Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Friday, January 25, 2013

What if we had a gender-swapping plug-in for real life?

What if we had a gender-swapping plug-in for real life?

This blog post, A letter to the guy who harassed me outside the bar by Emily Heist Moss recently went viral. In the post the writer discusses how patriarchy is alive and well in everyday situations. As she walks to yoga, men whistle from their cars; teenage boys discuss her body’s measurements while she is well within earshot, men grope her in bars and harass her outside them. The list goes on.

She writes about how she wished that real life had a clever plug-in like Jailbreak the Patriarchy, which exposes sexist word choices in digital content.  Often you’ll find content, both online and offline, that describes or values women based on their age, hairstyle or make-up. Mentioning, say, Michelle Obama’s hair or Kate Middleton’s skin, their way of dressing instead of their intellect or their politics.

Imagine if we flipped the gender-swapping switch with online posts like:

Joe Biden Street Style

Today, the Vice President of the US donned a flattering ensemble of black on black. Is black the new black? We think so.


Should he be wearing those? 

Joe Biden was seen in these dark shades over the weekend. Is that not a bit too young Joe?


Joe Biden spotted by paparazzi

This photo, taken after many days of stalking, shows the Vice President tanning topless on a secret beach on the French Riviera. Is he keeping it tight? We really can’t tell.


Suspicions rise as Joe Biden wears a loose-fitting polo shirt

Trying to hide his voluptuous figure underneath large shirts and by holding potted plants (even during speeches and meetings), the Vice President of the US has not responded to claims that his body has changed somewhat. Will a public statement be made? We want answers Joe.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lea. T, Alek Wek and more for United Colour of Benetton

Known for their controversial advertising methods (which I love!), the clothing company's latest ad actually features some of their clothing. I just love this new ad, which features a bunch of very interesting people like Alek Wek, Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter, Charlotte Free and transgender model (above) Lea T. Check it out and be inspired.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lesbian couture

Remember that controversial photo of two French women kissing at an anti-gay marriage rally in France? Well, Karl Lagerfeld is also doing his bit to support marriage equality. He recently sent two models, hand-in-hand, down the Chanel runway clad in wedding haute couture at his Paris show. The couture has since been dubbed 'lesbian couture'.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menswear gone too far?

Designer J.W. Anderson certainly had tongues wagging at this year's London Fashion Week, as he unveiled his latest collection. What do you think? Taking menswear too far?


Friday, January 11, 2013

Why are we still being raped?

In light of the recent New Delhi bus rape in India and the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, it seems only fitting to delve into the ‘why’ of it all. Of course, there can never be a good enough answer to satisfy us.

In these cases, I think it is the dehumanization of the female body that shocks, angers and saddens us.

Let’s review the two cases:

Case 1: A 23-year-old medical student, Jyoti Singh Pandey, dies two weeks after being savagely attacked and raped by six men. All while on a moving bus in New Delhi.

Case 2: A 16-year-old girl is urinated on and raped by football players from Steubenville, Ohio. This photo was shared by bystanders via social media platforms. It shows two of the accused players carrying the unconscious girl. This picture was snapped at one of the many parties they dragged her to during the night.

Patriarchy or an extreme form of  dehumanization?

Is this a sign that patriarchy is still alive and well – or rather that some of us have become more adept at dehumanizing people in this way? I think it is the latter. Patriarchy is still alive and well, yet patriarchy is not the main problem, even though it does play a part. For example, many women all over the world still do not get the same respect or rights that most men do. But let’s face it, not all chauvinists rape women.

Over time, though, we have become desensitized to murders, rapes, massacres and other violent acts. We are obviously influenced directly by the TV and the internet, where we have  easy access to graphic images of war and rape, and where we can glean all the grim details, for example, of how children were murdered recently in Connecticut in the US.

As we continue to be part of this culture of violence, we start to become immune, in a sense, to the ‘humanness’ of victims, viewing them as mere fictitious characters or actors. Acts of violence such as rape are thus becoming more common and savage as people start to distance themselves in this way.

Has rape thus become more an issue of dehumanized game-play - where rapists view themselves as characters playing a violent game where they regard their victim as a helpless subhuman non-person who they can easily dominate?

Let us know what you think…


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Now trending: Slut-Shaming memes

So, we've talked about 'slut-shaming' before. That is basically attacking women for having sex, having sex with more than one partner, for dressing provocatively, i.e. 'slutty', etc. Now, many women might not see the problem in this. It's nothing more than harmless gossip, right? Wrong.
Some women are going to great lengths to make these so-called 'sluts' as uncomfortable as possible. So much so that some teen girls are even committing suicide because of it.
The latest slut-shaming trend? The 'Hey Girl, Did You Know' meme. Here (and above) are some examples:
Anyone can of course contribute and create their own meme. That they most definitely do. This trend has gone viral.
For the last time, stop persecuting each other and start to support each other. Sometimes women just don't realize how much damage they do by shaming each other in this way. 'Bitch', 'whore' and 'slut' may be words that came into existence because of men, yet they are constantly engrained in our everyday thinking because we as women keep on using them. Stop perpetuating slut-shaming and soon we'll drive these words out of existence.
I know, I know. Easier said than done. Let's at least give it a try.