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‘Feminazis’? Really? Do people still say that?


There is a discussion going on on the Australasian Skeptics forum (I almost didn’t want to link to it, because I hate to give the OP the attention he so desperately craves) regarding a publicity stunt by a NZ women’s magazine that solicited pictures of women’s breasts in return for a $20 donation to breast cancer organisations.

The stunt is neither original nor new. It’s been done by others for years. Unsurprisingly, some feminists have been critical of the campaign.

The person who posted about it called it ‘division within the sisterhood’ and referred to those who object to it as ‘feminazis’ with ‘hairy nipples’ and so utterly misses the point of the objection by wondering how it is exploitative to post pictures of one’s own breasts.

Others have jumped on his unenlightened bandwagon and engaged in a rather rousing session of Anti-feminist Bingo. (At least one poster has stepped in with a very reasoned feminist argument and has been pretty much either ignored or told to shut up.) I, not being a member of the site and knowing a pointless shitfight when I see one, have chosen to stay out of it.

But yet, I feel the need to at least say something.

With an exasperated sigh I will address these completely old anti-feminist canards using links and logic.

First of all, it is not exploitative to show one’s own breasts. However, to solicit these pictures is exploitative, then to display them publicly, is reinforcing the idea that it is ok to reduce women down to their body parts. Not to mention the fact that the magazine in question is sexualising and exploiting a serious disease (that affects men too) to draw attention to their own publication (see pinkwashing). It sets up breast cancer as a ‘women’s disease’ thus, making women the ‘other’ which also dehumanises women.

Second, the idea of feminism as a monolithic ‘sisterhood’ is as false as the idea of science as a monolith. There are many stripes of feminism. Feminists have different priorities and agendas. So, gleefully declaring a ‘division in the sisterhood’ is like a creationist gleefully pointing out that scientists don’t agree about evolution. It’s irrelevant and does not weaken the argument of feminists.

Third, ‘feminazis.’ Really? Come on.

Then there’s the whole ‘hairy nipple’ thing, which I assume is a breast related play on the whole ‘hairy armpit’ or ‘hairy leg’ stereotype. First, let’s just get it out of the way that being a feminist does not preclude one from being feminine. Second, there is the implication that personal grooming habits are a measure of worth. If that were true, I’d dismiss all people who post on skeptic forums as smelly, unwashed, bearded men (which, if you’ve ever smelled, er, I mean, attended a skeptics conference is a pretty easy bias to confirm).  Again, it doesn’t invalidate the feminists’ argument, it just exposes the poster’s own biases against women who don’t fit his particular mold of what a woman ought to look like and act like.

The whole thing smacks of ‘shut up and quit ruining our  fun!’  Which is a bit rich coming from a skeptics forum. When supporters of astrology or homeopathy say the same thing, they get shouted down and called idiots. It doesn’t matter how much evidence you throw at anti-feminists that feminism is still relevant, oppression of women by the patriarchy is still rampant and that the fact that they still don’t get it is an example of that system of oppression, they’ll still put their hands over their ears because they don’t want to have their fun ruined.

Yes, feminists are out to ruin your fun, because your fun is dependent on the systematic oppression of women.

And I’m totally fine with that.

  1. 03/12/2010 5:12 pm

    I just took a look at the thread. You’re not wrong about the anti-feminist bingo. Ew.

  2. 03/12/2010 11:31 pm

    I really have to leave this thread alone. This is me, not replying to Spoons.

  3. 04/12/2010 2:26 am

    I wish I could grow hair on my nipples now JUST TO PISS THOSE PEOPLE OFF!

    Oh, and I love you. And Mike. And Kylie.And Arthwollipt. And Mick.

    Emma, if I knew you, I am sure I would love you too.

  4. noblecaboose permalink*
    04/12/2010 9:15 am

    I love my mom.
    When I told her about this incident, her reaction was, “Any guy who is grossed out by hairy nipples, has probably never seen a nipple that wasn’t airbrushed in a magazine.”
    Did I mention that I love her?

  5. 06/12/2010 1:56 am

    And now they’re calling me a pathetic little man, for linking to some of the pages on this blog.

    People like that don’t deserve my respect, or that of anyone else. I’ll keep interacting on other threads, because I tend to be able to compartmentalise, and I actually like this forum, but I know now not to attempt to interact with them on this or related subjects.


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