Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Happens When Feminists Have Children?

In a brief email exchange recently, a comment was made about older women being a bit more open to the idea that feminism isn't really all it's cracked up to be than younger women.

That's enough of a paraphrase, but it really jumped out at me for a couple of reasons.

a) It's a bit of a no-brainer, considering that I decided years ago that between the ages of 15-17 women don't have a whole lot of sense. The way I used to phrase it was: "our brains leak out of our ears and don't return until we're around 27".

Of course, 27 was a bit of a watershed year for me, when I woke up to a lot of things, including the fact I'd just spent 5 and a half years in a supremely unhealthy relationship.

I may not have been turned into a newt, but I did get better.

b)The Spearhead is also addressing when older feminists get a bit of a tap with the reality stick. Funny how that works - all those women who thought it was great to be provocative don't seem to approve when women 20 years younger behave the same way or worse.

c)Bolta comments this morning on the former women's magazine editor Mia Freedman.

Ms Freedman has gone from being in control of editorial content for a stable of magazines, to bemoaning the sexualisation of childhood. Funny how parenthood has a way of making you see things differently.

While Andrew points out the hypocrisy of her calling foul at this late stage of the game, I find it interesting that Freedman doesn't seem to have any sort of inkling of her own culpability in the raunch culture that she is moaning about.

A DECADE ago, Mia Freedman was one of the country's most powerful and provocative magazine editors. As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly, she chased circulation gains with sexually explicit "sealed sections".

Freedman, a mother of three who now runs the website Mamamia added: "I sense an enormous frustration and anger on my website . . . Women are angry because we feel like our kids are being bombarded with (sexual) things and you can't watch them 24 hours a day.

"What has occurred is that popular culture has been turbo-charged by technology and, as parents, we have absolutely lost control of what our children are exposed to . . . and I think that does change everything."

Parents, if your tween likes to read Dolly, then cut off the spending money and burn that magazine.

While it purports to be for mid-level and above teenagers, it is nothing of the sort.

I should know. I read Dolly every now and again to have a look at what the kids are reading.

Apart from a crap load of advertising and twee "articles" of a page about how to feel good about yourself, look good and have friends, there is also the "sealed section." Here are a couple of pages from the sealed sections of this month, and also from May last year.

In every edition I've looked at over the last year (and it's not been every month - even I can't handle that much crap), there has been at least one question dealing with something sexually explicit.

Perhaps a question about diseases, about what's normal, about, as in this example, peer pressure to get involved.

I have yet to read one response to the query suggesting abstinence might be a valid option. Instead, there is a lot of wishy-washy, warm and fluffy pap spooned out. Don't want to offend the readers, after all. The wee lassies are the ones who validate the advertising agreements.

The same happens with drug discussions. Sure, the drugs mentioned might be "illicit", but I'm still awaiting a description of the legal Acts that outline the consequences that could befall young people if they get caught breaking the laws on intoxicating substances.

I've had to go looking for information, but when it comes to the legal stuff, it's not exactly in plain sight.

Oh, wait... that's right, there is no real legal fallout these days, because kids under the influence of drugs are not in control of themselves (under the influence) and therefore aren't really responsible for their actions.

Therefore, if they're caught breaking and entering, or inflicting bodily harm on someone, they usually get a slap on the wrist.

Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, of course.

Let's have a look at some of these great, insightful websites for young people about sex.

Clued up. aka All About Chlamydia. Nothing about considering being less sexually active.

Okay, that's enough for now. I have yet to see anything in girls' or women's magazines that definitively states that perhaps women and girls should consider being less sexual in dress and manner.

Maybe it's because I'm older (as suggested by my correspondent) that I find the continual emphasis on what is euphemistically called "raunch" rather than the smut-peddling it is offensive.

Maybe it's because it wasn't this bad 20 years ago and I wasn't looking for it.

Maybe Mia Freedman should have considered a bit more carefully about what influence she wanted to have on her magazines' audiences.

Mind you, it's not only girls who are the target - boys are too.

If I recall correctly, even Naomi Wolf suggested that when the market for female consumption grew too small, then men would be the next targeted. We can see that on television, in the magazines, movies and billboards.

It's a bit rich for women like Mia to start complaining about a part of the culture that she was influential in having adverse effects. She should have thought about that 10 years ago.

All the talk about how tv shows, movies and the like won't affect children's outlook is so much hogwash. If visual stimulation didn't have such impact upon us, then why on earth is there so much money involved in advertising? Let's face it, adverts are designed to persuade you to buy into a product. All those mini stories presenting products as essential to your sense of worth.

What's an old fully empowered feminist to do?

Hmmm. Maybe admitting the errors of their ways and working to correct the situation?

Nah, that would be like the Fat Cat losing weight. Ain't gonna happen.

*cue gratuitous cat snap.


At 9:40 AM, Blogger kae said...

I hate cats.

That one's beautiful.

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous thefrollickingmole said...

Advertising definately works, my business lives or dies by it. Radio is great for brand name, lousy for sales. Junk mail is king.

McDonalds doesnt relly make all that nice a meal, yet millions eat it.

Dont get me started on girls/womans magazines, I wasted a chunk of my life looking at them thiking if I followed "dolly advice' Id get a girl. Funny how it was useless, almost like they just made crap up or something...

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

I think you'll find a lot of it is just made up, Frollicking. There are no real articles of substance, just a few columns of mush that's just about a tween's level (according to current edumacational standards).

Regardless whether the letters to Dolly Doctor are made up or not, the problem is that real girls read them.

Real girls do take the advice on board, because it's not like their mothers actually know anything.

That's a discussion I've had with Magilla recently - because I say "no" a lot, I'm not nice, and it's not fair.

She's used to being told yes, and how she's so wonderful and smart and beautiful.

While she is all of those, she can also be thoroughly obnoxious, and there don't seem to be too many who want to give her a dose of the real world.

Now multiply that by the population of young girls. And mine's one of the better ones out there!

There's a world of hurt in store for young people.

I'm so glad I'm past all that.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

The pages you posted really don't seem that bad-- the ones that addressed sex seemed to say "Hey, if you don't want to do it, don't, and here are some tips on how to assert yourself. but if you're going to do it, here are some health risks and ways to be safe". I also don't see how telling teens about a site about chlamydia is encouraging sex-- if anything ,it's reminding them that STDs are a consequence of sex.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Hi, Amanda,

On the face of things, they don't look too bad, until you consider that the magazines are aged at girls going through puberty. Pretty much from 12-15.

When they should be talking with their parents, they are writing to magazines, or joining online fora.

As a parent, the last thing I want my daughter doing is discussing things like this with someone other than myself, and given that young girls do tend to be a whole lot more sexually active than when I was that age, I believe that abstinence is a much healthier practice. It's also message one that never seems to get pushed.

When people around you are doing it, or appear to be doing it, and the only message you see around you is that "well, it's okay to say no, but just in case, be safe," a lot of youngsters will go with the flow because they really don't understand the long term consequences.

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cute pussy Nilk ;)


At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That dolly chick gives ridiculously stupid advice. "Desperation is a turn off", that's true, it is, for WOMEN. A guy doesn't care how a woman degrades herself to get his attention,doesn't matter, as long as the net result works out ok. We're not looking for a sexually dominant partner, that would be fucking CREEPY.

"He'll see that she's not being sincere", honey, if we believed half the bullshit that comes out of women's mouths when it comes to sex, we'd be stark-raving, irreclaimably mad. We take it on faith that there's a certain amount of insincerity going on on both sides. Who gives a fuck? Again, if it ends in me getting my dick sucked off, I DON'T CARE.

The "I'm genuine approach", is a load of FUCKING SHIT. It's like they're TRYING to fuck these chicks up and make them have bad experiences with men.

This woman is an imbecile.

Ladies, I'll give you some free advice, if you're worried about sexual competition from another woman, SUCK THE GUY'S DICK MORE.

Every second you spend with your mouth wrapped around his dick is a second she won't be.

The only "sincerity" that matters to us is whether or not you are being sincere about that headache.

God,put me in charge of one of these advice columns. Somebody needs to tell these chicks the truth for once.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice cat.

At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

Just want to chime in to state that not all men are creepy like Mr. Anonymous above.

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Nilk said...

I know they're not, Tim, but some are. In any case, you'll find there are a lot more angry men in the real world once you scratch the surface.

Mr. Anon is just one of them.

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignore the catholic origin if its not your thing. Like most governmental structures, the church is likely populated with a disproportionate number of pretenders and shit head kiddie fiddlers that deserve the noose.....

The information in the video is however derived of some altruistic logic...
The notion of cautious selfrestraint need not be of religious origin, but of simple learned parental and tribal wisdom passed on through each generation...The aim of this wisdom is of course to protect the well being and existence of their offspring and for the benefit of all.

There are forces out there that take pleasure in damaging innocents..It gives them a perverted sense of power to their own jaundiced lives whose history necessarily remains secret.
Their facile position within an organisational hierarchy whites their sepulchre and causes others to accord them respect when they themselves know they deserve absolutely nothing but contempt.

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Big dong said...

I would like to know what you think of this.

Like to see if your handle is approved!

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous MRA king said...

12:17 AM

The truth for women on youtube

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous The rude guy said...

Shame and The Fragile Female Ego; Leo Tolstoy and the spiritual is political


Are women the oppressors of men?


Does female greed feed corporate greed?


What Men Know That Women Don’t!


What do women want? … August 2006


Why I hate women, and the importance of ideas …March 15, 2007


What’s wrong with American woman by author Nancy Levant …February 1, 2008


Male versus female brain biology


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

BD, the Aged is Melbournistan's premier Lefty rag, and the article was drivel.

I don't generally read it, although I used to back in the day. 3 times a week, actually.

Regarding feminism and dating, it's all moot to me. I don't consider myself a feminist, and wouldn't want to be labelled one.

I'm a person, a woman, a mother, a friend, a sister, and a bogan.

Why would I need another label?

Oh, and just to add a bit of spice, I'm also catholic. ;)

At 11:07 AM, Blogger MathewK said...

"She should have thought about that 10 years ago."

That's the problem with progressives Nilk, they refuse to think about the consequences, all they're concerned with is the hear and now and how to feel good. They'll deal with the consequences later.

And when they 'deal', almost always they blame someone else or something else, never themselves or their own stupidity.


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