25 Disney Girls Gone Bad: Misogyny run rampant

25 Disney Girls Gone Bad rocked up in my Facebook feed. I went through the pictures assuming that it was all of former Disney actresses in their underwear.

It was.

It also included Demi Lovato twice and claimed that Ashley Tisdale is her own best friend making it fairly obvious that research and editing aren’t priorities for this particular site.

I googled Disney Boys Gone Bad to see if I would discover 8 million pics of Zac Efron in his knickers. Oddly, I found none. Instead, I found numerous articles on male Disney stars arrested for violence against women and girls, robbery, and DUI. It’s worth noting that the Disney ‘girls’ who have been arrested were not arrested for crimes of violence. And, a number of the male stars continued to work, either for Disney or in the entertainment industry, despite having criminal convictions for violence.

An article on ListServe lists Edward Furlong as a (dis)honourable mention for “cocaine addiction; arrested drunkenly trying to free lobsters from a tank”. Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears get first and second place respectively for their substance dependency and mental health worries. ListServe neglects to mention Furlong’s multiple convictions for domestic violence. Being female and ill is a reason to label a woman “Top 10 Child Stars Who’ve Gone Bad”. Domestic violence isn’t even worth mentioning.

The Mirror felt it necessary to include Lee Thompson Young in first position in their article “Disney stars’ downfall: Hit and runs, rehab and jail – the teen stars who went wild”. Thompson Young wasn’t convicted in a hit and run, nor did do a stint in rehab. He killed himself aged 29 having suffered with bipolar disorder.  The women in their list were all there for substance use; most of the men for violence.

Rather than holding male Disney stars accountable for the violence they commit, much of these “child stars gone bad” focus on shaming women for trying to survive in an industry where there only asset is classed as their ability to pass the patriarchal fuckability test. There is no recognition of the continuing failure of Disney to support its young actors throughout their career. There is little recognition that domestic violence is an actual crime. Instead, these articles all focus on shaming women and excusing men.

Even Brownies has been pornified

Small is a Brownie. I’m not overly-enthused by the commitment to the Queen twaddle in the Brownie promise but the girl-only space more than compensates for any pro-monarchy drivel. This morning, at that grand hour of 6:47, Small woke me up to discuss what my Brownie uniform looked like as a child. Being way too early, I used Safari to google images instead of the child-friendly one I normally use with her (not that the child-friendly one isn’t without problems – it doesn’t allow any images for small children so we’ve had to set the parental controls at high school so she can look at pictures of kittens).

This is what I expected to find:

Unknown Unknown 1 Unknown 2

This is what I found:

brownie 1 images 2

 imagesimages 1

Some of these are marketed as hen night outfits. It just makes me so very sad that even an outfit designed for 7-10 year old girls has been sexualised. Who finds an organisation created to help young girls grow confidence in themselves, nurture friendships and become responsible citizens sexy? At what point do people start to recognise the harms of pornography?

Because, “sexy” outfits using children’s characters is beyond creepy. It looks like child sexual exploitation – grooming children.

Don’ cha Wish Your Girlfriend: Reinforcing the Patriarchal Fuckability Test

I loathe the PussyCat Dolls’ “Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me”. Lyrically, it’s a master-class in woman-blaming culture and passing the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. This just got retweeted into my TL and I love it:

Pony Pony Tangerina‏@ColeyTangerina: DONTCHA WISH YOUR GIRLFRIEND WAS uninterested in competitive beauty standards that undermine the solidarity women need to end patriarchy.

Blondie are the same. The lyrics of some of their biggest hits are about being desperate for a man; especially a man in a relationship with another woman. There is nothing powerful or liberating about hurting another woman and the lyrics in these types of songs both encourage the myth that women need a man all the time and that the only way for women to have any value is if a man wants to fuck them. 

The Patriarchal Fuckability Test is dangerous for all women. The “you need a man to be complete” is equally dangerous. We need to stop purchasing music which encourages these myths, even if they are sung by women.

The lyrics are below: 

Don’t Cha”
(feat. Busta Rhymes)

[Busta Rhymes]
OK (ahh)
Yeah (ahh)
Oh, we about to get it just a lil hot and sweaty in this mu’fucka (oh, baby)
Ladies let’s go (uhh)
Soldiers let’s go (dolls)
Let me talk to y’all and just you know
Give you a little situation… listen (fellas)

[Buster Rhymes]
Pussycat Dolls
Ya see this shit get hot
Everytime I come through when I step up in the spot (are you ready)
Make the place sizzle like a summertime cookout
Prowl for the best chick
Yes I’m on the lookout (let’s dance)
Slow banging shorty like a belly dancer with it
Smell good, pretty skin, so gangsta with it (oh, baby)
No tricks only diamonds under my sleeve
Gimme the number
But make sure you call before you leave

[Pussycat Dolls]
I know you like me (I know you like me)
I know you do (I know you do)
That’s why whenever I come around
She’s all over you (she’s all over you)
I know you want it (I know you want it)
It’s easy to see (it’s easy to see)
And in the back of your mind
I know you should be on with me (babe)

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha?

Fight the feeling (fight the feeling)
Leave it alone (leave it alone)
‘Cause if it ain’t love
It just ain’t enough to leave my happy home (my happy home)
Let’s keep it friendly (let’s keep it friendly)
You have to play fair (you have to play fair)
See I don’t care
But I know she ain’t gonna wanna share

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha?

[Busta Rhymes]
OK, I see how it’s goin’ down (ahh, don’t cha)
Seems like shorty wanna little menage pop off or something (let’s go)
Well let me get straight to it
Every broad wan watch a nigga when I come through it
It’s the god almighty, looking all brand new
If shorty wanna jump in my ass then vanquish
Looking at me all like she really wanna do it
Tryna put it on me till my balls black an blueish
Ya wanna play wit ah playa girl then play on
Strip out the Chanel
And leave the lingerie on
Watch me and I’mma watch you at the same time
Looking at ya wan break my back
You’re the very reason why I keep a pack ah the Magnum
An wit the wagon hit chu in the back of tha magnum
For the record, don’t think it was something you did
Shorty all on me cause it’s hard to resist the kid
I got a idea that’s dope for y’all
As y’all could get so I could hit the both of y’all

[Pussycat Dolls] 
I know she loves you (I know she loves you) 
I understand (I understand) 
I’d probably be just as crazy about you 
If you were my own man 
Maybe next lifetime (maybe next lifetime) 
Possibly (possibly) 
Until then old friend 
Your secret is safe with me 

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me? 
Don’t cha? 
Don’t cha? 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me? 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me? 

So, Playboy, Definitely Art. And, other Dubious Statements

Hugh Hefner’s 21 year old second son from his second marriage is apparently lining up to take over the company. When he finishes school. Obviously. This rather creepy article in the Independent, which is attempting to pass for news, would like everyone to know that Hef Jr definitely thinks Playboy is art and not pornography. 

I’d like to believe the article’s other claim that the Playboy is only a “marginal” brand now but, let’s be honest, they aren’t making their money from the magazine. Instead, they have been capitalising on ole’ Hugh’s penchant for sexual violence in reality TV programs like The Girls Next Door. The Playboy Club TV program may have been cancelled in its first season but the Playboy clubs are coming back [and are the focus of some brilliant feminist activism]. Sales of Playboy Magazine itself are falling but Playboy brand merchandising is everywhere. For reasons I genuinely don’t get, parents are buying their children Playboy branded duvet covers and notebooks. Playboy merchandise is flaming everywhere and that’s without getting into the “sexy” Playboy dress-up clothes.

Ranting about Playboy merchandising on children aside [and I judge parents who buy 6 year olds jeans with Playboy bunnies on their arse or t-shirts which say ‘Future Porn Star’. It’s not funny or clever. It’s just creepy], Cooper Hefner’s attempts to rewrite Playboy’s past and label their magazines ‘art’ rather than porn demonstrates some serious cognitive dissonance. Or, nincompoopery. Probably both. Whatever it is, Cooper is just not the brightest of sparks when he’s comparing nude art with Playboy centerfolds insofar as he misses the whole freaking debate. Because, there is feminist debate about this and there is recognition that much of the art we admire is of questionable value morally and ethically. Hell, there’s a whole lot of recognition that some of the artists whose work we admire are nothing more than sexual predators. Pretending that Playboy is ‘art’ isn’t participating in that debate. It’s the intellectual equivalent of running about with Darth Vader helmet back to front on one’s head.

As for Cooper’s discussion on the Bunny Girls and “empowerment”, well, it’s nice he’s giving us permission to decide for ourselves but, really, when is Cooper going to participate in an activity which “empowers” him? Because, I’d really like to hear someone use that word on an activity men are required to participate in to be considered valuable.

And, honestly, how do you even unpack the following twaddle:

“There are many domestic issues in the US that bother me, such as gay rights or fighting for the legalisation of marijuana. But as we go global we need to stand for more important issues internationally. Women’s rights in the Middle East and internet censorship in China are two things we can stand for and have an influence in, especially when we’re coming into these emerging markets like India and we’re faced with the challenge of opening up Playboy clubs where the bunnies can’t even wear bunny outfits. You have these countries which are in a very similar place sexually – especially when it comes to gender roles – where the US was when my dad first started.”

“Faced with the challenge” of opening in markets where women aren’t allowed to wear Bunny outfits? I genuinely don’t what to stay except that’s a whole load of  nincompoopery which is seriously missing the point, not to mention just a teensy bit of orientalist discourse. That’s without mentioning the whole issue of women’s rights currently being destroyed in the US with access to abortion being curtailed everywhere and gang-rapes like that in Steubenville being a whole lot more common than many would like to believe. Or, that internet censorship isn’t only in China. Why is it important for women in other countries to have the right to dress in Bunny outfits when American women wearing Bunny outfits are slut-shamed? How is expanding the Playboy empire going to help women? What has the legalisation of marijuana got to do with large swathes of the planet not having basic human rights like access to clean water? 

Being raised in the Playboy mansion [and the house next door where his mother lived] can’t have been a healthy place for two young boys to grow up. I don’t think its all that surprising that Cooper’s brother Marston has a recent conviction for domestic violence. Whatever your opinion of porn, it isn’t ever appropriate for children and the two boys would have been exposed during Playboy “parties”, photo shoots and the filming of the Girls Next Door. These would not have been simply nude women. The Playboy empire is built on porn.

Christie Hefner, Cooper’s older sister, ran the company until 2009 when she stepped down. She oversaw the expansion of the empire out of the magazine industry and she put an end to some of Hugh’s more egregious behaviours, at least ones financially supported by the company. Cooper may not want to wear his father’s pyjamas but neither he nor his brother Marsten come across as well-rounded men with a respect for women and women’s sexuality. I don’t agree with many of Christie Hefner’s expansion policies, and I certainly find the show Girls Next Door deeply creepy, but I’m quite certain that Christie Hefner wanted to run a business. I’m not sure that’s what Cooper or Marston are looking for.

Victoria Secrets’ Annual Demonstration of Misogyny: This Time With a Side of Racism

Victoria Secret’s annual Fashion Show is testimony to the mainstreaming of the pornification of women’s bodies. It represents everything which is wrong in the Patriarchy rendering women not only into objects for men to wank over but commodifying their bodies with the woman given the honour of wearing a $2.5 million dollar diamond studded bra considered The Ultimate Woman. It isn’t so much a fashion show as a live action soft porn show with titillating photos of the models leaked online prior to the broadcast. I won’t link any here but the images are the same poses as found in Playboy or any other mainstream soft porn magazine. Victoria Secret’s trades on an image of respectability despite the fact that it uses the same techniques as porn to entice men. They reinforce rape culture by parading women in their underwear for male audiences. They are not selling underwear to women but the image of fuckable women to men who then by the underwear for their partners who can not be expected to look like the models who routinely go on crash diets involving only liquids in the run-up to the show so they don’t look “fat”. It normalises the Patriarchal Fuckability Test on women who have no hope of passing it.

The women-hating and exploitation of Victoria Secret’s has become so common place that I don’t even notice them anymore but this year they added racism to their bow. One of the themes of the production this year was the calendar and November was represented by a white model wearing a fairly racist signifier of “Indian”. The use of a Plains Indian Warbonnett as a signifier for all Native Americans, First Nations, Metis and Inuit people is racist because it is reductive. You can not reduce huge, disparate cultures down to one item which was worn by men who had earned the honour and pretend it isn’t anything but culturally insensitive. The cultural appropriation of such item on the objectified body of a white woman is doubly insensitive.

It really isn’t that hard to take ten minutes and think about cultural appropriation. It isn’t that hard to think about the links of a nearly naked white woman dressed in cultural signifiers of ‘Indians’ when Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other group of women in the US. The majority of the perpetrators of this sexual violence are non-Native men. Yet, the representation of white women dressed in outfits sexualising a construction of Native Americans derived from racist discourse in ‘Cowboy and Indian’ films has become a trope in our visual culture, one which has been repeated multiple time in the last couple of months. Lana Del Ray’s latest video is possibly the most offensive of the recent insurgence in cultural appropriation; interestingly she seems to have received far less backlash than No Doubt or Victoria Secrets. Whilst I don’t think No Doubt’s apology is a proper apology what with the whole we have non-white friends trope being called up, they at least seem to understand that they have caused offence. Neither Del Ray nor Victoria Secret’s appears to have understood at all. No Doubt pulled the video within days of the complaints arising. It seems unbelievably arrogant for Victoria Secrets not to take 10 minutes to rethink the outfit a week later.

And, FFS, using a cultural signifier for ‘Indian’ in the month of year where the major American holiday is a celebration of their genocide seems, I don’t know, really fucking stupid.