Thursday, September 29, 2011

Women Had It Better in the Sixties? Yeah Okay

I just read an article from the Huffington Post entitled "Women Had It Better in the Sixties." Written by Anna David, the article is pretty indicative of how people often use piss poor arguments in order to discredit entire social movements and how faceless "feminists" are often mentioned but never named.

From the article:
When I first picked up "Sex and the Single Girl," I assumed that since it was published in 1962 and written by Helen Gurley Brown, a woman famous for crafting cover lines about the 500 best ways to give blow jobs, it would be filled with a lot of antiquated and crass crap.

I was wrong.

Or rather I was partially wrong. There's antiquated stuff in there (a "homosexual" isn't "really a man," a woman shouldn't cook a guy a meal until he's taken her out 20 times -- take your pick) and her suggestion that single women should keep married men around as "pets" certainly qualifies as crass. But rather than being singularly focused on how women need to do everything in their power to try to land a man, her main point seemed to be that we should celebrate our singlehood. And I actually think that's a far better message than a lot of what the standard issue feminists today are saying.

...To be honest, I'm bored silly by the so-called empowering women out there today, who seem to be either full of crap entirely, far more into self-promotion than they are into women-promotion, or hiding their other issues under the umbrella of feminism. (When I did a story with another writer for a magazine that wanted to shoot us rather scantily clad, the other writer pitched a fit, saying that she was a feminist and dressing sexy for a photo would be exploitative; after she left, everyone agreed that her real issue was with her weight and body in general. But why admit that when you can just lean on good old feminism instead?)

I say, rather than going around talking about how new TV shows glamorize something few actually believe is glamorous or getting hysterical about how not enough women are allowed to write op-eds or parading through the streets topless in order to protest the double standard, we should be talking about the way women are truly exploited today: the fact that we're consistently told that we're "desperate" and "lonely" if we're single. We should be fighting to change the perception that being smart and successful -- achieving all those things that these feminists are continuing to fight for -- actually makes us less appealing as partners.

I think most of what today's "feminists" do is at best a waste of everyone's time and at worst a dangerous distraction from where we really should be focusing. So I say that everyone else can have their Gloria Steinems and Susan Estrichs. I'll take Helen Gurley Brown, a woman who managed to become one of the highest paid copywriters in America without ever feeling like she had to burn a bra or de-sexualize herself for a photo.

But I actually think that things are worse for us in many ways than they were in Helen's time. Back then, girls either did or didn't sleep around and most didn't. But I was raised at the tail end of women's lib and told that I could do whatever I wanted. And yet there's no denying the fact that a lot of sexual encounters I've had have left me feeling ashamed. Sure, there have been obvious shame-inducers -- like the guy who told me that because of the structure of a woman's body, a man needed to feel like he really knew a woman in order to perform oral sex but the reverse wasn't true because "that version of the act just isn't as intimate." But a man doesn't need to say something like that for a woman to reproach herself -- many feel shame whenever they spread their legs outside of a deeply serious relationship.

...But the worst news of all is that having it all doesn't ensure us any kind of safety or security today. Our husbands can still cheat on us and abandon us for flight attendants. Our having carved our way into alleged equality doesn't spare us from potential humiliation and abandonment. Just ask Huma Abedin, a woman who, when her husband was busted for his crotch shots, was consistently accused of having married for the wrong reasons -- as if his activities were somehow her fault.

We know that men are dumber today -- fewer are going to college and there are more women than men in medical school. But are women, too? And if we're not, what, then, is the word to describe the fact that our so-called advocates go around making a stink about issues that don't matter -- that have been focused on plenty already or are just plain ridiculous -- instead of talking about the ways we're truly being exploited?
First of all, who are these self-serving feminists and what are these unimportant issues that are stopping David from having guilt free sex? She just wants to feel good about being single dammit and all that talk about sexual assault and work equality are boring her. And while I don't usually like to get my feminism from a woman whose first response is to criticize another woman's looks or uses intellectually lazy comments like "hysterical" that reinforce the attempt to discredit women's concerns by painting them as overly emotional, what do I know?

Seriously, this is some of the worst drivel I've read in a while. You don't even have to try with David. Basically she's upset that men don't find her success attractive and that her value is based heavily on how attractive she is. Instead of recognizing the vicious cycle for what it is though, David blames other women for her struggles (with not only men but her sexual life as well). But why admit that when you can just lean on good old feminism instead? (See what I did there?) We're only supposed to care about the issues David finds important and apparently all issues begin and end with her ability to get a man. Way to shock us with something new there David.

The way David paints men is also problematic. Men are dumb and incapable of being attracted to successful women? I don't know who burned David in the past, but you owe us all one now buddy.

The best thing about this article though is how it's brought many women who lived in the 60s into the conversation. Talking about sexism and the difficulty most women faced when trying to control any facet of their lives, from birth control to getting an apartment as a single woman, was really interesting.

Here's a comment from Renee Florsheim:
The whole reason that Helen Gurley Brown was controvers­ial in the 1960s was that most women could NOT "celebrate their singlehood­". The options for most of us were pretty limited. Because I was smart, it was assumed that I would be a teacher or a librarian for a while - until I got married. The choices for our daughters and granddaugh­ters are nearly unlimited. THAT's what feminism is all about - choice, which we didn't have in those days. We can also agree to be kind to other women, rather than in catty competitio­n with them for the few good men. Your nasty comments about the other author were pre-1970's­, gossipy, and uncalled-f­or. The fact that others with whom you sat around gossiping after she left agreed with you doesn't make it so. In 2011, she had a choice as to whether she wore revealing clothing, for whatever reason she chose!
David doesn't even consider the 60s for anyone other than straight white women looking for marriage. I bet she'd fit right in.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I know I'm being a bad blog mistress, but I've been in a funk lately. Actually, Ryan's been in a funk and it's rubbing off on me. I'll post something tomorrow though.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tropes vs. Women

A month or two ago I came across the "Tropes vs. Women" video series on youtube. Created by Feminist Frequency, the series explores the "reoccurring stories, themes and representations of women in Hollywood films and TV shows." Since there are only six videos planned I decided to wait until the sixth one was uploaded before posting them. There's so much win here it's hard to know what else to even say.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl:



Women in Refrigerators:



The Smurfette Principle:



The Evil Demon Seductress:



The Mystical Pregnancy:



The Straw Feminist:



As if the series wasn't awesome enough, it also introduced me to Nellie McKay. Oh yeah.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A message from Troy Anthony Davis

I came across this and thought it was quite touching (via).
To All:

I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.

I cannot answer all of your letters but I do read them all, I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist.

So Thank you and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.

I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,

“I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”

Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Troy Davis and the Question of Justice

The pending execution of Troy Davis has lead to a lot of protests lately and like a lot of people I'm not entirely convinced that justice is so easily served with death. Unlike Rick Perry, I think justice is a delicate and complicated thing and I think this case merits the outrage.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The Death Penalty: Why We Fight for Equal Justice from The Atlantic:
Of course, defendants like Duane Buck get more justice than their victims. That's the whole point of our criminal justice system -- and of the rule of law. That's why we outlaw lynching, why angry mobs can't storm jailhouses, and why we have judges. It's why we have a Constitution. In America, we aim to give the guilty more justice than they deserve. We do so because of how that reflects upon us, not upon how it reflects upon the guilty. And when we fail to do so it says more about us than it does about the condemned.

...Here we have a fundamental disconnect between the pro- and anti-death penalty sides. Contrary to what you might otherwise hear, it is both possible and intellectually consistent to be glad that a court has stayed the execution of a condemned man without necessarily being sympathetic to the man himself or disrespectful to his victims. It is possible to see the vindication of rights -- or at least a good-faith effort by judges to vindicate rights -- as a victory in and of itself in our nation's constant struggle for justice under the law. It is possible to separate the sins of the condemned from the subsequent sins of the justice system, and to demand more of the latter than of the former. Indeed, this goes to the very heart of the age-old notion of bringing a measure of dispassionate justice to high and low alike.
If you'd like more information Meg has a good roundup here (which included the article above). At this point we wait and see. I wish I had more to contribute, but I just don't see this issue going away anytime soon.

Elizabeth Warren on Debt Crisis

This is a super short clip, but Warren manages to make two really good points.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DADT Ends

Eighteen years after the law went into effect, Don't Ask Don't Tell has officially been repealed.



I know we were all aware that this day was coming, but seeing the photos of servicemen and women celebrating last night was amazing. I can only imagine the joy and happiness so many people are experiencing today.


Goodbye DADT. You won't be missed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I know I've been slacking lately, but blogging is a hobby and lately doing nothing has been more appealing. I did scrounge up all these cartoons for you though. You're welcome.

And to counter that last cartoon, I give you a blog dedicated to pictures of Obama holding babies.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

George Carlin on Rights and Privileges

I've mentioned this video before, but I just stumbled upon it again and think it's great.

Wordless Wednesday Thursday

I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing of things this week. I feel like I'm just coasting by without actually thinking about anything I do. I also need some more cartoons since these are the last few I had.