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Freya India: Are Women Being Brainwashed? And by Whom?
A response to Konstantin Kisin
A few weeks ago I tweeted a thread that went viral with over 5 million views. It even elicited an approving response from Elon Musk, the Chief Twit, himself. Needless to say, the thread also generated a lot of pushback and criticism. In view of this I asked Freya India, a recent TRIGGERnometry guest, to offer her perspective on the ensuing discussion. If you enjoy this article, please make sure to subscribe to her Substack here.
Are women being brainwashed?
This is something I’ve been thinking about since Konstantin tweeted this thread:
I think he’s right: there is a pervasive myth in modern culture that men and women are the same. Mainstream feminism often encourages women to act like men, emphasises careerism over marriage and motherhood, and downplays the higher biological cost women face for delaying these milestones.
But this is only the surface of the problem. I would go further and argue that the feminist message encouraging women to act like men is just one symptom of something much bigger.
The root of the problem, I believe, lies with a network of commercial and technological industries that prioritise profit over the long-term health, happiness and well-being of women and use these sort of feminist messages as a marketing strategy. Corporations that sell products and services that make women feel worse and encourage us to act in harmful ways — all while convincing us it’s empowering.
Because mainstream feminism, like any commodity, has been bought. It is owned by the market. So much of what women are told liberates us doesn’t serve our interests, it serves the commercial interests of powerful profit-driven corporates.
Take the beauty industry: a behemoth worth over $500 billion. Their business model? Capitalise on women’s natural desire to feel attractive and confident by stripping away our self-esteem and then selling it back to us at a profit, with feminism as its sales strategy.
All kinds of harmful beauty products and procedures are now framed as feminist and emancipatory. “Selfie Editing Empowers You,” says the photo editing app FaceTune. Pumping your face with poison is self-love, say plastic surgery clinics. Having your breasts sliced open and filled with harmful silicone is “about feeling empowered and confident,” say cosmetic surgeons. Even the Brazilian Butt Lift — which has the highest death rate of all cosmetic procedures — is a way for women to “celebrate the bodies they live in”.
Another especially egregious example is the porn industry: a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that exploits and degrades women, cashing in on sexual assault and abuse. PornHub, for example, recently had to remove millions of videos —“the majority of its content” – after an investigation revealed many of them featured underage girls and sex-trafficking victims.
But this is all very empowering, apparently.
Porn companies advertise themselves as part of a progressive, aspirational industry that cares for women’s well-being. For example, the director of PornHub’s “Sexual Wellness Centre”, Dr. Laurie Betito compares the rising number of women watching porn to the #MeToo movement, celebrating that “women are feeling more empowered” and “have found their voice.”
Meanwhile, MindGeek — the billion-dollar owner of PornHub facing multiple lawsuits over alleged profiting from child sex abuse material — positions its platforms as “inclusive, sex positive spaces”. While we debate the distraction that is the woke feminist facade these industries rake in billions.
Consider the pharmaceutical industry, too, where the drive for profit can conflict with patient well-being. One example is the contraceptive pill market, predicted to be worth $20.55 billion by 2026. While the pill prevents pregnancy and can address specific health conditions, it also comes with (often intolerable) side effects including anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, nausea and low libido. Girls who start the pill early are also more likely to be diagnosed with depression, with one study finding a tripled risk of suicide with early hormonal contraceptive use. Not only that, but the pill also increases the risk of blood clots, strokes and certain types of cancer but many pharmaceutical companies downplay these dangers and market the pill as a lifestyle choice rather than a serious medication. Again: feminism becomes a sales tactic.
In the UK, for example, a new over-the-counter contraceptive brand called Hana claims that its “purpose is to empower” women. The advert for Hana contrasts happy, sexually-liberated, ambitious women with a stressed mother losing control of her child, reminding us that the pill is for women who work hard and live in the moment! Hana and the morning-after pill provider ellaOne — both owned by the billion-dollar giant HRA Pharma — are all about championing sex-positivity, fighting sex stigmas and taboos, and reframing emergency contraception as “sexually empowering”.
Sex-positive feminism — and the idea of erasing reproductive constraints to achieve gender equality — is not their goal, it’s their sales strategy! Buy some liberation now for £19.75! No prescription necessary!
Ad for Lovima® contraception.
What we need is a wider perspective. We need to zoom out. Beyond wokeness and feminism and into the market forces driving these discussions. We need to pay less attention to what we are being told and more attention to what we are being sold. We need to see myths about men and women being the same and other woke messages for what they so often are: marketing campaigns. Because the corporations pushing these ideas haven’t been hijacked by the woke agenda; they have bought it, own it and weaponise it for profit.
This isn’t about telling women that they are victims. It’s about showing women that these industries don’t care about our empowerment, liberation, self-expression or even equality. They care about money.
True empowerement is teaching girls to see through the bullshit: women who know when they are being manipulated and misled can see who is cashing in on it and base their decisions on their own long-term well-being.
Because yes, as Konstantin says, I think we are being brainwashed. But it’s time we start calling out who is behind it.
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