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Three Cheers for Aerie

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By Kara Chyung

Aerie, the lingerie and apparel branch of American Eagle, has recently announced their “Aerie Real” campaign, promising no retouching and “no supermodels.”

Their recent ads, which echo Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and Seventeen’s Body Peace petition, claim that it’s time to be real, because “The real you is sexy.”

Aerie models are saying that while it’s nice to have Photoshop to hide minor imperfections, the Aerie campaign showed them that they really don’t need the retouching.

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Some people wonder whether this campaign is necessary, questioning how much girls are actually influenced by the images in ads. But I’m glad that more and more brands seek to make girls feel good about themselves by breaking down the image of an idealistic body. In a country where so many young girls suffer from eating disorders, it’s about time companies are publicly addressing the body image issue. Hopefully Aerie’s decision to eliminate Photoshop will help to create change in the rest of the industry.

STEM Jokes

Author:

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By Erika Davidoff

After studying together for our upcoming physics final, my group of engineering-student friends decided to take a break and peruse a collection of engineering memes. Though some of them were clever, and many of them simply rehashed the standard “lol engineering is hard” trope, I was dismayed that so many of them joked about the fact that engineering is a male-heavy field. There was nothing disparaging to women in particular, thankfully, but there were a lot of “where are all the women?” and “no girls allowed” posts. The four guys in my group found this commentary fairly hilarious. The three girls giggled awkwardly. Ha ha, guys. We’re right here.

Many universities, including mine, are trying to attract more STEM-oriented girls, and seek to have roughly gender-balanced entering classes. This is a problem, then, that many people are paying attention to and many people are trying to fix. So why are we still joking about it? It would be like joking about sexual assault—oh wait, that happened during our study hall, too, when one guy told another about his chances on the final, “You’re not just f*cked. You’re raped.” Cue more nervous laughter.

I wish I would have spoken up then and told him that wasn’t okay, but I didn’t, and I regret that. As long as jokes like these persist, it’ll be hard to convince people that problems like sexual assault and a gender imbalance in STEM fields are worthy of serious attention. These issues are no joke, and I hope I’ll be able to convince my friends of that.

Videos about Feminism to Get You Thinking (or Angry!)

Author:

By Kara Chyung

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Normally I seek out the news, other feminist blogs, or my own life when looking for new blog topics, but this time I tried a slightly different route: I went to YouTube, typed in “feminism” and hit “Enter”.  Let’s just say I was pretty surprised by what came up.

Below I’ve listed some of the highlights of my little exploration. If you’re ever in need of something to watch, search “feminism” on YouTube sometime and go wherever the mouse leads you. But be warned: it’s a jungle out there, especially in the comments sections.. .

1. Reinventing feminism – Courtney Martin – TED

Courtney Martin shares her story about growing up with feminism and why she eventually decided to call herself a feminist, giving insight into how feminism is changing since thirty years ago.

2. Myths About Feminism – marinashutup

This satirical, sarcastic video “debunks” popular stereotypes of feminism. Kind of a comic relief after watching videos filled with yelling and mocking of the movement.

3. Girls That Piss Me Off – JennaMarbles

Popular YouTube vlogger Jenna Marbles rants about double standards and gender roles in relationships. Her message: you can’t be a feminist while waiting around for Prince Charming to come and take care of you. Makes you wonder why it’s the guy who is expected to hold the door for a girl.

4.*33 Reasons Not to Be a Feminist (A Refutation)/Failure of Feminism (TRIGGER WARNING) – AmazingAtheist

You might be appalled by the title of this video, but I clicked on it because I was interested in getting a different perspective. The Amazing Atheist addresses many issues that feminists often cite as reasons to be feminists. Despite some angry yelling (and a lot of cursing), he makes some pretty good arguments. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says (like how feminism is useless because it can’t bring about actual change), but I think it’s important to know the other side’s opinion. If you like this video, check out his other video called Failure of Feminism, which brings up a lot of good points about gender inequality with regards to men.

“Ain’t I a Woman?”

Author:

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By Christiana Paradis

Meet Fallon Fox: the only transgender professional MMA fighter. Standing at five feet six inches, and 37 years old, Fox has many obstacles in front of her, especially as an MMA fighter. Though 2013 has presented society and the media with several athletes who have come out as LGBT – including professional basketball player, Jason Collins – it is difficult to compare these to Fox. Most athletes were welcomed into the LGBT community and after a couple weeks of headlines all of the buzz died down.

Fox has fought her way to the top because it is what she loves to do; however fans of the sport do not always reciprocate. Internet trolls frequently comment how “manly” Fox looks on promotional pictures and it is not uncommon for Fox to hear comments like “Kick her in the nuts” during matches. Furthermore, commentators were playing songs such as “Dude Looks Like a Lady” before Fox would enter the ring – but this isn’t bullying… bullying is just for kids, right?

Fox fights every day for herself, for her health, but also for respect. She states:

MMA is the most dangerous sport there is for a transgender, with all the body contact, I know that, but it just turned out that I was good at it, you know? You pursue what you’re good at…. I realize that it’s kind of amazing that I hit girls. You’re brought up not to hit girls, that it’s the worst sin, and that’s what I do. But you know, gender is the last thing I think about when I’m fighting. It’s the one situation where I don’t think of gender at all.”

If gender is the last thing Fox is thinking about before she goes into a ring, then why is it the audience’s first? People are paying to watch women get in a cage and fight and that is what Fox does. She delivers what is asked of her, so why do commentators and audiences think they have the right to define her? As GQ states in their article, “Fallon Fox: The Toughest Woman in Sports” Fox is up against multiple oppressions specifically “When you are a transgender athlete, a lesbian transgender athlete, a lesbian transgender athlete who fights women in a cage, a lesbian transgender athlete who fights women in a cage and fathered a daughter, a lesbian transgender athlete who fights women in a cage and fathered a daughter and served as a man in the Navy.”

While I commend GQ for running a story that portrayed Fox honestly and favourably, I have an issue.

  • Why GQ?
  • Why a magazine that markets itself to men?
  • Maybe because it’s an article about MMA, which typically is marketed towards men… but then why wasn’t this article included in the “Women” section that GQ purposely excludes all female related articles to?
  • Also… if all of the other articles about females that GQ writes looks like this:

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…then what are they subliminally saying about Fox? They’ve portrayed and treated Fox as they feature men and not as they portray women in their magazine. Thus, despite writing an honest piece about Fox’s struggles as a transgender female in MMA they’re still featuring her as a man in their magazine.

Thankfully, Fox is too determined and focused to be bothered with such petty nuances, “I just try not to think about all of the obstacles all at once. I tell myself, you know how to win. Sometimes you get beat up, but you’ve always won.”

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