At a lecture I was giving in a large West Coast university in the Spring of 2008, the female students talked extensively about how much they preferred to have a completely waxed pubic area as it made them feel “clean,” “hot” and “well groomed.” As they excitedly insisted that they themselves chose to have a Brazilian wax, one student let slip that her boyfriend had complained when she decided to give up on waxing. Then there was silence. I asked the student to say more about her boyfriend’s preferences and how she felt about his criticism. As she started to speak other students joined in, only now the conversation took a very different turn. The excitement in the room gave way to a subdued discussion on how some boyfriends had even refused to have sex with non-waxed girlfriends as they “looked gross.” One student told the group how her boyfriend bought her a waxing kit for Valentine’s Day, while yet another sent out an email to his friends joking about his girlfriend’s “hairy beaver.” No, she did not break up with him, she got waxed instead.
Two weeks after the waxing discussion, I was at an East Coast Ivy League school where some female students became increasingly angry. They accused me of denying them free choice in their embracing of our hypersexualized porn culture, and being the next generation’s elite women, this idea was especially repugnant because they saw no limits or constraints on them as women. Literally two minutes later, one of the students made a joke about the “trick” that many of them employ as a way to avoid hookup sex. What is this trick? These women purposely don’t shave or wax as they are getting ready to go out that night so they will feel too embarrassed to participate in hookup sex. As she spoke, I watched as others nodded their heads in agreement. When I asked why they couldn’t just say no to sex, they informed me that once you have a few drinks in you, and are at a party or a bar, it is too hard to say no. I was speechless, not least because they had just been arguing that I had denied them agency in my discussion of porn culture, and yet they saw no contradiction in telling me that they didn’t have the agency to say no to sex. The next day I flew to Utah to give a lecture in a small college, which although not a religious college, had a good percentage of Mormons and Catholics. I told them about the lecture the previous night and asked them if they knew what the trick was. It turns out that trick is everywhere, including Utah.
I tell this story because, on many levels, it neatly captures how the porn culture is affecting young women’s lives. The reality is that women don’t need to look at porn to be profoundly affected by it because images, representations, and messages of porn are now delivered to women via pop culture. Women today are still not major consumers of hard-core porn; they are, however, whether they know it or not, internalizing porn ideology, an ideology that often masquerades as advice on how to be hot, rebellious, and cool in order to attract (and hopefully keep) a man. An excellent example is genital waxing, which first became popular in porn (not least because it makes the women look pre-pubescent) and then filtered down into women’s media such as Cosmopolitan, a magazine that regularly features stories and tips on what “grooming” methods women should adopt to attract a man. Sex and the City, that hugely successful show with an almost cult following, also used waxing as a storyline. For instance, in the movie, Miranda is chastised by Samantha for “letting herself go” by having pubic hair.
“Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think.”—Noam Chomsky (via suddenlyalive)
““If you blame Native American communities for their poverty, remember that the entire continent was stolen from them.
If you blame Black American communities for their relative poverty, remember that Black Americans were stolen from a continent, trafficked, and enslaved for nearly 300 years.
Tell me again about how your family ‘started from nothing’ when they immigrated. Didn’t they start from whiteness? Seems like a pretty good start.
The American Dream required dual genocides, but tell me again about fairness and equal opportunity. Tell me about democracy, modeled after the Iroquois Confederacy. Tell me your proud heritage, and I will show you the violence that made it so.”
— (via nativnuance)”—
via Kim Katrin Crosby
Keynote Speaker for LGBTQ History Month at Dartmouth, on September 30, 2013
Nestlé backed up that statement with this ruthless move at the World Water Forum.
Across the globe, Nestlé is pushing to privatize and control public water resources.
Nestlé’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck, has explained his philosophy with “The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.”
Since that quote has gotten widespread attention, Brabeck has backtracked, but his company has not. Around the world, Nestlé is bullying communities into giving up control of their water. It’s time we took a stand for public water sources.
Tell Nestlé that we have a right to water. Stop locking up our resources!
At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water from being declared a universal right — declaring open hunting season on our local water resources by the multinational corporations looking to control them. For Nestlé, this means billions of dollars in profits. For us, it means paying up to 2,000 percent more for drinking water because it comes from a plastic bottle.
Now, in countries around the world, Nestlé is promoting bottled water as a status symbol. As it pumps out fresh water at high volume, water tables lower and local wells become degraded. Safe water becomes a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.
In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something we pump out by billions of gallons to fuel short-term private profits. Nestlé thinks our opinion is “extreme”, but we have to make a stand for public resources. Please join us today in telling Nestlé that it’s not “extreme” to treat water like a public right.
Tell Nestlé to start treating water like a public right, not a source for private profits!
““Human behavior has often been explained in terms of unidirectional causation, in which behavior is depicted as either being shaped and controlled by environmental influences or drives by internal dispositions” (Bandura 1999:23). Bandura is referring to the unique ability that humans have to absorb and mimic their environment. Individuals create a personalized reality that is reflective of what they observe and identify as meaningful in their environment, and then they act based on those observations. Therefore, if women are observing images thrust at them through mass communication as a guideline of how to act, they will begin to act in that manner because it mirrors their environment. If men are constantly viewing women as objects that must be possessed, or prizes to be won, they will begin treating them as so.”—
“The world of media imagery and the politics of meaning are deeply and inextricably connected to and part of the wider political economy. It was through the intersections of popular and political culture that feminism was undone and, hey presto, was instead replaced by a prevailing, even triumphant, discourse of female individualism (informed by a veneer of feminist principles and buzz words such as choice, female empowerment and A1 girls etc) which could then quite easily be set to work as part of an emerging new neo-liberal agenda, this time directly addressed to, indeed customised for, young women.”—