your mom's B-cups?


Are You a Sell-Out Sister?


It’s hard to be a woman. So much is expected of us: we need to be the perfect wives/girlfriends, selfless moms/friends/daughters, successful businesswomen -- all while being beautiful and thin. We’d like to think that since other women face similar challenges, that they would support us in ours. We’d like to think that we’d do the same for them. But sadly, this is often not the case. We tend to compete more than collaborate. We pick each other apart with the same critical eyes through which we see ourselves. Deep inside, we think that by knocking her down a few pegs, we might not feel so deficient in comparison. But it never works. In subtle ways, Sell-Out Sisters sabotage the collective power of us all. It’s not just the mean girls who’ll throw a fellow sister under the bus.

  30 Signs of a Sell-Out Sister:
  1. comparing and competing
  2. judging or insulting ourselves and other women
  3. accepting the media’s superficial definition of femininity
  4. minimizing our opinions
  5. judging another woman’s choice to work or stay at home with kids
  6. making snide comments about another woman’s looks
  7. supporting companies who demean women in their advertising
  8. agreeing with the media that any amount of fat is unacceptable
  9. buying into the $55 billion-dollar-a-year diet industry
  10. agreeing that physical imperfection is ugly
  11. making fat jokes or laughing at them
  12. gossiping about a woman sleeping around
  13. going to movies that treat women as primarily sex objects
  14. accepting sexism and misogyny without questioning
  15. calling other women sluts, cunts, bitches, or whores
  16. not speaking up when we’re offended or we disagree
  17. sabotaging another woman's career advancement
  18. devaluing our internal qualities
  19. interfering with other women's reproductive freedom
  20. trying to silence other women
  21. embracing the porn star/stripper conception of femininity
  22. flashing our breasts
  23. watching shows in which women compete based on looks
  24. being publicly sexual with other women merely for male attention
  25. treating ourselves as objects for men’s arousal
  26. believing that being sexy is the most important quality in women
  27. idolizing celebrities and models as beauty ideals
  28. idolizing celebrities and models as actual role models
  29. seeing beauty ideals as obtainable if only we tried hard enough
  30. buying tabloids that gossip about which celebrities have packed on the pounds


NOTE: NSFW image below

I had just finished writing this post when I received an email forward from someone close to me. It was a perfect example of a Sell-Out Sister. The woman who sent me this has been morbidly obese for much of her life. Since she was a child, she's been ridiculed and treated poorly due to her weight, and this treatment continued into adulthood. This makes her selling out particularly sad.


Here's the email:

Subject: FW: Garlic Warning!!!!! Must Read This is terrible !!!!!!!!
OMG...this is really terrible. And I have been touting the benefits of garlic for years!!! I hope this doesn't happen to anyone I recommended it to.

For years, doctors and scientists have told us that some foods are good for us, only to be told later that they bad for us, and again they tell us that some foods are bad for us, and all the time they've been good for us... and there doesn't seem to be much proof either way to suggest what is good or bad... until now, that is.


Garlic is definitely BAD for us if it's true that "You Are What You Eat!"

...scroll down...


You have been Garlic'd. Now you're it!! One rule to this game ... You CANNOT get someone who has already gotten you! So get as many people as you can! (before they get you) I got you first ... You can't get me back!

  Just imagine what women could do if we worked together instead of against each other.

Damn – That’s Some Hot Chocolate!

Call me uptight, but I would never have sex with my chocolate or my broom – regardless of what the commercials would have one believe. Each 30-second spot shows women seeking out romantic relationships with these and other inanimate objects.
Women seem to particularly enjoy making out with chocolate. In our image-and-diet-obsessed culture, indulgences like chocolate are forbidden. It's a guilty pleasure that we should have in secret. One must not show off that she engages in such sinful activities lest she be deemed a fat gluttonous pig. Eating chocolate is our dirty little secret, but oh how it pleasures us. We become practically insatiable, but then the shame sets in and we abstain for awhile.
What do you think happens when we're culturally pressured to be chocolate virgins? We turn into chocolate whores, of course.

Seriously, Dove®. Just because I love your chocolate, it doesn’t mean I love your chocolate.

I’m even less likely to love sweeping the floor. This relationship is a little different than the one we have with chocolate though. It doesn't matter that it's 2011 -- in the world of commercials, cleaning is still women's work. When we’re not using Bounty® to cheerfully wipe up the bounty of milk that our 5-year-olds spill all over the kitchen floor, we're being romanced by our cleaning products. According to the tagline, “Swiffer® gives cleaning a whole new meaning.” Apparently, that meaning implies that we like to get dirty with our cleaning products.

(Looks like this woman can’t handle their differences, so she leaves the broom for a Swiffer®. Although the broom bristles at first, he ends up replacing his human female with a rake. Another meaningless relationship left in the dust.)
If women are so hard up for companionship that we’re hooking up with our brooms, then we’re some pretty desperate housewives indeed. Who’d heavy pet her Swiffer® WetJet? Who’d think her Swiffer® Duster could ever pass muster? Who’d aim for no deeper than her Swiffer® Sweeper? Who’s that lady?
In the context of this absurd alternate universe in which human females choose common household products as mates, I suppose I would have to choose the chocolate over the broom. At least chocolate is sweet and rich, caring for my heart with antioxidants and getting me giddy with endorphins. I could just put a piece between my lips, savor it and let the smooth creaminess slowly melt across my tongue and fill my mouth with pleasure until it becomes a part of me. Ahhh ... how romantic.
Can a broom do all that? Hell, not even Swiffer® can.
Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee