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Are You Sluttier Than A Prostitute?: Sluts, sex workers, and why we’re all whores

DISCLAIMER:

This post will use conservative-moralist terms and rhetoric to better express the ideas contained within it. No part of this post should be construed as an endorsement of sex-negativity, misogyny or slutshaming, or any part of the radical feminist or conservative-moralist agendas.

Sex workers are stigmatised because of slut shaming, and society views sex wotkers as the ultimate sluts (because they fail to distinguish between sex for pleasure and sex for work). Though, with me, the two are combined because I’m doing this for a thrill and to fulfil a fantasy.

However, even if slut shaming or the idea of the “slut” was, like, actually real or logical or anything like that, I’m still not sure that sexworkers really would succeed in coming out on top as the Sluttiest of Them All.

Take my favourite Asian gay guy’s latest TV exploits. Gok Wan’s Gok’s Style Secrets involves picking a potential husband out of any reasonably good-looking guys in a bar. Quite apart from the fact that life partners shouldn’t be chosen on looks (or a lottery of who happens to be in the bar when you walk in), why is choosing a husband in this way any “better” (to use the conservative-moralist terminology) than paying a man for sex?

Go into any bar or club and you’ll find a man who will let you take him home and have sex with him for free. At least sexworkers will only do it for money. The word “easy”, literally referring to how easy it is to have sex with a woman, os bandied about a lot. But lots of women and men have one night stands, friends with benefits and sex with strangers. Some even advertise for casual sex, most commonly on Craigslist and sites like BeNaughty.com. Many go out in killer outfits to snag some guy or girl to take home, walking the streets at night in search of sex with a stranger.

And this is better than prostitution? Why? Because they’ll do it without being paid? Because instead of phoning and making an appointment, or going through an email vetting process, or contacting an agency, they bought a girl a drink or slow-danced with a man? Seems like a lot of sexworkers are actually less easy than people who aren’t sexworkers. Some sexworkers won’t see you if you’ve missed one appointment or your email or text message contains text-speech or grammatical/spelling errors. Some will look up your name on websites set up by sexworkers which name and shame clients who don’t pay (which I would call rapists) or who are violent. With a lot of sex workers, you have to wait a couple of hours or days to see them and there are things they won’t do.

But people who aren’t sex workers will sleep with strangers immediately and without caring how their spelling is or knowing if they could turn violent.

My own experiences fit this model too. With Roland, I trialled him by going to a nude photoshoot to see if he seemed potentially dangerous and to test whether he would pay. We also sent messages a couple of times, then finalised the arrangement face to face. So, with sex work I seem to vet the client and it takes days before I’ll sell sexual services.

However with Donny, we just started spanking and touching each other suddenly, and he says “You could spend the night” and I’m like, “Yeah, great, I’ll just phone my mum and tell her I’m staying over at Kathy’s.” So I actually am more ‘easy’ when it’s not sex work, and the performing of sex is immediate.

I think this pretty much proves that the problem people have with sex work is the money – the fact that people want payment for something that is seen as too enjoyable to be work. Or perhaps because sex workers want payment for something everyone else ‘gives up’ for free.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Dressing like sluts 2/2: Mutton dressed as Lamb

In part 1 I talked about women in general and how they’e stigmatised for “slutty” outfits. But older women are often laughed at even more than their younger sisters, as being “mutton dressed as lamb”. The arguments for and against shaming her are something like this:

 

Society: She’s immature.

Questioner: Why? You set the standard for immaturity versus maturity. There is no fixed human standard of dressing. You do not call tribespeople who are scantily clad “mutton dressed as lamb”.

Society: But she belongs to this society, so she must be more immature than other women to dress that way when other women of the same culture don’t.

Questioner:  Or maybe she is more mature, and has transcended you. Maybe she is free and not bound by your dictates.

Society: It’s worse when an older woman dresses slutty.

Questioner: Why? Why is it worse than a young woman? Because we see firm youg bodies as more sexy? Older men don’t always agree; they prefer women of their age. Or is it that you think older women aren’t entitled to a sex drive anymore?

Society: OK, I’m changing tack. It looks stupid. It looks cheap and tacky.

Questioner: Because that’s your opinion; you feel this way and dictate your preferred mode of dressing to your subjects. These are your prejudices. Next you’ll be telling us women shouldn’t be having too much sex or selling sexual services.

Society: Um, well…yes, that is how I feel about all women.

Questioner: I rest my case, and may your illogical dictates burn in hell when we finally overthrow them.

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Dressing like a slut: 1 of 2

We’ve all seen Snog, Marry Avoid or other similar shows where the “sluttily dressed” go to get help to dress more decently and flatteringly. And we’ve all seen women who we think are baring too much skin. What counts as “too much” varies from person to person and between different situations; often, the age of the “sluttily” dressed woman is a big factor: it’s okay for young girls to bare their bellybuttons or strut around in tube tops or short skirts, but older women had better beware of  being ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ – a shaming, ageist phrase. And other shaming phrases exist, such as the whorephobic “dressing like a prostitute” and  the personal attack of “she’s got no self esteem” among others. These attacks often perpetuate other types of misogyny (such as whorephobia) as well as the slutshaming itself.

But did these distinctions and the aversion to bare flesh come from our minds? Surely not. When we were born there was no gene inside us that revolted against a particular amount of material or the way a garment is cut.

This is all from society; from our society in this region of the globe, at this particular point in time. And no, I’m not going to say the patriarchy. It’s all of society; all of us. Actually, it seems like women do the judging, shaming and gossiping about “slutty” clothes far more than men do. Is there a word for the privileged, prudish, hetero white female force? The Matriarchy? Because I do not believe we are fighting men here. We are fighting ourselves. We are fighting that part of us that is afraid of slutshaming – so desperately afraid that we’ll shame another woman just to make ourselves feel better. “I’m not a slut, SHE’S the slut! I dress good!” Yet when did bitching, cattiness and slutshaming one-upmanship achieve anything for feminism? It just makes our gender look like bullies obsessed over looks, modesty and trivial crap. Worst of all, it makes our youger sisters and our daughters copy our harmful behaviours and perpetuate the cycle.

Accepting that we should allow women the right to wear whatever they want to wear doesn’t mean you have wear the same thing. You don’t have to wear a bralet and a miniskirt just because another woman is; feel free to wear a burqa instead. The main issue is that women are freely choosing what they wear. Even if what they wear supposedly encourages objectification – or, conversely, is a symbol of female oppression in the Middle East – as long as a woman freely chooses to wear it, what’s wrong? Not all women can freely choose, especially if they’ve been indoctrinated from childhood. However just as not every woman wearing a burqa was brought up a fundamentalist Muslim, not every woman baring her boobs was indoctrinated by the patriarchy.

And if shaming other women for what they wear is a big part of your conversations, so that you’re finding it hard to quit, why not  try more traditional healthy entertainments such as socialising and having fun? Or buy the Nintendo 3DS or something.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Why some sexist jokes cause harm and some don’t

Just because I’m a feminist doesn’t mean I believe that ALL sexist jokes cause harm to women.

 

I’m guessing that some feminists left after reading that. For everyone who has stayed on this page, I thank you, and here is why:

Some sexist jokes are too full of hyperbole and carry such controversial or very generalized messages that they have little effect on attitudes to women. For example, “Why did the woman cross the road? Never mind that, what’s she doing out of the kitchen!” is unlikely to significantly affect attitudes because our society does not believe in making all women housewives, and we know that doing so would affect the economy and create many other problems. Also, there is no real threat of men suddenly making all women housewives.

However, “Why do women have boobs? So you’ve got something to look at when you’re talking to them!” is more harmful because women are being objectified by men more than they are being forced by men to be housewives. There is a real threat of such objectification increasing (I blame lad culture, media and advertising more than pornography for reasons I’ll discuss in another post). Also, the message here is more specific and also more subtle: that women are meant to be objectified or that breasts exist for male pleasure.

Lastly, “What did her right leg say to her left leg? Nothing, because they never met!” is even more harmful because slutshaming is rampant and this joke is not only encouraging slutshaming, it itself is a form of slutshaming material. There is a real threat of slutshaming increasing due to the speech and rhetoric of certain politicians, radfems, prolife NGOs and anti-sexwork NGOs. The message is also subtle – that women are not supposed to express their sexuality, and that doing so is deviant and worthy of mockery. Who knows, perhaps this “joke” or something similar was used to bully Amanda Todd in any of the schools she moved away from. It’s a popular joke and has been used to shame and bully girls and women for years now. I dream of a slutopia where this joke would make no sense.

The most dangerous and offensive jokes are the ones that help perpetuate rape culture. Jokes about rape – of either men or women. The only way a rape joke could ever be funny was if the joke was about the rapist and portrayed the rapist as evil, inept, cowardly, etc. The joke should make the audience laugh at the rapist. Sadly I don’t know of any jokes like this. We don’t joke about murder or serious assault, so why do we even joke about rape? That’s a disturbing question right there. I also find objectionable jokes about accidental sex or jokes which do not make clear if it was consensual (“she said ‘that’s not my [object]’. And he said, ‘well that’s not my [object]’.”)

On a personal note, I don’t believe my tolerance of some sexist jokes to be that surprising, given that as someone who’s half Asian I like Asian jokes and the way L;u Kim is drawn in South Park. It’s hilarious to me and my Asian relatives. If racist jokes don’t inspire racial hatred and aren’t used in a hateful way, they’re fine by me; perhaps if South Park didn’t mock white males the most I wouldn’t approve. Family Guy is similar: “I’m standing outside the Park Barrington Hotel because they don’t allow Asians inside.” “When [an Asian guy] comes in I’m going to blindfold him with this dental floss. Nah nah nah nah nah nah, racial slur.” And I think this is absolutely hilarious, because these two shows mock every other race, so why should Asians be exempted? That would just be treating them differently.

And it’s the same with sexism. If we joke about men, gays, alcoholics, vegetarians, Jews, nationalities, race, rich people, poor people, politicians etc, why exempt women? Wouldn’t that be treating women differently?

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Rape the sluts: the ‘Men can’t control themselves’ excuse

The clothes that a woman happens to be wearing at the time of an assault are often used against her in court, in the media or in her own social circle. I remember as an 18 year old being told by a girl I knew about a newspaper article which reported that a rape victim’s underwear was shown in court to prove that she consented. This was because the underwear had been manufactured with the words “Little devil” printed on the fabric. More recently an article in the Daily Mail sparked outrage for claiming that rape laws were too harsh and were catching innocent men; an example used was that a 19 year old attacked by two footballers had been drinking and had the top three buttons on her blouse undone, so it could not possibly be rape.

Another tactic in using clothes to victim-blame is claiming that if a man sees a woman wearing revealing clothes, he cannot help not raping her, or that the clothes themselves confuse men or constitute consent (a dress is a ‘yes’).

However, the assertion that all men are filthy, sexualised animals who can’t see a bit of cleavage without attcking a woman makes no logical sense. Firstly, men (and women) tend not to commit sexual assaults when there are witnesses around. This is why most attacks on women happen in the victim’s own home, in a dark or secluded area (an empty classroom, a car, an ambulance, a quiet street), in the attacker’s home or are perpertrated by the woman’s partner or family member. So, if men are really beasts who can’t control themselves, why can they control themselves when they know they’re likely to be caught? Why don’t we see men committing rape in malls, busy classrooms or crowded streets? Even when they do abduct victims from crowded places, how are they able to control themselves long enough to get their victim into a secluded area (remember the 14 year old boy abducted from a mall and raped in a toilet in Marks and Spencer’s?) How can Daddy control himself in the street and when Mummy is around, but suddenly he can’t control himself if his wife leaves the house? The myth that men can’t control themselves is just a nonsensical excuse.

A disturbing fact is that we don’t accept the ‘I couldn’t control myself because of my gender’ for any other crime or for any other gender. Try telling a judge that you couldn’t help knifing that person or nicking that wallet because you’re a man. Try telling anyone that you couldn’t help sexually assaulting that man because you’re a woman. So why accept that excuse for men who rape? The excuse should either be valid for all crimes and all genders, or it should be invalid for all crimes and all genders.

Another fact: we don’t accept the excuse for men who molest children or have sex with underage girls. But it seems that if you’re over the age of consent, it’s all your fault for leading him on and he couldn’t help it. If he really can’t help it with girls over 16, why is he able to control himself with a 15 year old? Why is it all his fault if you’re 15 and consenting, and all your fault if you’re 16 and not consenting?

Yet another illogical aspect of this excuse is: If men can’t control themselves, wouldn’t that mean that women also can’t control themselves? So why are only men deemed to be animals, and not women?

The tactic of using clothes to victim-blame, or even just to slutshame women ordinarily, is a dirty trick. You see, that outfit that Jenny is wearing that seems slutty to you isn’t Jenny – it’s an outfit. You’re judging Jenny based on what she’s wearing. If you had met her two hurs earlier she would have been wearing a business suit. If you were to meet her two hours later she’ll be wearing a frumpy, mumsy cardigan and worn baggy jeans.Later, when Jenny’s wearing her fleecey PJ’s, you might be wearing a short see-through nightie. So if Jenny is attacked at 4pm, she will be wearing a suit and will be seen as a victim (unless she knows the attacker). But if her attacker decides to lie in wait for her until 5pm and stalk her, by the time he attacks her she might be wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit. So it’s her fault for being dressed that way. And if the rapist instead chooses to follow her home and then break in, she’ll be wearing her mumsy outfit and be seen as a victim. Women have no control and no choice over when they are attacked or what they’re wearing when they are attacked. We don’t dress in the mornings or change our outfits in the day thinking that we might be raped, any more than men dress to be raped. We don’t think that men are dangerous animals who will leap at the first chance to attack us; we’re not paranoid. Neither are men. Judging women and victim-blaming on the basis of dress puts victims under the power of their rapist. The attacker chose when to attack; he has that control. The victim doesn’t. By victim-blaming, you are giving the rapist the power to make his victim endure shaming and make her testimony less believable. You are giving him the power to negotiate and influence the wider disourse around rape, as well as the opportunity to escape prison if the victim isn’t believed. By assuming womens’ dress causes them to be raped, we might even end up with a society in which men try to attack women who are dressed a certain way, so that they will get away with it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And if men are biologically compelled to rape if they catch a glimpse of cleavage, leg or belly button, how are they able not to rape when they see women in bikinis on the beach? Or naked women in nudist colonies? Or topless women on the beach? When I was 8 I once saw a naked woman at the beach, pulling her two young children in a rubber ring and covering herself with her other hand. Nobody tried to rape her or even noticed her or cared. In fact, I, an eight year old female, was the one who was staring the most.

This final argument comes with illustrations (yay!). In Britain, it is ILLEGAL to wear clothing in public that would display nipples or genitals. Strip clubs, nudist colonies and BDSM club nights may have different rules, but when you step out of these establishments onto the street, you will be charged with public indecency if you aren’t covering those areas. So how revealing can revealing clothes even be?

This woman is wearing a bralet and short skirt, but all she is revealing is a little of her belly.

This is the most revealing photo I could find of people who appeared on Snog, Marry Avoid. However, the two womens’ outfits, while being as revealing as possible without being illegal, are actually less revealing than a bikini. And neither of them are revealing their nipples or private parts, so the most sexual parts of their bodies are covered. So they aren’t revealing anything at all – the erogenous zones are covered up, leaving only the mundane non-sexy bits showing.

Really, anyone who believes that men are so weak, violent and bestial that they would attack these two women just because their tummies, legs and decolletage are revealed is an idiot.

A man wouldn’t be compelled to attack a woman walking down the street naked any more than a woman would be compelled to attack a naked man, or an adult of either sex would be compelled to attack a naked child.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Life between the parallel lines

In the mid-1800s, the virgin/whore dichotomy was at its most extreme, which meant one simple social rule: there was a line drawn on the ground, and if you crossed it you were no longer a virgin – you were a ruined woman, a whore. These (slightly) more enlightened times have brought more freedom to women (and men) but paradoxically the rules, for women, are now harder to follow.

This is because there is now another line – you can’t be “frigid” or a virgin. You have to date, you have to have a boyfriend, but at the same time you can’t step over that other line into glorious slutdom. You’re trapped, between the parallel lines.

The contested space between the lines is most overtly expressed in high school. If you’re percieved as too close to one line, you’re frigid, ugly, a lesbian, a snob, a virgin, a girl who can’t get a man. Yet step too close to that other line and you’re a slut, a whore, cheap, easy, a ho, skank, slag, or nasty girl. And the lines aren’t only present in high school; they’re prevalent everywhere.

In offices and families and friendship groups everywhere, women are trying to fit into that little space between the lines. Your colleagues might not yell “Slut!” at you or snicker that you’ll “die a virgin” but they can gossip behind you. Your relatives might moan that you’re still single or frown when you tell them you’ve got a new man (or more than one man). And a lot of us are familiar with the feeling of not being able to keep up with our friends who somehow effortlessly lay man after man, yet wonder how they’ll judge our own behaviour when we finally do get up the nerve to do something adventurous.

For those who are abstinent, there is pressure to “do it the world’s way”. Yet the world which seems so liberal to the abstinents is often judgemental and rejecting to polyamorous or kinky women – or even simply women who regularly have NSA sex.

So, whether you’re abstinent or polyamorous (or both!), maybe it’s time to fly upwards – out of that confined space between the painted lines on the ground. They are only paint, after all.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Kristen Stewart: the double standard in the media

I’m glad to see that Kristen Stewart has finally emerged from hiding and is facing the world. Hopefully the media will wander off to find some other non-story of pointless celeb gossip to spin into international headlines, and we can all stop tutting and pretending we are saints, criticizing some 22 year old cheating on her boyfriend like it doesn’t happen every day in our towns – even to our friends. Actually, how many people criticizing Kristen have slept with someone they shouldn’t have? (assuming Rupert and Kristen even did go all the way, which they may have since both their partners left them, but there isn’t any evidence of this).

It is very odd that Kristen, who is not married and young, is being blamed more than Rupert who is a married 41-year-old with two kids. This is obviously just the double standard rearing its ugly head again.

Before we go into that, there are of course other possible reasons than the double standard:

Kristen is more famous than Sanders, therefore the stories will revolve around her more. This point is supported by the fact that the stories seem to revolve around her (ex?soon to be ex?) Robert Pattinson more than Rupert Sanders.

Kristen being dumped from the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman could be explained by necessity; obviously, having her, Rupert and Rupert’s (now ex?) wife Liberty Ross working together on set wouldn’t be good for the film; actors must have good chemistry and work together well. However, Kristen is playing Snow White, so it would make more sense to drop Sanders or Ross.

These two points aren’t enough to convince anyone or to explain away all of the hatred directed towards Kristen – being called a ‘trampire’ by the New York City Times, Will Ferrell, and now people wearing t-shirts saying it. ‘Tramp’ – an American shame-word equivalent to our “slut” or “whore” is not being used against Rupert Sanders – even though he’s the one who is married! So, it is obvious that once again, it’s one rule for men – even if they’re married – and another for women – even if they’re young and single.

…And since when does having two men make you a whore? I know girls younger than Kristen who have slept with over 20 guys, they are not called whores. Or is everyone who cheats a whore? That would make Sanders (and a lot of the general public) a whore.

Twihards

As for the Twilight fans (“Twihards”), how can they hate their heroine – the woman who’s played Bella for four years and given her adolescence to the films they love – because of something she did in private, in the bedroom? Whatever she – or anyone – does behind that bedroom door is nobody’s business but her and Rupert’s own. This whole “scandal” thing is just a family problem between four – that’s right, FOUR – people: Rupert, Liberty, Kristen and Robert. Not everyone in the entire world.

And if Kristen hadn’t done Twilight she wouldn’t have met Rupert and kissed/slept with him (?) anyway. If she’d had a normal entry into adulthood she might even be a totally different person – for better or for worse.

And I’m betting some of her haters cheated on their boyfriends…probably with a lot more than kissing!

I haven’t read or seen any of the Twilight franchise, I don’t even know what character Rob Pattinson plays. Actually, before the so-called “scandal” I had heard of Kristen, but I didn’t know she played Bella; I just knew she was a famous young up-and-coming actress. So, I don’t understand at all how Twilight fans can be “shocked” or “heartbroken” that she kissed Rupert; I mean, so what? Maybe Rob played Edward and they were imagining Bella and Edward existed in real life? They need to grow up. How many of them cheated? That being said, a lot of Twilight fans support Kristen, too.

Why this sucks more than the Twilight franchise

This has been an everlasting, hyped-up bullying of one young actress that has gone on for exactly a month today and forced a talented girl to go into hiding for having a kiss. In this day and age, this is ridiculous. Especially in Hollywood, where marriages never last, cheating happens all the time and even the older people are jumping into each others’ beds – or cheating on their wives with much younger actresses. Even in America and the west more generally, this stuff happens all the time. But god forbid it happens when you played the lead in a major franchise, because obviously that makes you the spawn of Satan. If I’d done this, I wouldn’t be on the news, would I? The media only hounds you when you’re famous.

I’m sick of seeing public apologies for what two people do in bed. Both Kristen and Rupert apologised publically, and though their apologies were aimed at their respective partners, they were phrased as if apologising to the nation, and were posted online instead of told to the people that they hurt. Come on, seriously? Year 2012, we all have the right to have sex, everybody (especially in Hollywood) is fucking everybody else, and they’re apologising to the public? For the “embarrassment” she caused? To who? Who would possibly have the right to be embarrassed over what anyone else does?

Perhaps the saddest thing of all was that this wasn’t done deliberately; the media corporations didn’t sit down between 17 August and 24 August to decide how big they were going to make this thing on a scale of 1 to 10. They didn’t script in Will Ferrell or plot to make T-shirts, or decide to leave Sanders in peace. This month-long shaming of a talented girl was done – not accidentally, but in a non-planned way. And it couldn’t have been pulled off with more success, vitriol and emotional damage to Kristen (and her friends and family) if it had been a planned operation by her worst enemy. This shows just how much the double standard still rules us and how constrained female sexual behaviour still is – even in Hollywood.

Hopefully, the media will get bored now that she’s come out of hiding. It has been confirmed that in a week she’ll be promoting her film On the Road, so things will probably go back to normal soon. Reportedly, she and Rob have been speaking again. But things aren’t all rosy; while Liberty isn’t speaking to Rupert, Kristen’s name has been smeared a lot more than his has (if at all). According to TMZ, she “fears that her career has been irreparably damaged” (source below) and doesn’t think she deserves that for a one-off mistake. She also knows that she is being blamed much more than Rupert, instead of taking a half share of the blame like what normally would happen – actually, in a case like this, usually Rupert, the older married man, would’ve been given more of the blame.) Kristen is reportedly very angry and upset about this.

Kristen is being punished (several promotional appearances and a role in the SWATH sequel cancelled) while Rupert is not. She’s being punished for kissing a man. And here I was thinking these were “freer times” compared with the old Victorian double standard and restrictive morality…

:Links:

Articles defending her:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kristen-stewart-cheating-robert-pattinson-rupert-sanders-364538

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2181116/Kristen-Stewart-did-type-sex-Rupert-Sanders.html

The emotional damage caused to Kristen by the media’s hounding and invasion of her private life:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/20/kristen-stewart-refusing-to-eat-robert-pattinson_n_1809763.html

Kristen knows that she is being unfairly targeted by the public and media while Rupert isn’t criticized much:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/kristen-stewart-emotional-break-down-depressed-angry_n_1822451.html

The “trampire” shirts that Kristen’s “fans” are wearing:

http://www.stylelist.com/2012/08/19/kristen-stewart-trampire-shirt-skreened-robert-pattinson_n_1808339.html

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

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