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Women’s Volleyball No Longer the Official Home of the Bikini-Bod

August 7, 2012

While I wasn’t into the Olympics for a good while, it only took a couple nights of nothing else to do but watch the games to find myself glued to the television. Not to be cliché, because this topic is SO overdone but let’s talk about the women’s volleyball games.

Women’s Volleyball is an obvious topic to point out mainstream sexism. The women, commentators, and audience all know that besides ferocious athleticism, a large draw of these games is the toned women flying across the screen in tiny bikinis. Think a classy version of women’s wrestling.

Here’s the new news though: up until March 2012 women were required to wear bikinis unless it was very cold.

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How to Dress Like a Fabulous Feminista

August 4, 2012

1. Wear what you want.

That is all.  There are no rules.  Yup….. So many people have this misconception that feminism has this set of all encompassing rules that will shun you if you do not follow them.  It’s not. In fact, that’s sort of the point: Be yourself.

Not to say trying to implement feminist beliefs into everyday life is easy- This is literally an everyday struggle.  I want my style to represent me, flatter me, and look good. But I don’t want to play into gender norms or exploit my body.  I used to have a lot of trouble defending myself as a feminist when people would criticize me for wearing short dresses or heels.  But my understanding of feminism has changed a lot since then. It seems much simpler to me now because I see feminism merely as holding the belief that women should be viewed and treated as human beings.

And frankly, -no matter what you wear- you should be viewed and treated as a human being.  I would still encourage every young girl to be critical of the things society and the media are trying to tell her about herself, because only you should define you. But feminism celebrates the fact that women can be individuals with individual styles, personalities, and goals- that not all women are told to play one role… that you have the freedom to choose.

So wear your party dress and heels… or wear your fedora and combat boots. Wear what ever you want! Just make sure that how you look does not determine your self worth.

Peace and Love,

-K

Bad at Flirting? Forget Your Professional Goals

August 3, 2012

Yesterday K wrote a great piece about an article by Roger Dooley that appeared in Forbes Magazine about why women should use flirtatious charm as a tool to be successful in business.

As a follow up, this article written by a woman, Hannah Betts, appeared on the Guardian UK’s website on Monday July 30th and was then picked internationally by August 2nd.  This article stated essentially the same study-proven message as Dooley’s, that flirtatious women in an office are often more successful because the combination of warmth with playfulness and sex appeal is a recipe to get what you want “without asking”.

Betts writes that using flirtation is a way to appear like a man, self-interested, but not overly masculine (because wow that would be threatening).  She does not suggest appearing sexual, because that would be perceived as inappropriate.  She says instead simply be alluring.

The issue that I have, along with the issue K raised about a woman’s self worth, is actually a personal one, and that is well… I am a terrible flirt.

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Chick-fil-A Backlash: The Most Important Time in Same-Sex Marriage Movement

August 2, 2012

(I want to discuss something that is not exclusively a women’s issue but nonetheless important to our hearts here at The Struggling Feminist.  That is same-sex marriage rights.  We strongly oppose homophobia as it relates to the dominance of hyper-masculinity and also just because it’s hateful.  However, as believers in change, we are moved to write about the same-sex marriage movement as a whole and more importantly how sometimes each decision we make can make a difference or keep the status quo)

When Boston Mayor Tom Menino issued a letter urging Chick-fil-A to rethink any Boston locations because of anti-same-sex marriage comments made by its COO, supporters of gay marriage cheered.  A week later, patrons loyal to the chicken chain packed parking lots across the country.  Their issue: that a company could be persecuted for the beliefs of an individual.

Boston.com gathered quotations such as:

“’I’ve never been to Chick-fil-A until today. I’m supporting free enterprise.”

or

‘Cathy is simply making a statement on the definition of marriage.’ “

But wait:

Let’s start by ruling out the free speech problem. Mayor Menino can legally criticize Dan Cathy just as Cathy can criticize same-sex marriage.  Menino didn’t order any ordinances or literally stop Chick-fil-A stores from opening in Boston.  So essentially, Cathy and Menino both exercised the same American freedom.

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Forbes Advises Women to “Flirt” to Get Ahead

August 2, 2012

UGGGGGHH.  Today Forbes came out with an article proclaiming that flirting in a business environment is a good strategy for a woman to implement.

Read the article and view the ridiculous picture of a woman biting her lip here.

Some quotes that pretty much get at the heart of the article:

“One of the interesting conclusions was that friendly women pay an economic price because by demonstrating warmth signals they are seen as less competitive and self-interested. Being flirtatious (and hence apparently self-interested) helped women negotiate better deals. The exception: the deals were worse if the flirting was perceived by their male counterpart as merely being friendly.”

“In short, the research suggests that the ideal negotiating style for women is to avoid a neutral style and instead use feminine charm. The “charm” should include both friendly behavior and flirtation. The ultimate goal is to be viewed as likable but also motivated by self-interest.”

A man takes a woman being sexually interested in him better than a woman who is being professional and friendly? Who would have thunk in our patriarchal society where women are taught to please men that such a thing could happen? Let’s try to sexually objectify women in a professional setting and make men resent them even more for this illusion of some sort of sexual power.

Ok but really.  You can keep your “ideal negotiation style”- I don’t want it.  This article is disappointing on so many levels, I don’t even know where to start.  Instead of pointing out ways women can whore themselves out in the work place, why don’t we point out how this “scientific research,” reaffirms that men are taught to think of women as existing for their sexual pleasure, and not to respect them for their intelligence and hard work.

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The Little Girl Who’s Angry About Gendered Toys

August 2, 2012

Incase you haven’t seen it, I wanted to share one of our all time fav youtube videos.  Little kids can see gender construction too! Encourage your kiddies to play with all types of toys!

I will add this video to our video page. Watch more (probably not as cute) videos about gender construction!

Peace and Love,

-K

Seventeen Promises to Show Real Girls, But Let’s Not Forget About the Ads

August 2, 2012

Just a quick thought on Seventeen magazine’s pledge to show real girls as they truly are.

(http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/after-petition-drive-seventeen-magazine-commits-to-show-girls-as-they-really-are/)

When I first heard about this story, I had that heart warming feeling you get when something good takes place on the planet.  A young girl having such a strong impact on a major magazine for the better?  You can’t help but smile!  Yay for young passion and yay for social media! I think this sends the most valuable message possible to our generation: We can make a difference.

I look forward to seeing these changes implemented in Seventeen and hope that they are depicting “real girls,” the way we expect to see them, and not just a small percentage of girls who they feel can pull off a non-photoshopped look (getting tough these days).

One thing that concerns me is that the advertisements in these magazines have sort of flown under the radar in this pledge.  It is important to remember that ads fill the pages of magazines, and as far as I have read, Seventeen has not promised to use non-photoshopped ads.  That might be a lot to ask for all at once, and maybe someday when more magazines are on board with these promises, they can unitedly pledge not to sell ad space to ads that use photoshop to alter their models. Still, it is important to keep this in mind while flipping through the pages; to mistake photoshopped images for unaltered images would be counterproductive to the cause.  This may not be so clear to a young girl reading the specifics of the pledge, so I think it is important to bring it to attention.

That being said, the pledge is a huge accomplishment.  It is a great step to have a real, un-photoshopped face on the cover of a magazine!

Peace and Love,

-K