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 61 - 70 of 100

Page 7 of 10

fRITZ

Make up your own mind girls. Dont buy cosmo to learn how to give a BJ cause you want bobby to think you are "cool". You dont have to wear makeup- boys dont wear face paint! Turn off your CW "gossip girls" bullshit show and dont try to tease your hair like "Snooky" on Jersy shores.. Buying into the medias expections will disillusion you and could very well make you a target of opression.. not oppression in the typical sense but rather by holding you to simplified categories that people can pigeon hole you in.
Be free.
Think for yourself.
Thats how I Keep my head above water.

fRITZ

Make up your own mind girls. Dont buy cosmo to learn how to give a BJ cause you want bobby to think you are "cool". You dont have to wear makeup- boys dont wear face paint! Turn off your CW "gossip girls" bullshit show and dont try to tease your hair like "Snooky" on Jersy shores.. Buying into the medias expections will disillusion you and could very well make you a target of opression.. not oppression in the typical sense but rather by holding you to simplified categories that people can pigeon hole you in.
Be free.
Think for yourself.
Thats how I Keep my head above water.

Anonymous

While that may be the smart choice, it is not the easiest choice to make. It's all very well to tell individuals to think for themselves, but when a group of 10 year olds and a free thinking 10 year old go head-to-head, who do you think is going to win? I wish it was different, but it's really not.

Anonymous

While that may be the smart choice, it is not the easiest choice to make. It's all very well to tell individuals to think for themselves, but when a group of 10 year olds and a free thinking 10 year old go head-to-head, who do you think is going to win? I wish it was different, but it's really not.

Anonymous

To those of you that argue that females are overly pampered in today's society... Try working as an elementary school teacher and speaking to young girls (as young as 9 or 10) who are performing live threesomes in the bushes at school for popularity. Try talking to these same young girls who are going to 'lifesaver' parties where the object of the game is for each girl to wear a different shade of lipstick in order for the boys to see who has the most colored rings around his penis by the end of the party. When asked what motivated them, the response is almost always "I don't know" or "It's what the cool girls do."

Do I think that boys need attention? Yes. It is clearly obvious that they do. But, I do not believe that blame needs to be attached to an article that seeks to highlight the sexualized nature of young women as it is an issue in the development of our youth.

Perhaps a better point of discussion would be directed at developing communication across the gender divide on these issues so that it is not just an issue concerning women?

Anonymous

To those of you that argue that females are overly pampered in today's society... Try working as an elementary school teacher and speaking to young girls (as young as 9 or 10) who are performing live threesomes in the bushes at school for popularity. Try talking to these same young girls who are going to 'lifesaver' parties where the object of the game is for each girl to wear a different shade of lipstick in order for the boys to see who has the most colored rings around his penis by the end of the party. When asked what motivated them, the response is almost always "I don't know" or "It's what the cool girls do."

Do I think that boys need attention? Yes. It is clearly obvious that they do. But, I do not believe that blame needs to be attached to an article that seeks to highlight the sexualized nature of young women as it is an issue in the development of our youth.

Perhaps a better point of discussion would be directed at developing communication across the gender divide on these issues so that it is not just an issue concerning women?

Anonymous

What a stupid one-sided article.

It reminds of the time when I was in high school, sitting in health class and the topic was negative depictions of women in media. The typical examples given were Kelly Bundy, Marge Simpson, sexualized advertisements, and rap videos. We were all "taught" that these images were horrible and oppressive and that it must change.

Of course, Al and Bud Bundy, Homer and Bart Simpson, Peter Griffith and the guy playing the part in that Progressive Car Insurance commercial who was metaphorically castrated using a voodoo doll by his wife (it's OK, he was "cheating") were never mentioned. Actually, nothing at all was ever said about negative depictions of men and boys in media or advertising.

And this right here exemplifies the plight of the American woman. You can only take it seriously when you ignore every body else.

Anonymous

What a stupid one-sided article.

It reminds of the time when I was in high school, sitting in health class and the topic was negative depictions of women in media. The typical examples given were Kelly Bundy, Marge Simpson, sexualized advertisements, and rap videos. We were all "taught" that these images were horrible and oppressive and that it must change.

Of course, Al and Bud Bundy, Homer and Bart Simpson, Peter Griffith and the guy playing the part in that Progressive Car Insurance commercial who was metaphorically castrated using a voodoo doll by his wife (it's OK, he was "cheating") were never mentioned. Actually, nothing at all was ever said about negative depictions of men and boys in media or advertising.

And this right here exemplifies the plight of the American woman. You can only take it seriously when you ignore every body else.

Anonymous

Thanks, Micah! I really needed a dude to teach me to be a better feminist.

Also: the girls in that picture are wearing makeup. What are they protesting? I don't know, because that photo is the only thing on their website, but somebody cropped their bare midriffs out before posting it here. Why? Maybe the next time you look for a picture to sell rebellion, you could find something other than pretty teenage girls wearing makeup and very little clothing? Since you guys are so enlightened.

Anonymous

Thanks, Micah! I really needed a dude to teach me to be a better feminist.

Also: the girls in that picture are wearing makeup. What are they protesting? I don't know, because that photo is the only thing on their website, but somebody cropped their bare midriffs out before posting it here. Why? Maybe the next time you look for a picture to sell rebellion, you could find something other than pretty teenage girls wearing makeup and very little clothing? Since you guys are so enlightened.

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