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 51 - 60 of 100

Page 6 of 10

Anonymous

Freedom is an imbecilic word employed by people who have never had to work against the status quo. I don't own my own land, and I cannot afford to due to lack of funds. Ergo, I have to work within the construct of society and make my own money to do things that are necessary to my survival - this includes buying food, paying rent and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, in order to sustain myself in this civilization, I have to 'dress' somewhat femininely in order to 'appear' appropriate for a job and to maintain this asinine status quo simply to maintain the job so that I can pay for food and shelter. If freedom is having the choices and the ability to make the correct ones, then I am stuck in some sort of 'female-only' logical conundrum. I find that people who use the term "freedom" really have absolutely no concept of what it actually means outside of the, "Darn'd teerrorists; day hatez our freedomz" idiocy.

Anonymous

Freedom is an imbecilic word employed by people who have never had to work against the status quo. I don't own my own land, and I cannot afford to due to lack of funds. Ergo, I have to work within the construct of society and make my own money to do things that are necessary to my survival - this includes buying food, paying rent and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, in order to sustain myself in this civilization, I have to 'dress' somewhat femininely in order to 'appear' appropriate for a job and to maintain this asinine status quo simply to maintain the job so that I can pay for food and shelter. If freedom is having the choices and the ability to make the correct ones, then I am stuck in some sort of 'female-only' logical conundrum. I find that people who use the term "freedom" really have absolutely no concept of what it actually means outside of the, "Darn'd teerrorists; day hatez our freedomz" idiocy.

Matthew Ryan Simmons

Interesting to read the responses here.

I think some of the more angry ones would be valid, except that Micah starts off by saying, 'Girls, females between the age of 13 and 19, are perhaps the most oppressed group in consumer society.' 'Consumer society' being the focus here as opposed to society in general. He then goes on to say, 'there is still the debilitating psychological war waged by advertising.' and follows with his ideas of consumerism and its effect on this age group.

Someone mentioned that this female age group is the most pursued group by companies and advertisers and I believe that is what the author of this article was driving at. If read in that context, as opposed to getting hung up on 'sexually assualted' which is thrown in haphazzardly as rape, it makes sense. To pose arguments to the contrary using differing demographics, gender and age just shows that you stopped reading midway through the second paragraph.

Cheers

Matthew Ryan Simmons

Interesting to read the responses here.

I think some of the more angry ones would be valid, except that Micah starts off by saying, 'Girls, females between the age of 13 and 19, are perhaps the most oppressed group in consumer society.' 'Consumer society' being the focus here as opposed to society in general. He then goes on to say, 'there is still the debilitating psychological war waged by advertising.' and follows with his ideas of consumerism and its effect on this age group.

Someone mentioned that this female age group is the most pursued group by companies and advertisers and I believe that is what the author of this article was driving at. If read in that context, as opposed to getting hung up on 'sexually assualted' which is thrown in haphazzardly as rape, it makes sense. To pose arguments to the contrary using differing demographics, gender and age just shows that you stopped reading midway through the second paragraph.

Cheers

Anonymous

You are the "consumerism." You -- people -- create, market, hype and buy the products. There is no invisible force called "consumerism" that is oppressing people.

But I see what you're doing. You attribute the problem to some malevolent, inhuman force that apparently came here from outer space instead of assigning responsibility to people. Because then you'd have to conclude that women are responsible for their own consumerist hell. And what self-respecting feminist will ever mention responsibility and women in the same sentence?

Anonymous

You are the "consumerism." You -- people -- create, market, hype and buy the products. There is no invisible force called "consumerism" that is oppressing people.

But I see what you're doing. You attribute the problem to some malevolent, inhuman force that apparently came here from outer space instead of assigning responsibility to people. Because then you'd have to conclude that women are responsible for their own consumerist hell. And what self-respecting feminist will ever mention responsibility and women in the same sentence?

Anonymous

Congratulations on failing the concept of basic intellectual criticism - you have utterly failed in doing your own research. Girls at very young ages are developing 'eating disorders'. Girls are increasingly exposed to over sexualization of their bodies at from an early age due to rising images of sexualization of girls in culture at earlier ages - (e.g., look at clothing for young children today versus twenty years ago). You should be aware, by now, that children are very susceptible to marketing schemes and advertisements on tv, in public spaces (subways, trains, buses, billboards etc), and at home. It is excruciatingly difficult for anyone, conscious or otherwise, to avoid being exposed to these influences and of course, children are the most susceptible. It does not help that women are exceedingly reminded of the 'image' of sexuality that they are supposed to present each time they leave the house. I have tried to fight this tooth and nail, as a woman, but honestly, I wouldn't have a job right now if I wore the clothing of a man (functional, multifaceted, and does not emphasize my breasts, butt, or belly). Unfortunately, I am still susceptible to being forced out of work due to my appearance and I am certainly not alone.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20459776
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19564799

Anonymous

Congratulations on failing the concept of basic intellectual criticism - you have utterly failed in doing your own research. Girls at very young ages are developing 'eating disorders'. Girls are increasingly exposed to over sexualization of their bodies at from an early age due to rising images of sexualization of girls in culture at earlier ages - (e.g., look at clothing for young children today versus twenty years ago). You should be aware, by now, that children are very susceptible to marketing schemes and advertisements on tv, in public spaces (subways, trains, buses, billboards etc), and at home. It is excruciatingly difficult for anyone, conscious or otherwise, to avoid being exposed to these influences and of course, children are the most susceptible. It does not help that women are exceedingly reminded of the 'image' of sexuality that they are supposed to present each time they leave the house. I have tried to fight this tooth and nail, as a woman, but honestly, I wouldn't have a job right now if I wore the clothing of a man (functional, multifaceted, and does not emphasize my breasts, butt, or belly). Unfortunately, I am still susceptible to being forced out of work due to my appearance and I am certainly not alone.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20459776
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19564799

Anonymous

Again, there is no malevolent force from outer space doing these things. It's all done by people (almost entirely by feminists and other liberal types). If you cannot grasp this, you also cannot grasp that parents have the ability to influence their daughters and prevent them from turning into sluts with eating disorders.

Anonymous

Again, there is no malevolent force from outer space doing these things. It's all done by people (almost entirely by feminists and other liberal types). If you cannot grasp this, you also cannot grasp that parents have the ability to influence their daughters and prevent them from turning into sluts with eating disorders.

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