Lululemon pant-demic at Ottawa U and the myth of mass customization. (7)

You wouldn’t believe the number of girls that do Yoga at the University of Ottawa these days. And you’d be right not to, because they don’t. They just pretend to with their Lululemon yoga pants.

Most guys would think it odd to complain that these figure-clinging pants are the latest fad to stick to young women’s butts everywhere. But here I am doing it, because part of me doesn’t understand it.

"WHY!?"

One frustrated word: "WHY!?"

What’s interesting about Lululemon’s yoga pants is that they are advertised in such an ironic way that matches Strangelove’s criticism of similar products beautifully.

Lululemon’s website advertising literature attempts to give their pants an aura of liberation through personal meditation by riding on the back of Yoga mythology which preaches such empty promises as to “integrate the various aspects of the body-mind through a combination of postures, breathing techniques, deep relaxation, and meditation.”

Strangelove’s argument that “it is intensely ironic that this latest trend in highly customized marketing is celebrated as liberating” (p. 39) fits the Lululemon booty conspiracy perfectly.

Additionally, pants with titles like “hook my eye” and “groove” play right into the male gaze. It is curious that women would find such themes “liberating.” You can see why I am so confused.

But Strangelove’s analysis with the help of Hannah Tavares does make things a bit clearer. “What looks like diversity and freedom of choice turns out to be stereotypical constructions of feminity and race” (p. 147).

The only question left is “When will the booty pants fad end?”

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 2:54 am  Comments (26)  

Feminism is for Fridays: online misogyny. (4) (video 2)

A lot of information is coming our way these days about women in society.

Strangelove has pointed out that for the first time some women are out-earning and out-graduating men. I look around me, and at least for the University of Ottawa, I can’t argue there. The majority of my Communication classes have more women than men.

Contrary to what feminists predicted, there is gender parity on the internet. Strangelove argues that its close to 50/50 on Youtube.

The gender wage gap has stagnated at 22.2 per cent according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Why don’t we hear about the wage gap in the media? It could be because, according to Strangelove, 70 per cent of journalists and 90 per cent of film makers are men.

But its important to not obfuscate other issues by focusing solely on the plight of women in the U.S., which many would argue does not match up to the plight women face internationally in some Islamic countries. Additionally, racial minorities can be just as damning in the workplace as gender.

Vicky Lovell’s (Ph.D) study on Jobs and Diversity in the Communications and Media Sector revealed that the wage ratio for whites versus minorities was very similar to that of men versus women. In the Wired Telecom industry “white men’s earnings are more than 27 per cent higher than minority men’s, and white women’s more than 31 per cent higher than minority women’s … white men earn 30 per cent more than white women, and minority men earn 34 per cent more than minority women” (p.17).

But there is a men’s rights activism rising alongside the newly unabridged female voice on the Internet.

Youtube users like ArgusEyes point out that in certain cases, men are more oppressed than women, specifically from a legislative point of view. I do not agree with all of his points but I will say that in every argument neither side is always completely correct.

It certainly appears that Feministing has removed his response videos, which were not derogatory or offensive to women. Although he might have made incorrect arguments, in the absence of a reason as to why she removed his videos, we should not assume that she was indeed avoiding debate. Perhaps she saw no reason to allow amateurism on her channel. Or there might be a history between these users that we are not aware of. We could fault Feministing for using ad hominem against those she rightly opposes for using ad hominem. Although, her use of it might be intentionally ironic.

Stereotypes and false generalizations usually contain some truth or no one would listen to them. Thus, although ArgusEyes may have a point when he says that breast cancer research receives disproportionately more funding than prostate cancer research (when both kill as many people), or that men receive longer sentences than women for the same crimes, we should not be so quick to cry “oppression against men is worse!” but instead try to understand why these things are so, and look for other minorities who are being oppressed as well.

Indeed I have always interpreted feminist argumentation on its best merits and seen it as a force for equality. Getting our undergarments in a knot over which gender is treated worse is a fatuous exercise. Equality for both genders should be the highest goal.

~

ArgusEyes’ blog: http://www.true-equality.net/archive/2008/05/10/men-are-more-oppressed-than-women.aspx

Feministing blog: feministing.com

Vicky Lovell. Making the Right Call: Jobs and Diversity in the Communications and Media Sector. Retrieved from: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/C364.pdf.

IWPR. The Gender Wage Ratio: Women’s and Men’s Earnings. Retrieved from: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/C350.pdf.

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm  Comments (2)