Monday, April 30, 2007


So I've been link-hopping through the blogosphere (which sounds a lot cooler and more space-age than it actually is) since my allergies woke me up this morning, and have encountered some really good stuff. And some stuff that I disagree with that's also really good, and some stuff that I disagree with that I think is not so good.

Having a pool of devoted readers who jerk you and each other off in your comments is not good. Having a pool of the above who also jump on anyone who dares express an opinion on a feminist blog and have a penis at the same time is worse. The thread I'm thinking of had a chap come in and ask what seemed to my socially-deficient eyes to be honest questions and attempt to add to the conversation from a male perspective -- maybe a feminism-clueless male perspective, but not a hostile one. You'd think this would be a good thing. But no. The thing that really gets me is the male regular commenter and his attitudes. Since politeness and discussion were obviously not the virtues that got him accepted there, what were? Toadying? Sticking extremely close to the "party line"? I mean, I could understand a blog with a comments policy that asked men to not involve themselves; lame but could be necessary, given the state of the world. But to jump all over (and ban) a man for engaging in discussion without such a policy bugs me. Maybe this is my lack of social skills, but I like to know the doublestandards before I head someplace. I do poorly with figuring out rules on the fly.

I like polite dissent. I think it's the best way to learn things. Disagree with me? GREAT! If you can phrase the comment such that you avoid both ad hominem attacks and a snotty tone of voice, odds are I'll like talking to you, or at least consider you a worthy participant in debate. I don't want to be told that I'm so super at phrasing things, that I have the Best Ideas, any of that. It gets slimy real fast. And god knows I'm wrong often enough.

I'm now trying to nail something down -- what struck me as "toadying" there, when comments other places are often just as consistently positive and don't bother me? Maybe it was the exclamation marks. Or the sense of quota-meeting. I know that I do occasionally feel compelled to say a particular thing in a comment, and it comes across like that. (Just recently I asked somebody in lj about the user icon they had used, but felt like I had to add in birthday congratulations to the people named in the post so as not to be rude and off-topic. That kind of "compelled".) Maybe that was it -- the feeling of "to get this comment past moderation/approved by the other commenters/not flamed to shreds, I must say foo and avoid bar at all costs". The fact that total agreement means that after fifty comments nobody's learned anything more than after five, that no new points get made. (By this point I'm generalizing and no longer applying literally to the blog I was thinking of at first, in case anyone was getting offended.)

In short, I don't think it's really conversation if you're all saying the same thing.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

more introductions

So now that I've done an overview of my feminism, I'll start in on the other things in my little bio.

My interest in mental health issues comes from having them. My mother sent me to therapy at age eight, because I was depressed. Amusingly enough, spending so much time (10 years, really) with the same therapist was a really bad move -- I got to know him so well that I came to see him as another person that I had to keep up a front for. So I didn't tell him how everything went to shit in high school. I went from a small, close-knit middle school where I knew everybody to a comparatively big and scary high school. My social skills are not the greatest today, after years of practice and extensive therapy that actually helped. They flat out sucked then. I didn't have a whole lot of friends, or in fact talk to anyone. I started cutting myself. Eventually I started to starve myself. I was miserably depressed. By that point I had close friends, but there was a lot of unhealthiness there and they had their own issues, so we all, as Pigeon in a guest post on LL's blog put it, "signed off on each other's behavior".

Eventually (April of my senior year), it got to the point where I scared myself. I got dizzy and eating didn't help, I spent an afternoon in bed because I couldn't walk across the house. I told my mother. My parents, especially her, are masters of sticking their fingers in their ears and pretending nothing is wrong (I inherited this one but good), so every time I told them I was "fine", they believed it. After I told her, I got put on medication, which (after a few tries and some nasty side-effects) helped. I got into more therapy, which both helped and made my life really hard. I was taking a full class load at a tough prep school, driving myself there and to five hours of therapy and tutoring a week, and all my friends lived half an hour away. I was run ragged. My grades plummeted, not that they'd been great before. The learning disorder I'd recently been diagnosed was something nobody, not even I, knew how to get accomodations for. I call the second half of my senior year "my nervous breakdown".

My therapists and parents started talking about inpatient treatment. We flew out to Utah, one of the few states in the US where it's legal to hold minors against their will for treatment, and looked at a few programs. They were way more drastic and way scarier than I had thought. I freaked out and told my parents I didn't want to go. They wanted me to go. We had a lot of arguments that didn't go anywhere. I convinced myself there was something else I could do, that I wouldn't wind up in one of them.

The morning after my younger brother's birthday in June, I was woken up at three in the morning by a couple of people whose job it is to take kids to the airport for things like this. My folks said goodbye and didn't go to the airport, which hurt. I got on a flight with one of these people. She let me use her cell phone at Salt Lake to call my boyfriend. Then I got handed off to the looney bin people.

I spent ten weeks in the high desert in Utah in what's called a wilderness treatment program. We hiked, set up shelters from tarps, dug holes in the ground to shit in, cooked ove propane stoves and fires. It was extremely hard for me, and looking back, not all of it was just shock and self-centeredness. I was very underweight and, I know now, very anemic. Hiking was fucking difficult. Some of my difficulties adjusting and learning new skills, I now put down to my LD -- I don't learn things the way people expect. I have an unituitive skillset and I didn't mesh with what they were doing. A lot of it, however, was just me. I was in serious denial when I got there. I cried for a week or two. Solid. I had a lot of dreams where I was back home, and it was very hard to wake up from them and be in Nowhere, Utah, in a blue tarp tent. I didn't try to hurt myself or run away, it wouldn't have gotten me anywhere.

I did, I suppose, enjoy some of it. I made friendships, of a type, with the other girls there. A particularly impossible day hiking led me to a feeling that I can only describe as "divine serenity", something I've experienced a few times since and consider incredible. I learned a lot. I lost a bunch of bad habits (which I promptly regained upon reentering my circle of friends). My communication and introspection skills went through the roof. I forgave my parents for sending me. I think.

I got out on my eighteenth birthday because it would have been illegal for them to keep me any longer. I spent some time with my parents and promptly got the fuck out of Dodge. I now live in Portland. I rely on my parents financially, but I hardly ever have to see them and they have very little control over me. This works a lot better than when we lived together. There was a period of a year or two after I got home when things continued to be pretty crappy for me, but after a certain person moved away, I discovered that it was a lot easier to engage in healthy behavior without a nutjob around (yes, this is supposed to be funny). My experiences with that person (toxic is a good word) have made me very sensitive to manipulative behavior and self-deception. I consider myself stronger for it, but, like the looney bin, wouldn't do it again given the choice.

I have some stuff written up about my time in Utah that I'll probably post later, but this is plenty long now. I'm very willing to talk about this, I'm pretty zen about the whole experience, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

the next lj thread

So shortly after the last conversation, I posted something else in my lj that engendered some great discussion. And I really hope I don't have to do much more of this because I feel like a hack every time I format this way. Irrelevant conversations about user icons, and an irrelevant subject line that got repeated a jillion times have been removed; I have only removed whole comments, though, so any that had some relevance got left in, even if they're talking about Zelda as well ;). I've taken out last names and changed first names to lj names. Once again, feel totally free to yell at me if I'm misrepresenting anything or otherwise being bad.

Ok, so right now all the comments should be at the same level. I'll try to put in something if they're a response to something a ways back, but in general it should make sense, I hope.

Possibly relatedly
When did "women" become an adjective? Am I nuts, or does it bother anyone else to see "women college grads" or "women lawyers"? I mean, is "men lawyers" also now grammatical? Possibly worse is when someone is going for that but goofs the spelling, and you get "woman lawyers" (definitely worse is "lady"!). What's wrong with "female" anyway?

Definitely relatedly, I am cranky all over your friendspage. Uh, lol? Do let me know if I need to create a filter or another blog or something so you don't have to see it. In the meantime, I shall continue to pretend that everything I do is seen as endearing by my wide readership, because that's lots of fun and sometimes even true. If you take "wide readership" to mean "my housemates". Ok, "msbunburyist and my boyfriend".

2007-04-25 06:22 am
When did "women" become an adjective?

I agree completely with you. People have become so extremely oversensitive to being politically correct that they have gone overboard. The Women's movement has been screaming for recognition for women to the point that it has become an insult to women. Yes, I agree, it is ridiculous....Why say "woman lawyer" if you don't say "man lawyer"? Just as ridiculous is the extreme political correctness people are insisting on for long-standing words. "Postman" now has to be "Mail Delivery Personel", a "Manhole cover" is now a "Personhole cover", and the "Trashman" is now an "Environmental Waste Engineer".

People are creatures of habit....and once they are forced into a habit, whether it is ridiculous or not, they will stick with it.

2007-04-25 09:33 am
No! Feminists hate it too! It's an outgrowth of things like "lady doctor", which a long time ago actually differentiated you from a real doctor. This is the patriarchy, not the women's movement at all.

2007-04-25 09:46 am
Good point, thank you for mentioning that.

I also agree that the over-PC movement is both annoying and a bandaid on the sucking chest wound that is actual gender discrimination. Just because they're now "waitpeople" doesn't mean that right now, a waitress is not getting her ass grabbed by a trucker who thinks he can get away with it.

2007-04-25 10:01 am
Agreed, completely.

2007-04-25 10:01 am

Yes, you are right, I agree with you completely. The political correctness in differentiating did begin, as far as the feminists went, (I hate word Feminists, it has been given such a negative connotation because of a few fanatics that made it look like a bad thing) with stuff like "Postal Employee" or "Mail Delivery Personel", but it did begin in a negative way with "lady doctors", etc. One way or another, whether it began as changes for the positive, or people trying to differentiate in a negative manner, it is still a habit for most people. And it has definitely gone overboard, no matter which way you look at it.

2007-04-25 08:15 am
Awww, you're so cute.


2007-04-25 09:46 am
Rar. Fear me.

Blame katealaurel, she started me reading Feministe.

2007-04-25 12:10 pm


...and ditto msbunburyist.

2007-04-25 08:50 am
We love your cranky.

2007-04-25 09:15 am

2007-04-25 09:36 am
1. Bitchiest LOL EVER. *awards a prize*
2. It REALLY bothers me. It's like, why do you need to qualify that? Can't I be a competent professional AND a woman? Is that so damn hard?
3. The physics department has a poster up honoring "women scientists". *headdesks*
4. On a related note, the physics department [Allie sez: at a small liberal, liberal-arts college in the Pacific Northwest, where a number of these commentors attend or have attended and from which I am on leave; following talk about "the biology department" and such is also referring to this colllege] from has hired only two women EVER. Mary J---- in 1988, and Danielle B--- in I think 2004 who left after one year.

2007-04-25 09:43 am
Danielle B--- in I think 2004 who left after one year.

...because she couldn't deal with the misogynists in the rest of the physics department.

flawlessnight, I think you have an obligation to be famous as a physicist, and more than just the token chick on staff. Girls can be hardxcore science nerds too!

2007-04-25 10:15 am
To continue bitching out the science department, they won't let us bare our shoulders in Chem lab (allegedly because it's unsafe, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with not distracting our more serious male colleagues) :P

I think this dilemma becomes slightly more complicated when compared to other languages, like German, which have gender built into them. Is that also sexist? And if not, doesn't the "woman" or "female" qualifier simply compensate for the English language for the sake of clarity? I'm certainly on the fence about it.

I'm waiting for the day when they stop asking for gender (or race, for that matter, but that's another discussion, although they often qualify the same sorts of things that way. If I may quote Chris Rock on Barack Obama, "He's so well spoken!") on ANYTHING because no one cares a lick unless they might want to fuck you. And even then, just because they might not have encountered said genetalia before. Srsly, guys. The differences aren't all that big.

2007-04-25 10:38 am
I have less of an objection to "female" because it's at least a damn adjective. This post was borne (uh, shit, do I mean borne or born? what an embarrassing place in the sentence to not know that) more out of my inner grammar freak than the inner feminist, who got her metaphorical rocks off in the previous post.

I can't decide whether to cut English some slack on not having gender built in and for assuming that mixed groups and unnamed things are male by default. I think, and i did just realise this, that I'm cool with the "female" qualifier *only if* it's relevant and/or one would use a "male" qualifier. Kind of how I'm extremely unlikely to point someone out as "the white guy over there" but have been known to include races other than my own in a short physical description -- it's the assumption of defaultness when not mandated by language that gets me. I like that point. I'm going to bold it so it stands out in this big, unparagraphed mess. That people say "woman lawyer" because they feel like it's unusual, that lawyers are by default male (is a sentence fragment). I guess "male nurse" falls into the same category (but at least nobody f'ing says "man nurse"!!) but it offends me less because I'm a man-hating lesbian hellbent on my political agenda holding some unfair double standards myself, never said I was perfect, guys Ms>distracted by rampant sexism against women oh hell I don't know.

2007-04-25 10:44 am
<3 you :D

2007-04-25 10:49 am

If I collect enough hearts, I unlock a secret area of the game, did you know?

Aaaaand fuckijustlostthegame.

2007-04-25 12:49 pm
No, but it makes you harder to kill. Didn't you realize that this was a Legend of Zelda game?

And it's all good with the cranky. I think most of us who read this (myself very much included) have done the same sort of thing at some point.

2007-04-25 12:17 pm
Interestingly, languages like Latin that have gender built in often assume that groups are male much more explicitly than non-gendered languages. When I was in first-year Latin in seventh grade, they told us that if we have a group of people in Latin, and at least one of them is male, the entire group should be referred to with male nouns and adjectives. (With objects, of course, you refer to them by whatever gender the object is.) Hence "alumni" for groups of "alumni and alumnae".

Also, languages that explicitly gender words make some weird assumptions. The Latin "virtus", for example-- virtue-- is a feminine noun, but is made out of the word "vir"-- man. So.. manhood is feminine. Right.

On the whole, I get the impression that gendered languages tend to describe abstract concepts-- particularly ideals and virtues-- as feminine. However, grab a linguist to check on that.

in which I geek too much
2007-04-25 03:00 pm
Yeah, as I recall from German, French, and Latin, European languages seem to mostly do the absract concepts bring feminine thing (la beauté, die Liebe, etc). I assume they grabbed it from Latin, with whom the virtus thing is freaking notorious.

The Latin argument loses validity because it, you know, DIED long before women's rights. In modern foreign languages, it's true they do tend to assume the masculine when talking about a mixed group (des amis or die Freunde, for example), but on the other hand they went out of their way in many cases to feminize many professions (I know that "professor", for example, only recently and only in Quebec gained a feminine form), yet there seems to be no stigma attatched to this qualification, at least not in Germany as far as I know. In short, I get the impression that a naturally gendered language gets people less up-in-arms about gender neutrality and discrimination and unnecessary qualification and etc.

(On another note, the first place I heard the term "alumn-" was when I was in the San Francisco Girls Chorus School, from which we actually did only have alumnae. At this time I was also taking Latin, in which I learned the proper latin pronunciation for "ae" as well as "i", so I got fair confused when I got to high school and people started talking about "alumni" and pronouncing it the same way you're supposed to pronounce "alumnae", which is how they prounounced it at SFGC, despite the fact that they clearly meant the masculine form...gaaahhhh. I still think we should be inviting "uh-LUM-nee" back to visit the college, but it just sounds too silly)

don't be a pedant unless you know what you're talking about
2007-04-25 03:14 pm
[Allie sez: Kate, your formatting here for quotes is being replaced by italics because I'm lazy]
as I recall from German, French, and Latin
German, of course, is not nearly as closely related to French and Latin as those two are to each other. I'd be cautious about making any argument that relies too heavily on generalizations between all three.

but on the other hand they went out of their way in many cases to feminize many professions
The problem is that while there may not be a stigma overtly attached to feminization of professional nouns, the feminization itself contains an implication that a normal "professor" (for example) is not female. If we have to create new words to account for the presence of women in these professions, it implies that women were not present in them to begin with-- or worse, don't belong there.

Naturally gendered languages may raise less hue and cry about the problems of gendering nouns, but that doesn't mean that they don't exhibit linguistic evidence of discriminatory thought.

2007-04-25 03:50 pm
Uhm, hi. *waves* No need to insult my intelligence, here. It's just the internets.

The whole reason I was bringing up the question of gendered languages is because I wasn't sure how I felt about it. As I understand it the LACK of a feminized form of "professor" in French is under some debate, as THAT is considered to be discriminatory by some people, which is counterintuitive given the overall message of the original post. Also, as I understand it that attitude, that "if we have to create new words to account for the presence of women in these professions, it implies that women were not present in them to begin with-- or worse, don't belong there", seems to be a largely AMERICAN attitude because we don't have gendered nouns in English. The feminization of professions in most European languages (the French le professeur standing out as a notable exception) seems to be a part of gender equality, rather than the opposite. Would it be better if they continued refering to ALL professions in the masculine? That seems to be the attitude in the environment of gendered languages. That's the point I was trying to make.

I was mostly taking issue with your reply because it relied heavily on the trends of a dead language, which seemed somewhat irrelevant. I apologize if this came off as dismissive or...uhm...if it made you sad, or whatever :(

I thought, too, that German would be almost entirely unrelated to Latin (which I took for six years). It's what I had been told about the language. Now that I've taken almost a year or it, however, I see a lot of connections between the two, some which do not appear even in French (which I took for three years). Most (almost all, in fact) of the words, it's true, are Germanic rather than Latin in origin, but the structure is very reminiscient of Latin. Specifically, German still has neuter nouns, which French does not have, and also shares the trend towards feminine abstract nouns, which Latin and French also share. Which is what we were talking about. It's possible--likely even! I'm not a Linguist, I don't know--that Latin had zero influence on German and the commonalities are just coincidence. That doesn't mean the commonalities aren't there. I was making comparisons between them because they're the only languages I've taken.

Frankly, I DON'T know that much about linguistics. I've only taken three languages, and I don't know very much about the politics/political correctness/whatever of other countries. I was just putting out there what I did know, and hoping it would spark some discussion. I didn't intend for any of this to get nasty :P Maybe this response was excessive, for which I do apologize, but I do my best to know what I'm talking about, so forgive me if I took offense when accused of ignorance.

2007-04-25 05:01 pm
Oh crap guys, now I have to read all this.

Also, please play nice and try to stay calm. Like clams, the way I typed it first. Just because it's almost [the end of the year blowout party] doesn't mean stress has *actually* taken over anyone's brain.

2007-04-25 05:04 pm

[this is in response to dragonmagelet's "bitching out the sciences" comment]
2007-04-25 11:01 am
It really may be for safety reasons -- when I was in Chem lab, all students had to wear those white coverup coats. We had a man professor, and a man TA too.

The word I hate is "coed" to mean a female college student. Bwa?

2007-04-25 11:04 am
Because the default state of higher education is male, obviously, and coeducationalizing (+1 made up word point to me!) involves introducing wimmins, who must obviously then be "coeds" because they bring it with them...?

I only ever see that term in porn.

2007-04-25 12:14 pm
"H0TT c0LL3GE CO3DS WANT Y00!", you mean?

I've actually seen it in serious articles-- like in the NYTimes-- before, but I've no idea how I'd go about digging one up except for long and laborious internet sleuthing, which is great for procrastination but not-what-I-need-to-be-doing-right-now.

2007-04-25 12:54 pm
To continue bitching out the science department, they won't let us bare our shoulders in Chem lab (allegedly because it's unsafe, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with not distracting our more serious male colleagues) :P

awww come on. I know this is facetious, but still. You can't wear sandals or come in without safety goggles either...

[Allie sez: This is in response to my comment about the misogynists in the physics department]
2007-04-25 03:49 pm
Actually it's because they said they'd buy her a $20,000 piece of equipment she needed for her research and then they didn't.

Yeah, I kinda do. Of the last like 100 Nobel Prizes in physics, like 98 of them have been men, and the last two were Marie Curie and some other chick. It's my duty to out-badass all the men on staff. :) And out-badass them I shall!

2007-04-25 05:08 pm
What, other than [A Physics Major Who Lives In My Basement And Got To Use Danielle's Super Nice Lab All By Himself]'s Thesis Lab?

The bulletin board in the physics hallway just reinforces my ire and my determination that WOM(A/E)N IS NOT A DAMN ADJECTIVE! It's a fucking noun! English is crying!

2007-04-25 12:57 pm
re #4 [in flawlessnight's list]: forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'd imagine the pool of qualified physicists for professor positions in the particular generations from which they are hiring is kind of skewed towards men. Not because women aren't capable of being qualified physicists, but just because in the generations from which our professors grew up, there wasn't as much encouragement for women in the sciences.

2007-04-25 03:04 pm
I'd also point out that the chemistry department, while full of male professors, has had an abundance of female students over the past few years. I believe there was one year recently wherein all the graduating seniors were female.

And that's not even pointing out the Reactor of Awesome [Allie sez: a mostly-student-run small nuclear reactor in the basement of the psychology building at said college, which the admissions department is fond of pointing out produces the most licensed female reactor operators of anywhere every year], wherein there are about 11 female senior operators and only 5 or so male ones this year.

2007-04-25 03:55 pm
Wow, really? That's awesome!

Physics has historically been the most male-dominated of the sciences. Like, I don't even know if I KNOW any male Bio majors, and I know a LOT of female chem majors, but even though there are more female physics majors now than ever before, I think we're still at like a 60/40 split.

2007-04-25 07:55 pm
There are plenty of male bio majors, but it does tend to be skewed towards women.

2007-04-25 04:08 pm
To quote R---- [no idea who this is but figure it's polite to take the name out], "we're the only reactor run by hot chicks!"

2007-04-25 03:52 pm
Yeah, pretty much.

2007-04-25 04:07 pm
I mean, it's sort of an obvious idea, but still, what I meant is that I don't think it's anything particularly chauvinistic NOW, it's just dealing with the way things have historically been.

the thread from my lj

So this is the thread-from-my-lj, where I copied a long comment I had made in the aforementioned blog, and got some comments there. I'm going to attempt to format it readably (livejournal has threaded comments, which I only realised I loved once I came over to blogger where it's not so and it's much harder to keep up sepearate conversations), but I'm currently unsure of my ability to do that. Let me know if Word introduced any of its crappy formatting shit or if I fucked my HTML or if this is in some other way messed up. All names here are LJ usernames; I'm kestrelct. If anyone would like their name or comment removed, let me know. I've edited only for formatting and to change a real name to an lj name, once again, let me know if I screwed you up.

And oh shit, please bear with me while I try to remember HTML. I forgot you could have a multi-paragraph unordered list item and the first incarnation of this formatting was hideous. Yes, that's why they all have bullet points; I know no more elegant way to indent than ul. *cries in shame*

In response to a comment (which was in response to a comment, and had all gotten rather off-track from the original post) on another blog (I’m genuinely curious: What, exactly, would have to change for you to believe that “society” *did* behave as if women were people?).

I'm not Red Stapler , but I'll take a crack at this. A society -- and by this I mean, approximately, the prevailing attitudes and practises in the United States, since that's where I live -- where women were treated like people, like equals, would look something like this to me:

We'd have an approximately equal number of male and female presidential candidates. And Supreme Court nominees, and congresspeople, and state governors...

An equal number of men and women would be raped every year (and that number would, I'm guessing, be rather smaller than it is now). Ditto the numbers on sexual violence perpetrators. If there were a disagreement on the consensuality of a sexual act, one party's word would not be taken over the other's as a matter of course without other evidence.

Advertisements would be equally as likely to use a man as a woman in an attempt to use sex to sell the product, and they'd be dressed equally skimpily.

There would not be a significant difference in pay between women and men, overall. I'm not saying all jobs would be evenly split between the genders, but that if you took a slice of people doing similar (education requirements, position in the company heirarchy, experience generally required to reach that position, etc) work, you wouldn't see a difference in pay between men and women. And that the "most traditionally female" jobs would not pay, as a rule, less than the ones with the most men working them. One would be equally likely to encounter women as men at any point in a given hierarchy, and as many men would have a female boss as women would have a male one.

It would be equally normal for a man as a woman to be the stay-at-home parent. Women would not be discriminated against in hiring because it was assumed that they would take time off or leave to have children.

Women and men who chose to have a lot of casual sex would generally be treated equally because of it. Ditto people who chose to have no sex. Both sexes would receive equal education on and be considered to bear equal responsibility for practicing safer sex.

I'm sure there are several more important things that would be different in a country or world where we behaved like the genders were differentiated mostly by their plumbing and not by their intrinsic social status, but I can't think of them at the moment. I hope these provide food for thought on the ways in which women are *not* treated like this right now in the US, and why that might be.

2007-04-25 09:08 am
I tend to think of these as two separate questions. I do think of women as being treated as people in modern America, but definitely not as equal. In many cases woman are treated as dumber, more fickle, or weaker than men, and that's stupid, but you don't see it justified on the grounds that woman aren't human, whereas you do, for example, in a lot of writing and commentary about black people from around 1850 to 1950 (the term "ape," for instance, crops up a lot).

That aside, I think these criticisms are basically dead on. Especially the ones about pay/occupational discrepancies, and the differing attitudes regarding promiscuity/celibacy depending on gender. The only one I'd really take issue with is the one about the number of people of each gender who are raped: that to me is also a matter of plumbing. It's not that there's anything fair or right about it, but it is physically harder overall to rape a man.

But yeah, good commentary.

  • eavanmoore
    2007-04-25 09:12 am
    Ditto to everything [nietzscheansmut] said.

  • kestrelct
    2007-04-25 09:56 am
    Ok, the "people" is a good point. It's often used mostly hyperboleically for the shock value, I think.

    If I substituted "sexually assaulted" and put in a gentle reminder that not all sex is penis-in-vagina, would that flow better? I suppose I use rape as an inaccurate metonymy for sexual assault, not remembering that definitions vary widely. And, uh, totally forgetting about the plumbing issue in my assumption that rape of males will be perpetrated by another male and therefore penetrative, an assumption I'm chucking in my more-perfect world. Thanks for bringing that up.

    • nietzscheansmut
      2007-04-25 12:29 pm
      I still think it would be uneven in a perfect world by those standards, but it would be a lot less uneven than it is in the current world.

      I mean, it seems to me we can break sexual assault/harassment down into four basic categories: 1. Verbal harassment (hoots, whistles, and objectifying comments), 2. Unwanted touching (pretty self-explanatory), 3. Uncoerced nonconsensual sex (getting someone into a state in which they wouldn't object to having sex with you whereas they normally would, e.g. very drunk), and 4. Coerced nonconsensual sex (the classic "fuck me or I kill you" rape scenario). The first three would presumably be fairly equal in a world where the genders were equal. The fourth, which is mostly a matter of biological equipment, would still mostly be a crime committed by men.

2007-04-25 09:11 am
Advertisements would be equally as likely to use a man as a woman in an attempt to use sex to sell the product, and they'd be dressed equally skimpily. We're not there yet, obvs, but we're on our way, and it really bothers me. If naked-woman advertising is a failure to see women as people instead of bodies, then naked-man advertising is no better.

It would be equally normal for a man as a woman to be the stay-at-home parent. Women would not be discriminated against in hiring because it was assumed that they would take time off or leave to have children. And there would be no financial penalty for taking time off!

No one would attribute a woman's behavior to her "nurturing" or "emotional" character and oppose to it a man's more "rational" and "aggressive" behavior.

  • kestrelct
    2007-04-25 09:59 am
    Objectifying people as sexual objects is lame. Objectifying only women as sexual objects is lame and scary. *shrugs* It seems weird that I'm more comfortable with more people being objectified. Huh.

  • kestrelct

  • 2007-04-25 10:01 am
    No one would attribute a woman's behavior to her "nurturing" or "emotional" character and oppose to it a man's more "rational" and "aggressive" behavior.

    People *do* that shit? I sometimes feel a little out-of-touch, being a rich white person from a privileged background. I've only rarely experienced things that I know, intellectually, are common-place for people in other situations, and it throws my intuitions all off.

    • eavanmoore
      2007-04-25 10:04 am
      Yes, people do that shit. At this moment I'm thinking specifically of an online discussion about female bosses. Someone actually said that a female boss had a more "nurturing" approach, I shit you not.

2007-04-25 09:18 am
And if two people are in an office with a big shiny desk, the default guess as to "whose office is this" would probably be "um... what does the name plate on the desk say?" rather than "it's his office".

  • kestrelct
    2007-04-25 10:03 am
    And women in tech jobs would never hear "Can I talk to someone who knows what they're doing? Like, a *man*?", or having it assumed that they're a receptionist.

  • I keep coming up with more. This could be a whole website, here -- "In a Perfect World..."

    • eavanmoore
      2007-04-25 10:06 am
      Mom told me about an older woman who was more comfortable with a male gynecologist. Of all people.

2007-04-25 10:54 am
In a world like that, we wouldn't need to call equality between the genders "feminism".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

so that thread

The thread that, basically, got me interested in making this blog, is here. I am not sure if my inability to keep attempting conversation in it is due to severe worldview incompatibility or the fact that the last time I slept was thirty hours ago. I would appreciate feedback on whether I'm totally irrational right now. There's also a very large amount of great food for thought, in fact enough to deserve a couple of posts, rather than an attempt to keep up a dialogue that can't hope to address all the points raised. But then I have this problem with the majority of blog comment back-and-forths ;)

Shit, and I was hoping to sleep. Between this and a personal issue I'm full of adrenaline...

Heeeeere's Allie!

So, in response to someone asking to be linked to something in my livejournal, which is privacy-locked, I have finally decided I'll spare the people over there my more politic-y rants, and begin a Real Blog.

Please bear with me while I attempt to learn enough CSS to fix the godawful default fonts Blogger thinks look good.

As the header says, the title comes from a gedankenexperiment about what would be different in a perfect world, for some definition of perfect. Probably the first thing of substance that will be going up here is the discussion that happened in my lj about it, and I'd love to get a running list going. Also, the subdomain is lame because the better variants were taken.

Yes, Allie is my first name. Please, no Catcher in the Rye jokes.