In the Blog
Here are two great pieces for some weekend reading.
Over at Alternet, Lakshmi Chaudhry tears into makeover reality TV shows. Almost every young feminist I know has a love/hate relationship to reality shows that are, more often than not, degrading, demeaning or insulting to women. We don’t agree with anything being done on Canada’s Next Top Model (especially the parts where the ultra-thin models wear a layer of saran wrap under their jeans so they can sweat off extra weight they frankly don’t have), but we tune in nonetheless, often using the excuse that we’re “doing research.” Chaudry provides an excellent reality-check: though we may think makover shows are just about giving some nice woman a total makeover so that she can feel good about herself, these shows have extremely classist elements to them and rely on the complete and utter humiliation of women.
At CBC.ca, one of my favourite Canadian columnists, Heather Mallick, stands up for feminism in a column that exposes REAL Women for what they are: professional anti-feminists (and anti-womanists, in my opinion) who want to see the end of abortion, a ban (is that even the right word?) on homosexuality, the demise of federal agencies like Status of Women and the closure of women’s shelter’s across the county, to name a few examples. Mallick takes particular issue with the group’s objection to feminist concerns (and aid) for women overseas. She raises the disturbing example of “breast ironing,” which is happening in Cameroon, West Africa. Mothers are trying to repress their daughters’ sexual attractiveness (to prevent harassment and rape) by ironing their breasts with hot stones. This is a painful and damaging procedure that is being addressed through campaigns by Cameroon’s government and other women’s groups. As Mallick writes, “Mothers are so frightened for their daughters at puberty that they pound the developing breasts with pestles, and bananas and coconut shells heated in a fire. The breasts are beaten to destroy the connective tissue, as you would tenderize a chicken breast for dinner, and they are burned. Some girls iron their own breasts so as not to be married off.” I wonder what REAL Women would say to that?