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Feminist Anti-Oppression Forum
Comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable.
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29th-May-2015 06:17 am - feminist friday: starting out
planet
Each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.

feministfriday.png

What advice would you give to teens interested in feminism?

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15th-May-2015 02:35 am - feminist friday question: equalism
planet
Each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.

feministfriday.png

I wanted to try a 101 topic, sometimes it's nice to see how different people put these answers into words.

What's the difference between feminism and equalism?

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8th-May-2015 02:09 am - feminist friday: stereotypes
planet
Each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.

feministfriday.png

Wanting to keep it a little more simple this week... what's your least favorite stereotype about feminists? In what ways do you think non-feminists have our movement pegged wrong?

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planet
Each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.

feministfriday.png

Inspired by this week's protests in Baltimore, can you tell about a time, event, or news story that got you to "hear the unheard"? What can we do to amplify the voices of marginalized people?

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planet
Each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.</i>

feministfriday.png

This week Native American actors walked off set of Adam Sandler's Netflix movie when it was clear that the western spoof was more interested in making fun of their language and culture than, as netflix stated, "featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke." Tweets tagged #NotYourHollywoodIndian trended on social media to show support and call out the tired old movie trope of funny Indian names and peace pipe jokes.

What movie tropes are you sick and tired of, and how can we challenge script writers to be funny without being racist and sexist?

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21st-Apr-2015 11:08 am - Community Revival
This post is designed to elicit more thoughts from y'all regarding what you'd like to see in this community.

Right now, this community has a rather narrow focus: debate and discussion of feminist issues from an anti-oppression standpoint among people who are willing to critically consider their own privileges and biases. Admission to the community requires the submission of an application. News articles can't be posted without commentary on the contents.

The rules were put in place when the community and lj were both thriving and were designed to cut down on offensive articles being posted without critical commentary, trolling, drama, and thoughtless and hurtful comments. There were also several other feminist communities where we could direct people who were just beginning to learn about feminism, intersectionality, and male and other privileges.

Since spacefem has started posting, including the poll asking what we want this community to be, I have been wondering if we should revise our rules. Do y'all like the rules the way they are? Would you like to broaden the focus of the community? Should it be easier for people to join be community?

I can tell you that right now the vast majority of people who request to join this community are denied entrance solely because they do not sumbit an application. And personally, I've seen a few news articles and thought about posting them but decided not to because all I wanted or had time to submit was the article with a few questions.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you'd like to see in this community, how you view the rules now, your personal experiences with the application process, posting, modding, etc.
17th-Apr-2015 04:12 am - feminist friday question: sex ed
planet
Plan for community revival: each week we'll be trying to post a question up on the topic of feminism. Answer in comments or post in your journal and leave a link. Suggest topics here.

feministfriday.png
Inspired by Bioethics professor Alice Dreger live tweeting her kid’s abstinence/fear-based sex education class, how was sex ed where you went to school? Why do you think comprehensive sex ed is so important?

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15th-Apr-2015 09:04 pm(no subject)
planet
hi feminists. I feel like lj is going through a bit of a revival these days, those of us who have stayed here are reconnecting and I certainly feel like with a bit of re-friending, things seem refreshed, if not new. that said, I'm sad that we don't have an active feminist community anymore. I think livejournal deserves one, and such a huge part of my friends list is made up of feminists, obviously lots of us are still here!

So I might try and revive this community a bit, if you're all okay with that, maybe post up some Q&A or topic themes just to get us talking again.

I figured a poll would be useful to gage interest? I no doubt left off some options here, so add what I missed and/or lend your perspective in comments.

I'm still on livejournal because...

I update my livejournal
27(38.0%)
I'm involved in communities
15(21.1%)
Just reading my friends list
27(38.0%)
Other
2(2.8%)

Most important feminist issues to you?

Media/pop culture portrayals of women
26(10.4%)
Body image
22(8.8%)
Trans inclusiveness
24(9.6%)
Women in science/technology
27(10.8%)
Government representation
17(6.8%)
Equal pay
28(11.2%)
Reproductive rights
33(13.2%)
Ending rape and violence
37(14.8%)
Intersectionality & racial equality
36(14.4%)

A feminist community should...

Discuss news and events from a feminist perspectives
38(20.0%)
Shed light on what's happening to women around the world
31(16.3%)
Be a place where we can ask questions
36(18.9%)
Educate new feminists on important topics
30(15.8%)
Seek to improve the feminist movement as a whole
32(16.8%)
Signal boost feminist entries on livejournal
23(12.1%)
19th-Aug-2014 06:47 pm - Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
Kira
I know this community has been dead for awhile, but I'm hoping some folks are still around to see this and participate in a discussion!

Frankly, I don't know any other place off hand where I would trust having a conversation on this. I miss this community, due to the strong moderating that did not allow things like transphobia and cissexism to go unchecked.

I saw one facebook today (from someone else sharing) a statement from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival asserting that the festival does welcome trans women. I feel like this should be a good thing, but the way the statement is written still leaves me really frustrated and does not feel like a move forward, or at least not much of one.

Statement from Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival August 18, 2014 OP Note: this deals with the topic of trans women at the festival and of course may contain some transphobic bullshitCollapse )

The things that bug me most about this are first off, that it starts off by just pretending that they never had a policy of asking trans women not to attend aside from one incident. They pretend this was one incident 20 years ago, and that the "womyn born womyn" policy was just a lie opposition made up. It hardly feels a move forward if they are unwilling to admit and recognize the problem.

Just about a week or so ago a local lgbtq organization posted about the festival's policy with a statement from one of the organizers stating the festival still asks that people respect their wish for a community of only "womyn born womyn" space, with numerous people commenting on the facebook post in support of a trans woman free festival. To come out now, and pretend this was never the case is insulting and rude, imo. The only way forward, imo, is by acknowledging past injustices, not pretending they never existed. If MichFest wants to welcome trans women as women, that is great IMO, but I feel they need to acknowledge the past biogtry and pain that their policy had caused.

Moving on through their statement though and they continue to make comments about "women born women" and how completely different these are than trans women experiences- ignoring that many trans women consider themselves to be born women, and that trans women grow up experiencing sexism as children to. Is it exactly the same as cis women? Not always. But neither is the experience of two cis girls exactly the same. To pretend there is a very clear divide between cis girls and trans girls such that we have no similarities in experiences growing up in a sexist society is ridiculous and cissexist.
22nd-Dec-2013 01:51 am - [REVIEW] Far Cry 3
good [boa kwon]
This is game-related but also feminist-related so I hope personal reviews are okay. I linked it to my blog for length and because I'm lazy and already had this copy-pasta'd. I finished my finals last week and, to my disappointment, completed Far Cry 3.

THE GOOD
- I got this game for $5. Wish I got it for free.
- Ubisoft never disappoints when it comes to scenery, nature, and the animal animations and clippings.
- Gameplay mechanics are wonderful; very much like Assassin's Creed in FPS style. You've got the synchronizing in high places to map out locations, gain more ways to kill/stealth as you progress, do sidequests that don't have anything to do with the main mission, etc.

THE "F**K NO STOP THIS NOW" (TRIGGER WARNING: racism, sexism, rape; CONTAINS SPOILERS)

It's a long list of bad with a bit of profanity so prepare yourselves. If you found this helpful, please rate up on Steam so that it stays visible as it's the only honest review. Lots of Far Cry 3 stans so I'd been garnering quite a bit of hate but I expected it so any support is welcome.
windy
Abortion itself is not reproductive freedom, abortion is one of many technologies that can help make reproductive freedom a reality. Some other technologies are other types of contraception and methods that increase fertility. If we mistake abortions themselves for "freedom" we could incorrectly conclude that black women, who have more abortions per capita than white women, must be more "free" when it comes to control of our wombs.

The reality is, in fact, the reverse of this.
Read more...Collapse )
swirls

Hi,

Does anyone have experience/knowledge around accountability processes in response to perpetrators of sexual violence, particularly ppl who leverage greater social standing and status in queer/activist "communities"? I would appreciate any commiseration/advice from other survivors/survivor allies. Thank you.

I also wanted to post some resources I found helpful for my specific situation along the way, which may or may not be helpful for others.

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/harsha-w/9349
brief 101 of male supremacist power dynamics in organizing circles

http://www.incite-national.org/media/docs/2406_cmty-acc-poc.pdf
Community Accountability Within People of Color Movements
2004 Report from INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

http://petrushkab.tumblr.com/post/2050734636/rape-culture-questions
rape culture questions

http://petrushkab.tumblr.com/post/12061798464/a-rough-draft-on-rape-culture-in-anarchist-subcultures
Failures in accountability processes

It's with a sense of total unreality that I witness the Republican attack against contraception. Contraception. In 2012. Really, Republicans?

Yes, misogynist toads (of both sexes) everywhere, people have sex, and have since the dawn of time. Women are people. Women have sex. Once, women were powerless due to being enslaved to their biology and had little choice about when or whether they would have sex and when or whether they would create children. Those were horrible times and they were justly called The Dark Ages. Effective artificial contraception changed all that. Now women can do what they were made for - enjoy sex without the grim specter of unwanted/too-closely-spaced pregnancy and the attendant shuttering of any goals they may have had for their lives.

You see, women are the only people to have an organ, the clitoris, that is designed solely for sexual pleasure. Women are meant to enjoy sex for its own sake, contrary to your pearl-clutching invectives. To most people, this is unequivocally a really good thing. Additionally, hormonal contraceptives treat PCOS, metromenorrhagia, and protect women against certain cancers, among other health benefits.

Limbaugh's passive-aggressive non-apology is simply unacceptable. It was only issued because of the pressure of more and more companies pulling ad time from his odious radio show. Let's keep the pressure on. I have signed the Think Progress petition and urge anyone who feels as I do to do the same. You can also contact Rush's advertisers directly, here's a list and updates on whether they have pulled their ads from his show.

13th-Sep-2011 09:07 am - Women's Studies in Seattle?
2006 - Paperwork
I'm starting to think about going back to school, and I'm very interested in the idea of doing a Women's Studies course or a Social Science degree of some kind. It's only been in the past year that I've started to explore a lot of these ideas (yeah, I'm late to the table), and I feel so far behind. I have a lot of ground I'd like to cover. I already have an MA (history), but I got it in the UK, and am pretty clueless when it comes to American academics. I don't even know where to begin asking. Can anyone recommend a good course in the Seattle area? Or a good resource for researching different programs? Time and money are both somewhat problematic at the moment, but I'd like to find a way to make this work. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
6th-Aug-2011 07:48 pm - LIB magazine - call for submissions!
lips
LIB is a feminist magazine. UK based, not-for-profit, volunteer run. With the first issue set for publication late September 2011, LIB seeks to provide its readers with articles on feminist issues and topics as well as news, reviews and some lighter reading to boot.

Call for Contributions:

Have something you want to say? Got something to get off your chest? Or have you read a good book you want to... tell others about? LIB is now looking for contributions for its first issue. We need:

- Articles. Short or long.
- Reviews (books, music, film and so on)
- Anything on events September onwards you wish to promote
- Whatever else you think of!

Get in touch and let us know what you have in mind. We want the first issue to be jammed! Deadline for contributions is 1st September

Call for Illustrators:

Got some creative flair? Want to create an accompanying illustration for an article? Get in touch to add your name to our list of illustrators.

Contact LIB at: lib.magazine@gmail.com to express interest in either of the above, NOW!

LIB on Facebook
This week, on FIFA Women's World Cup, Brasil has been eliminated after playing with the USA, and our girls are coming home. But that's okay, because no one cares.

Football = Very Important ThingCollapse )
 
16th-Jun-2011 12:09 am - I didn't sign up for this war!
 Yesterday, i found this article through The Pervocracy. Very interesting.

And today I walked by a newsstand and found a magazine (Superinteressante, brazilian, in portuguese) wich the main article was Men VS Women: why are they (men) being left behind?Collapse )
5th-Jun-2011 01:54 pm(no subject)
swirls
Links roundup around the IMF chief's sexual assault of an immigrant worker in NY, including how IMF policies have enabled violence against women on a mass scale in poor countries.


1. Deportation fears force immigrant women to be mute on sexual abuse, harassment at work
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=184726
 

2. The IMF: Violating Women Since 1945
http://www.fpif.org/articles/the_imf_violating_women_since_1945

"As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the world’s most powerful financial institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), spends a few nights in Rikers Island prison awaiting a hearing, the world is learning a lot about his history of treating women as expendable sex objects. Strauss-Kahn has been charged with rape and forced imprisonment of a 32-year-old Guinean hotel worker at a $3,000-a-night luxury hotel in New York.

While the media dissects the attempted rape of a young African woman and begins to dig out more information about Strauss-Kahn’s past indiscretions, we couldn’t help but see this situation through the feminist lens of the “personal is political.”

For many in the developing world, the IMF and its draconian policies of structural adjustment have systematically “raped” the earth and the poor and violated the human rights of women. It appears that the personal disregard and disrespect for women demonstrated by the man at the highest levels of leadership within the IMF is quite consistent with the gender bias inherent in the IMF’s institutional policies and practice."

(A really good summary/analysis; try to read the whole thing if you can. As an aside, I think they should have quoted someone other than a white American public figure about the situation of women in the Congo...)
 

3. Laila Lalami Defends Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Accuser

 http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-17/laila-lalami-defends-dominique-strauss-kahns-accuser/?cid=topic%3Amostrecent1

"French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote yesterday on the Beast, "What I do know is that nothing can justify a man being thus thrown to the dogs." Laila Lalami knows a few more things. Who the real dogs are, for one..."


25th-May-2011 02:06 pm(no subject)
swirls

I've been reading up on intersectionality critiques of slutwalk lately. There is also a critique up ("Slutwalk vs. Ho Strolls") from Crunk Feminist Collective referring to racialized historical conceptions of "purity" and "chastity", black women's struggles against words like bitch, ho, etc and the politics of reclamation in LJ debunkingwhite.

Harsha Walia has a piece up on her analysis and participation in Toronto SW:
Slutwalk: To March or Not to March

Slutwalk – in its slick branding – runs the risk of facilitating the dominant discourse of ‘liberated’ women as only those women wearing mini-skirts and high heels in/on their way to professional jobs. In reality, capitalism mediates the feminist façade of choice by creating an entire industry that commodifies women’s sexuality and links a woman’s self-esteem and self-worth to fashion and beauty. Slutwalk itself consistently refuses any connection to feminism and fixates solely around liberal questions of individual choice – the palatable “I can wear what I want” feminism that is intentionally devoid of an analysis of power dynamics.

Historically, this has come at a great cost to low-income women and women of colour who bear the brunt of institutionalized sexism – from lack of access to childcare and denial of reproductive justice to stratification in precarious low-wage work and disproportionate criminalization. In the post 9/11 climate, the focus on a particular version of sex(y)-positive feminism runs the risk of further marginalizing Muslim women’s movements who are hugely impacted by the racist ‘reasonable accommodation’ debate and state policies against the niqab. This marginalization has, at least in part, been legitimized through an imperialist feminist discourse that imposes certain ideas of gender liberation and perpetuates the myth that certain cultural/religious identities are inherently antithetical to women’s rights.

According to Nassim Elbardouh, a community organizer and Muslim woman who grew up in Saskatoon, “Though I support the tremendous effort, I didn’t go to Slutwalk because rather than focusing on lack of consent in sexual assault, there seemed to be a message that I have heard since I was a young girl – that I am only a feminist under the White gaze if I dressed and behaved in certain exposing and forward ways. People need to realize that being ‘scantily clad’ is not the only patriarchal excuse that victimizes women. Sexual assaults against Muslim women are often minimized in our society because Muslim women are perceived as repressed, and therefore in need of sexual emancipation. I would much rather have attended a ‘Do Not Rape’ Walk.”MORE

swirls

Roundup of critiques and mockery of the ridiculous Kanazawa/Psychology Today debacle:

The Satoshi Kanazawa Study  and How to Debunk Pseudoscience Articles about Race in Five Easy Steps at Racialicious

The Pseudoscience of "Black Women Are Less Attractive" at Colorlines

I'm personally sick to death of evo-psych rubbish, and I'm always taken aback by instances in which people actually spout this stuff and take it seriously. Someone on a friend's facebook the other day was literally trying to "prove" that the wage gap is due to women's incompetency due to differences in the amygdala. I also felt embarrassed to have gone to school with someone who had put up and was defending the tripe asserting that women as a whole actually like being submissive that came out a few weeks ago.
3rd-May-2011 06:30 pm - Shaming fat kids.
windy
Read more...Collapse )

In media commentators ask "Are these ads unfair?" as if that were a question worthy of civil debate. My response follows:

This ad is horrible, degrading, classiest racist, self-congratulatory, elitist clap trap that won't do a goddamned thing to make a single kid healthier. It will, however, boost the self-confidence of yuppie parents with "acceptably sized" kids and enough money to buy organic groceries and send their kids to schools that still have functioning athletic departments and physical education classes. It is something else for them to feel superior about. Yeah, at least their little rugrat isn't fat, not like THOSE kids from the ghetto or from the trailer park who's parents just don't care or love their children the way that they do!

Such bullshit.

The problem is not obesity, but rather unhealthy food, and a lack of exercise-- these things are often the direct result of poor living conditions. This type of ad encourages us to look at the issue with blinders on. Many skinny-looking people have poor diets and don't work out, yet they are presumed to be in good health-- while someone like me, who has always exercised and eaten with great care --gets teased or told by doctors that I need to lose weight. For many their concepts of health are conflated with vanity and a Eurocentric, narrow concept of what is beautiful. What is beautiful after all is what is healthy we are told. But, if notions of beauty are distorted (and we know they are) then notions of health can also become distorted.

There are differences in the way people are built--- Yes, bones aren't big, (that makes no sense) but some people *are* more muscular, more shapely, or more petite. You cannot tell where a person started what they are doing or where they are going by looking at the outside only! You might see a chubby kid, and think he's in terrible shape but, for all you know, he has already worked hard to loose a lot of weight because he used to weigh even more.

I have a friend who is a bit overweight by the charts. He was born with a thyroid problem, from the time he was 3 years old his mother and father worked VERY hard to protect him from bad foods. There were times when I would get 2nds and he would get none, the poor kid was so hungry too. He never even got to have cake on his birthday. All of this hard work has paid off, and he is at a very good weight for his body type and height, he's active. He's going to college now playing sports and just an awesome guy. But, doctors, "friends" and people who don't know better still chide him -- none of these people, I bet, could have the self-control that he has for even a day! It really pisses me off.

There are ethnic differences too in the way people are built, depending on the combination of tribes that form our ancestry. Obesity is a convenient scapegoat that is used to mask problems such as environmental racism -- problems that are leading to vast differences in life expectancy that depend on race and class. But, by identifying obesity as the "cause" (when it is often more matter of correlation in some cases, such as cancer) it makes it easier to hide inequality and turn it in to some bootstrapping BS about "self responsibility."

The *entire nation* is gaining weight, even the rich, it's a population-wide trend. Such a trend cannot be only the result of personal failings. Are some parents lazy about making good food for their kids, or to quick to give them junk? Yes! Are there people who are lazy and who use excuses like "I have big bones" to hide the fact that their weight is a real problem? Yes!

But, when a whole nation starts gaining, as we have, and when the worst cases are concentrated in the most vulnerable populations: the poor, women,* blacks and Latinos -- it ought to raise some red flags.

Sadly, it's all too easy to go right on shitting on the people who always get shitted on and say what amounts to "Oh those lazy ignorant people how will we *ever* ~educate~ them!" --food education is very nice, but it can't explain or 'cure' what's happening. Education is not a solution on its own. Yet from some it is the only one we ever hear of "Just tell them to eat right!" -- because it costs nothing a requires the least effort.

So, what is happening?

To put it simply: we have subsidized foods that leads to weight gain and they are the inexpensive foods poor people turn to. Long working hours, bad urban planning neighborhoods where it is not safe to play outside, too few parks, too much traffic, too many cars, high asthma rates from pollution, under-funded schools, and TV, video games and internet being cheaper than ever lead to sedentary leisure time. Jobs in the service sector are mostly sedentary. So life is sedentary, and this is becoming more true for the poor than the rich for the first time in history. Beyond that, mental health among these populations has little support beyond the church. Eating disorders can lead to obesity as well, but the "tough love" philosophy stand in the way of healing mental and emotional scars.

But the bottom line is that obesity is a symptom of life factors that are far worse than obesity, it is symptom of poverty, oppression and marginalization. So it just makes more sense to fight the poverty, fight the oppression, fight the educational inequality and other root causes than worry about if someone's kid is fat in this very public degrading unhelpful way.

A better approach would be to offer a program that parents could sign up for to get help with ideas for helping their child loose weight. Something POSITIVE that won't just cause people to become defensive and shut down... and something that didn't blindside every singe bigger-than-average child regardless of their history health and background with food and exercise as if they are all little lazy good-for nothings. Another program that works is the 2-for-1 value of EBT cards at green markets, directly reducing the cost of produce... but that's only in NYC, and the green markets are only open during the day once a week so it is hard for working people to go... but still it's a step in the right direction. I also think a sugared drink tax where they money goes either to health-care or to methods to lower the cost of fresh vegetables and fruits is a good idea. I really like the ads we have in NYC that show how much fat you can gain from sugared drinks, and the calories labels in fast food joints. All good stuff.

But this ad? Burn it down. It's the biggest piece of BS I've ever seen.
27th-Apr-2011 09:28 pm - First Wave Feminism: A History
Magpie
Thank you, everyone who rec'd links and other reading material on my last post. So much good stuff! There's a couple of blogs I am now reading regularly. I can't remember who rec'd the book "Dating Jesus" (can't find the comment where it was mentioned), but I read it and loved every page. Fantastic book. Thank you.

I'm back again with another request for reading materials. What I really want is a good, solid, engagingly-written history of First Wave feminism, since my own education didn't take more than a passing glance at that chapter of history. I remember hearing names like Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but I have almost no knowledge of who said/did what and when. Individual biographies are welcome, but I'd prefer a single book that puts all the events and names in context. Thanks in advance! You're a fabulous bunch!
18th-Apr-2011 12:10 pm - Malalai Joya
swirls

Former Afghan MP Malalai Joya was on tour this week in the U.S. Her biography is also out.

Speech where she was ejected from parliament:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JYhMg6_Q5k

Criticism of U.S. Occupation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLC1KBrwbck

Let me know if you need a transcript. The Democracy Now videos come with transcripts.
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/10/28/a_woman_among_warlords_afghan_democracy


The U.S. initially denied her visa and there were petitions circulating around to get her here.

Let Malalai Joya speak

Why is the US afraid of Malalai Joya?
 


3rd-Apr-2011 12:14 am - I'm New
Comics - RiR - Indiana Rose
Both to this comm and to claiming the label "feminist". I'm still learning, and I feel my views being refined day by day, and would define my current views as "very liberal". My mother is a right-wing Evangelical Christian, which makes for some less-than-relaxed family time. This is very discouraging, since she used to call herself a liberal, and she came of age during the heyday of Second Wave feminism, and took Women's Studies courses in college, but has since then lapsed into thinking that all feminists are hairy, man-hating lesbians who don't value motherhood. It's very frustrating, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I'm not a confrontational person by nature, and I've never taken any debate courses or Women's Studies, so I have a very hard time organising compelling arguments. Arguing my "lefty" views hasn't done much good so far, so I'm currently seeking materials that might help her see another point of view. I think I have to work on gently bringing her to the "middle" before I can so much nudge her towards the "left". I'm especially looking for articles and blogs written by people who used to be Evangelicals, so that they will understand her current way of thinking. She also has a very hard time seeing her privilege as a white, straight, middle class woman and understanding that not everyone has the same opportunities or relatively smooth sailing she has enjoyed, so anything that begins to gently address that and get her asking questions, rather than putting her on the defensive, would be really good. Help? I'd love to have a better relationship with my family if at all possible. Thanks.
Tiana
This article on showing beautiful girls in "weed culture" is making me side-eye so hard. The author spells out that it's only beautiful WOMEN who hold universal appeal such that gay men and straight women won't be deterred, while handsome men actively repel straight dudes. The author doesn't see the problem here? The author didn't notice how sex is shorthand for "the T and A of women who look a certain way"??? Fucking A.
And then there are the women who insist, "If you got it flaunt it" (fine, fair) but use that as their cue to accuse those feminists who point out how it's fucked up that "sex" is now shorthand for "T and A, and only of certain KINDS of women at that", of "oppressing" the true empowered women. Just look at this stupid thread on fb: http://www.celebstoner.com/201103206250/blogs/mamakind/beauty-and-the-budded-beast.html
Tiana
What do you guys think of this? http://www.slate.com/id/2286240/ ("Sex is cheap: why young men have the upper hand in bed, even while they're failing at life")
I think Mark Regnerus is full of shit. He's clutching pearls and if he had his way ever girl would be married off at 18. Check out his other gems: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/august/16.22.html ("the case for early marriage") and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042402122.html ("Freedom to Marry Young")

How do you do a takedown of this shit?

(Mods, I can't get the menu of tags to come up. But "gender essentialism" "gender roles" and "sexual politics" seem like apt tags.)
little girl smoking
If you've ever been in a group (whether it be online, or in person) that was posed the question "Do you tend to get along better with men or women?" you've probably noticed, as I have, that the answer is typically "Men, woman are just so _____________ (insert "catty", "sensitive", "drama filled", "hysterical", whatever), even from other women.

I also notice the number of women who insist they get along better with men and the number of women I've known to actually have a significantly higher number of ongoing, close, personal relationships with men rather than women has a vast disparity (yay for anecdata!) Note: I'm not including sexual or romantic relationships here.

When people inquire as to why they feel this way, most people respond with "women are just so catty" or "I can't take how jealous they are" (even though studies show that, even at the ages that correlate with middle and high school, jealousy is rarely a factor in conflict between women)

I can't help but conclude that these assertions are a result of internalized misogyny and a desire not to be like "those women" (the catty, jealous, disagreeable stereotype) or a futile attempt for male/patriarchal approval.

Does anyone in this community know of any studies/books/websites that have recognized and examined this phenomena? Do you agree that this common assertion is rooted in misogyny and stems for stereotypes of women? Or does the question in the first place imply some essential, binary distinction between the genders that don't exist?
5th-Feb-2011 05:52 pm - Egypt alert
As you will probably know, Egypt is in the midst of a revolt. The 30-year reign of president Hosni Mubarak, who was never elected into power, who runs a deeply corrupt and violent regime, who has implemented and sustained Emergency Law [making it a police state that allows torture and removes habeas corpus], and who rigged the last election to even higher levels than usual last November; this reign is being called to an end by the incredibly bravery and largely non-violent protests of the Egyptian people. To know more, I recommend Al Jazeera English or Arabic.

I am hoping this will be considered a 'feminist' issue, primarily because global processes of democracy and freedom should be at the heart of feminism, and also because of the upcoming shitstorm that is bound to cite women's rights as a political lever in islamophobic discussion. (This is not to say that women's rights within Islam and particularly in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood are not extremely important issues right now; I do not, particularly, want to debate it at this moment, purely because I don't feel knowledgeable enough to take a strong position. I understand if it goes that way, but let's please keep it focused on how this discussion can help democracy in Egypt now). 

So here is an update and a set of things you can do to help our sisters and brothers in Egypt. For context, I am a white British expat living 5 mins from Tahrir Square, who has been protesting and assisting wherever possible, and I take the necessity of this revolution as a given. I will not attempt to speak for my friends but will report things only to the best of my verified understanding. Feel free to snoop at my personal LJ where recent events are un-flocked. Dates are a bit confusing as I'm trying to retrospectively update daily from the backlog when we had no internet.

General guide to events so farCollapse )

Key issues at stake locallyCollapse )

Key issues at stake internationallyCollapse )

WHAT YOU CAN DO (if you are international):
-
Watch/read Al Jazeera English (exactly the same content as the Arabic site) or Arabic for balanced and most accurate reporting.
- Wherever you are, please consider attending or organising anti-Mubarak protests at Egyptian embassies, and let us know on here where/when they are.
- Follow these instructions from Amnesty International (USA) on how to call Egyptian Embassies and make your voice heard.
- Please send messages of love and support to those who are fighting for democracy in Egypt. If you know an Egyptian via facebook, or can make a public statement, this encouragement is really felt and gives us strength.
- Please counter paranoid misinformation about these protests being hugely 'Islamist'. This will only fuel western paranoia, and we need calm middle ground on these issues. The protests are first and foremost democratic.
- If the internet goes down here, pass on any proxies you know about. They have been a huge help so far.
- Please spread, by social media, any media you find that you feel supports the revolution and/or exposes the government's violent tactics. Please only share things that clearly come from people who have experienced what they are discussing/portraying. The international media pressure is a huge force against Mubarak: he can't openly shoot his people with the world watching.
- Correct me of any fuckups and misinformation you may find in this post. I've made a lot of statements and would be incredibly grateful to have its accuracy improved.
- If you live in the Arab world and are also protesting, please be safe, and please add your recommendations.
- Honestly? When things calm down, consider tourism in Egypt. It is a huge aspect of the economy and it's an overwhelming, inspiring, hectic place. Hey, you can stay with me ;)

PLEASE NOTE I am a little embarrassed to be writing this: I have only lived in Egypt for a year and do not speak fluent Arabic. My only claims to knowledge are my participation in these events with bilingual and patient Egyptian friends, my eyewitness experience of things, and my ongoing attempts to understand my new home country a little more.
Tiana
So today I was discussing HR3 with one of my friends, who had posted a link on how they took away the rape redefinition. And it was going well. Until a guy came in to say, "Date rape is a tricky concept and I am opposed to force but I don't like to say 'I regret it so it was rape'". I replied that the "I regret consensual sex so I'ma deem it rape" is a strawman so please, can we not? And he said that to be a strawman, something has to not exist. I replied that I'm uncomfortable having guys come in to try to define what does and doesn't count as rape and whose first thought during a discussion of rape is "but what about wrongful accusations?" So he flounced, saying, "Oh well, I guess penis-ed Americans aren't welcome to talk."

Why? Why do men keep derailing discussions of rape - and here it wasn't even rape, but about a proposed addendum to the Hyde Amendment, with trying to split hairs on what does and doesn't count as rape? And how do you deal?
hyphy2

1. http://www.blackyouthproject.com/blog/2010/12/ask-tell/

‎”So yes, one may now ask and indeed tell about one’s sexual orientation without the risk of dismissal from the military. In the end, though, the same bombs and the same wars are waged in the name of a corrupt freedom that bothers neither to ask nor tell its victims’ names.”


2. Statement from Queers for Economic Justice:

"But QEJ believes military service is not economic justice, and it is immoral that the military is the nation’s de facto jobs program for poor and working-class people. And since QEJ organizes LGBTQ homeless people in New York City, we wanted to remind the LGBT community and progressive anti-war allies that militarism and war profiteering do not serve the interests of LGBT people. Here’s how:

  1. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that about one-third of all homeless people in the US are veterans, but about 1.5 million more veterans are at risk of homelessness “due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.” They also report that 56% of homeless veterans are Black or Latino.
  2. Some studies also show that one in four veterans becomes disabled as a result of physical violence or emotional trauma of war. There are currently 30,000 disabled veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  3. Rape and sexual violence are very common occurrences for women in the military, and the ACLU is currently suing the Pentagon to get the real numbers on reported incidences.
  4. Half of the US budget in 2009 was made up of military spending, including current expenditures, veterans benefits and the portion of the national debt caused by military costs, according to the War Resisters’ League. That is more than the US spent on Health & Human Services, Social Security Administration, Housing and Urban Development and the Department Education combined. Wouldn’t more social safety net spending help the millions of queers who can barely make ends meet?

In short, military service is not economic justice. Furthermore, QEJ understands that there are LGBTQ people in other parts of the world, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been killed, traumatized, or made disabled directly as a result of the recent US-led wars, or who have become vulnerable targets by fundamentalist backlashes to US imperialism. We stand in solidarity with other LGBTQ people around the globe, and do not condone violence against them or their home countries so that “our gays” have the “right” to serve openly in the military."

 

Read more...Collapse )
I am SO SICK of people who want to simultaneously date me and give me shit about my job. Guess what dude-- I'm sorry you don't think I could possibly have human connections with clients, but I do and you'll have to TAKE MY WORD because it's NOT YOUR EXPERIENCE to describe. Do not question my methods of harm reduction or what I can or cannot handle. Do not question my fucking honesty when I say I like my job. I obviously think it's the best choice for me right now or why the fuck else would I be doing it you moron? Do not tell me I'm cheapening this or that. Just stop telling me about my own life! What the hell!

*puff... pant...*

idiots.

saying "I feel XYZ about my girlfriend being a sex worker" is totally fine. saying "sex work is XYZ" or "you shouldn't do sex work" is totally not okay, because it comes with the motherfuckin package. who the HELL tries to change someone's career three months into dating her? what the fuck!
20th-Dec-2010 04:53 pm(no subject)
windy
This article is sort of clumsy. It seems like she's about to make the point that far too many of the black women we see in media as examples of beauty are still closer to a Eurocentric beauty model, or they are "anything but African American, slave decent, people like us" (ie. Wek, who is stunning, but looks quite different from most black American woman.)

But, then she stops short of saying that, and gets caught up in her own personal BS. This is easy to do. I do it. I've seen other women do it. In addition the article talks far to much about what black men want-- as if that were the most central issue. She equates the term 'Exotic' with those black women who have a mixture of European and black features-- something that didn't really ring true to me, but maybe we have experienced the word in different ways.

That all said, I think that the still prevalent and powerful Eurocentric/anything but you-people nature of print and popular media can have a damaging impact on the mind of young black girls and boys. It can warp our ideas about beauty no matter what type of sexual or aesthetic preferences we may have. It can influence what black people and people of all races think will be desirable in a partner. We each tell ourselves that our choice of partners is independent social pressures, but looking at population-wide trends suggests otherwise.

The Wrong Kind of Different
As a young girl in a mostly white environment I never thought of myself as exotic or special. There was a girl who moved to our suburb from Iraq and she was very exotic and special in the eyes of my peers. Now in my 8-year-old mind that was very enviable! I wished I could be exotic in that way. I knew nothing of the BS and baggage that my Iraq-born peer must have been facing-- to my mind it was like being a princess ...to come from a far away place... to be different. It never occurred to me that I was pretty different-- that was the wrong kind of different. I thought I was more plain than everyone else since, in the words of one teacher who thought she was helping "brown is the most common skin tone in the world." How do we internalize all of this by such a tender age? I was not the only young person who felt this way-- it was a view I shared with and learned from my mostly white peers.

Yo' Mama.
She's so, dark, fat, nappy and big lipped. And she's on welfare. Why did the boys, both black and white love these jokes so much? They play a big role in spelling out what a woman should NOT be. My parents deftly blocked some of this, my mom went out of her way to impress upon me that dark skin is beautiful. That darker skin could be more beautiful. I knew enough to say "Hey that's not funny!" when the dark skin or nappy hair jokes came out. Sadly, I also learned that being fat and being on welfare are solely matters of Personal Responsibility(TM). And I had a pretty warped idea of what "fat" meant. My grandma has warped ideas about nappy hair. (she thinks it's gross) I know a black woman who loves her body but hides from the sun like getting a few shades darker would kill her. (do you know many of us are vitamin D deficient?) So, some of these jokes stick to us. In what ways were notions of beauty spelled out for you as a young person?

Solution
We need to see beautiful woman who are dark, fat, black american and nappy. Well, in fact, I see such woman every day. But, I do not see them in media-- and that may seem minor but I think it can have a huge impact. We need to have this beauty publicly identified an affirmed shout it from the rooftops this is what is beautiful, pretty, lovely, elegant. Use these words. Not some other almost there words, like 'curvy' or 'strong.' To correct this kind of thinking you need to go in the opposite direction with equal and opposite force. It's not enough to have one or two such icons... how many thousands of times have you seen a woman who is thin, white, with european features described as beautiful? We don't even notice it any more. It takes time to unlearn. It's not enough to decide that it is true just for ourselves, we need to make it clear for this next generation of girls-- who are bust internalizing most of the same BS we grew up with. Nor is it enough to have a few women here and there who are black but with very european features, or features not common in American black women-- that too sends a negative message. Like the white guys in college who explained to me that black woman are beautiful if they are the "right kid" of black woman. Which brings me to this last point; cultural change may start from within the black community, but this issue (which is only a small part of a larger issue that involves women of all races) is something that people of all races should think about and take up. Just as fighting homophobia is not just work for gay people-- this doesn't get solved unless we all talk about it openly. Demand better media and discover the greater spectrum of beauty.
14th-Oct-2010 03:21 pm - ideals of androgyny: why?
windy
Why are the images associated with "positive androgyny" in western culture more often of the "pretty boy" type? I'm talking about the skinny, David-Bowie-like boy-ish girl or "lovely" boy. In Japan it'd be called "bishonen" -- On the other hand... The image of a man-ish woman... even though it is also androgyny, has fewer "positive" connotations. (Or at least is less sexuality and 'glorified' in media) I'm talking about the female bodybuilder, the butch burly woman. In pop culture she is more often cast in a negative light.

Not that the other kind of androgyny is considered to be positive, far from it there is ridicule for both... but why is one more often attacked than the other?

I suspect it is becuase this stuff is being produced with the heterosexual male gaze in mind... yet that still dosen't fully answer my question. Then it moves to: why are these cultural norms made by people who presume that this is what the hetrosexual male wants to see? (If that is the case.)
6th-Aug-2010 11:51 am - Digg 4 years later.
windy
One of the first posts I put up on this community was about the website called digg. It was a lively conversation about how digg was (and remains) a hostile place for women.  Digg is the blog-news now for hosting a group of very conservative mean-spirited spammers who worked actively to hide stories that did not agree with their ideology. It is a top story on Daily Kos, a place that largely dismissed the concerns I raised about sexism 4 years ago. I believe, that there is a connection between these things. I'm feeling like "I told you so!"

How did Digg get to be the way that it is today? It really goes all the way back to the way that the site was set up. The choice of topics that Digg would cover and the audience that the reached out to and cultivated has been, since the early days of the website, almost all male. And instead of moving towards diversity Digg has done NOTHING (that I know of) to encourage women to feel welcome at their website. There are a lot of articles that describe the rampant sexism in digg. They go back to 2006.
As a result the numbers of women there dropped even further, with women gone the opinions skewed to the right. (women tend to be more liberal) Then progressive men started to leave too-- and the result is what we have today.

Here is what I wrote in 2007 about digg. (I'm not shocked at all that such a nasty mob found a home there in retrospect.) At the time, I met some criticism for being "too sensitive" for daring to point out the rampant sexism on that website. (I think I posted it in the now defunct Liberal community) The swing right of the site is like a casebook study. And it has happened at other online communicates. What's scary is there are websites with a lot of influence that risk the same pattern: like the wikipedia.

Once casual sexism and bigotry become tolerated there is a walling out effect-- anyone who dares to challenge the sexism get shouted down and mocked. The website become a tribe of like-minded people. This isn't always a negative thing, like minded people can do great thing together, but when the rallying point is sexism and bigotry you can end up with a pretty nasty crowd. The mob at digg who is doing this hiding of articles isn't just "conservative" --I will distance the conservatives I have respect for from this group-- They are conservative AND actively cruel. They also enjoy mocking the handicapped people and stocking young people on youtube leaving comments that say things like "kill yourself" --none of these anti-social behaviors are inherent to the conservative philosophy-- but, they do seem to go hand in hand with the type of conservatives who embrace sexism and bigotry.
windy
In this article you will witness the admission that there is no known "obesity prevention" method that has been shown to work on any population ever. You will also find out that we don't really know how much (if any) benefits there would be to preventing obesity. Yet the article persists in comparing obesity in children to smoking. And it persists weighing the options for funding programs to address each as if it were a sensible comparison.

"Yet no interventions, when tested in large studies, have caused a big difference in children’s or teenagers’ weights."


The article describes obesity as a "preventable" cause for illness "like smoking" -- This comparison is totally off and not supported by research. Obesity is found in many people who have certain illness, but it is not clear if obesity is the cause or if it might make more sense to label poor nutrition and lack of exercise as the cause.

“That’s a hard call,” said Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. When it comes to health, “it’s hard to think that anything could be worse than smoking,” he said. But obesity has a social stigma attached, which “carries a cost no matter what the medical consequences are.


Hey... what if we did something about that social stigma? Just a thought... No, no, no. that's silly talk. Leave the social stigma in place make the kids a size where they will be accepted! 
knitted uterus
Obviously from the title this post involves discussion of domestic violence, just so you're warned.

I was listening to a little piece on the radio recently about drinking alcohol during pregnancy and how little the current health advice in the US and UK are based upon scientific evidence. I was suddenly pulled up by a tangential comment made by one of the speakers. In response to a comment about how more health problems were caused by young violent men drinking than by pregnant women drinking she replied "well many more foetuses are killed by domestic violence by the father than alcohol consumption by the mother." It's such a stark statement and suddenly bluntly reveals how messed up our maternal health policy is. I did some Google-fu and found the following information from Women's Aid a UK domestic violence charity.

Text here for the linkphobicCollapse )

It seems like domestic violence is the elephant in the room when discussing maternal health. This seems very bizarre given that it may be associated be associated with more than 10% of maternal deaths. The UK has introduced policies that maternal health care professionals should ask women confidentially about domestic violence at some point in their pregnancy and offer them advise.

I wonder why domestic violence tends to begin or escalate during pregnancy. I wonder whether it's linked to the horrifically high rates of employment discrimination against pregnant women and the levels of harmful practices and disregard for consent in obstetrics. Is there a deep level of hatred against pregnant women in particular, which as a society we are in denial about?

Connected to that is the way in which governments feel free to regulate every aspect of pregnant women's behaviour on very little scientific evidence, but do very little to address violent male partners who pose a significant health risk. There's no medical evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption or eating peanuts pose a risk to foetuses, but health advice is still issued to pregnant women to avoid them 'just in case'. Governments are perfectly happy to pay to imprison women for drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy, but are unwilling to spend on rehab which is suitable for pregnant women, or even prenatal or family planning services or poverty reduction, which would have a much greater effect upon infant health and mortality.

Every so often I feel as if the scales fall from my eyes, and I realise just how deeply hatred and abuse of pregnant women is engrained into UK and US culture. What are your thoughts?
EDITED again (6/20):
Something happened in 2007 that Dan Savage wrote about in 2010.
What happened was this: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347%2807%2901335-3/abstract
When Dan Savage wrote about it, it got attention. Savage's slant was that this surgery is aimed at reducing gay & lesbian people.
Upon further research, undertaken independently and detailed in the comments section, it has come to my attention that this is not the case.

90% of the people involved in this study are intersex. Less than ten percent are not. This is an intersex issue.

I am still frustrated that there was vibratory testing on children as young as 4. These children were probably intersex, and I think that is some severely fuckedup shit. Intersex children endure all sorts of abuses, and I think those of us with voices and privilege have the responsibility to speak out, following the lead of intersex champions. I am grateful to the commentators who provided resources, and I am hopeful that using the power of internets, I will find yet more resources.



Original post, with edits, follows:
This is a post designed to signal boost. I cannot abide that this story is not on the front page of every major news site today. As the link contains information about genitoplasty/IGM/FGM, some may find it triggering.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/06/16/female-genital-mutilation-at-cornell-university

This is not the only horrible sexual study that is being or has been undertaken.
Yet the fact that this study is happening in New York City, and has been written about by none other than Dan Savage*, and is still not being covered by the MSM is absolutely mind-blowing. Where is the intense scrutiny? Where is the IRB? Where is our old fashioned outrage? Why have I read so, so many "critical responses" to SATC2 instead of action plans for stopping this?

What can we construct as an action plan? Who should we contact? The IRB of Cornell? Cornell's student groups? How can we let the parents know that their actions are harmful? How can we spread the word to the populace? Any ideas?

I want everyone to know about this.
Thank you for your input.

EDITED to remove link to a personal livejournal.
EDITED to add more substance
8th-Jun-2010 06:24 pm(no subject)
Here's a situation that I'm dealing with right now:

Racism, drug rehab, age, class, and more goodies along the wayCollapse )

So...advice anybody? What would any of you guys do in this situation?

xposted to the communities anti_racism, feminist, sobriety and my journal.

EDIT: I have a time limit on computer usage so I'm sorry for both the quality and thought behind the content and for any spelling or grammatical errors. It's also been awhile since I've been on LJ in this community so I've forgotten the rules with regards to language quite a bit, and for that I'm sorry, had I more time I would read them, go back and check, and with permission I will do so when given more time.
21st-May-2010 01:41 pm - Don't you wish this was real?
windy
A lot of people are saying these parody ads by Jes Sachse have "shock value." I think that says something about how aggressively hidden "abnormal" bodies are in many cultures especially in the US and UK. The more "abnormal" you are the more pressure there is for you to cover up ... lest you subject people to something "different" ... and then when no one sees anything different it just makes anyone outside of the norm even more "shocking." It's a vicious cycle.
Read more...Collapse )
12th-May-2010 12:42 pm - Misogynistic language in UK politics
Labservative
I've found the amount of misogynistic language being used around the election interesting and the reaction to it disheartening.

The thing which is really noticed is the number of politicians and newspapers describing the Liberal Democrats as 'whores' or "Madame Fifi" for conducting negotiations with both the Conservatives and the Labour party about forming a coalition. I find the contrast between the feminine slut shaming insults and the male dominated make up of the parties involved interesting. A lot of the conduct in the election campaign felt misogynistic. The Left's obsession with Margaret Thatcher is understandable because she was PM for so long and changed British politics, but I think it sometimes goes over into misogyny. On the Right, there seemed much greater glee at the prospect of female Labour ministers losing their seats than male ministers.

On a related note, I'm disappointed at how much casual hate speech was completely acceptable and not even worthy of comment in the mainstream press. When Gordon Brown accidentally called a woman, who had been talking at him incoherently about immigration, a bigoted woman with his mike still on it topped the news agenda for a few days. On the other hand, David Cameron used the term "retarded" to describe the BNP and it only got mentioned on disability blogs and was completely ignored by most of the media. A Conservative candidate described sex workers as "pollution" which needed to be cleaned up, on national radio and no-one batted an eyelid.

I'm really disappointed to realise that I live in a society where calling a bigot and bigot is more politically damaging than casually using misogynistic, ablist and slut shaming language.
1st-May-2010 04:17 pm - Weddings and feminism
Hi, loooong time lurker (since about 2004) first time poster.

I recently got married. In my friendship group it seems like everyone has gotten married in the past three years. During that time it's been really interesting to see what people can and can't square with their feminism when it came to wedding traditions.

I personally, did not wear white and walked down the aisle by myself. I had a real problem with the white dress symbolising either purity or fertility- as if those were the most important things I could possibly bring to a marriage. I also hate the idea of being "given away" by my father just...no.

K did wear white, had both her parents walk her down the aisle but couldn't square the idea of a veil with her feminism. I was okay with a veil as long as it wasn't over my face.

E wore green and did not wear a "wedding dress" dress, and walked down the aisle with her very-soon-to-be husband.

Both K and E have not changed their names at all. I have hyphenated mine as has my husband (and some of the reactions we get when we tell people will probably end up in a feminist_rage post at some point!) because while neither of us wants to give up our name we like the idea of having the same name and see it as symbolic of the fact that we are a little family.

L wore purple and had a handfasting, she changed her name to her husbands I think mainly because she did not like her old name.

I don't think any of my friends were wrong, and I don't think I was/am wrong. I just find it really interesting to see what pushes different friend's sexism buttons.

I also find it interesting that none of us object to the idea of marriage, whereas if I go back a generation I am related to feminists who refused marriage in their youth (and still do) because they couldn't square it with their feminism.

And of course there my friends who would love to marry but cannot because their partner is the same sex as them and this country is still in the dark ages :-(

So, to finish on a question, when you think of weddings in particular and marriage in general, is their anything you would or wouldn't do specifically because of your feminism?
21st-Apr-2010 12:45 pm - Differences between men and women...
mask
Hello, it's been a long time since I posted here. I was hoping to get input on something I was discussing with a friend recently. Our conversation came around to what are obvious behavioral differences between men and women arising from biological differences. So much of what we know about what males and females are like is based on stereotyping or cultural upbringing that it was a difficult question for me to answer.

If you could imagine a world where people grew up devoid of any societal inculcation on how we should behave, do you think men and women would be very similar or would we still have marked differences due to our biology and hormones? The only one I could think of is that the higher levels of testerosterone in men compared to women would cause them to be more aggressive and possibly violent (which is a little depressing). I personally find myself bristling whenever I hear broad stereotypes about men and women, so much so that it is sometimes difficult for me to accept that some of them might be founded in truth and facts, and that the qualities ascribed to the sexes aren't inherently bad - it's what people and society does with them and which ones are give more value and respect.

I welcome your input and opinions on this topic. Thanks in advance!

walrus
I listen to NPR online a great deal, and tonight I listened to an interview on Talk of the Nation (transcript and audio here) about Stereotype Threat.

The concept, for those of you not yet familiar, is that people of negatively-stereotyped groups, particularly minority groups, will perform below their abilities when reminded of applicable negative stereotypes while being assessed. For instance, a woman who is reminded that "women are bad at math" might perform poorly on a calculus test; reminded that, for instance, she's an undergrad at Stanford (invoking positive stereotypes) she might perform far better.

Something the interview didn't address, and which I've been thinking about, is whether or not there's a difference in effect between belonging to a negatively-stereotyped group, an oppressed group, which is typically identified by sight (i.e., being a woman and/or a person of color) or being a member of an "invisible" group (i.e., being mentally ill or having a learning disability).

This is at the forefront of my mind right now because I am both mentally ill and female. I've always known to some extent or another both the stereotypes that women are bad at math and the sciences and that those stereotypes are not necessarily true, but that hasn't stopped those stereotypes from affecting my life. I avoided rigorous science courses in high school despite my interest, and have remained intimidated by the more "difficult" (read: male-dominated) subjects of physics and calculus than the "softer" (read: more female) disciplines in the life sciences.

At the same time, I have also lived through an increasing spiral of self-doubt brought on not only by my mental illness (mis-diagnosed until recently as major depression; in fact bipolar II) but by stereotypes of the mentally ill. When I had trouble with a microbiology class, for instance, I thought of myself as a failure because I was mentally ill, and thought that all mentally ill people would end up failures, because of the stereotype. It just didn't occur to me at the time that I was having trouble because - gasp - the material was hard.

It seems to me that stereotype threat would operate differently upon members of "invisible" oppressed or negatively-stereotyped groups for two reasons. First, members of visible groups will always and at all times know that everybody else is aware of stereotypes about their group and may at any time apply those stereotypes in perceptions of them as individuals; and second, that members of invisible groups may refrain from protesting negative stereotypes against members of their group because, by remaining silent, they may be able to prevent people from applying those negative stereotypes to them specifically.

Thoughts?
9th-Apr-2010 10:54 pm(no subject)
One of my coworkers is really hyping this Reverend Billy guy (see link) all the time. Something about it annoyed me, and I finally put my finger on it, though still vaguely: aren't there bigger social problems than overshopping? Although on the other hand, economic domination of local economies by what is effectively imperialism is the crux of MANY issues. Anyone wanna discuss their feelings and thoughts on this?


http://www.revbilly.com/
The International Football Association Board and FIFA have declared that wearing a hijab contradicts its principle of not allowing clothing or equipment with political or religious statements.

This decision directly impacts Iranian female footballers, who will not be able to compete in this August's Youth Olympic Games as their strip includes black hijabs.

For a full and excellent rundown and critique I recommend in the strongest terms reading this post from From A Left Wing.

For me, this news makes it 100% clear that critique of the hijab and other modesty garments in Islamic culture, is routinely indistinguishable from a controlling, patriarchal form of Islamophobia.

I've written a long ramble about this and cultures of female modesty (eg patriarchy) in my LJ, but I'm sure I'd preaching to the choir. I'm going through one of those moments where lived experience underscores something that previously you only thought you understood at a distance.
5th-Apr-2010 05:06 pm - Talking to boys about feminism
When the boyfriend and I started dating, we got into a couple discussions about feminism, including the dreaded "I'm all about everything but the label" talk.  I think I made a less than convincing case of "men can be feminists (and use that label) too," but I guess it got him thinking.  We've had lots of other feminism-oriented conversations since then, since obviously it's a topic of interest to me, and it's increasingly interesting to him.  We also just finished watching the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer together, which has prompted him to start reading a lot of feminist takes on the show.  This all led him to feminist blogs, and he's been reading a handful as of late.

This has led to several complicated and often frustrating discussions about men and feminism, and I'm sort of at a loss for how to proceed.  He has pretty concrete (and I think overly rigid) ideas about the role of tone in civilized discussion, so he will occasionally dismiss things that he perceives as overly combative.  However, a lot of feminism sounds pretty angry.  Still, he's (more or less) making a good faith attempt to understand a perspective, but he feels well-meaning men are often attacked by the ladies on the blogs.  And I'm also getting frustrated and doing a poor job of answering his questions.  I feel like I'm getting somewhere with discussions of power relations being relative, not absolute (a simplified and probably incorrect remembering of Foucault), but that's leading into a discussion that overlaps with other isms beyond sexism, and so I'm feeling even more over my head as of late.

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So, do you have any good resources on feminism for men (including discussions of how sexism/patriarchy hurts men), overlapping/intersecting oppressions, ableism/disability studies, or class and feminism (or class by itself) you would recommend?  I'm also up for more stuff on feminism and race since that also directly relates to our discussion (we're both white but it's not like feminism is only about one's own life).  We've both done a bit of googling and independent reading, but I'm still overwhelmed, and I feel like talking to other people would be more productive than asking a search engine right now.

Also, please feel free to share conversations/revelations you've had that might be helpful, or any strategies you've used to try to explain feminism to a male partner or other curious and well-meaning guy, especially one who's currently undergoing his own struggles with forms of oppression.
windy
I remember back in 2002 when Abercrombie & Fitch put out some tee-shirts with a picture of two Asian men at the "Wongs Brothers Laundry Service" it read “Two Wongs Can Make It White.” other shirts had smiling men with slanted eyes wearing dorky-looking conical hats-- Some Asian-Americans and others said the shirts were stereotypical and racist. Then the predictable backlash began "it's just a joke, " said some "why are you so sensitive?" said others "I'm being suffocated by all of these rules about being PC!" and on and on.
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