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If This is Progress Where the Hell Are We Going?

The blogosphere is confusing the hell out of me. Specifically the supposed advocacy blogosphere, which says it’s watching out for body image and female progress.

In previous years these advocates would argue that certain toy companies excluded girls from engineering type toys – maybe Lego for instance – by focusing on male narratives, often narratives that focused on violence and competition and conquer (Star Wars, Ninjas, Dinosaurs, Cars movie, Mind Storm, etc.). Certainly, one might argue, there was definitely room for Lego to make their product more inviting to girls. So they did.

And pro-girl advocates responded with a violent social media shit-storm that surely made their heads spin.

We don’t need a “girl” Lego line. The line isn’t “smart” enough. Characters were beauticians wearing mini-skirts, sitting in hot tubs, drinking mojitos and this sells girls short. Did my friend Crystal – who is a beautician that wears mini skirts and sits in hot tubs drinking mojitos whenever possible – really sell herself short? I thought. Prior to this moment I had thought of her as a small business owner and artist who actually had a pretty rad life. Wait, I wear mini-skirts and so does Ainsley. We sit in hot tubs. We drink fancy drinks out of fancy glasses, mostly because it makes us feel fancy. What does this criticism say about us?

I guess the blogosphere was looking for the narrative to be more upscale, only narratives about women lawyers, doctors and corporate executives will be allowed. The “lowly” professions will now be considered “selling yourself short” for all girls no matter where their interests or skills lie. Only gay boys will be encouraged to be hair stylists from here on out and vacationing or relaxing, forget it. Is this where we’re headed?

Then we have the issue of body image. The blogosphere has been fighting women and girls being objectified by media and advertising. Namely posing models in sexualized poses that make them look like the entertainment. It’s degrading. It’s minimizing. It’s demoralizing. It dehumanizes us and it’s downright disrespectful. Right? Well, I guess that’s only if the girl or woman is emaciated and the blogosphere is jealous of her weight. I mean, that’s the only conclusion I can come to considering the accolades this photograph and article about plus-sized women being passed around by the exact same blogosphere that has been for years declaring that posing women like this is down-right wrong.

When I pointed out, on Facebook, that this was, in fact, a very popular pose in pornography I was told I was flat out wrong and they just didn’t see this at all.

Seriously? You don’t see that this woman is bent in half with her bottom and vag. exposed, ready to take it from behind, with her face to her knees (making her essentially faceless to her lover), except that it’s looking directly into the camera for the viewers’ benefit with a giant smile that says “I’m having a GREAT time in this completely unnatural and weird pose!” with her childish braid hanging to the ground, juxtaposed next to her super high heels?

Have I gone mad? Am I the only one who sees all the markings of pornography or has this woman’s size 8 thighs blinded everyone? I mean, plus-sized women hang out like this all the time, right? Folded in half exposing their asses for easy access in little girl braids and three-inch stilettos – that’s the cultural definition of “sexy” we’ve all agreed on and fat girls are “sexy” too damn it! Imagine if she was an emaciated girl. Then it’s objectification of women? Imagine if it’s a man. Then it’s just gross?

I thought plus-sized women were shooting higher than wanting to be included in being objectified by the media and in advertising. I thought they might want to get out of this cultural insanity with their dignity in tact. But, “this is art” I was told. Unlike all the other times when it’s just the media and advertising objectifying and sexualizing women and girls.

My mistake. This is progress. I guess?  I thought we were trying to change our lives for the better.

I’m just not sure where the hell all this progress is going anymore.

Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach at www.traceesioux.com.  She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Contact her at traceesioux@gmail.com.

17 replies
  1. Revka says:

    Tracee, I couldn’t agree with you more on all counts! I love the new Legos line, and that pose is absolutely pornography, not art. The first thing I thought when I saw it was that she was just waiting for some guy to stick to in her. And my second thought was that her pose looks incredibly painful. My third – that’s plus size?!

    Thanks for telling it like it is.

  2. Liz says:

    Loved this post.

    It’s interesting because I asked Hugo from Healthy is the New Skinny why there are certain height requirements for “Natural Models”. He said something to the affect that they needed to be taller to get jobs in the industry as the industry is right now.
    Hmm. I thought the whole goal of their Natural Models, PUP, and Healthy is the New Skinny programs was to be there for all girls and women, right?

    I mean the average American women is 5″4″. I guess it’s okay for them to promote that it’s great to be tall or tall/plus, but not average height/plus size or average height/naturally thin??
    Women under 5’9″ or the “real” plus size women (when I mean real, I mean not by modeling industry standards plus size because those are two different things) don’t bring in the money so we won’t represent them or hire them. So pathetic.

    If people are going to claim to advocate for self-esteem and body image for women, they might want to think about including ALL women. To me Healthy is the New Skinny is just like saying Healthy is the New Fat. It’s just horrible. There are such contradictions when it comes to body image issues in the media.

    I’m finding myself not even reading most of the “advocates” sites anymore. It’s become too disturbing and hypocritical.

    I’m inspired by girls and women who are actually making a difference with their actions, not lip service.

    Thanks for the great post!!

  3. Catwoman says:

    The new Legs are really cool, I just purchased a set for my daughter. To the ad: I don’t think it’s pornography. If it was, then all of the ads nowadays would be declared the same. We have to accept that the most ads are for men, and for men, a sexy pic can sell everything. Anyway, I only see a flexible young healthy woman without her clothes. I don’t think it was pornography.

  4. Tracee Sioux says:

    This photo was featured in a women’s magazine, read by women. It wasn’t intended for men.

    I happen to disagree – do we have to accept that it exists? Obviously, because it does. But, because it’s everywhere does that then believe it acceptable? Hell no.

  5. Feona Lewis says:

    There’s really this stereotype and bias against women. I hope we would be gain equal opportunities with men in terms of engineering work. What do you think should we do to empower women?

    Thanks for ticking my brain off!

    -Feona

  6. anja says:

    Sit and reach its so hard, But that woman oh’WOW! She is very fit and flexible. I wish I can do that also.

  7. Catherine Jones says:

    I also ask this question very often “If this is progress where the hell are we going?”, to myself and to friends. I loved every bit of your post.

    Thanks for sharing.

    -Catherine

  8. New Moon Girls says:

    Tracee, you make a good point! We should be encouraging girls to pursue their interests and develop their skills in areas that they find interesting, not telling them through a Lego product that they are selling themselves short. Your blog post is a reality check to what progress is really being made about body image and female progress. If you are interested, check out Nancy Gruver’s post: “Girls And Legos – Oh My!” http://blogs.newmoon.com/parent-girls/2011/girls-and-legos-oh-my/

  9. Cinny18 says:

    I think these year i really need to engage with a fitness activities, Health is wealth. I need to moves out.

  10. Lux.12 says:

    I hope that these kind of blog will continue bring a truly “Girl Power” to every one and will inspire continuously.

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  1. […] I read If This is Progress Where the Hell Are We Going?  — The Girl Revolution, by Tracee Sioux, I felt compelled write about this topic. Tracee is asking the question: what […]

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