School Crossing Signs

You’ve seen the signs I mean – silhouette figures of two children about to cross the road: one boy, one girl.  (How do we tell?  One’s wearing a skirt.)  (That’d be the girl.)  (Really, do most girls still wear skirts to school?)

So, yes, let’s emphasize sex.  Boy and Girl.  Ms. and Mr.  Nothing else matters.

And nothing else is possible.

Note that the boy is taller. ‘Oh, but they are.’  Not at that age! Taller suggests older which suggests more mature, wiser.  And just in case you miss this not-so-subtle suggestion of male authority, look, he has his hand on the little girl’s shoulder – guiding, protecting, patronizing.  It will be there for the rest of her life.

Just to make sure of that, we have this social understanding that in a couple, the man should be two or three years older than the woman.  Such an arrangement gives the illusion, and the excuse, of the man being in a position of authority over the woman – after all, he’s older.  (But since, as they say, women mature two years ahead of men, such an arrangement merely ensures the two are ‘equal’.  If they were the same age, they’d see in a minute that the woman should take the lead, being more mature intellectually, emotionally, and socially.)

And to really really make sure the message of male authority gets through, mothers encourage their boys to be the man of the house.  So a fourteen year old boy comes to consider himself more knowing, more capable, than a woman twice his age (his mother).  Is it any wonder that at eighteen, he assumes he’s more knowing, more capable, than all women?

Now I confess that if the crossing sign had things the other way around, a taller, older girl guiding a younger boy, I’d protest the nurturant mommy-in-training role model.  Which just goes to show we can’t win.  As long as we insist on pointing at everything and saying ‘male!’ or ‘female!’  As long as we live in an apartheid of sex.

The ironic thing is that the signs point the way to (or from) school, the institution at which we supposedly become educated, enlightened.  Looks like we just learn how to colour – in pink and blue.       (In black and white.)


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

Testicular Battery and Tranquilizer Guns (what the world needs now is)

Given the relative vulnerability of men to sexual assault (all it takes to disable them is a swift forceful kick, or, at closer quarters, a good grab, pull, twist – almost anything, really) (whereas women have to be partially undressed and then immobilized), given the relative vulnerability of men to sexual assault, it’s surprising that we hear far more often about rape than – well, we don’t even have a special name for it.  Testicular battery?

Since most women are physically capable of such an assault, the reason must be some psychological social inhibition.  And, of course, this is so.  Girls are not permitted, encouraged, or taught to fight; boys are.  All three.  Women are socialized to see men as their protectors, not their enemies.  Men are – well, this is the interesting bit: men used to be socialized to see women as in need of protection, and so would never dream of raping them (well, okay, they’d dream of it – perhaps often and in technicolor – but there was a strong social stigma against assaulting the fair sex: boys were shamed if they ever hit a girl, and if you ever hit your wife, let alone another woman, well what kind of man are you?), but feminism got rid of such patronizing chivalry.

And rightly so.  Unfortunately, it has yet to make its replacement, self-defence, as commonplace.

There’s another problem.  We’re afraid that if we hurt them, they’ll come back (when they can walk again) and kill us.  Which is why women’s self-defence should include a small tranquilizer gun.

(‘Course they might still come back and kill us.  After all, to be decommissioned by a woman!  It would be a new kind of honor killing…)


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

Message to Amy Farrah Fowler: LEAVE HIM NOW.

(Thought I’d better post this one before the new season in case she DOES leave him!)


Is anyone else really really disturbed by Amy Farrah Fowler’s character on The Big Bang Theory?  She is so intelligent, has a Ph.D., is a neurobiologist, and yet she stays in a relationship with Sheldon Cooper, the most infantile, the most arrogant, the most selfish person ever.  That in itself is boggling.  But – the relationship.  It’s not.  How low does her self-esteem have to be for her to think she can’t do better?

Maybe, though, she’s right.  Eliminate the 99% who aren’t as smart as her.  Of those, eliminate the ones who are already married.  Then eliminate the ones she’s not likely to ever meet.  Is there anyone left?

But wait.  Why does the guy have to be as smart as her?  How bad does the world have to be for it to be true that no man less intelligent than her will have the maturity to want her, to love her?  Maybe her choices really are Zack, Sheldon, or no one.

Well, given that – it’s a no-brainer, Amy!  A life lived alone is far, far better than a life intertwined with someone who ignores you, who belittles your interests (neurobiology is not nearly as important as theoretical physics), who belittles your achievements (remember the time she was published in a major journal?), who knows what you want (because you’ve come right out and told him) and still does not give it to you (romance, sex).

II’ve actually started fast-forwarding through the Sheldon-and-Amy scenes because they’ve become just too sickening to watch.  ‘Emotionally abusive’ is the phrase I’m looking for.  (And who is it who thinks that’s entertaining?)


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

p.s. (the grounds for assuming a woman is a lesbian)

The guy in the pick-up did not know if I was a lesbian.  He apparently assumed so.  Because…

(take your pick; they’re all exemplars of flawed reasoning)

– I do not live with a man.

– I am not married to a man.

– I am not a mother.

– I am not feminine in appearance or behavior.

– I have not made myself sexually available to any man he knows.

– I have not made myself sexually available to him.

(did i miss any?)

(oh, yes, i did)

– He just doesn’t like me.

– He knows I’m smarter than him.

– He knows I’m more competent than him.

On Being “Good for somethin’!” (or On Being Fuckable)

So I was talking to a guy yesterday and happened to tell him my “Nice to see you’re good for somethin’!” story: one day while I was picking up all the garbage on the sides of the gravel/dirt road I walk on every day (it’s something I do twice a year, picking up after the hunters in Spring and again in the Fall once all the summer people have left), some guy in a pick-up truck slowed and called out to me, “Nice to see you’re good for something!”

‘Pretty homophobic,’ the guy commiserated.

‘No, misogynistic,’ I replied.  I’d thought the guy in the pick-up had implied that women were just good for cleaning up, especially cleaning up after men.

But then the guy explained what he thought the guy in the pick-up had been thinking.  I was stunned.  It had never occurred to me.

If I am a lesbian, then I’m not fuckable.  So I’m not good for anything.

(Which implies the guy in the pick-up thinks that women are only good for fucking.  If you’re not fuckable, what good are you?)

(Men, you wonder why so many of us come to hate you?)


Why are women more religious, in belief and in practice, than men?

Why are women more religious, in belief and in practice, than men?

1.  Religious belief is more of an emotional thing than a cognitive thing.  (Consider the fact that merely thinking about religious beliefs is usually sufficient to reveal they’re unwarranted.)  And women are raised to be more emotional than cognitive; men are raised to be more cognitive than emotional (in fact, they are encouraged, even taught, to deny their emotions).

2.  Religious authority figures, mythological (God, Allah, Zeus, and so on) and real (priests, rabbi, ministers, and so on), are male.  And since women are raised to be subservient to males, to regard males as authorities, it’s easy for them to accept God, for example, as an authority and to subordinate themselves to him.  Men, on the other hand, are encouraged to be the authority; they’re also encouraged to compete with other men.  So to accept God, for example, as an authority and to subordinate themselves to him would not be easy – in fact, it would be emasculating.  (Which is why the macho Promise Keepers came to be.)  (And why the movement’s popularity didn’t last very long.)

3.  Except for the war element (note that men are okay with claiming religious belief when it’s associated with war), religion is very much about morality.  (Or so people think.)  And it’s women who are the designated moral guardians: young women are the ‘gatekeepers’ when it comes to pre-marital sex (often considered immoral), wives are referred to by their husbands as ‘their better half’ (‘better’ referring to some quality of moral goodness), and mothers are assumed to have the primary responsibility of teaching their children right from wrong.  

When a man introduces the matter of morality, questioning, for example, whether it’s right to do whatever it is that’s about to be done, he is accused of ‘going soft’, or being weak, or being a ‘boyscout’, or being a ‘bleeding heart’, and so on.  (Note that the last accusation, with its reference to the heart, connects morals with the emotional realm, which neatly connects this point with the first one – as does this excerpt from a novel, whose author I unfortunately failed to note: “The boy’s nothing more than a bleeding heart waiting to cry over this injustice or that!…you’d think we raised a bloody priest.”)

Why aren’t women funny?

Well, they are, of course.  It’s just that many men don’t find them funny.  Which is why many stand-up clubs (those managed by men) (that is, almost all of them) actually have a rule: only so many stand-ups on any given night can be women.  Too many and they kill the night.

But, of course, that’s so only in clubs where most of the audience is male.  Because, as I’ve said, men don’t find women funny.  Partly, this could be because men find farts and burps funny.  (Except, of course, when women fart and burp.  For some reason, they find that horrifying.)

The other mainstay of comedy (for both sexes) is ‘(heterosexual) relationship humour’ – so men laugh at the caricatures of women presented by men (and women laugh at the caricatures of men presented by women).

But my guess is that even with sex-neutral comedy, women comedians fare more poorly than men.  A woman tells a socio-political joke, and people (men) just sort of stare at her (as if they’re seeing a dog walking on its hind legs?).  Give a man the same material, and the audience will respond.  Ironically (given my topic), I think this is so because men don’t take women seriously. To laugh at someone’s joke is to accord them some sort of authority, if only the authority to make some sort of comment through humour.

Either that or they’re just not interested in women (except as sexual possibilities).  (I’m reminded of a brilliant skit I once saw, on “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”: a woman was giving a business presentation and all present, mostly men, were paying such close and supportive attention – I was, frankly, surprised (that had certainly never happened to me!); then the woman casually mentioned that she’d come up with her proposal on the weekend when she was out with her boyfriend, and their attention turned off as quickly and as completely as a spotlight – a woman is either a sexual possibility or she doesn’t exist.)

This would explain why, for example, Susan Juby didn’t win the Leacock Medal of Humour with I’m Alice, I think.  It’s a hilarious coming of age story.  But it’s about a girl.  So while generations of girls have had to read about boys coming of age (The Apprentice of Duddy Kravitz, A Separate Peace, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and on and on), boys have only had to read about Anne Frank (no doubt, it was ‘saved’ by the wartime setting) (oh, well, put guns in it and…).  When a boy comes of age, that’s important, because, well, he’s becoming a man.  But when a girl comes of age, well, she becomes a woman.  Unimportant.  In fact, the Medal has been won by a woman only twice in 30 years.  I wonder if the panel of 17 judges consists mostly of men (the judges aren’t named on their site, but the President and Vice-President are, and they’re both men, whereas the two secretaries and person in charge of the dinner? they’re women).

Sex and Gender Conflated

I recently spent some time at another blog (someone had linked to one of my posts and invited me to the discussion), and I discovered that several of the discussants conflated gender and sex.  I was shocked.  (And in fact, that possibility so didn’t occur to me that I continued the surreal discussion for some time before I realized they’d made that mistake: the moderator objected to my suggestion that we do away with gender, claiming that that was what made us, or at least him, human; another commenter said something like the species couldn’t continue without it).

They seemed to be intelligent people (the moderator was intelligent enough to use the word “incumbent” and to demand evidence for a claim).  So why—how—given the 70s—how is it that the distinction between sex and gender has not become common knowledge?

The Little Birdies

So I’m out walking today, and as I pass a neighbour tending his bird feeder, I wave.

And the guy calls out to me “I’m feeding some seed to the little birdies!”

The little birdies?  What am I, twelve? 

No, I’m female.  (I have a hard time believing that he would’ve said the same thing to a middle-aged man.)

And (many) men talk to women differently than they do to men. They talk to us like we’re children.  Idiot children.

Police urge riders to use caution after second sexual assault by fake taxi driver.

Right, that’ll work.  Women should use caution.

Okay, as long as we’re putting the responsibility on the women (sigh), how about a women-only taxi service?

Anyone out there looking for a job?  Someone with a BBA could prepare a business plan, someone else could prepare a Kickstarter proposal to get funding (I offer my editing services if need be), and a lawyer to set it up as a franchise or whatever you call it so it can be in every city, and away we go!

Women taxi drivers picking up women customers.  We could grab half the market overnight.

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