Can We Still Be Feminists & Like Lana Del Rey?

The past few years have brought a host of empowered female pop artists and a new flurry discussion about feminism. It’s about owning your sexuality. It’s about taking power. It’s about freedom and liberation. It’s about Lilith Fair or riot grrrl. It’s about Madonna. Actually, it’s about Nicki Minaj. No, wait, it’s about Miley Cyrus — or Beyoncé. OK, OK, maybe it’s actually about all of those things.

Conspicuously absent from this list, though, is the one of the most talked about woman in music right now: Lana Del Rey, whose new album Ultraviolence hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts as soon as it was released. She wants nothing to do with any of this feminist discussions. A few months ago, she proclaimed in an interview with FADER, “The issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept.”

“Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god,” she said. “I’m just not really that interested.”

Her appeal depends on her willingness to disregard feminism completely. She plays a character who smells like french perfume and lusts after “dope and diamonds.” Her music tunes upon abusive relationships, at death, at drug abuse, but never comes close to offering a nuanced discussion on those topics. She sits around listlessly, waiting for her man to call (and when he does, she’ll quickly answer, as she points out on the track “Old Money” — “But if you send for me / You know I’ll come”). She romanticizes everything modern women have fought not to be.

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With that sentiment, Del Rey has basically ensured that the word “feminism” will haunt her wherever she goes. But anybody looking for her to use her star power for equal rights will find something pretty disturbing: Del Rey’s music and image seriously romanticize an era in which women were systematically degraded.

Moreover, we have all claimed to be only repeating what was said on the Internet by certain bloggers, but the extent of the backlash raises questions as to what is really the problem with Del Rey? One of the problems is that, after a decade in which women were told that they had everything it took to get ahead, and that the playing-field was somehow level in our new, post-feminist world, it was disturbing to many to see a woman recast herself as an old-fashioned male fantasy and to seemingly embrace submissiveness, and to dress as if she were nostalgic for the days before women’s liberation.

However, we still loooove her music. For example, look at Marilyn: we publish her poems and talk about how sad she was, somehow putting her on a pedestal because of her excess and her silent sorrow. I don’t think it’s wrong, but I think it breeds a false sense of mystery. Society probably needs this, though, because life is impossibly dull and boring for most.Or, Maybe she wants us to hate her. Maybe she actually wants to make art. Maybe she loves to be an unaccountable romantic “heroine.” Maybe she’s pointing out something we all ignore…

Stay Flawless,

Ms. Femme.

A Co-opted Faux-Feminist March

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Karl Lagerfeld has clearly been looking at footage from feminism’s second wave for inspiration—but to what end?

The Spring 2015 Chanel collection he showed in Paris today consisted of boxy tweed pantsuits, oversized ties, albeit in a very recent psychedelic, watercolor motif.(He transitioned from there through the late 70’s and into the early 80’s, presenting his take on the power silhouette of that era.)

All this is fine; if Lagerfeld wanted to present a new/old take on the working woman, fine, great, excellent. But by the finale, it leaves a bad taste: all the models emerged carrying picket signs in an approximation of a feminist protest, with Lagerfeld in the lead (side-eyyyye).

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The messages are all very confused, and confusing, which gives the impression that Lagerfeld’s notion towards woman empowerment was merely gestural, or that he was responding to what he perceives as a trend, something that was written about while he was designing this. Perhaps he was inspired by the FEMEN activists who stormed the Nina Ricci runway last year. but the messages on the signs seem like his grasp of the women he likely studied to create this collection is surface, at best. “Feministe Means Feminine”? What does that even mean? “Free Freedom”? Bold stance, Karl. “Tweed is better than Tweet?” Also: why is his feminist vision SO FUCKING WHITE?! I get the tenuous connection between the designs for his Spring 2015 collection, which was basically his take on fashion for working women, and the second wave feminist movement, I GUESS, but come on. This is so dumb it hurts my eyes to look at.

It’s not like fashion can’t be feminist, or that there aren’t prominent and self-proclaimed feminist designers like Miuccia Prada, Tory Burch, and Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters who infuse a feminist outlook into their every collection. It’s also not like I would ever regulate how people practice feminism, or how people come into it, or shame anyone who is new to it and just learning: women need all the help we can get. But the tone of this Chanel show seems cynical, money-grabbing, slightly empty, a co-opted Faux-Feminist March.

Stay flawless not fake,

Ms. Femme.

“Creepshots” are back to being legal

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It’s been a week of depressing news for the treatment of women in public spaces. Not only have more stolen celebrity nude photos been leaked, but we’ve seen a YouTube star turn street harassment into a “prank” and a young female actress get harassed and threatened for daring to speak up against sexism. And to put the cherry on top of this lovely cake: “Creepshots” are legal in Texas again.

How can taking obviously invasive and pervy photos be protected by the First Amendment?

Texas’ highest criminal court struck down part of a law banning “upskirt” photos on Wednesday, arguing that photos taken without permission in public are entitled to First Amendment protections. Outlawing “improper photography or visual recording,” the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals panel ruled, would be a violation of federal free-speech rights and a “paternalistic” effort to regulate the photographers’ thoughts.

“The camera is essentially the photographer’s pen and paintbrush,” Judge Sharon Keller wrote in the court’s 8-1 opinion. “A person’s purposeful creation of photographs and visual recordings is entitled to the same First Amendment protection as the photographs and visual recordings themselves.”

I guess it didn’t occur to the judge that the area hidden beneath a person’s clothing isn’t public space. But who would expect a woman’s right to her own bodily privacy to be a priority in a state that’s famous for hacking away at pro-choice healthcare rights?

Privacy can only go so far… ultimately, writes Keller, “[p]rotecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of ‘paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant’s mind’ that the First Amendment was designed to guard against.”

This is a huge violation and absolutely appalling that the rights of predators are being valued over the rights of women and girls….

BE ON THE WATCH OUT LADIES!!!

Stay Flawless and BIG FU to the Pervs,

Ms. Femme.

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NFL’s New Game Face

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On Saturday, activist group UltraViolet shared a meme that featured a photoshopped image of a model advertising CoverGirl’s NFL makeup line so that she sported a startling black eye—and the image went viral. And that’s made things less than easy and breezy for CoverGirl, as well as for the NFL.

UltraViolet’s meme, which was a tweaked version of one created by writer Adele M. Stan, is part of the group’s ongoing campaign calling for the resignation of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of the Ray Rice domestic-abuse situation; UltraViolet has been using the hashtag #GoodellMustGo on Twitter. The photoshopped image may be shocking, but no more so than football star Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator or the NFL allowing the Minnesota Vikings to reinstate another player, Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on September 12 on a child-injury charge for beating his 4-year-old son with a switch.

For CoverGirl, whose primary market is girls and women, to support an organization that protected a man who physically abused his wife by using the image of a woman decked out in eye makeup the color of his team, the Baltimore Ravens, is blindly dismissive of violence against women. CoverGirl should not forgive or forget so easily, and UltraViolet drives that point home with the photoshopped image.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the NFL has a violence problem. Violence against women, violence against children, and just violence, in general, has been overshadowing the game itself. While it is likely that the on-field brutality has been spilling into the personal lives of players for years, never before has the spotlight shone so brightly on these off-field atrocities as it does today.

We must put the onus on organizations like the NFL to be proactive in addressing abuse and punishing abusers because it’s the right thing to do—not just because failure to do so could potentially hurt reputations and revenue. Sad to say, Ray Rice was not released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended from the NFL because he beat his wife unconscious but because TMZ released the video of him doing so, triggering a nationwide scandal.

Stay Flawless,

Ms. Femme.

Sex Crime One Click Ahead…

After last week’s celebrity leak photo chaos, I noticed a lot of debate on the “privacy” topic everywhere on the Internet. I happened to come across a Forbes article which addressed the issue as a “Sex Crime”. To be honest, it was refreshing to see female celebrities treated like human beings. It’s uplifting to see a man writing about the issue who “gets it” with regards to women’s lives.

“A woman, be she in the public eye or a private citizen, has a right and privilege to take photos of herself for whatever reason she chooses. A woman, be she a celebrity or a regular citizen, has the right to store them in the same manner as her male peers without the presumption that they will be stolen by an act of cyber hackery.”

Also, the author should’ve add,  that all applies to men in a similar situation as well.

I definitely agree with the claim that the leak and viral sharing of these pictures are in fact a Sex Crime. This is an especially insidious crime for many reasons, but one is that self-confidence is hard-won for women in our culture. These women had the confidence to find themselves beautiful and to mark that moment for their own purposes. Their confidence and their belief in themselves has been turned into a weapon and used against them. How dare they, this crime states — how dare they feel pretty and sexy in any circumstance that is *not* for our entertainment? Don’t they know their place?

“little-to-no accountability for the consumers of said stolen property/invasion of privacy. This is clearly a violation.”

This is what is at the heart of the matter. Crime will never be fully eradicated. That someone stole and distributed these pictures is awful, but not particularly shocking.

What IS disturbing is how many ordinary, non-criminal people become devoid of compassion and empathy the second they want to see a naked photo of someone.

But what about us? the random internet surfers who might click on a link, just like we did with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Who didn’t find Ben Affleck throwing Jennifer Garner into a pool, with the kids giggling in background, absolutely adorable? Who didn’t sigh when Matt Damon poured toilet water on his head to bring attention to the 80 million people on this planet who do not have access to clean water? The public can’t get enough of famous people, especially in their more candid moments.

Despite the temptation, the reasons we shouldn’t click, the reasons we can’t click, are simple and straightforward. We are creating demand. Websites track their traffic. If site owners and editors notice that stolen, nude celebrity photos are getting a lot of clicks and attention, they will want more. They, along with hackers and paparazzi, will do whatever they can to obtain more.

LETS HAVE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AS WOMEN AND REFRAIN FROM LOOKING AT THESE SAID PICTURES.

Stay Flawless,

Ms. Femme.

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