Black Milk Clothing Illustrates How Not To Use Social Media

Oh, no, no, no. Let’s start off with something that really grinds my gears. Nerd culture is meant to be a haven for those who do not feel respected or appreciated in mainstream culture and have the courage to be interested in science, fiction and imagination where others don’t have the balls. Nerd culture is about embracing what makes us different and becoming/creating our own hero. It’s about accepting everyone the way they are and celebrating our differences. Just because it’s been co-opted by a weird underground of exclusionist, sexist bastards doesn’t mean everyone needs to jump on board with that. Nerd culture has the potential to be on the cutting edge of gender equality as far as different sects of culture go, but because the fans do not respect and embody the values of the greats, we’re left with memes like this.
Then, on top of nerds selling themselves down the river with their bullshit, we’ve got faceless corporate facebook pages feeding into stereotypes of women, nerd women and nerds- all to their detriment. Take all the nerd stuff out for a minute and this is still just incredibly fucked. I mean really, Black Milk? You thought in 2014 everyone would think that’s funny? On facebook? No. no, we’ve been taken for a ride on a publicity stunt that proves just how much we all need feminism.
If a company feels comfortable using the objectification and sexualization of women not only as material for jokes, but to advance their own social media profile says a lot about our culture. Even then, the fact that DAYS went by without a real apology says a lot about the company. Black Milk actually tried to defend themselves for a while on this, which blows my mind completely. How could anyone look at this meme and not find it offensive? Mayim Bialik is a human being! Have they apologized to her I wonder? I actually hope not because this apology is so completely meaningless it’s actually unbelievable. I mean, think about it: now that they’ve apologized, it is unlikely that they will face anymore flack. The internet gets bored quickly. So we will move on, despite a company revealing on a major media website just how sexist they are. I don’t mean misogynistic because I think they probably did not mean harm by their post, but this is sexism. Black Milk, you have done something sexist. Admit, correct and THEN we can consider forgiving and forgetting.

To celebrate May the Fourth (Star Wars Day, for those of you who were unaware), the Black Milk Clothing fanpage posted this…

To celebrate May the Fourth (Star Wars Day, for those of you who were unaware), the Black Milk Clothing fanpage posted this…

Black Milk Clothing Facebook Page / Via Facebook: blackmilkclothing

…which, understandably, bothered several fans due to the implication that being more like the woman on the left is somehow better or more desirable than being like the woman on the right (Mayim Bialik as Amy in “The Big Bang Theory”). It also happens to go against their own, arguably cult-like, “commandments”. In particular:

COMMANDMENT #1 – YOU SHALL BE EXCELLENT TO ONE ANOTHER

and…

COMMANDMENT #5 – YOU SHALL NOT MAKE CRITICAL COMMENTS ON OTHER WOMEN’S BODIES.

Black Milk Clothing Facebook Page / Via Facebook: www.facebook.com/blackmilkclothing

When some of the page’s followers pointed out this contradiction of their own rules to Black Milk, their comments were either promptly deleted or met with condescending comments from the brand’s social media team, which only served to gain more attention than the initial meme itself.

But Black Milk persisted, defending their right to “poke fun at themselves” – though no members of staff were featured in the meme – and stated that the people who had been offended by the post were a minority and admitted that they would continue to delete any comments that weren’t “positive” enough. When this was, again, received negatively, they even went so far as to tell their own customers to unlike their page and to stop supporting them if they felt that this particular thread was out of line:

For many followers and long-time customers that had been watching from the sidelines, this was the final straw, and several decided to jump in and attempt to convince Black Milk of how terribly they were handling the situation…

After dozens of people were banned from the fan page (including several long-time customers that had helped to build the brand in the first place) and even more comments were deleted or unsatisfactorily responded to, many people took to the company’s many regional fan groups to express their disappointment in the way the situation was being handled, leading to an array of hilarious memes and not-so-hilarious comments directed at the company, including some from media personalities and affiliates of Disney, with whom Black Milk have an upcoming licensing deal.

.@BlackMilkTweets just banned me from their fb for posting this video on a thread where they are banning customers.https://t.co/zuZS5QoFXX

The above tweet linked to this video.

youtube.com

The kind of meme that Black Milk used to support (shared on their Facebook page in June, 2012).Black Milk Clothing Facebook Page / Via facebook.com

More than 24 hours after the initial image was posted, Black Milk Clothing finally decided to remove the thread, but would not back down when it came to an apology, stating the following:

Hey guys, we have had a really good think about this situation and we have come to a decision. We plan on deleting this post (in a few minutes) because we feel it is giving a platform for hateful comments about the brand we know and love. All that we want to do is create beautiful clothes, not deal with internet raging. So let’s close this off. In terms of the major issues people have mentioned, here are our feelings:

1. This is a joke, harmless, not hateful. We like to have a joke and poke fun at ourselves. Be cool with it.
2. Yes, we removed a lot of negative comments because we felt like they had overstepped the mark! We are constantly hearing from our customers that our fan page has become a place of complaining and attacking, and they are sick of it! So we are working at trying to communicate that complaining and negativity all the time is not okay. We have the right to do that, and people should respect that.
3. Yes, people were banned, again, because we felt they had overstepped the mark and were being disrespectful. You can share your opinion, but you can’t attack our staff. We love them too much. Of course, many people are saying that they were banned for “respectfully sharing their opinion”. But there are two sides to every story. 
4. We LOVE our customers, but yes, we believe that if you get really upset by the way we do things, you should probably move on and not be a part of what we are doing. That’s not mean, that’s just to save all of us more frustration! 
5. “Why can’t you just admit that you were wrong and apologise. Is it so hard?” Because we have integrity. Because we didn’t do anything wrong, so we have nothing to apologise for! We stand up for what we believe in. People can have differences of opinions about what is right and wrong, right?

Hope that makes sense. Thanks so much to all the kind and supportive comments (and hugs) from girls all over the world who are looking forward to a much more positive BM space.

– All the BM team (yes, all of us!)

Though it was a relief to see them finally give in and delete the post, rather than to continue their ban-and-delete spree, it left a bitter taste in the mouths of many – especially those who had been banned from the page without even commenting on the thread in the first place.

Hey Black Milk Clothing, how do you want me to do my job as admin of SEVERAL official and unofficial groups if you ban me from your fan page? How would you like the rest of the admins you have banned to do the same? God forbid we speak out against the almighty and stand up for what is right. You did something in poor taste. You were called out on it. Suck it the fuck up and apologise.
The minority? Yeah good one. So now we’re not listening to minorities? Yeah ok, let’s go back to the dark ages when women couldn’t vote and being gay was a disease. I guess we should tell ALL minorities the same thing. I mean are you even fucking kidding me right now?
Unless we see an apology issued to every single person who was banned and bullied today by someone who seems to not understand their job, you’re going to lose a lot of customers who have been with you loyally for the last 2-4 years.
But I guess you have shown us that you could not give one iota of a fuck about the business we have given you.
Don’t forget that you’re employed because of us. Don’t become that fucking guy. Between myself and my closest friends alone we have spent over 100k in your store. Maybe now that you’re so big you don’t care, but don’t forget where you came from. We won’t.
Seems your social media team needs some training – I’m available to get you back on the right track so that everyone in your community pages can, you know, stop hating you right now.
But you probs don’t care. As stated time and time again by an employee who has shown nothing but disrespect to the entire community.
Good luck fixing this mess.

Facebook / Via Facebook: mishku

With thousands of customers feeling alienated and shrugged off by a company which they helped to build (and which has spent the past few years handling the social side of their company brilliantly, with many citing it as one of the best examples of online presence done right), many fans are now stating that they will no longer be supporting the brand. The amount of likes on the company’s Facebook page has already dropped by several thousand.

And on one last, rather saddening note – this comment, made less than a month ago, by the company’s head of sales & marketing.

 

Talking down to your community probably tops the list [as the worst social media faux pas]. Social media is an equal-opportunity platform, and you have to be open and honest with the people you’re engaging with. People can sense when you’re not being authentic and they generally don’t react well to that. Isolating your community by treating them as essentially different from yourself is a great way to cannibalise your social media network.

Life Instyle / Via blog.lifeinstyle.com.au

How right they were.

UPDATEBlack Milk Clothing’s head of sales and marketing, Cameron Parker, has issued an apology, stating “I want to start off by saying I am incredibly sorry for everything that has happened over the last couple of days. We made a mistake and we apologise sincerely.” Parker wrote out a five-point response outlining the company’s views on the controversy, ending with “We stand up for what we believe in. People can have differences of opinions about what is right and wrong, right?” You can read the full apology here.

Black Milk Clothing Illustrates How Not To Use Social Media.

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Dear Blogoshpere

I understand. This is awkward. 

I left without saying goodbye, I felt it would less painful.

The truth is, we were growing apart and I needed some space. But my time away from you has made me realize just how much I love writing vitriolic rants about the patriarchy and aggregating fem-focused news. 

No, but really, I have no delusions of an audience languishing without my updates (really, I know exactly how many people read my stuff, or don’t read to be more accurate), but I do have a bit more time now and would like to try this again.

So, if you’ll have me?

Let’s get bitchy.

Why patriarchy fears the scissors: for women, short hair is a political statement

The “manosphere” really hates short-haired girls. On “game” forums and in personal dating manifestos, the wickedness of short-haired women pops up time and time again as theme and warning – stay away from girls who’ve had their hair chopped off. They’re crazy, they’re deliberately destroying their femininity to “punish” men, but the last laugh will be on them, because the bitches will die alone. Yes, there are people who really believe this. In 2014.

This week, a writer going by the handle Tuthmosis put out a short article explaining why “Girls With Short Hair are Damaged”. The piece has now received over 200,000 interactions on Facebook, so I’m not going to link to it again here. If you scrape through the layers of trolling, though, Tuthmosis’ logical basis for declaring short-haired women “damaged” is pretty interesting.

He writes that long hair is “almost universally attractive to men, when they’re actually speaking honestly. . . Women instinctively know this, which is why every American girl who cuts, and keeps, her hair short often does it for ulterior reasons . . . Short hair is a political statement. And, invariably, a girl who has gone through with a short cut – and is pleased with the changes in her reception – is damaged in some significant way. Short hair is a near-guarantee that a girl will be more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged.”

The essential argument is: men like long hair, and what sane woman would ever want to do anything that decreases her capacity to please men?

The advantage of articles like this, pantomimic though they be, is that they make misogyny legible. There was a time when feminists had to do that all by ourselves, but now we don’t have to point out the underlying assumptions of a lot of the bullshit we deal with every day, because there are people on the internet doing it for us.

So I’m almost grateful to Tuthmosis for writing this particular piece of recreational sexist linkbait. I thought I’d never have an even passably good reason to write about how little things like short hair change the way patriarchy responds to you.

I’ve had short hair for most of my adult life. I keep it short partly because it suits me, partly because long hair is a whole lot of bother, but mostly because I don’t have a choice – my natural hair is limp and rubbish and doesn’t grow far past my shoulders without turning into witchy rat-tails. I’ve had a lot of fun with my boy-short crop. I’ve had it shaved, buzzed, dyed, undyed, a long pixie with a fringe, a half-head “Skrillesque’”, and I’m currently rocking what the blog Autostraddle calls ALH (“alternative lifestyle hair”), with a style somewhere between “Human League” and “Androgynous Emo Frontman from 2005”.  Of course, there are problems. To be frank, my hair is a great deal gayer than I am, and sometimes accidentally cashes cheques that my heart and loins don’t deliver, to the extent that I’ve considered letting my hair go out out to Candy Bar to play all by itself. It’s fabulous enough to pull it off. Anyway.

The author, with short hair.

I’ve experimented with growing the crop out twice, encouraged both times by men I was dating. It seemed like the thing to do to make myself more pleasing to potential boyfriends, potential bosses, and other people with potential power over my personal happiness. Both times, it looked awful. It took a lot of effort and a surprising amount of money to maintain, and it still looked awful, and I didn’t feel like myself. Growing it past my chin took determination, because every day I’d look in the mirror and want to take the razor to it right then and there.

And yet, the amount of male attention I got – from friendly flirting to unwanted hassle – increased enormously. Not because I looked better, but because I looked like I was trying to look more like a girl. Because I was performing femme. Every time I cut it off, I noticed immediately that the amount of street harassment I received, from cat-calls to whispered sexual slurs to gropes and grabs on public transport, dropped to a fraction of what it had been – apart from total strangers coming up to tell me how much prettier I’d be if I only grew it out.  People have done this when I’ve been quietly working on my laptop in cafes,  because I really need to be interrupted in the middle of a deadline to be told I need to work harder on my girl game.

Among the plus points for short hair is that makes it easier to read my book on the bus in peace. I mention this because there are clearly some men who rarely or never consider what it’s like for a person to negotiate femininity in the real world. There are plenty of reasons why a ‘sane’ woman might choose not to play up her ‘fertility signifiers’ every chance she gets, and not just because she’s got better things to do with her time.

My little sister has had the opposite experience. She has naturally long, thick, glossy chestnut waves, but recently she experienced a severe shock, and it started to fall out in clumps, which wasn’t something I thought actually happened in real life. It was a hugely distressing experience for her, and I went with her to get it cut into something more manageable while she waits for it to grow back.

When I talked to her about this piece, she told me she really wasn’t expecting the loss of her hair to affect her as much as it did – nor was she expecting the number of unsolicited comments from male friends telling her she never should never have cut it off, not knowing she had a medical condition.

For all that the “manosphere” bangs on about evolutionary psychology and the effect of such attributes as long, luscious locks as natural signs of “fertility”, what’s really noticeable is that that to get hair of any length to look like it does in catalogues and on catwalks takes work. It takes energy and money and attention. Especially if yours is naturally wild, or frizzy, or afro. It takes creams and serums and tongs and irons and spray and mousse and a deft, time-consuming blow-dry technique to get your hair to look like Kate Middleton’s, and that’s the point. The point is to look like the performance of femininity matters enough to you that you’re prepared to work at it. I know a good few women who do all this every day and nonetheless manage to hold down jobs, raise families and write books, and I remain impressed, but I’ve never had that sort of patience.

Still, none of the women I know with long, pretty hair is anything like the “ideal woman” who’s spoken of in breathless terms on Men’s Rights Activism sites, Pickup Artist forums and in great canonical works of literature written and revered by men, because none of them are fictional. The “ideal woman”,  who wakes up looking like an underwear model, who is satisfied with her role as housewife and helpmeet but remains passionate enough to hold a man’s interest, who looks “bangable” but never actually bangs, because that would make her a slut, is almost entirely fictional. She exists mainly as a standard against which every real women can be held and found wanting. She exists to justify some men’s incoherent rage at being denied the ideal woman they were promised as a reward for being the hero of their own story. Tuthmosis’ stories about how short-haired women have frightened and disappointed him are oddly amusing: he describes how one “once came over to my house, texted with one hand, while she jerked me off with the other”.

If the story is true, you have to admire that sort of manual dexterity. Nonetheless, it seems to get at the crux of the problem that non-fictional women seem to present for a certain kind of man: we just aren’t paying enough attention to their boners.

Tuthmosis is right, for all the wrong reasons. Wearing your hair short, or making any other personal life choice that works against the imperative to be as conventionally attractive and appealing to patriarchy as possible, is a political statement. And the threat that if we don’t behave, if we don’t play the game, we will end up alone and unloved is still a strategy of control. When I talk to young women about their fears and ambitions, it’s one of the main things they ask me about.

Short cuts: Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.

The idea that women might not place pleasing men at the centre of our politics, consciously or unconsciously, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Sometimes it makes them angry. I am regularly asked whether I think that feminism ought to be “rebranded” in order to threaten men less, because anything a woman does, even attempt to chip away at a massive, slow-gringing superstructure of sexism, must appeal to men first, or it is meaningless.

If making your life mean more than pleasing men is “deranged”, it’s not just short-haired girls who are crazy.

An infinite number of trolls with an infinite number of typewriters will occasionally produce truths, and on this point, yes, Tuthmosis is right. Chopping your hair off is “a political statement”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made bigger ones in my life. But choosing to behave consciously as if the sexual attention and comfort of men is not my top priority has made more of a difference to how my life has turned out than I ever imagined. And that sort of choice still worries a great many women and girls, who learn from an early age to fear what Roosh V, well-known pick-up-artist and Tuthmosis’ editor, warns all “sick women” seeking to “punish” men by cutting their hair: “being lonely and having to settle for a brood of cats is not a good life for a woman, but that’s what will happen if you keep your hair short.”

If I were really to stoop to the level of the original piece, I’d have to reassure readers that from personal experience, this sort of warning is there to be ignored. My own “game” hasn’t suffered at all from having short hair, and it’s a really good way of filtering out the douchecanoes. Neo-misogynists tend not to want to sleep with me, date me or wife me up however I wear my hair, because after five minutes of conversation it tends to transpire that I’m precisely the sort of mouthy, ambitious, slutty feminist banshee who haunts their nightmares, but if I keep my hair short we tend to waste less of each other’s time. If you’ve a ladyboner for sexist schmuckweasels, short hair isn’t going to help, although they might let you administer a disappointing hand-job.

 

But if you want to meet men as equals, if you want to fill your life with amazing men and boys as lovers, as life-partners, as friends and colleagues who treat women and girls as human beings rather than a walking assemblage of “signs of fertility” – believe me, they are out there – then I wouldn’t start by changing your hair. I’d start by changing your politics, and surrounding yourself with people who want to change theirs, too.

Why patriarchy fears the scissors: for women, short hair is a political statement.

Talking to girls or women you just met: A guide to not commenting on their looks.

Writer Kasey Edwards voiced understandable indignation last month about the way strangers break the ice with her 4-year-old daughter. During a trip to Santa’s cottage, she noticed that people (and North Pole–dwelling elves) tended to zero in on Violet’s appearance, to the exclusion of, say, her thoughts or interests. She takes Santa to task: “You remarked on every item of clothing Violet was wearing—including her socks. And then you told her she was the most beautiful and best-dressed person in the shopping center … You kept going and suggested that she takes up modeling when she grows up.” Meanwhile, with a young boy, Santa talked about his reindeer.

It’s not just Santa. “Like most girls,” Edwards laments, “my daughter hears, ‘That’s a pretty dress, did you pick it yourself?’ or ‘What lovely hair you have,’ or ‘You have the most amazing eyelashes,’ or ‘I like the bows on your shoes,’ or ‘You are so cute’ almost every time somebody engages in conversation with her.” She worries that her daughter will internalize this aesthetic focus: “If family, friends, shop assistants, complete strangers, and even Santa only remark on how girls look … how can we expect girls to believe that they have anything more to offer the world than their beauty?”

That is an excellent question. How very true that the universal first step to building rapport with young girls is complimenting their looks. And how very true that this sends the wrong message, just as the sparkly vapidity of the “pink aisle” tells girls they should be interested in gleamed-up surfaces over substance. It’s so obvious, except, reading Edwards’ cri de coeur, I got a sinking feeling, because I’m pretty sure I do thisall the time.

I don’t mean that I won’t also ask little girls what they’re reading or learning in school; or the names of their friends; or whether they like Mom or Dad better. (That is always a fun one.) But usually, upon meeting a cute female child, my first reflex is to compliment her on some aspect of her appearance—especially her hair accessories, because little girls have the best hair accessories. I’ve done it with my young cousins, who are brilliant musicians and athletes and scholars. I remember older female relatives doing it to me. Anecdata confirms that this is an easy, socially approved tactic for expressing benevolent interest in a little person you do not yet know—and it is a scourge.

It is a scourge not just because of what it says to girls about what we value about them, but also because girls absorb this mode of interaction and use it for the rest of their lives. When I meet a new woman and have no idea what to say to her, I often revert to a default mode of perceiving ladies as decorative, and blab up some wan comment, like “great hair!” Part of this is pure lack of imagination. You’re casting around. You see boots. They’re right in front of you! It’s so easy! I like your boots, you cry. But the range of possibilities even for uncreative chitchat is vast; you can absolutely bore the pants off someone without referencing their pants.

At the end of her article, Edwards offers a few suggestions for how to break the ice with preschool girls in a way that doesn’t spotlight their physical cuteness:

— Where have you been today? or Where are you going today?

— How old are you?

— What do you want to be when you grow up?

— What’s your favorite book/toy/sport/animal/food/song?

In that spirit, here are some lines for when you’ve just met an adult woman and are flailing in a riptide of conversation-block.

— What have you been up to this week/weekend? or What are you doing this week/weekend?

— How young are you?

— What do you do for work? (AND/OR: What do you do for fun?)

— What’s your favorite book/magazine/piece of wearable technology/Netflix guilty pleasure/fad restaurant trend/craft beer/karaoke go-to/political cause/alibi?

Or you could try observations:

— This canapé is delicious/gross!

— The man on our left appears to be a kleptomaniac.

— I think that ottoman cushion is on fire.

 

And if you really, sincerely like a woman’s boots, you should go ahead and tell her—but she’ll probably assume you’re full of it. She was once a little girl too.

Talking to girls or women you just met: A guide to not commenting on their looks..

Americans United for Life names anti-abortion All Stars: Louisiana tops this year’s “Life List.”

Americans United for Life, one of the most powerful opponents of reproductive health care, released their 2014 “Life List” today, celebrating the states that have done the most to deprive women of access to safe, legal abortion. The press release announcing the list—which Louisiana tops as the “most protective state,” followed by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas—is an absolute masterpiece in smarmy bad faith. The premise? That safe, legal abortion needs to be chipped away for women’s own good. “Each of AUL’s All Stars enacted life-saving legislation to protect mother and child from an abortion industry more committed to its financial bottom line than protecting women from a dangerous procedure that is too often performed in substandard facilities,” writes Charmaine Yoest, the president of AUL.

AUL is one of the architects of the popular strategy, which is employed by their “All Stars,” of writing phony health regulations that serve no other purpose but to shut down clinics. For all its concern about women’s health, however, AUL does not seem to care very much that not having an abortion means developing a condition known as child birth that usually requires hospitalization and much more invasive medical interventions than the extremely low-complication abortions AUL works to wipe out. Reading the press release, one gets the impression that abortion is something women just do because some marketer told them it was cool. Pregnancy, child birth, and the illegal means women turn to when they can’t access legal abortion all go unmentioned.

What is unclear is if anyone is fooled by this disingenuous pose of concern for the health of people who were, until recently, casually regarded by anti-choicers as murderers for wanting to terminate their pregnancies. On the “are you kidding me” scale, the claim that safe abortion must be ended to protect women falls somewhere between GOP claims to have an alternative health care plan and the assertion that the Civil War was not fought over slavery.

Regardless of whether there exists someone naive enough to buy this, however, the facts remain: Actual medical experts like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have denounced the phony health regulations aimed at shutting down abortion clinics, because the regulations “erode women’s health” by denying women “the benefits of well-researched, safe, and proven protocols.” Child birth is 14 times more dangerous than legal abortion. (Not that child birth in the U.S. is particularly dangerous, with a fatality rate of 1 in 11,000. It’s just that abortion is that safe.) Abortion is no more an “industry” than any other kind of medical care—including prenatal care and high-cost child-birth care—and, in many cases, it’s provided by nonprofits like Planned Parenthood. Shutting down access to legal abortion drives desperate women into the black market, and illegal abortion, unlike legal abortion,does have a high fatality rate.

 

One of AUL’s “All Stars”—probably Texas—will likely be in front of the Supreme Court soon, peddling the lie that legal abortion needs to be regulated out of existence for women’s own good. Let’s hope the obvious bad faith on display will be too much for the justices to sign off on.

Americans United for Life names anti-abortion All Stars: Louisiana tops this year’s “Life List.”.

Jezebel offers $10K for Lena Dunham’s unretouched Vogue photos.

While I was busy this morning crafting my carefully thought-out and meticulously worded reaction to Lena Dunham’s clearly photoshopped Voguecover debutJezebel went andoffered a $10,000 bounty on the un-retouched photos, to the delight of some and theoutrage of manyJezebel, which made a name for itself running leaked un-retouched photos from women’s magazines, to everyone’s glee, seems to have finally come up against a cover subject that the world does not want exposed. But why?

The first time this happened, in 2007, Jez put out a call for prealtered images—anyone’s—and got back Faith Hill on the cover of Redbook. A gorgeous, glowing Hill with no flesh on her arm was revealed to be a gorgeous, glowing Hill with some flesh on her arm, plus tiny crow’s feet. The reaction to the stunt was overwhelmingly positive, and not just because most Jez readers aren’t protective Faith Hill fans. Hill looked fabulous—conventionally fabulous—before the retouching, so Redbook’s tinkering seemed totally unnecessary and evil. We all knew that Jezebel wasn’t shaming Faith Hill’s arms—they were shaming Redbook.

Which is why Dunham is a great subject for this stunt! Everyone (or at least, anyone who’s ever tuned into Girls) already knows what Dunham’s body looks like, clothed and nude. Jez is not trying to expose Dunham—it’s continuing its crusade against the fashion magazines that make us all feel like crap and have, in many ways, contributed to a pop culture in which Dunham’s perfectly lovely physique is so outside the norm. (Also it’s going to get a lot of Internet traffic out of this, but that is what we all want for our stories, so let’s not harp.)

Without going into the journalistic ethics of offering cash for scoops, Dunham also seems ideal for Jez’s attempted payout because of the total dissonance between her work and Vogue’s. Here are some choice lines from the piece, written by Nathan Heller:

In addition to tracking the fashion world closely, she’s become a kind of spokesperson for young women who want to express themselves stylishly but with personal whimsy, and a vocal critic of the stereotype that fashion belongs only to a tiny group of superslender people terrified of breaking rules. For almost as long as Dunham’s work has been in the public eye, she’s spoken openly and often about her body type, pointing out that not every strong and enviable woman on the air must resemble a runway model.

And:

Dunham’s comfort in her own skin—even when bared—has become part of her cool iconoclasm. It’s the reason many people see her as the voice for a new generation of empowered young women, and it’s slowly helped to shift the norms of female charisma on-screen.

This sounds like a veiled challenge to Vogue and other outlets that make fashion the exclusive bailiwick of scared, superslender people. But it is laughable in the context of Photoshop. The Annie Leibovitz spread shows Dunham sprawled sexily across a bed, pouting at a deserted Bushwick subway stop (as one does), perched in evening wear on the rim of a bathtub containing Adam Driver (as one doesn’t), wearing a pigeon, and walking her dog while—in some sort of computerized fourth dimension, at least—getting an oddly dignified piggyback ride. Even without the obvious alterations to her body, Dunham’s pictures are superglamorous in a way that feels less like Voguepushing the envelope or proving a point than smoothing away rough edges to make its subject fit the norm she’s supposedly shifting.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little glamour! But you can get whiplash alternating between Dunham’s quotes and the accompanying photos. The Girlscreator says things like: “There was a sense that I and many women I knew had been led astray by Hollywood and television depictions of sexuality … Seeing somebody who looks like you having sex on television is a less comfortable experience than seeing somebody who looks like nobody you’ve ever met.” But “nobody you’ve ever met” is exactly the vibe that comes across here (could be the Photoshop). While Wintour and co. don’t need to show their cover girl braless in sweats at the diner, they also could have taken a cue from her words and work.

 

Of course, Dunham herself is less of an Everywoman than her character, Hannah Horvath. As Heller points out, the star first appeared in Vogue at age 11, “as part of a spread about ‘a New York pack of fashion-conscious kids.’ ” The daughter of famous artists, a frequent New Yorker contributor, she is scarily accomplished and, yes, scarily well-connected. She already dwells in the rarefied world of runways and Prada gowns, of curating and media-manicuring, so it’s not like the modified photos are necessarily a betrayal of her essence. They just feel like a betrayal of her image. And, more importantly, a reminder that magazines like Vogue remain unmoved by what Dunham has to say. Good for Jezebel for wanting to point that out, again.

Jezebel offers $10K for Lena Dunham’s unretouched Vogue photos..

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Time’s Hillary Clinton cover: Will our next president be a pointy heel trampling an emasculated dude?

Hillary Clinton has again made the cover of Time magazine. This time, instead of appearing in typical human form, she is presented as a photo illustration Frankenstein’s monster—she is a navy pantsuit leg, a modest black pump, and a bizarre accessory: a diminutive man in a suit flailing from the point of her gargantuan heel. It’s time foranother round of “is this media representation of a female politician sexist?” Let’s play!

First: An impassioned defense of the choice. The illustration evocatively conveys the content of the accompanying story, which examines how Clinton and her supporters are navigating the will-she-or-won’t-she period before the 2016 presidential campaigns are officially underway. TheTime piece is about how Hillary has such immense power and recognition in the political arena that going about her “private” life seems practically indistinguishable from launching a campaign in earnest. Portraying the candidate with simply her first name and a gigantic iconic pantsuit leg is a nod to her untouchable icon status. Clinton has, in fact, paired a navy pantsuit with 1-inch black pumps, and she’s effectively parlayed the mocking backlash about her sartorial choices into her own badass brand. At the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, she jokingly pitched Bravo a “Project Pantsuit” series; in her Twitter bio, she calls herself a “pantsuit aficionado.”

And characterizing her competition as comparatively powerless men is not off-base. “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a hero of the left, has repeatedly said she would not challenge Clinton in the primary,” David Von Drehle writes. “Likewise, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota—who might otherwise vie to be the first female President—have said they would support her candidacy. ‘I think if another woman ran against Hillary, she would bring down the wrath of women around the country,’ said one veteran Democratic strategist.” The only Democrats who have publicly toyed with the idea of taking on Hillary in 2016 are dudes. And those men—like former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer—do appear puny in comparison to Hillary’s clout. Clinton is not exactly required to “run” for president like lesser candidates; she appears to be strolling casually into the nomination, trampling her potential competition with ease. (Though, side note: We thought that last time, too.)

On the other hand: A giant woman trampling over a measly businessman suggests a form of power beyond the political. The cover trades in the imagery of several sexual fetishes—macrophilia, in which (mostly) male fetishists get off on images of (mostly) female giants; trampling, in which (mostly) female dominant parties walk all over (mostly) male submissives; and the common foot fetish, which also looms large over the image. As psychologist Helen Friedman told Salon in a story about macrophilia in 1999, the fetish often appears so gendered because “We live in a patriarchal culture … Women already see men as larger and more powerful. They don’t need to fantasize it.”

The image of a towering heel squashing a tiny man is sexualized in certain subcultures, but it’s also used by the mainstream media to connote female power in general. As Jessica Valenti and The Cut have cataloged, stock-photo searches for “feminist” and “businesswoman” regularly turn up images that look indistinguishable from the Time cover; Valenti calls this the “Mean Feminists With Shoes and Poor Emasculated Dudes” look. The depiction doesn’t show high-powered women competing against male rivals, fair and square; it suggests that the very existence of the feminine in business and politics constitutes a threat to men. It’s both sexist and hacky. In turn, trample fetishists mine these “feminist” stock photos for masturbatory material. (You have learned something new.)

 

Clinton’s presumptive bid to become the first female president does position her as a powerhouse poised to stomp through the patriarchal status quo. But when publications like Time frame that feminist pursuit with images of women in pointy heels that leave feminized male “victims” in their wake, they undermine the female politician’s power even as they attempt to acknowledge it.

Time’s Hillary Clinton cover: Will our next president be a pointy heel trampling an emasculated dude?.

Beyoncé Pens An Essay For The Shriver Report: “Gender Equality Is A Myth”

Does this woman sleep ever? Ever? Beyoncé has written an essay for The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From The Brink, an investigation by journalist Maria Shriver in conjunction with the Center For American Progress, on the status of women in America today. Beyoncé’s essay, “Gender Equality Is A Myth,” can be read in the full report, which can be downloaded for free here.

After the jump, though, you can read an excerpt posted online.

Beyonce calls for men to demand equality for women and girls right from the moment they are born:

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.

Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.

We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities

 

Bey’s contribution is just one of many essays by celebrities and intellectuals to The Shriver Report, including journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, actress Eva Longoria, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-jen Poo, feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan, basketball player LeBron James, historian Stephanie Coontz, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, businesswoman Tory Burch, Yahoo CEO Sheryl Sandberg, Senator Kristen Gillibrand, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Beyoncé Pens An Essay For The Shriver Report: “Gender Equality Is A Myth”.

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4 Stupid Ads That Had No Goddamn Clue How to Appeal to Women

Every now and again, a company decides to seek marketing ideas from people who have apparently never talked to an actual female. That’s the only explanation we can think of for bafflingly misguided pieces of “woman-friendly” advertising like …

#4. Hoover Creates a ‘Game’ Where You Iron Your Date’s Clothes

Hoover knew exactly what every woman’s idea of fun is when they created an online ad in the form of an interactive game for their new iron. The object of the game? Ironing a dude’s clothes before you go out on a date with him, of course. First, you’re prompted to pick one of three distinct types of douchebag:

hoover-ironspeed.com
“Can I just use the iron on my skull?”

As your suitor waits patiently by an ironing board, you must help him correctly pick the setting to put the iron on, because you have a vagina so you must know this shit. You also control the iron for him, since he’s too busy wagging his finger at you.

hoover-ironspeed.com
“This is also how we will have foreplay.”

The shitshow continues until your date is down to his underwear, as music befitting a porno smoothly jangles in the background. If you fail to finish your task within three minutes, you’re rewarded with an image of your date shrugging and giving you a “Whelp, now you have to fuck me” look.

hoover-ironspeed.com
In the DLC expansion pack, you have to show him how to fold his laundry.

#3. Credit Union Offers ‘Loans for (Insanely Stereotyped) Ladies’

NZCU Baywide, a New Zealand bank, created a program designed to give financial help to women who have been stuck in a time warp since the 1950s. Their “Loans for Ladies” website is decked out in a headache-inducing teal and bright pink, with cartoon ladies setting society back decades with phrases like, “Cinderella is proof a pair of shoes can change your life.”

loansforladies.co.nz
Meanwhile, the other lady is thinking, “That bitch jacked my style.”

They even encourage you to apply online by “taking your bra off” and “pouring a glass of pinot,” because apparently the unemployed Sex and the City writers have been making ends meet writing bank ads. But nothing on the site, not even the transparently fake testimonials, is as insulting as the part where they expect women to pay a 13.95 percent interest rate for buying shoes and clothes.

loansforladies.co.nz
OK, except maybe this part.

#2. Samsung Thinks Women Are Completely Baffled by Technology

In an internal ad for their new SSD, Samsung shows us how three different people use their computers: a businessman in an office, a savvy gamer dude, and a woman in a kitchen wearing fashion that would be considered modest in an Amish community.

Samsung
We’re pretty sure that collar is cutting off her air supply.

The men say they use their computers for work or file-sharing, while the woman adorably adds that she only uses hers for uploading pictures of her family (and probably looking for great deals on credit loans). They are then presented with a screwdriver and told that they can replace the drive themselves, at which point the female seems completely mystified by the alien object in her hand:

Samsung
“Screw-driver? Oh, no, I’m not allowed into the front of the car.”

The story has a fairy-tale ending as the woman is somehow able to replace the drive all on her own, a fact which seems to surprise her most of all:

Samsung
“I did it! I need to go lie down now, because my thinking parts are hurting.”

She is also excited about how quickly her computer starts up now, so she doesn’t have to leave it on while she does chores. Oh, Samsung. You’re adorable.

#1. Microsoft Helps You Convince Your Woman to Let You Buy an Xbox

To accompany the launch of the Xbox One and all the insanity that came along with it, Microsoft presented the “We Got Your Back” promotional gimmick — a form letter intended for a male to give to his significant other, if he wanted her to hit him in the head with a Kinect. We start with whimsically insulting lines like, “I know, I know. You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this.”

Microsoft
“On the other hand, if she dumps you you’ll have more time for gaming. Win-win.”

Other parts of the letter mention you can “Skype with your favorite sister” and remind the recipient of how beautiful she is:

Microsoft
“When was the last time Sony called you pretty? That bastard takes you for granted.”

 

When users pointed out that this was kind of sexist to assume that only males wanted the new console while their wives knitted in disdain, Microsoft replied that you could easily change the highlighted words to make the letter address a dude — fair enough, so they wanted to insult everyone, we guess, not just women.

4 Stupid Ads That Had No Goddamn Clue How to Appeal to Women | Cracked.com.

18 Things Women Shouldn’t Have To Justify

Thought Catalog

1. Putting themselves first. When Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if it were selfish that she openly makes herself her first priority she responded: “No, no, it’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”

2. How little or much they’re eating, especially if it’s “unhealthy.” You can eat a big lunch without having to say “I haven’t eaten anything all day” or have some delicious ass nachos without saying “I totally deserve this, I was so good this week, I’ll start the diet again tomorrow.” More importantly, you shouldn’t have to always be interrogated with “that’s all you’re having?” or “you’re going to eat all that?!”

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