Even activism can’t stop misogyny

One step forward, two steps back folks. That seems to be the prevailing theme women in America are faced with whenever they attempt to make history and engage in social justice activism. In this latest instance of keeping women in their place, Steven Greenstreet has created his website called “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street.”

Instead of trying to enter Greenstreet’s mind, here’s an excerpt on why he decided to pay homage to the hot female protesters.

A lot of fantastic media has been created about the “Occupy” movement. I was watching one video in particular and commented to a friend, “Wow, seeing all those super smart hot chicks at the protest makes me want to be there.” He replied, “Hmmm… Yeah, let’s go with that.”

We instantly went to Tumblr and made hotchicksofoccupywallstreet.tumblr.com. Our original ideas were admittedly sophomoric: Pics of hot chicks being all protesty, videos of hot chicks beating drums in slow-mo, etc. But when we arrived at Zuccotti Park in New York City, it evolved into something more. 

There was a vibrant energy in the air, a warmth of community and family, and the voices we heard were so hopeful and passionate. Pretty faces were making signs, giving speeches, organizing crowds, handing out food, singing, dancing, debating, hugging and marching

It made me want to pack my bags and pitch a tent on Wall Street. And it’s in the light that we created this video. And we hope it makes you want to be there too.

EDIT: Apparently a lot of controversy has erupted online from people passionately opining (among many things) that this is sexist, offensive, and dangerously objectifies women. It was not my intent to do that and I think the spirit of the video, and the voices within, are honorable and inspiring.

However, if you disagree with me, I encourage you to use that as an excuse to create constructive discussions about the issues you have. Because, to be honest, any excuse is a good excuse to bring up the topic of women’s rights.

Greenstreet also made a video paying his respects to the women occupying Wall Street. Notice how all the women fit the preferred cisgendered model of women? Notice how he didn’t include any women who were overweight/obese, disabled or women who identified as transgendered? That’s not an accident folks…

The enlightened form of sexism Greenstreet is employing is obvious. It’s a form of hypocrisy some male activists, hiding behind their alleged support of women’s rights, are prone to displaying: show admiration/solidarity of women in one context, but blatantly objectify and subjugate them at the same time. We routinely see this type of idealization in sports magazines and other media outlets targeting men when they rank the sex appeal of female athletes, actresses and socialites.

I’m sure some folks will say women should be thankful for Greenstreet’s tribute to the women of Occupy Wall Street. I mean, women should feel flattered that a random man, hiding behind his faux respect for women, decided to sexualize their activism and remind them of the chauvinistic standards society continue to use in measure and size women up, right?

Wrong. Greenstreet is yet another misogynist who believes it’s cool to degrade and dehumanize the women in his video and photos by referring them to “hot chicks.” Greenstreet is yet another misogynist who uses enlightened sexism, which hides behind the faux adulation and glorification of women, to promote chauvinistic, second class standards in which women must attain in order to be accepted by society.

Instead of exploring how the Great Recession, corporate greed and corruption disproportionately has the female protesters, Greenstreet commits the ultimate sexist ploy by policing and measuring the bodies and attractiveness of women, thus reducing them to a mere distraction sideshow to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

H/T to Feministe.