Apr 07

“What is Wrong with this Picture?” a short feminist film script by Peg Tittle

What is Wrong with this Picture?

 

This film consists of a collage of scenes, five to ten minutes in length), in which women are always the superordinates and men are always the subordinates.  Dialogue isn’t that important, so once the scenes are decided upon and roughed out, the cast can probably improv rather than follow a script.

 

Suggested scenes:

Office: Woman in executive office summons her secretary, who is a man, who enters and politely inquires “Yes, m’am?”  She says something like “Ask Ms. Jordan to come to my office, then bring us coffee, please, and hold all calls.”  He nods in subordinate fashion and exits.

Boardroom:  Seated around the table discussing important matters are, every one of them, women.

Hospital scene: Female doctors and male nurses and clerks.

University: Female faculty and male support staff.

Bank:  Male tellers; occupants of individual offices are all women.

Courtroom: Judge, lawyers, and security are women; clerk is male.

Golf course:  Only women are playing.

Office:  Woman executive directs her male assistant to call her husband and tell him she’ll be late for dinner.

Home:  Househusband answers the phone, surrounded by cloying, annoying kids, and shows irritation at the message.

Fancy restaurant:  Several women dine together and discuss business.

Doctor’s office: Female doctor giving embarrassed man a physical, which includes a close examination of his penis as well as a rectal examination.

Househusband taking kids to the dentist: The waiting room is full of fathers and kids; the receptionist is male, as is the dental hygienist; the dentist, who breezes in for the authoritative final check of the hygienist’s work, is female.

Househusband grocery shopping:  All of the other shoppers and all of the checkout cashiers are men; a woman is in the manager’s office.

Home:  Husband sets the table and brings out the dinner he has prepared; kids and mother sit waiting; perhaps the woman offers to help, but the offer isn’t really genuine and is brushed aside. with a smile.

Guests for dinner: Two male-female couples are sitting at a dinner table; the conversation is dominated by the women who talk about politics; the two men are silent, though they look supportive from time to time and interject supportive comments, questions to let the women shine; one of the women says something like “Let’s let the boys clean up, shall we?” and the two women retire to the living room for drinks and more conversation.

Office lunchroom: All and only men sit in small groups talking about their kids, the need for an on-site daycare, their failure to obtain promotions, their bosses; a sweet male voice comes over intercom “Danny, Ms. X would like to see you right away”, at which Danny grimaces but gets up and leaves the room.

Car:  Woman at the wheel, man in the passenger seat.

Mar 28

Men against Abortion

Is that why men are against abortion?  Because women are, might be, killing men?  Male fetuses?  If the fetus was known to be female, they wouldn’t have a problem with it?

Mar 07

Ten years later, she meets Dick, and he’s so –

            You’re so – different.  Not such an –

Yeah.  It’s like before I was so – driven.  It’s like I was in a car, no, I was the car.  And it was always in high gear, in screaming high gear.  I had to get somewhere, I always had to get somewhere.  I couldn’t sit still without revving my engine, roaring my engine.  Every car was a car I had to pass, and every time another car passed me, it was such an affront, it was so – humiliating.

And then it stopped.  And the silence – the not being driven, not being pushed – I could think.  For the first time in my life, I could just – think.  And feel.  All sorts of things.  Subtle things.  I don’t know how to describe it.

For a while I was so – sad.  I thought if I could’ve lived my whole life like that – I wanted a ‘do over’ so bad.  I wanted my life back.  It’s like it had been – hijacked or something.

            So what happened?  I mean, what changed everything?

Oh.  I got in a car accident.  Lost the family jewels.

 

(inspired by reading about burdizzos)

Feb 22

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, Sheri Tepper

Although I read this fantastic novel years ago, I was recently reminded of it by Judith A. Little’s Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction: utopias and dystopias. 

At the end of the novel, five options for human reproduction are presented:

  1. Only partners for life will be able to reproduce, and only once every decade.
  2. Parthenogenesis, with a few males born every eighth or ninth generation.
  3. Heterosexual reproduction, but no woman will ever conceive unless she chooses to conceive.
  4. Heterosexual reproduction, but with a short period of fertility.
  5. As it has been.

What would you choose and why?

Feb 05

Rain Without Thunder – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Rain Without Thunder (movie) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

I just watched this!  And will watch it again, stopping to think at so many points!

Here’s the brief description:  It’s the year 2042 and the threat is real…women are going to prison for terminating their pregnancies. An investigating reporter is determined to reveal the truth behind the convictions.

 

It’s available on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Without-Thunder-Betty-Buckley/dp/B009YCWW7E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486337772&sr=8-1&keywords=rain+without+thunder

 

 

Jan 16

For your convenience, a sanitary receptacle is provided in this cubicle. You are requested …

So I was in a public washroom the other day and noticed this little sign:  “For your convenience, a sanitary receptacle is provided in this cubicle.  You are requested to co-operate and use it for the purpose intended.”

“For your convenience.”  For our convenience?  Given that the alternative to the requested behaviour would result in a bunch of clogged toilets (your toilets) and/or bloodied napkins strewn all over the washroom floor (your washroom floor), I suggest that it’s as much for your convenience as for ours.

“For your convenience.”  Convenience?  Is the trash can by the paper towel dispenser also for convenience?  I suppose the toilet paper is a convenience too.  And the toilet.

“A sanitary receptacle.”  The receptacle may well be sanitary, but I think you mean ‘a sanitary napkin receptacle.’  And actually, the napkins put into the receptacle are not very sanitary at that point, are they?  ‘Menstrual napkin receptacle’ would be more accurate.  But men do have trouble with such words – menstrual, menstruation, menstruating.  Though they seem able to handle ‘cunt’ easily enough.

“You are requested to co-operate.”  And you have been watching too many late night movie interrogation room scenes.  Really, I think a ‘please’ would’ve sufficed.  Actually, I don’t even think we need a ‘please’.  I doubt we even need to be asked.  In fact, we don’t even need the sign: most of us can figure out what it’s for, and if there’s any doubt, just label the thing and be done with it!

I mean, why shouldn’t we co-operate?  Most women are inclined to keep things clean – this is the Women’s Room, not the Men’s Room.  Furthermore, we know that the poor soul who has to clean up any mess we leave is a cleaning lady.  Who’s probably sick to death of cleaning up her own washroom after her husband uses it.

“For the purpose intended.”  What else might we use it for, a lunchbox?  A weapon?  (“And now for tonight’s top story: as we speak, gangs of women are roaming the streets armed with sanitary receptacles…”)

Ah, but I was in a government building.  That explains it then.  At some point (it seems like only yesterday, the way they’re carrying on), the building was for Men Only.  That explains the heavy-handedness (men don’t know how to ask, they threaten) and the supposition of a predisposition to uncleanliness.

And, or, maybe the sign is intended to say “Look at us, we’ve gone out of our way to provide you ladies with women’s things, not only a washroom all for yourselves, but one with little sanitary receptacles even, a luxury washroom; we want you to know this and be eternally grateful, we want you to be constantly reminded that your very presence in this building is exceptional.”  Now I understand the threatening tone: if we don’t comply with their request, they’ll take our little receptacles away, maybe they’ll even kick us out, hell, maybe they’ll go so far as to take back the vote.

 

[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist, always anti-gender, and always anti-sexism.]

 

Jan 06

Women Discover Life on Mars

“Should we fund a mission to Mars?  Sure.  Give us a bit of time and we can make that planet uninhabitable too.”  (jassrichards.com)

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed watching MARS.   Why?  Because the three astronauts who walk out onto the planet’s surface at the end to discover life on Mars are all women.  Not a token one of three.  Not even a remarkable two of three.  But ALL THREE.  All three are women.

AND the bureaucrat back on Earth who makes the announcement?  Again, a woman.

AND none of this was presented as in-your-face feminist.  Not one line in the entire script made reference to their being women.  There was no male resentment, no resistance, no snide comment about quotas or reverse discrimination.  There was no undue praise, no celebration for having achieved the status of being the first humans to discover life on Mars.

They just were.

I can’t tell you how gratifying it would be to just be.  To be an astronaut if I wanted to be.  To be the one to discover life on Mars.  To be the head of a Mars mission program.  Just because I was qualified to do so and lucky enough to make it through the selection process.  And my sex had as little to do with it as my hair.

Furthermore, throughout the expedition, there was as much female presence as male.   Sure, okay, one of the women became leader only because one of the men died, but when the second crew arrived, its leader was a woman.  And if I’ve got this mistaken, it’s only because regardless of the actual hierarchy, women were as central, as important, as valuable, as active.

They were just living their lives. 

And yet, seven of the eight writers are men.  The director is a man.  All ten executive producers are men.  Even so, they had THREE WOMEN discover life on Mars.  Three women, all by themselves.  They didn’t need a man to go with them to protect them.  They didn’t need a man to go with them in case they got lost.

Amazing.  Truly amazing.

And so truly … gratifying.  To see this.  To actually see this.

Thank you.

Dec 14

Christmas Elves

Generally speaking, I don’t do Christmas.  At all.  But when I see an ad in the classifieds for “Three female elves to work in a mall during the Christmas season”, well, I have to say something.

And the first thing I have to say is, I don’t think they’re going to find any – male or female.  They may find three women to play the part, but I doubt they’ll find three elves.

Which brings me to the second thing I have to say: why do they have to be female?  What must a Santa’s elf do that a man can’t do?

One, Santa’s elves are industrious; they’re notorious for being hard workers.  Well, men are hard workers.  (No, seriously, some are!)

Two, elves are pretty handy in the workshop, making all those toys.  Again, I think men can meet this requirement.  (Some men are even quite good with their tools, given a little instruction.)

But in the mall, Santa’s elves will probably have to stand on their feet all day long.  I must admit that I think women have an edge here.  At least they do if I’m to judge by all the checkout cashiers and bank tellers I see, all of whom are women, and apparently subject to some insane rule that prohibits them from sitting down on the job.  (I’ve never understood that one: surely their work wouldn’t worsen if they were able to sit down; in fact, it would probably improve – freedom from chronic back pain would have that effect, I should think.)

And, well, Santa’s elves have to smile a lot.  All the time, actually.  And I’m afraid women again have the advantage.  Unfortunately, smiling has become second nature for women; those caught not grinning like the idiots men like to believe them to be are often reprimanded.

Now I’m willing to grant that men, because of their much-publicized superior strength, would be able to handle the standing.  And the smiling (I suspect that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to maintain that tough and serious look so many men seem to favour).

But can they handle the subservience?  Santa’s elves get paid minimum wage, which is less than what Santa gets paid, and they pretty much play the part of Santa’s subordinates.

Despite that, Santa’s elves are really quite important.  Ask any Santa who’s had to work with an elf with an attitude.  (I can give you some names.)  A good elf intercepts the sucker that will get stuck in the beard; a good elf tells Santa the difficult names so the kid won’t start bawling because Santa doesn’t even know his name; a good elf has ‘pee-my-pants radar’ and uses it at all times.  And a good elf does all that while appearing to be merely ornamental.  I’m not sure men would be very good at that.  Most men I’ve known who are important act like it.  (‘Course, so do the ones who aren’t important.)

Lastly, let’s not forget that Santa’s elves must be good with kids.  And this one really makes me hesitate.  Men can make kids, with hardly a second thought.  But can they interact with them?  Can they pay attention to kids for eight hours at a time?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say yes.  Yes they can.  Oh I know they don’t, most of them.  I’ve read the stats on dead-beat dads who keep up their car payments while ignoring their child support payments.  And I’ve read the stats showing that fathers spend, what is it, less than an hour a day with their kids (their own kids – it hasn’t escaped me that Santa’s elves have to pay attention to other people’s kids – to phrase it in a way apparently significant to men, other men’s kids).  But well, just because they don’t doesn’t mean they can’t.  After all, if women can be lawyers and mechanics, why can’t men be Santa’s elves?

Nov 15

Guest Posts Welcome!

Guest posts welcome; contact ptittle7 {at} gmail {dot} com.

Nov 04

Sterilization: The Personal and the Political

Ever since I’ve been old enough to ask myself ‘Do I want children?’, my answer has been ‘No’ – a rather emphatic ‘No!’  I consider parenting to be a career, and a very demanding one at that: twenty-four hours a day for at least fourteen years, you are responsible for the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of another human being.  And quite simply, it wasn’t a career I wanted.

So, I went on the pill three or four months before I started having sex (I find it incredible that people find that incredible: ‘You planned even your first time?’  Of course!  That time, most of all, was to be special!) (And it was – though not quite in the way I’d hoped, anticipated …), and eventually chose permanent contraception instead.  I have explained this to quite a few people, over many, many years, and I continue to be amazed at those who are amazed.  When I ask ‘Why did you choose to become a parent?’ (a fair enough question to someone who has just asked me the opposite), they sort of give me a patronizing smile and say something like ‘It wasn’t exactly a choice.’  Yes it was.  YES IT WAS.  Unless you were raped or the contraception didn’t work, it was a choice: you don’t accidentally happen to catch some ejaculate in your vagina.

And not giving that choice much thought is nothing to smile about.  Tell me, between the one who without really thinking about it, without really wanting it, becomes a parent, and the one who deliberately does not become a parent – who is the more responsible?  I ask this question because of the responses by both my own physician and the surgeon to whom he referred me (who then referred me to another surgeon).  One of them actually snickered and said ‘So you want the advantages of sex without the responsibilities?’  I didn’t respond, realizing only later that I was confused because he had asked the question incorrectly: yes I wanted sex, and no I didn’t want the responsibility – of children, not of sex; I did accept the responsibility of sex – that’s why I was sitting in his office asking to be sterilized.  I believe I was also asked why I didn’t want children.  When a woman comes to you pregnant, I said, do you ask her, before agreeing to deliver, why she wants the child?  And would you be asking these questions if I looked older?  If I already had two children, at least one of whom was a male?  If I were a man seeking a vasectomy?

Not surprisingly, the appointments reminded me of a Therapeutic Abortion Committee (TAC) hearing.  Are you married?  Are you employed?  Any congenital disease in your family?  Substance abuse?  Psychiatric hospitalization?  The ‘problem’ is that I am competent and qualified to be a mother.  In every way.  Except one.  I don’t want to be.  On that basis alone, a TAC should grant me an abortion.  On that basis alone, the surgeon should perform the sterilization.  But as always, the woman’s wants, her choices, are irrelevant.  (Do you believe, I wonder, that we’re incapable of having wants, of making choices?) They should be establishing my competence, not my incompetence.  And if I am competent, then my choice, my request, should be granted.  It’s as simple as that. (Of course, if I’m incompetent to be a good parent, my choice should be granted as well.  Which begs the question, why were there TACs in the first place?)  (‘Course, if I were incompetent, irresponsible, I probably wouldn’t be there seeking an abortion.  Can you say ‘Catch 22’?)

The other question I remember clearly is that of the third doctor: ‘Do you want a tubal ligation or a cauterization?’  That’s really about the only question that should have been asked.  I asked him to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each; he did so; I answered his question.  (As for ‘When would you like the surgery?’, how about Mothers’ Day?)

No, I don’t regret it.  I never have, not for one second of one minute of any day.  Sure there’s a possibility that one day I’ll want children.  There’s also a possibility that one day I’ll want to be a waitress at Hooters.  And anyway, I could always adopt.  (But it wouldn’t be your own!  Sure it would; it just wouldn’t have my genes.)  (And if that’s so important, you don’t want a kid – you want a smaller ego.)

It gave me control over my life, my destiny. In fact, it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I wish more people would make it (whether they decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is less important than deciding – considering and deciding and not just letting it happen).

In fact, I wish being sterile were our default state: one should have to do something quite intentional in order to become reproductive (like take a pill, with not insignificant side-effects, every day at exactly the same time for six months – men too), rather than the other way around.

In the meantime, I hope those women who do choose permanent contraception can get it without the hassle I went through.  I am thankful, however, that I live in a time and place in which sterilization, especially for a young woman without children, is at least legal.  Had it not been, I may have chosen sexual abstinence.  (If I had to think each time I had intercourse ‘This could change – read “mess up” – the next fifteen years of my life’, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway.)

I am against sexism of any kind; I think that in a perfect world, one’s sex would be as relevant as one’s shoe size.  I don’t like any titles, but I like least of all, therefore, ‘Ms.’ and ‘Mr.’ because they differentiate on the basis of sex; being a female has always been near the bottom of my identity list (I’m a person, a dog-lover, a writer, a runner, a music-lover…).  So I love being neutered – it’s a bit of freedom from being sexed.

 

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