Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Women Shaming Women

A friend of mine forwarded me a post from a blog called "Grit & Glamour" about fashion bloggers posting revealing photos. The post is really, really disgusting. This woman felt the need to write an entire article about how fashion bloggers should cover up their bodies instead of publishing nude or semi-nude photos. Her reasoning is pretty ludicrous, stuff like, not wanting to invite harassment or worrying about the future when there are compromising photos out there on the internet. It's a pretty ridiculous post, but more than that, it's a sad post.

This woman spends her entire post shaming other women for choosing to bare their own bodies in their own internet space. She's not talking about women somehow intruding on someone else, unwanted, with all their nudity. She's talking about personal blogs where women are free to do what they want, and just how awful it is that they'd want to be nude or semi-nude. She mentions that this sort of content makes her want to stop reading, and that's where she should've left it. Because look, reading blogs isn't something anyone has to do, and if you're unhappy with someone's content, then stop reading. There are internet forums pretty much dedicated to hate-reading, a practice of reading a blog that you hate, just so they can sit around an internet forum and talk a bunch of shit. Clearly, there's a place for shaming women bloggers, and yet another public post is unnecessary.

But even worse is how anti-woman and anti-feminist this blogger is. I have to wonder if she gets it. She says things like, "only a strategically placed item to protect their modesty". But when did she become the boss of our modesty and why should we have to cover it up? She goes on to say, "It’s too transparent, too much information, and frankly, irrelevant." Because it's ok for a woman to write soul-baring words, but it is not ok for a woman to decide to show off her body in a manner she chooses. And then this blogger gets even worse, siting reasons for not doing this, such as "I don’t want to put anything online that could potentially invite harassment or stalking." Because obviously, we women should not behave in a manner that invites harassment, stalking, or even rape, right? (Yes, I said rape, because her language is exactly the kind of language that is used to defend rapists and shame women.) Another reason we shouldn't post nude photos online, according to this blogger, "meet the guy of your dreams who is in politics/have to explain them to your male co-workers or manager/have a child and suddenly don't feel comfortable with those images out there/fill in the blank". That's actually several reasons, all of which are tied up in the patriarchal ideas that women exist only to find a man or have children and that we should be worried about the male attention in our lives.

I mean, honestly, the post is just kind of ridiculous, but also super disheartening. It's sad to me that a woman would feel the need to publicly shame other women. It's even sadder that she would post such patriarchal rhetoric in defense of her viewpoint. So, I left her a comment. You can't see the comment, because she deleted it. Then she blocked my IP address from viewing her blog (which is silly, because I can surf the web anonymously any time I want). So she goes from writing a really judgy post to engaging in arguably unethical behavior but definitely cowardly behavior, attempting to block me from her site altogether. Anyway, here's the comment I left on her post:

"You know what is the most disgusting part of this post? They way you end with, "I’m not passing judgment," when this entire post is riddled with judgment. If you have a problem with the content of blogs and you're "probably not going to be dropping by much" because of that content, then don't fucking drop by. And don't get all sanctimonious on your blog about how being covered is so much better than being naked. Heaven for-fucking-bid any girl out there wants to love and accept her body and display it in a manner she chooses in her own space. I mean, obviously the true answer to feminism is to get all 19th century and make sure everything from our neck to our ankles is completely covered. Because it is so clearly impossible for any woman to be serious, be a feminist, and also be comfortable showing her body. Especially when we have our futures to worry about with those men we might want to marry and how our lives might affect their jobs. *gasp* WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO?

Obviously, according to this super judgy post, we should cover the fuck up and make sure we don't offend your little eyes with our flagrant disregard for propriety.

Of course, the other option is for you to stop following blogs that don't interest you and not use your public space to shame those women who choose to show their body in their own spaces."

I stand by that. According to this writer, we women should cover ourselves up. The only solution is that we be covered. It is unacceptable for women to post nude or semi-nude photos because we are not protecting our modesty or we might have to deal with repercussions from the men in our lives. Right. Whatever.

Aside from the fact that I do think this post was seriously misguided and disgustingly judgmental, there were a few other words at the end that made me seriously concerned for the writer. She said, "But I’m just one person, and I probably don’t matter." I think this is the saddest part of the whole post. She starts with her judgment, she felt compelled to publicly shame bloggers who post nude or semi-nude photos of themselves, she uses attentions from men and interactions with men as reasons not to post these photos, but then she completely dismisses herself and her opinions. Now, maybe she did that as a way out of having any serious conversation about the post. It's easy to choose not to engage in actual conversation when you don't even have to defend your opinions since you invalidated them. Maybe she wrote that because she really believes she doesn't matter...which makes little sense, since she maintains a popular blog. I fear she felt the need to disregard everything she wrote because she's culturally conditioned to believe that, as a woman, she is less important and her opinions don't matter. Based on the content of the post, the latter seems like the most viable option to me...which is also the worst option. Women are constantly told that they are less than and constantly belittled for any number of reasons and here she is doing it to herself. It's kind of the epitome of our patriarchal society and I wish I could change her mind. But since she deleted my comment and blocked my IP address, I think it's pretty clear that she's not interested in changing her mind, which is why I won't waste any time reading any more of her blog.

2 comments:

  1. I love posts like this. And that one of your tags is "ugh." :) It's hard to read things like that problematic blog post from women because I feel like we all need to stick together and support each other (unless a woman is an asshole, of course). But part of the patriarchy is pitting women against one another, and some women's misogyny is so internalized they will never be free from it. It's sad for them and for any females they may influence, which it sounds like this blogger has a decent amount of influence. It's unfortunate and infuriating. All we can do is share our opinions and share some feminist truth with the world through our words. Go you for calling this chick out! It's super annoying when people post controversial shit and then won't have a dialogue. What was she even trying to accomplish if she didn't want to start a conversation? Plus, her blocking you is downright cowardly. She knows she said shitty things. She just doesn't want to be openly called out. SUPER LAME!

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  2. "some women's misogyny is so internalized they will never be free from it"

    ---> I feel like you put it the way I was trying to. I don't even thinks she understands the depth of her misogyny or that she's misogynists. She just doesn't get that shaming other women for their own choices and trying to set a standard of modesty is misogyny. But it is.

    "It's super annoying when people post controversial shit and then won't have a dialogue."

    ----> Also, I agree with this a lot. Why post something controversial when all you want is for people to agree with you? She also refused to reply to my friend's comment, even though she replied to everyone else. It's bullshit.

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