Here’s an exchange which took place on the Internet. I have added the beef that took place after the original post as it is between some sensible commentators and some loser called Tom and is very illustrative, since he got owned.
‘That readers of FHM have voted an androgynous man in to their most recent list of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World might have been a cause for celebration among equal rights campaigners.’
Now that’s what I call ‘Equal Opportunities’ and a ‘Fairer Society’!
Talk about affirmative action. How can a professed man be on the list of sexiest women? Having said that, if you look at the state of some of the women who make that list, it becomes more understandable…
I love how he says: ‘it’s a very liberal industry, you can be yourself, just not overweight’. He could have also added ‘or dressed in clothes which cover your gonads’. And I don’t think we are going to see a Western model who covers her hair with a headscarf though we CAN get a female model who is a man. You see the problem with liberalism? It can only tolerate ITSELF.
I have had the misfortune of watching the horrifying cultural phenomenon that is ‘Americas Next Top Model’ and although this abomination has been made by Tyra Banks to show just how modelling is NOT all about looks it yet fails horribly and is one of the best indictments of Western feminism in existence. The way they berate and harass women to conform to their values is so blatant it’s not even funny.
Having said that, knowing a bit about the fashion industry in terms of my friend who is a photographer, this decision to include a man in the sexiest women should come as no surprise: the fashion industry is RUN by men who do not like women (sexually). If you think about it, a lot of the women we are presented with in the fashion industry are rather handsome, with strong T’s and jaws that would make Superman blush. I posit this is because there is a preponderance of homosexual men in the fashion industry in key positions (anyone who denies this is delusional) and they tend to find women who are somewhat masculine in terms of their facial structure to be more suitable for their campaigns. Look at Cindy Crawford back in the day or Amber Valletta or even Giselle Bundchen today. I’m not saying they are not attractive, but they are rather ‘handsome’ as far as women go.
There is a great documentary film about the modelling and beauty industry in the United States and how it treats women and children called ‘America the Beautiful’ which is available for download and is an excellent insiders view (it REALLY is good, especially if you have children or are a woman).The recent Channel 4 documentary series (which was well received) with the unsubtle title ‘Stop Pimping Our Kids’ addressed the sexualisation of children by the fashion industry as well.
TOM: Please explain how this is an ‘indictment of Western feminism’. You could start with a brief summary of what Western feminism is.
REHAB: Please explain how you could be arrogant enough to demand definitions when you did not even bother to read the article properly. I am referring to not the inclusion of a man on the FHM Hot 100 but the show ‘Americas Next Top Model’ in which young women are ‘trained’ and harassed under financial and social duress to conform to the undemocratic expectations of the fashion industry.
In any case, please spare the readers your false indignation. I made the comment that though a man could get on the ‘Hot 100 Females’ we are not likely to see a woman in more modest modes of dress, specifically a headscarfe, make that list
THE LAST VAMPIRE: It’s not nice to talk down to people and give them ‘homework’ like ‘define Western Feminism’. He could have just as well added ‘in thirty words or less’ to accentuate his posturing. I think you should show your own expertise on the subject before demanding qualification. It’s only a subjective opinion piece after all, take it or leave it. At least these Muslims don’t put ‘Op – Ed’ pieces as news or facts unlike the sorry state of the ‘Western press’ today (see critiques by Pilger and others or just watch Fox News once in a while).
Also, I bet he does not write in to FHM or ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and say ‘define beauty’.
Also, that question is foolish: like how exactly is the guy going to explain, by reference to the (as yet) SIXTEEN seasons of the show ‘Americas Next Top Model’ that it is degrading and objectifying to women? What do you want like a table of all the incidents? That would be a big table.
Any woman who has seen the show (which is wildly successful and imitated globally) can make up her own mind if she thinks being paraded before a group of (usually openly gay) men and women like a dog at ‘Crufts’ and critiqued on her appearance and then filmed while they cry and are ‘evicted’ summarily from the house if they ‘fail’ is empowering or not.
Instead ‘Western Feminists’ and their male handlers save their bile for the ‘oppressed’ women in the Middle East and elsewhere, concerning themselves with their liberation (presumably they want to give them the ‘freedom’ to appear on ‘America’s Next Top Model’) and their ‘right’ to appear in pornographic films with titles like ‘Teens Do Anal 5′ (and you know I am not making that up, just go on any P2P sites such as ‘Extratorrent’ and see the kind of titles they have in the ‘adult’ section). So Western Feminism is indicted by it’s ‘tolerance’ of the institutionalised rape/sodomy of women for the pleasure and consumption of MEN. And it’s not me, a Muslim man saying that, it’s Andrea Dworkin a RADICAL (American) FEMINIST.
Far as I’m concerned, the guy is spot on: you can ‘tolerate’ a ‘female’ model who is in fact a professed MAN but not a pretty girl in a hijaab selling make up on a billboard or reading the news. It also seems to be that ‘Western Feminism’ has ‘achieved’ exactly what men would have wanted it to: sexual availability and commoditisation of women. Funny that…
Sounds like an ‘indictment’ to me.
TOM: ‘I am referring to not the inclusion of a man on the FHM Hot 100 but the show ‘Americas Next Top Model’
Who said you weren’t? I was interested in why you thought it was an indictment of ‘Western feminism’. Are you suggesting that ANTM is a bastion of feminism? I would agree that it’s an indictment, just not of Western feminism.
‘Also, that question is foolish: like how exactly is the guy going to explain, by reference to the (as yet) SIXTEEN seasons of the show ‘Americas Next Top Model’ that it is degrading and objectifying to women?’
I didn’t ask him to do that- I asked him to explain why it is an indictment of Western feminism.
Incidentally, I don’t have to be ‘nice’ (whatever that means); I have to be collegial, which I was. And I would venture to suggest that it’s perfectly acceptable- dare I say encouraged- to take someone to task (or, as I did, seek clarification) on a ‘subjective opinion piece’ on a DEBATE initiative- Debate is not a matter of taking or leaving, it’s a matter of engaging.
‘you can ‘tolerate’ a ‘female’ model who is in fact a professed MAN but not a pretty girl in a hijaab selling make up on a billboard or reading the news. It also seems to be that ‘Western Feminism’ has ‘achieved’ exactly what men would have wanted it to: sexual availability and commoditisation of women. Funny that…’
For a start, who’s ‘you’? Secondly, a ‘pretty girl in a hijaab’ (what about an ugly girl in a hijaab? I’d tolerate her too!) and a transvestite model are both not only ‘tolerated’ in the UK but granted the same legal rights as citizens.
Isn’t Andrea Dworkin’s indictment of the ‘tolerance’ of ANTM an endorsement of Western feminism? Is it not ironic to cite a feminist’s critique as an indictment of feminism? Feminism is not a monolith after all.
Show me a feminist who advocates ANTM, or are they guilty for focussing on the Middle East instead?
REHAB: A pretty girl in a hijaab or an ‘ugly girl’ (there is no such thing) in any form of dress are by no means ‘tolerated’ in the fashion industry as evidenced by their ABSENCE from said industry. It’s a bit like saying virgins are tolerated in porn. If you say so, but show counterexamples if you expect us to believe in this bizzare inclusiveness in the fashion industry. I think you have become confused between the ‘fashion industry’ and ‘society at large’ It does not even hold for society as a whole as evidenced by hijaab bans in the former case and eating disorders in the ‘latter’, but that was not the point.
As for feminism not being a monolith, this goes without saying for any and all ideologies, including fascism, which is ‘insistence upon an idea’ and yet still not intellectually or practically monolithic, as the sad history of the 20th Century shows.
It is abundantly clear that people calling themselves ‘Feminists’ from the ‘West’ dedicate a disproportionate amount of pagespace and effort to ‘rectifying’ the rights of women outside of their own glasshouse: Hence they are multiplied without end on satellite and print media on these topics. This same degree of effort does not seem to be expended vis – a – vis the abuses of women which are occurring on their watch (and often approval) in their own countries and cultures of origin (which obviously are not a monolith but can nonetheless be contrasted with others). Examples such as ‘Americas Next Top Model’ can be multiplied almost without end, their feminist critics cannot. If you think that the amount of indignation shown by feminists at these things or say the Hijaab banning antics of many secular governments are proportionate to their exposure and comments on the Muslim and other ‘non – Western’ world, then we will have to agree to disagree.
The word ‘you’ means ‘you’, as in contra – distinction to ‘me’. Nothing more.
As for feminists who ‘advocate’ Americas Next Top Model and it’s alumni, if we are to speak of tacit consent, that would be the majority. More obviously, the shows producer and creator and star Tyra Banks is a self professed feminist (and has not been challenged on this to my knowledge by these mythical righteous feminists that you posit). There are also numerous feminists who defend and participate in the pornographic and sex industry as made abundantly clear by liberals themselves in popular works such as ‘Reefer Madness’, ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’ etc. All of these works, to various degrees, chart the failure/complicity of the ‘Western Feminist’ movement in the humiliation and objectification of women, as well as most powerfully and accessibly by the aforementioned Dworkin as quouted in Chris Hedges book ‘Empire of Illusion’, where again, the left, liberals and feminists are taken to task for their negligence towards their stated goals.
Therefore yes, they ARE too busy focusing on the Middle East instead, just as you are too focused on nit picking to see what is abundantly clear to everyone else.
TOM: ‘I think you have become confused between the ‘fashion industry’ and ‘society at large’’
Contextual confusion may stem from TLV’s conflation of ANTM with Western journalism, internet porn, institutionalised rape and sodomy across three paragraphs.
‘The word ‘you’ means ‘you’, as in contra – distinction to ‘me’. Nothing more.’
I think we all know what the word ‘means’, just as we know that words achieve their meanings in use. ‘We’, by the way, is the first person plural pronoun.
If we speak of pretty girls then we might speak of ugly girls- we should speak of women, and that was clearly my point.
Tyra Banks’ nebulous conception of feminism and self-identification as a women’s rights advocate does not render ANTM an indictment of Western feminism. Nor does the fact that some feminists don’t condemn pornography in toto.
To speak of tacit consent is to conjecture and to speak of something entirely unquantifiable, and your assertion that an anti-middle-eastern bias pervades in Western feminism is unempirical.
‘But I guess it’s only ‘mutilating’ if you don’t consent to it’
Not at all, but to gloss over the essential elements of individual choice and legally-protected human rights, as if social pressure for breast enhancement and pinning someone down and grinding their clitoris off with a stone amount to the same thing, is to clutch at straws.
REHAB: It is just an opinion piece, not meant to make an academic case, but I DO think that shows like ‘Americas Next Top Model’ exemplify the failure of Western Feminism, specifically the way that the representatives of this movement support such degrading spectacles (carried out by Tyra Banks, herself a ‘women’s rights advocate’), while at the same time going on about every little affront to women’s decency taking place in the Muslim world: the asymmetry is astounding:
The (absolutely justified) condemnation and highlighting of FGM (in poor and uneducated communities) but the relative silence on plastic surgery which includes thousands of labioplasties and breast augmentations. But I guess it’s only ‘mutilating’ if you don’t consent to it (a Liberal assumption and creed). The indignation at the ‘niqaab’ and ‘hiding away of women’ but nary a peep when the French, Singaporean, Turkish, Ethiopian (I could go on) governments TELL women what they can and cannot wear. A bunch of Pakistanis prostitute young girls and it’s ‘religiously motivated paedophilic sex trafficking’. A bunch of black, white or Chinese guys do it and it’s ‘Pimping’ or the ‘Sex INDUSTRY’. Arab guys get caught trafficking people and Luc Besson has to make a movie out of it. 60% of ‘tourists’ to Thailand this summer will be unaccompanied European men having sex with (often) trafficked girls (‘Global Woman’ Ehrenenrich and Hochschild) and it’s ‘sex tourism’ (or just harmless fun). You get the picture.
I even heard an feminist Islamophobe argue the other day on television that the hijaab should be banned as it was was ‘sexualising’ young girls. Yeah, right. Camus’ absurdism taken to an art form perhaps?
It’s as if the ‘feminists’ (read: generic Liberals) have given up on confronting cultural and economic imperatives mandating the exploitation of women in the West and focused their attention on women in the Muslim world (where they usually blame religion or ‘backward cultures’ for purely economic problems like access to education etc: The same economic forces they are too cowardly to confront in the West so it is not surprising that they would fail to address them in the Muslim world as well).
It’s like saying WHO CARES if you are treated like a marketing device for men’s Deodorant or made into a life support machine for a vagina by the sex industry?! You are empowered! You are free! Anything that allows you to make money, even if is to be serially violated in every orifice as a masturbatory tool for men (and increasingly, women) is inherently progressive! And lest you get any doubts about this creed, give thanks that you are not like those poor, oppressed Muslim women. FREEDOM IS WHAT WE TELL YOU IT IS!
Hence ‘Western Feminism’ has no legitimacy, moral or otherwise anymore as far as I am concerned.
As Chris Hedges reminds us, Orwell worried that we would be enslaved by that which we fear (authority/control or ‘Big Brother’): Huxley realised that we would be enslaved by that which we love (‘Individual Freedom’).
Or if you guys STILL don’t get it, watch this and then tell me if ‘Western Feminism’ has failed or not.
BTW, this was one of the most watched one-off ads and was shown during an England football game in case you think I pulled out an obscure one. What is utterly pathetic is that other companies thought it was a GREAT idea and copied it:
If that’s what people call ‘Feminism’ then perhaps Tom is right, we SHOULD give our definitions. It’s bad form to define a thing by it’s negation I guess but let me suggest my definition of feminism: