Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Someone on the Internet is (Always) Wrong- AKA Female Role Models

My family has a joke. When it is said, it is shouted with much righteous indignation and a shaking fist and it goes approximately like this: "There is someone wrong on the internet! I cannot rest until they know how wrong they are!"

The word Feminist brings to mind a woman who is confidant and asexual, who doesn't shave her armpits or wear makeup or care about the way she looks. She is masculine. She has become the feminist ideal, and is the oposite of the traditional female ideal. The most important thing we need to remember as feminists, as women, and as people is that being sexual and feminine is not wrong. The women that choose to wear makeup and high heels need as much support and encouragement as women who wear boots and don't wax their eyebrows.

Warning: This post contains rampant feminism, some 
coarse language, boobies, and nerd talk.

Today there was a graphic floating around my Facebook titled Female Role Models.

Female Role Models: pop culture vs geek culture

Funny right? I thought it was. Because obviously kick-ass, gun-toting, space-faring ladies are superior to Snookie. Duh. And I've always planned on buying my future daughter a ray-gun, because ray-guns are awesome. But this picture's caused quite a bit of rabble in the crowd.

Lets analyze. The images were well chosen, as far as communicating the message goes. The pop princesses are not wearing very much clothing and are posed suggestively (although not necessarily flatteringly) while the geek goddesses are buttoned up and posed more confidently. So our subtext is:

If Pop=Skanky and Geek=Badass, and if Badass>Skanky then Geek>Pop

This equation made someone somewhere yell, "There is someone wrong on the internet! I cannot rest until they know how wrong they are!" And for good reason. There are plenty of things wrong with this image. Including that: 
1. Most of the pop princesses are real people and the geek ones are fictional
2. Lady Gaga totally rocks
3. They've implied wearing a short skirt makes you a bad role model. Snookie is not a bad role model because she wears revealing clothing. She's a bad role model because she's a mess, irresponsible and glorifying a dangerous, unrealistic lifestyle.

I was floored to see which part that particular someone took exception to.

So you see what they did there? They've tried to point out the hypocrisy of the maker of the image with half-naked women from geek culture. But to me, they've made it worse. Instead of trying to raise up the injured party (the pop princesses) by finding good role models they're trying to put down the nerds. NO FREE PASSES is reproachful and scolding.

Bad nerds. Looking at hot ladies. You should be ashamed. 

(Nevermind the fact that Leia, Powergirl, and Leeloo are completely badass. I don't know about the others, but it's likely they kick butt too.)

Then there came this third graphic rolling across my Facebook Feed.

Unfortunately this was the final straw for me, and I started shouting, "There is someone wrong on the internet! I cannot rest until they know how wrong they are!" Apparently I cannot abide people completely missing the point.

The NEW point this graphic is making is that anything can be made to look however you want if you chose the right images (this is a cornerstone for advertising and journalism since the creation of time). The problem is their examples are horrible. Rachel Maddow is not pop culture. She's a liberal news anchor. Female sports are really unpopular. Some of the geek girls are villans, not role models. And the lady from Game of Thrones just happens to be naked, which in that show, there's a 75% chance of someone being naked at any point in any episode. She's not even doing anything sexual. 

It's completely ignored the premise of the first images (What makes a good female role model, and Who is Iconic) and has skipped straight to condemning a group of people (geeks) because of the sexuality of their characters.

This is called Slut Shaming. Wikipedia says, as of today, "Slut-shaming is the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for being sexually active, having multiple sex partners, or acting or dressing in a way that is deemed excessively sexual." Slut shaming also applies to men who enjoy sexual women. If those sexy ladies are gross, then so are the men that like them.  All three images are full of it, and it needs to stop. 

"The sexual revolution was 40 years ago, people. We like sexy things. Sexy=Good. Lets move on." This is the sound my righteous indignation makes as I shake my fist at the sky. And it is this sound that fueled my twitching eye as I made my own version (below) of this slut-shaming meme to correct those people on the Internet.

Thank you sexy ladies, for being heroic, gun-toting, mystery-solving, genius badasses.

Feel free to share.

My ladies are: 
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Kate from Lost, Abby from NCIS, Merida from Brave, and Kate Beckett from Castle
Power Girl, Leia from Star Wars, Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and Ripley from Alien

(I tried to put Katniss on here, but I couldn't decide which side she belonged on.)


  1. Tell it to them straight girlfriend!

  2. Daenerys Targaryen (the naked lady) is actually a pretty strong female. She's a bit crazy, but then so is everyone on that show. She can walk through fire untouched, was super loyal to her husband, and hatched DRAGONS. Dragon-mama=Awesome.

  3. Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. Sexy is awesome, and slut-shaming pisses me off too (didn't know there was a name for it!).

  4. Amen. You can be a sexy feminist! And why wouldn't you be? And I can love 'em too! And why wouldn't I?? :D

  5. ....and sexy to me begins with...authenticity.