The Sexualisation of Children Debate

Recently, ‘the sexualisation of children’ has become a catchphrase. Everyone seems to be worried about children being sexualised inappropriately, the commercialisation of children, and perhaps the most prominent example, the fact that Primark and other stores sell padded bras for six year old girls.

If you go into most shops that sell children’s clothes, it’s clear that the aim is to transform girls into mini-adults. Ugg boot lookalikes are growing increasingly popular, jeggings have been a trend and everything in the adult section has been made smaller to fit young girls.

But what seems to be missing in the discussion, is the way that it’s gendered and is part of a  wider discourse that keeps women subordinate to men and dictates to young women at a very early age that they will never be attractive enough, they will never be sexy enough and they will never be thin enough.

Boys are simply not targetted in the same way as girls. Girls are targetted not only through clothes, but make-up, hair products, stationary, accessories and through continual low fat food adverts which tell primarily women that no matter what age they are or what is going on in their lives, they should be on a diet.

That isn’t to say boys are completely off the hook – far from it. They are  presented with prescribed views masculinity which they should conform to at a young age; they should be violent and aggressive, technologically minded or sporty. This creates three main stereotypes presented in the media: the violent being shown through ridiculous male celebrity brawls and the aggression of Charlie Sheen, the Geek-chic stereotype which is suddenly hot, found in programmes such as The Big Bang Theory and the popularity of Michael Cera, and the sporty types shown through the emphasis that sport must have in every guy’s life. While these stereotypes are extremely restrictive and limiting, at least there is more than one mould of masculinity.

Young girls on the other hand are pressured with just one mould: to look aesthetically appealing. They are pressured to have the body of a supermodel, the face of Cheryl Cole and the hair from the L’Oreal adverts. Everything is based around appearance – basically, if you don’t look like you could be picked for a glamour model photo shoot, society deems you as a failure.

The limitations and extremity of what it means to be a female in the eyes of the media is extremely harming and damaging for young girls.  This part of the discussion, however, has been mainly left out of the debate. ‘The Sex Education Show’ has drawn media attention to the issue through the focus on inappropriate children’s clothing and lads mags. But little else. Their campaign ‘Stop Pimping Our Kids’ has got people talking, but has left out the fact that the so-called sexualisation of children is gendered.

While it is good that there is discussion about how young girls are being pressured to look a certain way, marching into a single Matalan store and cutting up clothing and putting it in a bin is hardly effective. We are told that young girls shouldn’t face these pressures at such a young age, yet the presenters offer no alternative. We are told that young girls are growing up too quickly, that they will have to worry about heels and make up when they are older but this isn’t challenged.

They don’t explore the assumption that all women will  groom themselves, with make-up, fake tan, heels and hair extensions. It is simply taken for granted that this is what all women do and the problem is what we can do to stop it from taking over the lives of girls age six.

Perhaps we can start by getting the message across to young girls, that this isn’t what they have to spend their life doing. That make up isn’t a neccessity, and they can do whatever the hell they like when they grow up instead of spending half their lives trying to fit the media’s stupid idea of what it means to be a woman. We need to be criticising the industries, not just for their padded bras, but for the way they maintain the limitations of femininity.

Perhaps if society stopped associating girls with the colour pink, pretty dresses and being sweet and spice and all things nice then girls wouldn’t face the pressure they do today to look and act in a prescribed feminine manner. Instead of seeing young girls as future sex objects, the fashion and beauty industry should see that  girl children are the future and have more ambitions than to look pretty and be quiet.

The problem is the pornification of young girls, not the sexualisation. To say that it is a problem associated with sexuality is just to reinforce the idea that women must be pure and chaste. Young girls are sexual beings, there is nothing wrong with that. They should be allowed to explore their sexuality; what they shouldn’t be encouraged is to view their sexuality as a singular thing that conforms to what Playboy readers want to see.

While padded bras for girls seem to be the main focus in the discussion, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why it is that young girls are and want to be wearing padded bras? I recently heard an argument for padded bras for girls that I hadn’t previously though of: that some girls wear them to hide the shape and size of their nipples during puberty to prevent from playground teasing.

Why should young girls feel ashamed of their bodies? Why are so many young girls too shy to talk about menstruation? Why is it, that female masturbation is a taboo subject (as I found  in my school) yet for pubescent boys it is socially acceptable to spend most of their school day talking about wanking  and watching porn on mobile phones?

The problem is not about children being sexual.The problem is the way how young children are expected to express their sexuality, how they are pressured to buy into industries which have such a heavy link to the porn industry. If sexuality was discussed more in the curriculum, in a safe and friendly environment and young girls were offered better role models then perhaps we would be in a different position.

From personal experience, I can see how young girls blindly buy into this pornificated industry. At age twelve I was buying thongs in Tammy Girl who actually offered thongs for girls around the age of seven near the counter with phrases such as ‘angel’ and cute love hearts. I didn’t see this as anything inappropriate. It was about growing up and wanting to be older. What I realise now, it that the wish to grow up grew from the only version of womanhood that society offered to me; a sex object to be passive and admired.

Perhaps if young girls were taught that most breasts on the covers of Lad’s Mag’s are fake, that some women spend their lives without make up and still succeed, that there is more than one view of womanhood, then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now.

Children as Mini Adults - Anna Skladmann Portrays Elite Russian Kids in Provactive Poses

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I’m not ‘Vajazzled’ and I never will be

This piece first appeared on Women’s Views on News in February. I have now finally got around to uploading it to my blog.

Warning: contains sexually explicit content.

Vajazzling. Seriously, where do I start? Vajazzling is defined by the offficial Vajazzle website as ‘The act of applying glitter and jewels to a woman’s nether regions for aesthetic purposes’ and by Urban Dictionary as ‘To give the female genitals a sparkly makeover with crystals so as to enhance their appearance’.

That’s right, even though we’re  already supposed to be pulled, plucked, waxed and tweezed in all areas, now women are supposed to be ‘making over’ their vagina with diamantes and crystals.

If you’re wondering who on earth thought of it, you can blame American actress/singer-songwriter Jennifer Love Hewitt. She wrote a chapter on glittering your vulva in her self-help romance book, ‘The Day I Shot Cupid’ and has never looked back. This latest celebrity fad is supposed to empower women and has been quoted in many sources such as Glamour magazine, as the ‘must have’ accessory this year.

In this YouTube clip, Jennifer Love Hewitt gives Vajazzling as the answer to the question, ‘Give me an example from the book of something that helped you through a tough time.’

So, when you are having a tough time, please don’t consider telling a friend and seeking advice, ‘vajazzle your vajajay! (Her quote, not mine.)

I first heard of Vajazzling in the (awful) UK TV show, The Only Way is Essex, but my understanding was furthered when the UK show The Joy of Teen Sex did a feature on the popularity of Vajazzling. Mistakenly, I thought vajazzling was simply for the pubic hair area before you reach the vagina. But no, it seems increasingly popular to diamante your labia.

I seem to be the only person concerned with how uncomfortable this must be, but apparently 5, 737 people on Facebook disagree with me who like ‘Vajazzle your Vajajay’.  Of course, you can’t say the dreaded V-words – vagina/vulva.  Think more Lady Garden, Vajajay, anything but.

Vajazzling is supposed to empower women, yet the first question on the FAQ section on the official Vajazzle website is, ‘Will vajazzling hurt the man?’. Vajazzling is not about making yourself feel good, it’s clearly about making yourself look aesthetically pleasing. The Toronto Sun even suggests that you get your man’s initial vajazzled in Swarovski crystals as a Valentine’s gift for him.

Society tells us that as women, we are not allowed to embrace our sexuality unless it is for aesthetic purposes and voyeurism for primarily male viewers. We’re not allowed to dress promiscuously, but if it is for an airline advert or for the front page of a lads mag, it’s okay. We’re not allowed to embrace our vulvas unless we call them ‘cute’ names and vajazzle them. What is next?

Vajazzling simply reinforces double standards between men and women. Men are not pressured to change the appearance of their genitals yet women are supposed to turn their vulvass into fashion accessories. As Laurie Penny says, ‘nobody, so far, has suggested that men’s sexual equipment is unacceptable if it doesn’t taste like cake and sparkle like a disco ball.’

Laurie Penny concludes her fantastic article for the New Statesman and argues, Vajazzling is‘ all about making us feel that women’s bodies – which are supposed to smell, leak and grow hair – are shameful and need fixing. As long as the beauty and surgery industries remain profitable, female sexual shame will remain big business.’

The idea of thousands of women around the world begging to be vajazzled is depressing. We should embrace our vulvas the way they are. They don’t need to be accessorised and they certainly don’t need to be vajazzled.

If the idea of vajazzling has depressed you as much as it has depressed me, watch this YouTube clip which should cheer you up!

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The Adjustment Bureau – Hollywood sustains patriarchy once again

One of my guilty pleasures is going to the cinema to see something that I definitely won’t like. A bit of a paradox but the best trips to the cinema have been to see films that have annoyed me in one way or another.

For example, a trip to see Dear John with my house mate proved to be one of the best cinema trips I’ve ever been on. Shallow characters  + stupid plot line + Channing Tatum +  sobbing girls = very amusing. Sex and the City 2, not so amusing as depressing, especially as the showing was completely packed full of people who bought the ideologies the film sold.

But I don’t think I’ve come out of a film being more pessimistic that I did coming out of The Adjustment Bureau.

To do a quick summary, the film is an adaptation of Phillip K Dick’s short story, The Adjustment Team. Basically, wanker wannabe senator David Norris falls in love with a a woman called Elise (we don’t know her name for about half of the film) he has known for ten seconds. Literally. David Norris wasn’t meant to meet Elise and a group of primarily white men in suits and ridiculous hats turn up acting a bit macho. They tell David Norris that he was never meant to meet the woman as it wasn’t part of the plan and basically they have control over making sure people live by their fate. They tell the David Norris that if he were to never seen Elise again,they would both achieve success and happiness which comes under the form of being the President for him and being a famous dancer for her. Years pass, David Norris sees Elise again (for about ten minutes). Despite trying to separate them, the adjustment bureau fail to keep them apart. Blah blah blah, a bit of running, a bit of panicking, a bit of sex, then David Norris decides that he will fight his fate by randomly tuning up in Elise’s life (on her wedding day) and there is a bit of an action scene. In the end, the Adjustment Bureau decide because they have proved their love (a sloppy kiss) then fate has been changed. Whallah.Happily Ever After.

A bit of a rough version, but really the plot was so silly that it’s not worth much attention. What is worth attention however, is how the film managed to maintain gender roles and managed to maintain the idea that only men have power.

Perhaps I was naive in being shocked, but the most astounding part of the film  is that Elise is the only female character in the entire film. She wasn’t developed at all, and the most camera attention she received was when David Norris makes a comment about her short skirt and the camera lingers on her thighs for a while.

David Norris, this aggrevating and smarmy politician keeps showing up in Elise’s life on the presumption that she ‘loves’ him as much as he ‘loves’ her. He disregards her feelings in this, treating her like a passive object, and she is portrayed in the film as a feeble woman who buys into his false promises and falls at his feet when he returns having not kept them.

The Adjustment Bureau continually tell David Norris to basically get over her, and tell him that there are many other women in the world who he can have his pick from. What do we learn from this? That the purpose of women is to be at the disposable of men who are the only ones to choose their partners.

And obviously, all of the politicians in the film are men and all of the members in the Adjustment Bureau are men. The only other women we see in the film are women in stereotypically feminine roles – dancers, secretaries and mothers. The Adjustment Bereau simply seems to be a perfect reflection of patriarchy – that men are at the top and the women are the second sex – not worthy to be in any kind of powerful position.

Not to mention, the ideology at play when the Adjustment Bureau tell David Norris that he is set to become President and her a famous dancer. I mean, fair enough, we all have our hopes and dreams, I’m not judging the fact that the character wanted to be a dancer. My problem is that in the film, that is the all she is allowed to be. Her role is to be stereotypically feminine.

Jumping slightly to near the end of the film, David Norris, in an attempt to win the ‘love of his life’,  barges in on her in the women’s toilets before her wedding, spews out some illogical crap about the adjustment bureau, expects her to buy it within five seconds and drags her across New York. And I mean, drags her:

All the while, the audience are left laughing at the woman for not getting the idea of the Adjustment Bureau in five seconds, which has taken David Norris an hour and a half to figure out.

The film definitely didn’t adjust anything, it just sustained the idea that men are more powerful and superior to women and gender equality really isn’t up there in Hollywood priorities.

It’s worrying to know that a business that claims to be state of the art is still living in the Middle Ages. No wait, women are still oppressed, nothing’s changed.

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It’s only gender discrimination when it profits

That’s what the European Court of Justice seems to suggest anyway with their new policy that young women now have to pay the same sum of insurance as young male drivers. The new insurance policy will affect travel costs and pensions as well.

It’s a pity that the European Court of Justice failed to notice the many other cases of gender discrimination. Apparently ‘gender can’t be used as a factor’ when it comes to car insurance, BUT it can certainly be used as a factor when it comes to the pay difference between men and women and when it comes to the cuts which are going to severely damage services for women (which are limited as they are).

I’m sick of people pretending they give a shit about gender discrimination when it suits them. We all know that they only care because they profit from it. They’re not going to decide any time soon that the fact that women get paid less than men is gender discrimination because the economy can’t afford it.

At the risk of sounding like a man-hater, which I’m truly not, – poor men! What a hardship that they have been having to pay slightly higher on their car insurance because statistically they are at a higher risk?

And let’s face it, as women, we pay about double the difference of the car insurance gap on sanitary products when men don’t have to.

Someone, quick, find out how to sell gender equality because fuck knows that’s the only way we’re ever going to achieve a society where women are equal to men.

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A feminist analysis of make-over and make-under TV

As a feminist, I strive to find something feminist-related on the TV. As barely any programmes seem up to scratch, I instead search the other end of the scale to find the most anti-feminist programmes and rant.

Now, a lot of people don’t understand this. After speaking to several friends, they’ve asked me, why would you do that when you know it will just wind you up? My simple answer is because I want to see what messages are being given to our society which justify women’s inequality. I want to see what standards of beauty we should supposedly be trying to achieve and what type of femininity we are supposed to be conforming to.

Luckily, I live in a feminist household, so I don’t manage to wind anyone up further when we do watch TV, because chances are, the programme we’re watching is already bad enough. So I thought it might be interesting to actually examine what kind of crap I watch, and what views/ideologies it creates, to see if there are any links. The three make-over and make-under programmes I’m going to look at are BBC’s, ‘Hotter than my Daughter’ and ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ and Channel 4’s ‘How to Look Good Naked’

To me, my problems with the programmes start with the titles. Before you’ve even started Hotter than my Daughter,  you are immediately told that beauty is age limited. Young people are in their peak so should spend every minute of their lives perfecting their bodies, while mothers should just get on with it, accept the fact that they’re ‘getting old’ and grow old gracefully.

(To take a minor detour onto another tangent for a second, doesn’t this contradict all of the anti-aging cream adverts? According to them, you must try and be as youthful as physically possible – often aided with botox etc – and you should fight to stay young, god forbid you actually age).

The format of the show usually comes in a four part structure.

1. Meet both mother and daughter. It is established that the daughter is a frump and the mother is a tart/mutton dressed as lamb.

2. The mother talks about how happy she is dressing the way she does but how much she wishes her daughter would take care of the way she looks. (NB: jogging bottoms and a hoodie seem to equate to poverty in this programme.) The daughter tries to defend the way she dresses, and after much irritation and pressure from the ex Atomic Kitten presenter, reveals that she has body problems which cause herself to ‘hide herself away’.

3. The two women are put before a ‘Jury’ of complete strangers who think that it is their duty to decide who is beautiful and who is not, like they are some kind of elected deciders on this topic. Typically, the mother is told that she is an embarrassment (despite being happy) and the daughter is reminded that she will age just like her mother soon so should basically get her tits out and turn herself into a sex object before it’s too late.

4. Then mother and daughter have makeover, the supposed highlight of the show. The mother dresses down and is now suddenly treated with respect as a sophisticated woman and the daughter is no longer treated like she is invisible, and that now because she has new found beauty and flesh, she actually has a place on planet Lo’Real. The mother now acts proud of her daughter, as if the short skirt and heels are all the daughter has ever achieved in her entire life.

Cue happy clappy ending with tears of joy and the relatives of the women now treat them like they are finally welcomed into the family, leaving an audience of women  at home who now feel like they should apply to the programme themselves because they are clearly too ugly as they are. Clearly, this programme will solve every one of the world’s problems.

So what do we learn? That women can only achieve if they are beautiful, that while you must be beautiful, you must conform to a certain type of beauty which matches your age, and that women are nothing but sex objects, to be viewed for the entertainment of others.

Next, onto Snog Marry Avoid – possibly the cheapest programme on TV to make as it involves people and orange presenter, Jenny Frost talking to a camera who they have personified and nicknamed ‘Pod’. The premise of the programme revolves around the fact that if you look slightly different (it doesn’t matter in what way you look different), then you must strip yourself bare until you find your naked and real beauty (this is usually found in Topshop and with a shade of foundation which is slightly lower).

Basically, the person(s) in question gets ridiculed for the way they dress, and the most important part comes when random people (again – why is it that random people have the most important and valuable opinion on another person’s worth?) judge whether they would snog, marry or avoid them. Apart from the obvious, which is that the judging is based purely on appearances, the thing that gets me every time, is how on earth, with one photo, are you supposed to think, ooh, I would marry them?!

Based on the results – usually 80% of people would avoid  – the person under speculation is now made under. This is when the layers and layers of make up come off, and usually any items of quirkiness is taken away to make the person conform to their gender and age role.

In the middle of this of course, there is some annoying banter where the computerised voice of the dictator camera insults the person and generally tries to extend the what should be five minute programme. Or not ever made in my opinion.

When the magical makeover has been achieved, the same questions are posed to another group of random people; would you snog, marry (?) or avoid the person. Usually the answer is snog or marry.

I only did three weeks of a psychology A Level, but even I can point out the the research and questioning methods used by this programme are flawed. For example, they could ask 5 people the questions and if four out of five people didn’t find the person attractive, then it equates to 80%. But those five people could have had a particular taste and the chances are they probably chose people who they thought would ‘avoid’ the person in question.

So the person if left to mull over this new look to see if they will conform to looking like a generically dressed sheep and basically have a personality overhaul. Then later in the programme, Jenny Frost goes back to the person to see if they have realised the error of their ways and have kept this new appearance. The outcome really doesn’t seem to matter.

What gets me, like Gok’s How to Look Good Naked which I will go into in a second, is how the emphasis on natural beauty is completely undermined in the way that it is not that. It is not natural beauty, it is beauty with less make up. The kind of make up which takes hours to apply to achieve the look that you are actually not wearing a lot of make up. So from this programme, we learn that you should look in the mirror before you go out every day, and whether you think you look OK should be based on the answer to the question, ‘Would people snog, marry or avoid me?’.

Onto the third example: Gok’s programme, ‘How to Look Good Naked’. Again, like the others, the problem is in the title. Why is it that we need a guide to looking good naked? And why is Gok the one to give the guide?

Gok deals with some quite serious issues, but in my opinion, simply masks the problems with new clothes and a different hairstyle. For example, he starts the make-over by putting the person in question, in really bad underwear and making them stand in a 360 degree mirror cage. Surely that is going to make someone with even no problems with their bodies have body images. There are parts of my body I don’t like but I’m sure I would find more if I was put in his mirror trap!

Not to mention, the line of people. For example, if he is working with a woman who hates her thighs and to make her feel better, he finds a group of women with different ranging thighs, from small to large, to see how big the person thinks their thighs are. Isn’t this just counter-productive? You can’t make one person feel better by playing them off against other people, surely?!

The people do seem genuinely happy at the end of the programme, but still,  the fact remains: the only way we are to be happy with ourselves is if people approve of our beauty, and we are happy for hundreds of people to see us naked and again, like a sex object. The programme however, is not about full frontal nudity. It is about pretty lingerie that has been specifically chosen to suit the person’s body. This is not accepting and loving your naked body. This is called loving and accepting your semi-naked body as long as the articles of clothing you wear happen to flatter you and cover ‘problem areas’.

We learn from Gok that our naked bodies are OK if we get a new hairstyle to go with it, or different make up. And that it isn’t actually about being naked or being happy with your own body. It is about having well fitting underwear and conforming to what other people think is beautiful.

I am sick of seeing programmes like these. I thought Trinnie & Susannah would be a one off, but no, they seem to have created a genre of TV which seems to be unending. What these programmes are doing, is creating a society where everyone has an issue with their body, whether they find it themselves or are told about it. Either way, it is apparently normal for us to all hate our bodies, and the only way we can try and reclaim our bodies is through the capitalist business of fashionable clothes, make-up and hair products.

I choose to watch this rubbish so I can examine what society is doing to women, how they are making the sole purpose of women’s existence to be sex objects and to be judged by random strangers. Popular culture is feeding myths about women into the minds of young people; the sooner they stop generating body image issue programmes, the better.

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My Feminist New Year’s Resolution

Exams and essays are over, so I can finally get back to blogging! And update what I am going to do for a New Year’s resolution, though it feels like the New Year was ages ago now!

I usually set myself pretty unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I don’t usually call them that so I don’t feel so guilty if I don’t achieve them. But this year, I’ve found something I want to keep to, something that will challenge me and should be both fun and rewarding.

So this year, I have decided that I will not be buying any clothes in high street shops. I will only be buying from charity shops, car boot sales, other second hand stores and ethical shops. The only exclusion I will allow myself is shoes. I have ridiculous problems finding shoes that fit my feet. Though, I bought a nice pair of kick-ass boots before Christmas and have a nice pair yet to be worn, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Underwear wise, I’m all stocked up after Christmas! Have many pairs of knickers and too many pairs of colourful tights, but if I do need more underwear, I shall deal with it when I come to it. Birthday presents may be less exciting than normal this year . . .

I have a number of ethical reasons for wanting to rise to this challenge. In achieving my resolution,  I will be boycotting major high street shops and labels. The workers for most of these shops (not just Primark!) have appalling working conditions and the workers are completely exploited. In buying from these shops, I feel that I wouldn’t just be taking part in the expoloitation, I would also be adding to capitalism and fuelling the system. I can’t go on pretending to be ignorant to these issues.

Research has shown that 80% of these workers are women. I don’t think I would be carrying out my feminist duty if I continued to add to the demand for cheaply produced clothes. As a student I cannot afford to shop in the ethically minded retailers so I’d simply rather not buy in places such as Primary and H&M. There is the argument that sweated trades help to sustain communities as without them the economies of many of these places would go rapidly downhill and more people would be faced with life-threatening poverty. I don’t know if this is just a comfortable excuse that can play a blind eye to what is going on so the vast majority of the population don’t feel bad about what they buy. I can’t accept the fact that these workers should be exploited for their own good.

Also,  I’m  fed up of the objectification and pressure when I go into high street stores. I don’t want to be faced with a number of cardboard models depicting what women should look like. The models are a poor representation of real women and clothes shopping can be completely frustrating if you don’t fit their target image. No matter how much I could spend in Topshop I could never look catwalk ready as the clothes appear to a particular image, e.g what body type, hair colour/style is currently popular. You could spend thousands of pounds keeping up with the latest styles and all you’d be left with is an empty purse.

And not to forget, my money will be going to a good cause. I’d love to make a monthly donation to a couple of charities but this doesn’t seem possible when most of my money goes towards food and bills.

All in all this sounds like a good idea, let’s just see how it goes! So far, it’s Jan 28th and I’ve bought two jumpers, two skirts, a waistcoat, four dresses and a retro apron for a grand total of £9. 25.

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Good riddance to Ugly Betty

I watched the first two seasons of Ugly Betty and I have to admit that I loved it. (when I got over the word ‘ugly’ of course.) I saw the title as satirical, a kind of tongue-in-cheek dig at Hollywood, a way of showing that it doesn’t take much to be ugly in that respect.

It was relieving to finally see a female character on TV which a) I could relate to and b) looked different.Her dress sense struck me as somewhat amazing and I thought the programme was doing something new; it was challenging gender roles and challenging the beauty ideal which is forced into our brains everyday.

I was actually surprised to when I saw Betty’s make-over. Maybe I was just too optimistic. When you compare Betty in season one to season four, the difference is clear; she becomes just another female ‘beautiful’ celebrity.

Now, I realise that her braces had to come off. I had braces (though it’s hard to tell that now) and though it felt like they were on forever, the reality was that it was 18 months tops.  Betty’s braces however are not the problem. It is clear to see that Betty loses her quirky and daring dress sense and becomes as mundane as the other female characters on the programme.

What I find hardest to chew if how the programme seems to equate beauty with success. Just like every other programme.

Betty starts as a ‘nobody’ of sorts, and as she gets further afield in her line of work, she starts to conform more and more to standard models of beauty. So by the end of the series, she doesn’t stand out.

The moral of the show all along seemed to be that you don’t have to be beautiful to succeed, but surely the lead up to the end of season four just contradicts this. Her personality does factor in to her success, but you can’t ignore the impact of her new look.

Of course people change in appearance over a number of years, but this is clearly purposeful. Ugly Betty just reinforces the same old myth that looks mean everything when it comes to success.

And from whatever angle I look at it, Ugly Betty has seriously let us real women down big time.

From this:












To this:















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Taking your children to Hooters . . . I despair

After reading this story today on Women’s Views on News, my anger towards Hooters has grown.

And I have a lot of anger and frustration for Hooters already.

I’ll try and flag up my issues as coherently as I can despite the massive rant that is growing inside my head, which wants to splurge onto the page like word vomit.

Hooters objectifies women. I point this out in response to all the people who say that it is harmless fun and ‘just a laugh’. It is not. And it never will be.

(clearly not objectifying women, clearly not sexist in any way possible.)

Hooters is not just a restaurant; I believe they serve food only as an excuse to have a place where people can go and ‘observe’ the women. If these women really are only waitresses, then why, on staff training days are they taught to hoola hoop? They clearly don’t do that while serving food (although that would be impressive) and I don’t see what selling a soft porn calendar – which they advertise in their window – has to do with food either.

My problem isn’t with the waitresses as they choose to work there. My anger is aimed towards the fact that we live in a society where it is seen as acceptable.

And even more worryingly and damaging, a society where Hooters is seen as a family restaurant. It is not a family restaurant, unless you are planning for your children to grow up to be chauvinists.

One reason I’ve heard for taking your children to Hooters is that it’s the only restaurant which tolerates children’s noise levels. That simply isn’t the case. Pizza Hut is  a family friendly restaurant with a children’s menu. They’re not concerned about noise levels AND they don’t objectify women.Ditto for Frankie and Benny’s. And that is only to mention a couple of major chain brands.

Yes, they may serve good food (I couldn’t make a judgement after never having been and never planning to go) but should children really be exposed to this when they’re trying to eat? Are these parents planning on getting semi naked girls to serve them food for every special event?

Hell, why don’t they just buy them one of these while they’re at it?

Hooters is not a family restaurant. Taking children to Hooters only furthers their education in objectification and why it is apparently okay to view women as pieces of meat.

But there is hope . . .

Disclaimer: I do not want people to die of breast cancer. This seems to be the assumption that is being made about feminists against Hooters; that because the company raises money for charity, by protesting you clearly want everyone to die.

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I am a woman and I am angry (but also excited)

” I don’t get why feminism is still relevant. We can have jobs, we can earn money and we can buy a house. We have equality.”

I am sick and tired of people assuming that women are now equal.  Are we supposed to be satisfied just because we can vote and own property? Like it has been given to us as a type of privilege, a reward even?

We are not equal now and we never have been. We are severely under-represented in politics, we do not have equal pay and we are objectified by most, if not all media platforms. And this is only to get started.

Rape conviction rates are extremely low and we are continually told that we are lying. More women face poverty worldwide than men. More women die in natural disasters than men. In the UK, 2 women will die a week at the hands of her husband/former parter and 5% of women over the age of 16 have been raped.

And I am asked, why am I angry? Aren’t we equal?


I am not putting down any of the hard work of the women before us, I am eternally grateful for them. They have brought us more equality than we have ever had, but for people to say that we, as women, are now equal?

The culture that surrounds every part of our lives shows are inequality every single day. I only have to go to the bus stop down my road to see airbrushed celebrities advertising beauty product telling us that we clearly aren’t good enough as we are. Stickers on toilet doors in pubs and clubs remind us to ‘Be safe’ and to take the sensible route home, like changing the way we behave will stop rapists; it is our responsibility. We have to face the fact that we don’t get paid the same rate as our male counterparts. As if the gender pay gap and rape is inevitable. Like it can’t be stopped.

More and more young girls are growing up with ambitions to be glamour models, pole dancers and WAGs. More and more young girls are developing eating disorders so they can achieve what society classes as beautiful.

But I say no more.

A new feminist movement is really coming alive and we are really seeing break throughs,  Object and the Fawcett Society have campaigned for two years, and now Lap Dancing clubs are now recognised as sex establishments in the UK are are no longer under cafe licensing laws. The London Feminist Network have revived Reclaim the Night, a feminist march against rape and sexual violence against women. There is now a UK based women’s news site, Women’s Views On News which gives a voice to news stories which are often ignored, and groups such as Pinkstinks which challenge the pink-girl culture we live in. Feminist groups are pooping up all over the UK and more and more feminist events are being organised.

And this is only skimming the surface.

Things are getting changed, beliefs are being challenged and feminists will not stop until we are equal.

It is a good time to be a feminist but an awful time to be a woman.

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My first post

I’ve wanted to start a blog for ages, but have never got around to it; the title has never seemed quite right, I’ve not known what type of layout to go for, but I have stopped procrastinating and actually set one up!

I am proud to be a feminist. I wanted to set up a blog to get my opinions out there and adding to the feminist blogosphere, if you excuse the cheesiness. Being a feminist can be lonely; not everyone will get as outraged as you when you put on the news and some people don’t give a crap about the latest Loreal advert. But I do, and my blog will function as my outlet.

I don’t have to keep my opinions to myself. I don’t have to hate myself because the media wants me to. I accept myself and will let my voice to be heard.

Because I am a woman, I am a feminist, and I am not ashamed.

And so I begin a new journey.

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