Category Archives: Gender roles

Talkback: In defense of Rihanna

Talkback: In defense of Rihanna

“Second, the criticisms that young female musicians like Rihanna have been receiving about selling their sexualized image to the music industry are almost always whorephobic. It’s paternalistic and antifeminist to condemn what a woman chooses to do with her body, including the choice to engage in sex work (be it stripping or otherwise).”

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Gay Boricua boxer Orlando Cruz will wear rainbow shorts, pink gloves in upcoming fight

NBC Latino

Puerto Rican Featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz – the first in his sport to come out as openly gay – will support two causes as he steps into the ring in Las Vegas in an upcoming bout against  Orlando Salido as part of the Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez event on October 12.

Cruz will wear rainbow-colored boxing trunks and clothes in support of the LGBT community, and he will pink and black boxing gloves in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The rainbow-colored trunks and the pink gloves are all by Everlast.

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The 32-year-old boxer came out in 2012, and will marry his partner Jose Manuel on November 16, according to Yahoo News.

When Cruz publicly came out as a gay man, he told Yahoo Sport’s Kevin Iole: “I was scared,” saying he had to see a psychologist to help him work through his feelings.

“I was worried about other boxers…

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The lie of ‘women and children’

The lie of ‘women and children’

My first question: Why invoke ‘womenandchildren’ when condemning the use of chemical weapons by Assad?  Chemical weapons cross a line of human decency – although one might argue that all weapons do so. Calling for the protection of “womenandchildren” allows leaders to frame wars as matters of national security, under the assumption that women and children must be protected for nations to be secure. “

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Losing virginity for good

Losing virginity for good

“The idea of your first penis-in-vagina sexual encounter being something significant and life altering (well, for women anyway) has origins in women being considered property.

That is to say, virginity is a social construction that came about because of the commodification of women.

Since women were (and sometimes still are) considered property, when they got married, they were passed on to their husbands from their fathers. You know the whole father-walks-his-daughter-down-the-aisle tradition? Well, it represents a transfer of property from her father to her husband. Her father was literally giving her away.”

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Why not having kids is admirable, not selfish

Why not having kids is admirable, not selfish

“Substantial numbers of people choosing not to have children also makes clear that having children should actually be a choice for everyone. Encouraging women and men to really assess their own lives, circumstances, values and desires, and evaluate whether a child is an addition they want, not only helps individuals to make more informed and affirming decisions, but sheds light on the many factors that make reproduction so fraught.”

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Stop Lecturing College-Aged Women About Our Love Lives

“Participating in hookup culture doesn’t mean we’ve been deluded into thinking of our own exploitation as sexual freedom. It means we’re thinking critically about what we want instead of plunging straight into the relationships women are repeatedly told — by Taylor, by Friedersdorf, by society — we should desire for ourselves. And that’s what makes it so hard for Taylor, Rosin, and others to accept that we might be participating in hookup culture voluntarily, not to make time for resume padding: we want something different for ourselves than what our parents’ generation wants for us.”

Flavorwire

Fifteen years ago, the very first question Carrie Bradshaw “couldn’t help but wonder” was simple, provocative, and in its own way, progressive: Can women have sex like men? That query was questionably relevant even a decade and a half ago, when Sex and the City sought to answer it for 30-something urban professionals. Unbelievably enough, we’re still having that conversation, except writers have turned their sights from themselves and their peers to a different group entirely: college-aged women. “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too,” Kate Taylor’s lengthy study of Penn undergrads for TheNew York TimesStyles section, isn’t the first subtly judgmental, distressingly inaccurate portrait of the supposedly post-feminist, post-relationship college dating scene. Sadly, it probably won’t be the last. But the practice of telling college-aged women how we should lead our romantic lives is patronizing, condescending, and — above all — needs to stop.

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Dear Right-Wing Woman

http://chicksontheleft.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/dear-right-wing-woman/

 

“Discussion initiated by liberal women with conservative women has been replaced with a rigid & sharp response of “THERE IS NO WAR ON WOMEN”!!  Well, if you think so, tell that to the woman making 70 cents on the dollar compared to her male co-worker; tell it to the woman walking into the abortion clinic while a man is yelling at her that she’ll burn in Hell; tell it to the WOMAN judging the other WOMAN in the grocery line buying food for her children with food stamps.  Better yet, dear right-wing woman, look in the mirror & try to lie to yourself.”

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Women do not Hate Other Women

One common way in which the media portrays women is with the stereotype that women all hate each other. Media is a powerful socializing tool that influences people’s worldviews.  In stereotyping women as having hatred of each other convinces people that women have not been as successful as men in areas outside the realm of domesticity because we just can’t get along. It makes them believe that there is something inherently wrong with the female gender. That there is some sort of dysfunction that women have that men don’t which makes women unfit for certain environments.  This stereotype portrays women as catty, jealous of each other, dysfunctional, hormonal, and most of all it portrays us as being in constant competition of each other over the male gaze.  This influencing happens mostly with individuals who fail to stop and question, or think critically of what they are viewing, reading or listening to. Impressionable teenagers internalize these negative views about women’s relations.  Even people who are able to think for themselves can sometimes have this prejudice against women because of the many times such portrayals are played in different contexts.  The problem with media’s representation of women’s relationships is that it is far from what goes on in the lives of real women. Most importantly, it obscures the many progresses women have achieved throughout the years by transforming women’s roles in society and helping each other access fields and rights that were once denied to us by using their collective power to empower one another for the sake of future generations of women. 

Turn on the TV and look at Reality TV. It’s all about it. Women hating on other women. That’s the kind of thing we feed the masses as the reality of women’s lives and relationships. In selling it as such, media perpetuates this awful misconception about women’s relationships and the worst part is that it “bears little or no relation to how real women live their lives” (Byerly and Ross p.18).   Granted, people have their differences and are willing to hate on each other rather than address any problem that might resolve conflict.  But it is not a thing that pertains solely to women.  It is not a common thing; it is not innate of women to hate each other! For example, I wouldn’t like to sit at a dinner table with Sarah Palin and Michelle Backman because we clearly have opposing views on politics and reality. If we ever discussed politics and reproductive rights it would not end pretty. But the same thing would happen if I sat around George Bush and John Boenher. What I’m trying to say here is that what sometimes separates women from establishing good relations with others is not hatred or jealousy of each other but differences in opinions.  The Media’s portrayals of women assumes that women are impossible to work with or negotiate with because they can’t even find it in themselves to work with one another. This kind of representation hurts all the progress that women have collectively worked for and instead promotes patriarchal notions of women and obscures the struggles and strides that women have made in their attempt to transform society into a more equal and tolerant one.

 Women do not hold each other back. They do not plot to take down other women for their personal enjoyment or out of sheer jealousy. Yes, make the argument that you have experienced it many times or that you see it all the time on TV. And that’s exactly the problem. Media is so obsessed with ratings that it doesn’t mind perpetuating this stereotype of women because as a culture that is exactly what we have become fixated on. That is what we have become fascinated with and is what entertains us.  But pause for a second and think to yourself, why would women want to fight each other over petty things when women have so much on their plate? They have families and jobs to worry about. Why wouldn’t women want to be around more women at work, at school, or in other places? Why would they choose purposely to hate on someone who like themselves has similar difficulties and experiences trying to get ahead in our society? Not all women experience the same troubles, but we all have been affected by patriarchy in one way or another and it has been our common struggle against it that makes us want to work together to achieve social progress. But the media does very little to represent the progress that women’s collective action has done for modern society as a whole.

What prevents women from being equal players and contributors to this world is not their disdain of each other. If that were the case then this world where women make up 50% of its population would be impossible to live in (with having so many people hate each other and all). It’s patriarchy. Patriarchy is what drives our society and the disenfranchisement of women. Media is one of the many avenues in which patriarchy thrives.  It’s focus in the portrayal of “mean girls” as the standard of female relationships does well for its own ratings, but very little to change society’s negative perceptions of women.  Worst of all it influences impressionable people to take such portrayals as the reality of women’s lives. Yes, we don’t all get along, but to say that we all hate each other is plain stupid.  How else would we have achieved so much? And yes, we have a long way to go to truly be recognized as equal to males in society but it’s not because of our disdain for each other, but because of the constant backlash that our social movements have received from the dominant group. 

 

Byerly, Carolyn M. Ross Karen. 2006 “Women and Media: A Critical Introduction” Blackweel Publishing. 

The 21st Century a post feminist world?

It seems to me that a lot of men and women think that we now live in a post feminist America. According to these people, all developed nations are in a post feminist era.  What concerns me about this is that these same people are even willing to make claims about the negative social impacts of feminist principles.  Unfortunately, their beliefs are incredibly wrong, and stem from common misunderstandings, delusions and self-interest, but mostly ignorance.

There is this common misconception, especially amongst Americans, that women in developed nations are equal to men because they go to college, have careers, and run businesses. I hear men and women in the news, media, in school and at the bar talking about how they do not consider themselves feminists, or how we live in a post feminist world.  Some are willing to argue that we should just stop taking about gender inequality and stop blaming white males for whatever is wrong with society because things will eventually fix themselves.  Having to listen to such outrageous claims is really frightening because it demonstrates how much people are detached from reality.  It makes me wonder if they have the faintest clue of what feminism is or what it stands for.  I can assure you that if any of those lovely ladies and gentlemen knew anything about feminism they wouldn’t be so quick to try and detach themselves from this social movement, nor make any of these outrageous claims about a post feminist society.

So what is feminism?

Feminism is the belief that everyone is equal.(Mind blowing stuff.)

Now let’s discuss one of the many reasons why we don’t live in a post feminist world in the year 2013.  (Pretty embarrassing, right?  Now let’s put our embarrassment aside and move along.)

If anyone has been paying attention to current events it is very easy to realize that not only do we not live in a post feminist world, but that for the most part people willing to make claims about developed nations having post feminist societies, and men and women who prefer to not associate themselves with feminism have an incorrect understanding of feminism and women’s struggles.  They fail to understand that to this day women have to defend themselves from all angles.  If it’s not the way we dress, it’s the way we speak, the way we choose to live our lives, the company we keep, the jobs we hold. If we have sex, it’s who we’re having sex with, if we have sex purely for pleasure, how many people we have sex with, if we are employed, if we are unemployed, if we are in charge, if we are not, if we don’t have kids, if we have too many kids, if we choose to marry, who we love, if we are victims, if we are survivors, our reproductive choices, our mothering, our domesticity or lack there of.  All these social criticisms against women confine us, and what is most disturbing is that other women often perpetuate this. What I’m saying is that if we (women) have to live our lives being judged about things like this we most certainly do not live in a post feminist society.

For example, there is this crazy idea circulating around certain circles that men have been severely affected by the successes of women and especially feminism.  They call it “the war on men”.  According to Suzanne Venker, “women aren’t women anymore” and feminism is to blame.  In fact, she claims that the successes of women have changed social relations between the genders for the worst because men cannot cope with modern women’s new roles.  In her opinion, men can only be fulfilled when women exist only to serve them because the minute a woman holds a career, seeks higher education or tries to contribute to their household income something inside men breaks down.  It destroys their interest in marrying because their character cannot handle having women at their side sharing ideas, making constructive decisions and contributing to household incomes.  In fact, in her attempt to misinform people about feminism, and discredit women for wanting to live lives outside of the domestic realm, she paints a pretty grim picture about men today.  She paints them as sexist, emotional wrecks and feeble minded.  Don’t forget Suzane Venker is not a feminist, and she’s the one talking all this shit about men, not me.

Unfortunately, for women, Suzane Venker believes that being ambitious and assertive automatically disqualifies you from womanhood.  Having a career, a job and higher education apparently makes you this angry and defensive being whose only purpose is the destruction of men. Women wanting to be contributing members of society is what’s fucking men up.  Really!  Her delusion has led her to believe that we have time for that kind of shit.  It’s as if she doesn’t know that a lot of working women who have a career are working to support their families.  Some of these women go home and have dinner with their husbands and work to contribute to their household income and alleviate their husbands from the pressures of being the sole providers.  Or maybe she was talking about women like me who work to support themselves.  Beware my male friends, colleagues, relatives and boyfriend.  According to this woman, I am plotting your demise I’m angry and defensive. BEWARE!!!  You know all those good times we had getting drunk together talking shit?  It was all a plot.  A plot to destroy you. Crush your hopes and dreams about ever finding that perfect woman who lives to serve you like a maid would, but with the perk of avoiding sexual harassment lawsuits. Because what’s more attractive than a women vying to tend to your every need, who doesn’t want to think for herself because deep down she knows you are the one who holds all the truths?

The picture that people who share this view paint about men and women is that, well for men, you are all whinny, little beings who haven’t changed your attitudes since the Victorian era, and are having a hard time adjusting.  Because according to this non-feminist, your brains cannot wrap around the idea that women are holding positions of power and having access to things they were once denied access to.  And because you are sexist you are not having any of this so you choose to live alone and not marry.  You poor things living an existence full of fear of accomplished women. You know with your low self-esteem and all.  So miserable because no one is going to be there to bake you cookies when you are sad or in need of some freshly baked cookies made from the tender hands of women who have not been tarnished by the evils of feminism. And for women, you should stay at home, not think for yourselves, reserve your opinions and your sexuality, forget it; good women don’t discuss these things with anyone, especially not their partners.  Even for current homemakers, if you are not being a submissive woman in all aspects of life, it being ideological or sexual you must be an impostor because women cannot form opinions about any matter.

But in all seriousness, the sheer idea that there is this hatred that the modern educated and working woman is perpetuating against men, this whole battle of the sexes thing is ridiculous and most importantly NOT FEMINIST.  Feminism is about equality, and saying that modern women, or unwomen, (because according to Venker we are no longer women) are working very hard to turn men into second class citizens is taking the message of feminism and twisting it to distort real issues.  How hard is it to understand the concept of EQUALITY FOR ALL?  There is no battle of the sexes. Fighting to take the power away from men and using it to set up a society where men are held as second-class citizens goes against the very tenants of feminism. What many people have misinterpreted as feminists’ hatred towards men is the fact that feminists tried to change people’s attitudes towards a more egalitarian world by addressing  the fact that in our society men have more privileges that allows them to have a greater opportunity to hold better jobs, and positions of power in most aspects of life. That is all.  Criticizing the realities about the way our society is structured to give greater opportunities to some more than others, is by no means spreading hatred from one group to the other. Pointing out such truths was meant to raise an alarm and educate minds on how our society can let go of such prejudices and move on to a better paths.  However, some minds cannot comprehend this and misconstrue ideas to spread divisiveness.  They, the non-feminists are the ones promoting the “battle of the sexes” and blaming feminists.  This article serves if only to demonstrate who the people waging cultural wars are.

There is no battle of the sexes being waged by feminists.  There is a battle though. It is one between those who want to see change happen, who want to make the world a better place for everyone who lives here (feminists), and those who have benefited from inequality and are fearful of  living in a world where they have as much as the rest of us. Or how they interpreted ‘live in a world where they lose, everything they have worked to maintain’. This is not a battle where the winner takes all (because that is not feminism). It is a battle with hopes for equality through the employment of truth, logic and reason.  This battle can only be won with when we can change such distortions of reality, misinterpretations and ignorance in this matter. (The matter being Feminism, just in case you missed the point).  The fact that feminism needs defending and articulating, that delusional people get any credibility is but only one indication that we are not living in a post feminist era.

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