Archive for August, 2009

Define: kyriarchy

I would like to alert everyone to this Interesting post on “Kyriarchy”

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Colbert Strikes Again

This time on gender roles…and Archie comics.


archie comics

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Lady Kisses

Much thanks to Feministing for bringing my attention to
this one!

Bryan Safi has some pretty funny stuffs on current. I recommend Marriage is Gay and Commercials.

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PETA Save the Whales Obesity Billboard

Dear PETA:

Sometimes you have pretty cool campaigns.

Sometimes you miss the mark entirely and produce crap like this.

I don’t know who thought “YES, this is a great idea! Let’s use one of the most derogatory words for fat women and put it on a HUGE billboard and imply that women are whales that need to be saved from their gross obesity through vegetarianism (because only meat-eating women are obese)! This will entice people to become vegetarians! GENIUS!”

No. You fail.

And “trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”?

Really? Really, PETA?

I’m not even going to go into their implications that ceasing consumption of meat equal healthiness (because that’s just not true) and that the differences between skinny/fat and vegetarian/omnivore are all caused by the meat or lack thereof in people’s diets. Jeez.


PETA’s press release:

Jacksonville, Fla. — A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose “blubber” is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom and features the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. The meat habit can ruin the fun in other ways too. Consuming meat and dairy products is conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer — not to mention higher rates of infertility in women and impotence in men. And not only is following a healthy plant-based diet good for the environment, it is also the best thing that anyone can do to help stop the routine abuse of animals raised and killed for food. Animals on factory farms are subjected to mutilations like debeaking, tail-docking, and branding (without any painkillers) and are often slaughtered and dismembered while still conscious.

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

This makes me cry inside. Actually, it mostly just really fucking pisses me off because this body-shaming shit really needs to stop. Implying fat women are whales and that they’re covered in blubber and just…augh! I’m tired of people producing trash like this, especially after hearing stories (or witnessing them) about women whose in-laws didn’t accept them and even tried to sabotage their marriage because they (the women) were obese and “unworthy of [the in-laws’] son.” I’m tired of seeing girls whose diaries constantly talk about their weight and how they need to lose 20 pounds NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ACTUAL WEIGHT. I’m tired of the food-diaries with “today I ate 10 grapes, 2 Fig-Newtons, and a Jell-O cup.” I’m tired of the girls who are unhappy because they never manage to be “skinny.” I’m tired of people talking SHIT about others because they’re fat, speaking like they have a right to insult them just because of their weight and body shape. It’s not fucking okay.

And I realize all these examples were female-oriented, and I acknowledge that obesity and body-shame affect everyone to some degree, but I’m just speaking for myself and what I’ve been seeing lately. And, to clarify, I’m not tired that these situations exist–more like the REASONS WHY they exist. I’m not blaming the victims of fatphobia. The opposite, actually. I’m tired that people are made to feel unworthy, unlovable, unattractive, and ashamed. THAT’S why I’m tired of seeing these situations repeat themselves constantly.

I originally posted this on my personal blog, but everything after the PETA press-release is new text. This ranting is a result of looking through my journals from when I was younger (1996-2003) and being appalled at how much I mentioned weight. I spoke to a friend about it and she had the same issue, but a hundred times worse. I at least was fairly happy with myself most of the time? Ugh. I’ll probably post about the “findings” from reading all these journals. They’re really weird, considering the person I am now.

Anyway. I blogged more extensively about my thoughts on PETA and their advertising campaigns. Feel free to check it out here and comment if you wish. I posted this entry because it was much shorter and less pic-spammy than the one I’m directing you towards. ^_^

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i cant believe i used to read and believe in this crap kind of article. cultural imperialism chillin in its favorite hang out spot: the NYT.

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twixThank God for Mars Candy!  Their commercials have really tapped into an emerging social problem: women with self respect.  More and more women are attempting to engage with men about political issues.  Don’t they know how detrimental this is to their attractiveness? And when a man suggests, very reasonably, that they should shut those moving dick depositories and scoot on over to his place, they ACTUALLY take offense!  Luckily, Mars is teaching men how to handle these spunky gals with their Twix commercials:


Because Mars knows that behind every female intellectual there’s a dumb broad, waiting, even wanting, to be fooled by  your false enthusiasm.

Now I know what the fellas are thinking.  “But Mars–what if she catches in a blatant act of womanizing?”  No worries!  You see, women are like dogs.  They respond more to tone than to human logic.  If she catches you reading a misogynistic book, simply make a disapproving face.  The fact that she JUST SAW YOU READING IT AND SMILING won’t tip her off and she’ll immediately fall for you.  Because,  women, you see, want men to fuck them by DEFAULT.  If she doesn’t hate you, you can bet that she wants your body:


But don’t think Mars is indifferent to female suffering.  No!  Mars created Twix to protect you from your greatest insecurity…your ass:


Is it mean to lie to women?  To trick them into sleeping with you with false sensitivity? With false interest?  Well…yes.  But of course you’ll still do it.  You are a man aren’t you?

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Sodini scares me.

A lot.

I read his blog. I read it weeks ago. It reminded me of a number of things: The Game, het-cissie boys at my school, and my high school livejournal acount. Strangely all the things connecting the things it reminded me of are connected by Vassar. Neil Strauss was a Vassar grad, the het-cissie boys at Vassar, and me at Vassar.

You don’t generally speak Vassar and Pittsburgh in the same breath (Unless you and a bunch of people are planning to move there in a year). They symbolize very different things. But that’s the thing about misogyny, it is everywhere. A Pittsburgh suburb and an elite East Coast former all women’s school full of the upper crusties are both full of it.

Sodini scares me because there is a Sodini in my head. That twinge of entitlement. That flash of being upset upon rejection. Those are signs that misogyny is still manifest despite a shit-ton of feminist theory. I feel like it’s lycanthropy. Even the most wellmeaning gynesexual cisman suffers from it. Suffers in the sense that a lycanthrope suffers from lycanthropy. Suffers mostly in the harm he causes others.

So I’m trying to kill the Sodini in my head. There just aren’t any silver bullets.

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lafitnessI just had a debate with a friend about George Sodini.  It was prompted by an article he linked to his profile, with a caption saying “you might find this disturbing.  or thought-provoking.”  It was a short but good conversation and I hope you’ll give your take on it, and on the George Sodini incident itself.   Here’s the original article:   http://exiledonline.com/revenge-of-the-nerd-what-the-media-wont-tell-you-about-the-rampage-killer-who-attacked-a-pittsburgh-aerobics-class/

ME:  well you got the first part right. That article IS disturbing. I’m all for sympathizing with disturbed people who commit crimes and then take their own lives. but the writer seems to forget that 3 women are dead, in large part, because of Sodini’s socialized sense of entitlement to female attention. I find it odd that the writer could find the classism angle (not a bad angle) but not the sexism angle. Instead, he came to the easy, privileged conclusion that maybe if those cold-hearted women fucked this guy more, he wouldn’t be “forced” to punish 3 female strangers for it. I. Call. Bullshit.

Wow that was longer than it was supposed to be. I guess it was thought-provoking. It just provoked thoughts that made me want to vomit.

HIM:  Well, the class angle doesn’t really even make sense either when you take into account the fact that he had a pretty nice job and even got promoted instead of laid off. I don’t know though, is a net worth after debt of over 250K doing well or doing poorly? I don’t really even know what that means.

But where do you get the idea that he felt entitled to female attention? If anything, it seems as if he felt he didn’t deserve to be loved by a woman. I don’t think it’s so unhealthy to feel worthy of being loved by someone of the opposite sex, in fact I think it’s necessary for your psychological well-being. I know from experience that lack of self-confidence can cause some serious frustration and mental issues. I don’t disagree that for Sodini this led to sexist thoughts and actions, but I have a hard time finding any evidence of a sense of privilege.

ME:  Oh really? The author made it seem like he was a working class guy. I should’ve known not to take his stupid word on anything. It depends. 250K a year? or like in his life?

when a lack of success with women leads to sexist thoughts, and especially violence, against them, that is gendered entitlement in its truest form. If he really felt no hostility towards women for not having sex with him, he would’ve only shot himself.

But I’m really taking issue with the author, who said that Sodini cracked because he was out of the Darwinian competition, and that he was just honest enough to admit that sex is one of the only things that matter. And what exactly am I to make of that? If I’m to accept that premise, how does it affect my daily life? Well I better watch out the next time I want to politely reject a guy at a bar. Instead of just calling me a bitch (also a sign of entitlement) he might blow my brains out and i’ll be partly responsible. 
your move sir!

HIM: I don’t know, whatever “net worth” means.

while i don’t wish to compare the two in terms of the pain they cause or anything else like that, I think this is the kind of desperation and frustration most women can never fully understand, just like rape and sexual assault is something most men can never fully understand.

i’m sorry, but hostility towards women =/= gendered entitlement. if you can show me what specifically makes you think he feels “entitled” as you say, other than “he’s pathetic and sexist and wants to get laid” then I’d be glad to take a look.

What I see is that he thinks there must be something wrong with him, and no one will tell him what it is. He thinks women are shit, it’s true. But he thinks of himself as not even being worthy of what he thinks is shit. that’s the opposite of entitlement. that’s complete self-deprecation.

Also, I do think sex is very, very important for a happy, healthy life. Don’t you?

ME:  He refers to women as “edible” and “so beautiful as to not be human.” He was reading a book on how to get young girls if you’re over 35. Not only did he feel entitled to a woman’s attention, he felt entitled to a much younger woman’s attention. When his illusions about this were threatened, it confused him and he snapped.

To say that a less-than confident man can’t exert male entitlement is like saying that a less-than-confident white person can’t exert white privilege. Whether you’re objectifying women out of overconfidence or underconfidence, you’re still objectifying them, and they still pay the greater price, ultimately.

Dan Savage sums up my view of George Sodini pretty well in his column. You should check it out, it’s the third question:


And yes, sex is an awesome thing and sexual frustration is depressing for men and women. but Sodini’s frustation could have been lessened if he didn’t believe (understandably considering the world he grew up in) that “a man needs a woman for confidence.”

HIM:   alright, well that’s not the impression I got from reading his blog, but I suppose we all have different interpretations. Dan Savage does have a lot of experience, obviously, so he must have good reason to see it that way.

Maybe I’m just fucked up and influenced by society and feel gendered entitlement as well, but I never feel as confident when I’m lonely than when I’m with someone. It’s not everything, but it’s a crucial part of the puzzle, at least for me.

ME:   Well we’ll agree to disagree I guess. At some point we should mull this shit over in person…and then have a fist fight.

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This is a really long excerpt from Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi’s book, Beyond the Veil, first published in 1975, later edited in 1987. I read the whole thing and it gave me a better understanding of male-female dynamics in modern Muslim society.

Islam’s basically positive attitude toward sexuality is more conducive to healthy perspectives of a self-realizing sexuality, harmoniously integrated in social life, than the West’s basically negative attitude toward sexuality. Serious changes in male-female conditioning in Western countries imply revolutionary changes in society which these reformist countries are determined to avoid at any cost. Muslim societies cannot afford to be reformist; they do not have sufficient resources to be able to offer palliatives. A superficial replastering of the system is not a possible solution for them.

At a deeper level than laws and official policy, the Muslim social order views the female as a potent aggressive individual whose power can, if not tamed and curbed, corrode the social order. It is very likely than in the long run such a view will facilitate women’s integration into the networks of decision-making and power. One of the main obstacles Western women have been dealing with is their society’s view of women as passive inferior beings. The fact that generations of university-educated women in both Europe and America failed to win access to decision-making posts is due in part to this deeply ingrained image of women as inferior. The Muslim image of women as a source of power is likely to make Muslim women set higher and broader goals than just equality with men. The most recent studies on the aspirations of both men and women seem to come to the same conclusion: the goal is not to achieve equality with men. Woman have seen that what men have is not worth getting. Women’s goals are already being phrased in terms of a global rejection of established sexual patterns, frustrating for males and degrading for females. This implies a revolutionary reorgnization of the entire society, starting from its economic structure and ending with its grammar…

…The problem Arab societies face is not whether or not to change, but how fast to change. The link between women’s liberation and economic development is shown by the similarities in the conditions of the two sexes in the Third World; both sexes suffer from exploitation and deprivation. Men do not have, as in the so-called abundant Western societies, glaring advantages over women. Illiteracy and unemployment are suffered by males as well as females. This similarity of men and women as equally deprived and exploited individuals assumes enormous importance in the likely evolution of Third World family structure. George Tarabishi has pointed out the absurdity of men who argue that women should not be encouraged to get jobs in Arab society, where men suffer from unemployment. He argues that society should not waste human resources in unemployment, but systematically channel the wealth of rsources into productive tasks. The female half of human resources is more than welcome in the Arab future.

One may speculate that women’s liberation in an Arab context is likely to take a faster and more radical path than in Western countries. Women in Western liberal democracies are organizing themselves to claim their rights, but their oppressors are strong, wealthy, and reformist regimes. The dialogue takes place within the reformist framework characteristic of bourgeois democracies. In such situations, serious changes are likely to take a long time. American women will get the right to abortion but it will be a long time before they can prevent the female’s body from being exploited as a marketable product. Muslim women, on the contrary, engage in a silent but explosive dialogue with a fragile ruling class whose major task is to secure economic growth and plan a future without exploitation and deprivation. The Arab ruling classes are beginning to realize that they are charged with building a sovereign future, which necessarily revolves around the location and adequate utilization of all human and natural resources for the benefit of the entire population. The Arab wan is a central element in any sovereign future. Thoes who have not realized this fact are misleading themselves and their countries.

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Stanton and DouglassI don’t know about you all, but I can remember pretty clearly learning about the Seneca Falls Convention in middle school and high school. For a brief review, it took place in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. It was a meeting of white suffragettes, such as Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, at which they ratified a Declaration of Sentiments and stuff like that. There was a single person of color present: Frederick Douglass. Now, I remember learning that he was there in textbooks and things like that, but not much more than that. I seem to recall it being mentioned how unique it was that a man–any man–was in support of women’s suffrage at the time, and the fact that it was Frederick Douglass just made it more noteworthy.

Looking back on it now, though, I always wondered about what Frederick Douglass really thought of these suffragettes. How did he feel giving speeches about the importance of women’s rights to a group of women who–at least in part–refused to allow black women to be included in this very group because of race? Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her compatriots often used the example of black people as an argument for women’s suffrage because, from their point of view, it was ludicrous that black people of any gender should be allowed freedom before white women. Douglass was forced to choose between fighting for black male rights and white female rights. In the book, The Mind of Frederick Douglass by Waldo E. Martin (University of North Carolina Press, 1986), I read that in an 1854 pamphlet in support of (white) women’s rights, Stanton complained: “We are classed with idiots, lunatics, and Negroes” (p. 158). I also read that Douglass was once giving a speech at the Women’s Rights Convention of 1869, and he stated that white women could never understand the importance of the black fight for freedom, because for women, it simply wasn’t a matter of life or death. Apparently, someone called out from the crowd, “Is that not true about black women?”, and Douglass called back, “Yes, yes, yes; it is true of the black woman, but not because she is a woman, but because she is black.” Susan B. Anthony joined him onstage shortly thereafter for a debate: she stated that the only thing black suffrage would do was “put 2,000,000 colored men in the positions of tyrants over 2,000,000 colored women, who until now had at least been the equal of the men at their side” (p. 159).

Anthony is saying that “Freedom for black people means more patriarchal oppression,” and racist logic like this is used to justify much white supremacy to this day. Skewed statistics demonstrating the awful plights of women of color are used to justify the economic hardships of people of color throughout American society. I realize this isn’t exactly late-breaking news, but I just thought it was interesting how visible it was, even this early in the history of American women’s rights.

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