Click to go back to Part 1
Now back to the portrayal of men and women in media, particularly games and cartoons.
I’d like to reply to Godless Cranium’s Pictures with a few of my own and ask the fallowing question.
Does anyone honestly think that this…
…Is directly equivalent to this?
And a few pictures of women and men side by side.
Obviously both are unrealistic in the extreme, but let’s look at the Hawkeye initiative memes, where Hawkeye is put in the place of female superheroes. Remember the picture at the beginning of this post? Now that is what men would look like if they were treated and sexualized in the same way women are. As it stands, men tend to be given impossibly strong bodies and crazy good features, however, this is more characterizable as a power fantasy for the player/viewer. Where women are generally showed more as a prize or show piece. This is a underlying problem and is very implicit in our society.
Here is the Hawkeye Initiative:
This is what male superheroes would look like if they were portrayed the same way female superheroes are. Warning: many are very satirical, and, sadly, sometimes some homophobia works its way in, which annoys me greatly. So I’ll be including some of the better pictures below the link:
As I’m sure you can see, the men portrayed in the Hawkeye Initiative are more equivalent to those pictures of the women found above.
I think modern feminism is a movement that at its core is something to aspire to. I think historically, it has done a lot of good and should be applauded for that. I also think it’s currently rudderless. It doesn’t seem to have clear goals. People who identify as feminists can’t seem to make up their minds about what should be done.
For example, you have some feminists saying the patriarchy objectifies women and strip clubs and pornography personify this. On the other side, you have feminists who say women should be allowed to strip and take part in pornography if they choose.
Which is it?
I object to this as a false dichotomy, and that this example properly represents a common problem in feminism. I’ve said it before: feminism has never been and shouldn’t be a hive-mind with 100% consensus at all times in the movement. In all large movements you need different people trying different things and reporting back what happens to the community at large.
Addressing the issue of pornography is not one I do lightly. Pornography is a complex issue in feminism and not all pornography is the same. There is well regulated pornography which has actors with contracts who are protected, as is there pornography where women are taken advantage off, and even raped (for example they might have in there contract that they won’t be performing oral sex, and will be orally raped anyway) for the film.
Further, who are you thinking of on the anti-porn side of feminism? I hope we are not talking about Andrea Dworkin: we’ve long since moved past the point where she and those of her ideologies are really relevant to the movement. Those harm based arguments of porn are not accurate from my understanding. With porn, like many other kinds of media, how and exactly what you consume has more of an impact than the media itself. And in regards to exploitation, if porn is properly regulated, you can avoid those very real problems of exploitation.
As well Sex-positive feminists do not think all sex and porn are great and good to go. What I hope is obvious is that sex-positive feminist don’t think exploitation of porn actors is a good thing. Also sex-positive feminists have a more complex ideology that I’ve outlined:
However I won’t say more since this is not a realm I’m very knowledgeable about.
Now, is feminism really rudderless? I think feminism is pretty clear on many issues, such as teaching consent, sex education in general, access to birth control and family planning services, access to abortion, and challenging gender norms (all gender norms). The issues there seems to be in consensus, and all worthy things to tackle. Do feminists really need to agree on everything all time to effect change? I don’t think so. And do feminists ignore men’s issues? Perhaps to some degree, but I don’t think so, and definitely not all together. Why am I comfortable saying this? Because men are more and more joining the conversation, and less and less as opposition.
And we cannot forget the overwhelming numbers that women are exposed to in violence and harassment compared to men. We are talking numbers like 60-90% of all women experience harassment or violence, where men experience it at level closer to 25-40%. And we cannot forget, particularly as men, since women don’t forget this basically ever, that men compose the vast majority of the perpetrators of violence. Further, a lot of these issues revolve around the very gender issues and issues of consent. That women and the feminine are weak, and men are strong, macho, never showing weakness. These problem are impossible to tackle without tackling both sides. For consent doesn’t work unless everyone understand what it means. And that making the feminine good and normal, and not substandard or problematic, makes it so men don’t need to fear being feminine. They don’t need to avoid being “girly.”
That feminism comes from the perspective of women in most cases is not a weakness as many people seems to say. Women and their opinions are sorely under represented (as this Ted talks about https://www.ted.com/talks/megan_kamerick_women_should_represent_women_in_media#t-299037). If a woman says something, a lot less people will take her word for it than if a man, of the exact same station says the exact same thing.
I also can’t seem to say this enough: Yes, some feminist hate men. Yes, they exists, they are a minority, they don’t speak for me, and they don’t represent the movement at large, they are strawmen (strawwomen 😉 ) and arguing against those sudo-feminists (many don’t actually believe in true equality and so therefore are not truly feminists) is not the same as arguing against feminists. It’s like saying the Gnostic Atheist represent the whole atheist movement.
Here’s a great video of AronRa talking about these very topics and I think it’s an excellent second voice to what I’m trying to say here: