A few weeks ago, after the whole Kim Kardashian nude photointernetexplosion of 2016, my mother sent me a Facebook message linking to an article about it and asked me what I thought. The article, titled “Dear Kim. Please stop using the term ’empowerment’ when you really mean marketing” is a scathing and sarcastic attack on KK and her selfie by Jacqueline Lunn, who insists:
“Kim’s nude selfies are not about feminism. They are not about liberation or empowerment. They are not about female inclusion.”
I’ve seen any number of angry, hate-filled blog posts skewering Kim as an enemy of feminism, someone who plays into patriarchal ideas of beauty for her own sick enjoyment and monetary rewards, so I was familiar with the whole cycle already. Feminist sees skinny, surgically enhanced woman, is unable to acknowledge the latent internalized misogyny within themselves, begins to hate the skinny woman, and begins to loudly and publicly bash the woman. Rinse and repeat.
Knowing that my mother has an intense hatred for all things Kardashian, I approached the situation cautiously because I wanted to avoid another drawn out argument about what it means to be empowered. What followed, however, was actually a really constructive conversation where I felt we really go to the heart of what makes me so angry about all these people attacking a woman for something so insignificant and harmless as a nude photo.
A little while ago, I remember a friend being absolutely terrified that I, a 22 year old adult woman, own only one bra. It is a black, plain, flat t-shirt bra from Primark which I bought 2 years ago. I wear it constantly and I wash it once a week, or every two weeks if it passes a sniff test. My friend, another 22 year old adult woman, was completely horrified, attesting that this was unhygienic and that I should buy another one right away. Over and over, I’ve found this weird disconnect between women when it comes to how they care for their lady lumps. Whether it be a Buzzfeed video comparing different ways to clip them, or a terrifying Chinese woman screaming at me in a Shanghai fitting room that my (carefully fitted) bra does not fit correctly, there seems to be a veritable chasm of disagreement over how bras work. Needless to say, this all really got me thinking. And then I got really confused and scared that I may be doing the bra thing ‘wrong’, and therefore failing utterly at being a woman. Then I got all feminist about it and felt really angry about the patriarchal emphasis on female appearance which forces me to waste valuable time thinking about this shit. Finally, I decided to document some of my own bra experiences, so that just maybe another woman like me, reading this article, might think ‘Hey, I thought I was the only one who did that! I’m not a freak! Hooray’. But most likely you’re probably just thinking ‘For God’s sake woman, buy another bra!’. Either way, here are my bra-fessions.
I am at work one day in the pub kitchen where I used to work, and I have just washed a huge plastic container full of cutlery. Three times I try and fail to lift the heavy box, gritting my teeth, determined that I can do this myself. My back gives a loud pop, and I drop what ever weight I had lifted and turn, defeated, to my male coworker.
“Could you please help me with this?” I ask, gesturing to the plastic box full of utensils.
He lifts it with ease, carrying it to the other room and leaving it for the floor staff to take to the dining area. I am embarrassed again, a frequent moment in my life, by my smallness, my weakness. Continue reading The Cycle of Female Incompetence
Jezebel has a new article today about three more victims have come forward to allege that comedian Bill Cosby raped or sexually assaulted them in the 70s and 80s, bringing the number of alleged victims to over 40. Each time a new victim comes forward, I am horrified again not just by the actions of this clearly very sick individual, but by the reactions to the continuing allegations. So far, the Cosby camp still hasn’t really issued a response to any of the allegations, with Cosby continuing to make public appearances and posts on his website. Celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Cosby’s daughter have spoken in his defense, leading to no small amount of backlash for their perceived victim-blaming.