The conundrum posted by this video is one that I hear a lot. Personally, I think that both cases of the underpaid women workers and the objectified playboy bunnies aren’t exclusive of one another and are both huge problems. And an even bigger problem is the implication that the best (or at least one of the best) ways for a woman to make enough money to be able to support herself and her kids is by objectifying herself. That’s a sick and sad prospect.
Indeed, they both suck. And yet, we only talk about one of them. I don’t agree, either, that you can/should ignore problems because bigger problems exist. The fact that garment workers and farm workers are exploited isn’t a reason to stop talking about sexual exploitation. But it seems right now that people tend to ignore this very arguably bigger problem in favor of the smaller one.
Short Analisys: Two Wrongs don’t make one right.
Cara, I disagree entirely. I NEVER hear ANYONE complain about the objectification of women. YET, I have heard LOTS about how we can get ETHICAL CLOTHING, and Fair Trade is already a reality. True, it helps the POOREST of this planet instead of the poorest of the richest countries, but it’s a start. And the reason why I focus on one and not the other is because when you say “EXPLOITATION OF GARMENT WORKERS” people go “Yeah, it’s terrible, isn’t it?” whereas when you say “OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN” people respond with anything ranging from indiference to SHUT UP, YOU LESBIAN, PRUDISH, MAN HATER, FUN SPOILER, MORON!
It’s not only the garment workers in the U.S., Mary, it’s the garment workers in the U.S. and all over the world. The clothes on my back right now, the clothes on most of our backs, were not made in the U.S., but they were made by U.S. companies, and they were made in sweat shops. The food we eat comes from the labor of very poor, over-worked, horribly treated farm workers. If people truly cared about that, it wouldn’t be true.
You’re talking about “objectification.” I’m not. I’m talking about exploitation, and they’re two different things. Many sex workers would argue with those who say that all sex workers are exploited, but it is fair to say that all kinds of sex workers in every industry are. Objectification is a whole separate issue. Someone looking at my boobs while they talk to me is a million miles away from being forced to sell my body for sex to feed my kids. And it’s a million miles away from working in fields or in a sweat shop for 18 hours a day with no breaks for only a couple of dollars, or less, a day, so that I or my family might be able to eat. They’re not anywhere even remotely near each other.
If you want to talk about comparisons, here you go: when someone talks about “sex trafficking” and “women forced into prostitution,” there is all kinds of sympathy for them and their plight. When you talk about “conditions for POC farm workers,” you’ll hear “THEY WANTED TO COME INTO THIS COUNTRY TO TAKE OUR JOBS SO WHAT RIGHT DO THEY HAVE TO COMPLAIN.”
Personally, I couldn’t give a shit less what names people want to call me, what I care about are the lives and experiences of the poorest and most vulnerable people. And the question here isn’t “which has the most public support,” the question is why the hell mainstream feminists want to talk about sex work and sexual exploitation and sexual objectification so much and not talk about the other forms of labor violence that women are subjected to. It’s a question that we all need to ask ourselves, and it’s a question that I have to ask myself. I’m certainly not arguing that the sex industry isn’t fucked. It is fucked. I’m talking about the fact that feminist blogs — including my own — constantly scream about how the sex industry is fucked, but don’t constantly scream about how the garment industry is fucked and how the farming industry is fucked.
Cara, I think we are on the same page, but you are not understanding me. What I said is that there are already campaigns in place to bring better working conditions to farmer and garmet workers IN THE POOREST PARTS OF THE PLANET. And this campaigns do get their share of press IN THE UK. Here no one would dream of saying:
“THEY WANTED TO COME INTO THIS COUNTRY TO TAKE OUR JOBS SO WHAT RIGHT DO THEY HAVE TO COMPLAIN.”
mostly because nothing is produced within the UK.
I do have this reality very present in my everyday life to the point in which I don’t buy clothing unless I absolutely have no choice. But the reasons why I don’t blog about it are:
1) there’s already people out there, (you do hear about them on the UK) who are doing a great job, much better than any I could ever do.
2) I couldn’t discuss this topic without getting into HOW I WANT TO SEE THE END OF CAPITALISM, something which I and only three other people in the world want and which very FEW feminists seem to be invested in.
I will eventually learn more about this and start writing, arguing and screaming all around, but it will take time. Meanwhile, I try to do my share. Buy fairtrade, do not support cheap clothing and campaign for the rich to be less rich so the poor will be less poor. 😉
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