Saturday, 27 July 2013

Sudden Rant Towards Moronic Sexist Headlines

The Duchess of Cambridge, whom the media prefers to call "Kate", as if she were a child personally known to them, not a 31 year old woman and mother of one, did not "show off" her "baby belly." She gave birth and--holy Toledo!--her stomach did not return to its pre-pregnancy flatness by the next day.

I get so angry when the media prints photographs of women looking the way it is normal for women to look, or wearing the kind of clothes it is normal for women to wear, with text claiming that the women are "showing off" in some way.

It makes be particularly angry when the women are said to be "showing off their baby bump." Actually, no. The women just HAVE "baby bumps." It is not the 19th century; pregnant women do not modestly hide themselves at home so that no one has to see for their own eyes that they had have sex. Most women do not cover their abdomens with handbags 24/7.

And it makes me very angry that the media talks about women "showing off" as though it were echoing the Taliban. Women simply ARE, and having bodies is a prerequisite of being human. Unless we are pulling up, or pulling down, pieces of clothing while shouting "Looky here," we are not showing off our bodies. Showing off our bodies is not the same thing as having them.  

Is there any way to disable "Yahoo News" so  I can check my email without having to read their STUPID, IQ-reducing headlines?


SMF said...

I usually just go straight to the log-in page ( but yeah, I saw the same headline and groaned.

Christine Rebecca said...

Just bookmark your inbox directly instead of clicking through from yahoo's main page :)

Seraphic said...

Thank you. I'll do that. I'm sick of garbage-news.

Sarah said...

Just wondering if you read the piece...

If it's the same piece I saw, it was heralding the Duchess for not being afraid to appear in public so soon after birthing, before the baby bump was gone. Because most celebrities and high profile women do not do that. The article I saw about this was saying how great it was that she WAS acting like a NORMAL WOMAN who had just had a baby.

Maybe the headline with "showing off" gave you the wrong impression. It was not the impression I got, however, and the content of the piece was nothing but praise.

The reason I saw it at all is because several mothers on my facebook list posted it, having been encouraged by it.

TRS said...

Thank you for bringing this up. You put words to what I was thinking.
I hate the term baby bump anyway! Bah.
But I guess our culture now is so anti baby anti pregnancy that people seem to think some women are being pregnant AT them!

Perhaps the article was supportive, but the headline is distasteful and trying to be titillating enough to get readers to the article.

Seraphic said...

I believe I read at least two Yahoo news stories on how wonderful it is that the Duchess appeared in public so soon after giving birth, and what a lift she has given to the self-esteem of mothers, etc. (The media, which arguably killed Diana and ruined the Duke and Duchess of York's marriage, will sing a different tune if, like many other women, the Duchess of Cambridge does return to her pre-pregnancy shape.)

What I objected to was the expression "showing off", not the sentiments of the articles, although I think two article on the subject really too much.

The only thing I found interesting was that I was surprised that tummies don't necessary deflate as soon as the babies are born. This just goes to show you that I have never actually seen a woman the day after she has had a baby. My mum was never sent home the next day.

Seraphic said...

*does not return

Jackie said...

Seraphic, I was thinking just the same thing as your last comment.

Kate Middleton, while in an incredibly privileged position, also lives in a fishbowl of incredibly scrutiny. I thought she handled everything beautifully, especially in the face of such crass speculation. How I detest the term "baby bump"!

Seraphic said...

So true. But one eeny thing: the woman hasn't been Kate (or Catherine) Middleton since she was legally married two years ago. She took her husband's name, so she is legally Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge (except in Scotland where she is HRH The Countess of Strathern). Super-officially, she is Her Royal Highness Princess William

I find it fascinating that the press dubbed Diana, Princess of Wales (as she was when her divorce came through) "Princess Di" but the Duchess of Cambridge just gets "Kate" or "Kate Middleton." Seems unfair to me.

Americans may object to all this (although you guys never seemed to object to calling the former Grace Kelly Princess Grace), but there you go. Different country, different customs.

Meanwhile, I don't think you can go wrong dressing like the Duchess of Cambridge. Maybe I'll have a Duchess of Cambridge day.

Sheila said...

Oh, I so agree. I had to laugh at the notion that "she's not ashamed of her post-baby tummy." It's like, she had a baby YESTERDAY. What did they think happened? Magic?

Though I feel for her, because the day after I had a baby I was not standing (standing!) around for photo ops, I was lying in bed with an ice pack on my sensitive bits. I think the poor thing deserves to be in bed with an ice pack too.

On the topic of "baby bumps," am I the only one who finds it objectifying when people zero in on bellies, even if not belonging to celebrities? The demands on facebook for pregnant women to "show us the bump," the constant comments about how big/small she is, the touching by strangers. Ugh. Yes, females sometimes reproduce. It does not diminish our personhood. A woman's belly is part of HER BODY and should not be touched or commented on by near-strangers!

Sherwood said...

I'm American and I call her Duchess Kate. Respectful, identifying and short. :)

Seraphic said...

I agree.

Jackie said...

Seraphic, thank you for that gentle and thoughtful explanation about the Duchess of Cambridge!

I must confess, I read about her mostly on fashion blogs, where they refer to her by KM. (She does have an impeccable sense of style! The British press has been pretty darn nasty to her sister Pippa, though, it appears. Even our NY Time featured an article about it!)

As for the press (here at least) referring to her by her former name, I wonder: Is it possible that since she was dating Prince William for quite some time (8, 9 years?) that people got "used to" her by her former name? IIRC, they have been living together since college.

Or is it possible a class issue? Not to pick on the British press, but there were some pretty low things reported about people giving Mrs. Carole Middleton a hard time over being a former flight attendant. Was Princess Diana in possession of a minor title? To Wikipedia... :-)

Thanks again for the clarification and edification, Seraphic & Co!

Seraphic said...

The late Princess of Wales was Lady Diana Spencer before she was married. As the daughter of Earl Spencer, she was not just an aristocrat, she was a SPENCER. The Spencers are a very old and celebrated British noble family.

I think people were snobbish about the then-Kate Middleton because they were envious. And I think people are nasty about Pippa because she was celebrated mostly because of her beautiful behind. That's not a good thing to be famous for, it turns out. Also, she wrote a book that apparently flopped, poor girl, and there were all the usual accusations of cashing in on her sister's celebrity, blah blah blah. The British Press is REALLY MEAN.

Urszula said...

On a similar note, am I the only person who seems to be bugged by the so-called Modesty Survey (by the Rebelution)? I bring this up because I have younger sisters who have had the 'results' of this survey thrown at them(and they are some of the most modest, sensible young girls I have ever met). It seems to me that the authors of this survey, while having good intentions, make it impossible for a girl to be a human as it shows that basically everything a woman does (including possessing a basic body shape, sitting, bending over, standing) can be provocative to a teenage mind. I bring this up here because I think the respondents of the survey also thought that women make a 'statement' with their every movement. any thoughts?

Seraphic said...

Modesty surveys are not new. And all they prove is that men are turned on by women. We knew this. It would be more polite if men didn't talk about it. The logical result of men blaming women for their natural attraction to women (or for an inordinate desire which they encourage with their imaginations) is women dressed like Saudi desert women. No thanks. It's bad enough that countless numbers of women from around the world are now encouraged to dress like Saudi desert women.

Julia said...

Urszula, I've taken some time to think about this before replying, so it's quite likely I'm too late and you won't see this. But here goes anyway.

I saw the survey in question some time ago after following a link to it on Facebook. I've since had a look at it again a few times. I also read posts by some bloggers who are quite critical of it.

I was surprised, like you, by some of the results and responses that the boys and men gave. I'm someone who dresses pretty conservatively and I'm conscious of dressing 'appropriately', and I was quite surprised to see that certain fashions that I would have said were totally innocuous seemed to trouble some guys.

I think the survey was organised by American Protestants (although I don't know if only Protestants responded). After having read some of the blogosphere critiques of the survey, a broader picture for me is emerging. It seems that in the US, there is a Protestant fixation on ultra-modesty (although comments on this blog make me think it might be a thing for American Catholics too). Urszula, I don't know which country you and your sisters are in, but it might be worth bearing in mind that this appears to be an American Protestant survey, and that some pockets of Protestantism in the US might be taking the whole modesty thing a little too far. I'm in Australia, and I have never seen any such Australian publication. Additionally, I don't sense that Protestants here worry about modesty with the same fervour as their American cousins. I've read the modesty-related comments on this blog before, and I can honestly say I really, really doubt that Catholic or Protestant women in Australia are made to feel so hyper-conscious of their every move.

You say, 'I bring this up here because I think the respondents of the survey also thought that women make a 'statement' with their every movement. any thoughts?'

My thought on this is that many of the respondents seem to be very young indeed, and they possibly don't realise that it wouldn't occur to girls and women that they're making a 'statement' of any kind.

Seraphic said...

I don't know if Urszula will see this, but I did, and I know that Urszula has lived in the USA for at least awhile, although not (I think) in the Bible Belt.

Personally I think it is outrageous that young men are asked what they think is "modest" or "immodest" when they are barely over the age at which their brains will fantasize about any adult woman around, e.g. their eighth grade teacher. I think it particularly outrageous in a country that has long considered itself a beacon of personal freedom and is currently at war with the Taliban.

Modest dressing basically means not wearing fewer or shorter or tighter clothes than the majority of women your own age or of your profession.

Context is almost everything. Catholic girls' school kilts may seem outrageously short on the street (and they are), but in the halls of the school they are positively normal. Worn with thick woolen tights they are more modest than the horrible short T-shirt and skin-tight leggings combination I see around Edinburgh.