What ISN’T Bad For Women?

“That’s bad for women!” “Is this bad for women?” “Bad for women!” “Bad for women!” Blagh!

“Bad for women” seems to be the catchphrase used by the blogosphere to describe anything that may have a less than fabulous impact on women’s lives. Needless to say, while some of the arguments may be valid, this phrase has been worn out. After the jump, nine people and things that, ZOMG, might be baaaaad for women. 1. Megan Fox
The Argument:

“That this type of woman – who comes across as a crude simpleton and takes on movie roles nearly pornographically portraying her body – is the ultimate male ideal, should trouble all women. Intentionally or not, the global obsession with her sends a message to women that perfection means impossible beauty and a serious lack of social graces, if not a lack of intelligence.” — College Candy

Bad For Women?: Meh. While I loathe her, I don’t think she has the potential for a lasting career. She is, however, bad for Shia LaBoeuf, who clearly has a mega-crush on her. Eww.

2. Vampire TV Shows & Books
The Argument:

“The latest wave of novels and series are not like the glossy look-but-don’t-touch sexuality you see in Vogue. They reflect our culture’s deep ambivalence about women’s sexuality and our obsession with glorifying chastity and sexual violence.” — Double X

Bad For Women?: No. I’m sorry, but it’s fantasy. I read V.C. Andrews as a teen, for heaven’s sake, and I turned out fine.

3. Taylor Swift
The Argument: This is more an attack on the myth that love is a fairy tale, and cites Swift’s “Love Story” as one example that promotes this:

“Girl meets guy. There is drama. Guy leaves. Girl waits for guy. Guy comes back. Cue the happily ever after. Except…wait a second. He left her, right? And she waited around for him without any indication he was coming back? Um, we might need to reconsider this.” — College Candy

Bad For Women?: No. In general, I think Swift’s music is actually totally harmless and, um, good. She’s got a girl power vibe that I like, but still sings about love and heartbreak from her authentic teenage perspective. I’ve also read interviews with her where she seems quite smart. If I had a daughter, I would completely consider her a lovely role model.

4. Sarah Palin
The Argument:

“But what was disturbing today was how clear it became that Palin’s job is not only to recruit women, but to simultaneously promote conservative notions of how women should be…. Palin’s selection as McCain’s VP is offensive, not only because there are far more experienced women out there who perhaps don’t “look” as good, but because her personal choices as a woman — as a wife and as a mother — are about to be scrutinized and politicized in a way that can only hurt women.” — The Seminal

Bad For Women?: I suppose if you are a woman who agrees that Palin is representative of the way women should act and be, she has been good for (those types) of women. Personally, I think her absolute incompetence and lack of knowledge about the issues and, uh, her quitting attitude, has been bad for Alaska and the country, but as she, happily, is not sitting in the VP seat, I think women are safe (for now).

5. JDate
The Argument:

Trying and failing to find love online makes women (especially those in their thirties and older) “feel isolated and at fault.” Male-female ratios are roughly equal on dating sites, but women don’t get nearly as many responses as men. When they do find likely candidates, those guys often turn out to be self-centered, married, or both. And online dating promotes a shopping mentality, wherein it’s easy to click past the pretty-good profiles in search of more perfect acquisitions. — Lilith.org

Bad For Women?: This particular piece was written specifically about online dating and Jewish women, and as I am not Jewish and have not ever been on JDate, I can’t say specifically. But as for regular ol’ online dating and women as a whole? I don’t think online dating sites are bad for women specifically, but I do think it can be bad or good for everyone, based on your expectations and how honestly you use them.

6. Sarah Palin Ridicule
The Argument:

“…as mockery of Sarah Palin reached a fever pitch, some women, especially mothers of young girls, wondered if all this ridicule is setting a bad example by playing into a long-standing misogynistic tradition of insulting a woman’s intelligence. After all, the complaint about Palin—that she’s not capable of grasping issues of national and international importance—was the same excuse given for denying women the vote. The only sphere that a woman was deemed cogent enough to manage was confined by the four walls of her own home.” — Elle.com

Bad For Women?: Nah. I see the writer’s point, but Dan Quayle, another VP candidate, was endlessly mocked for his stupidity too. And let’s face it — Palin did a pretty good job of parodying herself, unintentionally. The winking? The not knowing what magazines and newspapers she reads?

7. Hooking Up
The Argument:

[Deborah Roffman] is not convinced that this is a good thing for women, and says that being able to say yes is only one way of looking at freedom. She would feel much better if young men also were developing a greater capacity for intimacy.
Being able to engage in intimate relationships where men and women bring all of themselves to the relationship is the cornerstone of family, Roffman says. — NPR

Bad For Women?: This piece provides both sides of the argument — about whether “hookup culture” is bad for women — but I find it irritating that the conversation is about whether it’s bad for women and not just bad for both genders? For the record, I don’t think it’s “bad” for anyone, so long as everyone is on the same page and is using protection.

8. “America’s Next Top Model”
The Argument:

“I understand that humiliation is part of the reality show game, my real problem is how the hosts are always espousing empowerment and female strength and then forcing the contestants into embarrassing scenarios far outside the realm of real-life modeling. It’s lame.” — Shine

Bad For Women?: I think we can all agree the Tyra Banks Evil Empire is bad for women, gay for pay actors, vampires, and humanity in general.

9. Jezebel
The Argument: We covered this lil’ tiff a few months ago, but here’s a bit of Double X’s missive.

“Doing what feels good to you is the only standard that is allowed. The problem is that no one really wants to admit that some things feel bad, because that admission would threaten the whole system of unlimited individual action. The substitution of emotive satisfaction for political or social standards is the ultimate challenge that Jezebelism poses for the current state of feminism.” — Linda Hirshman at Double X

Bad For Women?: I agreed with some of what Hirshman had to say about Jezebel, but I absolutely think the site — as well as all blogs where women write about issues that matter to them, is a wonderful thing for women. But one thing that certainly is bad for women? Holding one blog responsible for conveying “the state of women’s lives.”