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Posts Tagged ‘gendered insults’

PETA Save the Whales Obesity Billboard

Dear PETA:

Sometimes you have pretty cool campaigns.

Sometimes you miss the mark entirely and produce crap like this.

I don’t know who thought “YES, this is a great idea! Let’s use one of the most derogatory words for fat women and put it on a HUGE billboard and imply that women are whales that need to be saved from their gross obesity through vegetarianism (because only meat-eating women are obese)! This will entice people to become vegetarians! GENIUS!”

No. You fail.

And “trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”?

Really? Really, PETA?

I’m not even going to go into their implications that ceasing consumption of meat equal healthiness (because that’s just not true) and that the differences between skinny/fat and vegetarian/omnivore are all caused by the meat or lack thereof in people’s diets. Jeez.

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PETA’s press release:

Jacksonville, Fla. — A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose “blubber” is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom and features the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. The meat habit can ruin the fun in other ways too. Consuming meat and dairy products is conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer — not to mention higher rates of infertility in women and impotence in men. And not only is following a healthy plant-based diet good for the environment, it is also the best thing that anyone can do to help stop the routine abuse of animals raised and killed for food. Animals on factory farms are subjected to mutilations like debeaking, tail-docking, and branding (without any painkillers) and are often slaughtered and dismembered while still conscious.

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

This makes me cry inside. Actually, it mostly just really fucking pisses me off because this body-shaming shit really needs to stop. Implying fat women are whales and that they’re covered in blubber and just…augh! I’m tired of people producing trash like this, especially after hearing stories (or witnessing them) about women whose in-laws didn’t accept them and even tried to sabotage their marriage because they (the women) were obese and “unworthy of [the in-laws’] son.” I’m tired of seeing girls whose diaries constantly talk about their weight and how they need to lose 20 pounds NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ACTUAL WEIGHT. I’m tired of the food-diaries with “today I ate 10 grapes, 2 Fig-Newtons, and a Jell-O cup.” I’m tired of the girls who are unhappy because they never manage to be “skinny.” I’m tired of people talking SHIT about others because they’re fat, speaking like they have a right to insult them just because of their weight and body shape. It’s not fucking okay.

And I realize all these examples were female-oriented, and I acknowledge that obesity and body-shame affect everyone to some degree, but I’m just speaking for myself and what I’ve been seeing lately. And, to clarify, I’m not tired that these situations exist–more like the REASONS WHY they exist. I’m not blaming the victims of fatphobia. The opposite, actually. I’m tired that people are made to feel unworthy, unlovable, unattractive, and ashamed. THAT’S why I’m tired of seeing these situations repeat themselves constantly.

I originally posted this on my personal blog, but everything after the PETA press-release is new text. This ranting is a result of looking through my journals from when I was younger (1996-2003) and being appalled at how much I mentioned weight. I spoke to a friend about it and she had the same issue, but a hundred times worse. I at least was fairly happy with myself most of the time? Ugh. I’ll probably post about the “findings” from reading all these journals. They’re really weird, considering the person I am now.

Anyway. I blogged more extensively about my thoughts on PETA and their advertising campaigns. Feel free to check it out here and comment if you wish. I posted this entry because it was much shorter and less pic-spammy than the one I’m directing you towards. ^_^

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penis graffitiRemember in high school when people were constantly drawing penises everywhere.  I always chalked this up to immaturity/silliness.  But I was talking to orkinson the other day and she thinks that it is a manifestation of patriarchy, and even a form of terrorism, not that different from, say, drawing swastikas everywhere.  Although the people I knew who did this seemed more like goofballs than terrorists, I think it is a serious concern, after all, male dominance and machismo were both prevalent in our high school, especially in my class, which seemed dominated by boys, particularly in the honors classes.  So, basically, I ask you, harmless (though tasteless) prank?  Or act of sexual terrorism?  After all, there are many ways to be immature, but the selected weapon is almost always the penis.  Thoughts?

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So last night Irene and I went to go see Ani DiFranco (which was super great especially the super cute/talented drummer) but unfortunately we found ourselves stuck listening to the opener, Hamell on Trial.

Hamell on Trial sang poorly, had mediocre guitar skills, but worse than that he was incredibly offensive. Literally everything that came out of his mouth was some sort of commentary on female genitalia, or his experience of sex, where let’s face it his descriptions projected women as simply objects rather than participants.

wash your mouth and bald head with soap, you creeper

wash your mouth and bald head with soap, you creeper

And yet the strange thing is that I think I was supposed to read Hamell on Trial as being uber cool and progressive for his crudeness. As if the fact that he says he loves to “lick pussy” shows that he’s a feminist. Or the fact that he has a 30 second song about Matthew Shepard means I’m not supposed to get all enraged about his demeaning heteronormative jokes about the fact that only the men in the audience know what he’s talking about when he talks about sex with his wife. I’m all for talking about sex more openly, for not feeling ashamed of our bodies. But it has to be done with respect. My body should not be the punchline of a joke, that’s not a part of my feminism.

I don’t understand how just because you have a guitar and talk about Obama makes it ok to demean me and my body? I don’t understand how talking about essentially pressuring your wife into having anal sex makes you hip and cool. And I certainly don’t understand how it makes you suitable for Righteous Babe Records or as an opener for Ani.

I don’t know who makes these decisions but if it is Ani, I hope next time she seriously reconsiders her choice in picking Hamell on Trial. Apparently he’s been opening for Ani for years and you’d think someone would let them know that that creeper is offending a lot of her audience.

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Sarah Silverman in iThe Aristocrats/i.

Sarah Silverman in Paul Provenza's awesome shock-doc The Aristocrats.

This started out as a post about how guilty I felt about listening to crude comedy, but it turned into something almost completely different.

The stand-up profession is horribly sexist, and this perpetuates the assumption that (I’m sure you’ve heard it often) “women aren’t funny.”  In fact, Christopher Hitchens, a writer I usually really like, wrote an article for Vanity Fair entitled “Why Aren’t Women Funny?” in which he suggested that the only notable women in stand-up are “jews” or “dykes” or “butch.”  Overlooking the obvious crudeness (I don’t know if “dyke” is a normalized term in England) this is actually pretty accurate, but I was shocked that this pretty insightful guy would overlook the real issue. That is, why does a woman have to be “butch” to get a laugh? I’d like to attribute this stigma entirely to an age gap (I think that men of our generation do recognize the female sense of humor more than the men of 60-year-old Christopher Hitchens’ generation) but I know that if I did, I would really be deluding myself. The fact is that, like in many professions, women in comedy are expected to assimilate to a “masculine” standard. At a law firm that means shoulder pads and a pants suit. Behind the mic at Caroline’s it means pinching your clit and shouting “suck my dick” at a heckler. Any woman who refuses to meet the standard and/or implies any kind of feminist leaning in her routine is labeled “whiney,” “bitchy,” or worst, a “hack.” Though this is most obvious in professional comedy, I think it also applies to our personal lives. In elementary school I prided myself on being “just one of the guys!” I played butts up at recess and scoffed whenever someone suggested that I should take pride in being female (I remember forcing a smile when someone gave me a “girls rule” picture frame for my birthday.) Whenever I went to eat lunch at the boys’ table, I could feel my female classmates staring me down, and it made me happy because I knew I was envied. Of course, the problem with being a lady in a boys club is that you’ll never really belong. After isolating yourself from your fellow women, you’ll find not that your female friends have been replaced by male friends, but instead that your female friends have been replaced by an all-male critics board that will only accept you as long as you play by their rules, which often means leaving feminism and self-respect at the door

We’re ingrained from a very young age with the idea that women have the looks and men have the personality, but what’s really surprising is how well it sticks. That is, how overtly the assumption is held when we get older. Compare it to another assumption like women being domestic. Intelligent, liberal men probably will not claim that women are too dumb to be anywhere but the kitchen, but I know that I’ve heard plenty of men take Christopher Hitchen’s side on the funny issue. Of course, why should we even care? Maybe this is just battle-of-the-sexes-you-should-do-the-dishes-no-you-should-do-the-dishes bullshit. It’s much more important that we’re respected and considered intelligent, hard-working people, right? Well, no. Because we don’t build relationships by being smart. Of course, intelligence is always a plus, but if there’s one thing Mr. Hitchens got right its that laughter is the real “surrender”—the white flag that signals the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship. So I don’t thinking I’m exaggerating (well maybe I am…but only a little) when I say that as long as men only laugh a women’s jokes to get them into bed, solidarity between the sexes won’t be realized. Of course we can’t really help whether or not be laugh at a joke, so am I just wasting my words on this?

So what do you guys think? Have you noticed this particular stigma? Have you ever been in a boys club and what was your experience? And most importantly, why don’t people thing we’re funny?

Here’s Christopher Hitchens’ article from VF: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701

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…but: just a moment ago, i was going to express surprise at something someone said online. i wanted to say “lol oh man!” then i was like, that sounds off, maybe “lol oh boy!” and then i realized that i didnt like that they both had maleness.

im confused. is saying “oh man” or “oh boy” bad in the way that there’s no equivalent “female” type phrase? or is it completely okay that there’s no such equivalent?

also, all y’all haters that want to post awful things on this blog need to calm yourselves and wash your mouths. and brains.

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words behind words

is it anti-feminist to call people “bitch”?

– orkinson

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