Feminists Quit Your Bitching

I’m going to start off by letting you all know that this article is my response to the ridiculous, and in places factually inaccurate or misrepresented, video recently released by The Representation Project on how women have been portrayed in the media this year. 

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Feminism is a big issue, with many facets to it, so I’d like to tackle them individually. This one is a little bit of damage control to an extent.

The video starts off with some things deemed to be positive representations of women in the media. There’s some awards, all the typical things you’d expect. I’ve got no issues here, but I think there are stronger, more mainstream examples they could have used to strengthen their point.

Then, the video cuts to the negatives. This is a far larger segment, but frankly, they lost all my support from the very first image. The first negative they roll out is a time-lapse of a model being photoshopped to look like a Barbie. I recognised this from a story I read a few weeks back. It was actually done as a demonstration of the extent to which computer manipulation is used in fashion and advertising. That’s not a negative; it’s almost an exposé, it’s basically a supporting point they could have used. But clearly they were either too lazy to fact-check properly, or they used an image incorrectly intentionally knowing it would be provocative and get their point across clearly from the go. Either way, that’s some really poor effort, and it’ll probably do more to hurt the cause than help it.

Other negatives they’ve chosen to use are Rihanna and Miley Cyrus (specifically a shot from her VMA performance). Miley and Rihanna are well known for two things. One is their provocative and outlandish behaviour. The other is their role as empowered, strong women, fighting the stereotypes and celebrating their gender. In fact Miley is Cosmo’s December cover girl, and their interview goes into how Miley believes strongly that women should be able to be who they are without prejudice. Now, I’m pretty certain that’s what feminism’s aiming for; women being able to be women without the stigma or the judgement; women breaking the stereotype and busting out of their gender roles. Miley and RiRi get it. The video makers seem to be missing a few things.

Things trail at the end and become desperately ‘clutching at straws’. There’s a whole lot of shots about people making comments about women being emotional. If you’re going to act emotional, you can’t get upset just because someone noticed it. There’s a headline in there about Hilary Clinton “Exploding with Rage”. If a man had started raging that’d have been a headline too; that’s pretty much equality, you can’t whine about something that’s not a thing and then expect people to support your cause.

A lot of their negatives involve women being objectified in adverts aimed at men. That’s not really something to complain about; men are objectified in adverts aimed to women; it goes both ways. Cosmo treats men like props in many photos and features; how is that any different? It’s not. Stop being hypocritical and find something solid to base your complaints on.

There are some legitimate things in their negatives section, but so much of it is absolute nonsense that you can’t take anything the video says seriously. I can’t support a cause that needs to resort to such ridiculous tactics to get attention. It’s one-sided, hypocritical, factually inaccurate, and downright pathetic. 

Words by Arianna Carrington