Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Having your Cupcake and Eating It?

So a revolution of sorts has occurred apparently, with curvy models recently featuring in Italian Vogue. Now some people think this is great and some see it as a symptom of the continuing objectification of women. I say these curvy ladies are serious hot and it is great to see women with a bit of meat on them in a fashion magazine.

Arguments abound that women are objectified and the argument is always 'men oppress women by sexually objectifying them.' But isn't the reality that no one is really oppressed just by having a man look at you in a lustful fashion? If you are talking about the fashion industry well yes that is an extremely distasteful industry on every level. Models are certainly dehumanised and just treated as clothes horses. In all the babble coming from the chattering classes about 'going green' I suppose no one has noticed that following fashion is not only pointless but perpetrates huge suffering amongst fashion workers in the third world. If you really want to do something radical for women's rights then boycott fashion!

As for objectification of women in real life much has been made of the rise of retro femininity and the fact that many women in public life seem to have embraced a purely decorative function, coupled with an obsessive interest in baking cupcakes and wearing frilly aprons. Tanya Gold wrote in an article recently that she was appalled at going to John Lewis and finding out that:

"Sales of crafting fabrics are up 31 per cent on last year. Jam pot covers – remember them? – are up 50 per cent. And cupcake cases are up a howling, punched-by-Kirstie-Allsopp 65 per cent. I wish I could paint that sentence pink so you could see how important it is. We are living in a time of retro femininity."

I'm not sure what's so appalling about that as I love making cupcakes and wearing frilly aprons and apparently it's not just me. Gold states that Samantha Cameron, Duchess of Cambridge and Michelle Obama are little more than Stepford Wives in that they are seemingly playing second fiddle for now to their spouses (but are they really?)

To which I say you can look pretty, bake cupcakes and wear frilly outfits without losing your feminist credentials and if you make the stuff yourself surely you're saving the women who work in the Indian sweat shops from a life of hell. Also women are always going to be objectified because men like to look at pretty women. Also women like to be looked at by men. There, I've said it.

No one is forcing women to look pretty. If you want to go out looking like a dog's dinner it's your right. But there has always been a rather bizarre feminist link made between men's economic dominance and looking at women. Some clap trap about because they earn more that gives them the right to look at women, somehow diminishing women via their gaze sort of like how Alice in Wonderland might shrink after drinking some patriarchal potion!

Well enough clap trap. Looking at women does not oppress them okay? (Although obviously sexual harassment is another story). But my real point is this, do you think feminism has gone off course with the advent of more women wanting to look pretty and have a nice home or can you have your cake and eat it too?

Digital Parents Blog Carnival




Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Quite right too. I don't see the rise in sales for these typically female pursuits as being retro feminism. Surely it's more about wanting to make something yourself, not pay over the top shop prices, and maybe if you're a stay at home mum, give your mind something to think about other than Dora and Diego.

Surely feminism is about embracing all that women can be and speaking up for those that have been oppressed. You don't need to be butch and wear dungarees and men's shoes to do that.

Heather said...

I think a lot of people confuse feminism for shunning femininity. You can wear high heels and enjoy baking and still want women to have equal rights, equal pay and be treated as human beings not people that are owned and in service to those around them.

And I'm loving the curvy women in Italian Vogue. How wonderful if seeing normal sized women in magazines became the norm.

Anonymous said...

Feminism, for me, is about having the choice. I don't bake cakes, or knit, or wear make-up, or do any number of other things because it is expected of me, or because it is what women do. Nor am I trying to get a healther body because I want to be attractive to men. I do all of these things because I enjoy them and because they make me feel good about myself.
I hope that the rise in sales reflects a modern feminism - not that of our mothers, who felt the need to go to the other extreme to prove themselves, but a more balanced outlook.

Steve said...

I look at cupcakes all the time without buying. Is that lust? Is it wrong? Would it be better to just buy the goddamn cupcake and eat it? Would that make me a bad person?

London City Mum said...

Did you say cake?


p.s. WV is 'cagne' which is Italian for dogs (pl), or in truth, bitches. PMSL.

Bambam said...

I like what Heather said. Why can't women be feminine without losing their feminist rights?

At the end of the day, for 95% of people... women love masculine men and men love feminine women. The end!

p.s. In that 2nd Vogue shot, is she holding a fur or is that her well-trained dog? I can't quite make it out!

EmmaK said...

Bambam...I believe the model is holdiing a supersized merkin!

Metropolitan Mum said...

Of course you can. Why shouldn't we be able to bake cupcakes, wear heels and frilly aprons AND run companies/write books/change the world? I find it very un-feminist to assume we had to choose. Men don't have to choose.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

What I find annoying is that for some women every trend is just that - a passing fashion. This week cupcakes, next week £5,000 Prada handbags. None of them are being true to themselves. The women who know what they want and what they like find themselves 'in' one week and 'out' the next!

Electro-Kevin said...

Curvy is hot. Always has been. Most chaps prefer it.

Di-licious said...

I'm guilty of wanting to aspire to retro femininity. And if my hubby caught a glimpse of that Vogue Italia cover, well lets just say he'd be in the shower for a really, really long time.

But I'm a realist too. A SAHM, I'm more often caught at the shops in shapeless, comfortable clothes without a slick of makeup. But when I have the time, what the heck?

Pecan-crumble pear muffin anyone?

EmmaK said...


Could not resist your chat up line about muffins and will pop over to your blog to breathe in much cupcakey goodness.

Why don't men use sexy lines like that on us rather than 'is that a ladder in your stockings or a stairway to heaven?'


EmmaK said...

Around My Kitchen Table alas you describe me. I go through a phase every few months. A while back it was learning Spanish. This month is is crafting. I have made a lot of dolls clothes with my daughter and figure it saves her from staring at the TV for hours on end!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Women don't like being looked at by men whose dicks are hanging out of their trousers. Context is everything with women.

EmmaK said...

Gorilla Bananas....Yeah it is definitely not okay if the man has his meat and two veg hanging out. I guess this is all so much simpler for gorillas?

Denise G said...

New GFC follower through the blog hop


Mrs. Tuna said...

Okay, I am an opposite curvy chick. Instead of at my boobs and but its around my middle. Not so sexy now is it.

Shana said...

Hi! Following you from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop. Would love a visit and follow back on my blog: http://blog.writerslairbooks.com. Thanks! Nice to meet you!

Frugal in WV said...

I think curvy women are great! I bake cupcakes and love wearing frilly aprons :) New follower from the finding new friends hop, have a great day! You can find me at

Amber said...

Found you on the FNF blog hop... and I must say, I always love to see women with curves in this publications that are always filled with stick-figure models!!

Keep out my blog - http://amcozart.blogspot.com

Nancy StylenDecorDeals said...

Love nude shoes! Hope it never goes out of style!
I'm a new follower from the Hop. Love your blog!
Hope you'll hop by and visit my blog too!
Have a great week!

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

I approve of cupcakes, preferably made by voluptuous feminist Vogue models. But Georgetown Cupcakes, which has taken off down the road from us, is a glorious rip-off. Took my daughter's soccer team there the other night (under pressure), queued up 20 minutes, and forked out three bucks a head for cupcakes with fancy-sounding flavours, but absolutely ordinary taste. And not a Vogue model in sight. Brilliant marketing, though.

Hetty Sorrel said...

Have just finished watching a DVD of La Dolce Vita and have just two words to say- Anita Ekberg!!!!

Scarlet Blue said...

Where have you gone?

Michelloui said...

Not sure if my comment got eaten by blogger.

Just saying I don't feel repressed when I 'make an effort' and I quite like to make an effort (for myself if no one else).

And I like baking. And eating. So its quite a good thing the Italian women are setting a curvy trend!

Emma Phillips said...

I agree with dapbim, feminism is about having the choice and right to do whatever you want, whether it be stay at home to care for your kids or go to work or a bit of both!

Emma Phillips
Our site:
Girls Coats

Sexole said...

These women have hot and curvy body. I don't mind what it does to my body. I still like what I see :)
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Memphis Steve said...

I love how each woman who tried to define what feminism is has a different definition and assumes that hers is the right one. To me that sums things up more than anything.

Retro as a fad began in the UK some time ago, with Amy Winehouse and Adele and Duffy, etc. And now we have a bit of a retro fad here with Mad Men and Pan Am (The Playboy Club was canned after only 4 episodes.) The point is, its a fad. It doesn't necessarily mean anything other than that people are bored and perhaps unhappy with the here and now. It'll pass. And if feminism has so empowered women then can't they engage in a meaningless fad if they want to? I'm pretty sure they always could, and they always will, no matter who tells them they shouldn't. Men figured this out long ago and just gave up trying to fight it.

Memphis Steve said...

By the way, have you watched "Modern Family" yet? Sofia Vergara is bringing the curvy back with a vengeance!

EmmaK said...

Memphis Steve...oh yes I love Modern Family! Sofia Vergara is hot ! Smokin hot!

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allison tait said...

It annoys me that to be a feminist you must ignore all that which makes you feminine. Bugger it - I like baking (though not, I confess, frilly aprons...). I do think we need to do something about those bloody awful ridiculously high heels though. Seriously. If anything is hobbling women, they are.

Visiting via the Rewind.

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

I agree feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive. I'm sure some die hard feminists would disagree with continuing to support images or behaviour that appears to enslaveus to men's whims but I dont see it that way. I see liberation for me as the freedom to choose how to express myself. Each to their own. In any case, I love retro femininity. Visiting from the rewind.

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

Love the curvy woman and also love cupcakes, dresses, and being a housewife. I don't need paid work to mark my worth.

I'd say plenty of women's magazines are a step backwards for feminism - obsessing about our appearances and creating unrealistic images - photo shopped - does nothing much for us. I do wonder about those bigger women - how there skin looks so perfect without cellulite puckers.

Young girls, including my 10 year olds friends are terribly worried about their appearance and weight and I think the media plays a big role in this.

I think the male gaze can be great but utterly awful as well. Don't think that being stared at lustfully by your boss, a stranger, a peer is always without power. That gaze can affect how comfortable we are in our day to day life, our work and even impact on our actions. Where does a look become sexual harassment? Having a boss leering at you day after day is a pretty bad place to be. I think that gaze is particularly powerful on younger women. My daughter is only 10 but I've seen her looked at and even been yelled in a sexual way at by bogans. What a bloody thing to have to explain! That gaze will make her less comfortable negotiating public transport, getting around at night, and finding her place in the world. Men still have more power than women in our society and I don't think a gaze is always a harmless thing.