Friday, October 23, 2009

You want to know what makes me mad?

Like, really mad? Well, okay, a lot of things make me mad. But right now, what's making me really mad is all the anti-feminist, and anti-woman, stuff that is out there.

People, mostly men, say that women have equal rights. That all the gender inequality is in the past. Well, even by this culture's standards of so-called "equality", that's bullshit. Women still earn less on average then men, and men still fill the vast majority of positions of power. And beyond those very narrow views of what constitutes "equality" (money and power, as most people in this culture mean when they say that), from a basic human rights perspective women are not well treated. According to RAINN, in the United States of America one in 6 woman will be raped, and I've seen statistics that put the rate even higher, at one in 4 women. Is that what woman's rights look like? Or what about the advertising we see all around us, every day. Barely clothed supermodel beautiful women gyrating enticingly to men on beer commercials, while airbrushed models on billboards tout the benefits of wrinkle fighting facial cream. These things say that looks (with a very twisted, very narrow view of just what an attractive women is) are of utmost importance, and the only thing that matters is how others, especially men, see you. And the worst thing is, the barrage of advertising and pop-culture stuff attacking and objectifying women is well known. It's in the public eye and even discussed fairly frequently (as an interesting side note, you know Dove's big thing about using "real" models and promoting good body images? Well, Dove is owned by the same company that owns Axe, one of the worst companies for objectifying women. Yeah, like Dove's supposed concern for women is anything but a (sadly pretty successful) marketing scheme...). So knowing this, as pretty much everyone does, how can people continue to claim we live in a post sexist society?

Another thing that really, really bothers me are sexist jokes. And the worst thing is that I even have friends who make sexist jokes, and can't seem to grasp, whether I explain respectfully or let my anger show, that they're simply not funny, and are instead harmful, disrespectful, and hurtful.

And that's not even really getting into gender roles and what's expected behaviour from a member of the female sex.

This is just a scratching of the surface both for this subject as a whole and my own thoughts on it. There were so many thoughts rattling around in my head earlier, yet as I wrote, many of them just disappeared... I'm tired, which could have something to do with that. So for now, I'll stop here, leaving you with a few scattered and fragmented thoughts on something that I have so much to say about, and something that I firmly believe should be examined and talked about much more often...

When writing this, I thought of a Crimethinc. poster that I really like, and wanted to share.

You can be sure I'll be revisiting this topic at some point...

Peace,
Idzie

13 comments:

  1. Idzie, I LOVE THAT GRAPHIC! I'm always struggling to explain how my desire to see more freedom for *men* is a big part of what makes me a feminist. That graphic sums it up nicely.

    Have you ever heard of Kate Harding? She's my favorite feminist blogger, and while I don't agree with her *all* the time (even she admits that her worldview is very middle-class) when her blog gets it right, they get it SO right. I thought you'd especially like this recent guest post, which addresses why women need to worry so much about rape: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

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  2. SMASH PATRIARCHY!

    BTW Great poster! I guess that's why I have it hanging on my wall.

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  3. I'm always happy to see green anarchists addressing feminist issues. You should check out Susan Griffin's book Woman and Nature, which is a wonderful feminist anti-civ work.

    And you might be interested in these:
    http://zinelibrary.info/bloodlust-feminist-journal-against-civilization
    &
    http://zinelibrary.info/10-000-years-patriarchy

    with feral felicity,
    xlilithx

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  4. I *love* that poster! My copy of it has followed me across the country twice and graces my wall wherever I go.

    I don't know if you get into punk much but your post made me think of one of my favorite Anti Product songs, "The Modern Day F-Word": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRW6W4Z-L0w (it's at 6:50) That whole album, actually, is one of the best 90's anarcho-punk records, I play it regularly.

    Those things really piss me off too. For what it's worth, you have my solidarity from the opposite side of the gender fence.

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  5. Lovely poster! Of course there is still sexism for women. A true reform is hard these days. Yet both genders suffer. Like with the whole "women are sappy and men are stupid and perverted" thing. I always see that in the media.

    I know things aren't perfect, but at least it's easier to find opportunities for women. I can now choose grand things, in spite of what the media says. With pay, regardless of how much a woman get paid, I think everyone gets hurt. We're talking about an anti-human lifestyle.

    What frustrates me about the rape issue is how we talk more about women being vulnerable and getting traumatized than we do about women getting power. Non-consensual sex is bad but worsens with our attitudes. The U.S. is a little prudish about sex. What's a human function gets exaggerated into an abomination.

    Weird thing is I get more upset about men being mistreated, rather than my own gender. Some people have used feminism to put men down, when it should be about respect and equality for both genders. With younger people, from what I've seen, it's easier to be a "tomboy" than a "sissy". It's easier for a girl to play sports and wear jeans than it is for a boy to play with dolls and wear a dress. It's the same with sexual experimentation. It's more acceptable for girls to participate in homosexual behaviour than it is for boys. Some people act as if boys are horrible and deserve to be mistreated. That's bad, but that's why the poster still rocks! :)

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  6. I was thinking about the whole "feminist movement" (of the 60's/70's mainly) lately for a number of different reasons. One of them is that I am not "working" and finding great joy in homeschooling my son (after a nightmare regular school kindergarten year) and learning how to cook healthy, real foods (or mostly healthy!). While most people would be like, "so what?!", I have always prided myself on being the tough, independent tomboy kinda gal. I didn't wear a shred of pink clothing! I can fix my own car! I swear a lot! So doing "female-y" things makes me feel like I have fallen into the role of some stereotypical woman. I don't like that feeling!

    I think an unfortunate result of the feminist movement is that sometimes it makes a woman feel like she can't do certain things or else she is becoming some kind of oppressed woman, even if these things are of her choosing.

    I think feminists, while working for equality made equality mean "in a man's world, on a man's terms, with man's goals in mind." Instead of equality meaning "being looked at with the same level of respect as a fellow human being," it meant looking equal using the measuring sticks created by men (like having a "good" job). Does that make sense?

    There was an extremely disturbing story on the news tonight, about a girl who was gang raped and beaten unconscious after a school dance--while a crowd of other students looked on. Sick, sick, sick. Or what about that Tucker Max creep and all the gals that throw themselves at him because...I have no clue why! Or the fact that Michael Vick got prison time for dog fighting...but NFL players who beat wives and girlfriends get maybe a one game suspension, if that?!

    Even smaller things, like a neighbor man I have who makes rude comments to my son (and his own) questioning their "manliness" (my son is 6, his is 8). "You yell/throw/play like a girl." What the hell does that mean?! I always say, "He is a boy so he can only do things like a boy." But really I want to just kick him because why does he even have to comment at all?!

    Yes, we have a long way to go!

    Great post!

    Great poster!

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  7. @sara
    Hi (I am a unschooling father, btw),

    I think you are quite right. (Industrial) men got the whole emancipation stuff their way. Before, they only had men as slaves for the machines. Now they have both, men and women. And house-work (like raising children) is still unpaid and free - independent of who it does.

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  8. @Bonnie: Yes, I agree! Gender roles are just as restrictive to both men and women, and I think this quote, from the Crimethinc. book Days of War Nights of Love, puts it nicely: "You can see in the very movements of their bodies...moving inside an invisible cage, how the supposed winners of the gender game suffer just as much as the others from their hollow victory."

    Also, cool link! Thanks for sharing. :-)

    @Fatal: Yeah, I really like that poster. :-)

    @Lilith: Ooh, just looked it up, and that book looks really interesting! Also started reading the Bloodlust zine, and really like it so far! Thanks for the links. :-)

    @David: I love tons of different types of music, including punk, though I haven't been listening to much lately, for some reason... But I LOVE music with a political message. And I just listened to that song, and really like it! :-D

    @Netzi: I definitely agree, both genders suffer. My point wasn't to say that women are the *only* ones who are bad off, but to express my anger at those who claim that sexism is a thing of the past, when we still live in a deeply sexist and patriarchal society!

    Well, it depends on what time period and what cultures you look at for whether or not things are *better* now...

    Yeah, I don't like some strains of feminism myself because of the anti-male sentiment...

    And yeah, I love the poster. :-P

    @Sara: Yes! That's actually something that really bothers me, how undervalued mothers are, especially those who are stay at home mom's!

    Yeah, I think it's a big problem that certain feminist groups/movements/philosophies put an emphasis on becoming *more like men*, or more accurately conforming more to the prescribed gender roles usually associated with men (I have a problem with our cultures gender roles in general, really...), instead of working to have both men and woman be respected equally... You basically said what I just tried to say only better, so yes I both know what you mean and agree lol.

    Anyway, thanks, I'm glad you liked the post! :-)

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  9. "I definitely agree, both genders suffer. My point wasn't to say that women are the *only* ones who are bad off, but to express my anger at those who claim that sexism is a thing of the past, when we still live in a deeply sexist and patriarchal society!"

    True. I guess I'm used to hearing people mention sexism against women but forget how men are also getting hurt.

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  10. I can't remember where I read it (could've been John Holt), but someone said until we start to equally value and respect all "work" and "workers," there can never be true equality, between the sexes or any other kind of demographic. It gave me the idea that, if I ever own my own company, every person, from myself (assuming I own/run the business or am at the so-called "top") to the person who cleans the bathrooms at whatever building I may be inhabiting, will make the exact same wage. Why? Because all work is an integral part of the success of that business as a whole.

    And I have to agree, Idzie, about the so-called "roles" of each gender...one thing that gets me is in regards to people being anti gay marriage. What is so wrong with two people legally professing their love for one another? We are all human first, and I can't understand why gender has to be such a big deal.

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  11. Yes! This is what the world needs: an intelligent thinker who isn't afraid to state her opinion. I too, experience a great deal of sexism and am tired of being told by everyone-including my otherwise intelligent friend Adria-that sexism is over; that there are more important issues out there, and that "we're at a good place as far as sexism right now." I am so sick of people constantly making fun of my ideals, and belittling the need for them. Sure, things are better now then they were a hundred years ago, but that doesn't give us the right to sit down and relax; the moment we do that, we accept sexism, thinking that it's gone.
    Love the blog, btw. I've GOT TO figure out how to favorite it!!! (Computers+me=disaster.)

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  12. I recently read a great definition of "Feminism" by Susan Moller Okin: the belief that women should not be disadvantaged by their sex, that they should be recognized as having human dignity equally with men, and the opportunity to live as fulfilling and as freely chosen lives as men can.

    While this may be more so the case in most "Western" liberal democracies, where there are laws to protect women's rights, clearly there is more work to be done, especially when considering statistics on rape and domestic abuse.

    Then, if we consider the practice in much of Latin America, rural South East Asia and parts of West Africa of encouraging or even requiring a rape victim to marry the rapist, we can see that rape is not seen in these cultures as a violent assault on the female herself, but rather as a serious injury to her family and it's honour. Indeed, in Peru, the co-defendants in a gang rape can all be legally exonerated if one of them offers to marry the victim. As well, in Pakistan and parts of the Arab Middle East, women who bring rape charges are frequently charged with the serious Muslim offense of sex outside of marriage. Law allows for the whipping or imprisonment of such a woman, and culture condones the killing or pressuring into suicide of a raped woman by relatives concerned to restore the family's honour.

    As men and women of a somewhat liberated culture, we must stand in solidarity with such women who are culturally rendered servile to patriarchal interests.

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  13. @Netzi: People do often forget that men also get hurt by gender roles and stuff, but I still think it's quite understandable why people focus mostly on women, because they're the ones who are hurt physically most often by the sexist society we live in...

    @Sara: I love that idea!! That's something that bothers me, as well, how only certain types of jobs are respected... Because as you say, from the CEO to the janitor all jobs are integral to the functioning of the company. That's why I've always loved cooperative/collective businesses as well, with everyone sharing the different *jobs* within the company... That seems to me like it would be a great environment to work in...

    @Eve: Aww, thanks so much! :-D Yeah, I definitely understand about the friends being sexist thing... It's REALLY annoying/disrespectful! *Sighs* Also totally feel you over the people belittling your ideals thing... There are a lot of people out there who feel that anarchism in any form is "childish", and are not afraid to tell me so... In such a persons world, I've come to believe that they consider "growing up" to be "GIVING up"!

    @Alison: I agree, that is a great definition! I think people often think that *equality* means *being the same*, and I do not thing that that is true at all. As the quote said so wonderfully, equality means to be treated with equal human dignity, not to be *the same* as men. I also agree completely that people must stand in solidarity with women in other countries who suffer under laws and societies even more patriarchal than this one. Which is why I have a bit of a problem with people focusing exclusively on one issue to the exclusion of all others. Everything thing and every place is interconnected in the fight for a sane and egalitarian world, as far as I'm concerned...

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