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.

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I will return… June 22, 2009

Filed under: Feminism — feminismfriday @ 4:20 PM
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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!

 

Does Feminism Still Matter? May 22, 2009

I found this great list of the top reasons why we still need feminism in 2009. Thanks to the Blog Against Sexism Day site, which was March 8th aka International Women’s Day.

  • Women are still underpaid. Women earn only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. (Former MA democratic Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy is doing great things to shake this up…check out www.womenaregettingeven.org) Also, can 1 million women against WalMart be hallucinating? This is serious!
  • Women are still massively underrepresented in the sciences. Despite substantial gains in the number of women pursuing graduate degrees in the sciences, women currently earn only 20% of all PhDs in computer science, less than 27% in physics, and only 17% in engineering. Studies show that women in science experience discrimination and double standards (sorry Larry Summers, but its really true.)
  • There are too few female tenured professors. Despite the fact that women have been at least half of all college undergraduates since 1978, women represent only 36% of all tenured faculty nationwide, and only 13% of doctoral granting universities boast women presidents. Many women in academic settings report discrimination.
  • Women are underrepresented in corporate leadership. Women have made up more than 40% of the workforce since 1977, and are currently almost 50%, yet only 9 women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
  • Too few women lawyers make partner. Women have been 40% of all law school students since 1995, and over half since 2001, but are only 15% of partners in law firms nationwide. Many female lawyers attest to double standards and discrimination.
  • Media: Stereotypes Abound!
  • Men still dominate the airwaves, music industry, film industry, etc, and are most decision makers and critics (often with a silent or not so silent male perspective.) Women make up only 11% of the national experts on Sunday morning political talk shows, and only 6% to 7% of the repeat guests. No major record label is headed by a woman. Most major film studios are headed by men, and nine out of ten music videos are produced by men. For the most part, women need to be sex objects and to be young to be successful in music and to some extent, films, TV. (Men,not so much…can you say Sean Connery? Harrison Ford? Woody Allen? David Letterman? Larry King?.) Women are chosen/allowed to direct only 5 – 7 % of major Hollywood films, and rarely are nominated for or win major awards for directing (despite some very talented female directors out there.) This is not just Hollywood insanity….it’s workplace discrimination.
  • Women are poorer. Women constitute about 70% of the world’s absolute poor – those living on less than a dollar a day. In the United States in 2004, there were 20.1 million women living below the poverty level. Worldwide, women’s access to resources and education still lags behind boys/men due to double standards.
  • Slavery still exists! Women and girls are the majority of the 800,000 to nearly 4 million people trafficked (bought and sold as property) internationally every year.
 

Mad Minutes: Anti-Choice Feminists May 14, 2009

I would like to take a quick minute to get something off of my chest… Anti-choice feminists do not exist! In fact, they CANNOT exist.

Feminism is about one thing; choice! True choice that is informed and free of barriers to access. If you believe that one possible and legal choice is no longer valid for women or for all people then you do not believe in choice. If you do not believe in choice, you cannot be a feminist.

In my personal experience, those feminists who claim to be “pro-life” are actually “pro-choice” they are just adamant about their own refusal to ever have an abortion, while still respecting the decision of other women to undergo the procedure. Remember the Daily Show’s Samantha Bee video at the RNC with all the use of the word decision to refer to Palin’s daughter’s “choice” to keep the baby. I think you get the point!

Choice is the main thing that separates feminists from non-feminists. Are you in or out?

(Considering starting a new sub-heading called Mad Minutes – for stuff that is short and easy to post/discuss but is currently getting me fired up! What do you think?)

 

Welcome! May 13, 2009

Welcome to my first post for Feminism Friday! Which conveniently is also cross-posted as the “About” section for the site. ENJOY!!!

This blog was created with inspiration from “Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog” who informed me of the “Thinking Girl’s Feminism Friday” archive. The goal as I understand it is to share the popularity of the search words “Feminism Friday” to further spread the word about the causes of all feminists.

This blog will focus primarily on issues of young womyn and third wave feminism. We will cover topics ranging from; sexual assault, wage disparities, trans-activism, abortion and reproductive rights, gay marriage, racism, and much more.

I have not yet decided on whether this blog will be anonymous or not, although I am leaning towards being totally open with my identity. The people who I care about know me and the rest will never be that important to my life for their opinions to matter.

I am a white, female, cis-gendered, mostly straight, young able-bodied person. I work for non-profit, mostly feminist run organizations. In other words I am speaking from a place of privilege when it comes to most issues. I hope that I am able to use this privilege to benefit all womyn human beings (and the animals too!) and our mutual political actions.

I cannot promise to blog everyday, and obviously the title of the blog should indicate that I would be blogging on Friday. But I am not going to hold myself to either of those things. I will however, promise with all my heart to blog at least once a week assuming no major emergencies arise.

Finally, I am Canadian. I hope to add some content from north of the border that I find is missing from my favourite blogs. And for the inspiration I will link to them on the appropriate page so please click over to visit them as well. Enjoy and comment often!

(Offensive comments will be deleted at the sole discretion of the author.)