Rants of a Feminist English Lit Student

By: Rachel Lyle, February 24th, 2017

So I think I mentioned this in an earlier blog but I’ll mention it again, I am a student at Delaware Valley College majoring in English Literature. Because of this I have had to take an enormous amount of Literature courses, of which one was a Women’s Literature course I took last fall. This class made me realize how much of a feminist I really am and so because of this I have a few rants I need to get off my chest.

One of the many things we talked about in class was “gender neutral” clothes. I don’t agree with labeling clothes as “gender neutral” because what does “gender neutral” even mean??? Is it the color, the style, or  kind of clothing that constitutes it as “gender neutral”??? One of the ways we label clothing as supposedly “gender neutral” is with the colors, pink and purple are always for girls, blue and red are for boys and brown, green, yellow, grey, black and white are considered gender neutral. WHY???!!! This irritates me to no end. Why do we say boys have to like blue and red, and girls have to like pink and purple??? My favorite color is blue and I don’t like pink all that much. Every time I am given the choice of different colors of clothing I choose blue, I am willing to wear pink if I have to but a lot of my clothes are blue because I love the color so much. Another way people label so called “gender neutral” clothing is through the style of the clothing. Skinny, and cropped pants, and capris are associated with women and boot cut pants are associated with men, but straight legged and stove piped pants are considered gender neutral  WHY???!!! Why do I have to wear skinny jeans or cropped pants??? Why do people say pants are “gender neutral” because of a certain style??? Why are a pair of pants considered for women and the suddenly “gender neutral” when they are made in a different style??? I have seen several guys wearing capris and cropped pants, doesn’t this mean that they are gender neutral and should be considered “gender neutral”??? Another way of labeling clothes as “gender neutral” is the item of clothing itself. Why is it that why we talk about wearing scarves we picture only women doing it for fashion but we picture both men and women wearing them to keep warm in the cold weather??? I’ve seen countless guys wearing scarves for fashion. In my opinion scarves are “gender neutral”. Skirts are another thing that should, in my opinion, be considered “gender neutral”. So society says skirts are for women and women only and when a man wears a skirt society considers him to be dressing in drag and says it’s wrong but when a guy wears a kilt, which is, in my opinion, a type of skirt, he is just exhibiting manliness. WHY???!!! If a guy wants to wear a skirt because he prefers skirts over pants he should be allowed to without being looked down upon, judged, being wrong. If he prefers to wear skirt he can wear one because that is his style of dress and it doesn’t effect how others are going to live their lives. WHY???!!! Why do we have to label clothing as “gender neutral”???

Another thing I hate is the way Alice is always portrayed in Alice in Wonderland. When I was growing up I loved Alice in Wonderland and it is still my favorite book and movie to this day. I love this movie because it’s quirky, different, and imaginative the way that my mind has a tendency to work, but I also do not like the fact that all of the characters, even in the modern adaptions, are pictured with gender stereotypes in mind. Adaptions and depictions  always picture Alice in a little lacy dress with a frock, wearing stockings and nice shoes, No one ever depicts Alice in a pantsuit, or a fitness outfit and running shoes, or even a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She is always pictured in some sort of a frilly dress and fancy shoes never dressed a tomboy, a punk, or a nerd, always a girly girl. Even her personality is portrayed in a gender stereotype style. She can’t make sense of anything in anyway she goes straight to being emotional. When she doesn’t know what to do and gets scared she cries. When someone doesn’t understand her efforts and attempts at logic she gets angry and frustrated. When she doesn’t know where to go, or get confused she freaks out and panics. She doesn’t think logic will get here anywhere so she goes straight to emotion in a woman stereotypical way. I have yet to see a modern adaption where Alice is not cast as a girly girl. It annoys the hell out of me that society sees Alice as a naive stereotypical girl who is emotional and only emotional. In the eyes of most people Alice is a girly girl who is not allowed to be logical, who has to wear dresses and is not allowed to wear pants and sneakers. She was made this way and she is not allowed to be changed and rewritten even if every other classic story is rewritten in a way that abolishes stereotypes. This is her place and she has to stay in it, she is not allowed to be moved from it or changed. Society seeing her this way makes me very mad, mad that she is not allowed to bemused as a symbol for strong women, mad that she is always depicted as a weak, helpless, emotional woman. She is never depicted as a strong woman, who can stand up for herself, dress the way she wants to, and use logic rather then go straight to emotion when she is in destress and this stereotyping of her needs to be changed and abolished.

Another think I hate is the way the band One Direction creates double standards with their song lyrics. I love the band One Direction so much but some of their songs irk me so much. Some of their songs contradict what the members of the band have specifically said. In a radio interview on The Bert Show specifically with Harry Styles and Niall Horan they were asked if anyone in the band every fights over women or calls dibs on girls and they both claimed that they feel doing this objectifies women and they do not like to objectify women and they don’t see it as being right to do or a good thing to do. Despite them saying this several of the bands songs objectify women in many ways. One example being their song Little Black Dress. Some parts of the song go like this:

Little black dress

Just walked into the room

Makin’ heads turn

Can’t stop looking at you

Little black dress

Did you come here alone?

Little black dress

Who you doin’ it for?

Little black dress

I can’t take anymore

Little black dress

What’s your favorite song?

Little black dress

I won’t do you no harm

This in many ways is objectifying the girl in the little black dress by not addressing the girl in the dress but talking to her as if she doesn’t exist anymore because she put the dress on. She is now an object for them to talk about. She is being treated as if she has now become the dress she is wearing and is no longer the human being she is, no longer the girl wearing the little black dress.

Another example of 1D objectifying women in one of their songs is the song Steal My Girl. The chorus goes like this:

Everybody wanna steal my girl

Everybody wanna take her heart away

Couple billion in the whole wide world

Find another one ’cause she belongs to me

This show an objectification of a girl by treating her like a thing to be owned and handled, a thing to belong to someone and that can be stolen. It even says that the girl belongs to him as if she is no longer a human being, she is suddenly now a thing to be bought and sold. It talks about how there are so many girls in the world and everyone is trying to steal his as if she belongs to him and can be stolen, but she is his and everyone else can go find another girl to own and have belong to them. This annoys me a lot because it shows a contradiction in what the band members say versus what they do. They claim they do not objectify women because they see it as wrong but at the same time many of their songs do. This aggravates me to no end. One Direction needs to make up their mind on how they view the objectification of women already and do it fast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBZDDYYQLB0 (They are asked the question at the 8:50 mark)

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