Breast cancer is scary. The number one predictor for having breast cancer known thus far is just being a woman. Though this may sound obvious to some, the fact that we do not know enough about this disease to be able to find any other conclusive causing factors is strange, given the amount of time in which it has been in the public focus and the billions of dollars of research money that has been donated in that time. One of the reasons that we don’t know much about the disease is because the money we spend when we purchase pink products goes to research for a cure, and not towards research to determine the cause. Finding a cure is important, as it allows us to be hopeful. But it cannot be our only focus.
Great Oden’s Raven! This week, I’ve decided to write my Feminist Lens Movie Review about the 2004 comedy, Anchorman.
But why Anchorman, you might ask? The answer is two-fold. First, I have a bunch of choices, many of which fall under the horror/action/thriller genres. Anchorman is very different in that regard. Second, despite presenting a shiny veneer of feminism and equality, the movie still contains a number of problematic elements. So grab your popcorn and bust out that Sex Panther cologne from your private stash—it’s time for another edition of the Feminist Lens.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the stress love in the air has been almost tangible. Couples and singles alike are making plans, and everyone is mentally, emotionally, and financially preparing for the big day. However, there are some of us who are less-than-stoked about this chocolate-coated celebration. Ladychaotica21 even wrote a post last week about her feelings toward this heart-shaped giant of a holiday. To those of us who cringe at the sight of the pink and red decorations that start springing up in the shop windows, this holiday all about love just turns into a big eye-roll and a sigh.
I have always been uncomfortable on Valentine’s Day. Since my feminist awakening, I’ve attributed that discomfort to the heteronormativity and sexism inherent in encouraging men to buy women chocolates and teddy bears with the implied motivation of sex. Why, my internal narrative asked, should I give a gift on a day when I’m told to? Wouldn’t it mean more if I did something nice on a day when it’s spontaneous? Though I stand by my assertion that this is a flawed holiday, and that showing affection shouldn’t be a once-a-year mandatory phenomenon, I’ve taken a step back and considered what could be nice about a holiday that encourages us to spread the love around.
I’m obsessed with Pinterest from crafting, to recipes, to ideas for my future home I’ll pin it all. This includes wedding ideas, something that girls are supposed to be planning from birth, and Pinterest is a wonderful conduit for it this obsession. The infinite ideas for invitations, receptions, and pictures makes any warm-blooded female go gaga, or at least that’s how we’re supposed to react.
Once again that boisterous inner feminist of mine seems to be chomping at the bit to start analyzing things, including the trappings of marriage. All you have to do is turn on TLC Friday night and see the fascination that our society has with weddings, Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, and my Big Fat Gypsy Wedding all speak to this cultural phenomenon. Yet, one has to begin to wonder what are we really promoting?
I’m an avid sports fan, particularly when it comes to the NFL. Like most other fans, I frequent both watching and browsing ESPN. Recently, I stumbled upon an interesting offshoot of ESPN.com—ESPN W. Yes, tucked away at the far right of the browsing bar of ESPN.com is the link to ESPN Women.
Since coming to college, I have made the decision to become a vegetarian. After doing weeks of research and talking to others who had made the same decision, I had learned enough about vegetarian nutrition to talk about it with the best of them. I quickly learned, however, that if I wanted to talk about what I had learned or the decisions I was making about my eating choices, I would have to be careful of whom I spoke to. In the three years since I have become a vegetarian, I have yet to have a productive conversation with a male about eating habits.
You, like many others, may be thinking that it serves me right to get flack for spouting my mouth off about vegetarianism. One of the most common arguments I’ve heard is that people who don’t eat meat are too vocal about it, making everyone else either bored or uncomfortable. However, I make it a point not to discuss the issue with anyone unless they bring it up. Whenever a male friend of mine notices the lack of meat on my plate, they frequently choose to address the subject. And boy, do they have a lot to say. Continue reading
Liz Canner presents quite an interesting perspective in her documentary, Orgasm Inc. (available on Netflix) in February 2011. She dives into the science of the female orgasm and analyzes attempts from the pharmaceutical industry to quell so called female sexual dysfunction as she is hired for a drug trial for this “medicine.”
Apparently, this is a brand new, huge, billion-dollar industry. Viagra for women?
According to studies from healthywomen magazine, 43% of women suffer from sexual dysfunction. This “dysfunction” includes the lack of desire and pleasure during sexual encounters, among other “symptoms”. After a simple survey from the 90’s was run, the industry hopped on board, no questions asked, even Oprah (shame on you, Oprah). According to Liz, this survey indicated that much of the “dysfunction” was perfectly normal, though this statistic was conveniently underplayed.
This new field of medicine, Viagra for women, is becoming an increasingly popular subject of research. Vivus, a top competitor to patent a successful product, is testing a cream that was originally designed to treat erectile dysfunction. Not only does this ignores the complexities of the female body, but also assumes male erections and functionally the same as female orgasms… Sorry world, but that’s just untrue. Needless to say, clinical trials are not going so hot with male dominated companies spear heading this mission to battle over FDA approval. Big surprise there!
This raises a very important question: What is this “dysfunction” and why are we just starting to hear about this now?
So what I’m about to tell you all is something I’m really not proud of– it’s difficult for me to confess. I’ve managed to keep it somewhat on the down low since it reared its ugly head a few years ago, but for the purposes of this post you must know that I am a Twilight fan. Now that you know that, I feel the immediate need to defend myself: I am completely aware of how ridiculously awful Stephanie Meyer’s writing is. I am an English major as well as a Twihard, so I recognize that at times Meyer’s writing is cringe-worthy. More importantly, I recognize that the plot of each novel is more fucked up than the last. Anyway, I use my solid grasp on reality as an excuse to be able to enjoy Twilight guilt-free. Others, however, do not share my angle on the series. Instead, the numerous Twilight fans (most of which are thirteen year old girls) are hopelessly swept into the fictional world Stephanie Meyer creates. And young girls being enamored with a story that stars a main character (and heroine?) like Bella, is bad news. Bad, bad news.
So I was procrastinating on the interwebz the other day and I came across something that really got to me. An article taken from The Consumerist titled “We’re Sorry You Ever Came To Our Store & Wasted Our Precious Time,” writer MB Quirk describes a situation where a woman and her friends were shopping for bridesmaids dresses at an upscale Australian boutique called GASP. After tiring of the salespeople’s prodding techniques, one of the girls, Keara O’Neil politely told them she would think about it even though she didn’t like the dress she tried on. One salesperson, Chris, retorted, “With your figure I really think you should buy it.”
Oh, but wait, it gets worse….Both Quirk and Styleite’s articles indicated that as O’Neil was leaving, Chris instilled parting words making fun of her size 12 body and shouting, “I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in!” In case this isn’t a bad enough example of both bad customer service and oppressive stereotypes, what happened following O’Neil’s visit only exacerbates the issue.
“Cosmetics advertising”. I’ll just group that phrase with “Sex”, “Youth” and “Exclusionary.” As a make-up junkie, I can attest to the fact that, walking down a make-up aisle at any drugstore or department store, the amount of sheer advertising that occurs is overwhelming. At every turn, on the front of every precariously balanced display of lipstick or fragrance, is a picture of an overly made-up, ridiculously youthful, and obviously outrageously happy woman. She beams down from billboards, smiles from behind the lip gloss, and peeks flirtatiously from over her shoulder, luring you in with her overly- long eyelashes (probably fake). Her body, particularly her face, is dissected and displayed in various places throughout the makeup aisle. Here, her lips are the prominent focus, luscious and dramatically colored, shiny and juicy like an overly ripe piece of fruit. Above purple and pink tubes of mascara, her eyes watch you, piercing you with their photo-shopped clarity and whiteness, yet drawing you in with the clouds of eye shadow that swirl beneath her perfectly arched eyebrows. Her cheeks are tinged in an oh-so-virginal blush or a bolder post-orgasm flush. Acne is a foreign concept and dark-circles belong here as much as a rocket ship would in a pony race. This woman looks nothing like me and everything like “sex on a stick”.