Posts Tagged ‘feminist’

My Thoughts on Dove’s “Real Beauty” Sketch Video

Have you seen Dove’s latest Campaign for Real Beauty video?  If not, go take a look.

First of all, I know there are 1,000,001 posts out there already about Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, both positive and negative.  After watching their most recent video, I had a thought that I haven’t seen addressed yet.

The entire thing hinges on how other people see us.  It’s all about how you critique yourself and how other people, especially people who know and love you, see you much more positively.  I feel as though I’m being told that what other people think of me matters more than what I think of myself.

I don’t want to feel better about myself because someone else said I have a nice, thin jawline or beautiful eyes.  That’s still giving the power to someone else.  I have my own agency and I have my own confidence.  If a woman feels ugly, the solution is not to ask someone else what they think of her, and suggest that she draw confidence from that.  The solution is especially not to ask what a man thinks of her, in my opinion.

If Dove wanted to make a real beauty campaign, I think they would have to dismantle what they’ve built so far.  They would need trans*women, women with disabilities, women of color, and women from size 0 to 20+.  They would need to ditch photoshop (btw, they totally haven’t).  I don’t know that we’ll see any of that any time soon.

I understand that they’re trying to sell us beauty products, and they can’t do that if we’re perfectly happy with ourselves.  They still want the focus to be on what other people think of us because then we’re easier to sell to.  And I’m not buying it.

Ask Sarah Part 1: Where we talk about Porn

Hi all!  I got a lot of responses to Ask Sarah asking about porn, and I’m excited about it.

First of all, I do feel like pornography can be degrading, to both women and men.  There’s no shortage of misogynist porn, and even downright violent porn, out there.  But these directors and companies should not ruin porn for you as a whole, because there are a lot of performers and other directors out there looking to improve the feminist porn experience.  What I look for in solid feminist porn is women (and men!) genuinely having a good time; performers who have good chemistry and appear to be comfortable on set and with each other are key.

I’ve heard the statement, “I don’t want him/her using porn instead of being sexual with me,” a lot.  And that’s a completely valid concern.  Trusting your partner is key.  I have no idea how much porn my boyfriend watches, but we have a healthy sex life, so it’s not a concern of mine.  It’s very rare for two people to have sex drives that completely match up – if one person wants more sex than the other, then porn is a very viable option to keep the relationship happy and healthy.  The best advice anyone can give a couple is to have open communication.  I have no experience with porn addiction, so I don’t feel comfortable addressing that topic yet.

love  watching porn as a couple.  It’s definitely a bonding experience, and it’s very interesting to take turns choosing the flick.  You get to see a little of what your partner likes, and maybe get some ideas.  It just adds something different to what can become a routine.  If you’re interested in exploring porn as a couple, I suggest grabbing some lube, a vibrator, and maybe a stroker if you have a male partner.  Masturbating together, teasing each other, or getting each other off during porn is a lot of fun, and it ensures that no one feels left out.  Remember, your sex life isn’t entirely made up of intercourse.

If you have a hard time getting off, or even getting aroused by, traditional porn, you might be more interested in another niche or genre.  I have very little interest in hardcore porn, but I love the softer stuff available through Abby Winters.  Conversely, someone else might prefer the harder, but equally female-friendly, Meet the Mayhems (a real couple, in mad love and lust, making porn together).  If you’re looking for queer porn, or porn that includes performers of all gender identities and sexual orientations, you should check out the Crashpad Series or one of Courtney Trouble‘s sites.

If you do like more mainstream porn, but are looking for a better male performance, check out James Deen.  He’s been the darling of the internet somewhat recently, and really takes care to make sure that his female costars have a good time on set.  Also, he’s actually sexy.  A sexy man, in mainstream porn.  I know, you need a moment to retrieve your jaw from the floor.

Your enjoyment of porn has a lot to do with just finding the right kind of porn for you.  If you or your partner is interested in experimenting, take a look around.  Just because you don’t like Bree Olson doesn’t mean you can’t find a star or a studio that you love.

Good luck!  Go explore the pornucopia.

Where do you like your hair?

For at least the last 6 years, I hadn’t really strayed from a somewhat rigorous grooming campaign against the pubes.  As far as I knew, all of my friends were doing the same thing: obsessively shaving down to completely bare.  If you were at the pool and you saw someone’s pubic hair, it was just about the end of the world.  You could hear the collective “Ewww” from a mile away.

On the anti-bare side, you’ll often hear, “It looks prepubescent.  It’s just not natural.  It’s a societal pressure that stems from pornography.”  On the pro-bare side, “It looks better this way.  I started shaving (or waxing) so now I can’t stop.  I just like it.”  From both sides, you’ll hear people for whom this isn’t so much a matter of personal preference as it is a matter of their partner(s) preference(s), their adult entertainer job requirements, or just the idea that it’s how things should look.

Full disclosure: This discussion does stem from a semi-recent decision to let the gardens grow freely, so to speak.  It was partly laziness, and partly partner preference.  For the first week, it was awful.  Now that it’s been a month or so, I’m actually kind of finding that I like it.  I’ll admit, it doesn’t go quite as well with my pretty delicate panty collection (in my opinion, a bare canvas lets the underwear do the talking), but it’s kind of fun being fluffy.

I’m legitimately curious, do you feel like there’s a taboo about women in their 20s having pubic hair?  If you’re dating or in an open relationship, does it seem like it’s expected of you to shave?  If you were totally unconcerned with maintaining for someone else’s sake, what would you do with your hair?

On the topic of hair, what about your legs, underarms, “mustache”, or arm hair?  Do you actually like the look or feel of bare skin, or do you feel like you should?  Personally, I don’t care whether or not I’m shaved, but I’ll freely admit that I care about people not judging me for it.  Nobody’s perfect.

 

The Revolt

Is it subversive to be happy in your body? 

During my fairly recent introduction to the blogosphere (outside of the occasional fashion blog I used to peruse), I’ve noticed a pretty strong current of body positivity happening.  There are so many different ways to be body positive, but they all should have something in common: feel better, never worse.

Secret time: I grew up in an environment where someone very close to me had a serious eating disorder.  If you’ve ever spent a lot of time with someone whose view of themselves is thusly warped, you know that it can take a toll on you.  As a kid, the people around you shape your ideas and your perceptions, and it took me a very long time to un-learn that “you can never be too thin.”

During this school year, I put on about 10lb, which I’ve discussed on my blog before.  I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my time waffling between being okay with it and letting it make me severely anxious.  I recently decided to make a permanent camp on the “okay” side of the fence.  I think I look fine great.  The number on my scale is different, and I feel different, too: I feel happier.  I feel happier because I know what my body can do.

I learned that, before my knee began acting up, I could make some pretty decent progress learning to run outside.  I eat salads about 3-4 times a week, and they make me feel amazing.  (Have you tried Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing?  If you like sesame and creamy goodness, seriously, pick some up.)  And with my adventures in sex and toy blogging, I’ve learned that I can indeed go for about 45-90 minutes.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sex is the best form of exercise.

Two of my favorite bloggers, Jess of The Militant Baker and Amy of Vanagon Champion, are running headfirst into the body happy revolt.  Will you be joining them?

 

You can call me a slut.

If you’ve read my post on being sex-positive, you know that I don’t have any qualms with sexuality.  I’ve also mentioned a couple of times on my blog that I don’t tolerate slut-shaming, and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see lots of Tweets and re-Tweets on the topic.  It’s something I feel very strongly about.

The word slut is very problematic.  It’s been used against us, as women and as girls.  We were probably taught growing up that it’s a catch-all insult, because no one wants to be a slut.  You didn’t even have to have a reason to call someone a slut, or to be called a slut yourself; but if the rumor spread, it stuck.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what people actually think a slut is.  Does a slut sleep around?  Does she talk about sex?  Does she have sex without romance, or without expectation of feelings?  Can you dress like a slut?  If you’re called a slut and someone comes to your defense to say that you’re not, because you’re monogamous or because you’re responsible, what does that say?

I’ve been seeing this posting around the internet recently.  It says, “Too many girls want attention, not enough want respect.”  Excuse me?  I was unaware that you were so apt to read my mind, to decode my intentions, and to police my behavior.  How does a person claim to know what another wants?  This is a very thinly veiled, very dangerous form of slut-shaming.

I actually asked one of the people who posted it – a 22 year old guy – what he thought it meant.  The basic idea of his answer (I will not post it verbatim because I do not have permission to do so) was that it’s easy to tell when a girl wants attention, because she acts and dresses like it.  Happily, another woman of similar feminist leanings stepped in, and together we tried to have a legitimate discourse on the idea of attentions vs respect.  (This of course ended with me being blocked, because I’m rabid, obviously.)

Quite frankly, if I am unable to earn or keep your respect based on my intellect, my diction, my drive, or my respect for you, I have no interest in your respect.  If my job, my blog, my toy collection, my short shorts, or my tattoo are going to damn me in your eyes, then your respect is not worth earning.  The idea that we have to chase the respect of people who have already decided against us is a powerful idea that keeps us running on this hamster wheel of patriarchy.

Maybe I am a slut.  I like sex, and I like talking about sex so that I can learn more (about sex).  I have my own reasons for the choices I make, and they usually have nothing to do with outside attention or respect.  In fact, the respect that I’m so concerned about maintaining is my own.  If I can’t look myself in the eye every morning and every night, then I’ve failed.  If I called someone a slut, if I tried to place another woman into a simplified box so that I could categorize her and break her down, I would not be able to respect myself.

So you can call me a slut.  You can also call me a feminist, a free thinker, and a woman with more to worry about than what anyone thinks about her choices.

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