And I think I can safely say that with “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism” by FCKH8.com, which has been buzzed about in social media for the last week, the trend has reached bottom. That would be dead bottom, south of Honey Boo Boo.
“What’s more offensive?” a young actress in a pink princess costume asks in this video. “A little girl saying f*ck -- or the sexist way society treats girls and women?
To me, it’s really hard to capture what’s most offensive about this video, because it’s one of the most misguided, muddleheaded, exploitative and manipulative pieces of work I’ve ever seen. Though it uses the F-word (feminism) in its title, it seems to have no understanding of what that means for human beings. Maybe that’s because it comes from a company that uses slogans about the latest gender controversies to sell T-shirts.
It starts out OK, showing an array of girls, aged 6-13, dressed in pink and purple spangley princess garb, who use the word “fuck” a lot to put down the idea of damsels in distress. The shock value pays off, maybe in a laugh or two, in the first 10 seconds. But as the video progresses, it shows the girls using the exact same exaggerated emoting and attitude -- the obnoxious and off-putting sarcasm of the F-bombing, neck-rolling,and hip-tilting -- to cover problems like pay inequality and rape.
The thinking behind this video is convoluted, conflating and reducing substantive problems to a muddle of tiaras and F- bombs.
I feel sorry for the poor girl who has to say, (or, more like it, yell) “Stop telling girls how to dress and start telling boys not to fucking rape.” What? Making those two issues have any moral equivalence is idiotic.
Part of the problem, I think, is the attempt to hijack the Sarah Silverman approach to ensure that the video goes viral. What the creators don’t understand is that the genius of Sarah Silverman is that part when she’s making fun of herself, when she practices “meta-bigotry” and turns herself into the idiot, setting off politically incorrect word bombs.
She explained in her book “The Bedwetter” that when she was three, her father taught her to say "bitchbastarddamnshit."
"He thought it was hilarious," she writes. “He and the rest of the adults would go crazy laughing. And they were laughing at pure shock value -- a tiny child saying filthy words. It became very addictive for me. I chased that excellent feeling, even from that age."
Silverman actually parodies the ways that we -- bigots and self-styled liberal non-bigots alike -- discuss taboo topics, or avoid discussing them, or tie ourselves in logical knots in order to hold what we think are correct opinions.
Alas, this video is a mess, with none of that subtlety. The idea that all good liberal feminists drop the “f” bomb liberally is just a fallacy, equating rudeness with progressivism. Just because you’re not tickled to see little girls in princess costumes overemoting and saying the word “fuck” doesn’t mean that you’re a pearl-clutching Church Lady.
For me, at least, the video succeeds in turning that other F-word -- feminism -- into something radioactive and open for attack. And that plays directly into the hands of conservatives who think “radical feminists” are complaining, entitled princesses.
What’s more, whose feminism is this, anyway?
So some little girls love pink and sparkles. So sue ‘em. They’ll still grow up to pursue whatever they want to do. It doesn’t mean that they can’t become coders, bakers or baseball players and join in any reindeer games. Let them be who they are, without prejudice.
Another thing. Hasn’t Disney, the worst offender of telling the traditional damsel-in-distress/princess type stories, attempted to undo that curse with movies like “Frozen”?
This claim that $10 of the T-shirt purchase will go to “kick-ass organizations that help women and children” -- how do we know this? I wasn’t able to find any information about where the money goes.
Also, given that it brings up the issue of wage equality, I’d love to know what the girls in the video were paid. Perhaps they were sold on the idea that it will make them famous. “Stop focusing on how I look,” is one of their lines, but I’m sure they all got a kick out of the wardrobe.
The truth is that this video co-opts the other F-word, “feminism,” by using the girls as props and corporate shills to sell T-shirts. That’s some seriously fucked-up shit.