Posts tagged feminism
Posts tagged feminism
Shabnam Dastgheib writing for Stuff.co.nz on something that happened yesterday:
Coffee will cost 10 per cent more for men than for women at Wellington’s Victoria University Law School campus this morning.
In an effort to highlight the continued lack of pay equity between men and women, a campaign by the YWCA is calling on Parliament to do something about the problem. A coffee cart has been set up on the Law School lawn this morning, which was as close as organisers could legally get to Parliament grounds, to illustrate the issue in real terms.
Long blacks and flat whites would cost $3.50 and $4 respectively for women, while the same drink would cost $3.85 and $4.40 for men.
Pay gaps are a problem all over the world, not just in the United States.
If you haven’t heard anything about the suicide of Amanda Todd yet, you may want to skim the Wikipedia article. It’s not necessary, as the piece I’m linking gives a short overview, but the piece isn’t strictly about her and so leaves out a lot of the details.
So, on to the piece. Michelle Dean wrote this fantastic post for The New Yorker's Culture Desk blog that ties the awful death of Amanda Todd together with recent developments on reddit and the internet's attitude toward anonymity and free speech. It's hard to quote my favorite part of the Todd's piece, as it depends on several of the themes she develops, but the sentence is so powerful that I'm going to try it anyway:
What you could call the Brutschean world view—which takes anonymity as the only meaningful form of privacy, and a key element of free speech—is nearly an article of faith in these lower levels of the Internet. …
But, as the scholar Mary Anne Franks has observed, women haven’t actually achieved this “bodiless” freedom online. They are embodied in distributed pictures and in sexual comments, whether they like it or not. The power to get away from yourself, like everything else, is unevenly distributed. Women have become, as Franks put it, “unwilling avatars,” unable to control their own images online, and then told to put up with it for the sake of “freedom,” for the good of the community.
Emphasis added by myself. It’s really harrowing when it’s put like that, and yet it’s also totally undeniable.
OK so consider this a tentative link. There are a lot of great statistics in this article about how women view themselves vs. how men view them, and a lot more too. Unfortunately it is also full of a lot of bonkers evolutionary biology stuff some of which really doesn’t sit right with me. I recommend trying to make it through the whole article, switching to “skim” briefly if you can’t hold your nose any longer.
From Sharon Begley’s profile in the WSJ of Ben Barres, born Barbara Barrres, a neuroscientist who underwent sex reassignment therapy:
As an MIT undergraduate, Barbara was one of the only women in a large math class, and the only student to solve a particularly tough problem. The professor “told me my boyfriend must have solved it for me,” recalls Prof. Barres, 51 years old, in an interview. “If boys were raised to feel that they can’t be good at mathematics, there would be very few who were.”
Although Barbara Barres was a top student at MIT, “nearly every lab head I asked refused to let me do my thesis research” with him, Prof. Barres says. “Most of my male friends had their first choice of labs. And I am still disappointed about the prestigious fellowship I lost to a male student when I was a Ph.D. student,” even though the rival had published one prominent paper and she had six.
Whole piece is really good. Very interesting to hear from someone who has been on both sides of privilege.
Rachael, Social Justice League:
I like things, and some of those things are problematic. I like Lord of the Rings even though it’s pretty fucked up with regard to women and race (any narrative that says “this whole race is evil” is fucked up, okay). I like A Song of Ice and Fire even though its portrayal of people of colour is problematic, and often I find that its in-text condemnation of patriarchy isn’t obvious enough to justify the sexism displayed. I like the movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World even though it is racist in its portrayal of Matthew Patel, panders to stereotypes in its portrayal of Wallace, and trivialises queer female sexuality in its portrayal of Ramona and Roxy’s relationship. For fuck’s sake, Ramona even says “It was a phase”! How much more cliche and offensive could this movie be? Oh wait, remember how Scott defeats Roxy, his only female adversary, by making her orgasm? Excuse me while I vomit…and then keep watching because I still like the rest of the movie.
Liking problematic things doesn’t make you an asshole. In fact, you can like really problematic things and still be not only a good person, but a good social justice activist (TM)! After all, most texts have some problematic elements in them, because they’re produced by humans, who are well-known to be imperfect. But it can be surprisingly difficult to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about it, as many fans do. We need to find a way to enjoy the media we like without hurting other people and marginalised groups. So with that in mind, here are my suggestions for things we should try our darnedest to do as self-confessed fans of problematic stuff.
Fantastic piece. Highly recommended. Via this also-excellent Erin Kissane piece.
Hey check this out, Ron Leech, a politician in Alberta, Canada, has neatly defined the concept of privilege for us:
I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speak, they really speak to their own people in many ways,” Leech is reported to have said by CTV.
As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.
Natalie Rothschild, writing in Slate, about not just a new pronoun but Sweden’s status at the forefront of gender-equality. This caught my eye though:
Ironically, in the effort to free Swedish children from so-called normative behavior, gender-neutral proponents are also subjecting them to a whole set of new rules and new norms as certain forms of play become taboo, language becomes regulated, and children’s interactions and attitudes are closely observed by teachers. One Swedish school got rid of its toy cars because boys “gender-coded” them and ascribed the cars higher status than other toys. Another preschool removed “free playtime” from its schedule because, as a pedagogue at the school put it, when children play freely “stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying.” And so every detail of children’s interactions gets micromanaged by concerned adults, who end up problematizing minute aspects of children’s lives, from how they form friendships to what games they play and what songs they sing.
Goes to show how tricky and dangerous changing a culture is. It’s really hard to lose sight of the overall goal of equality: to build a society where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. (Society’s already a pretty comfy place for middle-class straight white cisgender men like myself.)
Another thing: questions of equality and justice are hard enough to reason about when dealing with adults. Can’t imagine how tough this is to do with children.
I mean, I knew the Augusta golf club, home of the Masters tournament and which famously excludes women from its membership, was run by a bunch of backwards, privileged assholes. But I didn’t think the New York Times was too. From the AP’s story:
"If it were left to me, which it seldom is in the power structure of writer versus editor, I’d probably not come cover this event again until there is a woman member," [NYTimes golf writer] Karen Crouse told GOLF.com. "More and more, the lack of a woman member is just a blue elephant in the room."
Contacted by The Associated Press, Times sports editor Joe Sexton said the comments were, “completely inappropriate and she has been spoken to.”
Christ on a crutch. Click through above for some more background and analysis from Digby.
Daniella Cheslow writing for the AP about a new Israeli law that regulates the thinness of models in advertisements:
The new law requires models to produce a medical report no older than three months at every shoot for the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards.
The U.N. agency relies on the body mass index, calculated by factors of weight and height. WHO says a body mass index below 18.5 indicates malnutrition. According to that standard, a woman 1.72 meters tall (5-feet-8) should weigh no less than 119 pounds (54 kilograms).
But be sure to read the whole article, it has a lot of background about just how damaging this is to young girls and young models.