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This, while (sadly) unsurprising, is certainly an interesting read. Women, it would seem, as still seen by 1 in 4 people in Ireland to be partly (if not wholly) responsible for being raped.

As I have said before, I find this idea ridiculous. One of the statistics shows that

38% believe a woman must share some of the blame if she walks through a deserted area.

If someone was walking through a deserted area and was robbed, would they be blamed? While, of course, one should be aware of their own safety, this blaming of the victim is simply unacceptable.

Still, as “dagnymeetsassisi” says, this can also be viewed positively:

” More than 30% think a victim is some way responsible if she flirts with a man or fails to say no clearly. ”

Or, 2/3rds believe a woman is NOT responsible despite flirting…. a commanding majority. How would that figure have looked in the 1970’s?

“37% think a woman who flirts extensively is at least complicit, if not completely in the wrong, if she is the victim of a sex crime.”

63% – again a commanding majority – do not believe the woman is complicit or wrong.

“One in three think a woman is either partly or fully to blame if she wears revealing clothes.”

Two of three do not believe the woman is partly to blame; most respondants, that is.

“38% believe a woman must share some of the blame if she walks through a deserted area.”

Again, 62% do not beleive a woman shares some part of the blame. Most people, in other words.

I’m not sure how far I agree with this, as 1 in 4 is still distressing regardless of the wiser 3 that believe the rapist to be the criminal, not the victim.

Intrigued, as ever, to hear your thoughts.

And on that note – adieu.

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…is the name of this article. It was written by Alex Gibson, a modern history student at Magdalen College, Oxford. Apparently, “He is very proud to add feminism to a list of ‘isms’ he cares passionately about, and is quite fond of making his friends uncomfortable in the pub by talking about it”. Go him – I’m glad that there are men out there that identify with feminism. But while I’m happy for him that he can add feminism to his impressive list, I had a few issues with his article.

In essence, it was fair enough. Men have to face gender stereotypes and that sucks for them. Poor things. But right from the title, I was perplexed. “Why Men Should Care About Gender Stereotypes”…well, why should they? The message is clear – because it affects them, too. In fact, some stereotypes about men are “allowed to flourish in – dare I say it – a much more brazen way than the stereotypes about women”. Of course, if it only affected women then, one is led to assume, men shouldn’t care about gender stereotypes.

While I agree with him over several of his points, this overall principle, that the reason men should care is because it affects them too, marred my opinion of the whole article. Not only this, but also his attitude to feminism as though it were purely for advancing women. While there is a clear focus upon women within feminism, as it is, more often than not, about equality and women being treated equally to men, his article seemed to suggest that feminism only rejects the ludicrous ideas held about women and that, indeed, there is nothing that addresses the issue of supposed ‘masculinity’.

The problem is, while women are encouraged to reject the ludicrous ideas that are held about them, men are supposed to embrace them.

The idea of all women rejecting gender stereotypes is a wonderful one. What bliss, when all women are raised by feminists who ensure that they shed gender stereotypes and consider themselves as individuals. But that is not reality. When so many women and men are brought up in the clutches of gender stereotypes, it is not right to say that women reject gender stereotypes while men are expected to embrace them. Both ‘genders’ are expected to conform to the stereotypes that are rife in modern society, but I would never go so far as to say that stereotypes about men are allowed to flourish more than those about women. When the ‘worst’ swear word in England, cunt, describes the female anatomy, when women are portrayed on tv, in programmes and adverts and films and in books, cartoons, and games as conforming to ‘stereotypes’, when there are still ‘girls mags‘ which expect women to only care about make-up, clothes, shoes, and, of course, men, when feminism comes under ‘life & style‘ if acknowledged at all in national papers, when to ignore the advances of other men makes you a ‘slut’, how can you say that stereotypes about men flourish more?

I’d love to know.

Yes, Alex isn’t an anti-feminist. And he wouldn’t want to undermine the wrongs done to women – I appreciate this. However the way that he has approached the issue is deplorable, as he not only sees it as an issue for men just because they are also victims of it, but also seems to think that men have a harder time than women when it comes to gender stereotypes

I would never dare to suggest that men have a harder time than women in general society, because that’s just patently untrue, but in terms of stereotypes we fail utterly.

Yes, he has some good points. The main one, of course, is that men also suffer from patriarchy.

Men are often characterised as spoiled, helpless brats utterly unable to perform simple household tasks, too stupid to remember anniversaries and appointments and completely unable to understand these strange female creatures and their hysterical emotions. We’re base brutes ruled by our overactive sex drives who simply can’t help being crass and immature, because that is the way God made us. Basically, we are mentally deficient lumps who require a female carer to function in society.

But to then say that

This is precisely the kind of ridiculous stereotype that, if applied to women, would be torn to shreds in intelligent debate.

seems rather naive. Yes, in intelligent debate it would be. But so would ridiculous stereotypes about men. However, more often than not we aren’t dealing with intelligent debate. We’re dealing with one-sided views, we’re dealing with people who have grown up being told what girls do and what boys do, so have been socialised into accepting these stereotypes. We’re dealing with anti-feminists who believe the stereotypes that they have been fed with.

Also, to assume that the stereotype of men as ‘mentally deficient lumps’ is the prevalent one could also be misguided. There are a great deal of stereotypes that say that men are more intelligent, more capable of achieving, better at academic studies while women are supposed to flourish creatively. However, Alex clearly hasn’t experienced these as he believes that male academics aren’t celebrated.

Let’s stop putting sports stars on a pedestal and start celebrating poets, writers, scientists and artists.

Actually, male poets, writers, scientists and artists are celebrated widely. Hell, the new freebee with the Guardian is ‘Great Poets of the 20th Century’ and guess how many women poets were great?

One.

Out of seven.

Of course, Plath was amazing. But anyone would believe she’s the only woman that’s ever written decent poetry.

Anyway, I feel that I have dwelled on this for too long. Basically, I agree that gender stereotypes are wrong, both logically and morally. But to suggest that male stereotypes are almost worse than female? I have an issue with that. Also, to suggest that the only reason men should care is because they are affected by it is ridiculous.

I’d be interested to hear what y’all think of the article, and, to balance it, look at this un:

Yay

She talks about supposedly ‘sexist’ feminism, and about the ideas put forward by Alex about male stereotypes. And there are some good links to male ‘movements’ at the end 🙂

And on that note – Adieu!

So there are two things that I wanna talk about. One: National Women’s Day. And two: surnames and hyphenation. Handily connected in my title *is pleased with self*

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March, so it’s soon! And I’d like to do something at college to join the celebrations, or at least to acknowledge it…any suggestions??

Here’s some background:

IWD is now an official holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

All this and more found here 🙂

What do y’all think? Do we need a day to celebrate women and their achievements? I personally think that it’s important, as it is one day of the year where it really isn’t taboo to talk about women’s issues and speaking out is…well, pretty much expected. For once. BUT that is only if people have heard of the day – not many people I know of are aware of when it is…or even that it exists!

I also just discovered the Brighton and Hove group: here and there’s a comedy night on Thurs…I wonder if I could go…

Anyway, I digress. If anyone has any ideas for IWD at my college, nothing too large scale because a) I have very little time, and b) There’s not a great deal of support there…then I’d appreciate them!

As for surnames…

Today, I was talking to a friend about Jessica Valenti’s book, Full Frontal Feminism, who had read an extract, and she said she disagreed with what Jessica had to say about the changing of surnames. It turned into a rather big discussion, and I was the only one there saying that changing one’s name is significant. That it still is the tradition for women to take their husbands name. And that, at some point, the patriarchal system of passing on the husband/father’s name has to be addressed.

So, here’s what was said by t’others…

  • Surnames don’t matter. They are just names, after all.
  • Women can do what they like with their names now, everyone knows that.
  • Surely feminism should focus on something else, something more important?
  • Hyphenated names are ‘annoying’ and just mean that your child has to choose which part of the name to keep.

Of course, as the proud owner of a hyphenated surname, the last one rubbed me the wrong way a little. But I think that it’s a good solution. As is forging a new surname between you, moving on from the family ‘line’ and starting anew. I don’t think that your surname is your identity. But I think that it can still be important to you, that there’s power in a name (as most fantasy novels will tell you!) and so to dismiss it as a non-issue is saddening. Especially as it was almost a symbol of ownership, of a woman moving from being their father’s property to their husband’s. I for one am not happy with that, however traditional it may be.
Also, feminism really doesn’t focus on surnames. There’s no one focus, unless you say that it’s taking action towards equality. I often get that argument, if I ever take issue with the presentation of women in films/tv, or something similar. Why should I care, why doesn’t feminism focus on more important things?

Hell, one man (a teacher, surprisingly) even said to me ‘why do you focus on feminism when there are children dying in Africa?’. He was rather surprised when I said that I think feminism could help that, for if women were treated equally to men then they wouldn’t be raped in Africa, and they would be allowed access to contraception, so they wouldn’t have so many children and HIV wouldn’t be so widespread. Then there would be less mouths to feed, so less children starving, and more children would still have their mothers, rather than losing them to HIV.

Yet again, I digress. What do you think RE surnames? Do women still take their husbands name out of respect for tradition, or do they keep their own? Is it still surprising for men to take their wife’s surname? (Interesting, in regards to this, that in 1990 people were starting to see the sexism in surnames, yet in 2003 they appear to have digressed to an acceptance of the husband’s surname again…) Are hyphenated surnames irritating? And do they really matter at all, in the end? Perhaps we should drop them altogether, as this woman did…

Oh also, on a side note – I am almost exploding with anger over this…Charlotte Allen clearly lacks any intelligence or logic whatsoever.

And on that note – adieu.

…I was in my POS class, and my teacher was telling us to vote for this guy who he used to teach in some skiing competition. So we watch his video (as you can tell, our lesson was very productive) and he falls over a bit but he’s alright.

Anyway, so we’re all talking about it and it reminded me of this article on Feministing (click here) where they were talking about women not being allowed to compete in skiing at Olympic level. So I asked, all innocence, “are there any women in the competition?”

And the WHOLE class (yes, including my friends), looked round at me like ‘wtf?’ and laughed. Because I’m hilarious, right? Cos I have this crazy-ass notion that women matter, and am getting a reputation as ‘that outspoken feminist girl who finds women’s issues in everything‘? It’s driving me CRAZY!!! So I said, rather quietly into the table, ‘it was a genuine question’ and the teacher said no, it’s the male section of the competition.

Is there a female section? Response: I dunno. Great.

So that’s my complaint for the day. Or for the year. Oh what I’d give to meet someone who just said they were a feminist without having to be TOLD.

*Sigh*

Oh and I just rediscovered some links I’d saved as ‘ugh’:

Poker

 

Hillary ‘Fun’

 

Rape Jokes Are Not Funny

 

Just…sick

 

And on that note – adieu.

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