I think the first responsibility is to acknowledge that there is power in those images, that there is power in advertising, magazine covers, that there is power in that and that there is thought to that, that there are people who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding how people will have an emotional, intellectual response to an image, to a sound, to a voice. That is what they have studied, and that his what they’re getting paid six-figure salaries to do, if not seven figures. And that to then pretend that all that knowledge means nothing, that they are servants of the people and only reflecting back what people want is utterly ridiculous.
Welcome back to the 1950s.
A good old fashioned point-counterpoint!
Sure, Del Rey owns her sexuality at times, but even then she plays right into the gendered dynamic that has existed pretty much forever. And she hardly offers a nuanced perspective on it. On “Fucked My Way Up to the Top,” Del Rey throws a punchy title onto a song — yet another one about powerful men and the women who need them — that withers down into the same old dependency line: “Need you, baby / Like I breathe you, baby.” That’s at the core of almost all her songs.
So what’s wrong with that? Lorde put it pretty eloquently when she discussed this line of thinking: “[It’s] so unhealthy for young girls to be listening to, you know: ‘I’m nothing without you.’ This sort of shirt-tugging, desperate, don’t leave me stuff. That’s not a good thing for young girls, even young people, to hear.
But still, it’s somewhat unfair to pin all of this on Del Rey — after all, no one paid Lizzy Grant much attention until she tried on the glamorized, old Hollywood Del Rey costume, so we’re all partially to blame for encouraging her to play up that character.
And, as Ann Friedman puts it, “The ‘Are you a feminist?’ test is most often administered to young, female celebrities who have dared to challenge stereotypes or allude to their beliefs in gender equality.” Asking Del Rey, or any young female celebrity, about their feminist politics is a trap that puts them between the “feminist police” and the fearmongers who task themselves with sniffing out radicalism, Friedman says.
The sexualization of girls and the infantilization of adult women are two sides of the same coin. They both tell us that we should find youth, inexperience, and naivete sexy in women, but not in men. This reinforces a power and status difference between men and women, where vulnerability, weakness, and dependency and their opposites are gendered traits: desirable in one sex but not the other.
When 99% of the female population uses contraception, it’s sad that we can’t just come out and say that we use it for sex. And that we like the sex – a lot.
Jessica Valenti, on making health excuses for why we use birth control
(Because even though these reasons are very valid, we shouldn’t have to hide the fact that we use it for sex too.)
Check out her article for the Guardian. (via fuck-yeah-feminist)
What kind of media are we looking at, when we worry about misogyny?
“There’s no positive feminist alternative to the Disney model of romance,” an old friend told me late one night. As is not unusual in conversations with me, the topic of feminism had come up, and I…
How frozen, static, and fixed in place do we want to be?
"But it’s not just the gendered breakdown of chores that feminism refuses to assume; it’s things like how wedding engagements work, how childcare will happen, or whether you’ll have children–not to mention the acknowledgement that monogamy isn’t the only relationship model. We get to negotiate each of those for ourselves as well. All those negotiations require conversation.
There’s a lot to love about love, but some of the closest, most romantic moments are those conversations. They can be quiet, cuddly, sweet, difficult, funny. They’re intimate because they’re vulnerable. They’re bonding moments because they’re when we reveal ourselves to each other and talk not about what we’re expected to want but what we, as individuals and in relation to each other, actually want from this thing we’re creating together.
And that’s really the crux of it: we’re creating something new and totally ours, together. That’s the feminist love story. Feminist relationships don’t expect you to fall into two neat cookie cutters or gender roles. They don’t even expect you to mostly fit (though it’s fine if you could).”
On the one hand, totally obvious, but…
What made this case seem obscene to the LA city attorney?