An interesting review of some current arguments about the state of feminism. I’ve been somewhat intrigued by “postfeminsim,” not because I agree with it, but because it traffics in the same language as “postirony.” In other words, when young women where T-shirts with “babe” or hot pants with crude sexual language printed on their butt, one wonders if this is “empowerment” (as some suggest) and if our resistance to such things represents a generation gap of Old Lefties who don’t get young people. Admittedly, I don’t mean to sound stodgy but I do feel that rampant “hooking up” (it’s not just a female issue, mind you) is not a sign of a healthy culture. Everything done in balance.
I enjoyed the following article because it showed that the arguments are neither black or white, but as usual, marketers are the wild card in the mix. Amanda Marcotte connects “princes” marketing to children with the Pussycat phenom of older kids. Complicated stuff!
AlterNet: Feminism in the Era of ‘Girls Gone Wild’:
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If young women are doing fine by themselves by picking up the books and working hard and presenting a very real challenge to male dominance, then what should we make of the “Girls Gone Wild” stereotype? The notion that college age women are wasting their potential somehow by acting like nothing more than sex objects is paralleled neatly by the notion that the kindergarten set of girls that are supposedly rejecting their feminist parents in order to embrace the fluffy princess phenomenon, pushed mostly by the Disney company. In fact, the princess marketing has something of a “gotcha” element to it, as if the miles of pink and lace present an irresistible temptation for the inner delicate flowers of young girls. The more likely story is that the relentless drumbeat of marketing the Princess line has made girls feel that they’re missing out if they aren’t a part of it.
The grown-up version of Disney’s Princess line is the TV show “The Pussycat Dolls,” where the symbol of belonging is not a pink lace princess dress, but a feather boa. Granted, the Pussycat Dolls are highly sexualized, but the marketing push is the same as the Princess line, the story being one about how women and girls find themselves irresistibly drawn away from participation in the real world and towards feminine accoutrements and being on display rather than being active. And these messages are coming, as they always have, from marketers that are more interested in protecting male privilege and making money than everything else. The co-option of words like “empowering” from feminists should be taken for what it is, a backlash wolf in feminist sheep clothing.
The colors say it all. I don’t think this drink is designed for swanky adults. For the media literate, the image of the woman in the background also says plenty.
A booze buzz for teenyboppers? – Addictions – MSNBC.com:
With prom season and all its attendant hazards around the corner, some law enforcers and health advocates are adding one more cause for parents to worry — a new alcoholic beverage called Spykes that is sized, flavored and priced in a way that critics say is aimed at teens.
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The American Psychology Association has issued a report from its task force on the sexualization of girls. I found it to be balanced and was impressed that even though media contribute negatively to the objectification and sexualization of girls, the study also identified other ambient and environmental factors. Furthermore, it recommends (see quote below) media literacy and DIY media as effective approaches to dealing with the problem.
You can download the report pdf here.
There’s also a great page for media literacy resources dealing with sexuality and girls.
Also, you can check out my own media literacy resource that deals generally with the subject of sexuality, body image and youth of color.
Because the media are important sources of sexualizing images, the development and implementation of schoolbased media literacy training programs could be key in combating the influence of sexualization.There is an urgent need to teach critical skills in viewing and consuming media, focusing specifically on the sexualization of women and girls. Other school-based approaches include increased access to athletic and other extracurricular programs for girls and the development and presentation of comprehensive sexuality education programs.
Strategies for parents and other caregivers include learning about the impact of sexualization on girls and coviewing media with their children in order to influence the way in which media messages are interpreted. Action by parents and families has been effective in confronting sources of sexualized images of girls. Organized religious and other ethical instruction can offer girls important practical and psychological alternatives to the values conveyed by popular culture.
Girls and girlsâ€™ groups can also work toward change. Alternative media such as â€œzinesâ€ (Web-based magazines), â€œblogsâ€ (Web logs), and feminist magazines, books, and Web sites encourage girls to become activists who speak out and develop their own alternatives. Girl empowerment groups also support girls in a variety of ways and provide important counterexamples to sexualization.
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