Tag Archives: sexism

Women Were Meant to be Victims

women's rights, abuse, subjugating women, female victims, sexual abuse, spousal abuse

Did you tell your woman that god would disrespect her if she shows her face? Did she believe you? Creative Commons: lakerae, flickr

Did that get your attention? If it did, then what happens every day in the world around you and probably in your city should also get your attention. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems people don’t care to read about such things unless they’re titillating and sexy. As a woman, and a human being, I can do no less than talk about this.

Recently the sexual assaults (which covers everything from rude and suggestive language to groping to rape) in Egypt was highlighted on the news. Some women have created harassmap site to alert others to areas where women have been abused. But this isn’t new. We have heard of numerous nations, groups, and forces who, as part of their terror, overthrowing or rebellion, rape women and girls as part of their undermining of the other side. It’s horrible and we know it’s horrible. Or at least everyone says that until they’re involved, so in fact there are some (and I mean ONLY SOME) men who do not feel it’s too horrible to be a perpetrator in such times of violence.

virgins, sexualization, victimization, women's rights, subjugation

If you’re not a virgin, you must be a slut, and maybe, like this cover, you’ll be both.

How long have women been made victims in one way or another? I don’t know but we know one aspect begins with the Bible when Eve was blamed for taking the forbidden fruit and giving it to Adam. As if he couldn’t make up his own mind. As if he were a child. As if she used coercion that was more than handing it to him. Myth for some, apocryphal for others, yet truth for yet another group, this motif has flavored treatment of women for many ages. Yet Christianity is by far not the only religion to blame. While religion may or may not be the reason women are treated as lesser beings, it also goes to cultures that decided to make cultural rights and practices part of their religion. (the veil is not part of the Quran). Ownership and a man’s superior physical strength made women chattels, or possession or slaves. So yes, there is a long history of women being victimized.

Adam and Eve, sexism, women's rights

Was Adam too stupid to get the fruit for himself, or was he just making Eve do all the work? Lucas Cranach 1538

There are those who, for whatever misguided reason, believe that women belong in these categories. Are you one of them? Should a woman walk behind a man, answer only to him, be kept housed or hidden for only his desires, be blamed for all the faults of humankind? Think about it. Most women are not the perpetrators of war and violence. It is mostly men who go to war.

Let’s take religion out of it for a minute. Yes, women are still victimized. Raped because a criminal won’t control his urges. Beaten because a man is angered. Killed because she leaves her abusive partner or mars something as ephemeral and subjective as honor, in the eyes of a father or brother or husband. She’s the sex kitten who is of course a slut and good for one thing. She is a prude who won’t let a man control her, she is a virgin to be idolized by men because when they get her she hasn’t been tainted by other men, as if she’s a holy relic, as if it’s okay that they have been with other women. She is raped by a gang of men and yet she is charged with adultery or another crime. Look at that poor woman in India. Look at your own city and see how many women and girls have been raped or beaten or murdered or just hit upon. The news doesn’t report even half of them. George sleeps with a different woman every night and he’s just sowing his oats while those women are all sluts. That’s fair, isn’t it?

sexism, sexist ads, women's rights

Ask yourself, why isn’t it a man’s body for a man’s shoe?

A police officer recently told women to not dress provocatively if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted. In some Middle Eastern countries anything less than covered in the burqa is considered provocative. In other countries you can be in a loincloth and nothing more and that’s not provocative. Whether a person’s dress is considered to be salacious or not, that is no reason for sexual abuse of any sort. They’re not “asking for it.” If you think your god will disapprove, let him or her decide, not you. If you are afraid it will incite a man to his base desires, then what are you saying about men, that they are only beasts and uncontrollable? And if that’s the case, then it’s they who should be caged. I like to afford everyone the same right. The right to be free, think for themselves and have an equal chance at jobs and life. Men and women. No one group gets painted with a big brush.

That means whether they’re of one religion or none, any color or ethnicity, any gender or gender preference. Unfortunately the world is not fair nor equal but we, you and me, could all do better at ethically getting rid of stereotypes and not feeding into this view. Scoffing and continuing in the vein of labeling women sluts, whores, tramps and seductresses only leads to more women being subjugated, raped, owned or downtrodden as lesser beings because of someone’s beliefs. The only belief that should really matter is that you can do what you want, as long as you do not hurt or subjugate anyone else. Let’s try living like that for awhile.

sluts, whores, tramps, subjugating women, sexual abuse

The slut walk came about because men’s attitudes mean women ask for or deserve whatever they get. Creative Commons: Spanginator

2 Comments

Filed under crime, Culture, history, life, people

Miss Universe Should Be Miss Trophy Wife

jenna tacklokova, sexism, women, beauty pageants

Jenna Tacklokova walks the razor’s edge between equality and sexism. Photo: Model Mayhem. com

Jenna Talackova, Vancouver’s representative for the Miss Universe Canada pageant has made headlines recently because she was disqualified as not being genetically female. Genetically, some women will be more female or male than others, as will men. And while her gene pool designated her as male at birth she obviously never felt or believed she was male. Could you tell whether my female friend or I was more genetically female? And really,  why did it matter what she was born as if she is a woman today?

Because the veneer of depth to any beauty pageant is as thin as the fact that these are set up as a shopping mall for rich men. What? You think this isn’t true? Have you looked at what they’re judged on? At least they call it a beauty pageant. Just check out the wiki entry, which outlines that you’re judged on poise in a bathing suit and in an evening gown. Why not business attire and casual clothes? They added in a tough question or two that contestants have to answer on goals, dreams, ethics, maybe favorite fruit, but that’s supposed to give some depth while trends indicate the organizers have dropped the emphasis in recent years. So really, it’s about the prettiest flower in the bouquet. Even if most of these women are intelligent and achieving great things in their own right, such a pageant put greater emphasis on the coating than on the interior.

beauty pageant, miss universe, sexual exploitation, sexism, miss universe canada

A beauty pageant of a different sort. This one’s for perfect spines, but they still used women. Life photo archive–Wallace Kirkland 1956

sexism, beauty pageants, exploitation, bigotry, beauty

Beauty pageants like to keep women in their place, as ornaments and chattel. Creative Commons

Is it so wrong to be judged on beauty? I guess it depends. I’ve already commented on the severe wrongness of the toddler beauty pageants; at least these people are adults, even if they have to jump through hoops. We all like beautiful things and are drawn to the good looking people or animals or resorts or dinners. And while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the beholden tend towards certain standards. The Mr. Universe “pageant” seems to just be about body building so one could say it’s all about the body as well. But let’s get back to the transgendered Jenna. Originally she was disqualified because she wasn’t female enough. Why on earth would it matter when she looks like a woman and has all the body parts of a woman? You can’t be Miss Universe if you have children or are married, either. Oh heck, here’s what the site says: They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to, or parented, a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign. Now why might these restrictions make a difference to the title of Miss Universe? Well, if you’re pregnant you might have to drop out of your one-year tour of duty. But married, divorced or having a boyfriend/girlfriend (they don’t mention that you must be straight)–well gosh, if you had a relationship, then all those RICH MEN might not think that you can be theirs. And all those men would FREAK OUT if they thought they were chatting up a potential trophy wife who might once have had the same tackle as what dangles between their legs.

I don’t think we should make this equal and start parading men for their body parts either. I believe that Vancouver once moved away in the past from teen beauty pageants and then just had youth ambassadors, who could be any gender. That makes more sense. Judge people as a whole, not on that thin veneer that will wrinkle and age like anyone else’s. Your merits, intelligence and demeanor can last longer than ephemeral beauty.

Miss Bala, beauty pageant, sexism, female exploitation, womens rights

Miss Bala was a movie about a fixed beauty pageant and how a woman gets victimized as the winner and is a drug lord’s mule.

Miss Bala was a gritty movie about a woman who wins a fixed contest because the winner is nothing more than a sex and drug puppet for the local drug lord. On one hand I give Ms Talackova kudos for slapping the Miss Universe (and Donald Trump) organizers upside the head. On the other, I ask why she’s bowing to these exploitative conventions, except that life can be very hard for transgendered people and there is a lot of prejudice out there, so if she can get some money and positive attention, that could make a big difference. When the organizers disqualified her for not being female enough I wonder if they also looked at those who have botox, breast implants, any sort of reductions or cosmetic surgery, false eyelashes or even makeup. After all, what’s true beauty? It’s what resides within that matters most.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, entertainment, fashion, movies, sex

Another Stupid Way to Objectify Women

lingerie football, sexism, discrimination, chauvinism, objectification, women's sports

Women are still the butt of society’s joke. Creative Commons: John Pozadzides flickr

The news recently reported that Vancouver would be subjected to a new sport. Well, not really a new sport but played a new way. Lingerie Football. I do not kid you. It seems that the only way for women to actually get to play the sport is take off their clothes. The organizer, a man, was most serious about how these women had sports skills (they could run, they could throw) but really, if you have half-disrobed them what exactly are you hoping people will watch?

Is this the only way that people will watch women’s sports, if they’re objectified and showing titillating bits of flesh? One friend said, “Well, they have a choice in joining, don’t they?” He couldn’t see anything wrong in this. Let’s look at a few problems: if you happen to be the best runner or catcher ever but you’re a stocky woman, or not particularly beautiful, or missing the right curves for wearing skimpy underwear on the field, do you think you’ll be picked to play football? Is there even a woman’s team anywhere where they get to wear the protective football uniform? What else is wrong? Oh yeah, let’s go look at the sex kittens. Who cares if they can run or throw a ball; we’re not going to take them seriously anyway.

Sure, a woman can choose to join or not but it’s not putting this on par with men’s football, nor will it be considered a serious game. To think this is the only way women can play football galls me. Sure, women will volunteer for this. Many of us will do a lot for money. Sure, they’re not being forced, but a woman might wear a burka but not be forced to because it’s been drummed into her head that she should cover up (or be uncovered) while men can do as they please. It doesn’t make it right. I do not agree with any group that decides men and women should be allowed different rights. If this is the way football is going to be, then make the men run around in jock straps and runners only.

lingerie football, sexism, discrimination, chauvinism, objectification, women's sports

Men’s football gets shoulder pads, but women’s gets cleavage as well. Housey Lei, Design You Trust

Oh and let’s talk about the ludicrous, sexist costumes. They’re wearing uniform bikinis, I suppose,with runners, shoulder and knee padsand helmets. And then to make the utmost of stupidity and objectification there are adjustable garters (the straps for holding up stockings) and a garter around the leg. The men who organized this should be ashamed but they’re too idiotic to understand that this continues to put women in a category where even the police have said, don’t dress provocatively or you’ll get raped. The last is based on a real example in Canada and was yet another example of how the blame is placed with the woman.

The organizers are businessmen of course, exploiters of people, and they see it as a great money-making venture, as pimps always do. Now do not get me wrong, women and men should be able to dress up or down or sexy as they please. But it shouldn’t be a requirement for a place to work, as it often is. (Do the women at one of your restaurants/bars have to wear tight/short/skimpy/low-cut clothes as part of their “uniform?”)  Are there any men working the same job? This is just yet another case of where society considers women nothing but sexual victims (whether for rape or exploitation or coveted possessions). It’s not right and it certainly isn’t harmless. Any other job and it would be grounds for sexual discrimination or harassment. Consider that.

This makes me very angry and I would hope people would boycott it but I’ve found the masses to be self-centered, unthinking and as stupid as the organizers. Next up, watch for burka baseball or some other version of women sexually exploited for your viewing pleasure.

9 Comments

Filed under Culture, sex, sports

The Disturbing Trend of Sexifying Children

beauty pageant, toddlers, sexism, oversexualization,

Toddlers in Tiaras is the worst offender of sexualizing children. Taking it to the absolute extreme of horrible in this picture. From Toddlers in Tiaras

There has been a disturbing trend for quite some time of demented mothers taking their children (usually girls but not exclusively) and turning them into little sex dolls. The places where they parade their sex doll children are called beauty pageants. It’s pretty obvious how I already feel about beauty pageants and the objectification of women, but to do it to a child is really criminal.

JonBenet Ramsey may have been the most famous case. The 6-year-old beauty pageant queen (yes, queen) was murdered in 1996 and her murderer never found. The murder did bring a spotlight to the twisted world of children’s beauty pageants and the momzillas that subject their children to them.

On the whole, judging someone on beauty alone is vain and sets up a precedent in this world that that’s all it takes: beauty. And once you grow too old or too shriveled, you’re useless. Talent and intelligence and skill are much better tests of a person than just what genes they were blessed with. Obviously, looks can get you places but the unfairness this sets up for people with true skills and talent is already a twisting of our morals.

If I eliminate the beauty pageants for kids that treat them at least as kids, beautiful kids, then that still leaves plenty of room for the freak show beauty pageants, called glitz and glamor and now championed by TLC’s show, Toddlers and Tiaras. We already have the overperpetuated princess imagery that Disney should be smacked across the face for overdoing. Sure, little girls dream of being princesses, a bit. I did and I read fairy tales but I certainly didn’t think it was reality, even as a child, nor did I want to be one 24/7. I also wanted to be a fireman, doctor and artist.

Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

So here we have the famous case of JonBenet and the sick pageants that make little girls into miniature sex kittens. It’s not just that the dresses are sparkly and frilly–what little girl doesn’t like that–it’s that these dresses are off the shoulder and backless. Other children might be dressed up as Vegas show girls. On top these kids have eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick and false eyelashes adhered to their poor little faces. Plus they wear giganto hairpieces, and spraypainted tans, and false teeth (called flippers) to improve their bite. View a few YouTubes and these “smiling” (I use the term loosely as they look like they’re grimacing) children appear as hungry, young vampires.

The only thing these pageants haven’t done yet is put fake boobs on these kids and they’d probably get arrested for that. Oops, I’m wrong. Look at the picture above; not yet implants but can that be far behind? I can’t help but shudder thinking of all the pedophiles out there drooling over these children being trained to be sexy by the age of six. Creepy doesn’t even encompass what I feel about these people using their children. At the best, they’re treating them like dolls. At the worst, like miniature sex toys when all these kids should be treated as is children. Seeing one clip, the little girl who won the competition (not as sexed up as the others, thankfully) cries and says she won the money back. Probably mommy let her know that it was costing them a big bundle ($900) and that she better do the best she can.

I got on this tangent of the creepsville beauty pageants because a friend posted a YouTube video to her Facebook. It was of a bunch of little girls reenacting Britney Spears’ Toxic video. It seems a little girl won a contest (in South America I think) and her wish was to do the video. It’s well done and replicates everything, with children instead of adults, and that the kisses are on the foreheads of the boys, not on the lips. But it’s way creepy. And you can’t see it anymore because it’s been pulled for copyright violation. It was disturbing though.

I can’t help but wonder about a society that sells sex so much that little girls are more interested in being sexy mini lolitas than in being kids. And that their moms are encouraging such behavior. I’m all for open, sexual thinking, and being sexy, but that should be what adults do, where they can form their own opinions. Children should be left to grow and experience their innocence and just be kids. We frown on child exploitation in other countries, and we should here as well.

For a book of creepiness, here’s more on the subject: http://lamblegs.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/wrong-wrong-wrong-susan-anderson/

1 Comment

Filed under art, crime, Culture, fashion, life, people, sex

Do We Need Another Beauty Queen?

Yesterday it was announced that there would be the first Miss Vancouver, multi-ethnic beauty pageant. Marina Hossain, is the CEO of Jam Expo Inc., which will be organizing the pageant for the Health and Beauty Expo. So first off, Canada hasn’t had a Miss Canada pageant since 1992. High production costs and declining interests were the reasons given. The other part was that people just weren’t interested in seeing women sashay along in a bathing suit and an evening gown, and giving their five minutes on how I hope to improve the world.

Yesterday’s CBC Radio One had a pageant coordinator also mention that Canadians just aren’t interested in being beauty queens, yet the ethnic beauty contests have continued. Obviously these contests do give exposure to the winner, as well as some prizes and cash. But the other reason they’re not popular is become they are still sexist and based on “beauty.”

So here comes Ms. Hossain with a new one that blends all ethnicities. Common ground is good but it’s still a beauty pageant. In fact, Hossain says, “Some can sing, some can dance, some have a nice face. Not everybody has that. But it’s the same as any other talent, like swimming. I see it in the same line. Beauty should be appreciated, too…. Beauty is something you have to work on. You have to furnish it. It’s a talent, knowing how to keep up with your body and health. Plus the natural talent you’re blessed with.”

A talent? Right. Being beautiful is a talent like having a well working heart, or two good eyes. You’re born with it or you’re not. Being born with something is not a talent. Some people have natural abilities in drawing or running but it still takes work to be good at and maintain a consistent level of talent. Beauty I guess can also be maintained: eat healthy, exercise, sleep properly. But then there is always botox, and  silicone and plastic surgery to make one beautiful. That’s a talent for those with money.

Hossain thinks beauty is a legitimate female talent. Wow! Why not have a beauty pageant for flowers then? Beauty, where the winner will be crowned with a tiara. Like a true Disney princess world in which Hossain wants to perpetuate the aspect of women being pretty trophies.

Contestants will be judged on the health of their skin, hair, fitness level, etc. They will get to parade along in white T-shirts and jeans, evening gowns and ethnic wear. Swimsuits may yet happen. So someone like me, born in Canada to Canadian parents, whose ethnic grandparents died early and didn’t pass on their cultural motifs for Italian and Danish ethnic/rural clothing would  wear something decidedly…Canadian. Like jeans, or Birkenstocks, or cowboy boots, or a shirt, or… Hmm, I wonder how the judges will like that ethnic dress. But I’m sure they’ll be fair…in judging who’s most beautiful in their ethnic wear.

It makes me wonder if someone, a woman who is sturdy, perhaps small hipped but barrel chested, thick through the shoulders but with amazing skin, lovely hair and who exercises four times a week could ever win, even if her attributes were better than her slimmer opponents. Especially if she had a bulbous nose and squinty eyes but was the nicest person you ever met, with intelligence and compassion for all. Would she win? I’m guessing, not.

While other pageants in recent years had to disguise the parading of female flesh with humanitarian works and community work, this is hardly mentioned up front. It’s all about the talent of beauty. Here is rule # 7 in the requirements:

7. Candidates will not be permitted to have any body art or body piercing that is visibly offensive.

Hmm, visibly offensive. I’m sorry, ma’am, your botox lips are visibly offensive. Excuse me sir, your balding head is visibly offensive. Why you, your height is visibly offensive. That leaves a lot to interpretation but then Ms Hossain and her judges get to be the judge of that. Just hope you figure it out before you send in your $138 nonrefundable registration fee. Oh and you have to be in good health and not have any medical problems. Is that fair under the human rights code? Well probably since they’re making it for young women 18-28 who can never have been married. I wonder if they want them to be virgins too.

But perhaps I’m being harsh about this vapid throwback to stereotypical pageants that promote the objectifying of women. I’d believe more that this was something new and great if it wasn’t a promotional gimmick for the expo. I’d believe it had altruism at its heart if there had been any mention about what the women are expected to bring to the world and community. Sure, that might help decide but it’s obviously not the thrust. I’d believe this was for a more balanced and less genderist idea if it included men and didn’t have the Disney princess tiara.

Unfortunately I find it hard to believe in or support this trophy girl award. There is a good reason that Canadians don’t want to enter such bigoted pageants.

http://www.jamexpo.ca/RULES-MAY2009.pdf

http://www.jamexpo.ca/vancouver.php?pageid=29

http://www.straight.com/article-212939/beauty-talent-says-organizer-new-miss-vancouver-pageant

3 Comments

Filed under Culture, entertainment, fashion, health care, life, news, people, sex, shopping