Fashion is persecution

by zeph

I have included part two and three of these short excerpts about Victorian underwear. At the end of part one; it explains that to achieve the extreme waistlines of the 1860s, children had to be constrained into corsets from a very young age, causing complete distortion of the ribcage an internal organs. Torso binding!

The reasons given for women’s fashion in these excerpts and in general, are absurd. Women are dressed for maximum accessibility with minimum contact. This is exemplified by the final picture in part three.

Observe the boots in part two, the tightness and rigidity. My mother once told me that in her great grandmother’s day, boots sometimes contained small apertures in the sole, into which weights could be inserted. When I asked her the reasons for this she said, ‘it was in order for women to learn to pick up their feet!’ This is a highly unlikely explanation. Clearly women’s fashion has been designed to imprison, impede and contain. Yet at the centre they are left completely accessible, even the pantaloons have spacious holes in them, and prior to pantaloons all that was required was the lifting of the skirts!

You will hear a lot about how this was convenient for urination; in that case why bother with impeding skirts and restraining corsets at all! Equally nonsensical is a supposition that it has all got something vaguely to do with religion. The explanations women are expected to swallow for their sartorial suffering are extraordinary. We should keep in mind that everything has a purpose, and that all women’s fashions have been dictated by men. Men have certain requirements of women’s clothes. First and foremost they require easy reproductive access, second they require a low level of skin to skin contact, corsets were designed not to be taken off! Third they require that fashion should physically weaken and disable women making them easy to control. When you take these three requirements into consideration all women’s fashion from every era, becomes easily explicable. As women, through feminist activism, gained more freedom and threw away their agonising corsets, new fashions were introduced to impede them. Being extremely slim, weakened them through dieting and to some extent replaced the heavy skirts and corsets of former eras, it also restrained the flesh! High heels impeded movement, and the ability to run and fight. Stockings covered the legs, and camisoles reduced skin to skin contact, surgery and bras restrained breasts.

Fashion is never about beauty; though it is at times about ridicule and absurdity, its purposes are far more practical. Men know that women’s fashion has been designed for their convenience. To make it easy for them to approach, enter quickly without much struggle or foreplay, and withdraw to the study for a glass of port!

Perhaps the most amazing observation of all, comes in the middle of part two, when our host notes: that over forty-thousand women were burned to death in England alone, during the relatively brief period that crinolines remained in fashion; due to their hoops getting caught in stoves. She comfortingly reassures us “that all fashion has its drawbacks!” Thousands of deaths, being presented as a mere pimple, on fashions venerable face.


55 Responses to “Fashion is persecution”

  1. Zeph,

    Thanks for this. I remember one of my grandmothers and her friend wearing corsets, even in the 1950’s. If you look at the old (Canadian) Eaton’s catalogues from the 1950’s you can see them being sold. Then, in my mother’s generation, the “girdle” was de rigeur. These often had corset-like features, and came up under the bosom. No decent woman left the house without one.

    As a young school child in the early 1950’s, I was required to wear high (brown) cotton lisle stockings that attached with garters. The garters were affixed to something called a “waist” which I hated. It was double cotton, with stays and laced up the front. Holy shit. It felt like torture and humiliation.

    Then as an older school child in the mid 1950’s the hoop-skirted crinoline was the fashion for girl children. I remember having one, and the petticoat that went over it. 😦 😦

    If males hadn’t decided already that they prefer to empornulate little girls instead of encapsulating and binding them, they’d be doing the hoopskirt thing on them now. In high school, I remember the pencil skirt, or “straight” skirt in which we were hobbled. It was a required part of my school uniform. My sensitivities as a moldy oldy are such that I would still prefer that to the presently mandated porntastic appearance.

    Can we please just get the frickin’ males off the planet? 😐

  2. We are building them a rocket, Mary. We will just tell them there is a great football match going on in a distant galaxy, and promise them lots of beer. 🙂

  3. Interesting that “encapsulating and binding” is the effect of skimpy clothing too. That shit is uncomfortable and downright painful, and yes its all humiliating and hobbling too, that’s the entire point, as zeph points out. What I’d never considered before was the “anti skin contact” theme that seems to apply even with the skimpiest of outfits: binding with bras and “spanx” comes to mind, and everyone over the age of 10 is expected to be sufficiently bound UNDER their clothes, at all times.

    Thanks zeph!

  4. Don’t even tell them its a rocket to another galaxy…tell them its a porn expo (or a football game, whevs) and once they’re all inside, close all the doors and take off into space. 🙂

  5. “What I’d never considered before was the “anti skin contact” theme that seems to apply even with the skimpiest of outfits: binding with bras and “spanx” comes to mind, and everyone over the age of 10 is expected to be sufficiently bound UNDER their clothes, at all times.”

    Yes, FCM there is always that cover up aspect, from burka to bras, the female body must be covered, restrained and treated as shameful.

    I have this awful feeling that all those hoops catching on fire, were bound to provide a useful backdrop to any man wishing to rid himself of his wife. I think, looking at the period that large crinolines remained in fashion (around twenty years) death rates must have been as high as they were over a similar period, during the witch burning times. Those times lasted over hundreds of years varying in intensity, still, 40,000 in the UK alone, is a lot of deaths!

  6. Binding & corsets are back in ‘fashion’ again. These clueless women just don’t understand
    or even know about the fight that was fought to get rid of the corset.

    Also women are ‘training’ – (changing) the shape of their feet to wear uber spiked fetish heels-
    they have a ‘foot training’ club in San Francisco.

    ‘Fashion’ and other harmful ‘cultural practices’ will only exist as long as stupid people will follow
    and as long as women hold up the Patriarchy-
    ie it’s generally women who carry out Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
    It was a woman who invented Chinese foot binding.
    We really need to think about this as feminists and as females.
    I am NOT trying to blame women, but we are trained to hold up & celebrate our oppression.

  7. The explanations women are expected to swallow for their sartorial suffering are extraordinary.

    INDEED! I am amazed at the lengths women will go just to “look” a certain way to the external gaze. The whole capitalistic idea is to make us so emotionally insecure, and so desperate for male attention, that we will endure ANY physical pain in order to feel more “comfortable” with our appearance. I like my colors and patterns and flow and all, but comfort is more important.

    Also, I HATE SPANX! I will not force my flesh to conform. Here is photo documentation of marks caused by “Body Magic.”

    And I want to share a “fashion” blog called The Man Repeller. It is about fashion that looks RIDICULOUS, and the women who rock it anyway.

  8. UP, I dunno about the man repeller website. All the shoes look like torture devices and thus are sexxaay. The effect is an edgy kind of sexxaay. Some of the clothes might work to repel men, but think about how they’d look, instead, with those five-finger shoes that have the toes showing. With those shoes, a woman could run as needed, or even climb a tree quickly.

    Here’s what I mean: I’ve never worn these shoes, but to me they are the opposite of the shoes on the man repeller website. 😀

  9. oh dear, I didn’t mean to recommend the shoes or the site! I was just sharing it because I found amusing and relevant to the intersection/DEPENDENCY between fashion and the male gaze. 😀

  10. Ok, that makes more sense. 😉

  11. But women really seem to believe this shoes make them look beautiful, UP. I think we need to explain to women that there is no power in looking “beautiful” except, perhaps the power to earn money through modelling, and really, when you could have any career these days, who would want to be a model?

    Women feel so powerless, much more so in Victorian times, and they get told over and over, they will have power over men and therefore their own lives, if only they dress like this or that. But men see MEN as epitomising human beauty, not women, and how many men would want to dress like we do or wear heels on a regular basis? Women, epitomise beauty in my eyes, but then I am one, but I still want to see women dressed comfortably, women dressed naturally are beauty personified to me, but they look like clowns in heels and such. Now why would men want women to look like clowns? Is it because sex is an act of contempt to them? So the more contemptible we are in their eyes the more sexy we are! I have a hunch it’s something like that, but again there is no power in being sexy, being sexy is awful, it just makes it easier for men to pursue their reproductive aims against us, through PIV. Women’s power is through togetherness, that way if we have to sell sex it will be for the high price of political power. When you have numbers/armies you can drive hard bargains.

    Those are very strange shoes Katie! But with matching green and black stockings I think men could quickly get to like us flapping about in them. They are slightly less ludicrous than extreme heels though, so men will probably still prefer the heels.

  12. zeph, OMGoddess, I forgot about men with foot fetishes. I originally liked the idea of them because they are supposed to be as comfortable as going barefoot, plus they are dorky-looking. But your comment made me think that men with foot fetishes might like them because they look like feet. They do look like clown shoes, too.

  13. I think there is a gap in your understanding of how abuse works, femragetruthteller. The final act required to break a person to service/slavery, after they have already undergone torture and degradation, is complicity. Every good slaver knows that, if you listen to people who have undergone severe abuse they will tell you that it is not the terrible things they do to you personally, that destroys your sole and turns you into the undead, it is what they make you do to others. Do you think a Roman slaver beat his own slaves ? No, he made other slaves beat the slaves, this causes them to divide against each other, which makes it easier for him to control them. It also makes sure that their hands are as drenched with atrocity as his, that devastates their sense of self and their moral inclination to revolution. Women cannot refuse to commit genital mutilation, without suffering severe punishment, anymore than a jewish person could refuse to place other jews in gas chambers without losing their life. The world is not like the TV or magazines where people just say no and nothing else happens to them,

  14. Katie, they are comical aren’t they? And perhaps there is not enough spite in them to make them really attractive to men. You never know, you might have discovered the ultimate ‘man off’ switch, in which case we will all want a pair. 🙂

  15. One straight woman explained the shoe fixation to me. I’ve been hanging with a lot of fashion obsessed het women of late… a culture shock, but they are incredibly fun and nice as well. So I started to ask these lesbian questions: WHY are you wearing all this expensive stuff at the expense of your retirement plan? One woman said that she had the same shoe size all the time, but that she couldn’t maintain consistent weight for the rest of her body. It made sense in a weird way, and she must have been about 350 pounds. Same shoe size, overweight issues….

    Straight women ooo and ahh over each others shoes and clothing ALL THE TIME! They seem obsessed by this, but really, a lot of it might be social nervousness and fear of real dialogue. Upper middle class white women carry around a hell of a lot of social fear; they seem to believe that it all makes a difference NOT to engage in challenging discussions, although I do get through to them. Keep asking questions….

    The video was horrifying, and feminism had the male controlled fashion industry on the ropes in the 60s and 70s– backlash backlash backlash….

  16. “The video was horrifying, and feminism had the male controlled fashion industry on the ropes in the 60s and 70s– backlash backlash backlash….”

    Yes, I never thought they would get us to wear heels in an everyday way again.

  17. When I first went hiking (in the 60’s) you could not find hiking boots for women, at least not in the town where I lived. I was able to find a “husky boys” boot that fit well enough. That changed quite a bit, but I still question the durability of the expensive hiking boots that they sell women compared to those they sell men.

    You are right about the high heels and pointy toes. When I first saw them I was in shock, like WTF??!!!?? The designers are all women haters getting rich off young women who have little or no money to afford such nonsense.

  18. I honestly don’t understand how women could dress like this – whether it be the Victorian style or the pornificated style of today. It makes my skin crawl just looking at it. I also heard women froze and died of pneumonia a lot back then too as a result of the style and not be able to wear clothing warm enough to protect them from the elements.

  19. I don’t think victorian women had much choice, Lucky. Once they won a few legal rights they changed their dress. Why todays women have gone this way is more mysterious. But I am inclined to think, being officially entitled to climb the work ladder, has made them vulnerable to the whims of their bosses. Of course the degree to which women have always been the most constructive component of the work force is epitomised in the saying from the 1940s “all great corporations are run by their secretaries”. But they were still unable to have job status and financial rewards for their work.

    So maybe we were like children in their final year of junior school, confident, feisty and self directing, (on the surface,anyway) but when we moved onto career ladders, competing for degrees and promotion in the work place, we became diffident and disorientated, just like the confident juniors who suddenly find themselves the weakest in senior school; and are compelled to begin another long climb up the ladder. Sometimes we have to go backwards into humbling experiences, to move forward again.

    To older generations of feminists it is awful to see women eating so much craw, losing their political know how; understanding the world of self promotion but not of community action. I heard a corporate woman on TV say, the other day “we are not at the top yet, except in dribs and drabs, but we are in middle management in force, and we are beginning to carry some clout.” Lets hope they can relearn feminism so they know how to use it!

  20. I don’t think all Victorian women dressed like that, just the upper classes. I think one trap that lures women into fashion atrocities, is the desire to be viewed as upper class, as a member of the gentry. You see this sometimes with women who were raised poor, Dolly Parton comes to mind, where women go overboard, almost as a way of chasing off poverty. Long fingernails, a corseted waist, high heels, pretty much declare you are not going to be doing any manual labor. Not that there isn’t plenty of misogyny and pornofication going on, but I think women are enticed into it in part because high fashion is a declaration against poverty.

  21. I really never thought I would see a rebirth of awful high heeled shoes as major fashion obsessions of so many women. Again we are in the backlashes of all backlashes… an assault and an erasure of radical feminism… and I hate to say it, but straight women fall for the bait over and over again, and it’s because they still insist that you can live with men or marry them and that this will change the basic life conditions of women. Marriage, fashion… it all just hung around waiting to con the next generation of women … combine this with the intellectual laziness epidemic to the times….

  22. You see Sheila, women were not able to make any choices until fairly recently. Every time they disobeyed the edicts of men they got rounded up and burnt. A man was entitled to kill his wife, it was seen as a minor offence, men owned all property, and as UP has pointed out in her post, a husband was free to rape his wife and impregnate her against her will, until a few years ago. Don’t blame women, they have had little room for manoeuvre.

    Poor Victorian women wore a lot of hand me downs, Yttik. Poor women as well as rich women wear burka. Anglo Saxon peasant women had to wear uncomfortable starched wimples in their hair. Women of all classes had to stumble about in long heavy skirts.

  23. In every era, there are women who simply refuse to conform to all of this nonsense. What I want all women to know is that rebellion could be absolute. But even Susan B. Anthony wore uncomfortable clothing of her era.

  24. My Jaw just about hit the floor this morning as a four yr old girl clip clopped her way into my kid’s kindergarten in pink plastic stiletto heels this morning. Good Gertrude no! My heart sank, my stomach turned. Why??? Another mother squealed ” I like it!!” Uggggh. You’re right SheilaG about the ooohs and aahs, some kind of weird mix of social nervousness and patriarchal compliance ritual. So sad. This little girl, beaming with pride, clip clop, clip clop, so sad.

  25. Milly… shock… a little girl put in shoes like that… and this ooo and ahh factor over clothing and shoes that is a constant with upper middle class straight women is incomprehensible to me. Do het women just love showing off to each other? I can’t believe that even dopey men care at all about this stuff… especially if they have to pay the shopping credit card bills.

  26. I think, “dopey men” care a great deal about legitimising child sexual objectification. It is them who want to use children for sex! If they can naturalise it in the eyes of women, the way it used to be naturalised by such sayings as “Spare the rod spoil the child!” and the way it is still naturalised by patriarchal religions, as Loretta exemplifies in her post “Pope and Islamic leader agree: child rape is normal” It makes sexual access to children easier for them.

    Sheila, I am not here to put through anti women remarks, if someone wanted to denigrate lesbian women I would not put that comment through either. Just letting you know.

  27. Yes, its not only het women who are engaging in inadequate and dangerous 2-person love relationships and putting all their eggs in someone else’s basket. Sheila loves hating on straight women and calling bullshit on them, meanwhile Sheilas doing the exact same fucking thing, and doesn’t have to put up with piv either. Lucky her, and very lucky for her that her life turned out exactly as she’d hoped, when she partnered off with one person who could’ve very easily done her in…but didn’t.

  28. Some het women get lucky too, but that’s all it is. Luck.

  29. It would be nice if het women could stop death-staring me, every day of my freakin’ life, just sayin’.

  30. Sorry to hear that, Linda Radfem. Most het women I know, are more relaxed than that.

  31. I mean in the street, zeph, as I go about my day to day stuff. Not women I actually know.

  32. That is annoying, is there anything in particular that sets it off, or is it just general non conformity to patriarchal dressing dictates, that causes them to wonder about their own attire.

  33. A woman who is not groomed and feminine is not liked very much by men, and therefore not liked very much by women who like men.
    A bit like the fact that a lot of women don’t like feminism because MEN don’t like feminism.

    It’s ingrained misogyny isn’t it.
    Women Who Do Not Conform remind certain types of women how *all* women are viewed under the P; that we are all despised. And when a woman who doesn’t give a shit about patriarchal dictates crosses their path, it makes these women *nervous* . They try to stave off the misogyny by dressing to please (FCM has a recent post up about Damage limitation and femininity under the P) . But they’re just kidding themselves. And when they hit a certain age they know it too.

  34. “But they’re just kidding themselves. And when they hit a certain age they know it too.”

    Well, yes and no. I don’t think that older women get the kind of dissing/hating/fear reaction that Linda is talking about. Older women just become invisible, non-entities. They are not threats, they don’t even warrant the emotion of hatred. They just don’t count. It is a way of disempowering women who are very powerful, since they have lived experience that is powerful, potentially, anyway.

    I think it is nervous and beyond. It is raw fear. Many of these women learned to stave off threats to their existence by pleasing men. One possibility is that they had brutal fathers or other men in their lives who beat them unless they acted like they were supposed to. I do think these extreme reactions are about survival. Although some women (but many more men) are sociopaths (possibly born this way), and just haters. They were not threatened by anyone. They use anything they can for their own self-aggrandizement. But many more are very fearful.

  35. ” I don’t think that older women get the kind of dissing/hating/fear reaction that Linda is talking about. Older women just become invisible, non-entities. They are not threats, they don’t even warrant the emotion of hatred. They just don’t count”

    hmmm.. I think they are despised in western cultures. I think that’s why women are obsessed with staving off the ageing process. I remember Sheila Jeffreys mentioning that many female to trans transition during middle age, and she suggested it was so that they did not become a “despised middle-aged woman” .

    BUt yes, but could it be that older women are invisibilized because they are, in fact, more powerful than younger women and therefore more threatening to men? They can’t be impregnated, they probably own property, have “gone off” men and can no longer be manipulated etc… it could be said that older women are a third gender.

  36. I don’t think most older women own property, but non-impregnation must make us seem very threatening to men. And of course all our wisdom that comes from living under P, a major reason that mothers in law are so despised, and why women who “talk too much” are ridiculed whatever the age. One of the earliest warning signs that a man is an abuser is that he won’t like your friends/family, and you can be sure that the women in your life that he likes least are the ones who “talk too much” because they are his biggest threat. That’s domestic violence text book theory but it can be applied to all men.

  37. ok zeph i just watched the videos now, and i couldnt help but notice that the crinoline (“hoop skirt”) was thought to be LIBERATING for women, because it WASNT AS BAD as what they were doing before. ie. wearing up to 8 starched, horsehair skirts on top of one another to get the full-look.

    thats harm-reduction for you! what a perfect example. just like the fucking birth control pill…its still AWFUL but its NOT AS BAD as the alternative. of course, its not an option just to OPT-OUT altogether. and that, of course, is the key to understanding harm-reduction as opposed to radical solutions that will truly liberate women.

  38. Until we can implement those radical solutions, harm reduction is what we have got. How to implement them is the best place for us to focus our energies. Come the revolution!

  39. I’ve often wondered why anyone would wear a garter belt and stockings as opposed to full tights. Keeping practicality, comfort and warmth in mind. On invisibility – I have felt this THROUGHOUT my life. I was only EVER SOMETIMES visible when I was successful at being attractive and beautiful, and as I got older, sexually attractive. Of course often I was invisible BECAUSE I was so good at being attractive! Now I am 31 and I’ve noticed the revultion and the invisibilty – Because I am not young and thin and therefore not beautiful/sexually attractive anymore.

  40. It might be more because you are not meeting patriarchal mandates, than because they don’t think you are beautiful. They don’t think any of us are beautiful really, and there is a lot to be said for being invisible, it may mean men don’t bother you much, so you can be free to live a subversive feminist life.

  41. there is a lot to be said for being invisible, it may mean men don’t bother you much, so you can be free to live a subversive feminist life.

    Invisibility cloaks (like in numerous fantasy novels)–the new radfem “must have” fashion item 😀

  42. Invisibility cloaks (like in numerous fantasy novels)–the new radfem “must have” fashion item.

    Oh Katie, wouldn’t it be great if every woman who felt she had reached her “invisibility” years, decided to become a radfem! What we could accomplish knows no bounds, sharp eyed and Marple like, we could quietly but firmly take over the world. Revolution by stealth!

  43. hmm interesting zeph food for thought, thankyou. I often go around scowling at them – does that mean they don’t bother me lol? And the tiger in me comes out if I need to protect my daughters in the playground! I have rid my life of them come to think of it (bar one) so you’re right I am not often bothered by them. I’m not someone who tries to get approval from men.. and oohh the reaction from my mother when I was no longer meeting those ‘mandates’! Ignoring someone is the height of rudeness, and that is what has bugged me in the past.. but perhaps many women just take this as normal treatment.. but as I knew deep down it wasn’t, i was able to reach my feminist awakening much sooner..?

  44. Yes, Zeph, stealth! I saw something like this in a movie, but don’t remember which one. The elderly women in the town were all dressed in black, widows, were the revolutionaries. The men occupying the town were staring at the “sexy” younger women and the older “harmless” women were smuggling munitions or something like that. Both the younger and older women were in it together. It’s odd to remember a bit of a movie like this from long ago, but I still remember that part.

    Lilith, scowling sounds good! 😀

  45. maybe that’s why in some parts of the world they’re trying to ban the burqa?

  46. I just realized today how much of my life I have spent trying to be beautiful. Imagine if I had spent all that time/energy/money learning and living. How dangerous would I be then? How POWERFUL? But like a dog rolling over in the face of a threat I did it to gain approval, to avoid derision, to fit in, to go unnoticed and uncriticized. I’m starting to get the courage not to conform to the trappings of patriarchy. The cloak of invisibility – what a wonderful liberating thought. Thank you everyone. I get less afraid by the day.

  47. I agree about the fear! When I stopped shaving my legs, I thought everyone would stare at me and maybe say something horrible. When I tried it, I found out that most people were too involved with their own thoughts and lives to care much about what I did after all. When I shaved my head, I had similar fears. Now I fearlessly go outside without covering my head! Perhaps because I’m 32 and now invisible too? I don’t know. All I can suggest is to try it. The fear is mostly coming from within (and no wonder with the media we’re bombarded with!).

  48. One more (sad) thought – perhaps women are becoming invisible earlier (30’s) due to the fact that they’re becoming “visible” at a much younger age (7 or 8)?

  49. there *is* alot to be said about fear, and self-policing our own behaviors and feminine compliance. i recently stopped wearing makeup, and nothing bad happened (well nothing that i can directly and conclusively attribute to that anyway) and it was largely because of *other* women i work with not wearing makeup that i even had the courage to do it, and to think that it might be ok. i know that this is not the case in every industry however, but it was apparently ok in mine, in certain circumstances, for certain women (particularly the ones who have been there a long time) and it at least planted the seed in my mind that it was an option. i am very grateful to those women who came before me, and who did what i wanted to do, and made me see that it might be an option for me too. i like to think this could be a chain reaction around the world, if enough women start pushing the envelope in areas of feminine compliance (and consumerism).

  50. FCM – I feel lucky that I live in a rural area and women rarely wear makeup. Although I havn’t worn makeup most of my life, I was beginning to feel the pressure to do so when living in the suburbs of a big city. I recently went to the bank to talk about getting a loan, and my husband remarked afterwards how refreshing it was to be in a room with two women not wearing makeup. The female branch manager was younger than me, and also completely natural. The more I see natural women’s faces, the more clown-like any makeup appears when seen on tv etc.
    I hold out hope that there will come a time when it’s the most normal thing to be natural, and we will look back at wearing makeup in astonishment – as we do with hooped skirts and corsets.

  51. Hi Manda, It is good to hear of more women feeling they can remain makeup free.

    “One more (sad) thought – perhaps women are becoming invisible earlier (30′s) due to the fact that they’re becoming “visible” at a much younger age (7 or 8)?”

    I don’t think the age group has changed, girls and boys under ten have always been targets. Many women in other parts of the world are married off at ten. It all used to be hidden; words such as child abuse, were hardly heard in my mothers day, but it went on just the same! Women have gained enough power over the last thirty years to be able to give a voice to women and children who are abused and used in porn. I think men (no longer having the wherewithal to hide it completely) are now trying to give it social acceptability. Children’s clothes are becoming more overtly sexualised, poll dancing is encouraged in underage girls. Women have long been unable to protect their children from their male relatives, now men want to be patted on the back for it too! It may look like a retrograde step, but seeking sanction is a step down from having so much power they could not only insist on abusing you, but force complete silence on you as well. Power so total that entire realities could be vanished by it.

  52. I believe that most young girls back in the 1950’s were abused and sexualized in one way or another, but it was hidden, as you say, zeph. One change–I do think that social media and the internet have given these males more access and made it easier for them.

    Ok, so here’s a tip for those of you who want a rationale for work for not wearing makeup. I have allergies to all of it (even the supposed hypoallergenic stuff). I never wore it for years except for job interviews, anyway, I think it looks stupid. Each time, my eyes would swell, and get runny, etc. Also, with lipstick, my lips would peel. My skin would get a rash from makeup on it. Finally, the last times I looked for work, I only wore lipstick, nothing else. My lips still peeled, but I did get a job. Why? I don’t look very healthy without it, but once I have the job, I don’t care. I can’t even use soap on my face skin without a rash/chapping. I don’t use much soap anywhere, just mostly water. Oddly, I can use some deodorant, but only for work or some social occasions. (I guess I’m just a delicate snowflake 😉 Or maybe my body is wiser than the misogynist culture).

    If you are pressured at work to wear it, you could claim that it gives you allergic symptoms. I don’t think that’s cheating as a feminist, because we need to have jobs and each work environment/cultural setting is different. I think that relative economic security is very important.

  53. If all females everywhere REFUSED and stopped holding up the patriarchy,
    patriarchy would crumble.

    Zeph, there are females out there who are actively fighting against FGM among the many other
    things going on out there. We are not the perpetual victims that ‘radicals’ want us to be.
    We are not here for you to rescue us.
    Slaves found (& still find) ways to rebel and free themselves.
    Slavery like capitalism only exists and keeps going as long as there are masters and slaves.
    People throughout time in all situations have fought and given their lives to stop oppression,
    in the most horrific and dangerous of situations.

    You say “there is a ‘gap’ in my understanding of how abuse works”.

    Hmmmm let’s see.
    I was abused physically & sexually as a child, I was a homeless prostitute on the streets between the ages
    of 14-16(yeah right here in the good ole’ USA), I survived domestic violence, I have been raped.
    So please no more patronizing comments.
    I will not play the victim for my ‘feminist sisters’.
    And I as a working class person will not use middle class academic language
    or theory to get my ideas, actions across and out there.
    I talk about my real life experiences.
    So please Feminist sisters, stop victimizing the people you claim to be fighting for.

  54. You will find no disagreement from me that women are out there fighting, and that the price they may well pay is torture or death. Given the price we must pay, we are victims and survivors both. Women have fought against patriarchy over and over again, the punishments were terrible, many women of all classes died in the burning times, by the time they were over, women had lost the right to be doctors and midwives. Feminism had to win back that ground.
    Feminists are not fighting for any specific woman, we are fighting to give all women from all classes better chances.

    You say “there is a ‘gap’ in my understanding of how abuse works”.

    Yes, I am sorry to hear about your pain, but abuse works to keep people from clearly seeing the system that administers it. You can’t fight what is out of focus. Most women are or have been abused to one extent or another, that is why radical feminism tries hard to expose the working of the system beneath our individual suffering.

    There are gaps in all our understandings of how abuse and enslavement works, radfems work on filling them. A woman who refuses to commit genital mutilation may be punished by having her child killed in front of her, or being killed herself, this forces the women to commit men’s atrocities for them, and that in turn demoralises and divides them, making them easier to control. You seem to want to blame women for being faced with impossible odds, instead of congratulating them on surviving at all. There were many revolutions of poor people, before the one’s that eventually lead to democracy. They came in on a tide of technology, to some extent so has western feminism, not because we were not always fighting but because we needed an environmental advantage to make headway.


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