Pop Goes the Revolution

Thirty-five isn’t what I would call old, but it’s old enough. It’s old enough to remember a time when daily doses of feminism were only found when sought out. To get a regular fix of Girl Power, you needed Bust or Bitch or Ms. Magazine on your nightstand, Ani or TLC in your discman (what’s up, 90s!), and Thelma & Louise on a constant loop in your DVD player.

What a revelation to look around nowadays and find that feminism is Everywhere. On TV, in the movies, in comic books (!!), music videos, and spilling from the pens of former CW stars. The Lady Movement has gone Pop.

But don’t let that fool you. It doesn’t mean we’ve won. On the contrary, the message of each and every one of these women is (in essence) that feminism is still needed. Sexism still thrives, male privilege still exists, and there is still a lot of work to be done.

All the same, I have to say… Seeing so many of us fighting the good fight? Feels pretty f*cking good. Here’s a sampling of delights to fuel your feminist fancies:

MUSIC VIDEOS
Colbie Caillat – 
Try
I’d heard her name but never her music. Time to give her a listen.

Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys
So much to love in this gender bending song and dance. Special props to Annie’s faux-break dancing, for making me bust a gut.

TELEVISION
Viola Davis speaks
to seizing a role in television, where female characters are almost always more dynamic than their silver screen counterparts.

“I have gotten so many wonderful film roles,” she acknowledged. “I’ve gotten so many where I haven’t been the show — I’ve been invited to fabulous parties to hold up the wall. I wanted to be the show –  to have a character that took me out of my comfort zone, and that happened to be on a Shonda Rhimes show. So I did the only sensible thing and took it.”

Orange is the New Black got **12 Emmy Nominations** because it’s one of the greatest shows ever!! Laverne Cox is the first trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy!! So Stoked to see these ladies on the red carpet, struttin’ their stuff.

OITNB

(Let’s hope the TV Academy gets their sh*t together next year for Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black.)

COMICS
Um, the new THOR is a WOMAN.
As if that isn’t enough, the series writer Jason Aaron drives home the fact that this new character is no spin-off, sidekick, watered-down version of Man Thor: 

“This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Get it, Marvel!

STARLET SMARTS
Leighton Meester
isn’t the first person who springs to mind when thinking of feminist actresses. A lot of you may not even know who she is. Before today, I mostly knew her as Blair Waldorf (aka, she of the enviable wardrobe) on Gossip Girl. After today, I will know her as the actress who wrote that kick-ass piece for the Huffington Post about playing the character of Curly’s Wife in Of Mice and Men.

starlet feminists

 

Emma Watson has stated her feminist views before. Now she’s following in the Jolie’s footsteps by working for the UN. Emma “Hermione Granger” Watson will be joining the gender-equality branch, focusing on work with the HeForShe Campaign. Of this new adventure, Ms. Watson states:

“Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting.”

Our little witch is all grown!

COMMERCIALS
Some of you will nay-say this to rooms of your own and back, but I Like What Pantene Is Doing. #NotSorry.

 

There you have it, renaissance women! Not only is our revolution being televised, it is Everywhere. And because no pop culture feminist blog post is complete without her:

sparkle bey

#SashaFierce

I’ll See Your Feminist Ad, and Raise You a Make It Even Better

Greetings, RLB readers. Today we’re going to examine the controversial practice of Feminism in Advertising.

This post was inspired by (not to be confused with sponsored by), what Business Insider is calling an Overtly Feminist ad from Pantene. I agree with that assessment. This ad is overtly feminist.

It is in fact so overtly feminist that it won’t air in the United States. Okay, no one has said that’s why it won’t be airing here, but I think we can all agree that isn’t much of a leap. The ad is for Pantene in the Philippines (shout out, S!), so it also features a refreshing cast of non-white women. Yes, they almost all look like models. This is a shampoo commercial, after all. The beautiful shiny shine shine hair is unavoidable.

Unsurprisingly, there are feminists who want advertisers to “stop using feminism” to sell things. Which is a viewpoint I can understand – taking an ideology that means so much to so many people and turning it into a tool for selling beauty products is a contentious move.

Here’s where we come to my However.

However, as a lifelong student of feminism and media literacy, I can’t help but see the good in ads like these. So is it right to draw a line, to say feminism is okay if you’re advertising a school, but not if you’re advertising shampoo?* What if you’re advertising Catholic school, when Catholicism isn’t exactly known for its progressive views on women?

Sidebar: One of my favorite jokes as a feminist, Catholic child was “What’s the highest rank a woman can have in the Catholic church?” Answer: “Nun.”

cymbals

We live in a world that runs on capitalism. It isn’t my favorite thing about our world, and I will renounce corporate excess with the best of them. (Oh, look! Another However.) However, with this world of capitalism comes advertising. Quite often, with advertising comes raging sexism.

Challenging the negative and amplifying the positive.”

Capitalism is a flawed system, but it can’t be denied that women are the driving force behind the global economy. Yet for a very long time we have been marginalized by the companies trying to sell us things. And let’s be honest. All of us (yes, even you) like having our things. According to the Harvard Business Review, their 2008 study found that women as consumers felt vastly underserved:

Although women control spending in most categories of consumer goods, too many businesses behave as if they had no say over purchasing decisions. Companies continue to offer them poorly conceived products and services and outdated marketing narratives that promote female stereotypes.

If that narrative is changing, and female stereotypes are being turned on their head by advertisers, why should it matter if the progress comes from advertising schools or shampoo or sports equipment or body lotion?

Advertising isn’t going away, and as Bloomberg contends:

The drum is beating ever-louder from economists, development experts and advocates who insist that women and girls are the key to nearly everything needed for a sustainable future, from global health to food security to economic growth.

Forbes is reporting, based on a McKinsey & Co. study, that “economies where women participate are more successful.” This is not a theory, but a reality supported by incontrovertible facts. The evidence is even hard to ignore in the eternal sausage-fest known as Hollywood.

So of course companies that are paying attention will be targeting women. If those companies can pander to us (and pander they will) with fewer of these ads and more of these ads, then I’m all for it.

My point of view isn’t new, and the naysayers provide a much-needed debate for how feminist ads can continue to improve. We will all benefit from more visible diversity in age, size, and color. (There are of course, the ones who do it really f*cking right.)

As advertisements continue to evolve and more of an effort is made to recognize the crucial role that women play in the international economy, I stand by the companies that shun this, and instead choose this or this or this.

Bey Bey

*ps, is shampoo really a “beauty product”? isn’t it more about hygiene?

Friday Feminist Funtimes Explosion

One of the best things about this blog is that now, more than ever, when confronted with feministy phenomenon, gender benders, beauty challengers, and reasons to rouse the rabble, my friends and acquaintances think of me. It feels really good to be associated with those things.

It also means that I am sometimes Inundated with uppity goings on from around the interweb world. To round out your week, dear reader, here is a sampling:

Rabble Rousing
My thoughts on photoshop have been expressed time and again on this blog. There are countless people shaking their fists at the idiotic yet still pervasive practice of skewing women’s bodies in the name of fashion/advertising/capitalism/whoeffingknows. For example:

tumblr_mgy8i33akg1s405ijo1_250   tumblr_mgy8i33akg1s405ijo2_250

I mean. WHY.

Really all I have to say about this (that I haven’t said before), is that you only get to have that baby-faced-but-grown-up-full-of-collagen-smooth-perfect-skin for a tiny window in your early/mid twenties. She doesn’t look Better! She just looks Older! Which isn’t a bad thing, but christ, let the girl be 22! Let her be as beautiful as she Actually IS.

Also. They *lowered her collarbone* ………….

TGBface1

 

You know what else? This happened.

It’s bad enough that she felt compelled to do that to herself, but can we take a moment for the headline? It says “Anna Gunn Shows Off New Look!” when it ought to say “Anna Gunn Panicked Now That Breaking Bad Is Over And She’s Considered An ‘Aging Woman’ In Hollywood So Now We Can See All Of Her Bones!”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need studies or researchers or psychologists to tell me that the photoshop job on JLaw and Anna Gunn’s “new look” are not mutually exclusive.

There is cause. And there is effect.

Ps. This is also dumb. No wonder this is happening.

The Good News
So these pictures were printed with permission on Upworthy, so I shall link you to them. It’s a magazine that doesn’t use photoshop! Here’s their policy:

Verily-Magazine-Policy-1386201629What?? Women’s unique features are beautiful?? It’s like the whole world has gone all topsy-turvy!

In addition to that radtastic policy, Verily looks like one of the coolest magazines ever, and once I’m done Christmas shopping for others, I plan to immediately gift myself a subscription. You should, too!

Side bar: I was extra tickled to see that this magazine is called Verily, as I had just watched this video, which will give you a good laugh if you’re a Shakespeare fan.

More Good News
This Man In a Tutu Helps Women With Breast Cancer

Sometimes, shamelessness is a really great quality. That is all.

A Post for Next Time
The last thing I received was a commercial made by Pantene that is extremely feministy. When I first saw it, I thought, “Get ready for the backlash!” because there are plenty of people who take issue with Feminism as Advertising Tool. But it turns out the naysayers might not be as loud as they were about the Dove campaign, because this commercial won’t air in the US. We’ll stick to the ads featuring bikini bottoms pinched by crabs, thank you very much.

S and I have exchanged some thoughts on this subject before, but in my ever so humble opinion, Pantene has taken things to a new level. So I’ve decided that I shall save my views on this commercial (and feminist advertisements in general) for my next post. It is Friday, after all. I’m sure you have a happy hour to get to.

The Gist
While we are still clearly climbing uphill, it’s important to remember that There Is A Lot To Celebrate.

Final Friday Note: Taylor Swift is My Spirit Animal
Or maybe Feminist Taylor Swift is my spirit animal? Either way, I sure do dress like her a lot.

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