People Aren’t Movies: Don’t Rate Them

I am a very harsh judge of films and I freely admit that 9 times out of 10, I leave a movie disappointed because I want perfection. I was having a conversation with my brother today and he told me how he realized that I rate movies the same way he rates women.

This floored me. I can rate a movie, pick it apart and critique it as much as I please because no matter how many individuals worked on the film, I am not making a numerical judgment on a single person’s worth. I feel as if this doesn’t need to even be said anymore, but apparently it’s still common practice for people to rate each other based on some unknown scale of hotness. This scale is the ultimate deciding factor in a human being’s worth. Because all people are ultimately worth is how good a partner they would be.

Women are just as guilty as men, but women are under a microscope to always be perfect in a way that men are not. The added pressure of women feeling that every time they walk past a man he is silently rating her based on how she dresses and the size of her breasts vs the size of her waist and hips is disturbing.

It makes me feel violated just walking down the street. I dress in superhero shirts and jeans (or shorts during the summer) and one day I went to high school in a jean skirt, leggings and pretty rocking combat boots. There was no reason for the outfit, I just wanted to look different. I remember one of the guys I was acquainted with kept looking at me. If I remember correctly, he said something along the lines of “Wow” because I was suddenly an attractive female and not just a quiet body to fill the space. I had gained worth by dressing more feminine and my rating went up as a result. Lucky me, I was now the proud owner of worth.

Lucky me.

I know this gets dangerously close to the people are not what they wear argument to combat slut shaming, but I feel it is also necessary to address here because I think slut shaming and ratings go hand in hand. It’s part of the cliched-but-true double edged sword. Women must be sexually available in order to be rated high, but if they appear too sexually available then their rating goes down because they must be a slut.

This logic infuriates me. I don’t know if I’m saying anything that hasn’t been said before, but I was disgusted by my brother’s comment about rating women because he said it so casually. His idea is that people have always rated each other therefore it must be natural, therefore it must be morally okay. Except it’s not. Killing people has also always gone on and there’s a conscious effort to stop that. Harm doesn’t need to be physical or blatant.

I don’t care if rating is a thing people do, or even it’s the norm because it’s wrong and reduces a person to a single number that is so arbitrary. I know I never want to feel that type of judgment and if you agree with me stop rating others if this a habit you have, or tell your friends the reasons why this a sexist practice that perpetuates oppression. Rating people needs to end if sexism is to end.

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Target: Sell Merchandise Not Women

I was alerted by a friend the other night about a disturbing set of Target commercials  which aired during the Golden Globes. Target’s “Every day Collection” is anything but. While Target’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Jeff Jones, claims their new adds embody Target’s slogan of “Expect More; Pay Less” I disagree. I think a more accurate description of the advertisements would be: “Expect a Target ad; Watch a Sexy Woman Change a Diaper”

Take a look for yourselves:

And that’s just one ad out of 8.

Did I miss the part of the Everyday woman? It is not okay for a major corporation like Target to be spewing misogynistic garbage into the media. I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps I could begin with the fashion model who is as far away from the Everyday woman as  is humanly possible. She looks fake. And not just in the airbrushed fashion model way, but every move she makes screams that someone is telling her to make it. I know she is a hired actor, but every movement of her body is on display. There are multiple screen shots of her crotch and from the moment she powders her hands with baby powder to the moment she backs away from the newly diapered baby she is not her own person.

Instead of empowering women in their housewife activities (as some viewers claim these ads do) it is doing the opposite.  There is nothing in this ad that praises the everyday woman who chooses to be a housewife. It’s disgusting that this woman is the ideal. She is represented as the only version of this elusive creature called Woman. This model, dressed in all white (does any one else think Purity Myth?) is both a doting housewife and incredibly sexy  while doing it.  Thus, the ad appeals to both men and women. If nothing else, Target is smart: they know they want women to think “If I buy my household goods at Target maybe I’ll be that woman”. Target knows they want men to think “How come my wife isn’t like that? Maybe we should go to Target”. It is blatant misogyny.

These ads hold up an ideal for women that is impossible and make women hate themselves. In the same stroke they teach men that the women in their lives are not good enough. The real women they know aren’t these cowgirl angels  who exist in a white vacuum of household goods and crawling happy babies.

Target presents women as sexualized aliens, resembling women only in the barest of body form. Listen to the narration. It is a woman’s voice who seductively tells the viewer to “master it” and then whispers in a sultry voice that this is the “everyday collection by Target”. It’s not the woman changing diapers who speaks because God forbid she gets a voice instead of just her body. No, it is a voice off camera meant to remind viewers just how sexy women are and how it is up to others-the media, men, etc-to control their sexuality and represent women how they feel it is best.  It is misogyny. I repeat: it is misogyny.

I urge anyone who reads this, to look up the other commercials on youtube, leave your comments, and tell Target that their hatred of women will not stand when there are those of us who see it for what it is. Boycott Target until they take the ads off the air. Write Target letters.

Use your voice before someone tries to take it from you.

Women Wear Bras…Get Over It

When I was in 5th grade, my mother started telling me to wear a tank top underneath my shirt. I didn’t understand at the time this was her way of transitioning me into wearing a bra without having to bring up such a distasteful word. And it’s word ripe with negative connotations.

After all, bras are a reminder that women have breasts and that this is a main biological difference between males and females. It is the reason women are not permitted to go shirtless despite both sexes having a chest area and nipples. Somehow, having breasts must make women inferior.

It seems that way, as when growing up I was constantly embarrassed to even say the word bra or have it come up in conversation. There was an episode of The Amanda Show where during a sketch in outer space, Amanda’s space ship was attacked by a giant bra. I was offended and mortified watching that episode with my brother and I left the room. I was too young to be wearing a bra yet, but I understood there was a horrible connotation with female underwear and I was ashamed I would one day be associated with something so vile. I explained that there was a flying bra in The Amanda Show to my mother and I had to use the offensive word and that somehow made the situation worse. It was barely 30 seconds out of a 20 minute television show, but that attacking bra still tugs at my mind that a woman’s body is evil and destructive.

I am well aware of the counter arguments to my point: 1. it’s a comedy show so they weren’t trying to be offensive  2.it was said by a woman and therefore it’s okay, and 3. I’m overreacting. But this wasn’t comedy to debunk stereotypes and it didn’t explain why a woman’s body and what she is told to wear is not evil. Laughter is only the best medicine when it’s laughter with purpose and direction not geared to oppress. As to the show starring a woman and the joke being said by a woman, that does not make the joke funny any more than it makes it excusable. Women do not have the right to put other women down anymore than men do. And no, this is not an overreaction because I was traumatized by this one memorable instance where it felt shameful and horrible to be a girl. No one should have to go through that.

From early middle school into most of high school I didn’t wear bras. I wore tank tops with bras built into them because I hated underwire and I was embarrassed when someone could see the outline of my bra through my shirt. But above all, I didn’t want to be associated with wearing bras. I didn’t want to be a woman.

The last time I went bra shopping with my mother at the mall, my brother was at the mall with us. To explain where we were going, my mother told him we were going to go get me unmentionables. Bra is not a word for polite conversation and is apparently not even polite speech within families. Heaven forbid my brother realize I’m a woman and that I wear a bra! Heaven forbid the world catches on that half the population is female and most are expected to wear bras! It all goes back to the nipple conundrum, I suppose.

This is not to perpetuate the stereotype of the bra burning feminist. My point is that female biology is treated radically different than male biology and this is a tactic to keep women feeling poorly about themselves. If women’s underwear is linked directly to sex and being sexy then there is a cultural connotation that sexualizes women’s bodies no matter whether they wear Victoria’s Secret or a run of the mill Sport’s Bra. It’s the breasts that are sexy and the bra just increases this natural sex appeal and so women are naturally more sexy than men (the female body is supposedly always sexy because of a woman’s breasts). By this theory, there is a  need to keep this sexy nature under control.

Breasts are always tempting to men and therefore evil, but to dissuade this perpetuation of rape culture being featured prominently in the media, when bras aren’t advertised as sexy they are portrayed as funny. The only reason bras can be played as humorous is because they are directly linked to women and not only is it okay to sexualize the female form but it is also okay to portray the sexualizing device as necessary and evil.

 

I’m not suggesting women go burn their bras as signs of the patriarchy and oppression, but use the word. Take back the word bra to mean support or however else you define it. If we can own the word feminist we can take back the word bra. Bras are not synonymous to Victoria’s Secret, they’re not a measure of your worth, they’re not designed as a gag to make fun of women, and above all they are not evil.

A woman’s body is not evil and there is nothing to be ashamed about.

*NOTE:For more information on wearing bras and why women should or should not wear them, check out this link:

http://www.007b.com/why_wear_bras.php