Klondike Bar

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Common themes represented here:

Joke’s on women.  Mocking women’s reality is cruel, and the oafish husband who literally cannot take the time out of his day to listen to her is a part of many women’s reality and a source of women’s misery. The “oafish” or bumbling husband meme is really a backhanded jab at women and everyone knows it: women have to put up with men who clearly hate them and are bad partners because they have to, or have no other meaningful choice.

Male entitlement.  This man obviously feels entitled to a sexual, domestic and reproductive slave, even though he is a bad partner and offers her little in return.

Normalize abuse/neglect.  The het partnership in general is neglectful of women’s needs and the lack of communication (or the known, demonstrable fact that men don’t listen to women) is a perfect example of that.

PIV-centric narrativeGoal is to “land a man”.  Women settling for men who are inadequate, or spending resources trying to change them, even though her “reward” for putting in all this work is a lifetime of PIV, regardless of whether it’s wanted.

Woman as “useful object”.  This woman is obviously being used by this man.  She is his sexual, domestic and reproductive slave, and if he could turn her off by remote control he obviously would.

Additional notes:   A liberal analyst might say that the above video is disturbing because it’s “blatantly sexist” and it’s blatantly sexist because it features “rewarding a man for briefly listening to his wife.”  But what about this imagery and the mechanism of women’s real-life oppression that is being represented here is of concern specifically to feminists?  Anyone would have hurt feelings if they were ignored this way, but feminists are not concerned with hurt feelings, and we aren’t concerned about “sexism” either.  That something is “unfair” to one or the other sex is not our concern.

Rather, feminists are concerned with the demonstrable harms that flow to us from misogynist institutions and the behaviors and entitlements of misogynist men.  In this case, normalizing the abusive/neglectful het partnership is part of the tapestry of interlocking systems of sexualized oppression that work in tandem to destroy women, and elevate men.  Women are lead to believe that an abusive, neglectful primary relationship is normal and adequate, and are stopped short of imaging a better future for themselves that might not include a man at all, or that would not privilege the het or primary relationship over other relationships that are more nurturing and center women’s needs.

Here’s another ad for Klondike Bar that is particularly illustrative of another of our common themes:

PIV-centric narrativePathologize older women and menopause/fetishize female youth.  The evil mother-in-law meme.

Again, this is a “hurtful” image and a sexist commentary, used to sell ice cream, but why is it harmful?  How is any of this specifically harmful to women, or what does it demonstrate about the interlocking systems of sexualized oppression that work in tandem to destroy us?

When taken together, these two videos illustrate how the het partnership is designed to be socially isolating to women (ie, its intentional).  Male partners aren’t expected to listen to women or nurture us emotionally, intellectually or any other way really, but women in a primary het relationship also aren’t allowed to hang out with female family members anymore, either, or have them “hanging around” the house anymore after we are sexually partnered off with men.  Women are expected to abandon our female family members specifically, (mothers and sisters are especially not welcome) and put all our time and energy into building up our partnerships and building up our partners, but men aren’t expected to give anything back.  Nor are women allowed to fill the obvious gaps left by the het partnership model with anything else, especially anything of substance: women who have loved and nurtured us for decades (but who have faults, sometimes severe ones) and particularly mothers, who are old enough to know better and who have been there, done that in many ways, and perhaps have managed to cast off some of the trappings of femininity and patriarchal mandates in their old age.  This seems specifically forbidden, in the context of the het partnership.

A version of this post was previously published at Radfem HUB.

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