Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Playboy without nude women?

There are many ways to over-extend your brand.  Like Harley Davidson cake decorating kits, or Star Wars coffee creamer.  But this really takes the cake in terms of outright abandoning your brand identity.

Playboy is going to try and enter the space of general lad's magazine by no longer having pictures of naked ladies. It has long been the case that Playboy did carry good journalistic stories, but without nudity--what exactly is it?

Probably just a new entrant into the lad magazine space already crowded by bolder, hipper, and more authentic-feeling magazines like GQ, Maxim, Esquire and FHM.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gendered Jerky

New in the ranks of necessarily gender food is Bombshell Jerky.  It is meant to be a low cal jerky treat for women.  Somehow "for women" means equating each flavor with a pin-up girl.

Now obviously I am all about the feminist reclaiming of classic pinup girl looks.  But actually objectifying a meat product with a female image, that goes rather too far to be in anyway ironic.

Especially with the "exotic" flavor being paired with a girl of Asian appearance, which takes the overall stereotyped nature of their marketing into distinctly dubious territory.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sexy Pizza Rat Costume

First there was Pizza Rat, the plucky New York scavenger who went viral (but not in a plague-y sort of way).

And now, with a kind of meme-like inevitability, there was the sexy Pizza Rat Halloween costume. With -- I shit you not -- genuine pizza pockets.

Friday, October 9, 2015

UN Commission Report on Online Violence Against Women

Like any space on this planet, the internet contains violence, including violence against females.  So the report CYBER VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS (shouty ALL CAPS from original) certainly has a valid subject.

The report itself is steeped in sex-negative assumptions that are not made explicit.
For example:
  •  Referring to "revenge porn" (posting explicit material about a woman without her permission) simply as "porn" as if these are interchangeable things. 
  • Sexting is discussed only as a risk, not a positive and deliberate expression of sexuality between competent and consenting individuals. 
  • "Mainstreaming" of the pornography is treated only as a problem.
  • Pornography is characterized as inherently abusive in content and damaging to male viewers.
  • Non-heterosexual content and female consumers of pornography are not acknowledged to exist.
Many women I know have been effected by threats, stalking and various kind of online harassment (including group attacks) that were gender-based. And I do think the overall goals of this report to increase women's' access to online opportunities is a good one.  But the implicit assumption that this will not include any kind of sex-positive material (a.k.a "pornography") is self-defeating.

The report has a pervasive assumption that sex work and pornography of any kind is only damaging, and not a realm in which opportunity can also exist.  The very choice to refer to pornography as "porn" strikes me as telling. As it the choice to cite alarming statistics about how most porn depicts abuse and turns men into abusers without ever defining what is being counted as porn (in a document where almost every other repeatedly used term is explicitly define, porn is still "I know it when I see it"?).

What I think is missing is that online opportunities for women include the ability to explore and express their sexuality and take part in creative activities and exchanges about sexuality. Fostering, as much as possible, a safe environment online does not meant rendering the online space neuter and completely asexual. (Indeed, even the exploration of asexual identity requires being able to explore responses to sexualized material and discuss sexuality and asexuality freely).

In summary: Addressing the problem of cyber-violence against women requires that women's sexual and gender identities must be addressed positively. Sexuality cannot be framed only as a danger to women from which they must be protected, and never as a trait to be celebrated and expressed. This sex-negative approach effectively silences women on an important subject, one of the core subjects that is being used to restrict and victimize them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

On Meryl Streep not being a Feminist

When asked whether she was a feminist Meryl Streep reportedly said “I am a humanist, I am for nice, easy balance.”

Which is all very clever but also some Grade A bullshit. Why does supporting equal rights for people of any gender have to be the philosophy that dare not speak its name... for fear of sounding "unbalanced" (dare I suggest: "hysterical"?).

The removal of bigotry does not leave a person unbalanced. 

There is no degree of equality that upsets the balance of the world.

There is nothing at all that prevents a person from being a humanist and a feminist--nor any basis in which these are semantically interchangeable terms.  The attempt to make them so is just a very sophisticated why of saying that old piece of nonsense: I'm not a feminist, but....

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I love you Dunkin', but....

... your "frozen hot chocolate" (FFS) is contributing to the dumbing down of America.