Viral Right Now: Revisiting the Little Feminists

THE VIDEO:

So, everyone on the internet is freaking out about this feminism video. It’s an anti-sexism video by the organization FCKH8.com, in which 5 girls aged 6-13 are dressed up like princesses and are talking about statistical facts concerning the suppression and safety of women. However, they are doing so while dropping the f-bomb all over the place. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is. Just be warned, this is not suitable for work… unless you have headphones.

FCKH8 is asking the question: why is society more shocked and upset by little girls cursing, than they are by these horrible statistics about women in the video?

THE ARGUMENTS:

There have been a lot of reactions to this video, and if there is one thing we know, it’s that you either loved it or hated it right away. I have been following blog posts and articles about it, and writers/publications reacted in 3 different ways-

  1. Most commonly, they posted the video devoid of opinion and asked people what they thought.
  2. They loved it, and wanted to share it with everyone.
  3. They hated it, and thought that it was horrible.

I originally did the first one, with the intent on writing this follow-up post. What I found to be most interesting, is that on all the positive articles supporting the video, the majority of the comments were terrible, negative, bullying people saying how horrible the video is, and some general horrible rhetoric about feminists. And on the posts denouncing the video and calling it exploitative and damaging to children, most of the comments were terrible, negative, bullying people saying how great the video is, with some general “conservatives can’t handle it you’re all women-haters” rhetoric.

Anyway, the same arguments kept coming up again and again for both sides. I’ve boiled it all down for you in this handy dandy pro/con conversation that mimics my fall down this rabbit hole of an issue:

Pro: I love seeing girls who are unafraid to stand up for women’s rights, reject stereotypes, and tell it like it is. This was so cute, and I love that they’re spreading the word on feminism!

Con: Are you kidding? This was horrible, I can’t believe those girls were talking like that. I would wash their mouth out with soap! Why can’t they have a video about this without all the vulgarity? It takes away from the message.

Pro: But that’s the point! You’re finding their curse words more shocking than their statistics about women. And they’re old statistics! They needed to add the cursing to actually make people pay attention for once. This video never would have gone viral without the f-bombs.

 Con: These girls don’t even understand the issues they’re talking about, they’re just reading from a script written by adults, it’s exploiting them to make a point and sell shirts!

Pro: These girls are actors, it’s they’re job to read from scripts. Besides, they looked like they were having a lot of fun, and I’m glad their parents aren’t sheltering them from the problems facing women in the world.

Con: But this isn’t even about women’s rights! It’s about selling T-shirts for a for-profit company, that’s only donating some of the proceeds to charities! They’re not only exploiting the children, they’re exploiting the feminist cause itself for profit!

 Pro: While FCKH8 is a for-profit company, they have given a lot of money to various, legitimate charities with the proceeds of their t-shirt campaigns. Money that those places wouldn’t have gotten if it wasn’t for their shocking viral video ads. Besides, we all have to buy clothes, why not buy clothes that support equal rights for all? FCKH8 is spreading awareness with every T-shirt they sell.

Con: Well, I still don’t like it, and you’re a crazy feminazi for liking it.

Pro: Well you’re an ignorant, sexist women-hater, and I feel bad for any children you raise!

head in hand computer

Do you have a headache now too?

THE PROBLEM:

The last two arguments are the most important ones for me. The problem with this video is that it’s polarizing. You love it, and think everyone else should and f*ck them if they don’t. Or you hate it, and think everyone else should and f*ck them if they don’t.

If the goal was to sell pro-feminism T-shirts to feminists, than this video was genius. And I’m not saying that a goal like that is bad – charities need to raise money for themselves, and many times only those who are already members are willing to pay up. You have church events with donations from members, school fundraising aimed at parents, etc. And FCKH8 is giving money to legitimate charities. And it’s ok that they’re keeping some, because they never pretended they weren’t. If you’re going to be a corporation in a capitalist country, they’re doing it in the most moral way possible. I don’t think they were exploiting feminism for profit, I think they are trying to do their part to help and spread the word.

princesses making a face

We need to work together, not jeer together.

If this video was made to raise awareness and gain supporters for feminism, I don’t think it achieved that goal. It is a very common stereotype that feminists are angry man-haters, which has made it so that any type of ‘aggressive’ campaign to raise awareness for women’s rights is often met with hateful accusations by the rest of the public. This was a very aggressive, in your face type of video that people who are ‘on the fence’ about feminism won’t (and don’t) appreciate because it implies they’re f*cking idiots and contribute to a sexist society. And maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But you’ll never get them on board with feminism by yelling at them.

However, the problem is that no one should have to be polite and unobtrusive when talking about gender equality. These are fundamental rights and we are right to be upset. This issue reminds me of France Francois’s sign at the National Movement of Silence 2014 gathering to mourn the deaths of minorities at the hands of law enforcement:

Protest

Seriously. It’s insane that we still have to do this about any number of causes.

Francois was protesting against inherent racism within law enforcement against blacks, but I think the sentiment that she expresses about her frustration parallels with the frustration feminists have to deal with when trying to discuss women’s issues:

“For me, it goes back to the idea that we’re not allowed to feel these sentiments. We always have to be stoic. We always have to make certain people comfortable and I really didn’t want to make anyone comfortable at that time. I felt angry. I felt fearful . . .  I wasn’t trying to make people feel comfortable because I don’t feel like this is a moment where we should feel comfortable. We should be questioning the fact that this continues to happen and I wanted that to be expressed.”

Now, I in no way want to take away from any cause, nor am I trying to take attention from what Francois is fighting for and divert it to the feminist fight. I am just commenting on the problem with Respectability Politics, and the similar problem it poses when applying it’s theory to women in a man’s world. Just as blacks shouldn’t have to give into white notions of what an upstanding citizen looks like for them to have rights (hint, you need to look and act white), women shouldn’t have to behave politely, like a lady, and fit into the male-dominated world image of how a woman should act for us to be taken seriously as human beings. For men, being assertive and saying what you want is a good thing. For women, it makes you a complaining bitch. 

Now, I’ve laid out these two problems here. One, that feminists need to be careful how they present their arguments for equality so that they can be taken seriously and not be dismissed as aggressive or man-hating. And two, that we shouldn’t have to conform to stereotypes about how ‘ladies’ and ‘respectable women’ should act for us to be taken seriously, because that’s giving in to the patriarchy we are fighting so hard against.

It’s a quandary, and I don’t know which is the right answer. There probably is no right answer. Maybe we’ll find one in the future. For now, I think we need to stand up for ourselves, while being respectful of others as human beings, regardless of sex, gender and race.

For those who don’t really understand what modern feminism is truly about, and whether or not it is still necessary, here is a very informative article, with legitimate sources for every statement they make: Do You See These 10 Everyday Sexisms? I encourage everyone, feminists and non-feminists, to read it.

What do you think of the FCKH8 anti-sexism video (take the poll here), and the arguments for and against it? And what do you think is the better choice for feminists when discussing women’s rights? Maybe we can figure it out together.

Read More: 

FCKH8’s Little Princesses Who Pull no Punches

FCKH8’s “F-Bomb Princess” video isn’t offensive—it’s exploitative.

Watch This 6-Year-Old and Her Friends Drop F-bombs for Feminism (and to Sell Clothes) A shocking way to deliver a shocking message

Princesses Aren’t Gonna Take It!

Little Girls Drop F-Bombs in Controversial Pro-Feminism Video

FCKH8 – Potty-mouthed, pint-sized feminists

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14 comments

  1. Stephan Batteljée · October 23, 2014

    First off I’d like to state that I’ve currently read both your first blog entry aswell as this one and that I was quite pleased with your writing, it proved to be both interesting and well-written, nicely done!
    Now when it comes to this particular blog entry, I felt like suggesting to you a possibility that you may not have considered yet (or perhaps you have in which case I’m curious about your own speculations), that being the idea that the concept of ‘equality’ itself is flawed and quite possibly goes against itself. To understand this, we must first come to the very real conclusion that people’s desires will clash. This may not always be the case when comparing two singular individuals, but when considering humanity as a whole and comparing each of those billions of individuals’ desires against one another, it is impossible to unite all these desires and believes. At the very least in present day times this holds true, although this may be changed through spectacular technology or unification in the far future but this option can thusly be ignored for the time being. Knowing this, we must consider that complete equality would have to stem from what would in essence be a universally condoned norm that every human being would have to adhere to, but as previously stated, this is currently practically impossible since not everyone desires the same things nor does everyone have the same objectives, which would therefore result in aforementioned ‘clashes’. The best we could then hope for is a norm that is condoned by a majority of the population, but this would still go against actual equality, since a part of the population’s will has been overruled by the majority, thusly resulting in a dichotomy between those that agree with the, possibly enforced, regulations and those that do not, therefore creating actual inequality.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is, in summary: for equality to be feasible, total unification amongst humans is required, but due to various factors (differences in culture, mental ‘abnormalities’, hidden agendas, etc.) this is currently unattainable.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts, perhaps even have a civil debate about the matter.
    Sincere regards, Stephan.

    Like

    • arielledawn · October 23, 2014

      Thank you so much for following my posts, and for your compliments! And thank you also for putting forth your opinion in a civil, and clear way. We all know how rare that can be on the internet these days. In all honesty, I started this blog to help refine my gut feelings towards these issues. You sound like you have spent a lot of time thinking and forming your opinion, and you have probably done a lot more reading and research about the subject of equality than me. That said, I identify as a cynical idealist. I want everything in the world to be perfect, for everyone to always do the right thing, but for reasons like those you just posed, I doubt it will ever happen. How do we define what the ‘right thing’ is, without pushing a specific view and agenda? So my answer is, I don’t have an answer. Maybe we won’t ever get to equality. Maybe every time we make a stride forward, new stereotypes and sexisms will rise up in their place. I don’t know. I do think though, and I’m hoping we agree on this, that maybe the first step on the journey to finding out is to give each other the benefit of the doubt by trying to overcome our own stereotypes, and treat each other with respect. How we would want to be listened to is how we should listen, how we would want to be talked to is how we should talk. How we would like to have someone debate with us is how we should debate. Would we want someone telling us who we can and cannot marry, what we can and cannot wear, etc. It’s hard, and it’ll probably take me a while to form a concrete opinion on this. Maybe check back with me in a few months, when I’ll have more research and posts under my belt. But again, thank you so much for your thoughts and your compliments, I’m glad your enjoying my blog so far!

      Like

      • Stephan Batteljée · October 23, 2014

        Actually, I merely came across your blog by accident through facebook and have spent little to no time educating myself on the matter of equality, my initial post was merely a semi-rant on how I personally see the matter given a few minutes to think about it. I’ll take your assumption as a compliment though (regardless of whether or not you meant for it to be one ;P)!
        You bring up a good point however regarding the way we should atleast try to politely debate important matters like equality, it reminds me of a saying we have in my country which goes “Wat gij niet wilt dat U geschiedt, doe dat ook een ander niet.” and literally translated means “What you don’t want to happen to you, don’t do that to others.”.
        I’m quite cynical myself at times and I’m by no means optimistic enough to believe humanity to be able to go from it’s current state to one of total unity within the span of a lifetime, but that being said, I also don’t believe it’s entirely impossible to achieve in the long run. After all, folks would have considered technology like a simple phone or television absolute sorcery only a few hundred years ago, so who knows what the bright minds of our generation may come up with or at the least lay the foundation for! That, actually, also directly leads into what in my opinion is what our generation should strife for when it comes to sensitive political issues like equality, sexuality, freedom of speech and whatever else may be considered taboo by some or most. We are very much so the first generation to have easy access to world wide, instant communication and even a single individual can have a far reaching impact these days if he truly wants to. We CAN make a difference, we ARE the future and we WILL decide the shape of tomorrow, whether we want to or not. Hopefully, we’ll shape it for the betterment of mankind.

        Once again,
        Sincerely, Stephan

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela · October 24, 2014

    Maybe–just maybe–this can help to relieve the anger…
    http://time.com/3222543/5-feminist-myths-that-will-not-die/

    Like

    • arielledawn · October 24, 2014

      Here is an explanation from the US Department of Labor that goes into more detail about the gender pay gap. They’re busting myths- the ones that say the gender pay gap doesn’t exist: http://social.dol.gov/blog/myth-busting-the-pay-gap/

      Like

      • arielledawn · October 24, 2014

        I also want to add that I don’t think the pay gap only hurts women. There are a lot of factors that go into it that harm men too. I think I will have to write another post in the future dedicated to going over how I believe the gender pay gap harms both men and women though, because it is a very broad subject to discuss.

        Like

    • arielledawn · October 24, 2014

      And here is an explanation of rape statistics with correct government sources. My biggest problem with people arguing this particular issue, is that 1 in 1000 people being raped is too many, 1 in 100,000 is too many. This quotes 1 in 6, the video quotes 1 in 5, your source “myth-busts” the 1 in 5 myth, but other anti-feminist sources ‘bust’ the 1 in 4 myth. Also, your article is from the opinion section of Time. So while Time magazine is a reliable source, it’s opinion section is not the best place to go for facts, and the women who wrote the article is the only famous woman I know of who ‘myth-busts’ these facts, or other people source only her. I prefer to rely on government statistics whenever possible. : https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

      Like

      • Bobby d'Angelo · October 24, 2014

        It is true to say that the 1 in 5 statistic has been thrown around WAY too much and has been taken for granted as being true way too often. I agree with you, Arielle, that 1 in 100,000 is still too many. 1 in 7 billion is too many. But 1 in 5 is not correct. And it certainly is due to their saturated definition of what counts as rape or as sexual assault. The most often cited report of this statistic stems from the CDC. Included in their definition of rape is the following:
        If a man lies to a woman at any point in the encounter in order to get her to sleep with him, it is rape. If I tell a woman that I’m an awesome guitar player in order to get her to sleep with me and she does, even though I’m not, the CDC will classify this as rape. Or if the woman has had any alcohol in her system, it is classified as rape, regardless of how much alcohol the man has had.

        This, in my opinion, hurts women who have suffered sexual assault because you are watering down the definition of rape. It is insulting to put women who have suffered genuinely traumatic experiences in the same category as this, where the definition of sexual assault has become so saturated that it almost means nothing. Again, one assault is one too many, regardless of the population. But 1 in 5 is not anywhere near the correct figure, and we have to be honest when talking about what is an assault, and what is a regret.

        Like

      • arielledawn · October 24, 2014

        The 1 in 6 statistic in the source I quoted also includes attempted sexual assault, or sexual violence categorized as something other than rape, I admit that. I don’t think that lessens the issue though. It is still sexual violence. I think it’s very sticky territory to try to draw the line between what is rape and what isn’t. We have oral rape, and we have vaginal rape, and we have anal rape. What if a man uses a woman’s chest and finishes on her face but there’s no penetration? Is that breast rape? Is that not as violating? I think it’s just as serious, and humiliating, and traumatizing. There’s also spousal rape, which largely goes unreported because many women and men don’t realize that even though you’re married, consent must be given. Personally, I think it is very difficult to come up with definite statistics on this subject. There’s too many date rapes with alcohol and drugs to erase memory, it goes largely unreported because of the shame and insensitive authorities who don’t handle the situations correctly. Or because it happens so young, or it was someone they know, or a family member, or the family wants to keep it quiet. I do understand what your saying that throwing around an old statistic can lessen the message, because it gives a hole people can dig into. I think the real problem is that people don’t pay attention or care unless there’s a shocking, over simplified statistic. They don’t want to listen to a lengthy, in depth explanation of all the factors that go into this, or other issues (like the gender pay gap). But nothing like this is really that simple. So, I don’t know what the solution is. It seems like we oversimplify in the hopes that it will catch someone’s attention long enough to teach them, or we go into in-depth explanations that no one wants to listen to because they’re too complicated.

        Like

      • arielledawn · October 24, 2014

        Oh, I also disagree that the 1 in 5 statistic is way off. I think it’s under 1 in 10 women are victims of sexual assault. It’s not always outwardly violent, most times it’s quiet, and some women might never even know it’s happened to them. We see those cases popping up in colleges all over the nation, girls finding out after the video or pictures the assaulters took get back to the victim months later. And this is also just talking about the US. Most of the world is even worse.

        Like

  3. Caitlin · October 28, 2014

    Fantastic piece, a pleasure to read. You analysed it with both sides in mind and that’s something the other media outlets have no achieved. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arielledawn · October 28, 2014

      Thank you so much! If you want to stay up to date on anything else I publish without having to follow via e-mail, my facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/lilithinlilies all new content will be posted there 🙂 I”m so glad you enjoyed my post, I always want to try to give an unbiased analysis!

      Like

  4. John Donohue · October 30, 2014

    You’ve heard of the accusation “false dichotomy?” Your thesis here is indeed that, but worse: I’d call it the “Denied Premise As Red Herring” version of a false dichotomy. I’ll make my point in the rhetorical style you deployed:

    Pro: I love seeing girls who are unafraid to stand up for women’s rights, reject stereotypes, and tell it like it is. This was so cute, and I love that they’re spreading the word on feminism!

    Con: This is child abuse.

    A dominant wave of posts condemns this video for the exploitation of underage children.

    Since this is the major objection to the video, and your supposedly incisive analysis ignores it, how can we not conclude that you condone the employment of 6-13 year old girls in service to the word “f*ck” as a weapon.

    This video should be condemned out of hand for its flaunting of crushed innocence. The video is in fact evidence of a crime. You call for “being respectful of others as human beings, regardless of sex, gender and race.” How about respectful of age?

    [note: I used the * as you did, only for the reason of hopefully not having my comment rejected for the proper spelling. Why are you using the asterisk?]

    Like

    • arielledawn · October 30, 2014

      I appreciate all opinions. I wrote this article the day after this video went viral in the US, and I wrote about it reflecting all the posts I had seen up to that point. After I wrote it, it was reported more, and was on various news outlets. For example, Fox news covered this story calling it child abuse, after I wrote this post. I did see comments by people calling it child abuse, but that is their opinion. The reason I call this an opinion is because it is completely subjective to a persons views on curse language, as well as their views on how to raise a child. While I personally don’t condone children using curses, others think it doesn’t matter. Some think it’s funny. Some think kids should just know when to use it appropriately, and then its fine. Some think it’s never appropriate.
      If this video was showing young girls between the ages of 6-13 being abused by men to make a point, then yes, it would be child abuse and “evidence of a crime.” But the reasoning that allowing a girl to curse constitutes child abuse is flawed logic. That would mean that every parent of a child who curses should have their child taken away, which is ridiculous. You might not like it if you hear a 6 year old saying “fuck you I want this toy” to their mother in the store, but that’s not your child to raise. You might not like it if you hear a group of 13 yr olds in the movies jokingly saying things like “pass me the fucking popcorn you bitch,” but they’re not your kids to scold, and their parents aren’t child abusers because of those words. They just might be differently minded than you on how to raise children.
      So, while I appreciate your opinion, what I am trying to convey to you is that I was writing an article from both perspectives, and I was not focusing on the video itself, or on what even happened in it. I was focusing on the message it was supposed to convey about feminism and people’s reactions to it, and I wrote out the arguments that appeared most often. I did mention the view that some thought the children were exploited, and I included the ‘pro’ people’s response to that. However, I didn’t make any claim as to who was right or wrong in that view.
      Also, you should check your social circles if you think the vast majority of people condemned this video. From my view, it was a pretty even 50/50. And even of those that condemned it, not everyone said it was child abuse, they just didn’t like children using that language. They didn’t think their parents could be charged with a crime. If you like, I have a survey on my first post about this video, https://lilithinlilies.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/viral-right-now-pretty-potty-mouthed-feminists/ almost 50% liked the video. about 25% hated it, and the rest had different opinions. I tried to reach a diverse amount of people for their opinions, posting links to my article on liberal and conservative sites, and this is what I got.
      As for why I used the * when writing the curse words in the article, I did it because I wanted my article to be readable for everyone who had views on this topic, including those who are offended by curse words. For the very reason that I am open to others views and beliefs on language, even if I don’t share those particular beliefs myself.
      I hope this clears things up for you. In the future, while I allowed your comment because it wasn’t outright hateful, its tone was verging on sarcastic bullying. Please try to be kind to myself and others when commenting on this, or any other site in the future. People are always more likely to listen to your views if you present them in a non-judgmental way.

      Like

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