Posts Tagged: patriarchy

Worst Valentine’s Day Cards Awards 2019

Ah Valentine’s Day. The sweet smell of overpriced roses. The whiff of panicked chocolate buying. The pressure joy of semi-forced romance.

Beyond a single eyebrow raise indicating mild scepticism at the industry of it all, I don’t have a huge problem with Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating love for a day, even if it comes at an inflated cost. There’s even something quite nice about taking a day to celebrate each other and the utter improbability of finding love with a particular, single human entity in a chaotic world that extends both backwards and forwards in time and space beyond our timeline of insignificant existence.

But what I have noticed in even the briefest search for a card, is that in amongst the genuinely funny, the sweet, the shmultzy, the weird, the modern, the parodies, the gross (in saccharine levels and in referencing bodily functions far too graphically), the basic, the rude, the quoting of TV shows I haven’t seen and therefore don’t get is that there are still a bunch of really unpleasant sometimes sexist, sometimes just nasty cards out there masquerading as humour.

So here are my worst Valentine’s Day cards seen in 2019:

  • First up we have the category of pressure to have sex! It’s the woman’s place to “put out” and “do anal” for a bit of extra affection because isn’t that what real love is based on? Nothing like a bit of insidious rape culture to make anyone feel sexy on this day of lurve.
The only small saving grace about this card is that she looks like she’s got some kind of martial arts training so if someone did try to insist she has sex with them after she’s clearly said no, she might be able to take them down.
  • No, you may not have any feelings or expectations of how to be treated! And how dare you get upset if I, the man, do not make you feel as valued as you would like. So don’t get in a mood love, I did some bare minimum twitter and got you this card to pre-empt you and your godawful endless feelings. And even though it’s actually quite mean and really passive aggressive, you’re not allowed to complain about it because I got you something for Valentine’s Day didn’t I and isn’t that what you wanted? Urgh, bitches be crazy.
  • And the Valentine’s Day award for loving body shaming goes to… Because obviously anyone over a size (insert acceptable number here – I literally don’t even know what it is anymore) doesn’t deserve to have love and if someone is attracted to them or they do create a connection with another person then frankly we should get Sherlock Holmes on this because there must be some kind of mystery force at play.
Apart from anything else, skinny kids love cake too. Loads of kids love cake, I don’t think it’s size dependent or reflective.
IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE.
  • Continuing on the body shaming theme, let’s talk about hair and autonomy. In 2019, does anyone really have full autonomy over their bodies? Like, seriously guys, don’t we all control someone else’s decisions in a way? Gotta love the guilt that comes with not complying to someone else’s idealised hairless wonder, infantilised image of you. Because you know who doesn’t have body hair? Children. That’s who.
To be honest, we’re all products of the patriarchy and the media so maybe none of us have any real actual autonomy. It’s just slightly easier to bear when it doesn’t come from your partner telling you how to look though.
  • Speaking of ageing, women just aren’t allowed to do that are they? Well, not if they want to be seen as attractive they’re not. And if they do manage to survive to over 45 and not be decrepit and disgusting, you better be damn sure to value them only on their physical attributes. Don’t even think about their intelligence or wit, that way madness lies. Older women are allowed to be a power-mad fetish or a harmless biddy and NOTHING IN BETWEEN.
  • And then there’s this gem which sort of captures them all. Want to make someone feel old, ugly and belittled for having feelings all in one fell swoop? THIS IS THE ONE TO GET GUYS.
I mean, you try growing a literal human inside you and having your body not change.
Or ageing past puberty and having your body not change.
Or eating and having- you get the idea.

Bodies change, get over it.
  • Life achievements can be measured in lots of ways, but for women the most important things are being consistently, impossibly beautiful and finding a husband. And for men marrying women, the most important thing is her beauty. You can’t show off a munter down at the club can you? So if a woman’s greatest achievement is finally getting her old arse off the shelf and into the arms of whatever man will take her, a man’s greatest achievement is being able to rank said woman in the top (shelf) tier of stereotyped beauty standards!
Life has thrown cancer, crippling debt, unemployment, losing loved ones, betrayal from close friends, difficulty conceiving children, depression…
but don’t worry babe, I’m super hot.

That’s always the silver lining right?
You’re feeling better already.
  • This final card gets an honourable mention because it’s kind of disturbing, not because it’s telling anyone how to be but because it seems to be the kind of card you’d send to a friend telling them to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is genuinely listed in the category of Valentine’s Day cards and it did come up in my search results so here it is for your disturbed viewing pleasure.
If you are worried about your safety or someone else’s because of domestic abuse you can visit this site here:
https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/
or call this number (freephone, 24 /7) run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge: 0808 2000 247 24 

I find it kind of baffling that these things are still considered jokes. Because that’s the defence isn’t it?

“Oh come on where’s your sense of humour? It’s just a joke, they’re kind of funny, why are you ruining it?”

Because ultimately, the recipient of said “joke” is also the tired butt of it. Because women have taken enough crap about our emotions, our bodies, our status, our age, our presence in the world. Because if you’re going to get your partner a card and you want it to be light hearted and funny, make sure it actually is. Because I’m a proud feminist and I love comedy and it does women, jokes and yes even Valentine’s Day a disservice to keep perpetuating these horrible tropes.

So Happy Valentine’s Day from your friendly neighbourhood feminist killjoy. May you share your love and humour with mindful kindness and may we continue to smash the damaging patriarchy one stupid stereotype at a time.

The Smaller Dorito Is Part of The Bigger Picture

 

A perfectly normal, crunchy Dorito thank you very much.

Yesterday in a stunning move of are you fricking serious, PepsiCo – owner of Doritos – announced #Ladydoritos. This move initially sounded like it must be a joke because I don’t know if you’ve heard but we’re in 2018 and we’ve never needed lady crisps before (can we call them crisps? I know academically that they’re tortilla chips but calling them just chips feels more Americanised than I’m fully Britishly comfortable with) and it’s starting to feel like someone got a bunch of creatives in the room and set them the task of finding fresh and innovative ways to ruin literally anything and just crowbar those patriarchal stereotypes right on in. I don’t believe Jeff from marketing sitting on the back table was serious when he said “crisps without the crunch for the ladies”, I believe he was just seeing how far he could take the joke but nope here we are and Jeff is probably living an emotional rollercoaster of feeling like he’s totally nailing life followed by a sinking feeling that he might get fired for the backlash.

 

No one understands you Jeff.

Anyway the point is that this article (which I’m going to quote extensively) from the New York Post made its way onto my newsfeed telling me in the headline “Doritos to make ‘lady-friendly chips that don’t crunch for women” so I didn’t bother opening it. I rolled my eyes and continued about my day living grumpily as a sceptical woman in the patriarchy. Because doesn’t it sound utterly ridiculous? Isn’t half the point of crisps that they crunch? I mean, they’re literally called crisps ffs. It’s in the name. To me it just suggests that they’re going to make soggy pieces of something in a bag and I don’t believe anyone of any gender wants that. So I mostly ignored it because I thought the mild uproar and sarcastic comments would pretty much be covered by other people. I like to comment when I feel like I’ve got something useful to say and to be honest, I don’t even like crisps so I didn’t think I’d be adding anything that wouldn’t have already been said.

Then I was nudged by a friend into bothering to open and read the article and I saw that this wasn’t a weird assumption that they’d arrived at by chance or jest – no. This was actually researched and women apparently “do not like to crunch loudly or lick their fingers when eating in front of others” according to Global chief exec Indra Nooyi who took time out of her busy 1952 schedule to visit us in the 21st century.

Indra also provided this gem: “You watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavor [sic], and the broken chips in the bottom. Women would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers.”

WHEN DO YOU EVER WATCH A LOT OF YOUNG GUYS EATING TORTILLA CHIPS? WHERE? ARE YOU HIDING IN BUSHES WITH BINOCULARS INDRA? I LITERALLY NEVER DO THIS. ARE WE SUGGESTING THAT THE TARGET MARKET RESEARCH GROUP FOR THIS WAS A BUNCH OF PORN STARS MAKING SOME KIND OF CRISP BASED PORNOGRAPHY? I CANNOT IMAGINE HOW THEY THINK THEY KNOW THIS. THERE IS A LOT I DON’T UNDERSTAND HERE.

I spy me some manly crunchers Robin. Not a woman in sight.

Also have they ever even been anywhere in public? I have definitely seen women pouring crisps into their mouths and getting to the crumbs at the bottom. In my just-as-valid-and-controlled-as-theirs research.

And finally: “It’s not a male and female as much as ‘are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’ And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon.”

That is literally “a male and female” you utterly bullshit ridden buffoons. 

So I made some snarky comments like “I’m not ashamed of pouring in public, I’d like to do some pouring of crisps but onto Indra Nooyi’s face” and also pointed out that today is 100 years since women got the vote in Britain and right now we’re fighting against patronising crap like PepsiCo trying to give us unnecessary #LadyDoritos. If we’ve got equality in voting surely we can have equality in tortilla chips? Right? Guys? Hello?
Oh you couldn’t hear me over all my manly chip crunching? YOU’RE WRONG I HAVE EXCELLENT DICTION AND THIS IS WRITTEN DOWN.

Stuff like that, laden with snark and general displeasure and designed to make you laugh and grimace at the stupidity of it all. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something more is afoot here.

Because I thought about it and actually I do believe the (presumably uncontrolled and mostly anecdotal) research. It probably did show that women don’t like to lick their fingers or pour crumbs into their open mouths in public. I believe that there is a self consciousness around eating that is prevalent and predominantly felt by women. I believe what they’re saying – not that women want soft crisps (idiots, no one wants that) but that women do feel a pressure to maintain an outdated, yet weirdly ingrained demure image. I believe that women have been made to feel that relishing and enjoying food is unattractive. And of course, we have been conditioned to believe that we must be attractive at all times. However will we feel any self worth if we are not struggling to squeeze ourselves into society’s godawful tiny, contradictory, narrow, unattainable frame of what a woman should be? We are constantly told we should be given less. The size of the bags will now be designed to fit into women’s handbags…but this is bizarre and nonsensical too. Loads of men don’t carry bags AT ALL* and I don’t see Pepsi trying to make pocket sized Doritos. Women’s bags are often huge – if anything we should be getting an even bigger pack! The justification here doesn’t make sense. If I wanted them, why would I choose to buy a small bag of soft crisps when I could buy a big bag of crunchy ones? Women are being utterly shafted by sexism and it’s a problem of the patriarchy’s own making. And once again we’re being told to eat differently, eat less, that’s not for women (incidentally, you don’t want to get me started on Yorkies) it’s just for men because it’s big and crunchy and might taste good or make a bit of a mess. God forbid a woman should look anything less than impossibly perfect at all times. God forbid a woman should just enjoy a snack without giving a shit about how she looks eating it, who is judging her or what calories are in it. Men are so confident about their public appearances they literally whip out their dicks and piss in the street on the reg. Women can’t even eat a packet of shit crisps without being judged negatively and given a poor substitute that we don’t even want. And why? Just because people think we don’t go for the crumbs at the end of the pack? Or because they don’t want us to?

The bottom line for me is:

The patriarchy has created a situation. The patriarchy now perceives it to be a problem. The patriarchy has created a solution that fits its own agenda of keeping men and women divided and in the process, giving women less and making women less.

I reserve the right to eat anything crunchy exactly like this.

It’s really easy to dismiss something like this as irrelevant or unimportant, but it ties into the bigger picture. So much of continuously fighting for equality for women does. We can have a laugh about this one sure, but we mustn’t forget where it’s really coming from and why there’s a pretty shady layer of dark misogyny underneath it all. Because if women were constantly taught not to care about our appearances so much, if we were told to source our self worth and value somewhere internally rather than from others’ perceptions of us, what would all these companies do? They wouldn’t be able to exploit our self conscious insecurities any more, that’s for sure. So don’t let them bullshit us with this nonsense. It’s 2018 already – this stuff is getting *really* old.

*BECAUSE POCKETS ARE ALSO A FEMINIST ISSUE. Just think – if we weren’t told we need to carry so much bloody stuff around with us all the time we wouldn’t need bags. If we had decent pockets on our clothing we’d be able to put all we actually need into them. If we had pockets that were equal in usefulness to men’s pockets no one would suggest making handbag sized things but if they did they’d be bigger and more glorious and generally better and not smaller, shitter patronising flavoured crisps soggy tortilla chips with an aftertaste of sexism. PUT THAT IN YOUR POCKET AND SET FIRE TO IT.

Crispy, messy snacks. PREACH.