1. julian says

    What’s with the safari hat?

    No really. What’s with the hat? And the binoculars. Hell, what’s with the inability to flesh out a thought without depending on million year old cliches?

  2. Ophelia Benson says


    This is what I’m saying. They’re not really religious, they’re nostalgic.

  3. says

    Dr Livingstone I presume? Complete with pith helmet and elephant gun? And black porters who drop their boxes and run into the jungle at the first sign of trouble?

    Tally-ho, chaps, and away with the fox in the lead…

  4. Robert B. says

    I didn’t laugh. I thought that first image was really pocking creepy for just that reason. The new one is less creepy, though I’m still disturbed by the apparent cover-her-mouth meme. The binoculars, while goofy looking, connote empowering things like perception or science or exploration, which weakens the de-voicing aspect of covering the mouth. That poor little girl in the first image, otoh, looks like she’s being literally smothered by housework.

  5. Ophelia Benson says

    True. The reality is the picture is one of the less repulsive ones on that site…but I couldn’t let the parallel go.

  6. Francisco Bacopa says

    Actually she’s spying on Mr Jones next door, the dirty little thing.

    And lately, also at Mrs. Jones, whom she finds equally interesting.

  7. says

    See also:

    The Rebelution (Modesty Survey Results — mouth visible but veiled) (Book cover for the novel Beautiful; this poor girl doesn’t get anything but a left eye and some forehead)

    Daily Jesus (I swear that’s the site’s name! Christian Girls Modesty – Moms For Modesty; she loses one eye, nose, most of mouth)

    These are surprisingly easy to find, for any Google image search along the lines of “raising Christian girls.”

  8. Dave says

    I agree the first image is laughably vile, but if you didn’t know that the second one was from the same source, there’s nothing in it that couldn’t be a positive message. I mean, ‘when being “girly” isn’t enough’, that’s a feminist assertion right there. One should distinguish between the denotation of the image and a connotation which is only available through context.

  9. says


    there’s nothing in it that couldn’t be a positive message. I mean, ‘when being “girly” isn’t enough’, that’s a feminist assertion right there.

    Ehm, no. The whole language is a dead giveaway. When have you last heard feminists talk about “femininity”?
    Feminists don’t look for ways to be adventurous in a feminine way, they tell you that they can be copulating adventurous and nothing in what they do, wear or say will or can make them more or less “feminin”.
    Also “when being “girly” isn’t enough” isn’t something very feminist either. Same as above: If feminists tackle “girly” it’s because of all the negative patriarchal stereotypes that are attached to it, while asserting that it’s still your fundamental right to drown in pink glitter and that this doesn’t mean that anybody is entitled to stick any of those negative stereotypes to you, like blond+pink+female=dumb*.
    So, no, without knowing the source, if I found this on a shelf labelled “feminism” I would wonder if the person who put it there knows what feminism is.

    *I acknowledge the existence of feminists who will argue against your right to drown in pink glitter, but they are a minority

  10. Dave says

    There will always be femininities, just as there will always be masculinities, at least as long as there are sexes. These are descriptive terms for the encoding of gender-roles onto the sexes. Whether those femininities and masculinities are arranged into a rigid hierarchy that emphasises difference and asserts masculine supremacy, or are recognised as fluid clusters of possibility that carry no explicit value-judgments, they will still be femininities and masculinities.

    See, for example:

  11. says

    Well, both blogposts seem to lament the minority position that argues that women should stop wearing skirts and lipstick, something I’ve written about above.
    But I still think that both of them get it wrong when it comes to femininity and being feminine.
    Because both of them assert that women who don’t adhere to the “girly” rules are not feminine.
    Thanx for getting old clichées back.
    Was I more feminine last Friday night when I wore a skirt and gave the boobies a bit of airing (and put on make-up and lipstick) than today when I’m back in jeans and T?
    And even if I agreed with them, the title wouldn’t fit because it indicats that if you’re not interested in “girly” you still have to stick to a “feminine” variety of adventure, you can’t have just “adventure”

  12. sailor1031 says

    I’m glad we didn’t get to pith helmet jokes. Personally I think she’s spying on a group of boys who are just heading out on safari after she was told that “no, you can’t go – you’re a girl. You have to stay and do the laundry”

    BTW haven’t these people heard of laundry baskets…..makes it much easier. But then maybe that’s the point – I dunno!

  13. Dave says

    And clearly, Giliell, you are fully entitled to your personal definition of what feminism means, which includes the right to think that other feminists are wrong. I’ll just take the reciprocal of that and leave things where they are.

  14. Ophelia Benson says

    Dave (@ 9) – true about connotation. Knowing who Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin are is part of that context.

  15. julian says


    Feminist or not that first piece you linked to came to close to advocating a standard for what should be appealing and what should be considered womanly for my tastes. Glam up feminism if you like but please don’t be shocked when people view you with suspicion when you’re half a skip from pushing a gender norm.

  16. julian says

    Don’t know if this is the proper place to talk about Dave’s links but..

    Ok, so men may find her sexuality as a striking quality, but that doesn’t make the woman weaker: she becomes the one in power because it is the man that desires her.

    I really don’t buy this.

    If I’m reading right, never a safe assumption, it assumes the playing field is more or less even. Men want sex and woman decides if they can get it therefore showcasing her body pushes her power into the spotlight.

    But there’s no real power. She has no control over the men her sexuality supposedly has enthralled. It’s fake empowerment. The men, in reality, have what they want (a woman showcasing her hotness) and the women still lack what they need (respect as equals) Being ‘feminine’ may make the woman feel good about herself, the way a pedicure or massage might, but that’s a far cry from leveling the playing field.

  17. Art says

    On the other hand the first depicts a girl carrying clothes, for better or worse, willing or not, serving an existing order. The second girl is momentarily done with observing and, as is often typical after making an observation, may be about to make a comment. Or to observe some more.

    A pith helmet is an effective bit of kit. Favored by adventurers in tropical environments for its light weight and the shelter from sun and rain it provides it is a sign of a person dealing effectively with the surroundings by way of forethought, planning and preparedness. The binoculars are technical means for observation from afar. They represent a substantial investment of time, effort and money to equip our observer.

    A person, a girl no less, who thinks ahead and equips herself with a pith helmet and binoculars as means to observe her environment and learn something … outrageous.

    The first image is of a girl doing simple menial labor with little or no investment of capital, planning, or training. She carries the clothes. The later has significant investments in all three. She uses technical means to prepare for an environment and to accomplish her mission within that environment. A mission of observation, that if real, unstaged, would require acuity and memory.

  18. says

    Non sequitur? Where did I redefine feminism?
    I was talking about being feminine and femininity, as were those bloggers who, IMO, pushed their own narrow definition of feminine onto other people, only asserting that it was OK if you were not feminine.
    What I want is any evidence that a pink skirt and 150$ nails make you any more feminine than jeans and a T. Feminine is what I am, not what I wear.

  19. Sally Strange, OM says

    Ok, so men may find her sexuality as a striking quality, but that doesn’t make the woman weaker: she becomes the one in power because it is the man that desires her.

    Same old tired sex is a commodity that women sell and men consume bullshit. We’ve seen it a million times before; just because it doesn’t reference any explicitly religious ideas doesn’t mean it isn’t just as hidebound, misogynist, and irrational as those religious ideas about sex.

    It’s not empowering, it’s degrading for both men and women.

  20. Dave J L says

    Ugh, even the design of the DVD title is appalling – that block capital, large-font ‘DOMINION-ORIENTED’, well thought-through to ensure the key phrase catches the eye; that phrase and a picture of a girl are in fact all that would be needed to convey the contents.

    Then there’s ‘Training’! Children are taught, guided, encouraged; training is about obedience to one narrow pre-defined path – it is what one does to pets.

  21. says

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