feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Because I don't have time to write anything long.

If someone points out that there is a flaw in a movement or community, that absolutely does not mean the movement or community is not worthwhile. For example, pointing out that there are some people in the atheist community who are Grade-A sexist and/or racist assholes doesn't mean that the entire atheist community is full of them or that atheists shouldn't have a community.

It means that the people within the community need to stand up and say, Hey, Prominent Atheist Figure Who Is Also a Raging Asshat, you need to knock that shit off because it isn't cool. It means that the people who are the raging asshats need to stop being raging asshats.

(This is an Actual Issue in the atheist community right now. Men (mainly men, yes) wonder where the women are at atheist meetings. Women and minorities are like, dude, we don't feel welcome because of Raging Asshats and your tacit (and vocal) acceptance of them. Change that, and we'll feel more welcome.)

Pointing out that there are feminist critiques (very good ones, IMO) of the back-to-the-farm movement doesn't mean that getting people to eat more whole foods isn't a valuable goal. It means that there are aspects of the movement that have not-very-subtle implications on women, and that these things need to be discussed and addressed. Because shaming women who are unable (or just plain unwilling, ffs) to make cooking food a full-time job isn't a feminist thing to do. Because blaming feminism for encouraging women to work outside the home and use convenience foods* rather than cook three meals a day from scratch (and preferably from food grown in their own garden) is really fucking uncool.

It is an issue that merits discussion. It is an issue that needs to be addressed.

I haven't even started with the assumption of a high socioeconomic status that's required to have someone who can make cooking everything from scratch a full-time job.

*because "processed food" is meaningless; all food is processed in some way (flour, sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, bacon, sausage, pork chops, everything except fresh produce). Some foods are more highly processed than others.

... Apparently my version of "quick" isn't very. Time for me to go eat my dinner of store-bought dried pasta, store-bought organic pasta sauce in a jar, store-bought ricotta cheese, and store-bought mozzarella cheese (which I grated myself).
feuervogel: (godless liberal etc)
Other feminists and I have been saying for YEARS that the GOP anti-abortion crowd was really itching to ban regular old contraception (by equating the Pill with abortion), as well as dog-whistling against women's basic autonomy and humanity, but now they've come out and said it.

”They’ve called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on the House floor last month, shortly after the Obama administration adopted the recommendations of an expert panel and agreed to add contraceptives to a list of services insurance plans will be required to provide without a deductible or copayment. “Well, if you apply that preventative medicine universally, what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine.”

You can't be for small government AND for government intervention in the most personal decisions any woman of childbearing age has to make. It's sheer hypocrisy. Unless your true aim is to establish male supremacy and take women's rights back two thousand years, of course.
feuervogel: (katara not a victim)
This thread discusses several incidents of sexual assault at Dragon*Con this year. This is the first time I've heard of it happening, but that doesn't mean it's never happened before. It just means that this year was worse than years past. And the assaulters weren't all con members (some were LSU fans in town for the game), so the con's policy of yanking badges won't do any good.

We need to get the hotels, con staff, and fellow con attendees to prevent such issues from happening again. We need to get a stated, publicized anti-harassment policy on the con webpage and in the con materials (program guide). The location of security staff in all areas of the con needs to be better publicized/signed/whatever.

People need to get through their heads that a women wearing a skimpy outfit isn't asking to be hit on, let alone groped or worse.

People need to know that this sort of shit won't be tolerated. At all.
feuervogel: (do not want)
Pursuant to a discussion on another, locked journal, I was reminded how violently I hated "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya." At the time I watched it, I couldn't really put into words why I hated it, other than I wanted to stab Haruhi in the eye, kick her in the teeth, rip her head off, and shit down her throat. I also thought the bullshit pretentious wankery of "we're gonna show the episodes out of order!" was a bunch of bullshit pretentious wankery for the sake of being Experimental and Pretentious Wankers.

There was also an extreme discomfort at the way they treated Mikuru (aka tits-girl). Yay, reducing a woman to a sexual object (and never a subject, Mikuru... she was literally incapable of saying no or even giving consent. Seriously fucking gross.)

But [personal profile] eisen, who writes amazingly thinky things about cartoons and society and culture and whose brain I fangirl mightily, put into words her own loathing of TMHS, and in her words, I found the expression of what I found so disgusting.

It is intellectually and emotionally dishonest, its characters never rise above cardboard cutouts in temperament, personality, or character designs - and it chooses the most tawdry and tautological justifications why - its most popular and beloved running gag involves the nonconsensual molestation and sexual abuse of a girl who's repeatedly demonstrated to be psychologically incapable of saying "no" and even if she were THE SURVIVAL OF THE UNIVERSE HINGES ON HER ALLOWING HARUHI TO DENY HER RIGHT TO CONTROL HER OWN BODY because otherwise Haruhi might get fucking bored, the number of "funny molestation" gags don't end with just Mikuru, Kyon is supposed to come off like a beleaguered Everyman but instead he comes off as an insufferable, cynical, selfish, egotistical boor (and a bore!) who's deluded himself into thinking he and he alone really understands the situations they're all stuck in - and the series wants you to believe he's right, not to mention that for all Haruhi's vaunted control over the fucking cosmos DID YOU PERHAPS NOTICE THAT HARUHI WASN'T IN CONTROL OF THE FIRST TIME SHE USED HER ABILITIES? No, that was Kyon, aka "I am John Smith", thanks for playing "I might be impotent and a loser but I bet if I just knew a reality warper she'd listen to me and it would be my will that shaped the world after all, haha".


The entire premise of the show is that the main characters can and will have their own identities, their bodies, nonconsensually violated at any time, without permission, and that they should just shut the fuck up and deal because Haruhi's just too awesome to be denied, and really, it's okay, because Haruhi just wants to have fun! And Kyon can control her, don't you know? Don't you trust Kyon? You should! Because he's a jackass, but he's a jackass Haruhi will listen to!

In summary: Consent? Who needs that?

If you like the show, I'm not judging you. Just recognize and acknowledge the vile misogynist shit that TMHS (and a lot of anime full of fanservice, moe-blobs, and otherwise directed at the male gaze) are perpetuating. Be aware. There's some sketchy shit out there that I like, but I still acknowledge it's sketchy.

[personal profile] eisen again: The most execrable part of HARUHI and its fandom is not that the show itself contains cynically misogynistic elements - but that the show itself, and its fandom by extension, often sees nothing wrong with the way these elements are presented, and in fact considers them exemplary of their worldview, glorifies them as wish fulfillment.... I just can't accept a show that treats learned sociopathy as a desirable characteristic in everyday life.

If you think I'm overreacting, being too sensitive, and ought to just let it go or ignore it? Kindly go fuck yourself. I don't need to enjoy yet another piece of popular culture that perpetuates vile, heteronormative, patriarchal crap while reducing me to a sexual object.


26 Jun 2010 08:28 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Via [syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed, a review of Retribution Falls, a book filled with creepy misogyny.

An excerpt from the review (by a man, allow me to point out):

Trinica Dracken was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist for whom Frey worked. When they were both in their late teens, they fell in love. Trinica was a lovely sweet girl with long hair who wore white dresses, Frey was much as he is now. Eventually, the relationship had gone wrong. Here is Frey's description of it:
In the early months he'd believed they'd be together forever. He told himself he'd found a woman for the rest of his life. He couldn't conceive of meeting someone more wonderful than she was, and he wasn't tempted to try.

But it was one thing to daydream such notions, and quite another to be faced with putting them into practice. When she began to talk of engagement, with a straightforwardness he'd previously found charming, he began to idolize her a little less. His patience became less. No longer could he endlessly indulge her flights of fancy. His smile became fixed as she played her girlish games with him. Her jokes all seemed to go on too long. He found himself wishing she'd just be sensible

Okay, leaving aside for the moment that Frey's analysis of what went wrong with his relationship boils down to “the bitch wouldn't keep her mouth shut” note that here his dissatisfaction with Trinica stems simultaneously from (a) the fact that he starts to see that she isn't the perfect fantasy figure he thought she was (he “idolizes her less” which in sane-person world is a good thing in a relationship) and (b) the fact that she still displays many qualities of the fantasy figure he wants her to be (her “girlish games” and her “flights of fancy”). You've got to feel sorry for the girl, because I seriously don't know how she was supposed to please this arrant cocksucker.

[I would like to point out that 'cocksucker' is an insult based in misogyny, and I do not endorse its use.]

These depictions of casual misogyny in texts are reflective of casual misogyny in society at large. These are the thousand papercuts. I can't just ignore them or laugh them off, and anyone who is against discrimination of any sort ought not to, either.

We must shed light on them. That's the first step in changing attitudes: expose casual, everyday misogyny (and racism and ableism and homophobia and cissexism and ...) for what it is. If we ignore it, it won't just go away.
feuervogel: (katara not a victim)
A post on my DW reading list (dwircle? droll?) reminded me of [personal profile] recessional's amazing meta on Éowyn (and there's excellent discussion in the comments).

When I was about 10, reading LOTR for the first time, I loved Éowyn. I thought she was brilliant. She had an appeal to a girl, a young woman, who saw in Éowyn's fictional existence mirrors of her own, from being expected to perform a certain way (to be ladylike and proper, and infractions of gender norms by being outspoken are punishable, whether outright or through ostracism) to being expected to subsume your personality, your self to keep other people (typically males) happy.

I didn't know that at the time, of course. I liked her, she was awesome, and she got to kill the Witch-King *and* marry Faramir. I didn't recognize that I was in the same glass cage Éowyn was until I ran into it myself. I'm still running into it today.

While there are essays on how Tolkien failed with Éowyn (I disagree that "we" feminists on principle agree with her thesis, because I sure as shit don't, though I can see her point), there's textual evidence that Tolkien got it.

(Blatant c&p from comments at recessional's)
Éomer and Gandalf are talking.

"Care and dread she had, and shared with me, in the days of Wormtongue and the king's bewitchment; and she tended the king in growing fear. But that did not bring her to this pass!"

"My friend," said Gandalf, "you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.

"Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden's ears? Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs? Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips, you might have heard such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?"

Then Éomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together.

These are not words that could be written by someone who doesn't understand what glass cages do to the people trapped in them.

These are the words of a man who understands the death of a thousand papercuts.
feuervogel: (godless liberal etc)
I wrote this in response to a comment left on the LJ version of "I can do things," and I thought it was worth putting in its own post. I've added some clarifications and expansions in italics.

I don't understand this part... Are you trying to determine for yourself that your life is interesting despite being a woman? Or just putting together a case to debunk the notion that women generally have less interesting lives than men?

If it helps either way, I'm a dude and my life is boring ass. I can list ten women easily whose lives are more interesting than mine and whom I envy. You would be on that list.

Neither, and you've got the wrong meaning for interesting. I'm not talking "interesting times" or "climbing K2" but the things which society values, and "things women do" aren't on that list. (Though thank you for the compliment!)

It's why Harry Potter is about Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione, rather than Hermione Potter, the Girl Who Lived, and her friends Ginny and Harry. (And why I couldn't think of another Gryffindor girl in the trio's year.) It's why 90% of movies (or more) have male leads (and why movies starring women are "chick flicks.")

It's why having Toph and Katara being lead roles was so important: aside from their being brownof color, (the importance of which I don't wish to minimize, because it's very important, but it's outside the scope of this mini essay) they were both female characters. It showed girls (and boys) that girls can kick ass, too. That there's more to female characters than sidekick or romantic interest. Even Azula was an amazing character. ATLA has five female characters, who each have personal goals and personalities that don't revolve around getting a boyfriend. That's so incredibly rare. (One could argue the Mai-Zuko plotline, or the Katara-Aang, or any of Katara's crushes, really, but let's be honest here: it's part of being a teenager, which these kids are. Katara's main goal is not to marry Aang; it's to stop the Fire Lord from taking over the world, with a side order of revenge.)

These are things which nobody explicitly says, except when they do. "Girl stuff" is icky and bad. Boys are told "don't play with girl toys," for example. Even without that explicitness, when girls grow up in a society that favors male lead characters, that doesn't put female characters in lead roles in books or movies because boys won't watch them; when girls see themselves relegated to the sidelines -- if they're visible at all -- in favor of boys' stories, we learn that we're less important. That our stories are less important. That we don't matter.

And that's why I'm doing this: to teach myself that, yes, dammit, women's stories matter. MY story matters. And to provide an example, if anyone finds it.
feuervogel: (corset)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] listener and their lending of it to me after I made this post. Y'all can read a more detailed review (though I couldn't even touch on HALF the things I wanted to) over at my blog.

(Also, if I have any egregious wording errors or faux pas, please let me know so I can fix them.)
feuervogel: (enemy birds)
One thing I've been dealing with for, well, YEARS is that I don't consider anything I've done particularly extraordinary, or that I'm particularly good at anything, or that I've had any particularly spectacular accomplishments.

I always hated the self evaluations in pharmacy school and job applications where you have to say what your strengths are. I don't have any. I'm not very good at anything in particular. (Answering the weaknesses question is infinitely easier.)

Culture tells us (women) that our accomplishments, our achievements, our talents, our lives are worth less than men's, worthless. Women who say "Fuck yeah, I'm awesome" are called braggarts and told "quit talking, start doing."

Society, men, the patriarchy, has been telling women to be modest, not to brag, and to shut up and quietly do your scut work while we ignore your PhD in nuclear engineering/six published novels/successful costume direction for three shows and give the job to the men.

Women need to be able to, to be free to, say "fuck yeah, I'm awesome" without other women policing them and telling them to sit quietly and be more modest. We get that bullshit enough from men.
feuervogel: (godless liberal etc)
One of the worst ways, in present-day America, to insult a man is to impugn his masculinity. Call him a pussy, a girl, a homo. Plenty of discussions elsewhere have addressed the inherent misogyny in those insults, so I won't go further into that.

It's okay to be a tomboy when you're young, but once you hit puberty, you'd better start conforming to gender norms. Put on makeup, style your hair, wear high heels, or risk being called a dyke. And definitely don't be too smart.

But conforming to the socially-acceptable role doesn't solve your problems, either. Middle school and high school are generally horrible for the non-conforming people (even if they try to conform.) I can't personally speak to what it's like being The Popular Girls, but I wouldn't be surprised if it sucks to be them, too.

Girly things, frilly things, are bad. Anything that society defines as "woman" is inherently weaker, inferior, lesser, a target of derision. Women love to shop, can't drive, are indecisive, are sainted mothers or vulgar whores, are nags, are flaky, can't do math. Yet it's an identity we're supposed to EMBRACE. It's hardly surprising that many women internalize this misogyny and turn it on other women. (See: Concerned Women for America, aka Ladies Against Women.)

I've heard friends say they don't identify as women (nor as men) because they don't feel like the societally prescribed roles fit them. (Being transgender adds a whole slew of complications that I'm not qualified to address; this isn't the aspect I'm trying to discuss.) Believe me, I sympathize. I'm just not sure rejecting the label "woman" or "feminine" is the best solution. (In general. For me. If the following makes sense to you, great. If not, carry on.)

It's difficult for me to present as anything other than female. I'm curvy. I have a feminine facial structure. I'm short. But you know? I don't have a problem with that anymore.

I've spent years fixing the bullshit I internalized, growing up in the society I describe above. I have a raging case of impostor syndrome. I've had to reconcile a love for fabulous shoes with my feminism, and I question whether this shoe thing is societally imposed or if it's something I like. The latter, I've come to decide. Sure, my husband teases me about it, but I tell him to fuck right off. It's not my fault he thinks it's OK to own one pair of shoes for every occasion and outfit. Does it hurt? Sometimes. It makes me wonder if I'm just being a stereotype. But John Fluevog designs fucking awesome shoes, and, dammit, I want them.

Then there's the general anti-femme-ness of society. Being feminine is weak. Frilly, girly, dainty teacups, pink. Flowery dresses.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I deal with it the way I deal with everything else: on my terms. I'm a woman on my own terms. I define what being a woman means to me. I define what being feminine means to me. Yes, other people will read into my presentation what they will, based on how deeply they believe what they've been exposed to. And you know what? Fuck them.

If more women who don't fit the "mold" are unapologetically female, unapologetically women, unapologetically feminine, maybe we could get society to wake the fuck up. Or show other young women that it's OK to be a smart girl, that you can love fashion AND science, that there are other options than trying to turn your star-shaped peg into a square.

I'm reclaiming femininity, and doing it on my terms. Who's with me?


feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

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