Reporting What Women Do

What if for just one year, the media reported 90% of the time what women were doing instead of, as is now the case, what men are doing?

Not because what women do is better, or more newsworthy, but just to see how it would change our outlook, our world view. 

The news might be more boring.  But then, hey, what does that say? 

It would likely involve a lot less death and destruction.  Ditto. 

It probably would have less to do with money.  Again…

Our Androcentric Culture, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

So I’m reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Our Androcentric Culture…(yeah, same Gilman who wrote The Yellow Wallpaper and Herland…both highly recommended) – a few bits below…

“Advocates of football, for instance, proudly claim that it fits a man for life.  Life–from the wholly male point of view–is a battle, with a prize.  …This is an archaism which would be laughable if it were not so dangerous in its effects.  … The valuable processes today are those of invention, discovery, all grades of industry, and, most especially needed, the capacity for honest service and administration of our immense advantages.  These are not learned on the football field. … ”  (p39-40)

“An unforgettable instance of this lies int he attitude of the medical colleges toward women students.  The men, strong enough, one would think, in numbers, in knowledge, in established precedent, to be generous, opposed the newcomers first with absolute refusal; then, when the patient, persistent applicants did get inside, both students and teachers met them not only with unkindness and unfairness, but with a weapon ingeniously well chosen, and most discreditable–namely, obscenity.  Grave professors, in lecture and clinic, as well as grinning students, used offensive language, and played offensive tricks, to drive the women out …” (p50).

And today? Have things changed?  You bet.  Now they’re chanting “‘No’ means ‘Yes’; ‘Yes’ means ‘Anal’!”








On the Radfem Doctrine of Separatism

Here’s the thing.  Men are already separatists.  (So really we have no choice.)

Men already exclude women from anything, everything, important.  (Any inclusion is tokenism: a false symbol, a PR move.)

Men already refuse to get involved with ‘women’s issues’, whether personal or political.  That feminism itself is considered a special interest thing indicates that.  (It shouldn’t be.  And it wouldn’t be if ‘women’s issues’ were typically included in ‘issues’.  That we have to establish them as ‘add-ons’ proves that ‘issues’ are really ‘men’s issues’.  See?  Separatism.)

A must read –

Just finishing Esme Dodderidge’s The New Gulliver – a must read!!!  (a subtle but thorough reversal…)

Why aren’t there any great women Xs?

A new (for me) answer to the classic question, Why aren’t there any great women Xs, occurred to me when I saw a website for a small company of composers specializing in music for dance troupes (all four composers were male) shortly after a male friend of mine confessed that if he wasn’t getting paid to do it (write a book – he’s an academic with a university position), he probably wouldn’t, and another male friend confessed confusion at the idea of composing something just out of his soul (everything he’d written had been for pay – soundtracks for video games and what have you). Until then, the answer to that age-old question seemed to go to merit and/or opportunity.  Now I’m thinking it goes to money.

How many of those great-man achievements would have occurred if they had to have been done on their own time at home?  Discoveries, inventions – they’re done on company time at work.  When my friend works on his book, it’s just part of his job.  All those great men, who we know to be great because of the prizes they win, the fame they garner – they get those prizes and that fame for just doing their job.  And those prizes and that fame is in addition to the pay they’ve already received for whatever it is they’ve done.

In addition to the motivation factor (if they weren’t getting paid, they wouldn’t put in the time, the effort, that, occasionally has led to great things), there’s also the legimitizing factor: payment for your work is the stamp of quality – consider the dual meanings of ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’.  So even if you do make a great discovery or write a great book on your own time at home, no one will recognize it as such; getting paid for it is prerequisite for its identification as great.

And it doesn’t hurt that when you’re in a paid position, you have access to resources, such as a lab or a studio, that you probably otherwise don’t have.

And here’s the thing: men have, in far greater proportion than women, held paying jobs and received commissions; they’re the ones who have been getting paid for their time, their effort, their work.*  The work that sometimes leads to greatness.

*And why is that so?  One could say that women don’t get the jobs or the commissions because they’re not as good – it could come back to merit after all.  But we know that’s simply not true. 

It might come back to opportunity though: the people who get the jobs and the commissions are the ones in the boy’s club – being male (still) increases the opportunities to land the money, status, and resources of a job/commission (the people who are in a position to pay, the people with money, are men, not women, and men are more apt to hire other men than they are to hire women, unless they’re after some political correct currency).

But even the individual entrepreneurs, the guys who set up their own company to provide music for dance groups, for example — why is it that men, so much more often than women, have not just jobs, but careers?  Because that’s been their role.  They’re supposed to make a living.  Women are supposed to make a home. They’re supposed to support their family. Women are supposed to make that family.  Also, I think somehow men find out how to turn jobs into careers.  I don’t know how they do, but they do.  Perhaps it’s simply because their social network is more apt to include someone who has done just that, or perhaps it’s because they get informal mentoring more often than women.  But show me two composers, one a man and the other a woman, and I’ll bet it’s only the man who thinks to get some buddies and form a company.  (The woman is composing for free, giving her music away, to school groups or church groups or friends…)

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

Men who need Mom to clean up after them

I spend a lot of time walking on the dirt roads near by place, as well as on the old logging roads through the forest.  Twice a year, I take a large garbage bag with me to pick up the litter – mostly beer cans and fast food containers, but often whole plastic bags of garbage have been tossed in among the trees.  (Lately, I’ve had to take two large garbage bags.)

I typically wait until the fall, because it seems the summer people litter more than those of us who live here, and I typically wait until after the spring hunt, because it seems the hunters leave quite a bit of trash.

I have always suspected that men litter more than women, and I’ve come across a statistic supporting my hunch: males do 72% of deliberate littering and are responsible for 96% of accidental littering (

Why is this so?  I think it’s because ‘cleaning up after’ is seen as a woman’s task.  This thought occurred to me when one guy slowed down as he passed me in his truck, while I was on one of my litter pick-up walks, and called out, “Good girl! Good to see you’re good for something!”*  After all, wasn’t it Mom who cleaned up after them when they were kids?  (Mom did the cleaning; Dad did the fixing.)  Of course the generalization from Mom to all women is a mistake: “Mom cleaned up after me, Mom is a woman, so women should clean up after me” is the same as “Princess is a kitten, Princess is white, so white things are/should be kittens”.  But I doubt these morons can think in a — well, I doubt these morons can think.

Of course a mistake is made too in thinking that when you’re old enough to drink beer and buy your own fast food, you’re still a kid who needs Mom or a woman to clean up after you.  (No, wait, I’m making the mistake there – I’m confusing chronological age with developmental age.)

*Another man explained that no, that wasn’t it; the guy in the pick-up thought that since I was a lesbian (aren’t you?), I wasn’t fuckable.  That is, I was useless, good for nothin’.  That’s what his comment was all about.

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

Brilliant Piece – “Little Women, Big Men” – check it out!

“…what many unthreateningly call “the male ego” (an inadequate term to describe the drive behind men’s collective undermining of women)…” – one of the many brilliant lines in “Little Women, Big Men: Sexism and the Language of Size” by Andrea Safran.

What do you want me to say?

“What do you want me to say?” your pre-Nigel, Nigel, or ex-Nigel says helplessly, having obviously said the wrong thing, again.  “Just tell me what to say and I’ll say it.”

I want you to say what you think.  And if I don’t agree with it, then I’m outta here.  It’s that simple.  (Because why would I want a relationship, a friendship, with someone with whom I don’t agree?  On the important things.  Maybe even on the unimportant things.)

Why is it so hard for so many men to just say what they really think?  Because they don’t know.  They are so supremely unaccustomed to introspection. 

Because, in any case, the truth is irrelevant, useless.  That’s why it’s so difficult for them to know what to say.  “What do you want me to say?” means “What lies will work here?” 

They think that their relationship with you is all, and only, about sexual access, recreational and reproductive.  And they’re willing to say whatever it takes to get that access.  To seduce is to manipulate.  (If the woman really wanted you, you wouldn’t have to seduce her.  You wouldn’t have to manipulate her.)

And guys, if that’s how you get a date, a girlfriend, a wife—by figuring out ‘the right thing’ to say— are you really surprised that it doesn’t last?  That one day she realizes you’re bullshit through and through, have been since the beginning?

Brunettes, Blondes, and Redheads

So the other day I started reading Iron Shadows by Steven Barnes. He’s apparently a bestselling author. Which is really disturbing.

Because four sentences in, he describes a woman as “a small wiry brunette”. Seriously? Does anyone actually identify women by their hair colour any more? That’s so—1940s. Isn’t it? I check. The book’s copyright is 1998. Okay. Guess not. Guess the tradition of objectifying women lives on.

We don’t do that with men. We don’t objectify them by their hair colour (or anything else, for that matter). Their hair colour for godsake. She’s a brunette. Or a blonde. Or a redhead. As if all women with brown hair are what, interchangeable? Because they’re completely defined by—-the colour of their hair?

Not only that, but he had to mention her size. Small. Of course. If she’s going to be a heroine, she has to be small. I’m surprised he didn’t tell us how large her breasts are.

And whereas she’s small, he’s “enormous”. Of course he is.

Could we just reverse the description with nothing odd happening, that test for sexism? “The man, a small, wiry brunette with an ugly bruise on his left cheek, wore a yellow unisex utility uniform. The woman was enormous, but barely conscious.” Not only do you find it odd to hear a man called “a small, wiry brunette”, you no doubt found it a bit disgusting to hear the woman called “enormous”.

I am, goddammit, still a little forgiving, so I read on.

But the very next woman—or maybe it’s the same woman, since the next bit happens two months earlier—the very next woman “nibbles” on dry wheat toast. Because we can’t have a woman actually eating with guilt-free enthusiasm.

And she has “an oval face framed by a cascade of small soft blonde ringlets”. Small again. And soft. And blonde. And ringlets. Ringlets?!

In case we missed it, “Her habit of peering out from behind them sometimes made her resemble a mischievous child peeking through a fence.”

In 1998. And published by Tor.

No wonder women can’t get published. As long as this insulting crap is deemed worthy. Is bestselling.

When will men finally get it? When will they finally get it right?

Robert J. Sawyer. He’s the only one. The only male sf writer who’s smart enough to create a non-sexist world.

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

Grey’s Anatomy, Flashpoint, and Who knows how many others (I don’t – and this is why)

Why didn’t Bailey get the Chief of Surgery position? 

For the same reason Ed jokingly says to Greg, when he questions his rank, “Should I get you a dress?”—and they both laugh. 

Because in 2012 being a woman is (still) (STILL!) (STILL!) (STILL!) being subordinate.

I love that on Grey’s Anatomy,* so many main characters, surgeons every one of them – are women.  Actually they outnumber the men.  8:6.  And yet Owen gets the Chief position.  Richard, then Derek, then Owen.  3 of the 6 men get to be Chief.  0 of the 8 women.  Bailey’s been there longer than Owen.  And longer than Sloan, the other contender.  And yeah, okay, Kepner got the Chief Resident position even though she was there longer than Karev, but he didn’t want it.  (And we see it primarily a position of responsibility, not power.)  At one point, the Chief (Webber) said he was grooming Bailey for Chief of Surgery—what happened? 

And Sam gets to be team leader in Ed’s absence.  Not Jules.  Again, she has more seniority on the team.  And is just as competent (if not more so—she can shoot and she can negotiate a crisis).

This is why I stick to my Murphy Brown and Commander-in-Chief reruns.

(We’re going in the wrong direction, people.)  (And just when did we turn around?)

*And I LOVE that Christina does NOT want kids and is sticking to it with such integrity.  Which makes the subordination of Bailey even more upsetting.

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

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