Monday, August 10, 2009

Feminism and Betty.

Reposted from Cartoon Vixens.

In my first post to this blog, I commented on Betty Boop as a feminist symbol. She is sexy, she is fun, but she is also accepted and well-liked. This was a pretty revolutionary concept back in the day. I said that the only thing about her that I think is still sexist is that even though she's overtly sexual, she is not sexually active. It was this idea that even though a girl can be social and outward, being pure, i.e. a virgin, was the desirable state.

Apparently, Candie's, the teenage girl clothing company with Britney Spears as its mascot, has started a new... thing... called the Candie's Foundation. Supposedly, this foundation is all about educating parents and children on the problems of teenage pregnancy.

Isn't it a bit surprising, then, that they mention nothing like condoms, birth control, or family planning? Yep. They mention nothing but abstinence. And isn't it interesting that the only problem they mention is pregnancy? Not STD's, or injury. No, just pregnancy. And isn't it even more interesting that Candie's spokesman is Britney Spears, a woman in the running for worst celebrity mother of the decade. And isn't it even more interesting that the "Teen Ambassador" for the newly-formed foundation is Bristol Palin.

Really? Bristol Palin? As though teens across the country look up to her? This is the same Bristol Palin who's baby-daddy spends his life on the talk show circuit bashing the Palins. The same Bristol Palin who recently called abstinence "unrealistic." Yes, one could say she can now speak from experience, but I don't buy that. The "do as I say not as I do" is a real problem, regardless of what the anti-drug ads say. It's like telling your kids not to smoke pot when you can't remember 1976. It's like telling your kids to not dress like morons when there are photos of you in knee-high rainbow socks and Madonna-cones. It doesn't work. Because your argument must logically entail that you are a worse person now than you would have been had you not made such a fateful decision.

If you argue that you like your life now, and seem alright, you have no ground. This is unlike those who speak out against drunk driving after creaming someone, because it is a highly plausible statement that, yes, life would be better today had they not made that decision. Bristol is unlikely to say that, since that would entail saying she hates her own child. Which she could say, and if she did then I'd believe her, but until she says "I wish I did not have this child," she can shut the fuck up.

I haven't even dug into the actual campaign yet! Seemingly, the whole shebang is predicated on the idea that "I'm sexy enough to keep you waiting."

On my blog A Candle in the Dark, I talk about hidden 'isms. I mentioned this in response to anti-prostitution crusaders who were running on an underlying assumption that female sexuality must be protected, while male sexuality is predatory and can be given out willy-nilly. Read into the underlying assumptions of that sentence. The "you" is a male, who is obviously a lascivious animal, otherwise he wouldn't be trying to get the girl to not wait. This also assumes that the full weight of stopping teenage sex is on the female, because men can't be expected to control themselves. Boys will be boys! Hyuk!

Let's think about the mixed messages involved with this. Candie's sells sex. Walk into a Kohl's. All they sell are hyper-sexed teenaged models, covered in sexy gear, to girls who want to be sexy, and then they say to not do anything with it or about it. Sex is bad! But still look sexy! This cheesecake is terrible for you! But look at how delicious it is! It's not just ridiculous, it's disgusting.

Now for that photo, ignoring that the model is apparently 35, it seems like the sentence is shooting for something closer to "I'm confident enough in myself to keep you waiting." That's fine. But it doesn't say that. In fact, that sort of statement is antithetical to Candie's advertising, which is based on "You're not sexy until you have this clothing," which relies on a lack of confidence. If I'm sexy enough to make someone wait, I'm sexy enough to not need Candie's clothing. They certainly don't want that.

It's also a logically inaccurate statement. Being sexy has nothing to do with someone's capacity to make someone else do something nor does it have anything to do with their own self worth in this capacity. It's like saying "I'm tall enough to keep you waiting," or "I'm Caucasian enough to keep you waiting." If it was talking about a girl's self worth, that's acceptable, but then it treads even-more dangerous ground since that implies that the woman is worth it to wait, but any man who would need "no" fucking printed on a t-shirt isn't worth the time, and if the man is worth the time, he'd either not need the slogan or there's no reason to wait. No reason except dogma, that is.

Now, let's get into the consequences of following what Candie's seemingly espouses. They want girls to be overtly hyper-sexed, flaunt it, and then be a cock-tease. BE SEXY!!! But nooooo touchy-touchy. Get those boys HARD! Then condescend to them for being such horny animals. It's an absurd message. The point of sexy is sex. A person portrays a particular image for a particular reason. I dress in a suit for work to appear professional. It's the equivalent of "I'm professional enough... to not work for you" after being offered a job. It's retarded.

Abstinence, The "Sexy" Way (

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