[Originally published on VENUSfems at: http://www.venusfems.com/#!THE-GIRLS-ROOM-15-Shitty-Things-that-Need-to-Stay-in-2015/c663/56a21f0a0cf2009838b70cc7 ]
CW: Discussion of sexism, racism, transphobia, ableism, and Germaine Greer.
2015 has a lot to answer for…
1. Meninists and MRAs
I know this is a broad category, but the men and boy’s liberation movement did enough last year to fill up a whole list of its own. But I’m not about to let them take up that much space, so let’s get them out of the way early. From equating feminism with terrorism (#FemISIS – so catchy) to actually standing in the UK General Election, MRAs have had a busy 2015.
All is not lost for those seeking “gender equality” through meninism – simply googling and reading any article about feminism would be a really solid start. Meninism is a movement that needs to stay in the past tense, please.
2. ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’
“I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out”
It may be a very seasonal gripe, but seriously this song needs to stop being everywhere all through the winter. It’s the original, more explicitly creepy Blurred Lines. She says “no” so often, and he spikes her drink and threatens her with causing him “undying sorrow” and/or dying out in the cold if she doesn’t stay with him all night. It really should’ve been left back in the 1940s, to be honest.
3. Bikini Bodies
It’s damn right that the only thing you have to do to have a beach body is take your body to the beach. The only thing you have to do to have a bikini body is put a bikini on your body. No protein powders or photoshopping required. The idea that women have to look a certain way in order to have the privilege of accessing and enjoying parts of the world is so, so toxic – and so, very unwelcome in my new year.
4. Pick Up Artists
Men who literally, explicitly, unashamedly, and publicly treat women as sexual objects are the worst kind of human. These people get their sexual kick out of exploiting their privileged position in society – using “tactics” like negging, or push-and-pull to coerce women into sleeping with them. They’re awful. They need to end, and learning what consent means is a great new year’s resolution.
5. School Dress Codes
Hey, educators! I may be radical, but I think girls deserve an education. Yes, even if they’ve got boobs.
It’s incredibly hurtful to restrict girls’ access to education full stop; but when this is done in the name of men’s inability to stop sexualising them it gets even worse. In 2015, a lot of “dress code violations” made the news, mainly for their ridiculous over-protection of male sensibilities at the cost of embarrassing and ostracising girls; but also because of the awesome people standing up to it (who definitely need to stay in 2015).
6. Donald Trump
(NB: Sarah Levey drew this using her own menstrual blood, which is fantastic, hands down).
Donald Trump is so problematic I don’t even know where to start. I could trawl through the internet to find examples of him insulting everyone from women, to disabled people, to Muslims, to black and brown people in general (the list goes on) – but I don’t think my mental health could take it.
7. That’s So Crazy
Remember when people thought saying “that’s sooo gay! :)” was okay. But, obviously it’s homophobic. Well, using “crazy” the same pejorative way is hella ableistic, so let’s all stop.
8. Cultural Appropriation
This was really prevalent in 2015. With Miley Cyrus’ locks (and in general) at the VMAs; a lot of Kyle Jenner’s Instagram; and whatever the hell was going on with Rachel Dolezal – cultural appropriation was happening a lot. To be clear, it’s never cool for a privileged person, or group, to steal the culture, history, or mythology of the oppressed.
9. Just Look at All the Places Abortion is Still Restricted
Let’s just take a second to think about all the people who were denied access to basic, often lifesaving, medical procedures in 2015 because in the eyes of the law, they were less human than a foetus.
10. Take Her Swimming on the First Date
This is another one of those little memes that crawled out of the same group of boys who keep going on about the “friendzone” and how “nice guys finish last”. This time they’re railing against women who “trick” them because they’re wearing “too much” makeup. So take the girl swimming and you’ll get to see how she looks without makeup.
Sigh. Where to start? First off, this is obviously a load of cis-het boys complaining because waterproof makeup exists and is great. Secondly, these “nice guys” are evaluating women based purely on their looks. And third, it’s part of the horrible shaming culture that exists around women’s presentation in public spaces and ideas of what women “should” look like.
We could do without all these things in 2016.
To be honest, I don’t think I can say it any better than the woman right up there. Preach.
12. Germaine Greer
Greer’s transphobia isn’t news, but in 2015 trans rights were in the news a lot, and unfortunately this brings TERFs out of the woodwork too. Her ideas of trans identities are prehistoric, and rooted in the problematic idea that womanhood is somehow rooted in having a vagina. Let’s all resolve to not tell her about the New Year.
13. That Stonewall Movie
Trans women of colour have enough to deal with already, and the erasure of their part an important chapter in liberation history by a cis white man in a blockbuster movie, no less, adds insult to a long list of injury. Hollywood (and mainstream media on a whole) has such a long history of whitewashing stories, shoehorning male protagonists into plots, and downplaying or caricaturing the parts oppressed people play in order to make them “sell”.
Imho, anyone who doesn’t want to see a movie because there’s not enough white male characters needs to go ahead and leave themselves in 2015. (Or, preferably, 1915)
14. 50 Shades of Grey
So, maybe the 50 Shades phenomenon encouraged loads of people to try out new things in the bedroom/kitchen/office/dungeon; and gone some way towards removing the culture of taboo around BDSM relationships. But at what cost?
Twisting an abusive relationship into the mould of erotic fiction, without addressing the abuse directly does a real disservice to the BDSM community, while also just being a really shitty way to romanticise and rehash the notion of silly women needing an overbearing, controlling, and emotionally manipulative partner.
Nope. This is the Campaign for Putting Leaflets About BDSM Resources and Crisis Centres in Copies of 50SOG.
15. Man Buns
I don’t have anything against anyone’s hairdo ever. It’s the name: “man bun”. 2015’s answer to guyliner, man bag, man cave, man chair (etc etc). There’s literally no reason to prefix a noun with “man” just because a man is using it. They’re not that special.