Feminism Blamed for Frat House Stripper Poles

This post, written by Jessica Valenti, originally appeared on Feministing

Why is it that feminism is always blamed for tacky sexist trends?
College fraternities, long known as bastions of grace and decorum, are these days featuring yet one more accoutrement of scholastic refinement - the stripper pole.
The most important campus development since the keg, the stripper pole shines like a luminous totem festooning the halls of the American academy. It's erected for a single, glorious purpose:
To get drunken chicks to do slutty stuff.
And where does feminism come in?

Post-feminists argue that the pole is empowering. If a young woman chooses to use it, they say, she is telling the world that she is in charge of her sexuality.

Apparently these pole-loving feminists and post-feminists only exist in reporter Alfred Lubrano's imagination--because he fails to quote one woman outside of the publicist for the company that creates the poles. I mean really, who are "they?" Who are the "some" who are arguing that stripper poles "flaunt liberation?" Great reporting, dude.

It's fairly clear that the Philadelphia Inquirer reporter had little interest in researching his piece, but a lot of interest in making snarky sexist comments:
ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up