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Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Right to Cultural Sexual Consideration

By: Liberate Zealot


Content Warning: discussions of transphobia, racism, ableism, fat hating, and rape culture


Recently the Candanian and US feminist blogosphere has been buzzing over a semiar/workshop put on by a PP and health services in Canada that focused on cultural acceptance of transwomen in the queer community, specifically about sex and desirability.  It made use of the phrase "cotton ceiling" and a feminist group in the US created a petition and leveled charges of predatory and "rapey" behavior. 


This lead to a discussion on the appropriateness of the phrase (by drawing comparisons to the glass ceiling) and the ideas behind the conference. If you're interested in the specifics of the relationship between the glass ceiling and the cotton ceiling read Ceiling Metaphors by Tobi, a queer transwoman.  


One thing that came up for debate was a persons right to have their sexual beingness recognized and respected at a cultural level.  People seemed to conflate this with them having a right to sex at the individual level, or else just didn't get why desexualization was problematic, or why freedom from cultural desexualization is a right.

And honestly, I'm somewhat worried about writing this.  A lot of this post and cultural desexualization has to do with race, or being trans, fat, or a person with differing abilities (societal disabilities) and is an aspect of racism, transphobia, fat phobia, and ableism.  And I'm white, cis, able bodied, and thin.  I'm also blond and rather "feminine" and desexualization is not something I experience.  However, I ended up being the champion for the right to cultural sexual consideration in the thread, and I want to spend some time going over it for future use and to further organize and process my own thoughts.  So here's the warning, as the result of my privilege I might get some of this wrong.  If so, I hope people will let me know.


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

So the votes are in, and there was overwhelming support for "Strangers telling women to smile". 

Yes this is sexist, it's generally considered street harassment and is also emotional policing.  Because guess what?  Men (and other women) do not have the right to tell women what their facial expressions should look like!  Wild, I know, but you have no idea why my face looks angry/sad.  Maybe I just failed a midterm, maybe my cat's run away for the Bieberbillionth time, maybe land sharks have invaded Poland, or maybe it's just my default expression.  


Either way, no one has the right to tell me what I'm feeling or how I should express that on my face. I have the right to be angry or sad and show it.  I have the right to not smile!  They do not have the right to my smile (I don't care how awesome it is). 

Which is why, if someone demands/asks for you to smile (outside of formal photographs) I recommend you make this face...

Please make suggestions in the comments for next week's installment of Babe, is this Sexist?  and remember to check out Facebook page on Monday for the poll to vote for your favorite option! 


Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Hidden Danger of Catcalling

By: Malanka Sveta

Content Warning: Depictions of Street Harassment, molestation/groping (including by a family member)

I owe my grandfather a lot.  He was, for a very long time, the only man in my life who was not abusive to me.  When we took our family trips to his farm I knew that I would be safe.  My father wouldn't dare hurt me there.  It was my own private faerie.  No fear, no abuse, no restrictions, just unconditional love and unending support.  I owe my grandfather the happiest and safest moments of my childhood.

Belvedere

By: Malanka Sveta


Content Warning: Violent Depictions of Rape






I love Escher.  And "Belvedere" has always been one of my favorites.  The way the building twists and the way you lose your perspective from one point to the next (a hallmark of Escher) is magical.  It is the expectation that the world has far more to offer than we can see.  Sometimes a loss of perspective is how we gain perspective. 

 And sometimes a loss of perspective is how we communicate our intentions.  Belvedere Vodka lost their perspective yesterday.  Hopefully they lost a significant portion of sales as well because their intentions were particularly heinous.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Pounding the Pavement

 By: Liberate Zealot
Cross-posted on F.A.R Tumblr

So along with being a child care provider/educator and buffet feminist I also love fashion to the extent of being a geek about it.  This is especially true for shoes.  So in honor of International Anti-Street Harassment Week I'm doing a post on shoes, which we all must admit is a necessary aspect of being on the street.


These shoes are an old love of mine (in ballet flats years, which are must shorter than human or even dog years).  I love their color, design, and comfort.  I can wear them for work and still feel fashionable.  However they've gotten wet, the color was run (and stained my foot green for two days), my hatred of socks mean they're not the sweetest smelling, and they're a favorite toy of my cat.  So this week replacements were in order.

The Wearing Down

*Content Warning - Depictions of Street Harassment*

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

Not a lot of voting for this weeks Babe, is this Sexist? installment.  However, it ties very nicely into the week being International Anti-Street Harassment Week.


How sexist is this?  Let me count the ways.

- Objectification.  We've said it before.  Women are not cars or any other type of object.  It'd be great if advertisers, especially car advertisers, could realize this. 
- This is like a masturbatory fantasy of street harassment.  Man see's a woman he doesn't know in the street, he stares/leers at her.  She notices, yells at him, slaps him, and then starts getting sexual with him.  NOT HOW STREET HARASSMENT WORKS!  The story of this video supports the idea of street harassment as complimentary and thus supports rape culture. 
- There's also some racist, sexualized "Other" elements.  Because Latina's are sexy and tempestuous amirite?

Please remember to submit ideas of next week's Babe, is this Sexist?  We'd love submissions that have to do with street harassment (either images or statements).  Also remember to visit our Facebook page next Monday - Wednesday to vote! 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

When Men Don't See

By: Liberate Zealot


Content Warning: Depictions of Street Harassment


I've seen and been in lots of discussions with men about street harassment. They almost always suggest that men aren't aware of street harassment, or how prevalent it is because they don't see it happening.  That no one harasses women when they're with men.  I hear or see this and I always flash back to times when I or friends of mine have been harassed. 



Monday, 19 March 2012

Can't we all just get along? Even though you're being stupid?

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.


I seem to have spent a lot of time already talking about feeling empowered to call someone out when they're being a caca doodie head (like here, here, here, and here). I feel it only fair to now focus a bit on trying to find middle ground during some of these potentially heated exchanges.



There are occasions when there is no singular right answer or response. Take, for example, the Slutwalk movement as a response to systemic victim-blaming and sex-shaming. Many people will not be able to feel comfortable supporting a cause with such a provocative name. Many people will never put in the effort to find out what the cause is really about and will dismiss it outright because of the name. This does't mean that it does not have an important place in starting conversations about rape culture, and it does not mean that the positive experiences of those who have found a voice and solidarity in the movement are invalid. And those positive experiences don't mean that movements like Take Back The Night have run their course and are no longer relevant. There is plenty of room to agree to disagree.

Disagreement itself can also be healthy. None of us are perfect or omniscient (even if yours truly comes breathtakingly close). When we're disagreeing with people (or they with us) I think it's important to decide if in our desire to stick to our guns we may not be missing some important and credible critiques. Sometimes we can skip over that concern - goodness knows I'm not missing out on something lifechanging that could alter forever my appreciation of the cullinary arts when I mock trolls who make "sammich" jokes on feminist forums.


But outside of obvious trolls, I think it important to consider giving the poster the benefit of the doubt and holding back our desire to immediately squash debate.

For example, again going back to Slutwalk, this past summer the issue came up of persons of colour not being adequately represented within the Slutwalk movement. On its face, to supporters who have been aiming to be as inclusive as possible from the start, this was a distressing accusation. But, the Slutwalk founders listened to this criticism and are now endeavouring it make the Slutwalks better. (I talked more about it here)

I also think it valuable to have people who identify as feminist who have different ideas as to what being feminist entails. For example, there seems to be a huge division between feminists who support sex workers, including those who are voluntarily in the sex work industry and want to continue to be, and feminists who oppose sex work in all its forms, including stripping, pornography, and prostitution. I think both sides are needed, because there is no single solution to ending abuse of sex workers. There are sex workers who want safer work conditions within the industry, and sex workers who want to exit the industry and need supports set up to make that feasible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, because to impose one would, in my opinion, disrespect the breadth of experience of those who are within the sex industries and have different needs.

It's not always easy to be able to discern in the moment (or even in hindsight), when one needs to stick to their guns, or shut down someone who's obviously trolling, or try to be more diplomatic and try to reach some sort of compromise. There have been times when I've dived head-first into snark and GIF parties when someone was honestly asking a question. There have been times when I've let a misogynistic dillweed lead the converstaion for the better part of a day because I was trying to be diplomatic. There will be many days to come, I'm sure, where I will fall flat on my face in the effort to weigh both sides. It's ok. I'll learn and I will continue to get better at it.

It's very important to note sometimes people may not word their disagreement terribly well. I have the benefit of a good education, with English as my first language, as well as a background education in advertising, and so what I want to say usually comes across the first time. Take someone with less impressive English skills and a subject that sparks a great deal of emotion, and you'll often come across a first post that reads like, "WTF IS RONG WIT U?!!!!!!!!!" Antagonistic, yes, and it doesn't give a heck of a lot to build on, but sometimes conversations that start off less than ideally can lead to a mutual understanding at the end.

When you come across a post that initally sends your blood pressure through the roof, I urge you to consider reading it a couple times before responding. And when you do, I hope you'll consider posting questions to draw out the crux of the poster's concern to ensure it doesn't lead to people needlessly ALL-CAPS RAGING past each other when it might be the result of a misunderstanding.

Given the current cultural climate, I want to make clear that, despite all this nice talk of diplomacy, there are some issues where there can be no middle ground. If I'm talking to someone who thinks women are like cattle, there is no middle ground to be had. If I'm talking to someone who believes the rights of a zigote always trump a woman's right to bodily autonomy, there's no middle ground to be had. If I'm talking to someone who believes that women who dress like sluts deserve to be raped, there is no middle ground to be had. These, and many more issues like these, require a hard-line stance. That doesn't negate the ability to be open about other topics, and the ability to be open about other topics doesn't undermine the importance of drawing the line at these topics. One doesn't have to be one or the other at all times ever. Human interaction is more nuanced than that.

But, legit, the attacks on women's health care are bullshit.


Street Harassment






Street Harassment includes cat and cow calls, flashing, groping, general sexist comments, stalking and assault.  For more information we recommend you visit Hollaback! 
Later this week some of the Hive Mind will write posts about street harassment, and share their stories.  For today here's some fun videos


The Reformed Whores "Karate Song" 



Miss Piggy's Response to Street Harassment




  

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Just because they're awesome, doesn't mean they can't be awful

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.

Don't hate! He helped me with that thing that time!

I keep coming back to this issue, and it is such a frustrating one. Someone says or does something problematic (in some circumstances illegal and horrific), and yet they have supporters who will try to dismiss the seriousness of the offense because of how "good" or "nice" or "honourable" the person is. Other than that thing. And potentially that long series of things committed against minors in their charge over a span of decades.

On the one hand, I get it. Someone you care about personally, and/or respect a great deal is being challenged and you want to protect them. They were there for you before, or you've read some of their great speeches/ books/ published papers, etc, and it distresses you that someone so amazing is being insulted in this way.

I get that it can be very hard to listen to criticisms of people we love. When a stranger is making accusations against them, our first instinct is often to go into mama-bear mode and protect them, regardless of the substance or severity of the accusation.

Take for example, my mom. My mom's super. Sometimes I have issues with my mom. Sometimes my sister and I talk about issues we're having with our mom. But if anyone else outside that tiny circle of my sis and I start talking smack about my mom, I won't stand for that. That's when I go into the "My mom's a saint! You best back off my mom lest I bring your mom's faults into this!"-sort of mode. So, I get the reaction. I do.

The thing is, sometimes the people we love and respect make bad decisions. Sometimes they may be good to us but horrifically terrible to others. Sometimes even when they're not that great to us we still feel a sense of loyalty that urges us to defend them.

This is obviously problematic. First off, it largely leads to victim-blaming. If we are so unwilling to believe that someone we know/ trust/ respect, etc, is capable of being anything but awesome, despite all evidence to the contrary, there really is no place else to go but to blame and/or disbelieve their accusers.

Putting people on pedestals is unhealthy. Full-stop. No one is perfect and absolutely no one deserves to be revered as more than human. Not our parents, our partners, our religious leaders, our political leaders, our teachers, our bosses, our siblings, movie stars, professional athletes, scientists, political activists, no one. Everybody has flaws and blindspots, because we're all raised in an imperfect culture that teaches us, up front and subliminally, very problematic things. We need to see them as human and fallible so we can both genuinely appreciate the good things they do despite their regular flaws (as in, non-criminal, non-oppressive flaws like not practicing dental hygene, not knowing how to parallel park, having the audacity to have cellulite, not being omnisciently intelligent, etc), and to hold them accountable when necessary.

Also, by defending people despite their problems, we are preventing them from becoming better people. We learn through our mistakes, but only if we acknowledge they are mistakes. If someone is making sexist comments and they're being egged on to not apologize because they're already oh-so-awesome the way they are, that can prevent them from self-growth in stepping beyond their misogynistic beliefs. If loving and admiring someone depends on them maintaining their misogyny, then they're not the only person with the problem.

In the more serious cases of heroes committing crimes, if you think that a person's positive contributions are more important than them being held accountable for the crimes they've committed, welcome to rape culture. You're in it.

Tumblr and URL Changes


So we have a Tumbler now http://feministarmchairregime.tumblr.com/.  Mostly it'll be cross posting, but it might  get an occasional special post of it's own.  Like this one by Mistress Malcontent.  

Now apparently blogger has changed how it's working URLs, specifically it's re-directing to country specific URLs. So readers in the UK will get a redirect to a co.uk URL.  Last night, at least, this lead to the page view to look a bit different.  Hopefully, this isn't a problem for long.  If you want to get to the original .com version, than visit us as feminist-armchair-regime.blogspot.com/ncr (no country redirect).

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Babe, is this Sexist?

The voting was close for this week's installment of Babe, is this Sexist? and the top two options involved (some form of) sex discrimination against men (because we all know the social justice framing of "isms" being power and prejudice).


And the Hivemind is tired this evening and has been battling lots of trolls/hateful bigots so let me be brief...

YES THIS IS FUCKING SEXIST!

Women are not ambulatory washing machines.  Nor do all of us like chores or know how to wash 100% cotton fabrics. 

Also, what fucking grown up doesn't know how to follow basic laundry instructions?  This is very dismissive of men, which is something MRAs/anti-feminists love to accuse us Feminists of. 

Post your submissions for next week's Babe, is this Sexist? in the comments.  We'll pick our favorites and let you know!

If you also want to vote, visit the Facebook group next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to vote for your favorite submissions.  Also, please feel free to resubmit options that weren't chosen!


Can we cut the "Real" Woman Crap?

Content warning: Transphobia, body image, vulgar language

So in the past week I've run into various mentions of "real" women in different feminist areas where I participate.  It's gone from the whole "real women have curves" and body snarking to the transphobia of second wave informed radical feminists.   Which since no one seems to be discussing robots I'd like to point out that we're all fucking real ok!  No one is made solely of metal, plastic, and computer code. 

Just play by these rules and you'll be fine

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.


Let's play a game, shall we? Let's pretend this is only a game and not relevant to real life and that there really is a way to win.*

Now, in this game, you are a white, able-bodied ciswoman. You have class privilege from growing with up two parents who are not rich but are solidly middle-class and in a healthy, non-abusive family environment. What luck!



Now, in this game, pick one of the two:
You:
  1. a) date or have dated people who are not 100% respectful of you.
    b) only date people who are 100% respectful of you at all times.
  2. a) have had sexual contact outside of marriage
    b) are saving your viriginity for marriage
  3. a) don't have kids
    b) have kids
  4. a) are utilizing some form of birth control
    b) are not utilizing any form of birth control
  5. a) are conventionally attractive
    b) are not conventionally attractive
  6. a) are an atheist or agnostic
    b) practice a particular religion
  7. a) are married and your partner makes more money than you do
    b) are married and you make more than your partner does
  8. a) imbibe legal and government-regulated intoxicating substances
    b) do not partake of any intoxicating substances
  9. a) you're married
    b) you're not married
  10. a) you are not constantly thinking about your personal safety
    b) you are hyper-vigilant about your personal safety
  11. a) you are knowledgeable about rape myths, and take calculated risks 
    b) you abide by every single "safety tip" just in case
Ok, pencils down! Let's see how you did!


In the interest of full-disclosure, I feel it's only fair to let you know it's all downhill from here.

  1. a) Women only date assholes because they like being abused! - minus 5 points!
    b) Why don't you give him a chance? As if you're so perfect. - minus 10 points!
  2. a) You've had sex with how many people? You disgusting slut! - minus 20 points!
    b) You're waiting for sex until marriage? What a prude. You're probably a dyke. - minus 8 points!
  3. a) You don't have kids because you're focussed on your career? What a sad, empty life you must lead. - minus 50 points!
    b) You don't have a job because you stay at home with the kids? What a waste of potential. - minus B^2 points!
  4. a) You use birth control? You must be a slut. - minus (Pi)R ^2 points!
    b) You didn't use birth control? You're such a stupid slut. - minus 100 points!
  5. a) You're so beautiful. You could get any guy, so you must be a slut. - minus 150 points!
    b) You're so ugly. You must have to be a slut to get anyone to pay attention to you. - minus 42 points!
  6. a) You're an atheist? No wonder you have no morals. - minus 500 points!
    b) You're a (insert religion here)? No wonder you're a mindless sheep. - minus the square root of infinity points!
  7. a) Your husband is rich? You must be shallow and just with him for the money. - minus 37 points!
    b) You make more money than your husband? How immasculating. How does he put up with that? - minus 73 points!
  8. a) You like to drink booze? You're such a dirty lush. - minus 60proof points!
    b) You're straight-edge? What an uptight bitch. - minus 100 percent points!
  9. a) You're married? How were you able to fool him into getting stuck with you? - minus calculus points!
    b) You're not married? You musn't be good enough to get any man to want to stick with you. - minus a googleplex points!
  10. a) Don't be so naive and trusting! All men are rapists! - minus uber lots of points!
    b) Why don't you trust men? You must hate them. - minus (GDP of Brazil) points!
  11. a) Don't go down dark alleys because you'll get raped! - minus a bazillionty points!
    b) You never take chances. You're timid and pathetic. What do you think's gonna happen? The boogeyman gonna get you? - MINUS ALLLLL THE POINTS!!!!!!1!!1!1!!!ELEVENTY!1!!
And, you lose! Yay! What a fun game! Now, let's play again, only now you're non-caucasian, disabled, LGBTTQQ, poor, etc. You lose even more! Stop playing because your losing is harshing my buzz!!!!!

Now, for something completely different (because I don't wanna play that game any more, either).



*CAUTION! THIS POST MAY HAVE BEEN OVERSATURATED WITH SARCASM!


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sailor Moon: Feminism and Gender

By: g33k and destroy

              For those of you that don’t know, Sailor Moon (known as Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon in Japan) is a TV series based on the manga created by Naoko Takeuchi. The story follows Usagi Tsukino (Serena/Bunny in English translations) who transforms into Sailor Moon, defender of love and justice. She is also the Moon Princess, royalty from a now defunct kingdom on the Moon during a time called the ‘Silver Millennium’, where the moon resided over the rest of the planets in our solar system is peaceful harmony. Her allies are soldiers who represent each of the other planets in the Solar System, as well as ex-villains, beings from other dimensions/times as well as her daughter from the future. Sailor Moon is one of the most successful series of all time, being translated, published and broadcast in many countries all over the world. Sailor Moon was an enormous part of my childhood. It wasn’t until I become interested in feminist thought and became more mature that I viewed the franchise with a new appreciation.  I will be focusing on the Sailor Moon television series and later in the year, I will write a follow up criticism of the Sailor Moon manga which is currently being re-released in North America. (Which I purchase religiously bi-monthly.) For now, I will be focusing on Sailor Moon and its elements pertaining to feminism and gender.


              One of my absolutely favourite things about Sailor Moon is the characterization of the female characters as fully-developed and complicated human beings.  The gender of each character is inconsequential to their personality and actions. Each female sailor solider is written as a hero with characteristics and traits which fall within and outside the typical gender boundaries of ‘girls’.  For example, Ami Mizuno (Amy/Sailor Mercury) is often described as the ‘genius girl’, regularly getting the top score in tests and practice entrance exams. She is not just the best among her female peers but among the entire school and even Japan. Ami excels at mathematics, science, and computers; domains which are typically expected to be the speciality of males.  She is even the junior champion of chess. Ami embodies many qualities which are often associated with the ‘masculine’; intelligence, a scientific-mind, analytical, courage, calm and reservation. But she also embodies many other characters which are more typical of the ‘feminine’; modesty, passiveness and compassion. The juxtaposition of these gender characteristics within one female character blurs the concept of what qualities we often associate to males and females.  By presenting all of these traits within one character of a specific gender and sex, the show presents these qualities which are often depicted as heavily segregated between the sexes as traits which both genders readily possess. Another excellent example is Haruko Tenoe (Amara/Sailor Uranus.) Haruko first enters the series dressed as a boy and is thought to be male by both Usagi and Minako. Haruko is very charming and flirtatious but she is also incredibly aggressive. She is confrontational and often engages in physical fights throughout the series. She drives a sports car, a motorcycle and dreams of being a race car driver. While Haruko has many typical ‘masculine’ qualities, she also has typical ‘feminine’ qualities. She is selfless, nurturing, compassionate and incredibly emotional. Each character within the Sailor Moon universe is built of conflicting masculine and feminine traits. Makoto (Lita/Sailor Jupiter) is the physically strongest amongst the original five soldiers and an aggressive tomboy to boot, but she is also an amazing cook, a master of cleaning and a hopeless romantic. Ami, Haruko and Makoto are the strongest examples of characters with stereotypical masculine qualities; however these characters are portrayed as normal, adolescent girls. Within the universe of Sailor Moon, it is normal for these qualities to be seen in women and thus it is never portrayed as strange or exemplary. Sailor Moon puts forward the very modern ideal of feminism, that men and women are the same. Sailor Moon puts forward the idea that one group does not have a preoccupation with certain traits over another. Men and women in this universe commonly embody characteristics from both gender spectrums which we normally assign according to gender.
              Friendship is an enormously important part of the Sailor Moon series, both within the television series and the manga. Friendship is arguably the core theme of the series. The strength of the soldiers comes from their bond with one another and their loved ones. The friendship portrayed in Sailor Moon dispels common social myths about female friendship; women can’t be friend with women and women can’t be friends with men. The friendship between women is often thought of as superficial, shallow and vulnerable. Women will inevitably lie to eachother, talk behind each other’s back, get jealous, have competition and generally be unable to maintain friendships with other women.  If not these factors, women will stop being friends with eachother over a man or another shallow conflict of interest. And of course, women can’t be friends with men, because women and men are only interested in the opposite gender for relationships of various sorts. Sailor Moon portrays female friendship in an incredibly positive light, free of these negative stereotypes. The girls in this series obviously have their conflicts – Arguments, fights, disagreements, competition and at times, jealousy. The difference is that these conflicts are portrayed as normal parts of friendship that just serve to make the relationship stronger. The girls all support and love eachother unconditionally, encouraging eachother in their goals and dreams. There are various times in the series where a man is the object of affection between the girls. Minako and Usagi are competitive over Haruko when they first believe he is a boy. Makoto and Minako are competitive over Motoki. Even Usagi and Rei are competitive over Mamoru for a while, but none of these conflicts destroy or even impact their friendships, as these are their most treasured relationships. The girls are always supportive, honest and trustworthy. It is a great portrayal of female relationships and the important role they can play in the roles of young girls.



              Gender is also an important topic in the universe of Sailor Moon. To be clear, in this section I will be discussing gender, not sex. Gender will be defined as a range of characteristics typically used to distinguish males and females as in feminine and masculine characters. In many ways, the portrayal of gender is very progressive in Sailor Moon. No character only embodies one side of the gender spectrum and all of the characters are very developed as I earlier discussed. Sailor Moon brings an interesting take to the concept of the ‘hero’. Sailor Moon is the most powerful of the soldiers but not because of her physical strength or even supernatural abilities. Her strength comes from her capacity to love others and offer understanding. Most cartoons depict heroes defeating villains with physical strength or superior fighting skills. Sailor Moon draws her strength from her capacity for compassion, a trait which we almost constantly associate with women. To have a cartoon aimed directly at children and young adults that puts forth a female superhero who uses a stereotypical feminine trait to defeat enemies, which is shown to be even stronger than stereotypical masculine traits such as aggression and violence, is a very positive message in my eyes. Sailor Moon is a perfect example of a pacifist superhero. She always seeks peaceful resolutions whenever they are possible. This isn’t to say that she is incapable of defeating a villain outside of her abilities to love; there are times in the series where Sailor Moon must destroy a villain with her supernatural powers. However, she is absolutely in her conviction to find a peaceful resolution before resorting to irreversible decisions regarding life and death.
              This isn’t to say that the soldiers only draw their strength from their capacity to care for one another and their galaxy. The soldiers all excel in different areas of combat. Soldiers like Sailor Saturn and Sailor Pluto have the most amount of power, respectively being the Guardian of Time and the Soldier of Death and Silence. Sailor Mars and Sailor Neptune are both very intuitive individuals who are able to see through illusions and sense the future. Sailor Mars is even able to dispel evil spirits. Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Uranus are the physically strongest amongst the soldiers and excel in various fighting styles. Sailor Venus is the most athletic and Sailor Mercury is the most calculating in her attack strategies. Sailor Moon would not seem nearly as feminist to me if the series put forth the idea that all the girls derive their power from typical female characteristics. The instinct to be protective of others is often thought of as an instinctual male characteristic, as we often associate that males by their very nature protect females. Sailor Moon creates a new universe where girls and women are the ones that step forward to protect the world. The male hero, Tuxedo Mask, is rescued various times throughout the series by Sailor Moon and the soldiers. The series symbolizes that gender is not the final indicator in how you can act and what you are capable of.
              Sailor Moon also teaches valuable lessons on self-acceptance in a variety of areas, from self esteem to sexuality. Mamoru (Tuxedo Mask) is a man who feels personal pain at his inability to remember his past. Haruka (Sailor Uranus) is a girl who dresses in a male school uniform and is often mistaken for a boy. Haruka is also in a romantic relationship with Michiru (Sailor Neptune). These characters are never met with ridicule or hostility. Mamoru is never mocked for his emotional states or judged on his masculinity. Haruka is never judged for her penchant for cross-dressing and neither is her relationship with Michiru.  Additionally, it portrays same-sex relationships between various characters. Haruka and Michiru are the first lesbian couple we meet in the series. They are actually my favourite romantic couple within the entire television series. The romantic scenes we see between Haruka and Michiru are the most imtimate and moving moments we enjoy in the series. Their relationship is arguably portrayed to be the strongest in the entire series. They are a completely committed and loving couple, joined together by not only their feelings but by their dedication to their cause. This was the very first lesbian couple I had ever even learned about as a young girl! Seiya (Sailor Star Fighter) is a Sailor Solider who is a female in his ‘true form’, and she has romantic feelings for Usagi. Kunzite and Zoisite are two male villains within the first season of Sailor Moon in a romantic relationship. The 'Sailor Star Lights' in the fifth and final season of Sailor Moon are female sailor soldiers that transform into men in their civilian identities, which was my very first exposure to the idea of transpeople. Additionally, the villain ‘Fish-Eye’ in season three is portrayed as a homosexual male. Different sexualities and orientations are presented as normal and to be celebrated within the Sailor Moon universe.



              Of course, there are many things I could dissect about Sailor Moon that I feel need improvement. But overall, I think the series sends an overwhelmingly positive message to girls of all ages. Sailor Moon is about self acceptance, self discovery and courage. I used to often wonder how I turned out to be a left-leaning political feminist type, as my parents are generally quite conservative. It wasn’t until I started thinking about all the media I obsessively consumed as a child that I realized that a majority of the shows I watched featured amazing female characters. So really, I feel that I owe Naoko Takeuchi quite a lot of thanks for what she showed me as a young girl.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Awesome Women of History

March is Women's History Month in the US, and this past week has been International Women's Week.   So in honor of that some members of the Hive Mind at the Feminist Armchair Regime have decided to write a little about their favorite women from history (or should we say Herstory).


Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! 


International Women's Day was first observed in 1911 as International Working Women's Day.  In 1977 the United Nations declared March 8th as UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.  Today is the day for celebrating women, for looking at all we have achieved, and for all that must be achieved for gender equality to be a reality.




Babe, is this Sexist?

One again we had unanimous votes for this week's installment.  A sweatshirt suggested by the lovely Insidious Beast.

"Cool story, babe.  Now go make me a sandwich." 

I can just picture some of the privileged d00dbros wearing this, while smelling of Axe, as they write about "SSSSSCIENCE!!!!!!11!!!!1!ELEVENTY!!" on the various feminist areas of the internet. 

So this sweatshirt/quote gets a Trollific on the Sexism Scale!

Post your submissions for next week's Babe, is this Sexist? in the comments.  We'll pick our favorites and let you know!

If you also want to vote, visit the Facebook group next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to vote for your favorite submissions.  Also, please feel free to resubmit options that weren't chosen!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Conversations Among the Hive Mind: Bill O'Reilly Edition


    • Oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Supporting American women = dooming all Americans to loss of freedom

    Liberate Zealot: 
    • totes­ ­
    • because women aren't real Americans­ ­... not of the AMURIKA! variety  ­

      Malanka Sveta:
      • But Viagra is medically neccesary

        Liberate Zealot: 
        • well sure, 
          because dicks are supposed to get hard all the time,  around every attractive woman.
        • failure to do so is obvi a serious medical issue

          Malanka Sveta:

          • That's his actual argument...I couldn't make this up.

            Liberate Zealot: 

            • what does it say when my sarcastic response meant to highlight the inanity/sexism of people is their legit reasoning?

              Mistress Malcontent:

              Haiii all I have a gif for ye all! 




This Is How It Starts

By: Liberate Zealot

Content Warning: Rape Culture
Part I of Feminism and Children : Feminism and Children MasterPost

I work with children, and the main way I live my feminism is by imparting feminist ideas onto these children.  This means I work to combat their ideas of gender roles and stereotypes, and also by stressing the importance of consent in all interactions.  This generally is an easy thing to explain to children.  Make sure they understand to always ask before touching people (even with friends and nice touches like hugs), that it's alright to say "no" or "not right now", and to respect it when other people say "no" to them.

But sometimes this isn't enough.  Society as a whole doesn't teach these things to kids, in fact, for some of them it teaches the exact opposite.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Why Rush Limbaugh and the GOP Aren't Just Misogynistic about Contraceptives, But Also Blatantly Lying

By: Liberate Zealot

Content warning: Rush Limbaugh (misogynistic language)

So by now I'm sure everyone's heard about the US House of Representative's original panel on health insurance covering contraceptives.

It did lead to this striking picture after all.  
Where a bunch of men from different religious organizations testified about women's health and how unnecessary health insurance covering contraceptives was.  As horrid as it is, it serves as a reminder about how sexist this country still is, and proves that the GOP doesn't value women (or our experiences).  It certainly brought the overt misogyny of the GOP to the national stage.

And this has been further proven by the comments Rush Limbaugh made about Sandra Fluke (the woman who was excluded from testifying at this previously mentioned panel and finally got a chance when Nancy Pelosi held a second panel this past week. 

Friday, 2 March 2012

St. Petersburg Russia Bans "Gay"


St. Petersburg's bill to ban the word "gay" was mentioned in the  Signing post last week.  Well it's passed, but there's a chance the governor won't sign it into law.  With a little less than 2 weeks there's little time to convince him. You can sign the letter that goes with the video over at All Out.