Feminist Fare Friday: Edition #8

I am very sorry, it's been two weeks since I've served up some yummy feminist fare for you. As you can imagine, a lot has been going on in the feminist realm and I'll do my best to get myself {and you} up to speed and back on track. This is what happens when a certain 41-year old goes to a blogging conference and stays up carousing until 2 AM for three nights in a row. At my age, it takes exactly 10 days to recover and get one's head out of the fog that those three days created!! But, I did have a REALLY, really good time and you can read all about it here. Now, onto the good stuff.


1. Last week the internet was all up in arms about a T-shirt.  Granted it was a masturbating, menstruating vagina t-shirt from American Apparel and artist Petra Collins, but still a simple t-shirt none the less. And while I am not about to go out and buy this particular t-shirt, I do get that it is art and art is meant to provoke. And really folks, there are a lot more crazy and WAY more offensive things put on t-shirts these days than a depiction of someone's lady parts. Now, if it wasn't enough that the internet went all bat-shit-crazy on Petra over her t-shirt, her Instagram account was recently deleted as well. Why exactly is still not clear, but Petra herself has some thoughts on why an image of part of her unaltered body (that contains no nudity) may have caused this level of online censorship to occur and it is making me feel very, very angry.

"Through this removal I really felt how strong of a distrust and hate we have towards female bodies. The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to societies image of beauty. That these very real pressures we face everyday can turn into literal censorship."


2. And while we are on the topic of the female body, I came across this powerful poetry reading last night from Lily Myers called "Shrinking Woman".


This piece really gave me pause, especially because I have a daughter and I don't want her to absorb that kind of "accidental inheritance" from me about food, about my body or hers or about how much space women are "allowed" to occupy in this world.


3. It is that time of year yet again. Halloween. Or as I like to call it at our house, "Hallo-avoid every commercial store and costume EVER because MY 5 YEAR OLD IS NOT SEXY AND SPIDERGIRL DOESN'T WEAR A PINK TUTU-ween". Beth Greenfield at Yahoo Shine examines what kind of messages these over-prettified and hypersexualized costumes send to our children. HINT-not good ones!

“I think it says to girls that everything they do has to fit in one small box—because even if they don’t want to be a princess, the Spider Man costume looks like a princess,” developmental psychologist Christia Spears Brown, author of the forthcoming book “Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue,” tells Yahoo Shine. “It says, ‘Your gender is more important than the costume,’ and ‘Being a girl is the most important thing about you.’” 


4. Privilege. It's a word we hear a lot these days. Gender privilege, race privilege, socio-ecomonic privilege, it's out there people and for a lot of folks, privilege is a really hard thing to truly grasp. Which when you think about it, is incredibly ironic and sad. I had an interesting experience last week talking to a middle-aged, middle-class white man about women being shamed for breastfeeding in public. Do you know what he said to me? He interrupted me, told me he can't even believe that this is an issue in our day and age and dismissed the problem outright. Here's the thing. I am a white, cis-gendered, middle-class woman. I HAVE privilege up the ying-yang! But not until that very moment when my experiences and that of so many other breastfeeding mothers was so summarily dismissed by someone who has privilege that I do not, did the whole concept of PRIVILEGE come to full fruition in my brain.

In feminism, no talk of privilege can exist without intersectionality coming into play and I know that for some this can seem like some kind of high-level academic feminist balderdash. I assure you it is not and in this incredibly honest piece from Winona Dimeo-Edigar at The Frisky, you will see why it's as fundamental to feminism as the basic premise that "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people".

"...I think a lot of white feminists are like me — our goals and values might be in the right place, but our privilege has insulated us to the need for intersectionality and the diverse concerns of the diverse group of women who make up the modern feminist movement. We want to keep feminism simple to achieve our goals, but we don’t realize that “keeping it simple” often means shutting out voices and experiences that don’t look like ours. If we want to be part of a strong, welcoming sisterhood, we must understand the effects of our privilege."


5. And finally, it's October, or "Pinktober" according to KFC, the NFL, Chambord, Pilsbury and a whole slew of other brands and retailers cashing in on "raising awareness" for breast cancer and donating a mere pittance of the proceeds from all their pink merchandise to actual cancer research. Cancer is not pretty. It is not pink. It is not about "setting the tatas free" on a ridiculous no-bra day campaign.  It is painful and devastating and life-altering and women young and old are fighting for their lives against this beast. The public needs to see this side of breast cancer and that is what The Scar Project is doing with this striking photography series of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay.  It's not easy to look at these photos, but it puts a reality to breast cancer that the general public needs to see before heading out to buy another big pink garbage bin. Please donate directly to your local cancer societies or to any number of organizations that directly help cancer patients and survivors and avoid all the "pinkwashing" of this terrible disease.


On that note, I wish you all a safe and wonderful weekend!