Dove: Pioneer or Panderer?

rosiesaysblog

dove_wideweb__430x327I must admit, the first seven times someone emailed Dove’s ubiquitous new ad campaign, I got a little weepy and emotional. It hit all the right cords, all the soft, vulnerable spots that most women (and many men!) hold deep about their appearance. My nose is too big. My eyes are too far apart. My chin is too pointy. My forehead is too high. My X is too Y.  It takes all those “toos” and flips them, revealing with a clever gimmick how much we underestimate our own beauty. Here, just watch, it’s easier than explaining it:

It’s good advertising. It’s memorable, it’s shareable, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. I literally feel prettier simply by watching it. Maybe I should go buy some Dove products….

Hold up.

It’s a testament to how compelling this video is that I didn’t bother to put on my critical hat and…

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Response to Dove’s “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think” Ad

“My ad for beauty products

girls putting makeup on like warpaint and kicking people in the face

old ladies wearing eyeshadow and getting flocked by hunks who carry them away and crown them queens of their own country

girls putting on makeup and then just sitting and eating doritos in front of the computer all day because fuck it that shits for you

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN PLINKY-PLONKY MUSIC AND EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION AND BEING CONDESCENDED TO”

[Source: clumsyoctopus.tumblr.com]

Keep Ya Head Up

Tupac was ahead of his time for sure.

“You know it makes me unhappy
When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up”

Judge OKs ‘Morning-After Pill’ for Girls of All Ages

The controversial pill known as “Plan B” typically works up to 72 hours after intercourse.

 A federal judge in New York, slamming the government over foot-dragging and administrative “filibuster,” has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the “morning-after” pill available without prescription to girls of all ages within one month.

The ruling overturns a decision in 2011 by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that barred over-the-counter sales of the controversial pill to girls under 17. Sebelius’ decision itself had overruled an FDA recommendation to widen availability of the drug.

The pill, popularly known as “Plan B,” typically works up to 72 hours after intercourse, and is distinct from the so-called “abortion pill.”

READ: The full ruling

FIRST TAKE: The decision turns politics upside down

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman, of Brooklyn, said his order must be carried out within a month.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Justice Department officials were reviewing the ruling, but reiterated the president’s support for Sebelius’s original decision to place age restriction on the sale of the drug.

“Secretary Sebelius made this decision. The president supported that decision after she made it,” Carney said. “He supports that decision today. We believe that it was the right, common-sense approach to this issue.”

The Department of Justice “is reviewing the appellate options and expects to act promptly,” spokeswoman Allison Price said.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, hailed the ruling as “a significant and long-overdue step forward for women’s health that will benefit women of all ages.”

“When a woman fears she might become pregnant after her contraceptive has failed or she has had unprotected sex, she needs fast access to emergency contraception, not delays at the pharmacy counter,” Richards said in a statement. “Lifting these restrictions will allow emergency contraception to be stocked on store shelves, making it more accessible to everyone.”

In a statement, the Family Research Council raised what it called serious concerns about the ruling.

“This ruling places the health of young girls at risk,” said Anna Higgins, director of the council’s Center for Human Dignity. “Making Plan B available for girls under the age of 17 without a prescription flies in the face of medical information and sound judgment.”

Higgins also expressed concern that the over-the-counter availability of Plan B for girls of any age would put many at further risk of sexually transmitted infections because it circumvents necessary medical screening for sexually active girls.

She also said that there is a “real danger” that Plan B may be given to young girls, under coercion or without their consent. ”

The judge said the case isn’t about the potential misuse of the so-called morning-after pill by 11-year-olds. He said the contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over the counter. He said the number of 11-year-olds likely to use the drugs was minuscule.

In his 59-page ruling, Korman said that Sebelius, in overruling the FDA, had forced the agency to “to ride roughshod over the policies and practices that it has consistently applied in considering applications for switches in drug status to over-the-counter availability.”

Korman, who was appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1985, also noted that the FDA itself had engaged in its own foot-dragging over the years, dating from the Bush administration, when the plaintiffs first began trying to get it to rule on Plan B more than 12 years ago.

“The FDA has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition,” he wrote. “Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster.”

He was particularly caustic regarding the FDA’s call for public comment on whether it needed to engage in rulemaking in order to adopt an age-restricting marketing regime.

“After eating up eleven months, 47,000 public comments, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars,” Korman wrote. “It decided that it did not need rulemaking after all. The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency’s misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the FDA to engage in further delay and obstruction.”

Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research for the Guttmacher Institute in New York, a non-profit group that studies reproductive and sexual health, says the focus of HHS secretary Kathryn Sebelius and President Obama on girls 10-11 in their past decision to restrict sales of Plan B to women 17 and older, “was misplaced.”

“Very few girls that young are involved in sexual activity,” Finer says. “Rather, a substantial minority of young women aged 15 to 16 are sexually active, and they are old enough to initiate emergency contraception in most cases. They are the ones who had been hurt by the decision.”

Last year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendedthat oral contraceptives be sold over the counter without a prescription to help lower the nation’s high unintended pregnancy rate.

Morning-after pills do not end a pregnancy that has implanted, according to the Mayo Clinic, and should not be confused with abortion pills.

The clinic says morning-after pills, which have been widely available in Europe and Latin America for several years, can prevent pregnancy “because conception typically doesn’t occur immediately after sex.”

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Pregnancy may happen up to several days later. During the time between sex and conception, sperm travel through the fallopian tubes until they potentially reach an egg. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, morning-after pills may act by one or more of the following actions: delaying or preventing ovulation, blocking fertilization, or keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.”

Korman, who also worked in the solicitor general’s office during the NIxon administration, served 22 years on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, including a role as chief judge. He is currently serving in a “senior status,” which amounts to semi-retirement.

Federal Order to FDA on Morning After Pill by Doug Stanglin

Contributing: Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

“Finally science won and the years of unnecessary politicization of a safe and effective contraceptive are over,” said Susannah Baruch, interim president & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project.

[Source:USA Today]

But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?

proud bear
(image from http://www.facebook.com/iamhowlingwolf, which is an entire post in itself. geez.)

I’ve posted a lot about the phenomenon that is the hipster headdress (see herehere, and here), but I’ve never really broken it down as to why this trend is so annoying and effed up. A lot of this will be review and is repeated elsewhere on the site, but I thought it was high time I pulled things together into a one-stop-anti-headdress shop. Much of this can also apply to any of the “tribal trends” I feature here, and you can also consider this a follow up to my “Cultural Appropriation Bingo” post. The many sources I drew from are included at the end of this post.

So why can’t I wear it? 
    • Headdresses promote stereotyping of Native cultures.

The image of a warbonnet and warpaint wearing Indian is one that has been created and perpetuated by Hollywood  and only bears minimal resemblance to traditional regalia of Plains tribes. It furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. It also places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.

  • Headdresses, feathers, and warbonnets have deep spiritual significance.
    The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power. The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities, and nearly all of these pictures show women sporting the headdresses. I can’t read it as an act of feminism or subverting the patriarchal society, it’s an act of utter disrespect for the origins of the practice. (see my post on sweatlodges for more on the misinterpretation of the role of women). This is just as bad as running around in a pope hat and a bikini, or a Sikh turban cause it’s “cute”.
  • It’s just like wearing blackface.
    “Playing Indian” has a long history in the United States, all the way back to those original tea partiers in Boston, and in no way is it better than minstral shows or dressing up in blackface. You are pretending to be a race that you are not, and are drawing upon stereotypes to do so. Like my first point said, you’re collapsing distinct cultures, and in doing so, you’re asserting your power over them. Which leads me to the next issue.
  • There is a history of genocide and colonialism involved that continues today.
    By the sheer fact that you live in the United States you are benefiting from the history of genocide and continued colonialism of Native peoples. That land you’re standing on? Indian land. Taken illegally so your ancestor who came to the US could buy it and live off it, gaining valuable capital (both monetary and cultural) that passed down through the generations to you. Have I benefited as well, given I was raised in a white, suburban community? yes. absolutely. but by dismissing and minimizing the continued subordination and oppression of Natives in the US by donning your headdress, you are contributing to the culture of power that continues the cycle today.
But I don’t mean it in that way, I just think it’s cute!
  • Well hopefully I’ve illuminated that there’s more at play here than just a “cute” fashion choice. Sorry for taking away your ignorance defense.
But I consider it honoring to Native Americans!
  • I think that this cartoon is a proper answer, but I’ll add that having a drunken girl wearing a headdress and a bikini dancing at an outdoor concert does not honor me. I remember reading somewhere that it was also “honoring the fine craftsmanship of Native Americans”. Those costume shop chicken feather headdresses aren’t honoring Native craftsmanship. And you will be very hard pressed to find a Native artist who is closely tied to their community making headdresses for sale. See the point about their sacredness and significance.
I’m just wearing it because it’s “ironic”!

  • I’m all for irony. Finger mustaches, PBR, kanye glasses, old timey facial hair, 80′s spandex–fine, funny, a bit over-played, but ironic, I guess. Appropriating someone’s culture and cavorting around town in your skinny jeans with a feathered headdress, moccasins, and turquoise jewelry in an attempt to be ‘counterculture’? Not ironic. If you’re okay with being a walking representative of 500+ years of colonialism and racism, or don’t mind perpetuating the stereotypes that we as Native people have been fighting against for just as long, by all means, go for it. But by embracing the current tribal trends you aren’t asserting yourself as an individual, you are situating yourself in a culture of power that continues to oppress Native peoples in the US. And really, if everyone is doing it, doesn’t that take away from the irony? am I missing the point on the irony? maybe. how is this even ironic? I’m starting to confuse myself. but it’s still not a defense.
Stop getting so defensive, it’s seriously just fashion!
  • Did you read anything I just wrote? It’s not “just” fashion. There is a lot more at play here. This is a matter of power and who has the right to represent my culture. (I also enjoy asking myself questions that elicit snarky answers.)

What about the bigger issues in Indian Country? Poverty, suicide rates, lack of resources, disease, etc? Aren’t those more important that hipster headdresses?

  • Yes, absolutely. But, I’ll paraphrase Jess Yee in this post, and say these are very real issues and challenges in our communities, but when the only images of Natives that Americans see are incorrect, and place Natives in the historic past, it erases our current presence, and makes it impossible for the current issues to exist in the collective American consciousness. Our cultures and lives are something that only exist in movies or in the past, not today. So it’s a cycle, and in order to break that cycle, we need to question and interrogate the stereotypes and images that erase our current presence–while we simultaneously tackle the pressing issues in Indian Country. They’re closely linked, and at least this is a place to start.   
Well then, Miss Cultural Appropriation Police, what CAN I wear?

  • If you choose to wear something Native, buy it from a Native. There are federal laws that protect Native artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. (see info here about The Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Anything you buy should have a label that says “Indian made” or “Native made”. Talk to the artist. find out where they’re from. Be diligent. Don’t go out in a full “costume”. It’s ok to have on some beaded earrings or a turquoise ring, but don’t march down the street wearing a feather, with loaded on jewelry, and a ribbon shirt. Ask yourself: if you ran into a Native person, would you feel embarrassed or feel the need to justify yourself? As commenter Bree pointed out, it’s ok to own a shirt with kimono sleeves, but you wouldn’t go out wearing full kabuki makeup to a bar. Just take a minute to question your sartorial choices before you go out.
…and an editorial comment:  I should also note that I have absolutely nothing against hipsters. In fact, some would argue I have hipster-leaning tendencies. In my former San Francisco life, had been known to have a drink or two in the clouds of smoke outside at Zeitgeist, and enjoyed shopping on Haight street. I enjoy drinking PBR out of the can when I go to the dive bars near my apartment where I throw darts and talk about sticking it to ‘The Man’. I own several fringed hipster scarves, more than one pair of ironic fake ray-ban wayfarers, and two plaid button downs. I’m also not trying to stereotype and say that all hipsters do/wear the above, just like not every hipster thinks it’s cool to wear a headdress. So, I don’t hate hipsters, I hate ignorance and cultural appropriation. There is a difference. Just thought I should clear that up.
This manifesto draws heavily from these awesome posts:

How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming

This is a video by Chescaleigh whom I posted about earlier. The video is kind of old now, but still so relevant (especially in the wake of the Steubenville case) and she does an amazing job of explaining, unfortunately from personal experience, how blaming victims of rape is so common and why it needs to stop.