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

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100 comments on the article “Girl Revolt”

Displaying 41 - 50 of 100

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Anonymous1

good thing i didnt use 'its hard' for an excuse, and was just hoping to add a parallax for the poster, who didnt seem to get how it could be difficult.

Anonymous1

good thing i didnt use 'its hard' for an excuse, and was just hoping to add a parallax for the poster, who didnt seem to get how it could be difficult.

Anonymous

Yes, personal choice can help. However, no matter where we go in our line of sight are advertisements. There are billboards everywhere, bigger than us, bigger than our choices. These ads are put up by corporations to promote consumerism. There are magazines in the checkout line in the grocery store with highlighted articles on celebrities sharing their weight loss secrets and how you can do it too! I get what you're saying but these things are beyond our control. When it comes to advertising there is little choice in what we see and what we don't see. I can't go walking around with my eyes closed all the time.

Anonymous

Yes, personal choice can help. However, no matter where we go in our line of sight are advertisements. There are billboards everywhere, bigger than us, bigger than our choices. These ads are put up by corporations to promote consumerism. There are magazines in the checkout line in the grocery store with highlighted articles on celebrities sharing their weight loss secrets and how you can do it too! I get what you're saying but these things are beyond our control. When it comes to advertising there is little choice in what we see and what we don't see. I can't go walking around with my eyes closed all the time.

Anonymous

You are honestly suggesting that the most catered, most pampered, most empowered group of people in the world (teenage girls) are also the most oppressed? In the words of John Stossel, "give me a break."

Next time you turn on the morning news, what missing child will they most likely be talking about?

  1. A - A white boy
  2. B - A black child: male or female
  3. C - A white girl (most likely blond)

If you guessed C, you would be correct. With the exception of a single recent case (the name escapes me), the VAST majority of cases that get the main stream media's addition are little girls. That is even though boys and girls are taken in equal numbers.

Seriously, this sounds like yet another case of the victimology of feminism run amok when men are dying, boys are falling further and further behind, and society as a whole is falling apart.

Talking about ads specifically, how many adds show boys/men as lazy idiots?

Anonymous

You are honestly suggesting that the most catered, most pampered, most empowered group of people in the world (teenage girls) are also the most oppressed? In the words of John Stossel, "give me a break."

Next time you turn on the morning news, what missing child will they most likely be talking about?

  1. A - A white boy
  2. B - A black child: male or female
  3. C - A white girl (most likely blond)

If you guessed C, you would be correct. With the exception of a single recent case (the name escapes me), the VAST majority of cases that get the main stream media's addition are little girls. That is even though boys and girls are taken in equal numbers.

Seriously, this sounds like yet another case of the victimology of feminism run amok when men are dying, boys are falling further and further behind, and society as a whole is falling apart.

Talking about ads specifically, how many adds show boys/men as lazy idiots?

Ray24

Men and women have both been historically oppressed. When suffragettes were protesting in front of the Wilson White House, young American men were being killed, or maimed, on the battlefields of Europe without the right to vote. The tragedy continued during the Vietnam War, long after women had the right to vote. Furthermore, domestic violence law is based on a flawed gender feminist paradigm that assumes men are a privileged class, when in fact they are not any more so than women. "Los Misandry" shows the reality of domestic violence that's obscured by gender feminist: ideology, power, and control. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAmOxvudpF8

Ray24

Men and women have both been historically oppressed. When suffragettes were protesting in front of the Wilson White House, young American men were being killed, or maimed, on the battlefields of Europe without the right to vote. The tragedy continued during the Vietnam War, long after women had the right to vote. Furthermore, domestic violence law is based on a flawed gender feminist paradigm that assumes men are a privileged class, when in fact they are not any more so than women. "Los Misandry" shows the reality of domestic violence that's obscured by gender feminist: ideology, power, and control. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAmOxvudpF8

NatalieSpa

*shrugs* anyone can escape oppression and bias with a solid foundation/education/work ethic, freedom is having choices and the ability to make the correct ones.

NatalieSpa

*shrugs* anyone can escape oppression and bias with a solid foundation/education/work ethic, freedom is having choices and the ability to make the correct ones.

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