Monday, January 26, 2009

Is the Banner Sexist

We had quite a spirited debate in class about the banner or logo atop the home page at (a great feminist blog) is sexist. Some students thought this logo really objectified women and just reinforced all the stereotypes about how women must be thin and curvaceous to be real women. One student even argued that this logo would turn off stocky women from visiting the site.

Other students supported the use of these images in the banner, arguing that the effect is to reclaim the stereotyped "sexy airhead" for feminism.

We related these differing viewpoints to Patricia Hill Collins' discussion of standpoint epistemology - how a person's worldview is influenced by their own life experience, the groups (by race, class or gender) that they are part of, etc. We noted that a person's reaction to this logo might be strongly influenced by their own personal experiences - a woman teased for being overweight might have a different reaction than a woman who focuses on graphic design and frequently writes satirical articles.

The authors of explain the logo in their FAQ "The Feministing logo is meant to be ironic. We wanted to take a traditionally sexist image - the mudflap girl - and subvert her. Hence, the middle finger. We like to think of her as saying "fuck you" to the sexist beauty standard she is supposed to represent."

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