when the status quo frustrates.

Domestic Violence

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

This post might potentially triggering to victims of domestic violence, or people who had to witness it. It also might suck, because my thoughts are a bit muddled and I’m trying to straighten them out via blogpost. For these reasons, I’m putting pretty much the whole thing below the fold.
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Today’s Giggle Moment

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Scholars of boys and men converged Wednesday at Wagner College, in Staten Island, N.Y., to announce the creation of the Foundation for Male Studies, which will support a conference and a journal targeted at exploring the triumphs and struggles of the XY-chromosomed of the human race — without needing to contextualize their ideas as being one half of a male-female binary or an offshoot of feminist theory.

…I read that sentence like, three times in a row and it still made no sense to me…so I hadn’t reached the giggle moment yet–

More than anything else, the event was a chance for supporters to frame men and boys as an underrepresented minority

THERE WE GO! :D

Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, said the field takes its cues “from the notion that male and female organisms really are different”…The culprit, said Tiger, is feminism: “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”

Paul Nathanson, a researcher in religious studies at McGill University and co-author of a series of books on misandry — the hatred of men and boys — conceded that “there is some critique of feminism that’s going to be involved” in male studies. “There are some fundamental features of ideological feminism over the last 30 or 40 years that we need to question.”

He also decried “the institutionalization of misandry” which, he said, is “being generated by feminists, [though] not all feminists.”

Um…so basically what this is is the creation of the Foundation for Anti-Feminist Studies…it’s not really about men at all, is it? It’s Feminism Sucks 101! Which is why, truly, these folks are not calling their bullshit Men’s Studies, because, uh. Men’s Studies (an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning men, masculinity, gender, and politics) already exists and has existed for the past 30 years.

Male studies’ combative tone toward feminism and women’s studies programs is one reason why Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, turned down an invitation to speak at the event.

Yeah, I don’t suppose he’s too crazy about the idea of his actual, real academic discipline getting associated with a hate movement.

Edward Stevens, chair of the On Step Institute for Mental Health Research, said he wants to see male studies search for ways to improve male academic performance. “What are the ethical concerns of devoting 90 percent of resources to one gender?” he asked (though without explaining exactly what he meant).

LOL, seriously! which gender is that and how can I join up? Cuz that doesn’t describe either of the genders that I’m familiar with…this is SO funny! And amazing that anybody would want to waste their one-and-only adult life on this kind of crap, either founding it or, er, “studying” it. The Westboro Baptist Church, Ann Coulter, “Male” Studies…it takes all kinds…what would a deck of cards be without the jokers? I mean, I’ve never actually played a game of cards in which the jokers were ever used but I’d have missed them if they weren’t there in the deck when I pulled it out of the box! If I even noticed they weren’t there in the first place, I would SO miss ‘em! :D

Okay, This Is Ridiculous

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I have kept my mouth shut about this…til now. But this is really the outside of enough, folks. I mean, come ON!

Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars

(CNN) — If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year,

Let me note now that I breastfed both my children til each one was a year old and breastfed exclusively through the first four months, so my absolute disgust with this article is in no way some kinda guilt-fueled defensive huffiness. I was a good little Mommie! I saved nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year! (I could use some of that money right now too, thanks–drop me an email, whoever is holding onto that?)

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Time to Hurl

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I’m sure everybody remembers this:

Aww, that’s such a romantic pict–! hmm, wait. Isn’t that guy about twenty years older than that barely pubescent girl..? I mean, I can see some serious crepe-like flesh going on under that manly-man jawline there–oh, well, it’s not like even the most superficial perusal of internet porn won’t immediately inform you that “barely legal” is an overwhelmingly common male fanta–uh, wait again. Is that hairy old dude that sweet little sex kitten is being manfully embraced by HER DAD–?

Now, now, maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe this is really meant to portray the pure innocence and beauty of the father-daughter bond, and I just have a dirty, corrupt mind. I’m sure another picture from the very same photo shoot will absolutely clear up any doubt I could possibly have about the theme of this particular series of Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus publicity photos–

Yep, that definitely cleared that up.

But this is old news! The new news is that the sexualization of children shown above is apparently way, way too subtle. The message has not been gotten across, dammit! And Billy Ray Cyrus clearly ain’t gonna let that happen. You know, he has another daughter, and to eliminate the confusing nature of using the daughter that might have actually entered puberty sometime around the date of the photo shoot, this one is clearly nowhere near even the beginnings of sexual maturation.

Because 9-year-olds need a sexy line of lingerie!

..little 9-year-old Noah Cyrus is set to become a lingerie model.

She’ll be teaming up with her pint-sized best friend Emily Grace to launch a children’s lingerie collection for ‘Ohh! La, La! Couture’.

The company’s website describes The Emily Grace Collection as having a “trendy, sweet, yet edgy feel, reminiscent of Emily’s true personality.”

Emily’s collection will appeal not just to little girls – the line also has an exclusive Teen Collection available to a size 14.

Goodness, I suspect you’re right about that. This collection won’t just appeal to little girls.

Ooh The Hypocrisy, It Burns!

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Jon strikes again. :D (via)

(Jon does also take on ACORN, pretty hilariously, here.)

Polanski arrest worse than Nazi aid

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A woman named Joan Z. Shore from Belgium founded an organization called Women Overseas for Equality. Sounds like a good thing, right? I mean, I tend to be for equality whether or not you and I are separated by large bodies of water, but unless she’s straight-up old-school colonialist about it, I can endorse being concerned about the combination of Women, Equality, and Oversea-ness.

Now, last I checked, America was overseas from Belgium. And it has women in it. And sometimes those women are raped by famous movie directors who flee the country when a judge catches that person acting like an a-hole after making a plea deal that will get him off scot free.

Now, I could be completely hammer-to-the-head insane, but doesn’t it seem like “equality” is meant as a synonym for “justice,” and that justice for a woman who is raped is, at the very least, to see her attacker brought to justice? I realize Polanski’s victim just wants the case gone, but there’s also the question of the broader social implication of just letting rape go if you’re famous and rich enough to evade the law for a couple decades. That doesn’t seem like much equality to me.

Apparently Joan Z. Shore disagrees. But before we get into that, let’s be clear about something: The Swiss used to be cool.

I used to admire [The Swiss] — their clean, orderly, decorous way of life. Their stubborn independence and self-reliance. I forgave them for the years they never joined the United Nations, and even now, not joining the European Union.

I always love talking about a nation’s people like they’re identical beings popped right off the national assembly line. Who doesn’t love the Borg?

There was so much affection wafting from Shore towards the Swiss that she even waived the Wand of Dismissal o’er the Swiss collaboration with Nazi Germany:

When I learned, years ago, that they had blithely allowed German military trains to transit their country during the Second World War, while claiming Swiss “neutrality,” I was shocked, but tried to excuse them on grounds that they were protecting their country from invasion and armed warfare.

But now? This Roman Polanski extradition is, objectively, the most heinous act in the history of the multiverse.

Arresting Roman Polanski the other day in Zurich, where he was to receive an honorary award at a film festival, was disgraceful and unjustifiable. Polanski, now 76, has been living in France for over thirty years, and has been traveling and working in Europe unhindered, but the Swiss acted on an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and seized him!

So, we have understandable Nazi compliance, but “disgusting and unjustifiable” extradition of an admitted rapist escaping punishment. This seems like a clear-headed view of the situation.

Making this an even more sensitive equivocation by Ms. Shore, Polanski was a Holocaust refugee. I wonder what he’d say if you put this question to Polanski himself: is it easier to forgive a country for turning over a wanted criminal or for letting the Nazis ship troops and supplies on its railways?

I won’t answer for him, but I will say this: Switzerland may be brought to their knees by Shore’s uber-classy, enlightened call to action.

I suggest, in the finest American tradition, we protest this absurd and deplorable act by smashing our cuckoo clocks, pawning our Swiss watches, and banning Swiss cheese and chocolate.

And let them yodel all they like.

Sounds like a person totally invested in equality to me.

When Your Male Privilege Stops Applying To Your Situation, It Goes Beyond Inconvenient, Doesn’t It?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I had seen this post by Melissa MacEwan of Shakeville before Hugo wrote about it, but I hadn’t been aware of her follow-up post til he linked to it. Basically, her emphasis in her follow-up post and Hugo’s primary message in his own were the same–in their own words:

Melissa: Feminist men who do the right thing often do it quietly, while misogynist men spew their rubbish at incredible volumes…If, my esteemed male feminist allies, you don’t want to be part of the problem, these fights have got to be your province, too. Giving yourselves the permission to not get publicly involved, or to get publicly involved only when it’s convenient and not all that risky and not all that hard, is the ultimate expression of privilege.

Hugo: I was able to assent intellectually to the principles of feminism long before I was courageous enough to espouse them in potentially hostile settings. I had to take baby steps. Identifying as a feminist in a women’s studies class came before identifying as a feminist in an all-male environment. But I felt a sense of urgency; it is male privilege that allows feminist men to pick and choose to join battles into which women are regularly drafted against their will. If we’re serious about our feminism, we can’t just be allies when it’s safe or convenient, we can’t merely offer soothing reassurance in private to the women in our lives. We’ve got to do it as publicly as possible, remembering that our primary usefulness to the egalitarian cause lies in our willingness to model publicly a different way of living as brothers, fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, bosses, students, roommates, coworkers and friends.

(emphasis on convenient mine)

Certainly this is something I’ve thought about before–even written about, rather passionately–grounded as it is in the unavoidable knowledge that women will never achieve true equality if we can’t get more than 50% of the human race on board with that as a basic societal truth. But seeing Hugo write about it made me pause for a second, because Hugo is, after all, a man…who apparently doesn’t entirely know what he’s talking about. Not when it comes to being a man representing feminism, or even anything remotely like feminism, in an all-male environment…a hostile setting.

I used to be pretty close to someone, a man, who had spent nearly 20 years in the military by the time I knew him. When he was 19 years old, he was stationed in Korea. Now, nobody in the Army brought his family over to Korea then; the Army wouldn’t pay for it and there was no real housing available there for family, schools for the kids, etc. Few Army women were sent to Korea, as nearly all the military specialties over there were either combat arms (outright banned to women) or very closely combat arms-related, in which there weren’t too many women serving to begin with. In short, it was essentially an “all-male environment”–not just for a few hours a day every few days or so, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And as anyone who has either been stationed there himself or has been very close to someone who has been stationed there knows, the standard operating procedure was for all the guys to go out together at night, get hammered, and patronize prostitutes.

Now, my friend was not particularly feminist–certainly not at age 19. But he didn’t want to patronize prostitutes. He’d only had sex a few times in his life period prior to being stationed in Korea; he was, he told me, frightened and repelled by the idea of doing it with a prostitute, just like that. His stint in Korea was only a month long–it was a training exercise–so, he said, he did manage to avoid having to do it–though both he and I doubted that he would have been able to continue to successfully refuse if he’d been stationed there for the standard 12-month Army rotation.

Because I don’t think Hugo and Melissa really know what a hostile all-male setting really consists of, sometimes, especially to a five-foot-nine inch, 140 pound, 19 year old boy. Like this*:

A Youth Radio investigation has found that between 2004 and 2006, sailors in the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain Military Working Dogs Division, or “The Kennel,” were subjected to an atmosphere of sexual harassment, psychological humiliation, and physical assaults.

It was inside that Bahrain kennel in July 2005 that Petty Officer Joseph Christopher Rocha, then 19 years old, says he was being terrorized by other members of his own division. “I was hog-tied to a chair, rolled around the base, left in a dog kennel that had feces spread in it.”

Rocha says that beginning six weeks into his deployment, he was singled out for abuse by his chief master-at-arms, Michael Toussaint, and others on the base, once Rocha made it clear he was not interested in prostitutes. “I was in a very small testosterone-driven unit of men,” Rocha says. “I think that’s what began the questioning-you know-‘Why don’t you want to have sex with her? Are you a faggot?’”

Youth Radio has conducted interviews and obtained documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showing that the hog-tying episode was not the first or only case of harassment and abuse during Rocha’s deployment. In another incident cited in the documents, Rocha was forced to appear in a twisted “training video.” A member of the Working Dogs Division, Petty Officer Shaun Hogan, recalls the scene.

“Petty Officer Rocha and another junior sailor…were instructed to go into a classroom by Chief Michael Toussaint, who orchestrated the entire training. And Chief Toussaint asked them to simulate homosexual sex on a couch,” Hogan says.

Next in the simulation, Hogan says a handler and his dog barged onto the scene, and that’s when “one person…would sit up, kind of wipe off their mouth, the other would get up, and they would be fixing their fly.”

Rocha says Toussaint bullied him, “telling me I needed to be more believable, act more queer, have a higher pitched voice, make the sounds and gestures more realistic…I didn’t think I had a choice…It made me feel that I wasn’t a human being, that I was an animal, rather.”

Youth Radio has obtained a copy of both Braden’s investigation and the Navy’s Findings of Fact, which detail what happened to Rocha, in addition to incidents involving other service members. The FOIA documents have been redacted, so names are blocked out, but the actions listed include: throwing hard balls at the groin, spraying down uniformed personnel with multiple hoses, and a dog attacking a sex worker on base to the point of hospitalization.

Youth Radio’s investigation includes interviewing four members of the Bahrain Working Dogs Division who served between 2004 and 2006. All say the tone was set by Chief Toussaint. Some sailors participated in the culture of hazing as victims, others as perpetrators, or in some cases both.

When discussing his own Korea experience with my friend, I suggested that it might have been different if he’d been sent there as a sergeant in his 30′s rather than as a scared private of 19–he laughed and agreed: “Oh my God yeah…I wish I could go back there now…and this time they’d be like, ‘What’s wrong with you, man? Are you gay?’ and I’d be like, ‘That’s right, not only am I gay…I am THE gay**!’” But that’s now…as a mature adult man who has been to war and seen terrible things, who has the full growth and strength of a male in his physical prime, who has had enough sex of his own choosing to feel comfortable and confident in his own sexuality–and also, as a man with the authority of a senior noncommissioned officer’s rank.

I was in the Army myself, at age 18, in a heavily male environment–I know exactly what that’s like. There is no way in hell you could reasonably expect any of those boys to buck the system, and no, not just because they would be called names, or ostracized–they would be at serious risk of physical and sexual assault…just like I would have been if I’d ever made waves myself. And no feminist alive would have expected me to open my mouth and speak out under those circumstances. Male privilege doesn’t exist anymore when everyone in the group is already male, does it..?

So Hugo’s and Melissa’s messages are important…but they are lacking context. Which would be the privilege of never having served in our glorious Armed Forces, I would imagine. If you really want to advance the cause of feminism, first you’re going to push to make those spaces safe for the young men inhabiting them. That must come first, or you will never accomplish anything real and lasting in terms of encouraging young men to speak up for gender equality. And for God’s sake don’t trivialize a situation you can’t or won’t understand by calling it inconvenient…haven’t we had enough of that from the anti-choicers?

*via Pam

**He’s heterosexual, I should mention–you get his point, though.

Common Ground with the Violent

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

As Amanda reminds us here and here, the notion of a reasoned debate, of consensus morality, of civilized human interaction vanishes and is impossible to recover when the “conversation” takes place with a gun in the room.  There are no proponents of state-mandated birth, no matter how deep their armchairs, that can claim a non-violent stand.  Besides whispering a prayer when an honorable and compassionate human being is murdered, they also dedicate their time, money, and social clout to electing anti-choice “conservatives.”

This act is both cowardly and aggressive.  Pro-forced birth proponents may not be willing to kick in a door, interrupt a medical procedure and incarcerate a woman until she gives birth against her will.  They would, however, clap with psychotic glee as the police point guns at women to ‘save unborn lives.’

How can anybody imagine that “common ground” can be found between people seeking the most basic recognition of their humanity and a throng of mystics begging and pleading for the state to enforce their preference that women bear children at all costs and against their will?  Can anyone expect a reasoned debate about the moral nature of anything when one side is willing to detain, imprison or kill the other and those that aid them?

Anti-choice’ers take cover behind the illusion of civil discourse in an attempt to hide the barbaric means that they employ.  They are given a pass because they do not pull the trigger themselves but “vote” for others to point the guns.

The spokespeople for the anti-choice movement cannot condemn outright the actions of a lunatic who murders a doctor.  That is exactly the penalty they want imposed if a doctor refuses to obey their preferences.

Before feminism, men hardly ever hit women, and on the rare occasions that they did, everybody was outraged by it and blamed the man.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Piggybacking off violet’s post.

It took a few readings, but I finally figured out that the above statement is the thesis of Kathryn Jean Lopez’s article “What Feminism Wrought.” I’m not sure if it took me so long to figure that out because of the incoherent, disjointed way the author was trying to get that central idea across or because that central idea is so impossible to seriously assign to any reasonably well-educated, literate person. However, I finally Got It.

On the off-chance that the above masterpiece of journalistic commentary is the very first article read by an alien that crash-landed on Earth five minutes earlier and is desperately trying to assimilate enough of our history and culture to “pass” as an Earthling while he scavenges parts to repair his flying saucer, I am providing the following:

(Actual, real historical and cultural information about the frequency of men hitting women in pre-feminist western European culture and how men hitting women was actually regarded by those contemporaries.)

Enjoy.

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Feminism is to blame for this, of course.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

According to an article in the Boston Globe, an informal poll taken among 200 teenagers has revealed that almost half of them blame the pop star Rihanna for her recent beating, allegedly by her boyfriend, Chris Brown.

It’s just one survey. But it’s very bad news. And feminists are to blame.—Kathryn Jean Lopez, “What Feminism Wrought”, National Review Online

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I Haz Tiny Little Gurlz Feet

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Photobucket

My new job is at a construction site, and my old steel-toed non-slip workboots had finally given up the ghost after seven years of hard use. Now, I got those old boots via my first company out of college, which simply passed around a mail-order catalogue to its new hires with the allowed makes and models circled; we just picked out our own size in our preferred color or style and voila! two weeks later–workboots. The set of workboots I owned prior to that had been issued to me by the Army…you see a trend here..? In short, I did not realize what an ordeal buying my own steel-toed, non-slip workboots was going to be.

Now, I am not an unusually small woman. I am five feet eight inches tall, with a medium build and average bone structure. My feet are a very generic women’s standard width American size 8. I rarely to never have real trouble finding shoes I want or need that fit my feet, regardless of whether we are talking athletic shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes–you name it. The picture captioning this blog? I had no trouble at all finding a pair of those kind of boots that fit, as you can see.

After having spent the afternoon shopping for a new pair of steel-toed non-slip workboots, I am being forced to come to one of the following conclusions:

1. Women do not work on construction sites.
2. Men are vetted for construction jobs based on shoe size.
3. Gender stereotyping by the retail industry is alive and well.

I found exactly one line of steel-toed non-slip footgear for women, charmingly referred to as the “Amy” line; however, they are not boots. They are what is known as “factory shoes,” which are fine for manufacturing floors but not for construction sites–essentially, they’re not boots; they look like running shoes.

So, I was finally forced to buy the absolute smallest size workboot I could find, which is a men’s size 7. Whatever my foot size is in men’s boots, it is shorter by at least an inch than a men’s size 7–but I can keep the damn things on, at least, and that’s clearly the best I am going to be able to do on short notice. I’ve put in an e-mail to a friend of mine who works in the safety department of a previous job, who will hopefully provide me with some links to online ordering companies specializing in steel-toed non-slip workboots like whatever company it was that provided the boots for my first job out of college. But since I need these boots next week, for now, I am stuck with boots that do not fit and will probably rub my feet raw and fail to contribute to my gracefulness in navigating trip hazards on the construction site.

<—-pissed OFF!

When Pity Is Warring With Disgust

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

First of all, I would like to say that I don’t read Townhall. The only reason I even knew this article existed was because Jesse at Pandagon blogged about it. I may even leave a nastygram on his Facebook page in revenge, because this is about the most pathetic, icky article disguised as a holiday concern ooze that I have read all month.

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