The leaders of the modern feminist movement have a bit of a history of using vulgar tactics to garner attention for their causes. At the 2012 Republican National Committee (RNC) Convention, for instance, the female-based “anti-war” group Code Pink protested the GOP’s notorious “war on women” by harassing attendants while dressed in massive, life-sized vagina costumes. In a different, more hilarious fit, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry displayed a home-made pair of tampon earrings on air in a rather perverse display that somehow promoted women’s rights.
Last week, however, the social activist t-shirt company FCKH8 (classy name, I know) took the standard to a new low after it produced a short video in which young girls scream profanities in order to get people to buy anti-sexism t-shirts. The video, entitled “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism,” immediately generated political controversy, with conservatives condemning the video for its use of little girls and liberals applauding it for its feminist message.
Now, ideological groups from both sides using children to win political points–although deplorable in pretty much all contexts–isn’t new. President Obama, for instance, used children as props in his campaign for gun control last year, having them surround him as he signed 23 executive orders in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. But what goes on in this video is substantially worse, and is arguably tantamount to child abuse. In the video, young girls aged anywhere from 7-13 are made to shout curse words–likely having no grasp of what the words actually mean–and yell about topics like rape and sexual assault, the gravity of which they certainly don’t understand. Hell, many young adults I know aren’t mature enough to seriously address these issues, and to have eight-year-olds talk about them so crassly is not only condemnable but also disturbing. Clearly the video’s feminist producers didn’t recognize the sad irony in using and abusing young girls to make a video about how wrong it is that girls are used and abused.
At one point in the video, the girls preface some claims about sexism by asking, “So what is more offensive: a little girl saying f*ck, or the f*cking unequal and sexist way society treats girls and women?”
I, for one, think the most offensive aspect of this ad is the blatantly false and misleading information the video uses to convince American girls of their victimhood and oppression:
Statistic 1 (Pay Inequality): Women are paid 23% less than men for the exact same work
As I have previously discussed, the gender wage gap is largely a myth that falters when thoroughly and properly investigated. The reasons for discrepancies in gender pay are complex and multi-faceted. Men and women tend to pursue different college majors, with men more often pursuing majors that lead to higher-paying jobs. And even for those in the same major, men and women consistently demonstrate “occupational segregation,” meaning that men tend to choose higher-paying jobs than women in the same general field. Men in full-time jobs consistently report working more hours than women in full-time jobs, and men and women tend to enter different economic sectors, with more men working in the for-profit sector versus more women in the nonprofit.
If a female worker actually earned less than her male colleague working the exact same job, with the same experience and hours, she would have ample grounds to sue, as laws already exist that outlaw gender discrimination. Additionally, if the 23% statistic were true, employers would be paying nearly one-fourth more when they could hire an equally qualified woman for the same job. Are we really expected to believe employers are that irrational and misogynistic?
Statistic 2 (Rape and Violence): One out of every five women will be sexually assaulted or raped by a man.
This statistic comes from a CDC study that used very questionable and misleading research methods. The CDC used data from a 2011 NISVS survey, which was conducted over the telephone with randomly selected respondents. In the survey–which had a response rate of just 33.1%–interviewers did not even ask respondents if they had ever been raped. Instead, as Christina Hoff Sommers points out, the researchers merely described sexual encounters and then they arbitrarily decided whether or not the responses constituted an act of sexual violation. For instance, one definition of rape included “attempted forced penetration,” which is obviously not the same as rape. Although this category falls within the meaning of the umbrella term “sexual assault,” the respondents weren’t given the opportunity to clarify the extent of the encounter, or whether or not they personally felt violated. Another definition was “alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration,” but the wording of those questions made it impossible for respondents to distinguish between consensual and non-consensual encounters.
Indeed, the only definition the study used that is indisputably rape is “complete forced penetration,” and the CDC found the lifetime prevalence for this to be 11.5%–half of the 20% they asserted for the broad category of “Rape.” But even this 11.5% statistic, which equates to roughly 14 million women, is questionable; for instance, 2010 data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found only 188,380 people reported being victims of rape and sexual violence. Obviously not all victims report assaults, but the immense jump the CDC makes is undoubtedly suspicious.
“How many more women have to get knocked down before society stands up and stops it?”
This line perfectly illustrates the culture of dependence and victimhood that pervades modern feminism. Individual responsibility for personal protection isn’t required; it’s society‘s job to make sure women are always protected from sexual abuse or rape. Perhaps the commitment to this belief is why feminists and Democrats actively oppose legislation that would enable women to better protect themselves on an individual level, like greater access to guns and concealed carry permits.
“Here’s a hot tip: stop telling girls how to dress, and start teaching boys not to f*cking rape!”
Ah yes, the old boys-don’t-know-that-rape-is-bad line. News flash, feminists: Boys do know that rape is wrong. Rape is one of the most abominable acts of human violation. Everybody knows this. As a young adult male, I can tell you that at no time in life are us guys ever told, “hey, you know about rape? It’s actually not that bad! You should try it sometime!” Rapists are some of the most abhorrent criminals there are and, like all criminals, they don’t adhere to society’s standards of right and wrong. Yes, there are many examples of organizations and individuals (both online and in reality) who perpetuate violent and misogynistic behaviors and beliefs. But to arbitrarily decide that these people are representative of America’s societal norms–or that because of these instances, society as a whole somehow condones rape and sexual assault–is irrational and dramatically misguided. Just as more gun control wouldn’t stop criminals from illegally accessing and using guns, “teaching boys not to rape” (whatever that entails) wouldn’t stop rapists from raping.
“We’re glad a woman’s right to vote is here; but equality’s next step is walking to the car without fear.”
Did I read this right? Is feeling safe at all hours of the day now a fundamental or Constitutional right, comparable to the right to vote? If so, then women aren’t the only ones being treated “unequally.” Indeed, I’d be very surprised if anyone felt truly safe walking alone at night, regardless of their gender. Dressing up as giant vaginas and making crude videos about sexism isn’t going to make people feel safer when they’re vulnerable. What will make women (and men) feel more secure, however, is better access to self-defense mechanisms, including anything from combat training to the right to carry arms.
As this video shows, the propaganda produced by many modern feminist groups predominantly serves the purpose of political or economic profit. If these groups actually want to make a difference for women, perhaps they should start by (1) not using and corrupting children for their own selfish gain, and (2) using credible information and arguments that accurately portray the reality of these issues. Women and self-proclaimed feminists everywhere should make a concerted effort to investigate the veracity of advertised information like this, for in today’s polarized political world, the truth could mean all the difference.