Monday, October 24, 2011

Perspectives on OWS

While I did catch up on a lot of T.V. upon my return state side, I did also read a little bit of news. One of the first things I encountered was a video entitled Hot Chicks Occupy Wall Street....If you haven't seen it, you can find it here. I have read a lot of what people have to say about the video, what it means, and whether or not it's offensive.

Jill on Feministe sums up my point of view nicely:

Steven Greenstreet is the dude behind the Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street tumblr and video. That video has gotten a lot of attention — a lot of women and some dudes have been like “well this is fucked up,” and then some other dudes have been like “I don’t see what the big deal is, boys will be boys and what’s wrong with wanting to meet attractive women at a protest?”
And like I said in my initial post, the deflecting from legitimate concerns, and the fact that the OWS “public” includes a lot of men who think it’s ok to treat women at a protest like we’re there for their visual fulfillment, troubles me. No one is saying, “Don’t find women attractive.” I actually like hot chicks too! No one is saying “Don’t meet hot people at a protest.” People meet people in all kinds of social settings, and that’s great. I met a past boyfriend at a liberal blog conference. Meet away, I say. No one is objecting to dating or hooking up or meeting women or meeting men. No one is objecting to the fact that straight men are attracted to some women (fun fact: straight women are also attracted to some men! So really, no one is pissed about attraction, I promise). What people are pissed about is what Rebecca Traister says:
The larger, simpler argument, outside of consent or permission, is: This video is sexist. It’s an example of women participating in public life — political, professional, social — and having their participation reduced to sexual objectification. That’s what happened here, nothing more, nothing less.
The notion that dressing in a certain way is an invitation (and presumably that dressing in another way is not) is flawed. There is no way for women to dress (dresses, shorts, jeans, overalls) that is not considered an invitation by someone. When you add in the ways in which women are expected to dress in order to be taken seriously, or liked, or listened to or paid attention to, and then add to that assumptions that the choices that they make equal invitations to be ogled, it leaves women no sartorial freedom.
Emphasis mine. If you’re at an event and you strike up conversation with someone cute? Wonderful. But creating a blog and a video dedicated to showing women at a protest with the sole purpose of reminding dudes that women at the protest are hot? That does reduce women to objects of male attention. It’s another reminder, for women, that how seriously we’re taken and how valuable we are depends on how sexually attractive we’re deemed. That it’s ok to use us as bait because hey, it’ll attract more dudes to the protest!
Frankly, the kinds of dudes who would come to the OWS protests because they heard there are hot chicks there? Are not the kinds of dudes I want to be protesting with. I would hope they’re not the kinds of dudes that most progressives would want to be protesting with — but judging by the lefty-dude reaction to Steven Greenstreet (hi Matt Zoller Seitz, looking at you!), that’s not the case. It’s disappointing. It’s pretty shitty to know that some progressive men are a-ok with female protestors being portrayed as boner-bait, because boys will be boys and it’s all in good fun. It’s also worth noting here that actual sexual assaults have happened at OWS.
That's all I have to say about that (or let other people say it for me) because other things have been going on with the movement and I don't want to get stuck in just one conversation. So I wanted to share this piece too about the Top 10 Media Myths about Occupy Wall Street. I appreciate the images, the commentary, and the anecdotes that make the movement a little more personal.