Friday, December 08, 2006

I am so tired of being despised for my gender

If there is anyone out there who thinks that feminism is (a) not necessary or (b) something that has accomplished its goals, please take a few moments and experience utter disgust by the series of events described in this Feminist Law Professors post, which will also direct you to the work of I Blame the Patriarchy and Pandagon.

A whole lot of men hate women. Period. Some men think they don't hate women, but they do. Thankfully, some men actually do not hate women, and they are the ones who need to step forward, with women and girls, and stop the chronic abuse and humiliation of females.

Every time a woman or girl is raped or sexually assaulted, every time a female over 18 is called a "girl," every time a woman or girl who has sex is called a "slut," every time an assertive woman is called a "bitch," every time a hip hop song describes the assault and humiliation of women, every time a woman has to listen to unwanted remarks about her body, every time a qualified professional woman learns her salary is less than that of a man who is not as qualified, every time news personalities talk about a female politician's clothes instead of her policies, every time a pharmacist violates his own code of ethics and refuses to dispense medicine to a woman, every time the Bush administration or the people of California place a sex criminal into a high government position, every time Mike Tyson is praised and honored, every time men view photos or films of women and girls being humiliated and subjugated for "pleasure," every time women who turn men down are called lesbians or feminists, every time a woman with some power is called "shrill," every time a woman walks down the street and receives unwanted sexual invitations, every time someone talks about the "woman cop" or the "lady lawyer," every time an ad tells women they should be ashamed of not looking "young," every time a woman scientist or professor learns that vital professional networks have purposefully excluded her, every time a magazine talks about how women have to "balance" home and career, every time a woman's ideas are rejected and the same ideas uttered by a man are praised, every time a parent "warns" her daughter about birth control but not her son, every time a man assumes it is his job to propose marriage...every time these and dozens of other misogynist events occur, it wounds me. It wounds all women and girls. It wounds the culture.

In other cultures, it is even worse. Girls are murdered at birth because they are girls, they are mutilated, sold as sex slaves, sexually assaulted on public transportation as a matter of course, executed for committing adultery (and sometimes for being raped), and forced into marriages to HIV-positive men.

If you are a woman or a girl, speak up. If you are a man or boy who believes women and girls are human, speak up. If you are a parent, you will have to fight what is being taught, both overtly and covertly, by the schools and churches in your community. If you do not fight for your daughters now, they will never learn to fight for themselves.


Thanks for this. You and your blog mean a lot to me.

By Blogger Ann Bartow, at 1:38 PM  

This was great, thank you.

By Blogger alice, at 2:33 PM  

It is amazing how so many people think that there is no more need for feminism as if everything is all perfect now.

Feminism should still be really big considering the amount of crap people have to put up with because of moronic scumbags.

By Blogger naoko, at 5:35 PM  

Thanks. It was a bit surreal getting flooded with comments that defined sex as a male domination ritual and then being called a prude because that's not how I feel. Rape is a domination ritual, sure. But sex shouldn't be slurred with this crap.

And naturally, neither should women. What kills me is the idea that penetration is humiliating comes from the patriarchy, and then feminists get blamed for pointing that out.

By Blogger Amanda, at 6:43 PM  

Thank you, Ann and Alice.

Naoko, the fact that feminism isn't a priority makes me think we need another consciousness-raising movement, but how long do we have to keep doing that?

Sadly, Amanda, I think the concept of sex as a male domination ritual has been sold for so long that even some people who don't think they believe it believe it. Look at the language: "Fuck you" you should be about pleasure, not rejection or humiliation.

By Blogger Diane, at 9:30 AM  

Diane, great post. Concise and yet loaded with examples. I wish there were a way I could use this post, and maybe there is, with my new client - a 15 year old young woman who calls other girls and women "whore" and "bitch" on a regular basis. Self hatred is at the bottom of a lot of it.

By Blogger Dharma, at 12:18 PM  

Feel free to use the post any way you like. And I agree with you--internalized sexism is very powerful.

By Blogger Diane, at 12:21 PM  

Well said.

By Blogger The Heretik, at 1:59 PM  

Thank you, Joe.

By Blogger Diane, at 11:18 AM  

We have to keep doing it until it changes. We have to teach our sons different too. Pray it sticks to their ribs and defends them against a guy culture that tells him women are just things to score their status with.

By Blogger AFM, at 11:12 PM  

Great post, I'm sorry I missed it earlier.

If anyone doubts women have not reached the status of men they should check out the ratio of men to women in airport lounges, open to frequent flyers and wealthy passengers, thus an indication of financial status. They are overwhelmingly male, and when I went in they assumed I was with the man in front of me. What would a little old woman be doing traveling alone anyway?

By Anonymous KathyF, at 1:21 PM  

I, too, am tired of being despised for my gender.

A whole lot of women hate men, and some women who think they don't hate men do. I neither blame nor condone that, but I think it's sad that the perception of men as a whole is that having a penis equals a rapist. I think it's sad that the men who not only don't hate women but are supportive of the feminist agenda (as a concept embodying equality, anyway) are discounted, marginalized, or belittled. I think it's sad that the chronic abuse and humiliation of females is the only thing most feminists seem to care about.

Every time a man is falsely accused of rape, every time a man has to second-guess what might otherwise be a friendly and completely harmless comment for fear of being labeled a misogynist, every time a sensitive man is called a "pussy", every time an assault on anyone is passed over without comment, every time a compliment is stifled for fear of sexual harrassment charges, every time an unqualified woman is promoted ahead of a well-educated but not well-connected man, every time anyone actually sits and watches what passes for "entertainment" newscasts focusing on trivia like a politician's clothing instead of their policy, every time a customer of either gender refuses to exercise their free-market privilege by going to another service provider, every time any government allows a sex criminal to go unpunished, every time Mike Tyson is even on TV, every time an otherwise artistic and perhaps realistic depiction of erotica is labeled "porn", every time someone with a fragile ego denigrates another person refusing to live up to their expectation, every time passersby witnessing a woman being heckled and don't say something about it, every time an ad portrays a man or husband as an idiot or fool, every time a magazine talks about how men are supposed to be sole providers of home and hearth, every time a woman fears to speak up for fear of being discounted, every time a parent allows their child to pass through puberty without adequate sexual education, and every time a woman assumes insult from a man whose intention is to convey respect and admiration...every time these and dozens of other events otherwise labeled as "business as usual", it wounds me, and it should wound women who call themselves feminists.

Feminism is inadequate, because feminism doesn't acknowledge that anyone but a woman has a viewpoint that is valid. All of the things you've listed are wrong, if taken in a certain context (and for some, no context is adequate - they're wrong, without qualification).

What's sad is that as a man who respects women and has a supportive but differing opinion from mainstream feminists, I don't even have to guess at the responses my comment will draw. I agree that it's a great post...I'll be pleasantly suprised, however, if I am on the receiving end of anything but scorn and derision, which in my opinion, exemplifies the saddest failing of the feminist movement far better than I could really put into words.

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