Feminism is a huge label incorporating women of many different perspectives. Usually diversity is a positive thing. But how do you react when members of your own group are effectively fighting for the other side?
Elsa posted a comment on my last post. I posted a reply that became far too long for the comments section. Also, I believe these arguments need to see the light of day whenever they appear. They’re old, they’re tiresome, but they have to be addressed rather than left to stand unchallenged, so I’m posting my reply here instead.
Exploiting women (or anyone) ticks me off too:
Then I’m shocked you wrote about the Vegan Vixens in a positive manner.
At a harp seal benefit
For the record, I grew up in the feminist movement, literally, marching in the front row of demonstrations and attending NOW conventions around the country as a toddler, teenager, and young adult. I’ve never shied from labeling myself with the “F” word.
Great. But being feminist means standing up against all oppression of women, not just when it’s convenient, and not indulging in it yourself.
I agree with many of the things that you discuss (great post on the tortuga ads) but also believe that there should be room for all viewpoints as well as all body types and species to coexist.
If you liked the post on the tortuga ads, how can you object to this post? I’m making the same point in both posts!
Viewpoints that support exploiting women are not welcom. As far as body types go, I didn’t mention anything about body types. Granted, there is one specific body type that’s exploited in this particular manner, but that wasn’t my point.
Yes, women’s bodies are used to sell all sorts of things. But it’s our individual choice to be upset by that, to give it more power than it deserves.
Sigh, I’m working hard to be polite, because that statement really angers me. You’re saying it’s ok for women to be exploited, and we just need to take a happy pill so we’re not bothered by it. Just close your eyes and it will go away? No, you see WE NEED TO BE ENRAGED AT THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN, not shrug it off as being “not my problem”.
And I’d argue that the Vegan Vixens don’t cater to misogynists but to people who in some way worship women, albeit in a shallow, lightheartedly lustful way. Want misogyny? Turn on any prime time detective show where the victims are ususally young women being horrifically sliced and diced.
First of all, men who need to see women in a submissive, sexbot way are “real” misogynists. They do not worship women. If they did, women would be running countries, making top dollar, and enjoy full human rights. Those innocent men would be the ones in a subservient postition. After all, one is subservient to the object being worshipped.
Misogyny exists everywhere, and we should be fighting it everywhere. Selective attention to oppression does not work. The Vegan Vixens feed right into misogyny: we’re here for male enjoyment, so go right ahead and use us.
If some women want to prance around and get their male meathead counterparts to think a different way about what they eat, who cares? Let those people carry on with their silly antics.
I care. Lots of feminists care. Exploiting women for a noble cause is wrong. Those “silly” antics have consequences for women. This is exactly the same point I made in my post on turtle eggs and sexism. You can’t be selective in its application.
If you don’t like that the Vegan Vixens may look like the usual thin, stereotypical pop culture “hot” women, then work to create your own alternative. Not all people even like those body types anyway.
You’ve missed the point by a mile. My objection isn’t over the Vegan Vixens’ body type. I don’t want to spread the exploitation to women of all body types. I want to END the exploitation. Why are you fixated on body type when I never mentioned it?
There’s no stopping a different group of women from starting their own low-budget cable channel to give a different twist on the same subject.
Again, let’s spread the exploitation! After all, why should fat women miss out? Golly, sounds like fun!
In fact, I’d rather see more people prance around freely feeling as sexy as they want. Maybe there’d be more room for all types of people to feel comfortable in their own skin and for Americans to better respect nature, starting with our own bodies.
The Vegan Vixens aren’t just prancing around feeling sexy. They’re using their sexiness as a tool to get men’s attention in order to promote veganism. That isn’t self-expression, it’s exploiting women’s traditional role (sex object for men) to achieve another goal. That exploitation limits women.
I’ll say it again: exploiting women of all body types for any purpose is wrong. Period.
My “yech” about Howard Stern refers to his pandering to the lowest common denominator and his consistent degradation of women (and therefore men too) that has no redeeming value.
Well, that’s a good start.
Playboy, on the other hand, seems pretty benign when you compare it to other magazines and websites out there–and unlike Stern’s show, Playboy over the years at least offers solid writers and journalism. Yeah, the old thing about the articles.
As I said before, I’m opposed to picking and choosing which types of oppression matter, because they all matter! I don’t care if Playboy offers Nobel quality literature. It still puts women in the category of existing for men’s pleasure. Please spend some time thinking about the consequences of that.
As for my own eating a salami sandwich, I do that maybe twice a year. Nobody’s eco perfect. The world’s a big place. Some of the kindest people I know, who devote their lives to helping people, are meat eaters. And some of the least pleasant people I’ve met are vegans. And vice versa, as it takes all types, right?
Elsa, did you read my post? Really? Because your frequent mention of body types, and now this, make me really wonder.
I didn’t say anything about you eating salami. Brace yourself: I’m an omnivore. I rarely eat meat, but I do eat it. My objections to your post were centered on your endorsement of the Vegan Vixens as a positive thing for the environmental movement. It’s unacceptable to exploit women to further any cause.