Author: has written 142 posts for this blog.

Chally is a student by day, a freelance writer by night, a scary, scary feminist all the time, and a voracious reader whenever she has a spare moment. She also blogs at Zero at the Bone. Full bio here.
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23 Responses

  1. jess
    jess April 3, 2011 at 12:10 am |

    I thought the video was cool, but not clear on why you characterize her look as androgynous, because most of her outfits were minidresses with tights. Not to say I don’t love the outfits, it’s just that on 99% of days, unless I’m going to a wedding or something, I’m usually wearing jeans and a sweater, or something similar, which to me seems more androgynous than minidress + tights. Is it adding the gym shoes with the tights that makes it androgynous?

  2. Paloma
    Paloma April 3, 2011 at 5:25 am |

    I don’t know if you are aware but Elly Jackson has made some pretty terrible comments about victims of domestic violence deserving what they get.
    I’m clueless as to how to do links properly so the article is here:
    http://thequietus.com/articles/01899-la-roux-interviewed-in-for-the-kill-with-elly-jackson
    or for lazy people like me, the same article with the worst stuff bolded:
    http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/36810864.html

  3. Azalea
    Azalea April 3, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    Nice post but one thing I want to say: Just because someone prefers or likes what happens to be “popular femininity” doesn’t mean that they are conforming. Some people just genuinely like or love it.

    And I agree with the minidress and tights vs jeans argument concerning androgyny.

  4. LoriA
    LoriA April 3, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    I had no idea their lead singer was so cool! La Roux isn’t my kind of music, but Jackson seems like my kind of lady.

    @Azalea
    A woman may not dress in a traditionally feminine manner *because* she wants to conform, but by doing so she is, at least incidentally, conforming. Also, it’s hard to say what any of us genuinely love vs. what we’ve been effectively taught by society to love. That doesn’t make the love less legitimate, but very likely less ‘genuine’ in an organic sense.

  5. erika
    erika April 3, 2011 at 10:48 am |

    Trigger: victim blaming

    From Elly Jackson’s interview with The Quietus:

    What’s your stance on the way that female musicians either choose to or are forced to use a sexuality that’s essentially just designed to appeal to men?

    “It’s really patronising to women. I know that there’s far more ways to be sexy than to dress in a miniskirt and a tank top. If you’re a real woman you can turn someone on in a plastic bag just by looking at them. That’s what a real woman is, when you’ve got the sex eyes. I think you attract a certain kind of man by dressing like that. Women wonder why they get beaten up, or having relationships with arsehole men. Because you attracted one, you twat.

    I wish we lived in a world where ALL gender presentations & expressions were respected, not just the ~~super cool radical ones. Her androgyny doesn’t seem any more authentic than someone else’s femininity — it just seems rooted in misogyny.

    I’m also noting that there’s an element of “femininity is constructed and abnormal, masculinity is neutral/default/normal” in some of these comments… Could we try to check that, please?

  6. jess
    jess April 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

    erika- oof. That statement from Elly Jackson is awful.

  7. Azalea
    Azalea April 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm |

    LoriA: I had no idea their lead singer was so cool! La Roux isn’t my kind of music, but Jackson seems like my kind of lady.@AzaleaA woman may not dress in a traditionally feminine manner *because* she wants to conform, but by doing so she is, at least incidentally, conforming. Also, it’s hard to say what any of us genuinely love vs. what we’ve been effectively taught by society to love. That doesn’t make the love less legitimate, but very likely less ‘genuine’ in an organic sense.

    My mother hates makeup, heels and the color pink. She buys cake when I buy sneakers to celebrate. Nobody ever told me to wear heels or love makeup. My parents prefer au naturale and actually frown on makeup. So yeah, my preference for heels, lip gloss eye shadow, sexy clothing etc etc goes against the grain that I was raised in. The same way a person who is “goth” isnt conforming neither was/am I. Also my *brand* of femininity has a different style though the core measures of it (heels, makeup, sexy) are there.

  8. Mechelle
    Mechelle April 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    erika:
    Trigger: victim blaming

    From Elly Jackson’s interview with The Quietus:

    What’s your stance on the way that female musicians either choose to or are forced to use a sexuality that’s essentially just designed to appeal to men?


    “It’s really patronising to women. I know that there’s far more ways to be sexy than to dress in a miniskirt and a tank top. If you’re a real woman you can turn someone on in a plastic bag just by looking at them. That’s what a real woman is, when you’ve got the sex eyes. I think you attract a certain kind of man by dressing like that. Women wonder why they get beaten up, or having relationships with arsehole men. Because you attracted one, you twat.

    I wish we lived in a world where ALL gender presentations & expressions were respected, not just the ~~super cool radical ones. Her androgyny doesn’t seem any more authentic than someone else’s femininity — it just seems rooted in misogyny.

    I’m also noting that there’s an element of “femininity is constructed and abnormal, masculinity is neutral/default/normal” in some of these comments… Could we try to check that, please?

    Wow, she really is wonderful…:/

  9. Iany
    Iany April 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm |

    I’ve been feeling, more than ever, that looking to stars for a reflection of feminist ideals is a bad idea. Lady Gaga looked like a good bet until she started exploiting trans actors in her vids to emphasize her cisgenderedness. I hadn’t heard about La Roux’s ill-thought comment before. She is a good example of someone doing well with fame who doesn’t present as traditionally feminine, shame it does not extend to her thinking.

  10. Claire N
    Claire N April 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm |

    She had short hair, I don’t think she was a lesbian, she wasn’t some big butch woman coming over and going [adopts big butch voice] ‘yeah wicked, you make lesbians alright’, it was a girl with short hair, who wasn’t very girly, who didn’t have a tan, who didn’t have massive boobs, didn’t wear high heels. She was just a girl like the kind of girl I’ve been when I’ve been growing up, and she was saying ‘we think it’s really cool that there’s someone out there who’s a role model for people like us, because there’s no one for us to look up to any more since David Bowie’. I though that’s fucking cool, that’s amazing. Even if my music is retro, or whatever, even if it’s shit, at least there’s someone out there for girls to look up to who doesn’t have boobs and a tan and high heels.”

    Thanks Erika for linking the above!

    I think that while what I have quoted is what some people might relate to–pressure to not wear high heels, be tanned and to not have boobs (lol), I think what precedes it is ultimately full of whiteness and anti-femmeness. For reasons some folks before me have identified in relation to femininity and/or being femme. But yeah not all non-white people or people have colour have access to the femininity that La Roux is deriding. Plus there is some agency to femininity that she might be missing. And yeah she needs to understand that gender representation might not have anything to do with sexuality.

    I read La Roux saying that she’s never felt like a woman or a man. And I agree with what Chally has identified could be perceived as markers of androgyny. Purely because androgyny should not be confused with boyishness or the abscence of the feminine–and because of how the singer categorises her look.

    Ultimately I think her music is middling and I don’t think that looking to pop stars to be some kind of perfect social justice icon works. Thus if people get something out of is being analysed here–that is cool! Really awesome, in fact. It’s just largely rooted in an awful lot of misogyny and femininity hating which is not cool. But yeah whatever, we all like different pop culture folks who have fucked up in myriad ways. In the big scheme of things, that act of liking doesn’t really matter.

  11. Claire N
    Claire N April 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    people *of* colour.

  12. Tony
    Tony April 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    The thing with pop stars is that they have influence among a lot of girls that feminists care about. Jill didn’t post about Bieber’s Rolling Stone comments because she looks to him as an icon, but because he happens to be relevant out in the real world, as opposed to the SJ/feminist blogosphere.

  13. Iany
    Iany April 4, 2011 at 6:04 am |

    Tony:
    The thing with pop stars is that they have influence among a lot of girls that feminists care about. Jill didn’t post about Bieber’s Rolling Stone comments because she looks to him as an icon, but because he happens to be relevant out in the real world, as opposed to the SJ/feminist blogosphere.

    I’d like to think we care about *all* girls.

    And in this case, since she is being presented as someone admirable in the article, I think it’s a good thing that some of her less admirable traits are apparent to us. Just because we want an icon, does not mean we’ll get one.

    In fact, Jill’s article directly does that, she was pointing out that just because stars are out there and doing well (even ones like Beiber who are criticised for not conforming to some arbitrary gender expression), doesn’t mean they don’t talk absolute crap.

    How does their influence even play into this? Just because they’re popular with girls doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about what that means, how it is beneficial and how it is not.

  14. Vigée
    Vigée April 4, 2011 at 8:53 am |

    Iany,

    First, this article was written by Chally, not Jill.

    Also, I read Tony’s comment, “The thing with pop stars is that they have influence among a lot of girls that feminists care about.” to mean that they had the kind of influence that feminists care about, not that feminists only care about some girls.

    Also, it’s interesting the kinds of anger unleashed at Bieber over his comments but basically missing over these. I don’t think Elly Jackson’s victim blaming is any more or less innocent than Bieber’s comments on abortion.

  15. Iany
    Iany April 4, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    Vigée:

    First, this article was written by Chally, not Jill.

    The article about Beiber was by Jill, which is what Tony and I referred to. Please don’t misquote me.

    And there is a reason less people comment about La Roux, she is simply less well known and less popular.

    I’m trying to defend my original point without entirely taking away from what Chally was saying in presenting a pop icon with some admirable traits. I am angry about what Jackson said, I just don’t place much weight on her opinion on the issue. She’s a singer, a performer. Why would I expect her to know about victim blaming, any more than a person I would meet on the street? Famous people are encouraged to comment in areas they don’t/[i]may not[/i] know much about and as a result, they say things that are awful from time to time. Of course, there are performers who are thoughtful and nuanced in their commentary, you just can’t expect it.

    This did come up in Jill’s thread on Beiber, in the commentary. Teenage boy says something awful, why was he asked in the first place? The only difference between him and another person who hasn’t examined their views too critically yet is exposure.

  16. Tony
    Tony April 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

    Vigée: Iany,First, this article was written by Chally, not Jill.Also, I read Tony’s comment, “The thing with pop stars is that they have influence among a lot of girls that feminists care about.” to mean that they had the kind of influence that feminists care about, not that feminists only care about some girls.

    Yes. My bad phrasing was the product of beginning the thought with one sentence structure and ending it with another. I need a proofreader :P

  17. k not K
    k not K April 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    Aww, sad, I like her style. But that kind of slut-shaming is just depressing. Why do we have to hold up other models of femininity as the enemy, and our particular style as the right way to dress and be? It’s the same old, same old, just tearing other women down to try and build ourselves up.

  18. Vigée
    Vigée April 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    Iany: The article about Beiber was by Jill, which is what Tony and I referred to. Please don’t misquote me.

    Sorry Iany, although I didn’t so much misquote you as misread you, which I’m pretty sure you also did to Tony. So I guess mistakes, they happen.

  19. Helen
    Helen April 8, 2011 at 4:00 am |

    I wasn’t aware of the quote above but I did blog about another foolish statement a few years back which was quoted in the Melbourne AGE, actually, it was used in big font in the callout box in the article, just in case girls thinking of themselves as guitar heroes or awe-inspiring sidepersons didn’t get the message:

    Girls look a bit stupid playing electric guitar and drums. It suits blokes better. But girls look wicked playing synths.

    As a drummer I’ve been up against that “women hold a microphone and sing, but their little wee arms aren’t good for much else, maybe piano, that’s suitable for Young Ladies” attitude all my life. I had hoped it had got better. At least I see a lot more girls with guitars and drums now. I hope she’s an outlier.

  20. D
    D April 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm |

    La Roux also produced this video, which is one of the more awkwardly racially problematic things I’ve seen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7IGE58IPgo

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