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Tagged ‘Free Market Feminism‘

Valley of the Sex Dolls: Our Post-Apocalyptic Future Is Grimmer Than You Thought

December 12, 2018

By Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer

 

“Patriarchal systems of capitalism and colonialism don’t recognize or value inherent worth in women’s bodies and the work women do, and instead commodify them. Once women’s bodies are objectified in this way, it positions violence against women as justified, embedding it into the fabric of society. Violence against women is and remains the bedrock for all other kinds of violence.” — Battered Women’s Support Services

The near-term and even more so post-apocalyptic future will be grim – a reflection of the neoliberal and patriarchal ideologies that will bring us face to face to a new form of mind pollution – a collective conditioning to the continued social degradation of women. With the rise and proliferation of plastic sex dolls and sexbots – our increasingly desecrated landscapes will soon be filling up with disposable bodies. Many dismembered and almost exclusively, female in form.

Production of sex robots Abyss Realbotix

Industrial scale production is already here. Akin to a slaughterhouse, these life-like forms hang suspended from the ceiling on chains bound to the neck. Row upon row, the headless forms represent a new era in commodification, exploitation and ultimate degradation – the socially acceptable and financially profitable desecration of the female body.

The irony of the politically correct backlash toward plastic straws in contrast to the acceptable growing tsunami of plastic waste exclusively in female form  – is lost. Silicone heads, torsos, breasts, arms, legs, removable vaginas, dirty and worn, will protrude from garbage bags and trash bins. A growing number of these forms will resemble dead children – the discarded remains of the anatomically-correct imitations of five year old girls, created exclusively for paedophiles. After all, according to the manufacturers, “It’s not worth living if you have to live with repressed desire.”

As a sign of the depravity of man, rivers, streams, lakes, oceans and all other places of waste disposal will overflow with plastic corpses that grossly mimic the female form. The sheer abundance of female bodies floating face down – or face up – will become so commonplace, an already desensitized society will become even more indifferent to the grotesque spectacle. Left solely to the machinations of men, female body parts fill up landfills by the tens of thousands – to such an extent – real women will be indistinguishable from the plastic corpses, literally lost amongst the rubbish.

Above: Sex dolls assembly in Abyss Creations laboratory. Credit: Eduardo Contreras/San Diego Union-Tribune

Above slaughterhouse image. This was the first of six “related images” suggested by Google to the sex doll assembly photo above

The line between real – and plastic – will continue to blur until it disappears all together. The need to separate real and plastic becomes at first inconvenient, to then more difficult, to then most difficult, to finally, no longer necessary. This is the beauty of social engineering – a gradual but steady progression that goes undetected – thereby ensuring it’s eventual completion and success.

“This system of violence is called patriarchy, and over the past two thousand years it has come to rule most of the world. Patriarchal civilization is based on exploiting and consuming women, living communities, and the earth itself.” — Women’s Caucus, Deep Green Resistance

An old description for vulgar terms such as “fuck”, “shit” or “damn” is to describe them as “four-letter words”.  Yet, there seems to not be a problem with one particular four letter word:  rape.  This is illustrated by the current preoccupation with sex dolls, where the object personifying the female body is sexually dominated and/or assaulted, yet can’t even speak or respond to “her” vile treatment. It demonstrates the indifference that is prevalent in most societies when it comes to rape of the female body, be it imagined – or real. Is there any greater reflection of this type of rape mindset than a man procuring a doll to have sex with whereby he can essentially control her every action without thought, participation, feeling and/or contribution to what should be a mutual act between willing partners?

And it is this mentality that has now completely enveloped the entirety of man’s existence, who has furthered his depravity by unleashing the same mentality onto the Earth herself.

The need to control, dominate and manipulate without a response from its victim is part of the euphoric experience of pilfering perpetual and increasing resources from that which he has no respect. The same euphoric feeling from raping the animated human body has extended to inanimate objects: sexbots, sex dolls and the Earth herself. She, being the Earth, provides all of the pleasures without any pangs of guilt in terms of the verbal and physical responses from an unwilling participant.

A sex doll and other rubbish litters Sincil Dike, 2018,  (Image: Bill Brown)

Yet, the primary mistake of modern man is his false belief that the ongoing structural collapse is not a reactive expression by the Earth in direct response to his misdeeds. Although the Western edifice built off this centuries long and ever expansive rape is formidable, it is not affected to the same degree as the environmental victims in the Global South who fight to survive in far more vulnerable circumstances. However, the growing yet still imperceptible fissures continue to go unacknowledged by those in the most insulated parts of the world.

Juxtaposed with a rapidly warming planet, planetary environmental collapse and accelerated resource depletion – the ramifications of this cultural arrogance – is in the midst of unfolding. Blind to the sixth extinction event, now well underway, this grotesque waste of energy and resources is no match for the grotesque human reductionism that feeds the momentum for the furthering of collective human depravity and indifference.

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

 

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

 

 

 

Exploiting Feminism for Profit

Media Diversified

November 6, 2015

by Maya Goodfellow

Last week while flicking through TV channels an advert caught my attention. I was momentarily pleased to watch as a young girl was enchanted by clips of famous women – from feminist activist Emmeline Pankhurst to iconic singer Billie Holiday – while Fleur East’s version of Girl on Fire played in the background. But as the feature came to a close, I was jolted back into reality; this was an advert, a multimillion-pound advert for Virgin Media, to be precise. The billion pound conglomerate is now using women and girls to sell broadband. Exploiting feminism for profit.

I can’t celebrate seeing feminism exploited in the ad breaks by a company that has been built by taking millions from the taxpayer. Virgin ushers publicly run assets into the private sector then languishes on subsidies from the public purse while making a huge profit. This is not an outlandish statement; it’s what has happened in the past. Take a look at their involvement in the privatisation of our railways and you’ll see a pattern: Virgin takes state subsidies, distributes massive payouts for their shareholders, while the quality of service declines.

It doesn’t stop there. Virgin Media sits alongside Virgin Care Ltd, which is slowly creeping further into the NHS in the form of backdoor privatisation. Although the company’s foray into feminist territory might seem like a reason to celebrate, a win for women it really represents neoliberal capitalism’s attempt to co-opt the message of feminism. All in the name of profit.

Neoliberal capitalism, which is built on the disenfranchisement of women and people of colour, is attempting to contain radical discourse within its walls. In doing so it neutralises the potential for system change. Richard Branson, the billionaire businessperson who owns Virgin, is flourishing under the current system. Though he likes to cultivate a benevolent image, he isn’t doing anything that would seriously challenge the system out of which he does so well. It’s far better and easier for him to give the impression that he cares while making symbolic tweaks to unequal structures.

This is going on all around us; it’s how capitalism stayed relatively steady on its feet after the 2008 financial crash. It’s a dangerous process that inhibits the possibility for real change: it takes in the collective effort of intersectional feminism and spits out individualistic gender equality and antiracism in its most feeble form.

We’ve witnessed a similar phenomenon from one of neoliberalism’s cheerleaders, in the form of David Cameron’s recent jaunt into the world of antiracism. From his Conservative party conference speech this year to a recent article in the Guardian, the Prime Minister has proclaimed himself a champion of race equality.

But our PM has conveniently failed to touch upon the number of ways his Government is systematically disenfranchising black and minority ethnic people: through their aggressive cuts agenda, which disproportionately affect people of colour; their decision to continue protecting an unfair employment market, that leaves BAME young people worse off; and the role they play in sustaining racist – in particular Islamophobic – narratives, have we already forgotten when Cameron described migrants as a “swarm”?

Cameron and Branson are bringing antiracism and feminism – two struggles that are actually interwoven – into Margaret Thatcher’s arena of individualism. Helping the the few to appease the masses.

There is a big difference between certain women succeeding in a society that exploits the poorest and most vulnerable and a movement that reconstructs a system to create a fairer society. Similarly, there’s a vast chasm separating the recently announced name-blind university applications and deconstructing institutionally racist structures that see people of colour as lesser, structures that have been maintained since the era of colonialism.

None of this is to say that accepting these steps forward within the current system is a failure. We can recognise the benefits of quotas in the workplace (incidentally a policy Virgin say they’re all for) but challenge why this is not enforced across all companies and certainly with not enough attention paid to race.

But while we’re realising the shift in public discourse – usually a problematic shift where race is pushed to the back of the conversation – we have to remember that the real alterations won’t come by accepting these small steps from individuals. You can do both; as American scholar Kimerlé Crenshaw said: “I believe that women in power is absolutely essential, and that women in power is absolutely not enough”.

Or as writer Reni Eddo-Lodge put it, equality is a transitional demand; we must remember we don’t want to be assimilated into the status quo. For real change we have to reconstruct the system. We need liberation. But that goes against the interests of the people (often white men) who stand to benefit from the world the way it is. That’s why business tycoons and rightwing politicians saying they care about gender and race discrimination don’t convince me.

It’s as if Branson’s and Cameron’s media strategists are sitting in a room realising that some people want liberation from gender and race discrimination, and thinking of ways to give the illusion that they want the same thing too. Giving that impression is good for the brand.

 

[Maya Goodfellow is a journalist and political commentator. She primarily writes about British politics and has worked as a researcher for a think tank. She also writes about international affairs, with a particular focus on conflict studies. Find her on Twitter: @Mayagoodfellow]

Breast Cancer Has Become the Consummate “Free Market Feminist” Cause

Health Communication, 25: 286–289, 2010

An excerpt of the paper Pink Diplomacy: On the Uses and Abuses of Breast Cancer Awareness

By Dr. Samantha King [Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Health Studies | Cross appointed to the Department of Gender Studies and the Cultural Studies Program]

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In the past two decades, breast cancer has become an unparalleled philanthropic cause. During this period, corporate marketing strategies, government policies, and the agendas of large foundations have worked in concert to construct the disease as an individual challenge that can be overcome by shopping, exercising, and what Ellen Leopold(1999) calls a “tidal waves” approach to research funding(p. 19). Closely linked to this history is the transformation, since the 1970s, of the meaning of breast cancer from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy best dealt with privately and in isolation, to a neglected epidemic worthy of public debate and political organizing, to an enriching and affirming experience during which women with breast cancer are rarely “patients” and mostly “survivors.”In the latter of these three configurations, the breast cancer survivor has emerged as an archetypal hero who through her courage and vitality has elicited an outpouring of individual and corporate generosity—a continued supply of which, we are led to believe, will ensure that the fight against the disease remains an unqualified success. In the latter of these three configurations, the breast cancer survivor has emerged as an archetypal hero who through her courage and vitality has elicited an outpouring of individual and corporate generosity—a continued supply of which, we are led to believe, will ensure that the fight against the disease remains an unqualified success. Moreover, the new image of the woman with breast cancer that has emerged with the pink ribbon industry—youthful, ultra feminine, slim, light-skinned if not white, radiant with health, joyful, and proud—leaves little room for recognition that people still die of the disease(that, in fact, roughly the same number of people die as they did before the pink ribbon juggernaut took hold), that some women are not in a position to live the all-to-familiar restitution narrative, or that happiness and individual striving, in the words of Audre Lorde (1980), cannot “protect us from the results of profit madness” (p. 74). Lorde was referring here to what she viewed as the deleterious effects of the capitalist system, in general, on women’s breast health and the well-being of the population more broadly. She could probably not have envisaged that three decades after she penned these words, corporations large and small would be clamoring to tie their names to the disease, taking advantage of the destigmatizing work of early breast cancer activists and newly enthralled with cause-related marketing as a way to sell products to women. Nor would she likely have imagined that they would spend millions of dollars identifying and packaging the next product to be stamped with a pink ribbon and sold to consumers with the promise that a percentage of the sale price will be donated to what is often referred to, vaguely, as “the cause.” Nor, given Lorde’s concerns about the links between environmental contaminants and breast cancer, might she have foreseen that it is often the corporations responsible for selling products most closely linked to deaths from cancer that have been most successful in linking their brand image to the disease. Moreover, the new image of the woman with breast cancer that has emerged with the pink ribbon industry—youthful, ultra feminine, slim, light-skinned if not white, radiant with health, joyful, and proud—leaves little room for recognition that people still die of the disease… The profit madness seemed to reach new heights just a few weeks ago, when I came across an advertisement for a breast cancer gun: a black Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol with an awareness ribbon engraved on its slide and an inter-changeable bubble-gum pink grip. The gun is part of the Julie Goloski Championship Series and sold with the claim that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to “a breast cancer awareness charity” (http://www.juliegolob.com).

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The Tyranny of Cheerfulness

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The “saving lives by taking lives” logic of the pink ribbon pistol that critics quickly seized upon seems only slightly less mind-boggling when one considers that over the past two decades millions of women have become enthusiastic consumers of a slew of potentially harmful pink ribbon products ranging from automobiles to cosmetics to house-hold cleaning products. Under what I call the “tyranny of cheerfulness” that infuses the marketing of these items, it has become increasingly hard to think of the disease as an injustice to rally against rather than an enriching and affirming experience. Indeed, breast cancer has become the consummate “free market feminist” cause, to use Chandra Mohanty’s (2003) term.Under what I call the “tyranny of cheerfulness” that infuses the marketing of these items, it has become increasingly hard to think of the disease as an injustice to rally against rather than an enriching and affirming experience. Indeed, breast cancer has become the consummate “free market feminist” cause, to use Chandra Mohanty’s (2003) term. Like all good practitioners of free market principles, state agencies, foundations, and large corporations have recently begun to pursue breast cancer fundraising initiatives in new geographic locales, as they seek to expand their markets for breast cancer treatments, the fruits of pharmaceutical research, and pink ribbon products. Major players are involved: Astra Zeneca, the maker of the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen and the creator of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, launched its first transnational campaign in 2004 with the goal of “reaching previously inaccessible audiences across the globe.” The Komen For the Cure Foundation now has overseas chapters and an office devoted to international affairs. And since 1999, Estée Lauder has pursued its Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative for which buildings and monuments are bathed in pink lights during the month of October. To date these sights have included the Taj Palace in Mumbai, India; City Hall in Sulas, Honduras; the Taipei Tower in Taiwan; the Burj Al Arab in Dubai; and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Like all good practitioners of free market principles, state agencies, foundations, and large corporations have recently begun to pursue breast cancer fundraising initiatives in new geographic locales, as they seek to expand their markets for breast cancer treatments, the fruits of pharmaceutical research, and pink ribbon products. The U.S.–Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness was created in 2006 and marked the U.S. government’s first foray into international breast cancer policy. By 2008, the partnership included the Komen Foundation, the Avon corporation, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and a variety of cancer care and business organizations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Palestine. The campaign is a subproject of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), launched on December 12, 2002 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The official mandate of the MEPI, which operates out of the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is to “advance democratic reform and vibrant, prosperous societies in the Middle East and North Africa” (http://mepi.state.gov/mission/index.htm). To date, the MEPI has focused on encouraging the development of public–private partnerships in providing “greater opportunities” in the region (http://mepi.state.gov).

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Read the full text:

Pink Diplomacy-On the Uses and Abuses of Breast Cancer Awareness

PINK RIBBONS, INC. – A CONVERSATION WITH RAVIDA DIN: