Opinions

29 Comments

Opinions. They’re like cellulite. Most of us have some. Some have more than others. Its no fun talking to those who have none at all. I’m often hesitant to reveal mine – my opinions that is. Today I am going to step outside of my proverbial comfort zone and tackle a subject that  provokes passion in even the most polictically unengaged. That is the big F – Feminism.

Before I dive into these murky waters let me clarify a few things. Of course I am a feminist. Last time I looked I had lady bits. I’ve also got two gorgeous, bright, feisty daughters. Naturally I believe that women should be equally represented in the workplace, in public life and in the community. Of course I am opposed to violence against women. I am opposed to violence against men and horses too for that matter.

Caitlin Moran a writer who has smashed the cliches about humourless, man hating, hairy feminists sums up my position perfectly thus;

CM med

and

I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor “anti-men.” I’m just “Thumbs up for the six billion.”

So we’ve established that I count myself as a feminist BUT (you knew a but was coming) I am disappointed by much of the feminist commentary in our main stream media. Frankly there’s alot of fluffy click bait masquerading as feminism out there. I have no problem with fluffy click bait but we’ve got serious issues to discuss right now.

The body image chestnut gets rolled on a basis. This piece by Clementine Ford had me banging my head against my desk.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-beauty/men-stop-telling-us-to-love-our-bodies-20140522-38rcg.html

The article is about a US comedian who based a routine around encouraging women to love and accept their bodies. Clementine slammed him for being condescending. She reasoned that women’s hatred of the bodies runs far deeper than seeking approval from men. That may be true – women are judged and valued for their looks to a far greater extent than men are. However this poor sod was trying to do the right thing. He was taking a stand against society’s increasingly impossible standards of beauty and telling us we are loved and accepted as we are. Surely this is a step in the right direction? One wonders if it is possible for a man to say anything right?

The body image band wagon rolled on with this

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/miss-indiana-praised-for-normal-body-20140611-39wn4.html

Indiana’s entrant in the recent Miss USA pageant caused a social media meltdown because her perfectly proportioned and well toned figure is not skeletal.

Miss Indiana.

Miss Indiana.

I doubt most men would “kick her out” as it were. “Attractive woman in a beauty pageant” makes for an unsurprising headline. I’m wondering why in 2014 we are still having these pageants.  Ironically thanks to feminism women have the right to parade around in heels and bikinis if they wish. Nevertheless in the interests of true equality I ask where are the male pageants? ( I’m not talking body building here – that is considered a sport)  I would love to see a gaggle of be-speedoed hunks strutting their stuff on stage. I would happily express shock on social media if – for example, Mr Indiana’s biceps were smaller than his head.

Speaking of scantily clad men, today’s Sydney Morning Herald carried this.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/is-instagram-soft-porn-a-good-thing-20140617-3aau4.html

In case you were unaware (yeh right) there is an Instagram site called Porn for Women. It features shirtless hunks gazing broodily into the camera – and Alecia Simmonds is complaining about this. Seriously? Apparently the site is neither porny nor ethnically diverse enough. This could be easily remedied by setting up a rival site called “Pornier and ethnically diverse porn for women”.

I pride myself on thorough research and headed to Instragram immediately. I too was disgruntled by what I found. Tom Hiddleston is woefully under represented as are Damien Lewis, Eddie Redmayne, Rupert Grint and Alexander Ludwig**. There is a shameful bias against Rangas on this site. Whilst it featured Tom Hardy a plenty (not a problem) there was NO Colin Firth! How could any self respecting Porn for Women exclude Mr Darcy in that shirt?

No Darcy on Porn for Women? That's a feminist issue!

No Darcy? That’s a feminist issue!

To the mainstream media I say – whilst things have improved dramatically for women over the past few decades there’s still a long way to go. I want to see articles dealing with issues like the under representation of women in leadership both in business and government. We need more discussion about work/life balance. More seriously some of the measures in recent Federal Budget will be catastrophic for the most vulnerable women in society – eg cuts to funding of women’s refuges. We need the feminist press to make a big loud noise about this NOW.

Am I looking for wisdom in all the wrong places?

What do you think of the current feminist dialogue?

Who are your favorite commentators?

I welcome your dissent but not if you disagree about Colin Firth.

Mumabulous

*  Clementine Ford is a fierce campaigner against violence against woman and has copped much flack on social media for daring to have an opinion. Some of it has been threatening and quite vile. On the whole I admire her courage but I dont agree with everything she’s written.

** Google him – YOU wont regret it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 thoughts on “Opinions

  1. Well for starters I could find the IG porn for women site, bugger. I have to say it appears feminist debate has almost disappeared off the face of the earth because supposedly women do get the same treatment as men these days, but that’s a load of shite! I think there might be a few feminist journos rising through the ranks, but it’ll be at least 10 years before anyone will want to take them seriously. There are so many issues in regards to women being underrepresented in a wide range of professions, particularly political but they just aren’t spoken about. I remember when NZ had Helen Clark as their PM, I interviewed her many a time and she was one of the smartest politicians around but all everyone gave a shit about was her manly voice, bad hairdo and sexual orientation. This so-called feminism movement appears to be waning in my opinion, well in the mainstream media. In saying all that, I get my quota from SBS and ABC and there are plenty of fab female correspondents kicking ass all over the world, these chicks are who I respect.

  2. I nearly got completely distracted by your reference to Damien Lewis (related: COME BACK HOMELAND!!). But I do have something to say on this issue because it’s something I struggle with internally. I WANT to be a feminist – like your comedian friend I know that without it I would enjoy very few of the privileges I take for granted today. But… every fluffy, shrill, “go girlfriend” article I read makes me want to disassociate myself from the concept. Not only is it irritating but it’s ultimately damaging. By giving feminism the click-bait treatment these writers fill the with media with guff that leaves limited room for intelligent discussion. This probably suits out heirachical, male dominated media quite well and gives them the power to dismiss those who try to level the conversation up as being “no fun” or “taking things too seriously”.

    Sorry for the essay. I don’t know what the answer is but i think even bringing it up is a good start 🙂

  3. This is up there with your best work, ever. Publishable, dude. Get it out there. You go girl! (Said ironically, in an annoying, clickbaity, those neo-feminists we don’t like way). Oooooh can you write that next please! Neo-feminism. Also- no dissent from me. Of course I’m a feminist. But those goddamn neos keep making us seem shrill. That mandarin ford included.

  4. Really loved reading this! I too wonder why pageants are still a thing (don’t even get me started on Toddlers and Tiaras!) Thanks for the google tips…didn’t regret it one bit 😉

  5. Has anyone NOT seen Colin walking out of the lake? Seriously.

    I do like Clem, despite her acerbic tongue and agree that Holmes – though genial – is patronising and simplistic when he says that some women are “thicker milkshakes” whose bodies “someone out there will want to get down on”. Nice man and funny, but puh-lease!

    My current fav commentator is ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. The way she reduces male politicians to blithering idiots is impressive.

  6. I thought I said I would have NO dissent about Colin 😉 I admire Clem’s work in standing up for women who have been the victims of violence (sexual and otherwise) but I think she missed the mark with that particular article. I found Holmes’ routine to be completely inoffensive. We’ll have to agree to disagree about that one. Meanwhile I will have to read more Sarah Ferguson.

  7. I do love the ABC female journalists especially Leigh Sales, when they challenge the pollies, I do think we need to re-define the definition of feminism-I think us women are our own worst enemies.

  8. I find I often get myself into hot water saying this I’m going to any way. For me the label feminist doesn’t fit, I find it too exclusive and gender binary.
    Personally I prefer to refer to myself as an Equalist, I believe in equality for all of us, regardless of where we fall on the gender and sexuality spectrum.
    That’s not to say I have a problem with feminist ideals I just like to be a little more encompassing of rights.

  9. I get frustrated when feminism is tagged as something negative. Women forget all the great advances that feminist movement were able to change for us, many which are mentioned in Caitlin’s quote above. Females should be supportive of all females causes that create and assume equal opportunity for women. Being a feminist isn’t something to shy away from wielding. You don’t have to be a boob baring, placard carrying, high pitched shouting, in your face female to be able to say you are feminist (as is often projected).

  10. Totally with you on this! On all of it! What I’m enjoying right now is the trend of celebrity women who flaunt their flaws and don’t rely on looks to bolster their fame. (Think Melissa McCarthy, Sarah Silverman, Rebel Wilson, etc.) My hope is that this trend continues and that younger girls have strong, independent, fearless women to emulate. Girl’s should stand firm in their opinions and find strength in their quirks. It’s been so refreshing lately to see women on screen I could finally RELATE to!

    Sidenote: I think mainstream media is pretty much our ruin.

  11. I am a woman who wants equal rights and to be treated with as much respect as my male counterparts. I am a woman who wants to see my fellow sisters succeed in whatever the hell it is they want to succeed in – be it staying at home as a mum or as a high flying business woman. I am a mum of 3 boys who expect my boys to grow up and be gentlemen and be respectful to women. If that makes me a feminist then it is a title I am happy to wear proudly.

  12. For me and with my background I just want women to have equal opportunities and not discriminated for what they have between their legs. What gets me antsy is when women take it a step further and say women should conquer the world.

  13. Hell….I admit… the first thing that drew me in with your post was that HAWT pic of Colin Firth…..ahhh Mr Darcy sets the heart a flutter every time……PS your post was fantastic too by the way……lol Thanks for linking up to Stumble Into The Weekend again!!

  14. I think Tara Moss is currently contributing a lot to the feminist platform and I am about to read her new book so looking forward to her thoughts and opinions in that. Like you I wear my feminist badge proudly and will hopefully be passing this on to my 2 year old daughter. I think it’s way too important to let go. Love your post and blog by the way – it’s my first time here (found you through the weekend rewind) but I’ll be back!

  15. Love this post! So much food for thought on so many levels. Two thoughts:

    1. Put yourself in the shoes of a young woman who doesn’t care about much beyond her next paycheck and party (hey, we’ve all been there). Her question is: what is feminism going to do for me? Compared to the benefits of being skinny (Miranda Kerr) or sexy (Lara Bingle) or even plain old loaded (Gina Rinehart) – the pros are few and far between. In fact, NOT being skinny or sexy or rich and identifying yourself as a feminist is flat-out dangerous. Case in point: the horrific treatment of Julia Gillard in the public space.

    2. Modern online media is all about the clicks – and common sense doesn’t generate traffic. Fact. What does generate traffic is a) contrary opinions (see: http://moms.popsugar.com/Should-You-Teach-Kids-Share-27333250) or b) naked women (seet: http://www.mamamia.com.au/birth/birth-photos-on-social-media/).

    Stories that make sense and champion ideals that are relevant (but perhaps not rocket science) have found a new home in blogs like this. Which isn’t a bad thing.

  16. Love the post!

    Do you think the problem isn’t the plethora of fluffy feminism in mainstream media but that mainstream media only does fluffy…everything? There’s been an observable degradation of writing in our newspapers here in NZ over the past few years. There are articles that are actually made up entirely of tweets and read as if they’re written by school kids. Overall the writing is biased, sensationalist and apparently targeted at the lowest common denominator. Thoughtful, comprehensive, well-researched fare just isn’t readily available in mainstream media. Perhaps that’s one of the underlying issues for the feminism stories many women are accessing now – fluffy rules and polarising / scaremongering is a close second.

    Words have such power – ‘the scary, violent feminist’ reminds me of times when I have seen groups raise valid issues rationally and publicly but at the time of writing, the media called them ‘radicals’. In so doing, they shifted the valid concerns into something easily able to be dismissed, not the norm, not ours. Because of this people disassociated themselves from the problems and as a consequence, from the solutions.

    To me, feminism is about empowerment. I’m more than happy to support that cause.

  17. Pornier should be a word. It’s perfect.
    Nixon decided when he couldn’t afford universal healthcare that they would sell the idea that it was bad, so they wouldn’t have to do it. Thus the use of Socialism used in the context. ‘Only a red would want universal healthcare!’ Fast forward 50 years and it is still working it’s brainwashing magic.
    Somehow feminism fell victim to similar spin. Only butch women are feminists. Only man haters are feminists. Not normal women that want to be treated as equals. There is a rise in ‘click bait pretty feminism’ (along the lines of ‘we love this woman because she tweeted a photo without make up on!’ Or ‘yay to this overweight woman being empowered enough to put photos in her underwear on FB’) If the pretend feminism rises in the media, we won’t notice the inequality.
    My feminist question of the day, is why did the Minister for Women (a man, of course) not fight tooth & nail to stop the women’s refuges being closed due to funding cuts? (If you really want me to ask that question in my underwear to be empowered, I will, but I’d prefer to be empowered by getting sh&t done!

  18. Pingback: Digital Parents Blog Carnival — July 2014 | Melbourne MumMelbourne Mum

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