Friday, May 8, 2009

Candies and the promotion of objectified abstinence

Kohl's in-store brand Candies has decided that the best way to protect against pregnancy is to encourage unmarried women to refrain from a natural bodily process - sexuality. The best way to do this? Wear shirts that promote their sexuality.


Not that virgins can' be sexy, or sexual. But the operative word in "sexy" is....sex. And I don't think that Candies is promoting blow jobs or masturbation. If you're going to put pressure on women to absent sexuality from their lives, then why pressure them to continue to superficially embody the values of sexuality and sexiness. The emphasis on withholding as a sign of one's worth puts self-esteem outside and subject to male approval, rather than internal.

Candies is encouraging women to act as purely decorative things rather than fully active and adult women. They want them to be the object of male lust without returning the gaze. Candies and Kohls is encouraging women to disenfranchise themselves and trivialize their own sexuality. Rather than being agents in their own sexuality and engaging in an adult choice to be sexual or non-sexual, women should instead neglect their own needs or wants and embrace abstinence for the express purpose of fulfilling the narrow standard of "sexiness" put forth by white, skinny role models.

The sexism of this campaign is reinforced by the fact that Candies is actively targeting women and not men to embrace this doublespeak. Men are not sexy by refraining from sex. The sole responsibility is placed on women by Candies - as evidenced by their choice of exclusively female spokespersons for this campaign, and the shirts in question: they're tanks, modelled only by women. I have never seen a man wearing a graphic tank, ever.

Also, why has everyone decided that Bristol Palin is an appropriate abstinence spokesperson? I mean, seriously. She is case in point that the emphasis on abstinence is a ludicrous expectation of teenagers that does. not. work.

Meghan McCain has this to say:

"There’s an especially unhealthy attitude among conservatives. Daughters of Republican politicians aren’t expected to have sex, let alone enjoy it—as if there were some strange chastity belt automatically attached to us female offspring. God forbid anyone talk realistically about life experiences and natural, sexual instincts. Nope, the answer is always abstinence...

Here’s what I’ve never understood about the party: its resistance to discussing better access to birth control. As a Republican, I am pro-life. But using birth control and having an abortion are not the same at all. Actually, the best way to prevent abortions is to educate people about birth control and make it widely and easily accessible. True, abstinence is the only way to fully prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Still, the problem with abstinence-only education is that it does not make teenagers and young adults more knowledgeable about all the issues they face if or when they have sex—physically and emotionally."

It's nice to see a anti-abortion person who actually makes a speck of sense (unlike some). Most anti-abortion folks actually work against their professed causes by yelling about abstinence, which just doesn't work.

McCain has always served as proof to me that John McCain is usually an reasonable and cool dude for a Republican and just went kamikaze on his good reputation in pursuit of the presidency:

"During my father’s 2000 presidential campaign, a reporter asked how he would feel if I became pregnant and wanted an abortion. He answered that it would be my choice, sending shockwaves throughout the party (because for the GOP there is only one answer, and obviously Senator McCain’s daughter shouldn’t be engaging in sex ever)."

Reasonable! Even though Senator McCain disagrees with abortion, he acknowledges that it is presently legal and trusts his daughter enough to make her own decisions.

Candies - represented by a woman who can currently be heard on your local radio station asking for you to f-u-c her - isn't concerned with women's healthy sexuality. Their primary concern is keeping the standard of sexuality white, skinny, and pure - and ultimately, oppressing women.

h/t to [Jezebel]

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