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Old 03-09-16, 01:21 AM   #1
azteclady
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International Women's Day 2016/2017

Those who know me, know I'm a feminist--in the purest sense of the word: I want women not to be second class human beings.

I hope that, one day, the world will not need to make a special effort to celebrate entire swaths of the planet's population; that we won't need a Black History Month, or an Equality Now campaign; that having the first female president at an Ivy League University, or the first person of color in high office, will not be something we remember, and remark, and point to; because people of all types, and colors, and from all points of the gender spectrum, will have equal opportunities in reality and not just in paper.

This year, the theme for International Women's Day is Pledge for Parity.

I hope to come back to this thread and post links and quotes from articles and posts that highlight why feminism--the fight for equality across humanity--is still very much necessary.

Today, I leave you with this one.
There are the jokes about women, about wives, about mothers, about raising daughters, about female bosses. They are told in my presence by men who are meant to care about me, just to get a rise out of me, as though I am meant to find funny a reminder of my second-class status. I am meant to ignore that this is a bullying tactic, that the men telling these jokes derive their amusement specifically from knowing they upset me, piss me off, hurt me. They tell them and I can laugh, and they can thus feel superior, or I can not laugh, and they can thus feel superior. Heads they win, tails I lose. I am used as a prop in an ongoing game of patriarchal posturing, and then I am meant to believe it is true when some of the men who enjoy this sport, in which I am their pawn, tell me, "I love you." I love you, my daughter. I love you, my niece. I love you, my friend. I am meant to trust these words.

There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil's advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women's Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that's so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.
I hope, pray, really, that those of you who follow the link read it through, and then take a few minutes to reflect about it, before reacting.

If you identify as male, please allow me to reassure you: this is not an attack. We--women, feminists or not--are aware that not all men are misogynists, or evil, or hateful, or sexists, or racists, or asshats. Please, think about the people in your life who identify as female, or who are different (be it appearance, sexual orientation/identification, ability, religion, what-have-you), and think of them as the recipients--constantly, day in and day out--of these attitudes, these statements, these behaviours.

Would you, loving these people, dismiss their pain, and the disadvantages that being oblivious to the disparity in opportunities given to them by virtue of things beyond their control--such as gender--with an offhand, "get over it, it's not that bad"?
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Old 03-21-16, 03:10 PM   #2
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

This one is slightly tongue-in-cheek in its approach, but the author really captures the misogyny inherent on so much of our culture: not a good guy, but the quintessential Nice Guy (TM):
But re-reading Little Women this month, I realized with mounting alarm that as a potential romantic partner for Jo, Laurie isn’t a good guy; he is, in fact, a Nice Guy™. He’s the kind of guy who feels entitled to a woman’s affections because, unasked-for, he has given her his. He’s the kind of guy who uses his friendship with a woman as a cover for repeatedly violating her boundaries and ignoring her rejections. He’s the kind of guy who professes to respect a woman but places more importance on his desire than her feelings.

...

No. Stop. Don’t. I don’t like that. Go away.


The story of Laurie and Jo is not, as I had previously remembered, one of Jo seeming like she loves Laurie and making an out-of-left-field decision. It is very much in the field! Jo consistently indicates that she does not have feelings for Laurie, does not want him to flirt with her, and tries to prevent him from doing so every time he flirts with her. And he ignores her, again and again.

Allow me to repeat: the kind of guy who professes to respect a woman, but places more importance on his desire than her feelings.

Nice Guys (TM) are the guys who feel entitled to tell a woman they don't know to smile as she walks by. These are the guys who wonder why women are not grateful to be cat-called or groped. These are the guys who complain that the object of their affections doesn't automatically return them.

Because whatever these guys feel or intend, trumps whatever the women they are interacting with feel or want.
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Old 03-23-16, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Some of you reading this may know I read a lot of genre romance (that means, there's a happy ending--and not the one that lasts a few seconds, either).

Like all other genre fiction, there are certain tropes that appear frequently in my reading. As an example, in mysteries, we'll have the honest cop going against the corrupt powers-that-be; in science fiction, we'll have the ragtag band of outsiders saving the universe; in fantasy, we have the naive, honorable lad of humble origins who, natch, just happens to be a king...and so on and so forth.

In romance, a recurring trope is that of the hero being in love (or falling in love) with his best friend's little sister, which creates all sorts of issues--from repressed feelings to a rift between the erstwhile bros.

This trope has always made me wonder--first, I have three older brothers, and a ridiculous number of male first cousins, several of whom have been close friends forever. At one point, several of their male friends were dating several of our female cousins. Other than mocking their friends for showing interest in their female relations , there was little interest or reaction. In other words, I never saw that dynamic first hand, but it kept showing up in my fiction, and later on, I was told by friends that yes, it is a thing.

Which, okay then, I led a sheltered youth (hah).

However, I always wondered, why would a guy be angry with, indignant about, suspicious of a good friend--someone he, presumably, knows in and out, and therefore considers as good a man as himself?

Well, the following post explains it so clearly, I had to share. I re-typed it, exactly as it is in the tweet I saw, because I don't have access to photobucket at the moment:
This whole bro code things where if a guy dates his friend's sister he's betraying the friends is wild, you would think your sister dating your friend meant you didn't have to worry because he's someone you know and trust, but it just goes to show how all these bros know one another to be misogynistic and predatory and regularly exhibit that behavior around one another, and it's all fun and games and bros before hos until somebody hits on somebody's sister. Like, clearly you are aware that you are all gross to women but that's okay with you as long as you and your friends are targeting random women and no one is doing the same to your sister and mother? Why do women have to be related to you for it to occur to you to respect them? (source)
Yes, indeed, this makes all the sense.

Empathy? Only for my womenfolk--and there, it's more a matter of them being part of your self-image, than actually giving a good damn about them as human beings.
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Old 04-09-16, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Do you like graphs and statistical analysis based on data you can gather independently, and thus replicate the study and corroborate or debunk its results?

Then this wonderfully thorough analysis of the gender imbalance in the movie industry:
Lately, Hollywood has been taking so much shit for rampant sexism and racism. The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles.
But it’s all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion. How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity?

To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of lines for male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

Personally, I love that the authors of this study undertook what is, unarguably, a mammoth project of this kind, in response to what they consider valid criticism of a previous analysis of film's gender bias.
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Old 04-11-16, 05:24 PM   #5
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

The unacknowledged, but pretty damned real, 'motherhood penalty,' in an article on a major news outlet:
Taking median earnings of women and men who worked full time, year-round, government data from 2014 show that women make $0.79 for every dollar a man earns. The average earnings for working mothers come out to even less — $0.71 for every dollar a father makes, according to a 2014 study conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Children.

In a 2013 study, Mary Ann Mason, professor and co-director of the Center for Economics & Family Security at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, revealed some alarming outcomes for women in academia: Women graduate students who are pregnant or mothers with young children are 132 percent more likely to be working in a contingent position, while men with a young child are 36 percent less likely to be in a contingent position. Contingent positions are non-tenured, adjunct, or temporary jobs that are not secure.
This is why women keep asking for equality and parity--because, despite all the bloviating by (mostly white men) who are in positions of power, there is no parity, in salary or in how women are treated in the work place.

Mind you, like many other such articles, this one focuses on women in careers, not on the many women who work at the bottom of the work ladder, such as the food industry, retail, and other unskilled work, who are affected by this disparity to a ridiculous degree.

(Anecdata: I was a supervisor at a food franchise, and guys with little to no food service experience were hired, to be trained by me, making one to two dollars more than I was.)


Too many women with young children, whether single or not, are the main breadwinners in their households. However, regardless of how well they do their job, they tend to be underpaid (in a comparison with their male peers), and passed over for promotions or bonuses.

How do you think this affects generation after generation of people?
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Old 04-12-16, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Over at my blog, on posts that are not network-tv safe, I have discussed the prevalence of violence against women who dare express their opinions in public, and particularly online.

The Guardian, where comment threads often turn into cesspools, someone finally decided to examine how online abuse falls on the gender divide. Not surprisingly (for anyone who's been paying attention), the results confirm a prevalence of misogyny fueled by anonymity:
Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the “top 10”, one was Muslim and one Jewish.

And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men.
Please note that, again, significantly more abuse was heaped on women who dared--uppity wimminz!--have opinions on traditionally male-dominated spheres, like sports. Or those who dared speak about feminism, rape, misogyny... You get the idea, I hope.

edited to add: I forgot to mention that the meat of the article is below the graphs, and that you can see a full explanation of the methodology used in the analysis, by following the links provided in the body, and at the end, of the piece.
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Old 04-13-16, 09:49 PM   #7
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

I love it when my interests intersect, don't you?

Here's a very interesting, and long, interview with a very successful, very well known, historical romance author. Eloisa James has written a fair number of my 'keeper' romances (those books you'd take with you, if you had to flee something like, say, the zombie apocalypse).

She also happens to be a graduate of Harvard, Oxford and Yale, and a tenured Shakespeare professor (sorry, Maturin!) at Fordham University.

The interview is fairly long, so it's posted in two parts, here and here.

So, what does that have to do with this thread (feminism, equality, and all that jazz)? Lemme show you:
What are some the biggest challenges you've faced as a woman in your industry and how have you dealt with them?
I didn’t face many as a writer because romance is a women-driven industry, largely edited and written by women. However, I faced serious challenges as a Shakespeare professor. For many years it bothered me that my husband and I graduated from Yale in the same year, both getting jobs at the same level, and yet he started out several thousand dollars ahead of me. I was breastfeeding. I had 8 call backs as they are called, but I couldn't take them all as every one meant 3-4 days away from the baby. So I accepted the first job I could—which is what many women do. My husband didn't. He went ahead and got another couple jobs, even though he knew he wasn’t going to take them, and then he played the salary off each other. I didn't do that. If I hadn’t been breastfeeding, I might have gone ahead and tried for more jobs and then played them against each other, but I came up against a classic problem women face.
And that's just the beginning. Seriously, go read at least the full answer to that question, because this bit I'm quoting is barely a hint. From salary disparity to secret ballots, to what's expected from women, yet not rewarded, it hits all the points.
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Old 04-27-16, 02:22 AM   #8
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Women in several states in these USofA have to pay luxury taxes for items that do not meet the criteria for luxury. Things like tampons and sanitary pads are, for the immense majority of women, necessary--nay, indispensable--for at least a few days every month. Every month, for decades.

Women, particularly working women at every level, cannot say, 'hey, I don't need tampons/pads this month, I'll just put that money towards paying a debt, or in savings instead.'

And not only are the blasted things expensive to begin with, then to get hit with the luxury tax? Makes the blood boil.

Which is why this article made my evening:
“I wasn’t elected to represent just the men in my district. I was elected to represent the women, too,” Knezek pointed out. “And in a chamber where women only constitute 4 of the 38 Senators, I believe that obligates me to step up and demonstrate my unwavering support as an ally and as a feminist. I’ll never know what it’s like to have a period, but I listen to the women who do. They tell me this issue of unfair taxation is a problem for them. They tell me it disproportionately affects low income women. So, I try to do something about it. I don’t have to have lived the life of someone else to justify my support for them. If it’s right, it’s right.”
Go on, read it through--the last line? Bull's eye: "I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it's because men were making the laws when these taxes were passed." Color me utterly not surprised.
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Old 04-29-16, 07:25 PM   #9
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Have you ever heard of the 'woman card'?

It's that thing that MRAs* bring up every time a woman complains about harassment or discrimination; we women really don't know how good we have it, and take for granted all those nifty perks that come with having been born with a vagina.

Here, have a look at five such, very tangible, benefits.


*MRA: Men's Rights Activists (yes, because white males have been historically oppressed--why, they couldn't vote, or own property, or consent to use of their bodies for reproduction or sexual use, or...well, you get the gist)
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Old 05-06-16, 10:43 AM   #10
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Re: International Women's Day 2016

Elsewhere in the forum, I have posted Emma Watson's speech at the UN, to kick off the HeforShe campaign which, surprise!, asks men to participate in the movement to treat women as equal human beings as themselves.

Today, I want to share this interview/conversation between Emma Watson and Geena Davis, about the later's work on gender imbalance in media:
DAVIS: ... I just started asking my friends if they had noticed. None of them—feminists, mothers, daughters—noticed until I pointed it out. Then I decided to bring it up within the industry. I knew a lot of people, so I'd say, "Have you ever noticed how few female characters there are in kids movies?" when I met a director, a producer, whatever. And they said, "Oh, but that's not true anymore." Then they would name a movie with one female character as the proof that things had changed. [Watson laughs] My point was the world is missing female characters. A lot of times there is one female character, maybe even a cool one, maybe even an important one. But where are all the rest?"
...
DAVIS: I wish I knew who said it, but my favorite quote is, "If a person can do it, I can do it." Originally, when I read it, it was, "If a man can do it, I can do it." I said it to somebody at a press conference. A female reporter said, "Have you always felt this competitive with men? That you want to do whatever men can do?" [laughs] And I was like, "Is that what everybody else thinks that's what I meant?" So I say, "If a person can do it, I can do it." I believe it.
Preach it, Ms Davis!
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