A Feminist Perspective on Today’s PostSecret

For those of you who haven’t heard of PostSecret before it is a community art project by Frank Warren in which he receives, often beautifully decorated, postcards with anonymous secrets on them from around the world. He posts a handful of these secrets every week on PostSecret.com. As well, he has several books of secrets available to purchase.

Sometimes none of the secrets posted on Sunday’s are particularly relevant from a feminist perspective, but often times many are. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a sad way. This week was more of the latter. After the jump, I’ve included a few of the one’s that made my heart ache (TRIGGER WARNING: body image is an issue in one, and in another, a person plans to sexually assault a woman).

There is two sides to this one. On one hand, mothers are important role models for their daughters and teach them a lot about women in our world. On the other hand, mothers are human beings who have just as much right to struggle through social pressures, and use various survival methods (like plastic surgery) to deal with patriarchy as the next woman. Solution? Smash patriarchy.

This one made my heart sink and my temper flare immediately for so many reasons. The core of it is that penetrative sex with a man (‘real sex’) is understood to be both more important and potentially less pleasurable than other sex (like masturbation). What makes it ‘real’ then? Why should women choose receiving the type of sex society (and men) have deemed as real, over choosing the type of sex they desire and find pleasurable? If ‘real sex’ is worse than masturbating, to the point that it might be -ruined- by experiencing pleasure in other ways,  maybe we need to reimagine real sex and make it worth experiencing for women for reasons other than fulfilling a social script.

This is sexual assault (and illegal). This is a person consciously making the decisions to sexually assault a woman. Why? Because, like every sexual assault, the want power over someone else. This is disgusting.

On top of this being sexual assault, this is based in the idea that public knowledge that a woman had sex should or could ruin her reputation. This is called ‘slut shaming’ and its a way of controlling women’s sexuality.

No comments on these last ones, just wanted to share them.

If you have thoughts you would like to add, comment!

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One thought on “A Feminist Perspective on Today’s PostSecret

  1. I love the frankness and honesty people show when they know they can’t be identified. The first one about plastic surgery broke my heart; it is an aspect of the problem of plastic surgery that I (and probably the mother) had not considered, and must be extremely painful and confusing for the daughter. I truly believe that beauty norms and sexual control are what keeps women in North America down the most now, and that just by looking like yourself, and liking what you see, you are doing a political act.

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