Overexcitement is for children only and is not classy. #How to shame someone’s feelings on basis of their age and/or class
Author Archives: Pivec
Straight Men wearing high heels
Nowadays, high heels are gendered footwear; they are culturally associated with women or femininity. But this is not for whom high-heeled shoes were made for in the past.
Historically, high-heeled shoes were men’s footwear, worn by men in horseback-riding cultures, where heels helped them stay in the stirrup (e.g. Persian shoes in 9th century, vaquero boots in 16th century or cowboy boots in 19th century). High-heeled shoes were important for their functionality and practicality, two of the most traditional masculine traits when it comes to footwear.
Internalized Sexism: when women despise other women
We all know what sexism means – it is a prejudice (i.e. discrimination or uneven treatment) against people on the basis of their gender (e.g. women, but also trans, genderqueer, gender fluid or intersex people) that operates on the societal, organisational and interpersonal level, can be typed as blatant, subtle or covert and can manifest in different dimensions (e.g. formal/informal, cumulative/episodic, deliberate/unintentional, public/private, Benokraitis and Feagin, 1995).
But what is an internalized sexism or misogyny? It is not hard to imagine that if the society is sexist, women won’t pick up or internalise those attitudes and definitions about their own gender on the basis of those beliefs. Internalized sexism happens when a woman is using the same sexist attitudes and beliefs about her gender towards herself and other women. Any woman can be subjected to sexist attitudes from two different sources: the opposite (e.g. men) and the same gender (e.g. women), so being a woman is like being caught between Scylla and Charybdis.
Ageism: going up or going down
We were all young and we will all age (if we live long enough). Age is more than just a sum of years, spent on this planet, it is a social construct that allows people to unjustly categorize other people. Falling into a certain age group is never neutral; it has social consequences on a smaller (i.e. individual) and larger (i.e. systematic) scale. Those consequences are sometimes manifested negatively – as age discrimination or ageism. Ageism refers to attitudes and beliefs, feelings and behaviour towards people based on their age, where the normal or “right” age is from 25 to 55 years old. Right-aged people represent the economic, cultural and social motor of the society and by this, they possess the symbolic power; power that allows them to define Others according to their beliefs on what is right (good) and what is wrong (bad).
Shit matters: a man’s* fecal ritual
*white, straight, middle-class, able-bodied, youngish, cis-gender, Western
However banal it may sound, shit, dung, faeces, poop, excrement, number two, shite, bowel movement, stool, discharge, defecation or crap matters. Without the regular defecation, our bodies die. Discharging waste from our bodies is literally a life-saver.
How to defecate is a matter of acculturation and socialisation we are exposed to. Most Western people use a sitting flush toilet and toilet paper to remove the traces of defecation and pee in an environment that is familiar, cosy and clean. It is quite a different experience to take a dump at the chemical toilet – they are not supposed to be a place where you should or could feel at home, despite engaging in very homely activity. Chemical toilets have no homelike atmosphere; they are a transitional place for masses to relief themselves as quickly as possible. When you must shit in public places (e.g. public toilet in a mall, workplace or a chemical toilet), you must do it so quickly that nobody even notices it. Yes, we are that uncomfortable with our own faeces.
Three (is not a Crowd): Tom Tykwer’s polyamorous film
Polyamory as a less conventional social arrangement of intimacy that includes more than two people, consensually involved in a sexual and/or romantic relationship at the same time, is becoming more recognizable and visible even in films. Film is a powerful cultural text and its representations of something less familiar or even Othered can either challenge or reaffirm the traditional conceptions about our social reality; polyamorous relationships can be portrayed within the discourse of acceptability or abnormality (i.e. poly people being punished or relationships being pathologized – ridiculed, diminished, annihilated, trivialised).
The reappropriation of “flaws”
A flaw is a visible imperfection that deviates from the standard of what is normal or casual. It may appear irrelevant or even harmless, but the sheer existence of flaws indicates that somebody or something does not measure up to the arbitrarily constructed models of “perfect” conduct, behaviour, lifestyle or bodies. Flaws, therefore, are being marked as Othered because they should be concealed or corrected (i.e. disciplined).
To point out someone’s flaws is a weapon of microaggression and policing against someone’s personhood that does not live up to be flawless (or perfect). When a person has failed at something and is therefore self-defined and societally defined as “incompetent”, “improper” or “inadequate”, he/she/they are comprehended as a small-scale failure. Even a small-scale failure, manifested as a flaw, is not allowed in Western (although pluralistic) society, which is constantly striving for success and perfection.
The Smurfette principle: Sexism in film, TV and music
In the postmodern Western society, sexism has become less obvious, which does not mean that it has disappeared, it merely changed its modus operandi. Instead of blatant sexism, as it was the practice in the past, it became subtle and covert. Due to the internalized sexist standards, subtle sexism often goes unnoticed, so it is perceived as “normal”, “unproblematic” and common. For example, condescending chivalry (i.e. courteous, protective men’s behaviour towards women carries an assumption of women as helpless subordinates) or subjective objectification (i.e. a type of sexism where women are perceived as “Smurfettes”) are subtle forms of sexism.
Over 42: Women’s shoes size(ism)
Women’s feet are supposed to be small and narrow, but what is constituted as ‘small’, varies from culture to culture and time to time. This is not just a tacit rule, the prevalence of small women’s feet is evident in the general lack of shoe sizes over 41 (9 ½ USA, 7 UK) in mainstream shoe industry and stores. When something as natural as the shoe size variety is being ignored – and not producing bigger shoe sizes is a capital consumer negligence – then big feet are being Othered or to put it differently, the society (and shoe industry in particular) is being sizeist.
Sizeism is a discrimination against a person on the basis of her/his/their body size (fat, thin, small or tall), but it also includes a less common prejudice against a person’s length and width of feet. This prejudice is far more problematic for women, whose feet size is larger than number 41. They fall out of the category to be ‘beautiful’ because western society’s notions of women’s beauty are intertwined with their feminine physicality. Beautiful = feminine.
Party Girl: Untamed femininity at 60
Taming of the woman is a common motive in classical and popular art with one of the most representable pieces being Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. For me, a word ‘to tame’ always resonates with words such as ‘to hunt down’, ‘subdue’, ‘break someone’s will’ or at least ‘mould’ (into a prescribed module of femininity). It is obvious that when a person is being subjected to taming, she/he/they must be some sort of a social deviant or Other/ed and therefore corrected (sometimes coerced) into a ‘right’ social role, behaviour or lifestyle.
Party Girl (2014, d.: M. Amachoukeli, C. Burger and S. Theis) is a French woman-centric film, focused on Angélique Litzenburger, a sixty-year-old unmarried cabaret dancer, who has decided to get married; however, she does not follow through with her marital plan. The film plot may sound simple, but the story narrative deals with the ‘marriage mandate’ (i.e. a societal urge for a woman to be married at some point) and reveals an implicit societal sexism, ageism and classism.