Why I Hate Feminism

I don’t and this video by Laci Green explains why.

Free. Your. Mind.

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Mother to Daughter Talk by Sarah Kay

I was waiting until Mother’s Day to post this but I’m feeling it a little too much.  I’ll have to figure something else out.

Dang it.

P.S. Here are Sarah’s lyrics-for my fellow linguaphiles. 🙂

She is gonna call me point B
So no matter what happens
She can always find her way to me
And I’m going to paint the solar system
On the backs of her hands
So she has to learn the entire universe
Before she can say oh, I know that like the back of my hand
And shes gonna learn that this life will hit you
Hard in the face, wait for you to get back up
So it can kick you in the stomach but
Getting the wind knocked out of you
Is the only way to remind your lungs
How much they like the taste of air
There is hurt here that cannot be fixed by
Band-aids or poetry so the first time you realise
That Wonder Woman isn’t coming don’t feel like
You have to put the cape on all by yourself
Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers
Your hands will always be too small to
Catch all the pain you want to heal
Believe me, I’ve tried and baby I’ll tell her
Don’t keep your nose up in the air like that
I know that trick, I’ve done it a million times.
You’re just sniffing for smoke so you can
Follow the trail back to a burning house
So you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire
To see if you can nurse him back to health
Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place
To see if you can change him
But I know that you will anyway, so instead
I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby
Because there’s no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix
Okay there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix
But that’s what the rain boots are for because
Rain can wash away everything if you let it and
I want her to see the world through the underside
Of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the
Galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind because
That’s the way my mum taught me, that there’ll be days like this
There’ll be days like this my mama said, when you’ll
Open your hands to catch and wind up with only bruises and blisters
When you’ll step out of the phone booth and try to fly
And the very people you want to save are the ones
Standing on your cape. When your rain boots will fill with rain
And you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and
Those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you
Because there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses
To stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times its sent away
You will put the win in win some lose some                                                                        You put the star in start over and over                                                                                       No matter how many land mines erupt                                                                                  Make sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life              And yes on a scale from one to over-trusting I’m pretty fucking naive                        But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar                                           It can crumble so easy                                                                                                                   But don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it                                            Baby I’ll tell her remember your mama was a worrier
and your papa was a warrior and you are the girl with
Big eyes and small hands who never stops asking for more
Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and
Always apologise when you’ve done something wrong but
Don’t you ever apologise for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining
Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing when they
Finally hand you heartbreak, when they give you war and anger
When they slip hatred under your doorstep, when they offer you handouts
On street corners of cynicism and defeat you tell them
That they really need to meet your mother.

Men For Women (and other goofy ideas)

I’ve got to put up a little fight for the male feminists (…fe-man-ists!).  I know some people will be turned off by the word feminist because it has been demonized by the Rush Limbaughs of the world.  And, as happens with many social-activism movements, the radical element is now in the driver’s seat–partly because, rather than standing their ground, reasonable people walk away when the lunatics start screaming.

" I would soo rather be collating TPS reports right now."

But the feminist movement wasn’t originally about male-bashing or even forcing women int0 the workplace; it originated to liberate women from being confined to homemaking, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, being unable to explore and express their sexuality, and the stigma of coming forward about rape and domestic violence.

I’m in favor of that kind of feminism.  And I believe a lot of other men are, too. (We have got to stop letting extremists set the agenda.)

Besides, there is more to this than gender equality.  It’s about separating ourselves from stereotypes.

I feel like women have several ways of doing that.  Sure, some have been corrupted and others have been defamed and we have to take those expressions back.  But Men don’t really have much of anything.  And we have as many societal pressures as women do–they are different, obviously and men’s issues don’t really involve empowerment, but they exist all the same.

Now–to be fair–I enjoy sexist jokes as much as racist ones.  I’m not “offended” by these stereotypes and I don’t think they should be eliminated from the media or any such goofiness.

I would just like the argument made that this is not representative of all guys–just dumb, misogynistic guys.  Because there is a distinction.  Almost every adult male in my social circle who has children is actively involved in raising his kids, in roles ranging from baby-daddy/baby-mama drama to the traditional nuclear family; there are even a couple of single fathers in there.

Naturally, the women play a central and active role, too.  I’m just saying these are good boyfriends, good husbands, and good dads–good guys in general, NOT the sex-crazed, functionally incompetent, troglodytes beer addicted, co-ed conversation allergic men portrayed on network sitcoms and Carl’s Jr. commercials.

All I’m asking is, where’s the pink ribbon for the good guys?

Only not a pink ribbon so much as an energy-absorbing, platinum dragon-scaled battle-gauntlet, but you get the idea. 🙂

What I Hate About Republicans — Intro (Part 2)

So I’m coming back to this series of blogs discussing what I hate about Republicans discussing one point in each blog.  At some point, I plan to move on to what I hate about Democrats, politics in general, and the media (probably sometime in the fall of 2071 at this rate :().  What I initially expected to be 3 or 4 subjects quickly expanded as I started giving the topic some thought.    I limited it to 10:

  1. Bigotry
  2. Voter Suppression
  3. Edification of Greed
  4. Anti-Americanism
  5. Dominionism
  6. Anti-Intellectualism
  7. Objectivism
  8. Extreme Nationalism
  9. Discrimination
  10. Austerity

Obviously, I could write a book on each and every topic–and maybe that’s something I will ultimately do.   The problem with blogging in such a partitioned way is the loss of context which I think is crucial to understanding what Republicans are trying to do.

A good example of this is an element of social conservative philosophy I–and others on the left–call the Fall From Grace theory.  For many social conservatives, the Founding Fathers are, like Christ and the Disciples (or Adam and Eve), fetishized archetypes representing the purity and apex of an ideal–an ideal from which, according to conservatives, we have strayed.  Having fallen from grace we need to “get back to our core values” in order to right the ship.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  It should.  This is a key tenet of fundamentalism.

Obviously this is a nonsensical concept since America’s values have been evolving constantly since our nation’s inception (see slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, etc.).  Nor were our founding Fathers of one unified mind.  Their greatness lies in their ability to bring such strong willed and brilliant men of wildly disparate opinions not only to accord but  an accord that still stands among the great achievements in political thought.   But Republicans don’t overly concern themselves about being historically accurate (I’m looking at you, Newt).  In fact, they outright oppose it.  Tea Party Republicans in Tennessee are fighting to have slavery–and the fact that many Founding Fathers owned them–removed from history books (And don’t even think about mentioning Thomas Jefferson’s jungle fever).  They don’t want anything that makes America ‘look bad’ being taught to children.

This is Orwellian propaganda at its unmitigated worst.

Yet the reasoning behind this philosophy is synergistic.   It incorporates several Republican/conservative ideologies that I am critical of including anti-Americanism, extreme nationalism, and Christian fundamentalism.  This is a crystal clear snapshot of their vision for America.  But when you break the actions down into parts, you can lose the image of the whole.

The Republican party needs to be exposed for what it is: a party of fear and hate.

Force conservatives to either admit to that fear and hatred or distance themselves from it.  And if you want make the argument that the Democratic party has titanic problems as well, I’ll be the first to agree with you.  But the Democrats aren’t pushing for more war in Iran and Palestine.  Democrats aren’t legislating against LGBT Americans’ right to marry.   Democrats aren’t trying to take reproductive and contraceptive rights away from women.    Democrats aren’t pushing stupid laws like Florida’s stand-your-ground self-defense law, which let Trayvon Martin’s killer walk away from the scene of the crime without arrest, murder weapon in hand.  Democrats aren’t trying to re-segregate schools in North Carolina, or take the truth out of American history classes, or science out of education.  Democrats aren’t trying to prevent Muslims from building mosques and practice their religion freely.

These are things we should be talking about.  I don’t want to lose the general idea of Republican lunacy because I keep fixing my nose to each little point.

‘Cause there is a lot to hate about today’s Republican party.

What Women Need

This post was inspired by a rant on Sinister Blog and the subsequent comments and responses.   I’ll be reiterating some of the ideas discussed there.

Why do Republicans hate women?

The answer is, they don’t.  They just hate strong independent women. They hate women who think they are the equal of men.  For them this hate is justified; men are physically stronger.

Might makes right.  Right?

Leaving aside the fact that pretty much any woman is capable of picking up a .357 and turning your dome into a stadium, we live in the age of information and technology.  Brains are far more important than brawn.  (And for those of you who would argue that women aren’t as intelligent as men, I would say that this is the point where I must beg your leave so that you may return to digging in the mud with your mighty fine stick.  Never argue with fools, I says; let them run and play.)

For the rest of us, we need to understand how we got to this point before we can truly determine where we need to go.

1. Back Story

Religion, as in nearly all things in our culture, plays a significant role in the subjugation of women.  Religion didn’t give birth to misogyny, it merely justified it.

Back in the hunter-gatherer days, marriage didn’t really exist, not the way we consider it today.  Groups of people stuck together for protection and to raise young but there was, generally speaking, and so far as we can tell, no higher purpose.

As hunting and gathering gave way to farming, the importance of owning stuff increased.  People wanted to pass their lands on to their kids.  A fertile wife could provide lots of children to help out around the farm.  So a “good woman’ (i.e a virtuous woman) had value.  Monetary value.  A virtuous woman was one about whom their could be no controversy regarding the paternity of children.  The easiest way ensure this was by marrying a virgin.   Thus a virtuous woman was either a virginal woman or a faithful mother and wife.  At the same time, nobody wanted this other woman to take the family’s hard-earned (and often hard-fought for) possessions, so ownership passed from father to son.  A woman was considered an asset, like a sturdy mule.

So marriage wasn’t always the wondrous union of love-struck souls it supposedly is now; it was a business transaction.  This social contract was codified pretty much unanimously in the western religious texts:

Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

-Deuteronomy 5:21

We always quote the first part, but not the rest.  Kinda changes the meaning, doesn’t it?  And remember that the Old testament is a canonical religious text for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  There are other texts that demand a woman’s submission to man, but Deuteronomy clearly illustrates the idea that a woman was viewed as a man’s property, like his slaves, his animals, and his land.

2. Present Predicament.

Like all things, the role of woman has evolved over time.  What has remained constant, however, is that in nearly every return to cultural piety, the status of women is greatly reduced.  There currently is an effort to return to those times once more.

Unlike many other issues of social injustice, gender discrimination is not confined to religious fundamentalism.  It is far more pervasive and goes to the core of our culture itself.  The true liberation of women requires a fundamental redefining of gender roles.  Women can take care of themselves and no longer need men to provide for them.  When a man can no longer hold over a woman provision for her lifestyle, he is forced to use other, less developed skills to maintain her favor.  It gives women much more control in relationships and other social interactions.

Additionally, women have increasingly become legitimate competitors in the professional world.  Women graduate from high school, college, and graduate school at higher rates than men.  Women also tend to get better grades in school.  More young women have become disinterested in starting a family, preferring instead to pursue other interests.

"It'll be fun, sweetie. I promise."

Then comes the scary part: women asserting their sexuality.  Women have become increasingly free to explore and express their sexual desires and interests.  And it turns out, women are as kinky and perverted as men (over 30% of all pornography is purchased by women). That all sounds fine and dandy…until your girlfriend breaks out a surprise apparatus she wants to try on you.

Things can get a bit confusing.

I believe this confusion has led to resentment from men and women alike.  The backlash seems to have started sometime in the 1990s when women’s liberation was rolling along.

CSI, PSA, or TMZ?

I started hearing terms like feminazi catching steam.  “Shut up and make me a sandwich” jokes started making the rounds again.  Then corporations began doubling down on the glass ceiling.  Equal pay became an unreasonable demand because women are hormonal and unreliable employees.  In the media, women became increasingly portrayed as victims of physical and sexual brutality or objectified for their sexual beauty.  Pornography got flat out violent.  Slut shaming became vogue again.  And now, reproductive decision-making is being taken out of women’s hands and given to the state.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to see the interconnectivity between these events.  They’re man’s way of reasserting gender dominance.  Unfortunately for its proponents, this reassertion is nothing more than a last desperate gasp.  In the end, the War on Women will share the same fate as the Jim Crow south.  The extreme vestiges will linger; the rest will die.

3. Looking Forward.

As with any movement in social justice, action must be purposeful and deliberate.  And in the push for women’s rights we are doubly obstructed.  Women are as confused by the redefining of gender roles as men.  Many women conform to the male-driven ideal of sexual objectification and submission to remain appealing; many other women conform because they agree with it.  Plus, many women are confined by their own guilt and shame about their sexuality.

"We're hot, right?"

The problem is we cannot, as a society, empower women; women must empower themselves (see Rihanna & Chris Brown).  Society can only give women tools: the information and social programming that will allow them to suffer neither fools nor abuse by a fool’s hand; and to explore their own individuality without constraint or societal judgment.  Women’s liberation is not about making every woman a bisexual-chic big city professional; it’s about a woman being accepted for whatever she chooses to be.

If we truly love women as we claim, we will all work (and fight) to ensure such a future.