Category Archives: Feminism

Oppressed Majority

Here is an interesting and well done video.  It takes the male dominated world and flips it on its head so women are dominant.  It’s slightly NSFW for some quick but very necessary breasts.


Gendered Pronouns: Great Evil Or Greatest Evil?

I have long despised gendered languages.  Partly because it makes them more difficult to learn, having to memorize both a word and the gender that goes along with that word.  Mostly, though, because it’s always struck me as fairly sexist.

The language we speak has been shown to change the way we think about things.  There have been studies of gendered languages which show that if a noun is feminine in one language and masculine in another, it actually changes the words individuals use to describe the noun.  As a made up example so you understand what I’m talking about , take the word “chair”.  If “chair” is a masculine noun in a language, people were more likely to use more masculine descriptions like “sturdy” or “solid”.  If “chair” is a feminine noun in a language, people were more likely to use more feminine descriptions like “elegant” or “dainty”.

Because of the lack of gendered nouns, I have always thought of English as superior to other languages.  English is illogical, self-contradicting, and phonetically unpronounceable, but at least it doesn’t have gendered nouns!  It does have gendered pronouns, though.  They’re really just as bad.  Maybe worse, even.  At least gendered nouns aren’t talking about an individual. Gendered pronouns change the way we think about an individual and reveal our own prejudices.

Think about this sentence: She jogs in the park every morning.  The word “she” in that sentence offers zero pertinent information into the forming of the sentence.  What it does is form a picture in your mind of a female jogging.  Chances are, if you’re a cis male, that female is also shapely and well endowed and bounces in all the right places.  It’s certainly a pleasant image to have, but it is also likely nothing close to reality.  The sentence itself has altered our reality.

It’s a fairly benign example.  Try this experiment, though.  Take a sheet of paper and a pen and write down the first things you think of when you read this sentence:  She was raped.  Get it all down before you go any further.  What did you write?  If you’re like me, it would be a laundry list of victim blaming nonsense interspersed with some sympathetic words.  I am one of the least likely to victim blame, but our culture is so infused with victim blaming that they’re the first words that come to mind.  Now try the same thing with this sentence:  He was raped.  For me, it was much more difficult to come up with things to write.  Did you have the same experience?  Maybe you wrote something about prison or dropping a bar of soap?  Why does the altering of a pronoun so greatly change our view of an unforgivable act?

I wonder how completely neutering our language would alter the way we think about things.  I’ve spent some time trying to come up with genderless pronouns for the English language but everything just sounds weird.  Making up words is harder than it sounds.  ‘It’, as a pronoun, already has connotations of non-humanness that would make it impossible to use as a replacement.  I’m somewhat partial to using the Italian word ‘lei’ because I’ve always been fascinated by it being both the word for ‘she’ and the formal word for ‘you’ and I like the way it sounds.  I also like the word ‘ser’ which is ‘to be’ in Spanish because it sounds English-y and already has a etymology of being built into it.  What words would you be in favor of?

It would be a fascinating experiment to take public domain works and replace all the gendered pronouns and nouns with genderless equivalents and see how it changes our thinking of the stories.  Imagine a love story where you’re never quite know who is the male and who is the female character.  Imagine a poem where you’re not sure if it was written for a male or a female.  I think we would find that our gender prejudices are much deeper than we suppose them to be.

Obama Administration Defeated! (That’s A Good Thing)

It’s not often that the Obama administration does something stupid when it comes to women’s rights, but their decision to attempt to put a stay on the ruling by a Federal judge to allow Plan B access over the counter certainly qualifies.  I don’t understand their logic in fighting this.  I can only assume that it’s to gain cred with the Religious Right.  If that is the case, Obama’s like the unpopular guy who keeps doing things he thinks the popular crowd  will like in the hopes that he’ll get invited to their parties.  You’re not going to get invited to their parties, Mr. President.  Please stop trying.

The good news is that another Federal judge has denied the Obama administration’s attempt.  Plan B will soon be available over the counter to women of all ages.  Women are a step closer to actually being able to control what happens with their own bodies.  No babies steps.  Ha!

Virginia’s Terrible Triumverate

Virginia only has three statewide elected offices; Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.  I’ve already covered the Republican candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli, and the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, E. W. Jackson, but I have neglected to cover the Republican candidate for Attorney General.

I present to you current state Senator Mark Obenshain.  As Senator, he sponsored a law that would require women who have miscarriages to report the miscarriage to the police or be guilty of a class one misdemeanor which carries up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

Yeesh.  Nothing like treating a woman who just lost her baby like a presumed criminal.  And nothing like a party that decries governmental intrusion and yet somehow manages to nominate these three.  Oh, that’s right, they only care about governmental intrusion that affects them.

Slacktivists Unite!

Slactivism – The act of doing something for a cause that has zero impact for said cause and only serves to make the individual performing the action feel good about themselves.

Examples of slactivism include: politicians wearing a flag pin to show their patriotism, people putting yellow ribbon magnets on their car to show they support our troops, people putting flags on their car to show their patriotism, people putting ANYTHING on their car to show they support ANYTHING, and people changing their Facebook profile picture to a pink equal sign to show they support gay marriage.

I will admit, I was a little bit in awe of the sheer amount of people who changed their Facebook profile picture to the now ubiquitous pink equal sign on a red background and it’s various permutations (my favorite being a kissing Lady Liberty and Lady Justice superimposed on the image).  It was inspiring, on some level, to see so many friends and strangers announce that they believe gay marriage should be legal.  But back in the real world, gay marriage is still illegal in a vast majority of the country and your changing of your profile picture has changed none of that.  In the end, it’s just a big circle-jerk amongst a bunch of like-minded individuals.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though.  You can effect real change by spending very little of your time.  Call your U.S. Representative, call your U.S. Senators, call your State Representative, call your State Senator.  Tell them that you would like gay marriage to be legal.  You probably don’t believe it, but politicians listen very carefully to the phone calls that they receive.  It is the most effective method for an individual to enact change with their politicians and it is much more efficient than waiting for someone else to get elected.  Make it so.

Stating The Obvious To the Oblivious

What happens when you come to a conclusion even a child can understand it?  You get subjected to the vilest racist and sexist attacks, of course.

Q: Shouldn’t women be able to carry guns to protect themselves from being raped?

A: You shouldn’t put the onus on women to protect themselves any more than you should tell women to dress a certain way or look a certain way to prevent rape.  You should focus more on the rape culture.

That’s the gist of the conversation.  For that, Zerlina Maxwell was subject to an enormous amount of harassment.  But god forbid you suggest that guns aren’t the answer.

What’s annoying is that, like every argument for guns I’ve ever heard, it’s a stupid question.  First off, women usually know their rapist.  Thus, their guard is already down and the gun is likely not even on their person (unless, I guess, they’re gun fetishists).  Second, strangers don’t go running up to women screaming, “I’m going to rape you!”  Guns require some sort of distance to be effective.  But maybe women should just assume everyone is a rapist and pull their gun on anyone that makes them nervous?  Third, wouldn’t pepper spray or a knife be just as effective and not as deadly a deterrent?

Don’t Worry, There Is No War Against Women

Republicans like women just fine.  As long as they fit a very specific mold.  First, you have to be attracted to men.  But not too much.  No sleeping around.  Viagra, yes.  Birth control, no.  Second, you have to be attractive to men.  But not too much.  Aim for something sexier than a burqa but not as sexy as yoga pants.  Your sexiness level will be individually judged by every man you meet.  You must please them all.  Third, you really only should get beat up by men who are your significant others.  All that talk about lesbians and transgendered folks really creeps Republicans out so stop being all non-cisgendered.  Fourth, you really should try to be white.  You should especially not be Native American.  Well, no, that’s not quite true.  You can be Native American, but white people can do what they want with you and don’t come running to us when the law doesn’t protect you.

Never say that Republicans aren’t highly principled.  Their principles just happen to be abhorrent and they’re willing to scorch the earth to defend them.  “Only the women that we recognize as real women will be protected from violence or no women will be protected from violence.”  Class acts, all of them.

Sexism Quantified

Here is an enlightening post about sexism in the workplace.  It turns out that in places where men are dramatically over-represented like Fortune 500 CEOs and Hedge Fund managers and Congress, the few women that have the jobs have dramatically higher results than their male counterparts.

For those who pay attention, this should hardly come as a surprise.  For those that don’t, how does one explain this phenomenon without pointing to blatant sexism?  It would certainly appear that women have to be significantly better at their jobs than men to even be considered for some positions.

If there were no sexism, wouldn’t you expect both men and women to perform about the same regardless of representation?  Then, you might have an argument by saying that women just aren’t as interested in certain positions.  But that is quite obviously not the truth.

So explain it.  I’m listening.

Respecting Women, Being Attracted To Women; You Can Do Both

(Edited for clarity so a friend doesn’t think I’m calling him a homophobe.)

Who doesn’t like being groped by strangers?  Oh right, everybody.  Listen guys, this is not difficult.  Unless you have a relationship of some sort with a woman, you should not be touching them.  End of story.  You also shouldn’t be laughing at other women being groped by strangers.  Nor should you “like” videos of such.

See that woman walking alone down the street?  She’s pretty hot, isn’t she?  Make eye contact with her as she walks by.  Smile at her.  Maybe even wave politely.  Congratulations, you were successfully attracted to and respecting of the woman!  Wasn’t that easy?  There are very few other options in this scenario.  A vast majority of women would not be comfortable with you approaching them.  To do so is to disrespect all women even if you happen to be successful in striking up a conversation.  You are saying that your needs are greater than the woman’s needs.  You would be wrong.

See that woman sitting on the train reading a book?  Ooh la la!  Is she reading a book that you have read?  No?  Then leave her alone.  She wants to read.  Congratulations, you were successfully attracted to and respecting of the woman!  But you say you have read the book?  Do you have something productive to say about the book?  No?  Then leave her alone.  She wants to read.  But you say you do have something productive to say?  Very politely interrupt her and say what you have to say.  Pay very close attention to social cues to determine if she wants to be interrupted.  If she doesn’t, apologize for interrupting and leave her alone.  She wants to read.

See that woman playing volleyball against you?  Sexy and athletic!  You are in a social situation so feel free to talk to her and flirt with her if she seems receptive.  That’s what social situations are for!  Just remember, she is under no obligation to return your interest.  She may just want to play volleyball.  It is not her fault she doesn’t want to talk to you.  It’s not your fault she doesn’t want to talk to you.  It’s just a current state of being.  Congratulations, you were successfully attracted to and respecting of the woman!

See that woman at the bar?  What an outfit!  She is likely there to have fun.  You know you are there to have fun.  Feel free to talk to her and flirt with her if she seems receptive.  That’s what social situations are for!  Just remember, she is under no obligation to return your interest.  She may just want to hang out with her friends.  It’s not her fault that she doesn’t want to talk to you.  It’s not your fault that she doesn’t want to talk to you.  It’s just a current state of being.  Congratulations, you were successfully attracted to and respecting of the woman!

That wasn’t so difficult, now was it?  Just remember, that woman is a person.  Say that to yourself before you approach her.  Ask yourself if you would mind a guy coming up and flirting with you in that situation.  If you would never want be ok with that, you are likely a homophobe and should get over that before attempting any relationship.  If you think that you would be flattered if you just swung that way, chances are that the woman would be too.  Follow these simple rules and you too can be respecting of and attracted to women.

What Is In The Drinking Water Of The Southwest?

Strange, horrible things are afoot in our beloved Southwest States.  Politicians are attempting to pass some really poorly written bills or they are trying their best to keep women and atheists down.

First up, New Mexico.  There, a Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for a woman who was raped to get an abortion.  That is, sadly, not surprising.  Stuff like this bill are happening more and more.  What is surprising is the reasoning.  You see, having an abortion would be tampering with evidence.  There’s no other way for the state to know a woman was raped unless she can bring the baby to term apparently.  The representative in question, Cathrynn Brown, claims that the bill is actually meant to deter sex offenders.  Because no rapist wants to have to take care of a rape-baby I guess.  I’m sure they’re totally able to think that far into the future.  She’s doing this to bring men to justice!  This is SO going to protect women!  Look at you women being all protected and stuff!

Next, we have Arizona.  Ah, Arizona, the new place for crazy.  A bill was proposed there by a Republican law maker that would require every graduating high schooler to recite an oath before getting their diploma.  Here’s the oath:

I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

Yeah, that’s right, under this bill high schoolers will be required to swear an oath to god in order to graduate.  Eff you, atheists!  You probably don’t believe in the Constitution anyway.  As Hemant Mehta mentions in the above link:

It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond — but there’s also no way I would say those last four words, and the current text of the legislation does not allow for any alternatives.

In other words, if this bill were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate… or they would be forced to lie so they could graduate. Neither option is acceptable.