Let’s objectify women to promote organ donation!

19 05 2009

Re-Born to be Alive Organ Donor Foundation has this ad out to promote organ donations:

organ donor

There are several stupid things about this ad:

1. Working for or promoting a good cause (organ donation) does not grant you the license to use whatever means you want to market the cause.  Sexualizing, objectifying and commodifying a woman to promote organ donations is not acceptable.  It’s just sexist.

2. Donating one’s organs is an act of compassion and altruism, which are two good qualities.  You don’t need to have a sexy almost naked lady to encourage people to do good acts that help someone who is in need, to do good acts that can save people’s lives.  But of course, a sexy almost naked lady is more marketable than kindness and compassion.  Sickening.

3. This ad does not make sense.  Is it supposed to suggest that donating your organs is just like having sex?  …Because it’s actually not.  Not at all.

4. Like many other ads, it promotes ultra thinness as the ideal.  Having an ultra thin sexy woman as the face for this organ donation campaign reinforces a hierarchy of bodies (in which skinny is at the top) seems to suggest that only these bodies (super skinny and therefore sexy ones) deserve critical organ donations which can save lives.

5. This is condescending and insulting to men (who are obviously the targeted audience) because it assumes that menfolk will do anything if there’s a sexy almost naked (or fully naked) lady around.

6. Organ donations have nothing to do with sex and almost naked ladies, so don’t make it about that!!!!

Bad anti-feminist journalism pisses me off

19 05 2009

It is exhausting to constantly deal with anti-feminists and the mainstream media so intent on killing feminism.  The Observer had an article out on Sunday titled “Sex, drink and fashion.  Is this the new face of American feminism?”  Feminists-gone-wild headlines that paint young feminists as slutty, promiscuous, alcohol-loving, fashion and appearance conscious as well as pitting young feminists against older feminists is something the media loves to do to discredit feminism even more.

The authors of the article, Amelia Hill and Eva Wiseman, begin by writing of the stir and the controversy Slate’s new women’s website Double X caused in the feminist community.  They describe it as a “coup for feminism” – clearly an exaggeration for publicity.  Because the anti-feminist mainstream media loves nothing more than pitting feminists against feminists (Feminist infighting!  Here’s a cat fight!) to show that feminism is dead or irrelevant if those darned feminists can’t even agree and be civil with each other.

Perhaps one of the most insulting things about the article is that the authors try to establish a hierarchy of feminists and play into the whole you’re a good feminist/you’re a bad feminist stupidity.  Featuring quotes like:

“As many older feminists justly point out, the world isn’t going to change because a lot of young women feel confident and personally empowered, if they don’t have grassroots groups or lobbies to advance woman-friendly policies, help break through the glass ceiling, develop decent work-family support structures or solidify real political clout.  But feminists are in danger if we don’t know our history, and a saucy tattoo and a condom do not a revolution make.”


“Feminism is not the freedom to act like a dickhead. These women are individualists, not feminists. They are lazy, bone-idle women who have no interest taking part in a political movement for change but are trying to get credibility for their selfish lives by playing identification politics. You can’t claim to be a feminist simply because you’re a woman.”

is a pathetic way to detract attention away from the crucial work that feminists today have been and still are doing.  It’s way easier for the mainstream media, and the rest of society for that matter, to think of and focus on young feminists as bickering, bitchy, naked, sex-crazed, drunk women instead of as intelligent, socially conscious and actively engaged women.  Shaming young women who (gasp!) drink and have sex sells more than covering more important, substantial and real feminist activism (like this, this and this).

The article ends with these six bullshit bullet points:

A movement rich in diversity:

• Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Susan Brownmiller defined the revolutionary feminism of the 60s and 70s. They protested at Miss World contests and rejected the stay-at-home role and other aspects of traditional femininity.

• They clashed with the radical feminists, including Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Mary Daly and Germaine Greer, who believed that women were oppressed by men.

• Then came the “riot grrl” phenomenon of the early 90s and Generation X, who were more likely to talk (very) dirty and less likely to oppose pornography.

• The newest strain is the new/power feminist, epitomised by Naomi Wolf and Natasha Walter, who dislike the image of the strident feminist.

• Then there’s pop-feminism/feminism “lite”. This is Spice Girls feminism: girl power. Feminism as a fleeting fashion trend. Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a feminist icon.

• Finally, there are post-feminists, who believe feminism is dead. Heroines are Margaret Thatcher and Camille Paglia.

Major eye roll.  Feminism does not follow such a simple, linear history.  And how the heck did they come up with these bullet points?!  Like the crap about “feminism ‘lite'” and “Spice Girls feminism”?  These bullet points are not only not all that accurate, but they water down feminism and the rich history (and continued presence) of feminist activism.  Of course they had to end with the “post-feminists” because the media loves declaring that feminism is dead.  Notice how the post-feminists are referred to as “heroines”.

First the media says that we feminists are fat, ugly, hairy prudes who can’t get laid (but dammit,  if we got laid we’d sure as hell shut up and stop complaining!).  Now they say that we are drunk sluts who love nothing more than more sex, more alcohol and OMG shopping!  Contradictory stereotypes dontcha think?

There are ways to advertise coffee without involving bikini bods

19 05 2009

Misogynist marketing… it doesn’t stop, does it?

I’ve been following Becky Sharper’s posts (see here, here and here) on The Pursuit of Harpyness about Joe The Art of Coffee (in the Village in New York City) and their public shaming. Joe’s always has a chalkboard outside beckoning people to come in. Last Saturday, May 16th, the chalkboard said:

Get Your Bikini Bod Back. Skim Lattes Are Here!

See Why It’s Called a ‘Skinny Latte!’

As if there isn’t enough fat shaming already. “Bikini season” and getting on a “bikini diet” so you can have a “bikini bod” translate to “Women, unless you are really skinny, you are unattractive. So be skinny!…or else no man is going to like you.”

When Becky notified Joe’s of how she thought the message on their chalkboard was shitty and offensive, she received this response:

No, the manager didn’t realize it offended people. It was meant strictly as a joke; tongue in cheek. We serve Full Fat milk unless asked not to on all drinks, and are actually prone to think it’s silly to ruin coffee with skimmed milk. I, for one, think it tastes watery and ruins coffee, but to each their own.

I am sorry if this joke offended. However, we give rein to our talented barista/artists to create new and different boards. I was surprised at how virulent a response was created on that blog, and think someone made a mountain out of a molehill. However, I will ask them to change it.

“It was meant strictly as a joke; tongue in cheek” – back to the whole oops I said something that offended you? Well, whatever it was just a joke. Can’t take a joke? Gee, lighten up! Gosh, those darn feminists have no sense of humor!

And “I am sorry if this joke offended” is barely an apology. Way to not take ownership for your misogynist marketing. So they didn’t do anything offensive, they just made a joke that offended some oversensitive people who “made a mountain out of a molehill”. Because anytime a feminist objects to misogyny, it’s just an overreaction.

I am sick of these not even half-assed apologies. Sorry if you are offended by something that’s just a harmless little joke. You’re making a big deal out of nothing.

And this morning, Becky informs us that Joe’s chalkboard said:

Caffeine burns calories*
Let Joe’s Help You Get A Bikini Bod


Here we go again with the bikini bods. Women, you better make sure you can rock a bikini at the beach this summer! So you need to lose weight and be skinnier so you can have that bikini bod! (The way your body looks is the most important thing after all.)
When she emailed Joe’s expressing her objections to yet another sexist chalkboard ad, she got this reply:
They took it in this morning. I think they didn’t get the message but now it’s gone. Just for the record, it was created by 2 of our female baristi as a joke.
Spelling mistake (it’s not baristi, it’s baristas or bariste) aside, Joe’s just pulled another classic anti-feminist idiotic, illogical response: the well, women did it…and women can’t possibly be sexist or misogynist…therefore it’s not offensive!
I’m banging my head against a wall.