Today as our contribution to International Wimmin's Day, we would like to talk about Amerikan females and some aspects of their conditions that have international implications. Once again, we would like to take a crack at the "false consciousness" myth, the idea that says Amerikan wimmin are gender oppressed but adopt the oppressors' ideology.
MIM has put forward that Amerikan females constitute a gender aristocracy higher on the gender totem pole than Third World males. Others continue to hold the erroneous view that Amerikan females are not part of an unusual elite 5 or 10% of the world in gender terms, because they are just people who have "false consciousness," which causes them to act like males.
In other sciences, when a question is controversial, they see what can be cross- checked in terms of the non-controversial. When we are used to such cross- checking of reality, we know for example, that there is an overlap between those who have income and those who have assets. A cleaning maid in Rwanda may well enter the top 10% of Rwanda by income with $800 a year, but she is not likely to be hiding assets that would change the fact that she is not in the top 10% of the world by income or assets by a long-shot. People used to cross-checking data know this and do not fantasize much about Rwandan maids stashing their assets.
Reactionaries like to cross-check their IQ studies in a few different ways. They like to point to later success in life making money, if there is such evidence. It's also good when other intellectual tests corroborate their IQ tests. The reactionaries mostly fail in their cross-checking, but the method is still correct.
When we think of the gender aristocracy question, it will again be useful to refer to male athletes. When Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought all out in front of an international audience, they stood exposed shirtless and in shorts. Most Third World people are OK with male athletes' exposing themselves to this degree. Then again, it was an Amerikan female soccer star Brandi Chastain who won a game and then took off her shirt in public to reveal a black Nike bra.(1) Since then there has been a whole host of similar incidents by people from imperialist countries at international tournaments.
When we leave sports and move even closer to the center of the topic of sex, we will find that most countries are afraid for their wimmin in respect to out- groups. By this we mean that most countries view exposure of their wimmin to an international public as threatening. The extreme comes from an historical memory of rape or genocide in war defeat. Anglo imperialist country womyn has less memory of such international conflict, and has a more unviolated male outlook because of that concrete experience difference, not because of false consciousness.
To the extent that Hollywood imports wimmin, Hollywood can make some token stars who break the boundaries for all cultures. On the whole though, it is hard to match Anglo export of Madonna, Britney Spears and their more recent clones. Iran does not really export its naked and semi-naked wimmin to us in the imperialist countries so much. Rather imperialist u$a is getting huffy and militant that Iran won't accept our barely clothed stars. Female soldiers in Iraq are also literally physically enforcing Iraq's appreciation of Amerikan pornography.
Now what could this mean. Does it mean that Amerikan wimmin have more false consciousness than Iranian or Iraqi ones? Does the fact that we export so many CDs with Britney Spears type pictures on the covers mean that we are repressing Amerikan wimmin more than other cultures (many of which admittedly increasingly copy the united $tates)? Or is it not in fact the same as the sports question. We proudly project finely tuned Amerikan bodies anywhere, because we are least afraid for our females and in fact, we would get huffy if either our male athletes or porno-pop divas were denied their proper due (as in money and fame) in an Amerikan sort of way. And even though we present "our" females to the world naked, are they not still "out of reach" economically, in part thanks to the exaltation of the pornography machine?
In most of the world, knowledge of oppression of wimmin extends to the other countries' oppressing "our" wimmin. Most of the world does not offer up its wimmin naked to nearest rivals. Most of the world does not seek to entice people to their culture by aggressively floating athletes and porn stars on equal terms. A rare Thailand will try to make money on sex tourism, but even that is not the same thing. Thailand does not ask for exaltation of its brothels. The promotion of Michael Jordan and Britney Spears types is much closer to religious devotion in its extent.
Michael Jordan in shorts with his tongue hanging out going to the basket is not "degraded" and Muhammad Ali shirtless and fighting is not "degraded" and likewise, we in Amerika seek to exalt our sex symbols. The reason for that is that we are projecting patriarchal power globally with both males and females. It is not stupidity in the case of Britney Spears and just proper etiquette for Michael Jordan.
Now, MIM would have to make a different argument if we Amerikans exalted Ali, had no Britney Spears and put naked Iraqi wimmin on billboards. If we occupied a country and then our music CDs (not to mention videos and magazines) came with free layout photographs of the latest Iraqi wimmin captured and exposed, we might see ridicule. "False consciousness" would be the Iraqi womyn proud of being on the largest Amerikan billboard. When Amerika exposes its female sex symbols it is not degrading its own wimmin. What country degrades its own wimmin in public more than that of females of other countries?
This is what we mean by cross-checking. We know there is patriarchy everywhere. We know that countries seek to protect "their" wimmin against other countries. When they don't, the reason is as MIM says: the people not being protected from exposure to the international public are actually men.
The entire world is somewhat comfortable with letting "their" men get at least a little international exposure. It could be good for fame, money and even family. If this changes for females, it will be because of copying of the united $tates and it won't change the fact that imperialist countries started the trend.
Amerikan wimmin are now more than 57% of college students and an even higher percentage of recent college graduates. 26.7% of Amerikans total over age 25 have graduated from college as of 2002(2) but recent years show an increasing proportion. In fact, by age 29, a higher percentage have graduated because of the increase in college availability--29.3%. People 30 and over have lived more years to get their degrees if they did not get them as youth, but still their graduation rate is lower than the youth of today. This trend is driven entirely by females, who by 29 have a 31.8% graduation rate as of 2002.(2)
So what is the international significance of saying that Amerikan wimmin have the highest false consciousness which accounts for their most extensive support of pornography, such as the raunch culture alluded to by Ariel Levy? This again is another means of cross-checking. Usually we do not think of the most educated people on average as being the most stupid. We should not encourage the world to think that equal access to education for wimmin is a bad thing. Ditto opening careers for white wimmin since the 1960s. Yet, raunch culture and growth of the pornography big business has spread at exactly that time. This leaves the question, "what is it that young men have that females don't have that enables them to pull raunch culture over on females?" It's not education and we do not think it is an increase in female stupidity. These females simply obtain benefits from becoming men, especially at the expense of less-exalted females.
There are many, many facts pointing to an increase of power for Amerikan females. Their leisure time and parasitism have increased. Their educational and career opportunities have increased. What is the likelihood that in the midst of these other known trends, there is a counter-trend in which Amerikan females make themselves the most stupid in the world? Is it not more in line with the facts in general to say that Amerikan females simply boosted their status to the point of being men? Are we Amerikans not confident exporting images of "our" naked wimmin, the same way men in general are confident about sports promotions? It is a waste of time for wimmin located in privileged places to wonder why they do not feel their inner "natural womyn" that pulls them away from alleged false consciousness. There is every possibility that real social forces have turned them into men.
Sexploitation or Pride? Female Olympians' Revealing Poses Stir Debate
By MARK O'KEEFE
c.2000 Newhouse News Service
This comrade will only add that the story left out one important fact only indirectly and theoretically alluded to. Yes, male Olympic medalists did obtain huge sexual privileges and exaltation, including while at the Olympics by wimmin who lined up at their doors. The whole groupie thing may be unknown to the public, but to say that only wimmin athletes are going for sexual exaltation because of sexploitive culture abusing themselves is naive.