Blackspot

Girl Revolt

For our parents, liberation started with burning bras. What will it be for you?

In November, culture jammers everywhere will rupture consumer society. In seven nights of carnivalesque rebellion, teachers will join with punks, churchgoers with pranksters, and homeowners with hobos to shake the foundations of the global consumerist tyranny. But there is one group in particular that has the potential to spark widespread revolt.

Girls, females between the age of 13 and 19, are perhaps the most oppressed group in consumer society. As a previous generation of feminists made clear, Western culture is marked by widespread violence against women. And despite the media blackout, which continues to this day, most people know at least one female who has either developed an eating disorder or been sexually assaulted. I'll never forget my first-year orientation at Swarthmore: We were warned that nationwide the first six weeks of university are considered a "red zone" because rape is dangerously common.

The feminist critique is still valid but it must also go deeper. Even for girls who are spared the terrors of anorexia or rape, there is still the debilitating psychological war waged by advertising.

Consumerism is the new patriarchy. The beauty industry is the beast. Advertising constrains the horizon of female aspirations, gendering their dreams before they're hatched. Girls, even when they are still a fetus in the womb, are the target of an unrelenting image assault. Pretty little girls is what this society wants and it gets it through a flood of erotically charged marketing that propagandizes half the population, and their parents, to sexualize femininity at an early age. Of course, boys get the message too. But their assigned role is as the aggressor party. Girls, on the other hand, are told that weak and vulnerable is sexy.

But all this gives girls a tremendous power. Even the smallest tremors of rebellion can start an earthquake. Beginning now, and peaking in November, girls will revolt. Break the chains of advertising, overthrow the patriarchy of consumerism, blockade the libidinal economy. A week without makeup, stink bombs instead of perfume, public burnings of Cosmopolitan… any of these could be enough to start a chain reaction against consumer capitalism.

For our parents, liberation started with burning bras. What will it be for you?


Micah White is a contributing editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He lives in Berkeley and is writing a book about the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

100 comments on the article “Girl Revolt”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 100

Page 2 of 10

Anonymous

All very true but. Women are quickly starting to earn more than men and become more economically dominant. Its ok if you admit that positive things are also happening in the world. Plus while date rape is a problem. You make it sound like girls should avoid the rapists lurking around every corner on college campuses. Pleases, spare me.

Anonymous

All very true but. Women are quickly starting to earn more than men and become more economically dominant. Its ok if you admit that positive things are also happening in the world. Plus while date rape is a problem. You make it sound like girls should avoid the rapists lurking around every corner on college campuses. Pleases, spare me.

pansy

its a v serious issue but for christs sake stop peddling such pathetic sensationalist bloggings micah.
wheres yr research?
micahs best facts:
1.most people know at least one female who has either developed an eating disorder or been sexually assaulted. (i dont)
2.Girls, even when they are still a fetus in the womb, are the target of an unrelenting image assault (cellular marketing?)
micahs answer:
A week without makeup, public burnings of Cosmopolitan. (thatll teach em! yeh high 5! so anyway did u see glee last night omg!)

nice choice of picture too to emphasise whatever it was your were attempting to spell out, though you could have cropped off the one on the left.

pansy

its a v serious issue but for christs sake stop peddling such pathetic sensationalist bloggings micah.
wheres yr research?
micahs best facts:
1.most people know at least one female who has either developed an eating disorder or been sexually assaulted. (i dont)
2.Girls, even when they are still a fetus in the womb, are the target of an unrelenting image assault (cellular marketing?)
micahs answer:
A week without makeup, public burnings of Cosmopolitan. (thatll teach em! yeh high 5! so anyway did u see glee last night omg!)

nice choice of picture too to emphasise whatever it was your were attempting to spell out, though you could have cropped off the one on the left.

El Guapo

Right on. This is the first comment that hasn't made me want to scream.

I've said many times that I would read Adbusters more often if they printed well-written articles that contained actual research. Sadly, this article is a prime example of what I mean when I say this.

El Guapo

Right on. This is the first comment that hasn't made me want to scream.

I've said many times that I would read Adbusters more often if they printed well-written articles that contained actual research. Sadly, this article is a prime example of what I mean when I say this.

Anonymous

hey consumerism isnt 'the new patriarchy,' the old patriarchy never left and theyre still assholes. yeah its definitely a symptom/tool for perpetuating these regressive ideas about women but its a pretty bougie concern. the mean wage for a black women living in the united states is five whole dollars and its probably not got as much to do with cosmo as it does with racism and class opression.

also the 'bra burning' thing never really happened, maybe once or twice but certainly not on such a large scale as everyone seems to think.

re: harry p ness, while 'aggression' can have positive outcomes(confidence and leadership or whatever) for men to be thrust into this role usually leads to emotional trauma later on in life. patriarchy hurts men too mostly thru this idea that they have to be aggressive and dominant, its just because they have positions of privilege over females they just dont really care as much about it.

Anonymous

hey consumerism isnt 'the new patriarchy,' the old patriarchy never left and theyre still assholes. yeah its definitely a symptom/tool for perpetuating these regressive ideas about women but its a pretty bougie concern. the mean wage for a black women living in the united states is five whole dollars and its probably not got as much to do with cosmo as it does with racism and class opression.

also the 'bra burning' thing never really happened, maybe once or twice but certainly not on such a large scale as everyone seems to think.

re: harry p ness, while 'aggression' can have positive outcomes(confidence and leadership or whatever) for men to be thrust into this role usually leads to emotional trauma later on in life. patriarchy hurts men too mostly thru this idea that they have to be aggressive and dominant, its just because they have positions of privilege over females they just dont really care as much about it.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.