What Feminists Maybe Be Able Learn From Suzi Quatro

SQ 1 Legendary rocker Suzi Quatro is currently touring Australia, possibly for the last time. On Thursday, she was on Studio 10 as a special guest panelist. And she got asked this question, which, she’s probably been asked many, many times… what was it like to work in a male – dominated industry? Her answer…. she doesn’t think of gender. Even when she saw Elvis Presley in the late 50’s, she never thought, he’s male, she’s female. She just did what she wanted to do.

Now, I’ve got to say, I think it may have kind of helped that England was in the midst of the glam rock movement when producer Mickey Most took Quatro under his wing in 1971 (“Can the Can” came out two years later). But I find her attitude interesting. How important should gender be, if at all? Do we as a society place too much emphasis on it?

Maybe, just maybe, Quatro might be on to something when not focusing on gender. She’s never allowed herself to let it be an issue. Maybe we shouldn’t either?

She’s openly critical of female artists that rely too much on being provocative, instead of the emphasis being on their talent. She said that she’s actually a fan of women like Miley Cyrus, but does lament about the extent that Cyrus and other female artists goes to, especially when it comes to partial nudity. I kind of get what she’s saying. People took Suzi Quatro and her craft seriously because she took her craft seriously. She was willing to work at and stick to her music even when things seemed quite grim in ’71 – ’72 (read about it in her autobiography “Unzipped”, it’s a great read).

I say the biggest lesson you can learrn from Suzi Quatro: focus on your art/ profession, etc. Don’t try to hard by being provocative. Just be who you are and do what you do…. or at least on hwat you want people to focus on (e.g. music acting, etc). And probably the third thing, at least i got, never give up. It’s not always going to be an easy ride, but never give up.

SQ2

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British Paper ‘The Sun’, Nudity

British paper ‘The Sun’, has dumped the infamous ‘Page 3’, which featured models, originally topless, then scantily clad in under garments. This feature in the paper has existed since Rupert Murdoch took ownership of the paper in 1970, outraging feminists. I can understand why it isn’t appropriate for a ‘family’ paper, but honestly, I sense a big of a double standard in the attitudes held by feminists. Before you attack me, let me explain.

The early Seventies saw an abolition of censorship in the media. Magazines aimed at women, like ‘Cosmopolitan’ and ‘Cleo’ started to include ‘sealed sections’, which, occasionally did feature nude models, completely nude. Actually, over the years, I’ve seen both naked men and women in those magazines. So, may I ask, aside from the targeted audience, what’s the difference?

More recently, I posted about my reaction to the Mamamia article about Caitlin Stasey and nudity and feminism in general. And, by the way, the post on Mamamia featured Stasey COMPLETELY naked, nothing censored. So, may I ask, what’s the difference?

is it because ‘Page 3’ featured professional models and possibly airbrushed? Are people worried that the feature will give particularly young girls, unrealistic edged expectations for their own bodies? Were ‘The Sun’ images deemed exploitative of women? Was the controversy largely over the fact that it was marketed as a ‘family paper’, and not specifically aimed at people roughly sixteen years and over?

I can’t make up my mind whether there is a double standard in this or not. Do you think there is?

Sexism and Ageism in Australian Media?

Is there sexism and ageism in Australian media? Cases in point:

  • Last year, media personality Chrissie Swan was sacked from Melbourne radio station KIIS FM, despite being 2011’s ‘Most Popular New Female Talent’. She was replaced by Matt Tilley, along with Swan’s former co – host Jane Hall. Bloggers from site, Mamamia have condemned Swan’s sacking and have more recently slammed Melbourne’s Herald Sun for further highlighting it and ‘rubbing it in’. They also didn’t give a reason forge dismissal.
  • About two years ago, Channel Seven’s ‘Sunrise’ came under fire when news rumours started circulating that long – time co – host Melissa zdoyle was leaving the show and being replaced by Samantha Armytage. Luckily for Seven, the heat cooled when Doyle was placed as the reporter for the 4.30 afternoon news.
  • About a year before the Seven controversy, Channel Ten was slammed for sacking long – time news reporter, Helen Kapolos and replacing her with Mal Waldon.

So is this just a storm in a teacup, or is this really sexism and ageism being displayed within the Australian media? I must say, I don’t think you can blame people for suggesting it. If you look at the majority of women in the media, especially television, most of them are barely 40 (except Ita Buttrose), where as the men range in age from probably about 20’s – 30’s right up until 60 and over. Also, as for KIIS FM, why the push to have male/ female partnerships, when apparently, Hall and Swan seemed to be a popular team?

Be assured, I’m not trying to be a militant feminist here suggesting that men are overtaking everything and need to be cut down. I’m not saying that men in the media are misogynistic pigs. However, i do wonder. Whether there is a double – standard in Australian journalism and broadcasting when it comes to treating men and women equally and that they are both treated by the same standard.

What do you think? Is there a problem with ageism and sexism in Australian journalism/ broadcasting?

Feminism and Nudity

Back in 2013, Russian feminist protest group, FEMEN made news when it was revealed that they entered their protests about Vladmir Putin and women’s rights semi – naked, with breasts visible. A young Egyptian women followed suit online to protest of lack of women’s rights in her country. Late last year, Kim Kardashian caused a stir for exposing her naked backside while balancing a wine glass on it. Just yesterday on Mamamia, there was a article about actress Caitlin Stasey who posted nude, not airbrushed and created a website based on various women doing the same (which I haven’t looked at, although there were some photos of her on Mamamia).

How has nudity become such a big statement in women’s rights? I kind of get the ‘stuff you’ attitude of industries like the porn industry and the media more generally on photoshopping women’s bodies. I get also, as with FEMEN and the young woman in Egypt, that it’s a way for them to gain ownership of their bodies in a patriarchal society. But is this the only way to do it? Could these sort of trends actually end up backfiring? Let me be clear, I don’t condemn or even criticise these women for doing what they’ve done. If they’re happy doing it and it does prove, even just for some women to be empowering, then, who am I to judge?

I do have some concerns though. First, is this the way feminism is meant to be done now? What about women who still wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it? Let’s be honest, Caitlin Stasey is gorgeous. Also, and I suppose more importantly, is this going to end up being (unintentionally) exploited? Also, will this just further alienate some women, in particular and scare them out of feminism altogether (I wrote about this yesterday about Gen Y).

What do you think of this, so it seems, nudity trend? Is it empowering for women or not?

Feminism and Gen Y

Are Gen Y starting to abandon feminism, unlike those of the Baby Boomers and Gen X? If so, why?

Gen Y (those born around 1980 – 1994), have soemwhat enjoyed the fruits to the women who fought for gender equality in the past. By law, we can vote, we can expect not to be discriminated against based on gender or marital status, we can report sexual harassment and expect it to be dealt with properly. That’s in theory. However, feminism has had it’s drawbacks.

Feminists have been accused of being misandrists (man – haters), and have caused woment to be divided rather than united. This is why many women from Gen Y are scared off feminism. Even well – known stars like Lady Gaga are reluctant to embrace the term feminism.

Then, you get the other side of the coin where feminism has turned into just a label, with very little essence to it. For example, late last year, singer Beyonce displayed the term as a prop for one of her shows. Why? Was she really doing it to make a political point. I’m not saying that Beyonce is or isn’t a feminist or whether she should or shouldn’t use the label, but what was her point in doing that in her show?

Another thing, a number of feminist bloggers have embraced figures on such things like wage pay gap and the rate of sexual assault that have either been proven to be dubious, or at very least, is debateable. Why should Gen Y embrace something that could be based on fabrication or has been arguably blown out of proportion? Yes, we should stamp out workplace discriminatoin, yes, we should condemn sexual assault, but lying doesn’t help anybody. To be frank, I was extremely disappointed when Mamamia embraced the story about “Jackie”, who claims she was sexually assaulted at a party at the University of Virginia back in September 2012. Her story has fallen apart. It’s impossible to have happened at the date she said (there was no even in September 2012) and the name of the person she gave wasn’t even a student at the university. Yet, Mamamia embraced it. The fact that this story is falling apart and is almost very likely to be untrue, is very dangerous to victims of sexual assault. The reporter in the US magazine, Rolling Stone should’ve checked the story properly. The fact that this story fell apart, I fear, is going to make it even harder in the future for women (and men with the “hazing” case in the US), to report cases of sexual assault and be believed.

So, what’s feminism looking like in the future? First, for it to have any relevance, I think it needs to be about real equality: between men, women, and the non – gender conforming. Secondly, people should be told the TRUTH about issues regarding women’s rights and other gender related issues.

Are you from Gen Y? Do you relate to feminism? Why or why not?

What Is Feminism?

Last year, Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop shrugged off suggestions that she was a feminist and didn’t see the fuss about her being a Minister and female. She was quoted at a Natoinal Press Club saying:

I don’t find the need to self – describe in that way [as a feminist]…. [Feminist is] not a term that i find particularly useful these days

(Sydney Morning Herald)

Sites like Mamamia also spoke on this. Bishop is revered both in the Left and Conservative side of the media. But this has somewhat puzzled publishers and bloggers on sites like Mamamia. Why wouldn’t she recognise herself as a feminist? Has feminism really become outdated?

Feminism is defined as:

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes.

The history of feminism has seen great strides for women in the West since the early 1900’s, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right not to be discriminated in the workplace based on gender and/ or marital status or pregnancy (even though it still goes on). Other areas are a bit murky, as MIranda Devine pointed out on “The Bolt Report” last year. Feminism has become synonymous with other issues that not everybody agrees with, such as abortion. This, Devine argued, is where a lot of conservative women, like Bishop may feel alienated from the feminism movement, hence, her reluctance to identify as one.

I argue, too,  that some women may think we don’t NEED feminism any more, and that the 1970’s model of feminism is outdated. Generation Y (those born from 1980 – 1994 roughly), have also been reluctant to call themselves feminists (more on that on a later post).

 

I’ve got to say, there does seem to be a cliqueness to modern day feminism. Most feminist media (Cosmo, Mamamia, Jezebel, etc) is left – leaning and this is where it does run into trouble. I don’t think we have grasped on to the idea that it’s about choice. Not collective choice. Not based on the vote of all other women, but individual choice. Even if that choice is to “conform” to the “traditional gender roles”, as was written about “The Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco.

 

I truly believe feminism is never going to work until we open the door to people of all backgrounds and all political persuasions. And it need to be based on action, not just rhetoric. Do we need feminism? I say “yes”, but lets stop being so cliquey and stand together to fight for equality for all.