Posts Tagged ‘gender’

I love Facebook fights. <_<

February 28, 2011

A friend of mine, generally open-minded and accepting, recently posted the Yahoo! Finance article “Ways Your Appearance Affects Your Paycheck” on his page. The article begins with the incredibly privileged statement, “How successful you become is mostly up to you. Success also depends on how you’re perceived by others. Numerous studies have shown looks can impact career advancement,” and then lists several qualities that will “earn” you a higher salary, including symmetrical features, the “right” height and weight, an “appropriate” degree of attractiveness, and so on. Cue Facebook Fight.

Me: “This is disgusting.

Me: “And the use of that picture in conjunction with this article is hilariously sad, because it’s from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Which, skewed as it is by capitalism, is still a call to value the beauty of real people instead of holding them to standards of perfection that are not only impossible to reach (or maintain), but offensive (often racist), as well.

Friend: “I didn’t think it was THAT bad. It doesn’t explicitly say, ‘If you’re prettier you get a raise.’ In fact, it even says if you’re ‘TOO pretty’ it can actually be bad. It just gives tips on what to wear and how to present yourself, and it’s not something that everyone can’t do. Like no beards, or smile, or don’t be overweight.”

Me: “‘Skinny women.’ That right there’s actually a huge chunk of what’s wrong with it. Not everyone can (or should) be the same weight. It’s not like there’s one ideal weight for everyone. This article isn’t just about presenting oneself professionally, it’s about how people with symmetrical features or the “right” body type, and also people who conform to society’s gender and sexual expectations, are more highly-paid than those who don’t measure up in terms of physical appearance and those who aren’t interested in altering their appearance, quite literally, for the Man. If two women hold the same job, should the femme one have a higher salary than the butch one? Why is salary based on appearance and personal expression? It should be about skills, qualifications, talent.”

Friend: “I do agree about the skinny women thing and I don’t think everyone should be skinny, but I do think everyone should be healthy. And I’m all for equality and self expression and individuality, and I think it’s sad that more of our society isn’t, but I think it’s on it’s [sic] way. 100 years ago, women and people of alternative ethnic backgrounds couldn’t hold the same positions as white men did. Look how much things have changed since then, our president is black (my lambo is blue), we have female senators, CEOs, etc. I think the same thing is about to happen for people with alternative sexual orientations. They just take time though.”

Me: “I want people to be healthy too. Especially the people I love. So. Is an unhealthy weight grounds for paying someone less money than a person with the same job description but a healthier weight for their body type? (And that can only be determined by a doctor, contrary to popular opinion. Not everyone who’s considered “overweight” actually is.) Is it an employer’s job to regulate the weight of their employees? Or their health? If that’s the case, what about all the people with other health issues–cancer, diabetes, pregnancy, depression, etc.? You’re right, we’ve come a long way, but there’s still much room for improvement. There are still glass ceilings that haven’t been shattered. Women can head powerful corporations, but women as a whole still earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar. If you live in the right state, you might be able to elect queer politicians, but queer kids are still being bullied to death, literally, and much of mainstream pop culture does nothing but drive home the point that people who are different are wrong. Part of the process toward social progress is fighting the harmful things we find in our culture. There WON’T be progress without teenage lesbians suing their schools for the right to wear tuxedos to prom, people refusing to participate in a system that bases worth on physical appearance over innate qualities, etc.”

THE END, he didn’t want to play anymore. v_v

Haven’t posted anything Mark Driscoll lately!

July 14, 2010

So here’s one! I just got this message from a fellow named Bill:

“Hi Talia,

“I saw your ‘Mark Driscoll is a misogynist’ group. I see you have the usual collection of extreme Mark Driscoll quotes plus a few I haven’t seen.

“I am sending this message to hopefully broaden your outlook. Firstly I’ll come clean and admit I have a love/hate relationship with teachings of Mark Driscoll. His exegesis is ordinary (at times terrible). He will twist scripture to conform with his ultra conservative world view. But he is passionate and I have no doubt that he makes a big difference in lives of thousands of men (maybe even a few women).

“But what I want to stress is that Mark Driscoll’s strong world view is not just irritating to women it is irritating to many men as well. I could be described as a relatively androgynous male. I don’t watch sports, I’m not competitive, I’m happy to discuss my feelings, I don’t believe that females should be treated like princesses and I don’t think male preoccupation with sex is just a given.

“What I’m trying to say is that I find many of Driscoll’s views extremely insulting as a male. His views are not anti-woman. I know plenty of traditional young women (the kind who just want to marry a successful man and have babies) who love Driscoll with a passion.

“Kind Regards
Bill”

I like Bill. We don’t quite agree, and he addresses our difference of opinion in a courteous way instead of sending me hate mail about it. So I replied:

“Hi, Bill! Thanks for the message and for sharing your perspective.

“I just want to say: The reason his views are insulting to you as an androgynous male (or one reason, anyway) is because he’s promoting his vision of ideal manhood as the standard for all people. To Driscoll, femme and androgynous guys, and even masculine guys who aren’t manly ‘enough’, don’t measure up to his vision of maleness because he’s defined anything that he thinks to be feminine as inferior. I completely agree with you when you say this hurts men as well as women, but I can’t agree with your statement that he’s not anti-woman. Even many women are anti-woman. It’s not that they consciously decide they’re going to promote hatred or fear or shaming of women, but there’s a lot of cultural programming that goes into building a misogynist, male or female. I also know many women of all ages who subscribe to his views, and that’s because they’ve been socialized all their lives to accept that men and women are very different and should interact in a hierarchy.

“Thanks again for taking the time to share your opinion in a kind way! :) Hate mail gets a bit tiring sometimes, and nice people are always refreshing! -Talia”

Do you think that was nice enough?

Tragicomedy.

March 17, 2010

I was watching a movie on television a couple nights ago, and I mean late-late-night, so why don’t you just cue up the strip club commercials right now. But I digress. I didn’t come here to talk about strip club commercials. I CAME here to talk about Booty Pop. I saw the Booty Pop commercial no less than HALF A DOZEN TIMES within one movie, and I seriously was laughing so hard I would have fallen on the floor, had I not already been lying on the floor because it was late-late-night and everyone else was asleep and I had to keep the volume down. Observe.

Call me crazy, but I just don’t see the attraction. All I see is this.

THEN I showed my mother the commercial and SHE awesomely connected the dots to THIS.

Oh yes, she said it. She said, and I quote, “Bump Its for your butt!”

In other news, you know a movie is really and seriously tragic when it’s interrupted fourteen hundred times by inane infomercials and it still leaves you devastated and crying on the floor.

What’s up with you, right-wingers?

December 14, 2009

You hate it when girls won’t wear dresses to formal dances. Sooo…the more girls wearing dresses, the better, right?

Wrong! You also hate it when too many members of the wedding party are wearing dresses!

So, um, what’s left? Oh, I know! I bet you’d be happy if everyone would only throw off the shackles of clothing and run around naked as the day they were born. Oh, but wait…darn! So what say you, right-wingers? What, exactly, ARE women allowed to wear?

Oh, I see, it’s not the outfits you have a problem with? So, hmm..when you refuse to let girls wear tuxes to school dances, it’s not really a fashion issue or in any way political, it’s just because you hate the girls.

Oh, but wait! you say. We don’t hate anyone! We hate the sin, love the sinner! Then, um, if you neither hate these people nor their clothing in itself, what’s your deal, hm? Go on, paint yourself in a corner. We’re going dancing, see you later.

Why I Oppose Straight Marriage [by SerenaDante]

September 13, 2009

[I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do. Written by SerenaDante, the infamous Xanga sex blogger…]

These are the reasons why I oppose straight marriage:

-Marriage should be between two people of the same sex. Who says? Well, I do–duh. I’m an expert at defining words, and marriage means “an institution between two women or two men.” It has nothing to do with my religion either, it just has to do with my head…I have a mental dictionary, you know!

-Straight couples are awful at raising children. Look around. It’s obvious. You see straight couples raising children who end up being criminals ALL the time. And–this is the worst thing of all–straight couples even turn their children straight! *shudder*

-Straight relationships are so immoral. You know, I have this really old book that was written by a bunch of weirdo people, and it says that straight relationships are wrong. Obviously, I don’t need to think for myself–this book tells me everything I need to know about the world! It definitely has to be 100% right, so that’s why straight relationships, including marriage, are not appropriate in our society.

-Straight people overpopulate the planet. And that’s horrible. we shouldn’t have even more children being put into adoption centers, or being left out on the street, or being allowed to starve to death. Not anymore! Actions must be taken against this constant procreation and mindless encouragement of human reproduction by straights.

-If straight people are allowed to marry, then we’ll be seeing marriages between animals and humans soon enough too! It’s a fact, especially since animals are able to give their consent to marry, and they can even sign the piece of paper too. (Actually, this is why we should never have let white people get married–now the straights are using that as an excuse to be allowed to as well! So wrong…)

-Straight sex is disgusting. I would never have straight sex, and neither should you. We should stop all penis-in-vagina sex right now! It spreads so many STDs, every single day! Not to mention that penis-in-vagina sex can really hurt people if they’re not careful about it–one of my straight friends (yeah, I have straight friends) told me how he accidentally made a girl bleed because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was putting things, and he was going way too fast. So for their own good, we need to forbid it.

-Being straight is obviously unnatural. Oh wait…but animals in nature are straight pretty often. Oops…um…well…uh, you know what, we’re not animals! Definitely not, we have nothing in common with other mammals. So that means we should know better than to do the things that animals do.

-If I let people get a straight marriage, then my marriage won’t mean anything anymore. Because straights will try their hardest to break up my marriage once they have theirs, because they’re out to get me, not equal rights. And anyway, my spouse will want to divorce me and get a straight marriage too. After all, she doesn’t actually love me or anything like that, she’s just married to me because I was the only person available at the time.

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is why we shouldn’t allow straight marriage–it’s a vice!

P.S. by the way, I’m not a heterophobic bigot for opposing heterosexual marriage. It’s not like I hate straights–I even told you guys I have a straight friend. I just hate straightness! And I’m not doing anything wrong by trying to deny people equal rights on account of who they are either. Nope. So don’t call me anything mean, like intolerant or prejudiced or anything like that, because I’m not! It’s just my opinion.

“She began to dream with her eyes open, lifting her face to the wind.”

June 22, 2009

I’d like to introduce you to Chloe Malone. Aside from the obvious attraction, of course the decadently beautiful cover with golden lettering, Chloe’s a real darling. She comes from a family of past wealth, current “almost poverty”–which means pawning heirloom furniture and jewels for the sake of purchasing Chloe expensive new clothes. For the sake of catching her a millionaire husband, who would of course solve all their problems. She doesn’t mind, really, because she’s determined that at any cost she won’t love her husband. She doesn’t believe in love, certainly not as a foundation of marriage. If you don’t care so much, you won’t be so disappointed. And besides, she likes jewels. And silk. And fur. And feathers. So she dutifully goes hubby-hunting according to the wishes of her destitute mother and her rather intimidating godmother, and she finds the perfect fellow for the job.

But Chloe meets a man who tells her that women have no right to live on a husband’s money unless they’re contributing something useful to the world. Good looks count for nothing. She’s “pretty but useless.” Decorative, ornamental. What’s more, he likes to work. He challenges everything, every single ideal, that Chloe was raised on. Chloe starts to think, to read, to question. Her maternal figures express a desire to get her “safely married” before she starts thinking too much, but she continues to study entomology out of library books. Her fiance “laughs indulgently” at her when she’s “being cute” by trying to initiate intelligent conversation, but she holds herself apart and continues to seek knowledge.

Both the feminist movement (“What is the feminist movement?” inquired Mrs. Malone, after a polite semblance of mirth. Chloe blew her mother a kiss. “I may be in it, someday, darlingest. Ask me, then.”) and socialism (“What is this,” he inquired lightly, “a socialist meeting?”) are mentioned by name, and both concepts are threaded throughout the story even when left unnamed. Chloe eventually makes her decision, rejecting the “nets,” the “chains” thrown around her by society and the people who love her: the trap of luxury, the exchange of herself for a comfortable life, the ridiculous gender roles too often reinforced even today. The futility and depression that inevitably accompanies a relationship based on hierarchy. The love of money. (That was the core of living. Not money, not position, not ease, not love-in-idleness, but the man and the woman working together, the utter, unspoken comradeship of the fight, fought shoulder to shoulder…) Basically, I’m just very, very excited to own this little gem. It’s like a subversive piece of important information, disguised as a romance novel for girls, whispering to them that they have choices in life and they shouldn’t let others decide their lives for them. I love to imagine girls reading this, and novels like this, under the nose of their unsuspecting fathers, preparing themselves for their own big jump. It was published in 1916, right in the middle of the suffrage movement. A not-so-subtle story of a woman’s empowerment by way of education and independence. Subversive, subversive! I love subverting culture. :) Look at that deceptively innocent cover! And what’s more, the way it looks inside the cover is this: Fannie Heaslip Lea was actually Fannie Heaslip Agee. The book is dedicated to James J. Lea, presumably her husband, but it’s copyrighted under her own name, Agee. Sounds to me like the publishing company felt they needed to change her name on the cover to her husband’s name so it would sell. Rather like the whole “Hey, you wrote this book but I’m a man and you’re a woman so let’s put my name on the cover in front of yours and say we cowrote it, otherwise it will never sell” concept, rather like the culture of women writers (George Eliot, anyone?) forced to work under cover as a man in order to be published, or even to remain completely anonymous. So the cover says Lea. But she was actually Agee. Hmmm, sounds like a Lucy Stoner to me! :)

Anyway, you can read the whole thing here, if you like!

EDIT: Merci, Michael, for the info. :) I’ve been meaning to look her up, haven’t gotten around to it yet. Haha, I like it even better this way, with her own personal name stamped right on the cover..

chloe malone

chloe malone

We just got our Monday paper today, so this is slightly late:

May 27, 2009

“What’s So Bad About Empathy?” by Ellen Goodman, May 22, 2009. 

I’ve never been sure why Lady Justice wore a blindfold as part of her permanent wardrobe. Yes, it’s supposed to be a symbol of impartiality. But it does limit her vision a little.

So it is that I am watching the run-up to the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice with eyes wide open. We’ve already had preemptive strikes against three women on the media short list. Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, and Sonia Sotomayor are getting the scary radical treatment without even getting picked.

Most bizarrely, we have a full-throated campaign targeted against any candidate who might have a deep, dark secret buried in her resume. She may have, gasp, empathy.

The president has long talked about “that quality of empathy…as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” In describing the qualifications for his first pick, he said, “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory….It is also about how our laws affect the daily reality of people’s lives.”

Who knew that he was waving a red flag before the red-staters? Now, a phalanx of horrified conservatives has trotted out, insisting that empathy is just a code word for the sentimental liberal bias in favor of underdogs over the Constitution.

The ever-combative Karl Rove dismissed empathy as the secret handshake connoting liberal activism. John Yoo, the man who justified torture for the Bush administration, sneered at the idea of a “Great Empathizer.” Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network insisted that “Mr. Obama’s gold standard is the very opposite of impartiality.” It would usher in justices who decided the law by their mere “feelings.”

You might say that they had an overly emotional response about emotion. Indeed, you might describe the passionate assault as an advance strike on any expected female nominee. Lady Justice notwithstanding, tradition sees the law as hard, rational, and male, while empathy is soft, emotional, female, and generally weepy.

But let us remember that empathy is not sympathy. It doesn’t require that we take sides. Nor is it an emotional shortcut that upends all legal reasoning to declare a winner.

Empathy is rather the ability to imaginatively enter into the experience of others. As Harvard law professor Carol Steiker says, “We think of this as central to moral reasoning of any kind.” How else to understand such moral basics as the Golden Rule?

The capacity to recognize another person’s reality is not just liberal. The conservative jurist Richard Posner has described empathy as an important instrument in a judge’s tool kit. It doesn’t trump reason, it informs reason.

It may be easier to have empathy for someone like you, whether CEO or schoolgirl. After the recent and unsympathetic hearing of a case revolving around a girl who was strip-searched in pursuit of ibuprofen, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remarked that she was the only one on the bench who knew what it was like to be a 13-year-old girl. But biography is no guarantee of empathy. Or its absence.

The irony in the attack on empathy is that the most dramatic flameout of a nominee was Robert Bork. The public as well as the Senate turned against Bork precisely because he seemed to regard the Supreme Court as nothing more than an intellectual chess game played with pawns, not people. Since then, conservatives have gone out of their way to describe their picks as people who understand the little guy as well as the Constitution.

Much was made of John Roberts’s summer stint in a steel mill as if that gave him solidarity with workers. Samuel Alito was described as the son of working-class immigrants. And Clarence Thomas’s boosters assured us that his experience with racial discrimination meant that he would understand others in the same boat. Circle false on your answer sheet.

The truth is that we want judges who “get it.” The myth of justice as a matter of pure objective reasoning that could be meted out by a computer is just that, a myth. Check all those 5-4 decisions. Part of “getting it,” says Susan Bandes, author of “Passions of the Law,” is “the capacity to know what’s at stake for all the litigants.” In short, empathy.

Finally, as this debate goes on, it’s worth asking what exactly would a judge without empathy look like? Bandes offers a name straight out of Star Trek: “Spock.”

Justice Spock? Science Fiction v. The Law? Remove your blindfolds.

[Oh, Ellen, dear, you’ve done it again. Bravo! You can email Ellen Goodman at ellengoodman@globe.com.]