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.Awesome!