Letter to the Editor: Flowery Feminists

In response to Sex Still Sells – Sells What, Exactly?:

I’m fascinated by the varying opinions that Renewable Girls has inspired, but your article really was the only attempt on any side to peel more than one layer off the onion. Believe it or not we are passionate about the sustainable movement (not quite a new name for peace, love, or prosperity, but certainly an extension of them), and it bothers us that people are classifying it as immoral. You were the only blogger (a very eloquent one at that) who really got it: Renewable Girls is a case of “sex sells” (The proof is in the pudding on this; we received many inquiries through our sun spotter widget who otherwise would never have thought about renewable energy. We are actually rolling out a lead generation business around it), and “tongue in cheek sex sells” (many saw the irony in using classic fossil marketing campaigns, think girls and cars, to market renewable energy), however we never thought about “justified sex sells,” because quite frankly we didn’t think we had anything to justify.

My problem (if you could call it that) with your article (and perhaps with a lot of the feminist outcry) is that it masks the core issue in flowery language and never quite addresses it.

You state “Hey, sex sells. And I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing – it’s a pretty natural thing…..The problem with PETA’s campaigns isn’t that sexy pictures of women are automatically offensive. (Hey, saying that would just be sexism of another kind.) ” but then go on to say “But sex in the context of contempt is degrading to everyone…..You cannot beat hatred with hatred. You cannot end abuse with abuse…. ” etc.

What you fall to do is draw the line. At what point does an image go from beautiful to disdainful. Was it Meghan who was “bananas for panels,” it seems to me that was the one most widely posted image on blogs like yours, not Yulia, for example hoping a puddle in the NYC streets.

From an insider’s perspective, there was nothing hateful about this project. The models where ecstatic to do it (for free) and suggested most of the posses. The mission is on target, we reached an audience that otherwise looks down on solar, and did not really turn anyone off from it; none of your readers will no longer believe in solar because of this calender.

Our society has clearly drawn legal lines as to what is abusive vs. not abusive when it comes to images. We, along with the majority of the population, see no means to justify in the case of our calender. Just because certain images conjure up specific connotations and insinuations in your mind does not mean everyone thinks like you. I suggest you and your peers more clearly define what exactly is hateful, violent, and abusive in media. In the mean time we’ll be putting solar up on people’s roofs.

John B.

Founder and owner

Renewable Girls

Thumbnail image via Flickr