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I am one majorly unhappy camper

edited to change "women who use their bodies" to "women who use their position" as it is in the article. See what I mean? Too angry to see straight.

I am happily leafing through the current Entertainment Weekly this morning, enjoying one of my favorite pop cultural fixes, and I come across a cross-page ad for an upcoming television show on NBC: Playboy Club. That's right. It's set in a Playboy Club in the 1960s, to reap some of that Mad Men resonance--the clothes, the sexual politics, the music, the smoking, and the drinking. And the women in the corseted, crotch-cutting, chest-displaying outfits, complete with painfully high heels and the serving procedure known as the "Bunny dip": crouch without bending your back, holding your drink tray perfectly level at shoulder height. Because we couldn't do this at a dance club like Whiskey à GoGo or someplace where the culture was changing, like the Greenwich Village or San Francisco nightclubs. No, we have to have it be the Playboy Clubs where we can show women put on display like products in your grocer's dairy case in every episode as background, with men freely given permission to ogle and grope them and treat them like fecal matter because, hey, that was the time. The producer claims it's about female empowerment and women using their position to get what they want. A spot on the board, asshat? A job as CEO or CFO? How about second vice president at a bank? What about head chef at a pricey restaurant, or producer/director of a movie? (Hey, wait--we can hardly get a lot of those jobs now.) And what happens to them when they get wrinkles, or start to sag, or gain weight, or get pregnant, or develop minds of their own? How do their bodies get them what they want then? Or even now?

ABC, at the same time, is offering us Pan Am, focusing on "stewardesses and pilots and their glamorous world". (Keep scrolling down in the article for the other shows mentioned in this post.)

I thought I was through with this crap after the publication of COFFEE, TEA, OR ME? and Gloria Steinem's blistering series of articles on how demeaning a Bunny's life really is. I thought feminism would clear this garbage off televisions when All in the Family's Edith Bunker finally rose up and told Archie what he could do with his racism and sexism and moved out, when divorced women were portrayed as workers and parents rather than "easy," and when women headlined dramas rather than only home how-to shows and pre-school kids' TV.

But wait! There's more!

ABC also has Good Christian Bitches!--glamorous backbiting women à la Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girls, and Pretty Little Liars--and Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23.

To all of you who told me that I was wrong (when I said that using the b-word just tells people it's okay to use this term that trashes women), and that you were using the b-word to reclaim it for women, I hope you're happy. Because now cheap TV producers think it's a cool word to use on national television to mean nasty women.

Oh, yes. And they're re-booting Charlie's Angels. Again. Because women can't kick butt without a man to tell them to do it. I'm reserving judgment on the program about two guys who think the only way to get ahead is to dress up as women. Transfolk gotta eat, too, even if cisjerks snicker at it.

I am so angry I cannot see straight. Don't tell me I'm getting excited over nothing. This tide of egregious disrespect has been creeping up, and creeping up. Now, as they try to take our reproductive rights away, and we discover that rape numbers in the civilian and military population are under-reported (the FBI numbers don't include statutory and date rape, 60% of the population doesn't report it at all, and in the military it's 80% that doesn't report), our mass media tells us that we are here for sex. Women are shown in the media as sexual objects, as pieces of meat there to display desirable things like cars, watches, drinks, and a suit on a man.

Now the women who ruin their backs and feet running up and down airplane aisles and the women who were penalized for a two-pound gain are being shown off once more as the living equivalent of sex toys, which makes all of us sex toys. We're all of us bitches, because our media culture tells us so.


Aug. 5th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
As much as I'm disgusted by the subject matter, I'm glad to see this post from you.

I'm so tired of having family, friends, everyone tell me that feminism is pointless in this day in age. When I tried to talk to my parents about not using the "b-word" because I found it demeaning, it turned into a big argument. If women want real equality, they're just humorless feminists who can't take a joke. I'm so sick of it.

so, um, thank you for this post. even with big communities of feminists, one can still sometimes feel alone
Aug. 5th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
feminism is pointless in this day in age

We should ask that of the women who can no longer get reproduction services from healthcare providers who object to it, or from their insurance companies. We should ask that of Planned Parenthood, which is under siege, and of the few abortion providers who are left. We should ask that of Dr. George Tiller--no, wait, he's dead. We should ask that of all the women CEOs and CFOs of major banks and finance companies. We should ask that of all of the female heads of major motion picture studios. We should ask it of all the women who earn 80 cents to every man's dollar.

Here's some women to ask, courtesy of my wonderful senator, Kirsten Gillibrand (one of 17 women in the 100 seat Senate): 17% of all members of Congress are women; there are currently only six women governors in the US today; fewer than 25% of state legislature seats are filled by women. (51% of the population is female.)

In the 51-member teaching staff of the astronomy department of a major American university, 2 members are
women. This is not uncommon.

The majority of lead characters in children's books are male--even the animals. The female characters, if there are any, are usually nurturing or passive. I can dig up the study if you need it for ammo.

Obviously I could go on, and on, and on. People who say there's no point to feminism these days have no idea what they're talking about. If they read what we do, they wouldn't have a sense of humor, either.

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