Feminism Won in All the Wrong Ways

Betty Boop, Lady, Female, Woman, Girl, Sexy, Cartoon

Respect me! I’m wearing a Betty Boop t-shirt!

The other day I took my 4-year-old son and my 3-year-old daughter underwear shopping.  My son had all kinds of cool options: superheros!  Pixar movies!  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! sports! Paw Patrol! My daughter’s choices, on the other hand, were (a) flowers and birds (b) Minnie Mouse and (c) My Little Pony.  And I’m thinking–where’s feminism when you need it?  So maybe they figure that girls are less interested in the darker, more masculine heroes like Batman, or traditionally “boy” things like cars and sports.  But since when is Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles, unsuitable for girls?  So maybe they figure girls prefer female characters.  Since when does that rule out puppies, or cars, or fish, or cowgirls?  Seriously, feminists, do you really want your daughter idolizing Minnie Mouse?  I’m all for traditional gender roles, but gosh, clothes and toys for girls are so boring.  Girls get cute animals, cooking, shopping, make-up, and princesses.  Boys get cool animals, sports, superheroes, rescue workers, building, vehicles, engineering, science, outdoor toys, and everything else.  It’s like products for kids haven’t changed since the 50’s.

I’m mostly joking here; my daughter could actually use a little nudging toward feminine things, and she can always borrow her brother’s underwear.  But the fact that the feminists haven’t made any headway in this area just adds insult to the injury that is their complete failure to transform adult women’s culture, either.  Feminists did a wonderful job in making the objectification and stereotyping of women unacceptable; but then they turned right around and objectified and stereotyped themselves.  It’s (supposedly) no longer okay for men to view women as sex objects; but it’s perfectly okay for women to read magazines about how important it is to be SEXY ALL THE TIME. Here’s an article from Cosmopolitan Magazine about how awful it is that a producer hired an actress just for her looks; and (warning, racy pictures ahead) here’s an article from the same magazine (by a man!) that’s entirely about one model’s sexy butt.  It’s (supposedly) no longer okay for men to value women only for their sexiness; but it’s empowering for women who don’t fit the usual definitions of sexy–plus-sized women, older women, disabled women–to show how valuable they are by…looking sexy.  I’m getting mixed messages.

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5 thoughts on “Feminism Won in All the Wrong Ways

  1. Just as an fyi, your top pictures on the last couple posts haven’t shown up? I’m seeing a message about pictures not being share-able. 🙂 But yeah… mixed messages on the feminism thing FOR SURE. Although it might not really be *feminism*’s fault… it might just be that feminism is inadequate to combat the forces of commercialism. (And that applies to Cosmo, not just the kids’ toys.)

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    • True, but how much are commercial things just supplying our demand, and how much are they creating our demand? It’s a chicken/egg kind of thing and I’m not sure what the actual causes are, but I’m pretty sure it’s going both ways.

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      • I read an article not that long ago that the pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys phenomenon was created partly because companies found it profitable to sell separate sets of clothes. In general, individualization is a strong selling point; in particular, having separate boy/girl items forces parents to buy new clothes for second babies whose gender doesn’t match.

        Business policies may only succeed when they appeal to basic human desires, but they intensify and create more [to use a computer programming term] instances of those desires.

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