Little princesses drop the f-bomb to target woman’s issues in a new video that is going viral this week. Titled “Pottymouth Princesses Use Bad Words for a Good Cause,” the clip was created by FCKH8 for two purposes. The first is marketing. They are a for-profit company that sells merchandise with awareness messages. The second is for awareness itself. They want the world to hear what they are trying to say. The video has taken the internet by storm. Young girls, aged eight to 13, drop the f-bomb as they rant about woman’s issues. Some viewers think it is a creative and bold way to get out the message. Others think it borders on child abuse – imagine forcing girls to swear! It was even taken down from YouTube and Vimeo briefly when people complained. Now it has hit the national news. Love it or hate it, people are listening.
The girls are dressed in princess dresses and start out by saying, “pretty.” Often that is what the world wants girls to be – pretty; not just physically appealing and dressed nicely, but society wants girls to act pretty. Girls are supposed to be nice. They are supposed to comport themselves with decorum, not bring too much attention to themselves, and put the feelings of others before their own.
Sometimes girls have to act ugly if they want to get their voices heard, and that is what they have done in the video. They have to be loud and competitive and say things that people do not like. These young girls illustrated this by using a particularly powerful swear-word. The world paid attention because the girls broke out of the lady-like mold. In the video, they specifically targeted the issues of unequal pay and violence against women.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, recently stated that women should not ask outright for raises and pay increases. His opinion is that being nice and playing the company game garners good karma and causes a woman’s “likeability” quotient to go up. He says being in the company’s good graces will get a woman farther than demanding a fair wage for her work. In all fairness, he has apologized for his statement and declares that Microsoft is working hard to close both the gender gap and the pay gap, but it struck a chord with women who cannot seem to make the world understand that the wage gap hurts them and their families. As alluded to in the video, women cannot support themselves and/or their children at the same level that a man can – for no other reason than entrenched gender bias.
Men make 23 percent more than women in the workforce doing equivalent work with equivalent qualifications and experience. A woman must work a year and four months to earn a male co-worker’s annual salary. This adds up and, by the end of a career, women can be millions of dollars behind, but they are supposed to be nice about it. They are not supposed to put stress on the company or society because things are already slowly changing. SLOWLY. The creeping pace at which women are gaining an equal place in the workforce tomorrow will not really help a woman working today. (On the other hand, it is better than yesterday.)
So these young girls dressed up in their princess costumes and spoke in a way that made people listen.
An even more important issue addressed in the viral video, and apropos to their costumes, was about violence against women. Princesses were traditionally married off by their fathers to make political or financial alliances and had no say in with whom they pent their life of conjugal “bliss.” This parallels rape where the woman has no say in who takes sexual advantage of her body. A study found that one in five women are sexually abused, assaulted or raped in their lifetime. This most often takes place in their late teens and early adult years. The first semester of college can be the most dangerous time in a young woman’s life.
Still, when a woman reports a rape, attention is often directed towards her behavior; how she was acting and what she was wearing. The young girls in the video point out the amazing freedom women would feel if they could just walk safely to their car. How often do safety issues limit a woman’s ability to work late, attend dinner meetings, or run errands after work hours? How often does fear for her safety and/or reputation take a woman out of social networking situations? The western world may have advanced beyond keeping men and women separate, shutting women in their homes, or requiring male escorts, but that repressive past lingers in the fact that women must be careful. It is heartbreaking to see another generation of women rail against the fact that they need to actively protect themselves from rape rather than boys and men being taught not to rape. Of course they are told not to rape, but look at society’s mixed messages about sexuality. Depending on family and personality, some boys do not learn that no means no until it is too late. The video’s popularity means it has hit a nerve.
The popular comedian Louis CK expressed a poignant insight during a routine, “How do women still go out with guys, when you consider that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat to women. Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women.” Women around the world would like to start feeling safe. And, as the popularity of the video shows, they are done asking nicely.
Girls and women continue to face sexism in modern society. Little princesses drop the f-bomb to target woman’s issues in a new viral video. As expected, many viewers were more angered by the word f*** than by the issues raised; but many more actually heard the message.
By: Rebecca Savastio