Uniting the Masculine and Feminine [#quickhit: link]

Today in “the patriarchy hurts men too” (on the Belle Jar):

We currently live in a patriarchal society, whereby the leading drum beats in time with masculine systems. Every single person, whether they define themselves as man, woman, un-gendered, transgendered or any other form of self-identification, is affected by patriarchy to varying degrees. In order to bring about real change in the world, we need to balance the scales between the masculine and feminine. There are many issues to tackle, from putting an end to violence against women, creating a more sustainable future alongside nature to protecting a child’s human right to water. Whatever we’re facing, we need to work together.

Ideologies surrounding gender can be experienced before a child is even born, with the stereotypical blue for a boy and pink for a girl. Toys are gendered from a young age with active hero action figures for boys and sexualised passive Barbie dolls for girls. Something this simple points to the wider problem across society that affects boys and girls as they grow into men and women. How we begin to address such deep rooted inequalities between the sexes, and the varying expectations of either gender, is an important issue that young people face today when navigating a path through the rocky terrain of gender constructs.

[...] First, the women sat in a circle to share, with the men sat in a circle on the outside, to listen. Then we swapped and the women listened to the men. It felt liberating to be able to open up to men about the issues women face today in society, and have faced throughout history, and to have them really listen. The women spoke about being tired of taking responsibility for the damage of patriarchy. But by the end of the witnessing circles, it felt as though we were not carrying the burden alone and were actually sharing it with the men, who were there to take some of the weight and walk alongside us.

Other themes that came up for the women were validation lying in the body which we are so often taught belongs to male society where women’s bodies are policed. Some expressed the feeling of being treated ‘like a piece of meat’ in a night club, of being fearful or finding it difficult to trust men. Most experienced a sense of body shame or insecurity growing up and frustration at being made to feel objectified as a female. We discussed pornography and how it has affected us all, whether explicitly or inexplicitly. We expressed the need for humanities collective wounds to be healed together and the importance of educating young people and teenagers about sex, sexuality and gender constructs.

When the men spoke, it also felt liberating, as we discovered just how many problems are faced by men as they try to become a man in such a confused, damaging society that teaches boys ‘real men don’t cry’. The men discussed a feeling of it being easier to open up around women and feeling able to express themselves more freely with women than with men. There was a shared sense of insecurity growing up, about failing to fit society’s stereotypical masculine qualities (strong/serious/unemotional). They spoke of ‘lad’ culture shaping boys into less confident humans unsure of what it means to be a man.

Because of the destruction that has come from men abusing their power, some expressed a feeling of disconnect from their own empowerment as men. Others felt ashamed of being a man or feelings of self-loathing. They talked about bearing a huge responsibility of being a man but there being no certain guidelines that come with it. Some felt a deep longing for supportive men’s spaces where they are able to engage with their authentic masculinity and honour the feminine together.

Rest on the Belle Jar.

Has “Feminist” Become a Bankrupt Term? [#quickhit: link]

I first gave attention to the word “feminism” during college. I’d been brimming for a while with what I’ll describe as indignation in response to confrontations I’d had with men, and with misogyny, and with violence. I went to a small liberal arts college where probably most people would identify as feminists, where I learned that there were many women I could identify with, who had experienced trauma, who were angry and sad and ready to work together in the interests of women.

But I also learned in college that the definition of feminism at work in the “activism” happening around me, calling itself “radical,” “subversive,” “transgressive,” and even “revolutionary,” was more often than not an affirmation of conventional femininity as defined by heterosexuality. Instead of being critical of gender, of heterosexuality, this feminism insisted that femininity is radical, and that anything a woman does can be feminist–especially sex. Lots and lots of (hetero) sex. Free condoms. “Slutwalks.” Nudity. Underwear that says “consent is sexy.”

The notion that a woman is the most feminist when she gets naked is a reaction to the “puritanism” many people point to as the problem for feminist women today. These feminists defend Miley Cyrus, glossing over the racism of her performances to defend her right to “express her sexuality.” But the problem is that one of the most important issues feminists claim to address is sexual violence, an issue that cannot be effectively examined alongside the rallying cry for “more sex!” because the imperative to have sex, and to love it, derails attempts to think and talk about sexual violence in meaningful ways.

On: Has “Feminist” Become a Bankrupt Term? (feminspire)

Racism cannot be separated from feminism [#quickhit: quote]

Last week I gave up buying a bottle of Coke because I didn’t have the heart to carry one that asked those around me to share a glass with “Siobhan”. This, the name I have been called (even written to me in email with the spelling of mine clearly above it) by those who rather can’t be bothered to learn my “strange” name.

Last week I spent an afternoon responding to the familiar questioning of casual-racists, “Where are you from? No, where are you really from? Where are your parents from?” – only this time from the passport office, when renewing my British passport.

Last week I read sixteen articles in national newspapers that were xenophobic, Islamaphobic or both. I filled a doctors’ form stating my ethnicity as “other” and was consequently reminded that it’s not worth sparing an identity simply because it’s not the preferred one. Last week I moved train carriages when a man stared at my Arabic necklace and shook his head with a scowl.

All this time my experiences of sexism were present, but they paled in comparison to the racism. Last week as a woman of colour, the focus rested itself – much like the practices that had occurred around me – on the “colour” part.

On: Racism cannot be separated from feminism, The Independent.

‘Pushy’ Is Used to Describe Women Twice as Often as Men [#quickhit: link]

During her three-year tenure, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was described (anonymously, of course), as many things, including “brusque,” “condescending,” and of course, “very, very unpopular.”

But none of these attributes seemed to sting women as a whole quite like the one used by another anonymous source in an interview with the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta.

After Abramson was fired last week, Auletta wrote that Abramson had long believed she was being paid less than her male predecessor, Bill Keller, and that she had both asked for a raise and hired a lawyer to look into the disparity:

“She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.

In the ensuing media storm, writers (including me) seized on the word “pushy,” arguing that it’s unlikely a man would have been thus described for his aggressive tendencies.

On theatlantic.

The sexism of China’s love and dating scene – “leftover women” [#quickhit: link]

For many of today’s Chinese youth looking for a partner, love takes second place to parental pressure, moving up the social ladder and a heavy dose of fear drummed into women that they will end up as “leftover.”

These aspects and others relating to love, dating and women’s status in the Middle Kingdom will be examined on Saturday in a China-inspired version of “The Vagina Monologues,” a Broadway hit exploring womanhood that got actresses voicing women’s most intimate feelings to packed theaters.

In “The Leftover Monologues,” Chinese and foreign women — and a few men — will tell their own stories of searching for a partner, their observations of love and sex, and the panic aroused by the thought of becoming a “leftover woman” — defined by a women’s agency linked to the Communist Party as a single urban female over 27.

Rest: bigstory.

Sunday feminist roundup (27th July 2014)

The Issues With Conservative Feminists (bust): If there’s one thing I love to hate, it’s right-wingers trying to make women sound delusional. Apparently, the conservative “feminist” group Independent Women’s Forum seems to think that democratic and liberal women often play the “victim” in regards to challenging gender equity. The non-profit believes that non-conservative feminism is synonymous with big government, and that seeking gender parity across the board is impossible, since there are fundamental differences between genders.

Is sexual assault the same as rape? (feministphilosophers): In a ruling earlier this week, an Illinois Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Honorable Kathy M. Flanagan, dismissed Peter Ludlow’s defamation case against Sun-Times Media LLC and two other media defendants, arguing that the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” are interchangeable. Ludlow’s case was based not on the accuracy of the news reports in question, but rather on the use of “rape” in the headline as a fair representation of the complaint, which was described in both the news reports and the student’s complaint as “sexual assault.” In other words, Ludlow’s attorneys attempted to argue that, while he may have sexually assaulted a student, he did not rape a student.

Women Don’t Owe Sex to Anyone. Ever. (bust): The entire thing was creepily intricate and completely abusive. I assume the point of this dude’s spreadsheet was to document how little his wife wants to engage in sexual relations with him, but honestly, all I see is abuser dynamics. Mainly, since women don’t really owe men anything. Even if they are married. 

On ‘Choice’ Feminism and Internalized Misogyny: Why We Participate in Patriarchal Oppression — Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism): Have you ever criticized a woman for the way she looks? wished you could look like the models that you see in fashion magazines? gone on a diet? shaved off any of your body hair? If you’re a woman (or even if you’re not!), you’ve probably done at least one — if not all — of these things at some point in your life. But have you ever done any of these things after finding feminism? even when you knew that you were practicing sexism or giving in to the pressures of our patriarchal society? My guess is that your answer is still yes.

Put your money where your mouth is: why the pay gap is widening (theguardian): The depressing thing is that we know the reasons for this. We know that women are less likely to ask for a payrise or negotiate their salary at the early stages of their career, resulting in an increasing gap as they become more senior. We know that men are more likely to move employers resulting in quicker pay increases and companies paying out bigger bonuses to keep them. And we know that unconscious bias within organisations leads to men being over-promoted and women overlooked. Yet despite knowing all of this, the move to pay equality is glacial.

Why feminists need to demand a more diverse Twitter (feministing): Yet another day, yet another reveal that the demographics of a large tech company are, well, pretty much what we thought they were — heavily male, mostly white. Yesterday, Twitter announced that its workforce is 70 percent men to 30 percent women, as well as 59 percent white, 29 percent Asian, 2 percent Black, and 3 percent Latin.

Anti-Choice Protests Target New Orleans Clinics, Homes, Churches (rhrealitycheck): In the first few days of planned protests in New Orleans, anti-choice activists have disrupted the community by targeting reproductive health-care clinics, personal residences, and even houses of worship in the hopes of intimidating abortion providers and reproductive rights supporters. Operation Save America protesters have focused primarily on harassing the staff, volunteers, and patients of reproductive health-care clinics.

Fannie’s Room: Dude Writers Pissy About Newfangled Non-Male, Non-Straight Characters (fanniesroom): Where many feminists rightly critique the media for producing content that excludes female characters or that excludes female audiences, some men of privilege critique the media for producing content that features female characters or that was created to appeal to audiences members who are people other than straight white men.The latter instance, judging by some men’s reactions to being de-centered,  is interpreted as an appalling attack on straight white men, morally equal to (and probably worse than) women being systemically excluded from representation. Because they are used to being the default protagonists of life, TV shows, movies, comic books, and video games, they snark, mock, and ridicule representations that do not center them, their life experiences, and their desires.

Patriarchy allows child marriage and female genital mutilation to flourish (theguardian): As young feminists, we often hear that the rights of girls need to be recognised, their voices amplified and their needs met. We are told that when girls are empowered, they can change their communities and the world. That is a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of girls. This raises the question: why, with all this interest in girls, are their rights violated in every country? The Girl Summit in London, UK, this week has generated momentum and opportunities for funding to end child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). While that is commendable, if we look beyond the pledges and outcome of the summit, it is evident that these harmful practices are connected to other injustices girls endure.

How Big of a Problem is Harassment at Comic Conventions? Very Big. (bitchmagazine): It’s hard for comic conventions to shake the idea that they’re the sole domain of people who look like the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. In reality, comic conventions are attended by an ever-growing number of female fans: Female attendance at New York Comic-Con has grown 62 percent over the last three years alone, making women to 41 percent of total attendees. As the number of female fans attending cons has grown, so have conversations about harassment in the comics industry and at conventions specifically. [...] Out of all respondents, 59 percent said they felt sexual harassment was a problem in comics and 25 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the industry. The harassment varied: while in the workplace or at work events, respondents were more likely to suffer disparaging comments about their gender, sexual orientation, or race. At conventions, respondents were more likely to be photographed against their wishes. Thirteen percent reported having unwanted comments of a sexual nature made about them at conventions—and eight percent of people of all genders reported they had been groped, assaulted, or raped at a comic convention.

The Irish and Northern Irish Feminist Judgments Project (fwsablog): The Irish and Northern Irish Feminist Judgments Project begins today with the launch of a new website: www.feministjudging.ie. A collective of academics and practitioners based in Ireland and abroad will rewrite 30 important legal judgments, which they believe would have been decided differently if a feminist perspective had been brought to bear on the case. The cases selected will cover constitutional law, child and family law, reproductive rights, property law, criminal law, immigration law and religious freedom. By rethinking the process of judgment, the project will demonstrate the influence which judges have had on women’s lives, and on the politics of identity in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The project will run from October 2014 to September 2015. A series of workshops will be held throughout Ireland in the autumn and in the spring, at which draft judgments will be presented for discussion by academics, practitioners and activists. A book, collating the feminist judgments produced during the project, will be published by Hart in 2016.

PETA Sexualizes Women and Uses Rape Culture Imagery to Raise Awareness For… What? (feminspire): As the car heats up, Elisabetta experiences the agonizing symptoms of heatstroke. As panic and anxiety set in, Elisabetta’s condition deteriorates rapidly with the addition of excessive thirst, lethargy, lack of coordination, and a rapid heartbeat. Scared and alone, she desperately attempts to escape the car, which is quickly heating up like an oven. Essentially, the video shows a scantily clad Italian supermodel locked in a car against her will where she suffers and dies. PETA exclaims: “Italian supermodel Elisabetta Canalis knows what it means to be hot!”

California Prison Sterilization Attacks Reproductive Justice of Female Inmates (feminspire): Not only is the prison system one that disproportionately cycles people of color into impoverishment and crime, but these practices are also specifically being used to eradicate “unwanted” communities. And forced sterilization is a form of eugenics. Eugenics … which is the extermination of the “inferior.” Sound familiar? It’s genocide tactics. Strong language, but true. These tactics are that of gene cleansing, and they’re occurring right in your backyard. These sterilization techniques are not new and affect women of color here and abroad. It’s important to be aware that the reproductive justice debate needs to be opened up to include capitalistic procedures that fall under eugenics.

Research: new study finds girls view sexual violence as normal [#quickhit: link]

Citation: Hlavka, H. (2014). Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse. Gender & Society, 28(3), pp.337-358.

Abstract:

Despite high rates of gendered violence among youth, very few young women report these incidents to authority figures. This study moves the discussion from the question of why young women do not report them toward how violence is produced, maintained, and normalized among youth. The girls in this study often did not name what law, researchers, and educators commonly identify as sexual harassment and abuse. How then, do girls name and make sense of victimization? Exploring violence via the lens of compulsory heterosexuality highlights the relational dynamics at play in this naming process. Forensic interviews with youth revealed patterns of heteronormative scripts appropriated to make sense of everyday harassment, violence, coercion, and consent. Findings inform discussions about the links between dominant discourses and sexual subjectivities as we try to better understand why many regard violence a normal part of life.

Link to full article page on Sage.

HT to lipmag:

A new study titled ‘Normalising Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harrassment and Abuse’, published in Gender & Society, has found that girls and young women will rarely report incidents of sexual violence because they view them as ‘normal.’

The study analysed interviews conducted by the Children’s Advocacy Center with 100 young women between the ages of three and seventeen, who may have been sexually assaulted.

According to the findings of the research, it was common for the young women to trivialise their experiences of sexual harassment or assault, and that ‘objectification, sexual harassment, and abuse appear to be part of the fabric of young women’s lives.’

Incidences of assault or harassment appeared to be so ingrained into their experiences that they didn’t see them as particularly unacceptable or inappropriate.

The study concludes that ‘young women often held themselves and their peers responsible for acting as gatekeepers of men’s behaviours; they were responsible for being coerced, for accepting gifts and other resources, for not fending off or resisting men’s sexual advances…’

While the results of the study are disgusting and eye opening, they are unfortunately not very surprising for those who continue to speak out about and struggle against the rape culture that exists in Western society. (lip magazine)

Sunday feminist roundup (20th July 2014)

All else on another busy week with work and play.

  • See How This Feminist Artist Brings Women’s Struggles to Life (feminspire): “When I started really getting into my painting and wasn’t doing just simple still lifes, I had no idea that I was a feminist painter or that I was going to become one, even though feminist paintings are exactly what I was creating from the beginning. I had no idea that that’s what was going on, it just kind of happened,” she says, “I mean, like, what percentage of people in the world are women? There are so many of us going through similar situations. Though I want to send a message to everybody, not just women, that these things affect us, and a lot of people don’t fully realize just how difficult certain aspects of being a woman are.
  • 6 Reasons Why We Should Stop Telling Each Other it’s “OK” to Be Single (feminspire): Why aren’t there reasons for why it’s “OK” to be in a relationship as well? The implication is that being in a relationship is some kind of ideal for women, or default. And that’s simply not the case.
  • Many women scientists sexually harassed during fieldwork (nature): Working in the field sounds like a scientist’s dream, but for some, it can turn into a nightmare. The largest survey yet to examine the prevalence of sexual harassment among scientists doing field work suggests that it is an overlooked problem— and that female trainees may be disproportionately vulnerable.
  • | 6 Female Creations Attributed to Dudes by @elizabethethird (aroomofourown): Back in the day when it was pretty much unheard of for women to be recognized as producers of creative or intellectual worth (specifically the 1800s…ish) Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie invented a board game called The Landlord’s Game (Monopoly).
  • 6 Tips for Working in Solidarity with Muslim Women (everydayfeminism): For many, due to media portrayals, a Muslim feminist may seem like a contradiction. Media portrayals of Muslim women regularly oppress, fetishize, and politicize our bodies, and it is important to know that these portrayals of the oppressed Muslim women are often in stark contrast to our lived realities.
  • ‘All the worlds a prison’ – 19th century career girls (fwsablog): If Victorian working women are represented at all in today’s culture, it is usually an image of poor women working in factories or mills, struggling to make ends meet. (For example, the recent Channel 4 historical drama The Mill.) As Author Wanda Neff says ‘The mill women have come to stand, in popular opinion, for the Victorian working woman.’ [i] The experiences of upper and middle class women who worked to give themselves financial independence or women who dedicated their lives to philanthropy outside the home, have not been as widely portrayed.
  • Tackling the gender gap is simple: pay women more money. End of story. (theguardian): Here it is: we simply pay women more money. Whether we do this by reducing women’s tax burden, providing them with an income supplement, or allowing women to personally shake down their male colleagues until an appropriate amount of change falls from their pockets, I don’t mind. But it’s clear that sitting around furrowing our brows isn’t working, so it’s time to make some changes.
  • States Prescribe Bad Medicine for Women Seeking Abortions (msmagazine):Days before senators testified on behalf of a bill to protect women’s health services, the National Partnership for Women and Families released a report detailing just how threatened these services are. Aptly titled “Bad Medicine,” the report focuses on a specific threat to women’s healthcare: laws restricting doctors’ professional discretion and mandating how abortions are performed. Such laws require doctors to choose between adhering to a one-size-fits-all law or doing what they know is best for the individual patient.
  • Immigration is a feminist issue (msmagazine): [...] immigration laws are inherently sexist. The way the family visa system is set up, and the fact that men are still likely to earn more and have the “lead career” in a relationship, makes many women immigrants completely dependent on their husbands. This can trap women in poverty and abusive relationships. And of course if you happen to have brown skin, the system only gets more horrifically oppressive.
  • More women in cabinet means better policy but greater conflict, research shows (theconversation): Having more women in cabinet is likely to lead to issues which are important to women being further up the political agenda. Yet commentators have pointed out that many of the females appointed to the cabinet have values and interests which might be considered as antithetical to the interests of women. So perhaps in this instance, the impact will be lessened. However, the government’s opponents might take comfort in another piece of research. A systematic review of the literature shows that Conservative women tend to have more left-leaning economic policies than their male counterparts. The big question now is how this more diverse cabinet will perform, not so much in terms of ideology but as a group able to take the best decisions. We know Conservative cabinets have traditionally been dominated by old white males; what now? Evidence from studies of diverse groups suggest a more diverse cabinet is likely to have more conflict, take longer to come to a decision, but come up with better solutions. Also we should expect members of the cabinet to be less satisfied with the group process.
  • ‘I Don’t Need Feminism Because’: The Women Who Fight Equality (tokenfeminist): I have seen this happen too many times. It is a case of women refusing to acknowledge the significance of other women’s experiences, simply because they have not had similar ones. It is a blatant denial of facts and it takes away from those women any power that they had to begin with. Now, obviously I am not saying that all women need to constantly back each other up and never argue or disagree. Everyone is entitled to their opinions about individual issues, but no one is entitled to belittle the personal experiences of others or to suggest that the violence inflicted on women the world over does not matter simply because they themselves are doing fine.

Sunday feminist roundup (13th July 2014)

All else this week.

Research: What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism [#quickhit: link]

Very interesting indeed. We (potentially) grade sexist comments and perceive some comments (hostile and from strangers or bosses) to be more sexist than others (benevolent and from boyfriends).

Abstract:

Sexist comments are not perceived equally in the eyes of women. We extend previous research by examining the degree to which multiple types of potentially sexist comments made by multiple types of men are perceived as sexist. Further, we examine the degree to which three possible mediators—prototypicality, perceived intent, and interdependence—explained these effects. Female undergraduate students (N = 248) were randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a hostile sexist, benevolent sexist, or objectifying comment was made by one of three types of men: a stranger, their boss, or their boyfriend. Results demonstrate that hostile sexism was perceived as more sexist than benevolent sexism or objectification. Comments made by boyfriends were also rated as less sexist than those made by bosses or strangers. Furthermore, perceptions of prototypicality of the comment or perpetrator and perceived intent to harm mediated the effect of study manipulations on perceptions of sexism.

Riemer, A., Chaudoir, S. and Earnshaw, V. (2014). What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism. The Journal of General Psychology, [online] 141(3), pp.263-279. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221309.2014.907769 [Accessed 11 Jul. 2014]. Full PDF (Taylor and Francis Online)

From Gin Lane to Magaluf, the press has always shamed women for profit [#quickhit: link]

Here’s an an excellent piece from Laurie Penny on the media shaming of “Magaluf Girl” and the intersection between class and misogyny in that shaming.

Sex sells, but sexism sells even better. Last week the Sun saw no contradiction in slut-shaming an unknown teenager on its front page for “performing sex acts” on more than 20 men in Magaluf, while featuring softcore pornography on page 3. According to witnesses, the teenage girl was promised an exotic holiday which later turned out to be the name of a cocktail. This is exploitation in anyone’s book, and yet the only story being told in the press is the story of a young girl’s shame.

This analysis is particularly accurate:

If there’s one thing the tabloid press hates more than women, it’s welfare recipients, but it saves up special stocks of loathing for people who are both. “White Dee” from the Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street has featured in much of the “Magaluf girl” coverage, for no other reason than the fact she once visited Magaluf. Readers were reminded of the precise amount White Dee claims in benefits, next to pictures of the single mother having fun on holiday, which is obviously not allowed. Poor people, and particularly poor women, are expected to be abject at all times.

The logic of misogyny is routinely used to undermine the social basis of welfare provision. The only way to ensure favourable coverage as a female in the public eye is to be young, white, rich and married to a member of the royal family. The antics of aristocrats and wealthy models, from Kate Middleton to Cara Delevingne, are covered by the same papers that profit from the sexual humiliation of working-class women – revering “good women” while demonising “bad women” and inviting readers to place themselves, their partners, relatives and friends, on that tired old scale.

Rest: theguardian.com.

Sunday feminist roundup (6th July 2014)

All else on my radar this week.

- Income is a Poor Measure of American Inequality (thesocietypages)

- Newsflash: Facebook has Always Manipulated Your Emotions (thesocietypages)

- Yarl’s Wood women win chance to have their voices heard (downsizingcriminaljustice)

- The horror of Tuam’s missing babies is not diminished by misreported details (theguardian)

- Rape and reputation (thefword)

- The “Magaluf Girl”: Consent, Alcohol and Coercion (elegantgatheringofwhitesnows)

- ‘Lads Mags’ Now Less Sexist Than Newspapers (tokenfeminist)

- Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me: The Scourge of Mansplaining (newrepublic)

- Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality (everydayvictimblaming)

- “Papa Don’t Preach”: TED-like Talks at Malmo Nordic Women’s Forum May 2014 (feminismandreligion)

- Men’s Rights Activists are at It Again, This Time at an International Conference on Men’s Issues (bust)

- Why “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult (feministing)

- Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me: The Scourge of Mansplaining (newrepublic)

- Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality (everydayvictimblaming)

We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony. [#quickhit: quote]

Sexism clearly hasn’t gone away, and – guess what? – it never will. Sexism is when a woman is videoed giving what tabloids call “sexual favours” to men in a bar in a Magaluf and she is called “a slag” but the men are called “lads”, as happened this week (and as happened to a woman who went to an Eminem concert near Dublin last year, and as will happen again). We all know this is sexist – hell, even the Daily Mail admitted it knows this is A Bit Off. Awareness of what sexism is has never been greater, thanks to the return of feminism and call-outs of sexist acts on social media.

Ironic sexism is when someone deliberately exploits this awareness for attention. (You think you trolled Thicke on Twitter this week with the #AskThicke hashtag? He trolled you, my friends.) They believe a vague awareness of that offensive nature means anyone who finds their antics pathetic, stupid and indeed sexist is Just Not Getting the Joke. We saw this before, in the 90s with idiotic laddish culture, and we are seeing it again now. Back then, it was treated as a kind of release; now it is attention-seeking lechery dressed up as art (Bugg claims that his video is “a reference to the Electric Ladyland cover”, as though cultural referencing is some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card as opposed to an admission of a total lack of originality.)

The biggest irony about ironic sexism is that it’s not ironic at all. Irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think. Like it’s bro-in-arms, hipster racism, ironic sexism isn’t the opposite of sexism; it’s an open admission of sexism, with the bonus confession of being quite thick. Or, indeed, Thicke.

Hadley Freeman on We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Loaded’s new plans.

Related:

The demise of lads’ mags, the rise of feminism
Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist

Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist [#quickhit: quote]

Kat Banyard, a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, said: “Since Lose the Lads’ Mags was launched by UK Feminista and Object, Nuts and Front have folded, Zoo’s sales have plummeted by a third, Stuff has dropped sexist covers and Loaded has announced it is ditching sexually objectifying content.

“This hugely significant sea-change in the magazine sector didn’t ‘just happen’. It was the thousands of people that stood up and demanded action who forced the hand of lads’ mag editors.”

She added: “For years the publishers of lads’ mags have peddled sexist, dehumanising images of women in order to turn a profit – but it is women and girls who have paid the price.

“Magazines like Loaded, Front, Nuts and Zoo have fueled attitudes that underpin violence against women – and that violence is at crisis levels. The changes we are seeing were hard fought for and long overdue.”

Kay Banyard on Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist.

Poll: One in four British women think their main role is in home [#quickhit: link]

Unexpected statistic here. Also, some interesting international comparisons.

Almost one in four British women believe their main role in life is to be a good wife and mother, an international study has found.

Women in the UK are almost as likely as men to hold a traditional view on the role of the sexes, it shows.

New global polling by Ipsos MORI found that British people are less traditionalist overall on the issue of gender than Americans, Germans or Australians but substantially more so than those in many other European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

British women are just as likely to see their role in traditional terms as their counterparts in Turkey.

More than 16,000 people in 20 countries were polled as part of a survey of attitudes to a range of social issues to be published later this year.

On the Telegraph.

“Feminism would be a lot more popular if…”: Unpacking a misogynist fallacy

Here’s an excellent post on fwsablog.org.uk about the ways in which feminists have to justify their beliefs, principles and actions to those who “disagree” with feminism or who find it “objectionable”. I’ve had to do this 1000 times if I’ve had to do it once. What is most difficult about these conversations is that they are often nothing more than passing the time, by the by, “devil’s advocating” for the challengers while, for me, they’re about the core of my lived experience, every day.

feminism, suffrage - 1913 Suffrage march, Wash. DC (13)

Not long ago, while sitting across the table from a friend and her new husband at a charming Italian café, I found myself pulled into an unanticipated conversation about feminism and its legitimacy. As so often occurs when feminists find themselves in dialogue with non-feminist (or outright anti-feminist) people, I was treated to a festival of delegitimisations and negations of feminism and its core premises, each more trite than the last. In my increasing agitation at the nearly unbearable tension between the social obligation to maintain a friendly and conciliating manner toward this newly-appointed spouse of my friend and my overpowering inclination (duty?) to explain to this man in no uncertain terms just how – and how very – wrong he was about feminism, I found myself somewhat stymied by a glaring fallacy: the injunction that ‘feminism would be a lot more popular if feminists would just invest more time in dealing with and talking about how living in a sexist society adversely affects men.’

Feminists of virtually all flavours are woefully familiar with this adage. It might be tempting for many of us to simply file this irksome demand in the jar of male tears we each purportedly keep in our bedside drawers. However, I’d like to take a few moments now to break down the several layers of sexist discourse contained within this all-too-popular statement (which, in the interest of brevity, I will henceforth refer to as The Fallacy). Furthermore, I will make the case that the claim that feminists (if we want or expect our movement to be successful) ought to focus more attention on how structural misogyny harms men is actually anti-feminist. [Rest.]

Competitive feminism: It’s never been easier to judge other women online

Competition for prominence/ dominance or a sign of the complexity definition in second, third (and fourth) wave? Six of one, perhaps.

feminism - dictionary def.

Kirstie Allsopp has found herself the latest poster girl for ‘bad feminism’ after suggesting that women might want to consider having children before heading to university.

The TV presenter, who insists she is a “passionate feminist”, had her comments branded ‘depressing’, ‘patronising’ and ‘a throwback to the 1950s’ – by other feminists.

It seems that when it comes to arguing the dos and don’ts of feminism, the sisterhood has developed an ugly habit of turning on itself.

Just recently, singers Lorde and Selena Gomez became embroiled in a spat after the New Zealand teenager labelled Gomez’s song Come and Get It as ‘anti-feminist’, only for Gomez to respond, “it’s not feminism if you’re tearing down another artist”.

Rest: Independent.ie.

Sunday feminist roundup (29th June 2014)

I say this every week but that’s because it’s true. Another packed week at work so there’s been very little keeping up. Here’s a catch up.

- Call Robin Thicke’s #GetHerBack Campaign What It Is: Stalking (msmagazine)

- Johns are now an oppressed sexual minority (feministcurrent)

- Lana Del Rey’s “Ultra-Violence”: An Indictment of Post-Feminism (newrepublic)

- In Solidarity with Egyptian Feminists – The Feminist Wire (thefeministwire)

- It’s divisive to talk about rebranding the F word (feministtimes)

- Meet the Chinese women standing up to inequality (theguardian)

- Vulvas, gender and the real price of being female (elegantgatheringofwhitesnows)

- India’s Sexual Assult Epidemic- Indian PM says: “Rape… Sometimes it’s Right” (aroomofourown)

- Decapitated naked women golf tees (feministphilosophers)

- A lack of respect for women (feministphilosophers)

- 46 Plays By Women You SHOULD Be Seeing (msmagazine)

- 45 Years After Stonewall, the LGBT Movement Has a Transphobia Problem (prospect)

The social construction of female beauty [#quickhit: image]

This is fascinating. The image above is from the US.

What Happened When One Woman Had Her Picture Photoshopped In 25 Different Countries.

“Make me look beautiful.”

That’s what Esther Honig asked 40 photo editors to do — in over 25 countries. Using the service-sharing site Fiverr, Honig, a human interest reporter, sent a picture of herself to be photoshopped around the world to see just how much cultural values are applied to standards of beauty. The results throw the idea of “the perfect woman” into sharp relief.

Honig found that every country applied its own distinct perspective on beauty to her image. She was surprised by the degree to which each country’s cultural values showed up as aesthetic preferences. Specifically, an image she received back from Morocco was “a bit of a shock initially.” She told The Huffington Post via email, “[It] definitely highlighted my own lack of cultural awareness. Of course, someone from a country where the primary religion is Islam might elect to add a Hijab to my image as that aligns with their own cultural customs. For me it really added depth to my project by touching on the concept of religion and custom, not just aesthetics.”

Orig. and rest on HuffPo. Uploaded to feimineach/ pinterest.