Neddy on Feminist icons.

This started out as another driveby, but then I had a bit of a feminist digression.

In class yesterday we were talking about body image and messages for girls in children’s books and tv, and we talked a lot about Dora. (I must admit to being surprised to learn that there are people who complained that Dora was a lesbian, possibly because of her hair? or is it her sensible shoes?) Our discussion was focussed on how it was a shame that Dora, who was a positive role model for girls, seems to be being made more stereotypically feminine.

First, she had to have Diego help her, because obviously, girls can’t really solve problems by themselves without a boy to help them. There was also the old, tired mansplanation that boys wouldn’t watch a show about a female character (despite the fact that they manifestly did watch the show.

Then there was that brief abomination of tween Dora, with her better-coordinated outfit, more feminine silhouette and less sensible shoes. Tween Dora got a lot of pushback at the time she was announced, and she seems to have quietly disappeared. However, the efforts to feminize Dora are continuing. Lately, she’s all about ballet and being a princess instead of being an explorer. Ballet Dora has much nicer hair, and properly girly clothes.

So we talked quite a lot about images of girls (cartoon and real), and what kind of pressures they might put on real girls.

That was all by way of giving you context for the Neddyism. I asked if there were other shows that did present good examples of strong girls (in the context of us having talked for about half an hour about unrealistic body image), and Neddy’s hand shot up. “Sailor Moon,” he said.

Sailor Moon.

Are you shitting me? At least 10 heads snapped towards him with expressions of incredulity and outrage on them. “How is that a positive example of body image?” one of them asked, quite mildly. Neddy’s response, which was about how Sailor Moon has girl heroes in it, made it clear he had really no idea about what body image was, or that it had never occurred to him to think about the pressures women might experience with regard to their appearance.

Now, granted, he’s a young man in the 18-22 age range, and some of them can be pretty damn sexist, as any of you who spend time on the internet may have discovered. In my experience, though, guys of that age KNOW about issues like body image. The ones who choose to argue against media pressure on women tend to counter with “it’s just as bad for men,” or “you can choose to ignore media stereotypes”. Neddy’s response was an example of complete obliviousness.

Naturally, he wanted to talk to me about it in that brief 2-minute window between classes. “I got the impression I said something wrong,” he said, apparently because he noticed a bunch of people “looking at him weird”. Oh, good god. Yes, Neddy, you are about to have an existential crisis, but I really, honestly only have 2 minutes.

Cowardly, me?

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6 thoughts on “Neddy on Feminist icons.

  1. waitingforagnes

    Poor Neddy. I get the feeling you’re making his mind explode. How does an 18-22 year old guy have zero familiarity with body-image as a concept, yet a working knowledge of Sailor Moon? Are you sure he’s 18-22 and not a very overgrown six year old who has accidentally wandered into college?

    Reply
  2. tadpoledrain

    I mean… At least he got the impression he said something wrong? Maybe he’ll cave to peer pressure after a while and stfu.

    Reply
  3. anonymous

    waitingforagnes: That’s pretty normal for weeaboos. He’s probably the type who thinks “otaku” is a great compliment.

    Reply
  4. tiff

    I’m agreed with tadpoledrain- that he noticed at all means he may not be broken beyond repair. However, any single professor’s ability to fix him in a semester? Not gonna happen.

    Reply
  5. whatladder Post author

    Yeah, I don’t think I can fix him, especially in the 2 minutes of allotted time. I am also not sure the whole “did I say something” was awareness of the issues as much as it was “I am about to complain that the classroom is uncomfortable for me”. We will see.

    Reply

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