Friday, January 17, 2014

Nash Grier, Feminism, and a Parent and Daughter's Response.

If you live in North America and have a teenage daughter, you will mostly likely have heard of Nash Grier. Nash is a 'Vine' star, YouTuber, and Twitterer with a sense of importance that vastly surpasses his limited comedic ability. Frankly, the only honest claim to any sort of merit he has (and that itself is unearned), are his "dazzling blue eyes," as more than one teenager puts it.

A few weeks ago, this 16 year old, along with two of his pals (also YouTube famous), posted a video entitled, “What guys look for in girls,” to a following of close to 5 million fans (99% female).
While seated together all comfy on the couch, the three proceeded to spend the next 9 plus minutes telling impressionable girls what boys (meaning them), like in girls. Each buffoon had the gall to express his sexist, misogynistic opinion. Insulting the majority of girls, they attempted to fit the female exuberance and plentitude into their sickening, hollywood-inspired concept of what a girl should be.

According to these foolish boys, in order for them to find a girl attractive,  the girl needs to, "get a personality," "be natural," "be spontaneous," "don’t be too loud and obnoxious," "be funny,"  "know how to be quiet."

Do you have a bucket at the ready? You’ll need it if you plan to make it through to the end of the video..
"Entertain me." That is what Nash said.
That. Is. What. Nash. Said.
These privileged, white males are looking for girls who can challenge them; who can “improve them," "I like girls that will stay on top of you," "girls that make you a better you,"... "girls that have talent." "It's cool to be captain of the cheer team," "if the girls have their own ambitions  they are going somewhere," according to these visionaries.

"Shave!' they command your daughters. "Get rid of your peach fuzz, get rid of your armpit hair (and I’m thinking somewhere else too—one woman in her 30s told me that growing up, her friends and herself believed that they needed to look like porn stars with shaved public hair in order to be "hot," and therefore "acceptable to the male gaze.").

"Be yourself," they conclude, their thumbs up—after spending the entire video telling girls that they need to be something else in order to please their trivial fantasies.

Naturally, girls of colour need not apply.

The depth of contempt these males display towards any female who doesn't fit their criteria for attractiveness is breathtaking.
It would be laughable, easily dismissible, except Nash has close to 5 million girl fans. Did I already say that?

So.. if your daughter still likes them, looks like you might have a problem..the problem of internalized misogyny.

Parents, teach your children well.

If you have sons, it is crucial that you teach them girls are not put on the earth to serve them. Girls are not here for their pleasure.  They will not entertain.
Parents with daughters: Girls are individuals who are not here to please nor cater to the male gaze. They are not here to ‘improve’ your sons.

I am fortunate to have daughters who are not hoodwinked or diminished by such arrogance.
My youngest called this video to my attention. When she showed us the video—myself and her older sisters—as well as the responses,  one daughter wanted to show her "spontaneity" in more than one way, (like offering them a knuckle sandwich).
The senior, a long time social justice activist, was able to add a deeper perspective to the entire conversation—explaining to us that though many of the responses to the video were justified in their outrage, indeed this was still a ""My First Feminism" type thing, where the basic acquired knowledge of a liberal feminist would suffice in a response."

She helpfully pointed out that in her more advanced social justice circles, because this type of display is such a really shallow, surface expression of patriarchy, "there generally wasn't a lot to do, beyond criticizing their entitlement and body-shaming."

Here's how she put it:
"It's babysteps. Everyone has an entrance point when it comes to being a feminist. The most common is the patriarchal gaze, which is on women from the moment we are born (before we are born!). How we are expected to present, being told to look a certain way for the sake of boys and men, being told to smile, being told that we can't dress a certain way because it's too slutty or too matronly or whatever."

A less mature feminism doesn't necessarily realize the correlation between sexism and other forms of oppression. 
"It is usually completely ignorant to the way in which the beauty standard is particularly harmful to women of colour, trans women, women with disabilities, etc. I went through that phase two years ago. That was when I thought you could only really devote yourself to one cause because I didn't understand intersectionality. The gaze is also cissexist, because it intrinsically links gender identity with assigned sex! Which, again, is something that a lot of cisgender feminists (especially ones who are new to the movement) don't understand!"Where ever you are along the feminist path, the way in which you physically present yourself does not determine your worth: Your value is not defined by whether boys like you.


Bianca S. said...

Awesome post. Your daughter's response is really inspiring for anyone, let alone one at her young age. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

What Nash did was incredibly sexist. As a 13 year old girl, I felt very offended of his ridiculus words. My friends who have looked up to him in the past have stopped considering him an "idol" because of his wounds to their self-esteem. Girls should not be told what a guy looks for! They should be who they really are, and not look at boys opinions as a guideline for their personality, and look. Finally, someone who has logic! Some of the comments on the video say things like "I will go shave my arms then :/" "I will now go and change my hair and hope Nash notices"... These media examples are hurting teenage girl's body image.

beatrice ekoko said...

@ anon: I am so happy to hear from you and your thoughts. Glad that your girl friends are confident and strong and value who they are. Focus on what pleases YOU, not others!

Zoƫ Hodge said...

If you have a problem about them, then stop watching their videos. Every single youtuber has done something like this. Your daughter shouldn't even be on youtube without a parent At that age. They are 16 year old boys.l Every boy says stuff like this. Just because they say these things, doesnt mean that girls are going to change to fit this profile. If they do, that is their problem. Stop hating on 16 year olds for expressing their viewpoints. How would you feel if you were in their position?

Julia Kerr said...

they weren't saying its what guys like, that just the title of many videos of that type. They were saying what they like about girl. everyone has their own opinion and what they look for in a person.
If it was a girl making the video about guys, this post wouldn't exist.

Anonymous said...

Well you do prove a point, but they're 16 year old boys. Everyone has a type. Some people like a certain colour hair or a certain eye colour, its just opinions. They made the video because their female fans asked them to, they were just trying to please their fans. I saw a few girls online get mad because Nash said that he doesn't like body hair, but again, its just his opinions. Free speech, right? So why get mad at them when we all have different viewpoints on different people? Its pointless. People like different things. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Some of the commenters clearly either did not read the entire post or do not consider sexism and racism etc., a serious thing to simply lable Nash Greier's "opinions" as free speech. Telling someone they have to entertain him and his male friends while also not being better than him at anything, even if he's not good at it, is just plain wrong. People should not have to jump through hoops over some kid who consistently contradicts himself and disgusted by body hair.

Anonymous said...

Ok I can understand the argument that his words were sexist. But I have to ask the question, would a woman who says what she likes in a man said similar things, would she be under any scrutiny whatsoever? Seems one sided.

Anonymous said...

How old are you? Seriously?
Women are still a marginalized group in society. Things SEEM equal on the outside, but there is still the issues of fair pay and just the overall effects of patriarchal society. Women are still frequently blamed for their own sexual assaults. Just a couple weeks ago in my city a judge said a young girl was not raped because she was wearing skinny jeans and it would be too hard for a rapist to take off the skinny jeans.
That is patriarchy.

The white male is still at the top of our Western society.

That's why women aren't under as much scrutiny for sexist statements. Because women are not under the same privelege. In a sense, women are a minority in this way.

That said, feminism is about being equal to men and men being equal to women. When will we see men being displayed as sexual objects in media? When do I get to see a man in tiny, tight swim trunks leaning on a nice car with a come-hither face? Why is it women are the main focus of the cosmetic industry?

You're right. It IS one-sided. THAT'S THE POINT.

If you don't see the problem, you've let the media tell you it's good to dress yourself and behave in ways meant to attract the male gaze. It's good to let yourself be an object purely for his sexual pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Why do some people have to be so sensitive? Like, chill. I don't have some of these qualities they described, and I'm not getting pissed about it. Besides, plenty of girls make videos like this, too, describing which type of guys attract them, and I don't see anyone getting angry about it. Everyone has preferences on what attracts them; they're just sharing it. Nothing to get all worked up about, people. PLUS, it's not like they said anything extremely rude about girls. They even said at the end for girls to just be themselves. It sounds like people who complain about the video are attention seekers to me.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I thought Nash was kinda cute at first but when I saw this video it was a quick turn off. I wish some people like him would realize that being a jerk doesn't make you more attractive. I'll tell you WHAT GIRLS LOOK FOR IN A GUY- someone who doesn't behave like a complete jerk bag like he did!!! Some people just need to learn that you can't be a jerk and think that it's ok and that you can get away with it just because you have a cute face, a lot of friends, money, or whatever else you think makes you higher than everyone else! "All men are created equal"! So don't be a jerk and think it's ok, cuz its not! It's bad if you do it and it's bad if I do it so expect to get told about yourself and put back in your place!

Anonymous said...

I get that a few things they saide were pretty rude but to be honest, it really was not that bad. I am a teenage girl actually and you people would probably think I myseld would find the video offensive, but no. I found the video funny and quite entertaining. You are missing the point in the video. By "entertain me" he meant that he wanted a girl who was funny and fun to be around with. By "a girl on top" he meant a strong-willed girl. But you missed all the ponits and focused on the rather more shallow meanings, and that is being judgemental. You cut their sentences therefore making them lool bad and leaving a wrong impression. So what if they tell us to shave? I myself agree that not shaving is pretty discusting. Would you go out in a sleaveless top with your armpit hair completely exposed? I would surely not. And please, they're kids! They're there to be funny. Why is everyone making such a big deal ouy of this? He is an entertainer. And he actually told girls to not be slutty and be themselves. He actually said that he loved girls who were just themselves the most. That statement was also overlooked. About girls who were loud and obnoxious, who in the world likes girls who are like that? It maked you look like a slut. And your statement about parents and how they raise their daughters? That was offensive. It's like saying "oh, your daughter watches Nash Grier's videos? That is some bad parenting" So please, they are just kids who are there to entertain. Stop making such a big fuss about it. They said some wrong things but why are you judging his whole life and character on one video? Your post was pretty judgemental and biased.

Anonymous said...

They were talking about their ideal girl, not generalizing the entire female community.

Annabella Grace said...

I thought this article was very well-written and insightful. However, there is one line I believe was out of place: "Naturally, girls of colour need not apply." I may have missed it, but when I watched the video I did not hear the three boys say anything derogatory about women of color. From the clips I watched, they did not address skin color nor did they specify a certain skin color of ethnicity as more desirable than others. With that being said, as a sixteen year old girl I still found many of the comments to be very misogynistic and offensive. It is amazing how these young men have become indoctrinated to prefer the traditional standards of female beauty as defined by the media and the entertainment industry. I found the comment about "peach fuzz" on the face to be particularly offensive. I recently made a decision not to use laser hair removal to get rid of the hair on my upper lip. Hair is completely natural, and making women feel like they can only be beautiful without hair on their lip, arms, legs, armpits, etc. is a ridiculous beauty standard. It saddens me that these young men see female beauty in such a narrow and harmful way.

Annabella Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don't think they are wrong for having a type, (but some of his expectations are a little too much) they are just dumb for putting it out there. I'm a 20 year old Cuban female and Ive only liked a certain type of guy ever since i was a young girl
Blue eyes
Blonde or Brown long hair
(luckily for me that's my fiance :p)

I don't find guys of my tone (black hair, brown eyes) attractive, and anything darker i don't find myself attracted to either (except as friends ofcourse!)

but never have i told anyone exept my close family that I have a certain type. I know better.

Anonymous said...

Teenagers make mistakes, despite the video name, Nash, Cameron and JC were clearly describing their ideal girl. Please stop just sending him hate, he didn't mean to offend anybody.

Anonymous said...

To whoever said the white male is still heading society, you are utterly wrong. Ideals of women being and item for men to use is most definitely used by white men, black men, indian, asian, all men alike.
(well not every man in the world is like this of course) Also, yes if a woman made a similar video the outcry would obviously be quite less, however, men and women are still very much different in society today. Do you see young teenage boys being afraid of being raped in a dark street? Most likely not. Are young boys being told to change and outfit because girls are being distracted by what they are wearing? No. And just to add, these young girls who continue to idolize these boys MUST be talked to by their parents

Anonymous said...

I was a really big fan of Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas before the video came out. I was really disappointed that they would make a video like that and then say "be yourself". If they wanted us to be ourselves then why would they say what they like and don't like? It was a major turn off for me.

kianah jincks said...

OK let's get things straight Nash Grier is a kid OK.a 17 year old kid still a minor.and was only trying to make his fans happy.and he is judged for everything he does.and you guys wonder why he acts like an ass hole and he's a person.FYI.and to you moms out there.chill.your teenage daughters probably like guys way worse than Nash who probably smoke have sex etc.and he said he was sorry and he took down the video. Take a chill pill

Anonymous said...

Nash Grier needs a serious reality check: He's a total racist and sexist! Anyways, this is kinda random, but check out this hilarious vine: haha :)

Anonymous said...

People, ( in my opinion) are dragging this out. Nash and his friends stated what they found attractive in women. They like shaven ladies? Their opinion! If someone watches the video and decides it's time to shave their pits because Nash said so, that's their problem! I am all for equality and women's rights, but this video is not, in my opinion sexist.

Morgan Parker said...

Oh my thank u!! I complete agree and I'm a teenage girl too. These ppl chose to make wht Nash and his friends said into shallow meanings when that's not wht they meant at all! We shave anyway! If we don't, I doubt they will reject u becuz u have arm hair, like rly? Ugh, basically u took the words out of my mouth. I'm glad there r more open-minded ppl like u out there, because the majority of ppl r still hung up over this foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so telling a girl to shave by itself is not exactly a bad thing (but no one should feel forced to). The problem is that this isn't the only bad thing that he's posted on the Internet. He is also extremely racist and homophobic. He has tweeted "repost if you're against gay marriage " and "gay rights? nahhh " he has also said that he gets suspicious around Muslims. Yes, he has apologized, but in my humble opinion, he is simply trying to save his reputation. If these were all just "a young and ignorant teenagers mistakes" then he wouldn't have made the mistake that many times.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the video before. I'm a Nash fan, but I don't idolize him. He's a teenage boy, there's nothing to idolize. I find that to be a big problem. We get attached to celebrities and place them on pedestals by fooling ourselves into thinking they are perfect and can do no wrong. 18 or 65, no one is perfect. I think Nash is a cool guy who has managed to do a lot with his social media career. On the other hand, he is also someone who posts thoughts online before thinking them through. Maybe it's his age, maybe what he was exposed to growing up, or his personality, who knows? He's a young kid who is still figuring life out. We place so many expectations on teens (and celebrities) today and forget they are all different and just beginning to play the game of life. I'm 18 myself and I've learned a lot about the world I live in and my perspective of it in only the past 4 years. Among the things I've come to realize is that boys (and some girls), especially around my age, don't actually know what they want in a relationship or in a partner. Most don't even know what a strong, life long romantic relationship entails. That being said, I knew not to take their words seriously. Young girls don't know that. Much like a boy's head is filled with feminine and shallow expectations for girls; many girls hold high expectations for boys at a very young age. We expect them to be respectful of our feelings at all times, courteous, intelligent, strong, confident, mature, etc. but we forget they have to learn that stuff first, and that takes time. Be patient with Nash and others like him. It can be easy to forget we only know a glimpse of who he is through Vine and other social media platforms. I've been friends with plenty of guys like him who I'm happy to say have matured a lot in the past few years and it is almost unbelievable to think of who they were in the past.

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