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.

 

The Patriarchy Exists May 13, 2009

Okay… I know, this is not exactly news! And it likely, is not news to you either, especially since you are reading a blog about Feminism. But sometimes you meet specific people or hear a short conversation that really blows your mind. The discussions are always a bit different but generally filled with the same kind of crap they all are.

*** After writing this entry, I realized that this is mostly a rant. Enjoy! ***

As an example, the other day I was chilling in the basement of my (soon to be) fiancee’s basement. I happened to be watching “Iron Jawed Angels” which I had been trying to catch since Courtney at Feministing linked to about 6 months ago, but every time I saw it on it was in the last 10-30 minutes. I live in a small town and neither movie rental store had a copy. When the movie started I was alone, as I would have needed to be to choose such a movie. Not that my partner would object necessarily, but his entourage of dude friends certainly would.

Needless to say one of the aforementioned friends joined me and started to ask what the movie was about. He assumed the depression. When I told him that it was actually about the Suffragettes and the fight for the vote early on in the feminist movement, he actually responded by saying; “Sometimes I really wish it was like it was back then, but I guess women have brains and their own thoughts you know.” Yeah buddy, I fucking know, cause in case you forgot, you are talking to a WOMYN!!!

He continued on to say that it would be really nice if his pregnant girlfriend just stayed at home to take care of the kids all day, as well as cook and clean. I should clarify by saying that at this time, she is on maternity leave and that since I have known this man, he has not been gainfully employed. So I suppose he would have someone to cook the food he couldn’t pay for or clean the apartment where has is in rental arrears.

I still cannot get over the type of crap this guy spews. Thankfully even my “fiancee” is only friends with this person out of pitty and can barely do it for that reason any longer. This is the same person who told us that his girlfriend “is due in August and has only gained 4lbs.” Now maybe it is just me, but dieting while pregnant is probably not awesome for the baby, however, I can totally understand how she may have internalized his comments or attitudes and be afraid to gain some baby weight.

If there was ever a person I wish I could direct to Derailing for Dummies, this would be the person. He always knows better than you do, about life, experiences, racism (he is white), sexism, and generally any topic that comes up in conversation.

It would be impossible to list all of the ridiculous things this person has said in my company, but given the work that I do I cannot leave out the fact that like most “Men’s Rights Activists” he insists that he knows many, many physically abused men – a what about them mentality. The answer is simple, the services exist in their current format because 98% of the time violence is perpetrated by men either on women or on other men. If you really want to know where the services for men are, perhaps you should be asking why women are taught to prevent violent attacks on themselves while men are not being taught how to not attack women in the first place!

“If 98% of all sexual assaults are committed by men, why is it still considered a women’s issue?”

 

Welcome!

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.)