Jan 26 2007

Good news, bad news

A little lite reading at a DC bus stop. Photographed and originally uploaded by techne, some rights reserved.

First, the bad news.

Get a load of this poster, photographed by DC blogger/photographer techne at a Washington DC bus hut. The poster features a faceless young woman’s body, its physique of porn-approved dimensions, clothed in what is popularly referred to by today’s hip young sensitivos as a ‘wifebeater’ undershirt. On the undershirt in large print are the words “PUNCH IT STRANGLE IT KICK IT SPIT ON IT CHOKE IT AND PUMMEL IT UNTIL IT’S GOOD AND DEAD.” It’s the new “Girls Gone Dead” video, right?

Wrong. It’s an ad campaign for the Komen Foundation, dum-dum! Look at the tiny, tiny print. They’re Exploiting for the Cure.

Komen, it can’t have escaped your eagle eye, is the author of those asinine, pink-visored “Race For The Cures,” as well as that most pernicious arm of the megatheocorporatocracy responsible for turning breast cancer — which used to be a vile disease that kills people but is now a sweet little personal struggle that gives middle aged white women the golden opportunity to grow — into branded “awareness.” Breast Cancer Awareness the Brand, with its army of unpaid pink volunterrorists, sells, with unprecedented success, everything from cars to football to potato chips. All, remarkably, without making the slightest dent in breast cancer deaths.

Thus it is through the narrowed eye of resigned cynicism that I view this pornalicious poster: the chest-o-centric pose, the decapitation, the mood lighting, and of course, the snuff film script. Komen stops at nothing, for hundreds of corporations rely on pinkribbonnity to wholesomize their tarnished public images every October during Breast Cancer Shill Month.

Behold the actual sexiness of unpornulated breast cancer ‘survivorship’. It would sell exactly zero potato chips.


I am unenlightened as to the degree to which the excellent techne is familiar with Komen’s misogynist underpinnings; even if she is like most Americans and views Komen as benign, she’s approprately sickened by this explicitly brazen manifestation of the true status of women in American society. It is not without wry indignation that techne remarks “Gee I know! Let’s raise awareness of breast cancer research by putting a violent message on a headless female torso!”

Techne, it turns out, dropped a line to DCist to publicly proclaim her disgust. Her email was published. Like every first commenter on every pop culture City-ist blog, the first commenter on the DCist post was a dude named Todd. Todd declared — not astonishingly, since misogyny is an invisible given in pop culture — that techne has “missed the intent” of the ad, which intent, he wildly surmised in the face of some rather damning evidence to the contrary, is to “stop cancer and not advertise toothpaste so I’d cut them some slack.”

Thus we see how beautifully Komen has succeeded in twisting the tiny brains of America’s Todds into accepting that as long as one seems to be “stopping cancer,” no pink potato chip bag or misogynist image is too revolting.

I might as well point out, while reiterating that Komen does not “stop” cancer, that even if the “intent” of this ad campaign were given the benefit of the doubt, its purported attempt to focus public anger on cancer itself, as though the disease were some cunning, adversarial arch-villain rather than clumps of insensible, indifferent mutant cells, is bogus misdirection. If there is going to be anger, it really ought to be directed at the true culprit: the megatheocorporatocracy which has loosed all these mutation-causing agents into the ecosphere in the first place.

Don’t touch that dial; I’ll get to the good news right after lunch.

[Gracias r b]


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  1. Maria

    I really appreciate you posting pictures of yourself, boobless or not. It brings a needed touch of realism to the feminist blogosphere, and makes me love reading you all the more. Despite having a few relatives with breast cancer, I’ve never heard them be honest about the disease, let alone seen them shirtless. Thank you.

  2. Nick

    Well, if a clump of cells can be a “Fetal citizen”, then I guess a clump of cells can be an archvillain.

    That is a seriously disturbing poster. Komen knows very well the implications of superimposing a snuff film script on a disembodied body, as does anyone who defends it, but of course it’s just de-porned enough to hang in public by adding that breast cancer totally sucks. I’d bet a week’s wages that it’s hanging over a urinal somewhere.

  3. Victoria Marinelli

    Well, shit. I’ll be waiting with bated breath for the good news.

    But speaking of breast cancer, this morning I caught a very quick thing on CNN about a woman who is working to address the specific disparities in death rates between women of color and white women diagnosed with breast cancer. And among the reasons hypothesized by this interviewee (an African American woman) about why women of color may have higher breast cancer death rates were those we all know too well (or at least, I hope we know them well): comparitive lack of access to health care, discrimination in treatments given relative to patients’ socioeconomic status, etc. BUT THEN, there was this additional hypothesis which blew me away: that male partners of women of color with breast cancer may be reticent to allow others to touch ‘their women’. The breast being, of course, a necessarily sexualized body part unlike, say, the pancreas. The implications of this hypothesis are deeply troubling to me, from all sorts of complicated angles. (Not least of which is my skepticism that white men would have any less reticence about allowing medical professionals to touch ‘their women’.)

    Has anyone heard anything about this? If so I’d love to hear more. (Hell, anything to distract me from the way too fucking long wait for my own biposy results, albeit of ovarian cyst rather than breast tissue per se.)

  4. Victoria Marinelli

    (P.S. to my previous comment: I have combed through the totally crappy CNN website but haven’t found any reference to the above-referenced story. Anyway, it was during their morning show, somewhere between 9 and 11 am.)

  5. Megan

    I too think white men would be just as reticent about allowing medical professionals to mess with their wife’s breast’s. It’s possible the contributing factor is that more women of colour are in a position where they are more financially and emotionally dependent on their spouse sticking around in order to survive. Given the choice between a lonely, boobless starving single-parenthood and taking your chances with the cancer (which, while it requires some burying your head in the sand, means you get to feel pornalicious and loved and see your kids fed) would be a pretty tough choice. And I don’t mean to overdramatize it. But I’m curious how many women in relationships, on being given a diagnosis, first think “if the boobs go, then I lose my sex appeal and consequently my spouse.” I think many men wouldn’t leave. But no sane woman wouldn’t at least wonder.

  6. Sam

    “I’d bet a week’s wages that it’s hanging over a urinal somewhere.”

    Under it, with the urinal cake where her mouth should be.

    Love the bright, insolent smile you’re sporting.

  7. Mollie

    You’re awesome.

  8. Chris Clarke

    Twisty, whatever you wear, you ARE all that and a bag of chips.

  9. Lily Underwood

    Twisty faster! Twisty faster! Twisty faster!

  10. JRoth

    Bad news or not, your self-portrait has me grinning right back. What a great image, what a great, self-knowingly absurd smile.

    Go Twisty!

  11. Twisty

    Megan: Because the BRCA2 mutuation — that’s the mutation responsible for my cancer — is inherited, my family is lousy with the stuff. One relative who has tested positive for the gene, but so far negative for the cancer itself, refuses to entertain the possibility of prophyllactic mastectomy. Her boobs, she says, are finally “just right” after years of weight fluctuation and breast feeding, and she’s not about to part with them now. I can totally see where she’s coming from, what with femininity being a girl’s prime directive and all, but in terms of self-preservation this thinking is patently nuts. Particularly when you consider that if the body part in question were any other similarly non-essential part, she’d have it out in a heartbeat.

  12. Beth

    Aw, Twisty…how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

    I have to know – what IS that mysterious tattoo? scissors and…?

  13. Victoria Marinelli

    I too think white men would be just as reticent about allowing medical professionals to mess with their wife’s breast’s. It’s possible the contributing factor is that more women of colour are in a position where they are more financially and emotionally dependent on their spouse sticking around in order to survive

    That’s an excellent point. Of course, I still want to track down the original story, get the name of the activist who was being interviewed, etc. I was in a bit of pain this morning and unable to pay very close attention when that story was going on in the background. I’ll make a followup post if I find out anything more.

    Also: What a searingly gorgeous photo. (The second one, duh.)

  14. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    What Chris Clark said.

    The flower between your teeth is a particularly elegant touch.

    Anyway, *I’d* buy your potato chips (winka, winka).

  15. Twisty

    “What a searingly gorgeous photo. (The second one, duh.)”

    My portraitist is the iMac in my kitchen. If only I could pass on your compliment, maybe it would cheer up and stop inexplicably asking for my password every 5 minutes. But alas, I do not speak Unix.

  16. TP

    It makes my day to see your lovely smile! You are so lovable!

  17. Kim

    The second picture is indeed beautiful.
    In every way.

  18. Antelope

    The second picture is fantastic!

    The first picture reminds me of my final thought on yesterday’s discussion, which is that, on the whole, women seem to do a pretty good job of distinguishing between blaming men as a class and blaming the patriarchy.

    Dudes who hate women are actually, in a hell of a lot of cases, just finding an outlet for their hatred of the patriarchy, it’s just that they have their heads too far up their butts to realize it. So in an incredibly perverse kind of way you could almost say that the degree of their hatred is a sign of what strong allies they have the potential to be if anyone knew how to get their heads out of their butts. I sure don’t know, and I’m not sure I’d be willing to try even if I did know.

    I need to believe that first picture was designed by marketing guys with their head up their butts, and not actually by women. Please, please tell me there are no women anywhere in Komen’s marketing dep’t who hate themselves enough to let that go by without comment.

  19. Twisty

    I interpret Antelope thusly: that the oppressed always find someone lower on the pole to oppress. I seldom bring it up on the blog because I like to keep the focus on, you know, lipstick, but of course patriarchy oppresses men.

  20. vera

    Twisty, it sounds like your iMac is trying to do something behind your back. That’s why it wants your password.

    Try adding the password to your keychain. There’s a help topic about it (in Mac Help, in the Help menu).

  21. Antelope

    Ayup – that’s what I said. Except I was thinking, not only do they hate getting picked on by other dudes, they also have some degree of subconscious awareness that they are getting robbed by putting so damn much effort into being dudes. Not robbed half as bad as women who buy in – but robbed just the same. Possibly some of them don’t even especially like having their heads up their butts all the time, it’s just hard to see a way out once you’re in there.

    It’s certainly as valid a theory as 97.5% of the male theories about why women act like they do that I’ve ever heard.

  22. Jess2

    Gawd, are the Komen people for real? That’s f’ing depressing. *sigh*

    Twisty, I wish you were on posters across America. You should get together with Barbara E. to do a nationwide Cancerland campaign. The official color could be puke green… a portion of the proceeds from each item purchased would go to fund the rhetorical or actual physical take-down of some bloviating patriarch, including the fucktard that came up with the Komen ‘let’s batter cancer like a wife we’d like to kill’ poster. That’s a ‘cure’ I’d race for.

  23. Joanna

    What is the sum of a Gerbera daisy and a Twisty smile?

  24. Persian Pen Name

    I love you, Twisty.

  25. Katelyn Sack

    Silly Twisty. The iMac is obviously pining for you. Catching you gorgeous and goofy with a Gerbera in your teeth? Repeating the only pick-up line it knows: “Hey, hon, what’s your password?”

    And who can blame it? (Okay, okay, we’re all blamers here.)

    Thank you for sharing the most beautiful photograph I have seen in quite some time.

  26. goblinbee

    “The official color could be puke green…”

    Jess2, thanks for the laugh!

  27. Sara

    Twisty, that is a gorgeous, life-affirming photo (the one of you, of course; the other one makes me cry in a totally different way).

    I’ve never looked into it, but I’ve always assumed Susan G. Komen was a dead woman, a breast cancer nonsurvivor, yes? Assuming my assumption to be correct, of course, but being too lazy to confirm, I’ve often wondered what she was really like. I’ve often wondered what she would think of all this crap in her name and what she would say to her ostensibly well-meaning relatives and other foundation staffers who let it go on.

  28. Spinning Liz

    Speaking of bad news, cancer, and patriarchal injustice, here’s an ugly little factlet that the Komen folks don’t go around publicizing on billboards. From a recent post at The Cheerful Oncologist:

    Oncologists who give “Friday afternoon chemotherapy” for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer are more likely to underdose women who are obese, live in geographic areas with low household income, or have limited education. “Friday afternoon chemotherapy” refers to the practice of intentionally ordering a lower dose of chemotherapy than what is recommended according to the patient’s height and weight, often in an attempt to prevent toxicity (and phone calls while on the golf course Saturday afternoon – hence the nickname). Why is this observation important? Because reducing the dose of adjuvant chemotherapy for women with breast cancer reduces their chance for cure.

    Read more here: Obese breast cancer patients undertreated, study says

  29. Ms Kate

    Twisty, I have to be honest here. My first impression when I saw that picture was “Wow! Looking healthy!”. Perhaps it was the presence of skin tone closer to “flesh” than “putty”? I don’t know.

  30. techne

    Thanks for the shout-out. To be called excellent by a writer like you is an honor!

    To clarify, I psted the pic with permissions for DCist to use it if they liked, something I often do and so they know me over at DCist. Sommer put up the story of her own accord and I wrote the letter to Komen and cross-posted it to my comments for posterity.

    I wasn’t aware of Komen beyond the “Doesn’t it bug anyone else that breast cancer’s color is pink??” level. But none of it is a surprise, and you bet your left boob (ha!) I’m aware of them now. Love the Ehrenreich, just love it. As one who studies a relatively unsexy disease (meaning, not AIDS or autism or breast cancer), the ad also bugged me on a much harder to explain level. The assumptions about disease, cure, and research that underpin it are damaging. It’d take me a while to put into words just how I mean that….I think I’ll have to blog it out to get to the bottom of it. But you are a smart cookie, you may already see what I mean.

    nice to add a site like yours to the rss feed. If you’re ever around DC I’d love to compete with your iMac for the chance to shoot portraits of you.

    And I’d totally buy dem potato chips.

  31. yankee transplant

    You look marvelous! The other photo? About the most discouraging thing I’ve seen this week.

  32. donna

    I’ve always disliked the Komen Foundation for some reason. Now I know why. Thanks for clarifying it for me!

  33. Ron Sullivan

    Crossed carbines? Crossed inkpens? Paintbrushes? Scalpels? Inquiring minds also want to know what’s on the ribbon.

    Which I notice ain’t pink.

  34. Flamethorn

    My god, Twisty, I can see your ribs. Eat some poutine.

  35. Emily

    If potato chips could make me smile like that, I’d buy a boatload.

  36. slashy

    Potato chips, kumara chips, polenta chips, Gerbera chips- a smile like that would have me buying all of them.

  37. roamaround

    Simply gorgeous, Twisty (photo 2 and your smile). Can’t believe the other shit, except that of couse I can.

  38. kathy a

    gack, that t-shirt is beyond awful. beyond the prominent violent imagery, beyond the “we’re pink, give us money,” beyond the headless perfect body — why is the focus, once you can sort it out, on beating the crap out of cells instead of something more life-affirming and productive, something that celebrates the actual living human and the desire to keep living, instead of the “war on cancer”?

    the self-portrait, however, is fabulous! should anyone doubt the joy of post-treatment life, that picture disposes of the main questions.

  39. lain

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like it’d be more effective to spend money on cancer research instead of on advertising.

  40. Esme

    Twisty, reading your work on breast cancer marketing has inspired my senior research topic, a content analysis of the racial, economic, marital status, and sexuality of women portrayed in advertising campaigns tied to the Komen foundation, as compared to the actual demographic makeup of American breast cancer patients. Thanks!

  41. Twisty

    Don’t thank me. Thank Samantha King and her book Pink Ribbons, Inc. I can’t wait to find out what you find out, though. Let me know, will ya?

  42. mistermorgan

    [i]the face that sold a thousand chips[/i]

    I eagerly await the ‘kick testicular cancer in the dick’ campaign. Except of course that it won’t ever happen, because the juxtaposition of aggressively violent language over dehumanising images of women somehow isn’t as gutsy or ‘consciousness raising’ when it’s done to men.

    I suspect the ‘reason’ is that since women aren’t supposed to be violent in real life, anything that would provoke them to the level of fury expressed in the ad would surely be beyond horrifying. Murderous rage is indeed an understandable reaction to either

    a) losing one’s precious boobs and thus accepted societal role to a disease; or

    b) living in a society where the amputation of biologically non-essential body parts is seen at best as an unfortunate and regrettable alternative to death.

    One problem kind of encompasses the other, though. There are prizes for guessing which level the ad operates on and why, but they are generally supermarket-bought and of disappointing quality.

    Maybe I’m missing the real angle, though. I don’t know the word for it, but the act of stooping to calculated exploitation of the most hackneyed facets of sexism in order to dupe consumers into funding cancer research solely through indirect and economically inert means – well, that certainly deserves its own word. ‘Admirable’ can safely be ruled out.

  43. blue virginian

    Aaah, you never let me down, do you. I was driving through DC yesterday and saw this poster. All I could see as I was passing by were the headless torso and the words. I thought to myself: “Hoo, boy, I’m going to go home & read Twisty & see if she’s seen this — or if anyone else has — and find out what it’s all about.”

    Why was I not surprised?

    Thank you for your wonderful writing, your hard work, and that bee-yoo-ti-ful pic! You’re amazing.

  44. Bitey

    I just wrote to Komen, which y’all can do here:


  45. Dykonoclast

    Twisty! I love your self-portrait! It’s beautifully awesome on so many levels.

    If those are drumsticks on your tattoo, then I think I get it.

  46. Roov

    I just ordered a Macbook, and while waiting for it to arrive am experiencing waves of post-consumer anxiety, dreading that I made a bad choice (I can’t buy anything larger than a loaf of bread without getting this feeling, which is a near-debilitating condition and badly hinders my performance of my consumptive patriotic duty in these troubled times).

    But if it’s good enough for Twisty, I feel a lot better about it already.

  47. vera

    Like others commenting here, I wrote to Komen.org to protest this ad campaign. Here is part of Komen’s response:

    Our promise to end breast cancer forever remains the same, but our new marketing represents a stronger stance Komen for the Cure is taking toward fulfilling that promise. This bolder tone is the result of years of deliberate work that included input from our Affiliates, volunteers, partners, and the public. A recent nationwide Komen study revealed a large gap in breast health materials targeting women ages 20-39. These women asked that breast cancer information be “personalized and targeted to women their age” – they wanted information that “grabbed” them. We are now responding to this void.

    Ah, it’s so clear now! This isn’t advertising that grabs attention by leveraging the suffering of battered women — it’s advertising that’s “personalized and targeted” to women aged 20-39.

    I’ll forward the entire message to Twisty, though I’m betting she received one like it.

  48. MaryAnne

    My teenage niece called me her “(s)hero” t’other day because she thinks I kick butt for an old lady about to turn 50. I confess it made me strutt about for a little while, at least until I read your post today . . . and returned to my usual state of “twinky-hood.”

    YOU are MY (s)hero, Twisty. Don’t stop kickin’ it.

    BTW, poster’s comment above from mistermorgan re “kick testicular cancer in the dick” made me spit ice tea all over my keyboard.


  49. Christopher

    Could this ad possibly be any worse?

    I ask this as serious question; basically every aspect of the adis horrifying.

    I guess maybe if the woman was, I dunno, dismembered or something.

    But then again, how violent can bus stop ads be? It’s quite possible that within the bounds of the medium, they actually created the worst possible ad.

    Seriously, what was going through the minds of the people who made this?

    The hands and face, the most expressive parts of the body, are cut off. The words are at weird angles and don’t appear to be actually silkscreened on the shirt. The stance of the woman in the picture is not the stance of a person about to savagely pummel anybody or anything.

    Furthermore, the target of this violence is mentioned in much smaller letters then the expressions of violence themselves, so from a distace, it’s not clear what the target is.

    All of this conspires to make the woman look like the target.

    Incidentally, the tiny text at the very bottom says “And then we’re going to pin a pink ribbon on it”.

    I REALLY hate it when advertisers so blatantly conflate their brand with the virtue they’re using to sell it. I think the brand should EXHIBET the virtue used to sell it, not pe played off as synonymous with said virtue.

    If you want to be charitable you might argue that the advertiser was just thinking “durr.. First we’ll draw their eyes with the tits, and then they’ll see the words.”

    I mean, it’s not really THAT charitable to assume the person who came up with this is is misogynistic and too incompetant to know what audience they’re going for, but it’s the best explantion I could come up with.

    The problem is that it doesn’t explain why the words “breast cancer” are so small compared to the rest of the text… I mean, the product you’re selling is awareness that breast cancer exists… It’s like making an ad for a computer without any computers to be seen.

    Seriously, advertising fascinates me, and I’m curious as to what could’ve possibly led to such a trainwreck.

  50. vera

    Well, according to the reply I received from Komen.org, this ad is “the result of years of deliberate work.”

  51. Ugly in Pink

    I actually reared back a little upon seeing the ad. I can’t imagine how much it would bother someone who’s actually experienced domestic abuse. What the hell were they THINKING?

    On a different note, Twisty’s tattoo looks like chopsticks from here. Yum.

  52. Bitey

    Yeah, I got that form-letter, too. This was my response to it:

    “This form letter does not address my concerns. My specific question was about the ad’s evocation of sexualized violence against women. Surely it is possible to ‘grab’ women in my age group without perpetuating–indeed, contributing to–our society’s perception of women as rape objects.

    “You are such a powerful organization, with such a powerful voice. Look at this ad. What are you saying? What are you doing? Why do you think it’s cute when you do it?


    Strangely, I haven’t heard anything back yet. Maybe I should email Ms. Bodell again?

  53. Twisty

    Yay Bitey.

  54. vera

    I’ve tried writing back to Ms. Bodell too. Here’s part of what I said:

    These posters are design to suggest that the message “punch it kick it strangle it spit on it” applies to the woman’s torso it’s printed on. […] I have two daughters in the age group you mention, and it horrifies me that in our porn and violence-saturated culture, even an organization pledged to end breast cancer employs such images to get its point across. I fear for my daughters every day. Do you realize that in the U.S., nearly 25 percent of all women have experienced some type of sexual assault by the time they are in their twenties? This statistic is based on reported assaults. In actuality the percentage is certainly higher. Images like your poster are everywhere, and these images contribute to a sense that sexual violence is normal. I wish my daughters could have grown up in a safer culture. I wish they didn’t have to see these types of images every day.

    I don’t know what good does to write back, but it makes me feel a little better.

  55. Bitey

    I showed the poster to my husband. He said, “Wow. I’m used to breast cancer kitsch, but this is like breast cancer ‘Jackass.'”

  56. Rei

    I saw another ad in the campaign recently- same basic decapitated woman image, but the text ran:

    “WE ONLY FOCUS ON ONE THING – Or, depending on how you look at it, two.”

    God. Thanks for making your priorities clear.

    Also, what focus group research showed young women respond well to, and identify with, the Venus de Milo shot? I don’t know, perhaps we’re so overwhelmingly crazy that it IS effective, but when I see torso shots, I always instinctively feel that the ad is aimed at the grosser sort of male. I identify with pictures of women that show their faces, and quite often limbs.

  57. Oldmama

    So, I saw this poster for the first time today – always running behind the times. It took my breath away, but I LIKED it! I went searching for how to buy one and found your site. I’m one of those old ones who was around to march for the Equal Rights Amendment and did, so I think I’ve earned the right to say that it’s OK to express anger and hatred toward breast cancer, and that’s what this poster does from my viewpoint. I didn’t for a second think that this was pro-abuse or anti-woman. Just thought I’d offer a different opinion.

  58. Rebecca

    How tasteless.
    Well, at least it didn’t say we’re going to “rape it.”


  59. Judy Best

    Christopher posed the question: “Seriously, what was going through the minds of the people who made this?”

    Check out some online porn (woman as holes for penetration, to be taught a lesson of punishment by male violence). You no longer need to pay to see the degradation. Free, online, you’ll see the answer to Christopher’s question.

    In the mid-1990’s, U.S. government controls were attenuated to allow for corporate merger and acquisition that placed man-stream mass media in a relatively few hands. Now, for practical purposes, we have only the internet as significant forum with potential to reach a mass audience about feminist ideas. More folks, mainly men, by far are tuning in to violent porn online than reading about women’s freedom. Otherwise, we might be blocked from the internet forum for exploring feminism as social change.

    In the scale of public persuasion, where pictures say a thousand words, the violent-porn-hatred of the worst of men against all women is trumping feminist sensibility and normalizing masochism by women (just another form of misogyny). The fundamentalist religious types come out against porn, but push another form of male supremacy in the name of an exclusive Him-ness and male leadership. 180 degrees from sick is still sick.

    LA is a major media market. As part of LA, Venice, CA, a “progressive” stronghold, Beverly Hills and UCLA (in the name of art) in the 21st century feature as public sculpture the woman’s torso (punching bag) without head, limbs, feet and hands.

    If it’s too hard for readers to face the extent of culturally approved misogyny, and the internalized misogyny of women as the oppressed global caste, they will also continue to ask the question, “What were they thinking?”

    Men in charge know. Women are so innately powerful that only by culturally oppressing us to the point of soul-shattering trauma can the patriarchy stay in charge. Porn is one more tool of cultural oppression. So is the horrific T-shirt which inspired this thread.

    Freedom to see and know what they were thinking … takes the “hard” out of facing global misogyny.

  60. ashley

    Oldmama’s comment made me think really hard about this, because i never would have thought what she did. I always go straight to “this world is insanely creepy and a giant conspiracy to highjack my uterus and kill me when convenient.” which it totally is. and while it’s an old post, I wanted to ad that I think the really creepy thing is, that the people who sat in a marketing room and created this aren’t aware enough that snuff-film images are being used here. let me explain.

    it is visible that this is an attempt to portray women as strong and fighting for a cause that involves them.

    i think that the people that made this ad are so misogynist by socialization that they can’t make themselves conscious of the range of images available, and even worse, they have lost their ability to create new ones.

    what i am basically saying is that even people who try to empower women (by their definition) are so drenched in violent rapist culture that they literally can’t find another medium in which to communicate that they want to help..or realize that they’re making it worse.

    that’s almost scarier than a bunch of men sitting around a table thinking how to encourage people to rape more. it’s like, patriarchy is a machine beyond our control. if these people were deliberately evil, maybe their minds could be changed. or at some point they won’t be around, and a new generation will have a shot.

    what’s really f-ing scary is that patriarchy seems to be a machine that no one can see, or stop.

  61. Twisty

    Quoth Ashley: “it’s like, patriarchy is a machine beyond our control.”

    Finally! Somebody gets it!

    So many of today’s funfeminists seem to believe that acknowledging the existence of some vague misogynist entity called “patriarchy,” and then assuming some fighty grrlpower kickboxing stance, is the whole ball of wax. The hideous truth that eludes these women is that patriarchy — a system of beliefs and behaviors that defines women as a class of subhuman deviants whose natural state is to service male culture — is the dominant social order.

  62. ashley

    hah, I didn’t realize I sounded ditzy. :)
    but seriously, I study on my own but I learn a lot here, and from reading other more experienced feminists.

    thanks for coming back !!!

  63. ashley

    i meant, other feminists who are, in addition to you, more experienced.
    shutting up now.

  64. Lemur

    I’m imaging Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, saying, “Twisty Faster you’re my (s)hero”.
    But yeah, if we’re fighting breat cancer, aren’t we allowed to have heads? No no, that must be crazy talk. *sigh* IBTP.
    That second photo, however, makes my day. You rock so hard.

  65. Lemur

    *er, imagining. How embarrassing.

  66. Elaina

    Twisty you are so awesome!

    I had a tumor removed from one breast at 17, then three more removed at 21. I wrestled with how “my femininity” would be tarnished before I took the bandages off after the first surgery, I even wrote a crappy little poem about standing in front of the mirror, about to behold my scar. Woe is me. The second time around, the original tumor had grown back and two more had arrived as well, but I was so relieved that the biopsies were all benign that I didn’t really care how they looked, I was just glad I escaped cancer for the time being. The other week my brother in law asked me “What the hell happened to your chest?!” I’m still scared to examine myself to look for more… I don’t have insurance anymore… but seeing you in shirtless splendor gives me courage and perspective. Thanks.

  67. kristina

    ugh, it reminded me of when I was preggo and my husband asked what it was like for me to be prodded by my gyno, I had a female gyno and male sometimes filled in… I said what would make you think I like a finger shoved so far up my vagina that it feels like they’re hacking up my brain? He actually thought the sensation was good, or that women don’t have any other requirements other than physical stimuli in order to “get going”. I then asked him if he had a pervy fantasy in which I would get turned on by the woman poking up in my shit…he didn’t answer..I think he knew if he did he would have been out of there in a hurry. ugh…men are lucky in a way.. apparently physical stimuli no matter what the situation or person = horny…no wonder they are at such a disadvantage…

  68. panvega

    Love the photo of you!
    Thanks for posting this article – disturbing and important.

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