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 1 - 10 of 100

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Tom in NH

I do agree with this posting. But, it would have been a better and more meaningful posting if it were written by a woman about this serious issue of women being oppressed by the marketing world, and societal views of what a woman should be as a consumer and consumed.

Tom in NH

I do agree with this posting. But, it would have been a better and more meaningful posting if it were written by a woman about this serious issue of women being oppressed by the marketing world, and societal views of what a woman should be as a consumer and consumed.

Anonymous

toms right. only women should be vocal on this issue, as maintaining the divide is essential to mending it. what?

i love you tom, but it shouldnt matter. this is a human problem and were in it together. right? who the author is really means nothing. isnt that so?

Anonymous

toms right. only women should be vocal on this issue, as maintaining the divide is essential to mending it. what?

i love you tom, but it shouldnt matter. this is a human problem and were in it together. right? who the author is really means nothing. isnt that so?

Anonymous

by insisting only women speak about women you inadvertently reproduce and reinforce the very gender divides and its consequences we resist. To suggest men cannot or should not speak about the condition of women in our midst is to outrageously limit both men and women's possibilities.

Anonymous

by insisting only women speak about women you inadvertently reproduce and reinforce the very gender divides and its consequences we resist. To suggest men cannot or should not speak about the condition of women in our midst is to outrageously limit both men and women's possibilities.

Harry P. Ness

I think that a lot of what this post is saying does apply to both male and female, but we shouldn't deny that women have been treated like the 'weaker' sex for ages throughout history.

As a human, I believe that no one should be disrespected for wanting to act like 'the opposite' of assumed gender roles. Just the fact that any assumed role is assigned to any type of person sickens me and I see people caving under the pressure of assumed roles and labels every day.

In the article I think it's pointing out how the dominant message of mainstream advertising towards women is to be passive, and because men are viewed as opposites, they are expected to be aggressive. Don't you think that being encouraged to be aggressive allows for many types of other beneficial behaviors?
For the meek-minded, I think it is easy to 'man'ipulate them. However, a strong-minded person will view a woman who overcomes gender roles as a personal hero. The problem is that there is not enough of those type of people, because there is not enough education on the matter.
So in light of educating others, I give major kudos to this article.

Harry P. Ness

I think that a lot of what this post is saying does apply to both male and female, but we shouldn't deny that women have been treated like the 'weaker' sex for ages throughout history.

As a human, I believe that no one should be disrespected for wanting to act like 'the opposite' of assumed gender roles. Just the fact that any assumed role is assigned to any type of person sickens me and I see people caving under the pressure of assumed roles and labels every day.

In the article I think it's pointing out how the dominant message of mainstream advertising towards women is to be passive, and because men are viewed as opposites, they are expected to be aggressive. Don't you think that being encouraged to be aggressive allows for many types of other beneficial behaviors?
For the meek-minded, I think it is easy to 'man'ipulate them. However, a strong-minded person will view a woman who overcomes gender roles as a personal hero. The problem is that there is not enough of those type of people, because there is not enough education on the matter.
So in light of educating others, I give major kudos to this article.

Anonymous

To learn how to do things for themselves and stop relying on products and careers to make them happy. To explore and to adventure, to have kids if they want, and to never take anyone at face value.

Anonymous

To learn how to do things for themselves and stop relying on products and careers to make them happy. To explore and to adventure, to have kids if they want, and to never take anyone at face value.

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