Feminism Friday – The Blog

Reflections of a young feminist… and much more!

Modeling while Feminist… July 24, 2009

I wrote this post about a year ago now, unfortunately, I was unable to get it onto the Feministing Community due to a seriously old computer. Those problems are long gone, and while browsing my USB key recently I found this article. So while it may no longer be exactly how I feel, I do believe it deserves to see the light of day. Enjoy!

As a feminist I am often bothered by the fact that it seems to be the logical conclusion for many that modeling and anything related to it is inherently anti-feminist. That by using our own natural talent (which in this case would be our ability to meet certain standards of beauty, as created by patriarchy) to keep ourselves employed or to express ourselves artistically, we are causing some major damage to the movement.

Personally, as someone who spent around 4 years in front of the camera, a couple behind it, and who now runs used to run an online modeling agency, I think this is complete and total bunk.

First off, we all face the same misogyny and violence; in fact, many people would argue that because of our working conditions (similar to that of sex trade workers) we face greater risks than the average woman does at work. Sexual assault involving models and photographers is not at all unheard of, and in the most serious cases the model is never heard from again. Myself, I am a survivor of this scenario. As a result of that experience I created a forum dedicated to the safety of all models working online. Unfortunately, through that group I met my offenders other victim, it is such a small world after all.

Secondly, please stop trying to disregard other women’s personal choices with lame excuses about their childhoods or by assuming it is the only talent that the woman has to rely on. It is also not only a good choice if she is simply doing it as a means to an end. Every single choice we make as individuals is based upon our own lived experience as well as our current situation, and to argue otherwise is simply ridiculous.

Finally, I would like to encourage more feminists to get involved with the fashion, beauty, and modeling industries. Simply because we have a better chance at making change from the inside than we do from the sidelines. As an example, my agency only represents models over the age of 18 because I oppose the sexualization of 14-year-old models in fashion magazines, since I believe this may contribute to other societal problems such as pedophilia. (For example, the countdown to the Olsen twins turning 18 – can you say creepy?!)

While, I represent models who might be considered “plus sized” at traditional agencies, they are not designated so on my website. They are featured on the same pages as every other model I represent. None of the models are size zero, and I have someone to fit each dress size between size 2 and 16. I also make a serious effort to represent women of colour more than traditional agencies; it has always been my goal to have a very diverse roster. Unfortunately, there is more to be changed and I cannot do it alone.

I am choosing not to include a link to the website here, because I am not trying to promote it or give myself props, but to encourage others to think about how we might be able to make changes or drastically alter the industry rather than disregard it altogether.

I would love to be accepted as a feminist without being asked to resolve the apparent discrepancy in my business and my beliefs.

 

When a feminist moves in and gets engaged… July 10, 2009

This post will be a perfect example of the infamous quote; “The personal is political.” Also, it is sort of a two part entry, which should hopefully make up for the fact that I have not written for some time now.

Recently, I am talking within a week, I moved in with my partner of the past 5-6 months. This is the man I intend on spending the rest of my life with. However, things around the house still need a bit of work. Like last night when I found myself holding not only my empty plate and fork but also his. I was shocked and I asked him to clarify if that really was what had just happened. He responded by informing me that he had cooked the dinner so maybe I would clean up. Unfortunately, he neglected to remember me cooking dinner the previous night and also doing the dishes. I am all for equality but sometimes I just want the dishes done now, not the next morning or whatever else is offered.

As a feminist, I feel that it is not fair for me to expect someone else to live up to my standards which involve cleaning the dishes immediately after dinner and keeping the whole house at a consistent level of clean. I know I used to hate living with my mother because I never cleaned the kitchen or bathroom to her standard, however, I saw a perfectly clean space. Still, I find myself already wishing that every item would be immediately returned to its appropriate space. (As a note, I hate to vacuum and my partner hates dog fur on the carpet – so we could easily turn this whole situation around.)

Any advice on how to address or tackle this situation so that each of our needs can be met while still allowing us to live comfortably in our shared home?

The second part of this entry is around the fact that we have every intention of getting engaged and soon after married. I am barely, if at all traditional. In fact, until meeting this person I had made a promise not to get married but to live in a committed relationship only. In our small town community it is extremely common to find that most of the work is gendered towards females. (Not to say that men are not capable of being in these roles, but they are not encouraged to in this community or in a larger societal context.) And therefore, many heterosexual couples find that the woman is actually the breadwinner.

My partner and I are not an exception to this rule. I make significantly more money than he does on a monthly basis. To be clear, I make 4/5th of our entire household’s income. As a result, we do our best to balance our portion of shared bills so that each of us is left with a portion for our own spending money. However, I am generally left with much more to save or spend as I please.

While we both want to get engaged as soon as possible, it is me that is still holding her breath and might not make it much longer without taking that next step. Quite frankly, I anticipate that it will take far longer than I want to wait for my partner to be able to save the money needed for an engagement ring and wedding band set.  Alternatively, I would be able to make the purchase or give my partner the money to do so immediately.

What is an independent woman to do? As far as traditional proposals go, the only thing I want to keep around is the fact that he ask me instead of me asking him. It is pretty certain I was the first one who mentioned being in love, etc. so I think it is my turn to be wooo’d a bit. I would be completely fine with picking out and paying for my own ring, then giving it to my partner to do with as he pleases when he is ready. Once the question has been asked and answered I fully intend on getting him an engagement ring as well, fair is fair after all.

So my problem is the fact that my partner wants to keep some of these antiquated and patriarchial traditions, like paying for the ring himself (and also it being more expensive than necessary – seriously try EBay!) as well as picking it out without any help or prior advice from me. So, any suggestions on how to proceed?

 

Guest Writer: Scare Tactics June 26, 2009

A contribution from our first guest writer: Stay. Here is hoping there are many more…
 
Apparently, trying to frighten women is the new technological trend…
This is something that I’ve been pissed off about for some time now. I’m trying to think of some ideas about dealing with this problem, so if anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them. So far I’m thinking of starting a mass email.

For years now there has been a huge surge of people creating and sending out false emails meant to scare women. I’m sure you’ve seen them: the lead in lipstick is going to kill you, Tampax Pearls tampons increase your chances of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome, more women are victims of abuse on Superbowl Sunday than any other time of the year…and the list goes on. The thing is most (if not all) of these emails are false. What bothers me is the huge majority are aimed at women. Have you ever heard of an email warning about men’s products or male diseases? Has anyone you know ever gotten an email with the subject “JOCK STRAP COMPANY PUTTING HARMFUL POISONS IN PRODUCTS.” I doubt it.

The reason I’m writing this is because there is another round of stupid emails going around about the “burundanga”: drug soaked business cards. The email tells a story about a woman at a gas station who accepts a business card from a man offering painting services. She notices he follows her out of the station. Then she starts to feel dizzy and nauseous. She honks the horn to alert passersby. The men drive off when she does this.

Well, it’s not true. And what’s worse is that the originator is currently passing it around as a Press Release email from the Niagara Police Services (my hometown, incidentally). Someone, thinking it was real, passed it around to my Woman’s Group on Thursday and posted it a few places to warn women. The thing is: it’s a hoax. 100% not true. It sure as hell looks real, but nope.

http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/burundanga.asp

Things like this are just another way of “putting us in our place.” It tries to make us passive “victims” of society. We need to fight this nonsense.

One of the first things you can do is check out this site:
http://www.snopes.com

When snopes.com first came online, it was a fun site designed for people to learn about those stupid urban myths you hear about all the time…like you can burn your tongue off my sticking it in Coke. More recently it has become a resource for people to check out those bullshit emails that keep getting sent around. Check it out!

 

I will return… June 22, 2009

Filed under: Feminism — feminismfriday @ 4:20 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

So sorry for not posting at all lately! We just wrapped up a huge fundraising event at work so I have been insanely busy until today. Now it is time for summer vacations so we are not likely to slow down too much, but I will do my best to recommit to posting about once a week, if not, more often!

 

Mad Minutes: Sonia Sotomayor June 5, 2009

This is really starting to piss me off…. why is it okay for white men to allow their experiences and beliefs to influence the way they do their job, but if anyone else does the same they are being “reverse racists”? WTF!? is right! There is no such thing as being reverse racists – you cannot be racist against white people, because we have privilege.

I am so sick of this crap! I think Sotomayor is going to use her experience to benefit all women especially women of colour, however, I do not think it will be direct. Sonia will be a responsible and professional person in the role I am sure.

I think this is a good moment to request that everyone examine their own racist baggage and white privilege. If you have no idea what I am talking about please visit this site.

 

Tyra Banks and Dating Violence May 29, 2009

I found this quote on the Tyra Banks Show website after hearing it prior to commercial breaks while watching her show the other day. Obviously a guilty pleasure of mine!

Are you a teen or a young woman who’s being physically abused by another young woman? If you want help dealing with your abusive relationship, SUBMIT BELOW.

Please only submit if you are willing to appear on “The Tyra Banks Show”.

If it were not for the last line I would send in a request for assistance just to see what happens. If anyone is more brave than I please let us know the results. (See my theory below about what is and is not happening.)

However, my question is, why would someone in an abusive relationship want to come on national television for “relationship advice”. See the difference this time is that the relationship is between two women. Sigh!

Clearly two women cannot experience really be hurting each other the way a heterosexual couple can experience domestic violence. There must not be gendered roles and they must be equally matched physically. REALLY?! Of course not!

So why is the first step not to refer these young women to domestic violence shelters or women’s resource centres for professional help? Instead Tyra plans on parading them across her stage all for viewership.

We need to take all forms of domestic violence seriously including those between same-sex partners. Violence, power, and control is wrong and abusive not matter what the abuser or partner looks like “down-there” (or how they identify their own gender).

Please be sure to check out the links on the side panel of this page for more information and violence against women resources.

 

The Cultural Genocide of Native People May 27, 2009

During the last week in Thunder Bay a young native boys hair was chopped off by his teacher’s assistant. Since this time the Crown and police have refused to charge the woman accused. Some people may not understand why this is such a big deal, so let’s break it down.

The child was touched without permission, during this time the assailant was holding what we can easily refer to as a “deadly weapon” given that you could hypothetically be killed by a pair of scissors. In fact, it is not a stretch to imagine this happening.

The child is native and therefore having long hair is not simply a fashion statement but rather something tied to the child’s culture. Cutting off the hair of male native children was regularly done at residential schools, where the goal was to “kill the indian and save the child“.

Based on these facts I would say it would be fair to charge the teacher with assault using a weapon or causing bodily harm. It would be a stretch but I also think this is a race based hate crime.

The point of this post is to spread the word about this horrific action and to encourage people to contact their local politicians and demand that action be taken in this seriously. You may also want to write the school officials and express your opinions to them.

*** Cross-Posted on the Feministing Community ***

*** This post also made the main page on Feministing – Thanks Editors!!! ***

*** Thanks to DocuDharma for referencing this article ***

*** Thanks to Native American Netroots for referencing this article ***

 

 
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