Brendan wants his women brainy, radical and beach-ready


Brendan is coat-trailing again. I’m taking the bait again. I’m too literal-minded not to.

Feminism, sadly, becomes more like Islamism every day.

Uh huh, and as Nate Phelps once told me, I’m like Fred Phelps.

What’s his argument? Islamists are puritanical about women’s bodies, and so are feminists.

Here’s a tip for political activists: if your rabble-rousing echoes the behaviour and ideas of Islamists, then you’re doing something wrong. Consider the Protein World advert which — clutch my pearls! — features a photo of a beautiful, svelte woman in a bikini next to the question: ‘Are you beach body ready?’ Angry women, and probably some men, have been writing outraged slogans on these posters, scribbling on the poor model’s face and body, seemingly blissfully unaware that they’re following in the footsteps of intolerant Islamic agitators.

Or, you know, not unaware at all, but thinking that since their reasons are different, they’re not actually following in those footsteps. Islamists eat and sleep and excrete; so do feminists; news at eleven.

Feminism, sadly, becomes more like Islamism every day. Alongside the ad-defacing antics, there’s also the campaign to put saucy tabloids and lads’ mags in black bags, echoing an ugly sight I beheld in Dubai once: Western magazines whose covers had been defaced with black gaffer tape by religious censors determined to hide women’s cleavage from the masses. And there was the war against Page 3 (RIP): a boob-hiding project that Muslim Patrol would be proud of. Too much modern feminism depicts women as fragile, as unable to cope with rude pictures or rough words, as requiring protection from the banter and imagery of everyday life. In the words of the anti-Page 3 campaign, such stuff can have a ‘negative impact’ on women’s ‘self-esteem’. It’s so alarmingly patronising, and it really does bring to mind the cloying over-protectionism of Islamists, who likewise see women as dainty, easily damaged, in need of constant chaperoning when they venture into the jungle of public life.

Can’t we try to resuscitate the spirit of the old sexually liberated feminism, when the likes of Germaine Greer didn’t want to ban photos of bikinis but instead posed for them? Look at Germaine: brainy, radical and beach-ready.

Can’t women go on being consumer goods for smug men like Brendan?

 

Comments

  1. EigenSprocketUK says

    I like how Brendan O’Neil has taught me not to listen or think: these things are not necessary. Just go with but instinct.
    As a direct result he lost me at “Here’s a tip for…” and I didn’t need to read him any further. He’s really beginning to sound just like a Diploma -level arse.

  2. EigenSprocketUK says

    Gut instinct, not but instinct. Maybe my auto correct should have swapped it for butt instinct.

  3. quixote says

    (“butt instinct” was what I assumed you’d intended 😀 )

    Shorter Brendan: I can only see women as bodies. I like uncovered women’s bodies. (Because I’m a stud! Really! Honest! Of course I am!)

  4. karmacat says

    Actually, Brendan is more like the Islamists. They both objectify women’s bodies. He also doesn’t seem to realize that criticism of the ads is not about nakedness. It is implying that women can’t go to the beach in a bikini until they look the model whose picture is, of course, photoshopped. I do like the women who posed in front of the ad in bikinis and made the point they are ready to go to the beach.

  5. DaveJL says

    Can someone really have such a superficial understanding of the reasoning of others? A tip for you, Brendan: it’s not actually about boobs, it’s about ownership. Islamists think they own women’s bodies, and they cover them up and blame women for inflaming the lust of men; the creatives behind ads like these think they own women’s bodies, and use them as tools to get the attention of men and make women feel unhappy if their bodies don’t conform to the correct shape in order to get the attention of men.

    Page 3 models are there not as women but as pairs of boobs on display for the gratification of men; Germaine Greer choosing to pose made the point that actually boobs are attached to bodies are attached to minds, and it’s up to her how she displays her body, because she actually owns it. It’s not about squeamishness over nudity at all, it’s about dispelling the idea that nudity is inseparable from sex, and that the most important things to think about when considering women’s bodies are firstly their significance to men and secondly if they fit wider cultural ideals of size and shape, rather than what women think of themselves.


    Too much modern feminism depicts women as fragile, as unable to cope with rude pictures or rough words, as requiring protection from the banter and imagery of everyday life.


    Such a glossing-over of relevant detail in that last bit, as though that ‘banter and imagery’ is just asexual rough and tumble that, hey, adults should just grow up and get used to, rather than the vast majority of it being focused on preconceptions about what women should and shouldn’t be, how they should and shouldn’t dress, what roles they should and shouldn’t play in society.

  6. Lady Mondegreen says

    the spirit of the old sexually liberated feminism

    Of course, the “old” feminism was also, at the time, accused of puritanism.

    It’s so alarmingly patronising, and it really does bring to mind the cloying over-protectionism of Islamists, who likewise see women as dainty, easily damaged, in need of constant chaperoning when they venture into the jungle of public life.

    Dude, no. What feminists want is an end to body-policing and constant sexual objectification. Those things are harmful, not because women are “easily damaged,” but because they’re all around us promoting the message that we’re objects. That message, being near-ubiquitous, is bound to seep into consciousness–especially the consciousness of girls and adolescents. We don’t like that.

    And body policing and constant sexual objectification are even worse in Islamist societies.

    As for “in need of constant chaperoning”–what is that I don’t even.

  7. says

    A tip for you, Brendan: it’s not actually about boobs, it’s about ownership. Islamists think they own women’s bodies.

    But don’t you see? That’s the point! Islamists want to hoard the womenbodies, and Brendan wants to end all that oppression, making womenbodies freely available to anyone who wants them!

  8. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Right. So if feminists are like islamists, what is Free the Nipple? Anti-feminism?

  9. Blondin says

    Not to derail, but “… as Nate Phelps once told me, I’m like Fred Phelps.” Seriously? What was the context of that?

  10. Sili says

    scribbling on the poor model’s face and body,

    ORLY?

    If that were true, I would indeed condemn the defacers.

    But I’ve only seen posters graffitied so far.

    Interesting how easy he finds it to conflate women with images.

  11. johnthedrunkard says

    Note how simply incoherent the sentence is:
    ‘Are you beach body ready?’
    WTF? shouldn’t that be ‘ is your body beach ready?’
    Even that makes almost no sense. Is ‘beach’ a verb, or is ‘beach body’ some sport that requires training?

  12. Dave Ricks says

    As Sili #10 noted, some protesters scribbled objections on the poster image, versus O’Neill wrote that protesters scribbled on the poor model’s face and body. The distinction should be obvious — Taco Bell’s 1990s talking chihuahua ad campaign was created by advertisers, not by the talking dog. It’s like O’Neill thinks protesters were mad at the talking dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *