December 22, 2011

Challenging Sexist Christmas Songs--And Enjoying them?

If you're like me and you practice Christmas, than you love this time of the year. You like Christmas traditions, especially their nostalgic aspects, Christmas decorating, spending time with family and friends, eating and making/baking homemade foods, appreciating others, giving to others, and, of course, getting from others.

But do you ever notice the creepy and sexist aspects of Christmas? I know, it's not something I want or necessarily like to think about either. But I think it's important to acknowledge. For instance, traditional Christmas songs, even new Christmas songs, are embedded with patriarchal ideas. 

I recently watched this video over at Feminist Frequency:

As happy as I am that this video necessarily points out many of the deep-seated ideas about women and sexual violence that exist today, I'm also a little put off by it, and I'll tell you why. What about when you like and enjoy Christmas traditions and songs, even though they are incredibly sexist? This is a tough position. But before we can talk about how to reconcile such a position, if that's even possible, perhaps we first need to acknowledge and emphasize the normalized and oppressive ideas that are reinforced and promoted year after year at Christmas time. This is why I love Feminist Frequency's videos. At the same time, I wonder if it is possible to acknowledge--even challenge--such ideas while also participating in culture, albeit a patriarchal and racist one. 

That's why it's important to actively engage in our lives and in society and culture as feminists--because we're needed and can do this! These songs (especially "Baby, It's Cold Outside", which is disgustingly creepy) indicate that we live in world that neither listens nor hears women. We live in world that does not consider women fully human beings, but rather condemns them as inferior, unimportant, pathological, and much much much much more. Feminists should not be defined according to popular myths about us--come on, those were socially constructed, and although they may have been or may be true, it's time to see beyond them. Let's actively participate in culture (we're not cultural dupes) by, for instance, performing our genders, AND challenging oppressive ideas.

3 f*ing days until Christmas!!

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