Comments from April 2007
Dig into this month's comments
Theadora Jean, author of the article, replies
Fair points, I’d say, and I wanted someone to disagree with me to a certain extent. However, to counter your arguments, I do have some comments of my own.
I never once suggested that being a feminist was about being famous, or acting as a man or being aggressive. I argued that she could be an icon essentially because she has a successful career and continues to do the things she wants to do. Meanwhile she faces constant criticism from the media and the public, and I believe this is because she is a woman. My intention was to encourage women especially to stop targeting a young mother who has a lot of talent and we are led to believe is fairly vulnerable at present. There are many more male figures who I think should be criticised.
You seem to think that the only action she has taken that is vaguely feminist is cutting her hair. I think feminism is much broader than such stereotypes and any woman in my view who makes a success of her life against unsurmountable odds and faces a daily barrage of media intrusion deserves applauding, not denouncing. I don’t think that wearing revealing clothing, makeup or even stripping naked precludes you from being a feminist either. If she was famous for being in a punk rock band would she be more acceptable to you as a face for feminist cause? Beth Ditto, singer for the Gossip, is lauded for being a feminist icon when she takes her clothes off at gigs, and wears skimpy outfits and cosmetics too. Its never been confirmed that she has had a boob job.
I doubt that Ms. Spears herself would describe herself as a feminist, let alone a feminist icon. However my aim when writing the article was to support a woman in the public eye who I think is unfairly lambasted for doing the things that many young women do and should have the freedom to do. Also I wanted other people to think twice before slagging her off when I think she has much to be proud of, and maybe turn the spotlight on some bad fathers that are famous who could probably do with a good (verbal) kicking.
Theadora Jean, author of the article, responds
I never said feminism was about shaving your head, I actually wrote about how hard she’s worked her entire life, that she is a young mother who is consistently slated for having a social life and who performs minor acts of rebellion against the mainstream. I personally don’t think that to be a feminist you have to adhere to particular political parties or be an atheist.
As for her lyrics, I don’t propose they are genius reams of poetry, but are you suggesting that most punk rock acts are composed of brilliant lyrics? I suspect that your real objection to Britney Spears as a feminist icon or feminist at all is perhaps that you just don’t like her music. Beth Ditto is also fond of taking her clothes of and gyrating, and I imagine she much more fits your bill of what a feminist should be.
My intention while writing the article was to highlight the constant criticism Britney and young women today face, and to try to change peoples perspective of a famous woman in the media (who I believe is unfairly judged on account of being a woman) to be more positive and supportive. But if you’d rather join in with the Britney slagging match, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of punk rockers, conservative christians, and Daily Mail readers right there with you.
JC Sutcliffe, author of the article, replies
I’m glad that your experience is so different from mine, and I would certainly expect, as you say, with people living alone for longer that both parties in a relationship would have the necessary domestic skills. But even so equality in the home just hasn’t turned out to be the case among people I know.
It’s not that I think most men don’t have the ability to cook and clean and so on – and even the ones who don’t have no excuse not to learn. But for most of the couples I know, it really is unusual and surprising if the man actually uses these skills without being asked. Even among households where both partners share chores, I can only think of one couple where the woman is not the ‘house manager’ delegating tasks. But I’m pleased you disagree – it gives me hope!
Jess McCabe, editor of The F Word, responds
I must say, I don’t agree with your argument on why you included that particular post in your BritMeds post. I just think that by including it, without any sort of comment, you’re giving your tacit approval for the sentiments it expresses. I also wonder whether something that amounts to little more than one of those crappy “humorous” circulars you see on “why women/men suck”, is really such a great example of a blog post anyway.
Collette, author of the article, replies
Yes. Rock music is dominated by men (and specifically white men) but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t female rock musicians out there who have just as much right to coverage within the pages of a magazine like Kerrang which purports to represent this specific music scene.
My main point of contention with magazines like Kerrang is that there is an essential assumption made that music generated by women is somehow less valid than that created by men. The rock industry also seems to perpetuate this belief when they spoon feed the public a packaged image of women in rock as ‘;sexy’ as opposed to musically able.
Music is an art form, a form of expression, and as such it should be free to be enjoyed by all regardless of class, gender or race. I doubt very much that the rock bands themselves would discriminate against certain groups or believe that only white males should enjoy their music. By the same token Kerrang shouldn’t discriminate against musicians or fans on the basis of their gender or only allow them to be seen within their pages if they fit a highly sexualised image.
Jess McCabe, editor of The F Word responds
So, a man beats up or rapes a woman, and it’s not his fault – it’s his mother’s fault. Or his wife’s fault? It’s amazing, it really is. Here are some real statistics on domestic violence and rape. According to the British Crime Survey, 81% of domestic violence victims are women and 19% are men. That’s four out of five cases. Strong evidence, indeed, that women are just as violent towards men as men are towards women.