Posts tagged gender
Posts tagged gender
There’s so much we could say about this article (patronizing, pronouns, utter confusion), but perhaps the most egregious of all is this: Nicole Fabien-Weber seems to think that her granting - or denying - permission for gay boys (or transgender girls) to be crowned prom queens matters. To which we say: Who cares? We are all for gay boys as prom queens, straight jocks as prom kings, straight jocks as prom queens, gay jocks as prom queens, little highschool butches as prom kings, genderqueer folks as prom kings, femmes as prom kings, butches as prom queens - honestly, pretty much any combination you can come up with - as long as the new royalty is happy with their title. And unlike Fabien-Weber, we don’t expect any high school students to be waiting with bated breath for our blog’s opinion on the matter.
Blogic likely agrees with some fraction of the author’s argument, but there’s so much insanity it’s impossible to make sense of it. (For the record, the concept we agree with is that we should cut prom royalty pageants all together).
*interestingly enough, this blog post came from the same people at “thestir.cafemom.com” who also brought us this worthwhile blog post. They sure do have a thing for royalty and backhanded homophobia.
While the interwebs and cell phones have prevented many a communication disaster, technology brings its challenges. Thank goodness that GalTime.com (yup, actual name) has brought us “He Said/She said: Decoding the text message" to help navigate the rocky waters of SMS:
Text: I wish you were here
GIRL INTERPRETATION: “He really likes me! Awww and he misses me!! So cute!”
BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: We don’t have high hopes for this relationship. For one thing, Unidentified Text Messenger is so cool that he only speaks in Pink Floyd album titles, while Girl has rewatched Sally Field’s Oscar win too many times.
Text: Are you going out tonight/ What are you doing later?
GIRL INTERPRETATION: “He wants to hang out with me! He can’t stop thinking about me!”
BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: At last, someone is telling the truth about how girls only think in exclamation points! Or, on special occasions, hybrid question marks/exclamation points?!
BONUS: “Ensley,” commentator, offers this helpful text interpretation: “Maybe I can get this one in the bag before I have to buy her too many drinks.”
Text: Can we reschedule for another night? I am not feeling well.
GIRL INTERPRETATION: Poor little boo boo! He needs me to bring him chicken soup and some lotion-infused Kleenex!
BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: Girl’s following thought: “Too bad I can’t bring him any of those things. I’m too young to drive.”
Text: I’ll text you later.
GIRL INTERPRETATION: He must be really busy right now. He has such a stressful job! Why can’t his boss give him a break?!
BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: What? No texting at work?!? This Girl seems fundamentally confused about the real-world demands of a job - but that’s probably because her full time job is providing in-depth relationship analysis in 140 character increments.
Blogic is all about making communication easier (if, at the very least, to avoid these situations), but Galtime’s “advice” is does more to perpetuate absurd gender stereotypes than provide any real technological insights. Besides, trying (and failing) to provide insight into relationships via canned stereotypes is so 90s.
"Their lives are nothing like mine - I’m your standard-issue late-20-something childless overeducated atheist feminist - yet I’m completely obsessed with their blogs. On an average day, I’ll skim through a half-dozen Mormon blogs, looking at Polaroids of dogs in raincoats or kids in bow ties, reading gratitude lists, admiring sewing projects.” Salon article, “Why I can’t stop reading Mormon housewife blogs,” sheds light on a surprisingly universal way of wasting time on the internet.
A New York Times piece last week generated a lot of buzz (heh) with its analysis of the increasingly mainstream availability of vibrators. Despite being firm supporters of sex positivity and access to sex education, condoms, contraception, toys etc. etc., we found this article lacking. Hints of a feminist analysis appear, but never quite come to fruition; instead, readers are bombarded with product placement. Below, blogic reacts:
We’re all for both the press and mainstream public having frank, open conversations about sexuality - but let’s do it genuinely, and leave product placement out of it.
John Denny has taken a “tongue-in-cheek look at the women who scare him the most - in a good way.” Expecting to find the Blair Witch and that girl from The Ring, we instead found a list of women who are actually just really good at their jobs: Helen Hanna Casey is one of the most successful women business leaders in Pennsylvania…. Helen also makes sure the company gives back to the community – to the tune of $5.5 million to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. Or Ann McGuinn, a passionate, tireless leader of many causes, of whom Denny cleverly says: “There is only one person more scared of Ann McGuinn than me and that’s her husband Marty McGuinn.”
Given the tone of the piece, we must believe that Denny is joking - but this is a stale joke. Instead of adding smart commentary, or mocking other journalists who perpetuate this kind of thinking, Denny rests on sexism’s laurels and his piece comes off as pure chauvinism (women! powerful! ballbusters! scary! good one!). We’re certainly not the first ones to point this out, but calling strong women scary is the oldest trick in the book to diminish their power. This “scare” tactic is clearly rooted in gender stereotypes and perpetuates norms about who should be in control. Men who attain similarly lofty goals are not “scary,” they’re skilled leaders - even if their companies are big and scary. After all, who’s afraid of Bill Gates?
While if some might find it commendable that Denny bothered to make a list of Pennsylvanian women leaders in the first place, we would prefer that he had left the job to someone capable of honoring these women without diminishing their accomplishments, even if for a few quick laughs. Sexist articles like this one do more to perpetuate gender power imbalances than to right them.
Blogic decided to create our own list of scary men. These are the type of people who deserve to be associated with the adjective “scary:”
David Miscavige: Current leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His work included securing the church a tax exemption status, and being the “driving force behind … Scientology for the past two decades." His career has been riddled with multiple reports of emotional and physical abuse of his staff, forced labor and child labor, and embezzling. We’re scared of David Miscavige because he appears to be a control freak, has a lot of money at his disposal, and because he’s a personal friend of Tom Cruise (he even was Best Man in Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes).
Jared Lee Loughner: Few words are needed to demonstrate that the man charged with the brutal, senseless attack in Tuscon this past January is terrifying. We’re afraid of this man because he has no regard for innocent life.
Mel Gibson: Remember him? With Charlie Sheen taking up so much celebcrazy, it’s all too easy to forget the man who, perhaps most (in)famously, left racist, sexist and violent messages on ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva’s machine (click here to see the 20 worst things Mel said in that call, as presented by kittens). He’s also been known to make homophobic and antisemitic statements, and year later, still refuses to apologize for them. Also, that beard. Basically, we’re afraid of Mel because he hates almost everyone who isn’t like him, he’s famous and people apparently still like him, and he looks like a Robot Devil.
Paul Ryan: Rep. Ryan is a Republican in the House of Representatives who, unfortunately for the American public, serves on the House Budget Committee and the Committee on Ways and Means. Ryan’s fiscal “strategy” is based on taking the food out of the mouths of the average American family and stuffing it into the pockets of the wealthiest 2% of individuals and corporations. Ryan is a fierce proponent of trickle-down economics, and consistently pushes for both lower tax rates for the wealthy and less health care for the working poor. We are afraid of Paul Ryan because he wields enormous power in this country and uses that power to make life even more difficult for individuals, families, and communities most at risk and because he is the favorite potential presidential candidate among tea-party members.
That Creepy Guy lebvs Recently Saw on The Street: “Join the church of the places and why would you not my children only if you can’t see the truth of truths to stay true! Or else you will become [mumble mumble mumble].” Also, he was wearing a tattered choir boy outfit. It was dark out, and he came out of nowhere.
In honor of March Madness, Men’s Health Magazine has developed a bracket of its own: The Babe Bracket 2011. According to the website, "It’s like March Madness, only hotter!" 64 female athletes faced one another in successive rounds, and voters selected the winners of each round in a method similar to that of kittenwar.com.
The contest focuses on female athletes, which seems like something that blogic would support - except, the athletes are judged not on their athletic abilities but on their levels of relative hotness. In fact, the two finalists’ photos do not even depict them doing their sports, (unless, that is, Julia Mancuso typically races down the mountain without pants). The finalists’ athletic abilities do not seem to correlate with their success in the Babe Bracket. Golfer Anna Rawson has “LPGA Tour Member” listed as her “accomplishment.” Now, we’re not golf experts, but we’re pretty sure that “member” is not synonymous with “winner” when it comes to the LPGA tour.
But perhaps we should give Men’s Health credit for trying to include women in the NCAA Tournament. I mean, it’s not like they have a tournament of their own, or anything.
*Kittenwar.com, unlike “babe bracket,” is in fact a quality website and not sexist at all.
A Techcrunch post this week created quite a stir with its assertion that “women rule the internet.” Blogger Aileen Lee writes that “Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest growing, and most valuable consumer internet and e-commerce companies” (hmm, this reminds us of another post about Silicon Valley’s powerful women, with their invisibility and superb “caretaker” skills).
Unfortunately, for a piece that should be ultra-modern (technology! the interwebs!), the post reads like nothing more than tired gender stereotypes. It quickly becomes clear that by “rule the internet” the author meant “shop on the internet:”
"Sites like Zappos (>$1 billion in revenue last year), Groupon ($760m last year), Gilt Groupe ($500m projected revenue this year), Etsy (over $300m in GMV last year), and Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year) are all driven by a majority of female customers."
These shopping sites struck us as relatively one dimensional (women love shoes! and clipping coupons! and jewelry! and crafting! and BABIES!). The next paragraph begins: “Women even shop more on Chegg, which offers textbook rentals on college campuses across the country.” Is it just us, or does this sentence read as incredibly offensive? Women even buy textbooks!? What do they need those for? They’ll buy ANYTHING!
The article does move beyond women’s purchasing patterns and on to their collective social skills, pointing out that women are both the majority and the most active users on facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites. Why? The author breaks it down for us: “Women are thought to be more social, more interested in relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking." That’s right ladies! Tweet your friends, poke your exes, update your online dating profile - all at once. What a skill!
"And more women use Twitter, which has a reputation for being a techie insider’s (i.e., male) product." First of all, is Twitter really a “techie insider’s” product? We have to say, we think it’s pretty mainstream (everyone from your 13-year-old cousin to 80-year-old William Shatner has a twitter account). And, what’s with this “i.e. male” assertion? Perhaps the author meant that technology is thought to be generally male-dominated (lady engineer readers, what say you?), but this over-simplified statement just reads as offensive.
Blogic firmly believes that ruling the internet does not mean shopping and catching up with friends. So who does rule the internet, and how is that defined? We brainstormed a short list of categories, and we know that there are plenty of talented, powerful women in each.
Who rules the internet, according to Blogic:
What are we missing? Add your ideas in the comments.
With all this buzz about International Women’s Day in our news and twitter feeds, we found ourselves wondering what this day is really all about. Because a day dedicated to women couldn’t really only be about creating lists of “the most powerful women on twitter,” James Bond dressing as a woman, or buying flowers for women in our lives.
According to their website, IWD started more than 100 years ago as a day of unified, collective activism. Many of the first Days focused on labor rights and suffrage. As the event became international in scope, more advocacy campaigns were incorporated, including protests against WWI.
But, in 2011, what has IWD become? After a quick perusal of their site, it appears that the US IWD activists have little to no collective voice, demands or approach. This year’s theme is “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women,” which sounds blogical. But we have yet to see any media coverage of meaningful, unified IWD advocacy in the US. Are we missing something? Have you been working on a campaign that just didn’t get the same coverage as Daniel Craig in a dress?
The past few months of assaults on women’s rights across the country have been particularly troubling, and the opportunity that IWD presents to speak up for Planned Parenthood with one voice, or to demand an end to laws that make it even more difficult for women to get a perfectly legal abortion.
IWD sticks to a narrow definition of gender (trans and genderqueer voices are notably absent from its narrative). But besides just ignoring a wider definition of gender equality, IWD in the US fails to address plain ol’ sexism.
Don’t despair, women around the world are making use of the day to engage in advocacy. For example, one million women marched in Cairo to call for women’s input on the drafting of Egypt’s constitution, legislative changes that will ensure gender equality, and in tribute to the 12 women that died in protest of former Pres. Hosni Mubarak. And in Mexico City and Turkey, women protested violence against women.
"Asymmetric supernovae: not all stellar explosions expand spherically”
Stars are balls of glowing gas, with a nearly spherical shape. Accordingly, one would expect that when some stars explode as supernovae at the end of their lives, the resulting colossal fireballs should share this spherical symmetry. However, recent investigations are revealing that some of these events are not round….Recent developments in the observation of supernovae are providing increasing evidence that the explosion of a (nearly round) star can result in a strongly deformed fireball. (Science Daily, 2/27/11)
The article continues, This sloppy handiwork lends new meaning to the song “Champagne Supernovae”*
*Sentence added by blogic
In other news, Discovery News has broken the story: “Cats Adore, Manipulate Women.” According to the article, Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners, and it’s not just for the sake of obtaining food:
“A relationship between a cat and a human can involve mutual attraction, personality compatibility, ease of interaction, play, affection and social support," co-author Dorothy Gracey of the University of Vienna explained. "A human and a cat can mutually develop complex ritualized interactions that show substantial mutual understanding of each other’s inclinations and preferences.”
Red Sox fans have a distinct mentality: always the underdog, eternal hatred for the Yankees, and the fervent belief that “new” fans don’t know what it means to truly suffer like the long-term fans have experienced. We know, because exactly 1/2 of blogic is a die-hard Red Sox fan. The team’s success and elevated national profile over the past decade has challenged that mentality, bringing new fans into the fold and leaving certain fans disgruntled or - in this case - sexist.
In his sports blog post today, “Not pretty in pink,” Matt Gelfand attacks a group that he believes is threatening the legitimacy of Red Sox fanhood: Pink Hats. Calling someone a Pink Hat fan means they are "the ultimate posers. Bandwagon fans." Temporarily ignoring the obvious reference to (commercialized) femininity, let’s learn more about this particular brand of fan. Matt Gelfand describes them as the "I don’t know how many innings are in a game, but my team is good now so I’ll spend $50 on a stylish hat and tight T’ fans." In case we missed the words “stylish” and “tight T,” which apparently symbolize women everywhere, Gelfand explains "the pink hats come in all shapes and sizes, but in all likelihood are female with little actual knowledge of the game of baseball."
Gelfand rightly anticipates outrage from the bleachers and tries to assuage us, writing "the pink-hat controversy isn’t about sexism, as some feminists might argue.” Gelfand even admits that "there are plenty of passionate female Red Sox fans." But by defining a bad fan as one who wears a Pink Hat, an obvious female/feminine signifier, Gelfand suggests that a) all bandwagon fans are women and b) “real” women fans are the exception, not the rule. At its core, his argument is sexist. Gelfand seems to think that male bandwagon fans aren’t as big of a threat to Red Sox fandom - as if, because of their gender, men have an inherent claim to liking the Red Sox.
Gelfand knew exactly what kind of imagery - and what gender - his Pink Hat reference would bring to mind. Saying that the term “pink hat” fan isn’t gendered and offensive is like saying that the phrase “that’s so gay” isn’t homophobic because in this usage, gay is just a synonym for “stupid” and has nothing to do with sexuality.
This issue goes beyond the Red Sox; it is about who can be a real sports fan, regardless of team affiliation. Ultimately, it is about policing where women - and men - belong. The use of the pink hat as a symbol for newcomers (meaning, female newcomers) is prevalent in Red Sox culture. Like Gelfend’s blog post, this notion is filled with stale stereotypes and unstable assumptions, and says more about one’s feelings toward women than it does about a passion for the Red Sox. And that sentiment doesn’t belong in a sports blog or a baseball park.
As a rule, Blogically Speaking is opposed to all phony marketing ploys directed at women, whether they be ugly, pepto-bismol colored hats or stupid skinny cans.