apel: (san jose)
This is a response to Yeshe Rabbit's post about the conflict between trans gender and cis gender women at PantheaCon this year. This isn't the first time the issue has come up at PantheaCon. The Wild Hunt has more background.

Disclaimer: I'm cis-gendered and I wasn't at PantheaCon this year. Having said that, I'm afraid that this blog post sounds patronizing to me. I have no doubt that it's well-intentioned but it hits too many points on DerailingForDummies.com.

Some examples
Commitment 1: Denying people the right to express their anger at perceived injustices, or circumscribing their anger with unrealistic rules.

Commitment 2: Leading with study material for the relatively under-privileged group, even though they are likely to know much more about us than we do about them.

Commitment 3: The under-privileged need to be patient.

Ending: Denying the reality of trans people by individualizing their perceptions.

I have no doubt that Rabbit wants to work toward healing but when we're the relatively over-privileged group in a conflict, we need to take more responsibility for moving toward a solution than the relatively under-privileged group. That includes becoming aware of common pitfalls in this type of asymmetrical power conflict.

My impression is strengthened by the fact that others who were present perceived the attempt at witnessing very differently from the intent.

apel: (aphrodite)
This was originally posted as a response to a friend's reaction to a nasty piece of relationship advice by Tracy McMillan on Huffington Post. I'm screening comments from people who aren't on my LJ friends list. My usual comments policy applies. Don't comment here if you don't like it.  

Tracy McMillan has a book to sell. That's why she's writing this stuff. It's classic marketing: create a need, sell your product that just happens to fulfill that exact need. It has nothing to do with us.

You, me and other single women are just the marks. McMillan and the commenters judge us because they get something out of it. Some are pushing their products (Neenah Pickett is one of the first commenters and she just happens to have a web site that will help you find a husband called 52Weeks2Fi­ndHim.com), others just like to feel superior, and some like to beat themselves up.

That doesn't mean that it's wrong for us to react. This stuff is written to get us to react, ideally with a credit card number or self-flagellation. It's meant to hurt. McMillan is a professional writer, she is constantly trying to get better at eliciting specific emotions through her writing. In other words, she's constantly trying to become more hurtful and less _obviously_ manipulative.

Anger is a very appropriate response to that. That's why making you wrong for being angry, no matter how legitimate the reason, is her first point. McMillan knows that we've been trained to see our anger as damaging to relationships.

But what if she's wrong? What if showing up as an authentic person in relationships is the only way of allowing our true selves to be loved? Even if that sometimes means we're angry or insecure or flawed in other ways? Just like the "messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man" she thinks we'd like to marry?

Oh wait, I forgot, the first rule of relationship advice to women is that women who don't take 100% responsibility to keep their relationship going R DOIN IT WRONG. That's why "working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife." Does that sound like a relationship you'd like to have? Yeah, me either.
apel: (buddha_colour)
My body, my rules. Your body, your rules. M'kay?
apel: (aphrodite)
I just read about a Scottish cardinal who quit Amnesty International over its support for abortions "in the case of rape, incest, sexual assault or when pregnancy represents a risk to the mother's life or a grave risk to her health." Because obviously if you're a privileged male whose risk of being sexually assaulted is minimal, it's more important to protect unborn fetuses by rapist fathers than the lives of actual living women.

So I joined. You can join too.

If you disagree with any of Amnesty's other policies, please suggest viable alternatives in the comments.
apel: (riley)
The origin of the Bechdel-Wallace rule for movies. Can also be applied to books, of course.

Alison Bechdel's blog about her life on the frozen tundra of Vermont and drawing Dykes to Watch Out For.

Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog, the FAQ and jargon file

Anti-Comics-Feminist Bingo Card and its explanations.

Many of the arguments explained in links from the card can of course just as well be applied to other pop culture genres. Although I'd really like to see something similar done for popular music. Gangsta rap is probably too easy but how about RNB lyrics? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? (Telling me why Bueller couldn't have been a female character is too easy and scores no points. Not understanding why, means you need to read and understand the FAQ for Finally, a Feminism 101 blog before I will consider taking you seriously.)

This post was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur's post Laundrygate.
apel: (anger)
Yesterday I read an article by Joss Whedon that disturbed me. He was drawing parallels between the stoning of a Dua Khalil and a soon-to-be-released American movie Captivity. Specifically he compares the way women are viewed as rightful victims of violence.

He writes that "Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies."

In his article Whedon links to  Equality Now and exhorts readers to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of how.

I completely agree with Whedon that this is a terrible state of affairs and I want to do what I can to address it. At the same time, reading about physical and emotional violence and discrimination inflicted on women upsets me greatly. I didn't see the videos of Dua Khalil's stoning but the images evoked by Whedon's text still haunt me and will for days. For me, making myself aware of these injustices is not compatible with a serene lifestyle or with maintaining emotional equanamity.

So the question becomes: How do I work toward the common good for all women and maintain my sanity at the same time? How do you do it?
apel: (aphrodite)
So I'm nearly through all the Jennifer Crusie books on Amazon.co.uk. Now what do I read?

What I liked about Crusie is that her books are fluffy without the cringe-inducing Mary-Sue factor. She also mostly doesn't rely on her characters being dumb or comletely unbelievable coincidences to move the plot ahead. So fluffy without insulting my intelligence, I'd say.

I also like that her female characters are mostly professionals because I have a hard time identifying with hair dressers and home makers.

Any recommendations for me?
apel: (Sharukh Khan)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Which gender do you generally present yourself as (man, woman, androgynous, etc.)?

2. Have you ever deliberately done "drag" (i.e., presented yourself as a gender you do not identify as)? If yes, how often? Why? How did it make you feel and act differently?
Not really, although I was a tomboy as a kid.

3. Do you get mistaken for another gender "remotely" (i.e., in letters, email, or on the phone)? How often? Why or why not?
I've deliberately chosen gender-neutral or ambiguous pseudonyms in many online contexts. Apel is a case in point. Since some people assume that anybody who doesn't immediately advertise that they're a woman is a man, it has happened that I've been mistaken for a man online. I'd attribute that to sexism and/or stupidity on the part of the other person, rather than any kind of androgynous linguistic patterns on my part.

4. Do you get mistaken for another gender in person? How often? Why or why not?
I'm occasionally called sir, probably because I'm often on my own and have short hair. It's a bit irritating, more because of the underlying assumptions that are exposed than because of anything I'd take personally.

5. If you could take one aspect of another gender's presentation (dress, make-up, hair, etc.) and instantly make it widely socially acceptable for your gender, what would it be?
Shoes, definitely. Men's shoes seem to on the whole be a lot more comfortable than women's shoes.

Now, if this question went the other way around, it would be much more interesting. I would love if more elaborate grooming were socially acceptable for men. They'd be much softer, prettier and sweeter smelling than they are now. That's something I'd appreciate.
apel: (aphrodite)
I've read Nicki Defago's Childfree and Loving It! It's a bit unstructured at times. For instance Defago mentions that Betty Friedan has said that women who don't have children force people in their environment to judge them on their merits as a person, rather than somebody who reproduces but Defago never really follows up on that, even though much of the book is about that exact point. Defago lets her quotes structure the book rather than structuring it herself.

Having said that, I still enjoyed reading the book. My reason for buying it was that I wanted to find out how others had decided not to have children. Some snappy comebacks for annoying people who think they know what I want, or should want, would also come in handy. But what I took away from it was an appreciation of what I've won by choosing not to have children. At first I thought that was like being grateful for not being black but it's not the same thing because having children is (and should be) a choice. The freedom I've won through that choice is worth a lot to me. I would like to make better use of it.

Another view of the book, by a contributor
apel: (aphrodite)
There's a fake cemetery to "unborn children" near [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur's hometown. Today she wrote some very lucid and heartfelt thoughts about the logical and moral fallacy in this. As always with anti-abortion sentiments, the ultimate question is why we should place a higher value on those not born than on those already born. So from one "undead corpse" to another, I recommend her entry.
apel: (seasonal)
This was inspired by a person on my friendsfriends list discussing if she wanted kids. She quoted popular opinion about single, childless, middle-aged women as OMG, the poor woman, she's so disturbed, she's all single and doesn't have any kids.

Oh yeah, I feel so sorry for me. Nobody wakes me up by puking in my bed in the morning. Nobody screams bloody murder right next to my ear when I go grocery shopping. Nobody prevents me from going on holiday to France. Nobody tells me to watch my figure when I buy chocolate. Nobody laughs at me when I do yoga (badly) in the morning. Nobody complains about my taste in music. Nobody gets all embarrassed and pretends not to know me when I stop and talk to cats. Woe is me! Woe, I say woe! :-)
apel: (moon)
[livejournal.com profile] cereta writes about how the absence of male privilege is perceived as male bashing. It's been a while since I read something so lucid about feminism.

Update: In the comments there was a link to the Male Privilege Checklist by Barry Deutsch.
apel: (Default)
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