Sunday, November 06, 2005

International No-Panties Day to End Child Marriage

Teenage girls and college coed types are offended by certain shirts offered by the retailer Abercrombie and Fitch. These shirts feature sayings such as "Available for Parties" and "I make you look fat" (Picture gallery linked from here). So, responding to pressure from the "girlcott" (how's that for a bubblegum neologism?), Abercrombie has pulled the offending shirts from their line.

Homo homo homo.

Wank wank wank.

I'll admit, some of the sayings could be offensive to people from the rationally brittle to the reasonably thin-skinned. And no one should be forced to wear those shirts if they don't get the joke. Certainly, they're inappropriate for most workplaces, as the humor would make people uncomfortable. If they were banned from secondary schools, that would be fine. Both schools and workplaces have a reasonable interest in making all individuals reasonably comfortable in their environment, and if they must do that through certain behavioral constraints, that's the way it will go.

And that's fine. I personally hate dress codes. I'd love to put out T-Shirts with a certain offensive slogan very, very dear to my heart. (maybe soon I will!). I was something fairly offensive for Halloween, but I didn't outdo my friend T. I really resent the choady dress code for my work. (Tomorrow, if I have time, I'll blog about the socio-sexual-economic implications of tucked in shirts with mandatory casual wear).

I like activism. And I believe in boycotts as a tool of activism. It breaks my heart to think about not being able to buy from Target, especially when I need a tea kettle and an electric blanket. But I just don't believe that a pharmacist should be able to interfere with a woman's personal health decisions. And I believe that corporate policies that allow pharmacists to make moral judgments that supercede their patients' are wrong, and should result in economic hardships for the corporations. I worry about the repurcussions of this corporate policy. A woman may end up pregnant because of someone else's decision, someone else's morality. She may have to have an abortion, or carry through with an unwanted pregnancy. (how likely is a place without a pro-choice pharmacist to have a doctor willing to perform abortions?) And that's why I may boycott Target.

This "girlcott" of Abercrombie and Fitch is different. The principle of the 'girlcott' is that they don't like the shirt. If Abercrombie and Fitch continued to sell the shirts, only people who wanted the shirts would buy them. Buying a shirt you don't like, and don't want, is stupid. All products are boycotted by girls who don't like them. That's how selling works. If you want something, you buy it. If you don't like something, or a brand that sells something, you don't buy it. If many people consider a given product stupid, useless, or tasteless, it will fade away.
So why propose a hugely public boycott of a product because of alledged poor taste?
Because you don't want it available for someone else to buy.

Which is fucktarded.
And shouldn't be encouraged.

"We're telling [girls] to think about the fact that they're being degraded," Emma Blackman-Mathis, the 16-year-old co-chair of the group, told RedEye on Tuesday. "We're all going to come together in this one effort to fight this message that we're getting from pop culture.
How's that for happy horseshit? It's got all the hallmarks of happy horseshit-
1. Self-congratulatory tone.
2. Exaggerated idea of impact + import of cause.
3. Happy-time-we shall-overcome impression of group unity.

It's a T-Shirt! (Well, several T-Shirts). It's degrading? Degrading? To have simply, kitschy sentences, worn by someone, by choice, on their body?. I suppose the statements aren't positive. They won't elevate anything or anyone. Degrading is a superior court judge unable to distinguish a married woman from a child. That's degrading. But degrading doesn't mean anything anymore. Degrading has started to mean a sentiment that doesn't treat people with either mewling deference or 'you go girl' universal endorsdulation.

And the message from pop culture that this "girlcott" is meant to fight?. That girls get by on appearances, manipulate men with sexuality, and blondes (especially slutty blondes) beat brunettes. Basically, it's goodole objectification of women. Or, to cut through the buzzwords even more, it's the sexualization of women based on superficial sexual characteristics. These seeeeexxxxy coeds have gone willlld because it's been implied that they are fluffy, wispy, intellectually inconsequential people to be indulged as items of entertainment or sexual pleasure.

In an attempt to make themselves taken seriously in the public sphere, these young activists have organized a boycott. That they call a girlcott. Advice, chickies, for free even- If you want to be taken seriously, try not to name your political actions anything that would look really cute written in pink glittery bubble letters.

"Girlcott"- 'We like, totally want to say that we're against objectification and stuff, like, so take us seriously! but we didn't want that gross boy word in there! Ew!"

And remember girls, if you don't like something, if it hurts your big bad meaningful feminist feelings, do something cute and media friendly, and it will go away!

Of course, that is what happened.

Anybody want to do a "Pro-Choice Girls Gone Wild!" video? How about "College Girls Confidential: All proceeds go seal ICKY obstetric fistulas in the third world". Lets take off our shirts for better health care!

Spread Beav' For A Living Wage!

My ass + Your Tongue = Increased access to college prep courses in rural counties!

International No-Panties Day for an End to Child Marriage!

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