Feminist Friday–Going Rogue

The Transatlantic Blonde is taking a break from Feminist Friday this week, but I don’t dare lest I lose the swing of things altogether. So I’m going it alone! The benefit of that is that I don’t have to try (with variable success) to piece together an extended, coherent thought. What you’re getting today, then, is a collection of loosely affiliated blurbs–with pictures!–that I have a sneaking suspicion most people would rather read anyway. What you’re not getting, however, is anything particularly newsworthy or insightful.

1. Baby Storm Stocker
For crying out loud, people, nobody is raising any genderless baby. The parents aren’t “picking” the kid’s gender any more than any other parent has picked any other kid’s gender. The kid is going to grow up in a family and in a community where there are lots of males and females, and whatever gender the kid has already been born will eventually show itself and the kid will have a name for it, and in the meantime it’s certainly not your business what the shape of the baby’s genitals are, and if the parents aren’t telling you and you are getting mad about it, they still aren’t the ones with a problem. So there.

Get Over It

2. Gender and Legos
Isn’t this a nice ad from 1981? I saw it on the Peggy Orenstein blog.

Girl? Yes. But dressed in play clothes, and not girl clothes, and depicted with a toy that have been most definitely gendered for boys, and there’s nary a boy in sight to reassure the viewers at home that it’s OK to be a boy and like Legos. And there’s no message to girls that in order for a toy to be for them it has to be modified. You want more girls to play with Legos? Put more girls in your ads instead of putting some Legos in pink boxes with ponies and hairbrushes.

And maybe consider putting some female figures into the sets in numbers much, much greater than what you are doing now. And if you do deign to include two female figures in, say, the Medieval Market Village set, don’t make one of them a tavern wench with cleavage and hairbrush.

One step in the right direction: The Lego City Corner set has a pizza shop with a proprietress and a liquor license! There’s a glass for a bottle of red or a bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite.

3. Will the Real Rosie the Riveter Please Stand Up?
Saw this discussion over on Sociological Images either yesterday or today; there’s no way of knowing. Well, I could go into my browser history, but I won’t. It was probably yesterday, the day I spent not doing laundry or making sammiches. The blog post linked to explains the issue in detail, so I’ll just show you the pictures.

Here’s the famous image associated with the character “Rosie the Riveter.” It’s an in-house motivational poster from Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. Mostly only employees saw it. Note the eyeliner and nail polish. Don’t knock it; just note it.

But then there’s this Norman Rockwell painting that appeared on the Saturday Evening Post in 1943, that everyone saw:

I’d never seen that picture before the other day. Not once. Interesting that the actual Rosie the Riveter (shown with her name on her riveting machine and her foot on Mein Kampf and no eyeliner and no nail polish hasn’t been remembered in modern times as the image that pulled women into the workplace. But at least Real Rosie hasn’t been coopted to reinforce traditional femininity, either.

4. Preventing Sexual Assault
I saw this float around Facebook and had a wry laugh:


5. Sexposition
I am enjoying the HBO series Game of Thrones, but it is not without its iffiness. There are good discussions elsewhere of the portrayals (ie: casting choices) of the Dothraki, as well as of how women are portrayed, and they are easy to find. I’ll link you instead to a very specific discussion among a few blogs that I found out about after listening to Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee’s podcast on the subject: The Talking TV with Ryan & Ryan episode from May 30, 2011, “You Win or You Die, HBO Go, and Sexposition,” with special guests James Poniewozik and Myles McNutt.

“Sexposition” is a word coined by McNutt to describe “exposition or background information that is disguised with or surrounded by naked flesh.” Let me just tell you that I found the brothel scene with the two prostitutes with the Very Important Monologue about Littlefinger’s history was completely obnoxious and totally distracting, and the following blog posts from other people’s blogs make a great read. They all link to each other somehow, but I’ll link to them separately anyway.

Mo Ryan: “Game of Thrones” Season 1, Episode 7 Recap (May 29, 2011)
Myles McNutt: Game of Thrones–“You Win or You Die”

Somewhere along the line, a commenter links to Rainicorn’s blog, Gay Christian Geek, that addresses the portrayal of women in the series more generally.

Rather than belabor the point with a convoluted and contrived concluding paragraph that really stretches to make an overarching statement that ties the whole blog post together, I’ll just end it…


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  • R.Cohen  On June 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Great blog post, but I want to thank you especially for the Lego ad, and the sexual assault thing. Oh, and “sexposition!” That’s perfect.


  • Karen  On June 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Always glad to oblige. And isn’t that Lego girl a sweetie?

  • R.Cohen  On June 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    It’s hard to believe an ad like that existed, when you look at contemporary print & TV toy ads. They are so aggressively gendered!

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