May 18, 2012 1 Comment
Radical feminists object to misogynistic beauty pageants such as the Miss Universe Competition, since these competitions reduce women’s value to how well their bodies conform to narrow, p-compliant standards. They reify patriarchal values of what women are for– that is, they are useful as masterbation props, as f’k toys, and as product billboards. See Woman as Useful Objects for more on this. Radical feminists believe that this reduction of women to useful object is a woman-hating enterprise, and should be abolished.
We also reject stereotypical conceptions of womanhood. We believe that we are socialized to think of ourselves in patriarchal terms; to believe that our value is in our bodies and how well they conform to the f’kability mandate. However, we reject this value, and recognize the myriad other qualities that make us A-mazing. At the same time, we also recognize that other women may not have the resources to dis-entangle their own self-worth from these p-given values. Regardless, we strongly object to these contests, and wish to see them abolished.
Recently a controversy has broken out out over a trans* contestant of the Miss Universe Competition named Jenna Talackova who wished to participate in the competition. At first, the contestant was kicked out, only to be reinstated at a later date. Interestingly, many mainstream feminist websites supported Talackova’s inclusion in this woman-hating enterprise.
Unfortunately, Talackova uses gender stereotypes when self-describing:
I have two sides to me. There’s the soft, subtle, calm side, and there’s the very glam, diva-ish side. I had to let that side loose a bit [in this competition].
Radical feminists know Talackova’s self description exudes stereotypical femininity. We encourage women to reject gender stereotypes, and we wish Talackova would recognize that womanhood and stereotypical womanhood are not the same thing.
The performance of stereotypical femininity, both in dress and manner, is not liberating for females. Radical feminists do not believe that these performances are necessary nor sufficient conditions for womanhood, and we would like to see them abolished. Though we do not blame individual females who perform them, we blame the misogynistic culture we live in for perpetuating them.