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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's Patriarchy, it's Misogyny but it's NOT MISANDRY.

By:  Violet Paradox

To those men who think misandry is on par with misogyny, I ask you -  How has misandry affected your opportunities in life?  The fact that some women find you or other men personally deplorable does nothing to take away from the privileges of being male in this world. Yes there are some women who hate men, it's a natural response to a society that consistently and continually reinforces the message that women are inferior and worthless, where women are raped, beaten and abused in numbers wildly disproportionate to men, told we are sluts for daring to own our own sexuality, wear the clothes we want, speak our mind, for just being a woman.  When everywhere we look we see women being objectified, sexualised, expected to live up to unrealistic beauty ideals.  Shamed if we're thin, shamed if we're fat, shamed if we choose to let our body hair grow naturally or fucking dare to have the audacity to grow older and then shamed again if we give in to the pressure this expectation of perfection creates and cut ourselves to pieces trying to obtain the unobtainable.

To those men who label it misandry when men are portrayed as bumbling and incompetent in domestic matters such as running a household and raising children, who complain about the social expectations of the dating scene, ie; who pays for dinner, the issues involving child custody, and the harmful stereotypes of masculinity which stifles men from fully expressing themselves and their emotions for fear of being labelled as weak,  these are  in actual fact, effects of patriarchy.  It's been said before, but I will say it again, patriarchy hurts men too.  The same hateful system, that although ultimately benefits men and oppresses women, does have negative side effects which are felt by men.  It's something that feminism does address when discussing the effects of patriarchy and women's oppression and it is real, but it is NOT MISANDRY.

Also, is it surprising that like men,  women internalise the messages of patriarchy?   Just as a woman may  internalise the expected behaviours and stereotypes for women that patriarchy teaches, she does likewise  with the messages patriarchy reinforces about men.  It is still misogyny when she expects you to pay for her dinner, open doors for her, judges you for not being the 'manly man' by daring to be vulnerable and show emotion. It is crappy, unpleasant behaviour but it is NOT MISANDRY.  

Unlike misandry, misogyny has very serious and damaging effects for women.  It's what fosters rape culture which excuses sexual violence and other abuses towards women by calling on harmful stereotypes and myths that are used to blame victims and hold them responsible for their own attacks and rapes.  The pervasiveness of rape culture promotes such a fear in women that it restricts their ability to move freely in the world.  Misogyny restricts women's careers and earning potential, especially in male dominated professions and work environments.  And professions that are typically female dominated are held in lesser regard by society and remunerated accordingly.  Then there is the Madonna/Whore complex which polices women's sexuality by basing a woman's value on her sexual status.  Slut shaming plays on this.  It is used to excuse all matters of crimes against women and also as a powerful silencing tool, as many women will go out of their way to avoid labels like, 'slut' and 'whore'.  Misogyny is restricting, oppressive and dangerous for women and sometimes men.  Misandry might hurt your feelings, but it's unlikely to turn your whole world upside down. 

 There are so many reasons to be angry as a woman and if sometimes that anger by individual women is directed at individual men or even all men, it does not have the institutionalised power behind it the way misogyny does, and is not comparable.

Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] /

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Choice, Motherhood, and Being a Woman.

By: Liberate Zealot

Sometimes it is difficult for me to reconcile my feminist identity with that of me as a part of my family. Other times it's it nearly impossible to reconcile my upbringing with that of a woman (in the United States).

No matter the aspect of myself, or my actions and beliefs, there seems to be an incongruence.  This touches every part of my life, but for most it is the idea that my identity as a person is not completely recognized, within society or even my family.

I imagine this is a recognition many people experience.  Those of us who are in some way outside, be it because we're queer, or people of color, or disabled, and non-Christian or women.  And rebelling against the established norms only exacerbates our lack or personhood and belonging.

So often society/politics/my family makes me feel incomplete. A not fully actualized version of a person.  And oddly enough it is my upbringing that makes me able to recognize this incongruence.

I was brought up to be opinionated; and confident in my voice and experience and opinions. I was brought up to see myself as a being of worth, as a full and independent entity. And yet, as I age, that full and independent worth and identity is stripped from me.

Once upon a time I saw myself with children, even if I never had a partner.  But as I've left my upper middle class upbringing, and as political and social spheres has turned more pro-fetus and anti-woman, I've experienced a great change in that regard.  Now I know I'll never be willingly pregnant or a mother.  And when I expressed that to my (mainly feminist) parents the question wasn't centered around what had made me change my mind, but what my male partner thought of this. As if my decisions about my body and life were incomplete without a man's opinion.

And I have a brother who goes to pro-life marches and studies to become a priest in the Catholic Church.  And I have so many other family members who seeks to do right and help others but cannot conceive an existence of worth without it being one in line with their own views and beliefs.

And these views and beliefs are the ones that say I should be incomplete without offering up my body and life to motherhood.  That my male partner is the primary actor in our partnership.  That to be a true  women I must be a mother.  And that to be a mother I must sacrifice all for my children.  And that my body, mind, and desires are secondary to that.

And so many of them cannot understand my virulent objection of these ideas.

They cannot understand that my primary objective to motherhood is that of being unwilling to sacrifice my personhood. Instead they convince themselves that it is about a lack of love and understanding of children (despite my decade of work with children).

I cannot conceive of being pregnant in a country where so many people prize the life and humanity of a pregnant person as secondary to the fetus they willingly (or unwillingly) carry.  And that this is a devaluation of humanity that only effects pregnant people.  No one else is expected to sacrifice their organs or living conditions for another person.

And I cannot conceive of being a parent, a mother, in a world that devalues mothers.  Where father's are praised where mothers in the same situations are hated and mocked.  Where women are hated for being working mothers, or for needing more than motherhood to experience a complete life.

I am a person, a human, first and foremost.  And many aspects of my identity means that society seeks to take that personhood away from me.   And I cannot imagine willingly ceding more of my personhood.

Some people must give up parts of their personhood to live the lives they want, and I cannot blame them for such.  Certainly I have done the same in different areas.  Some do not see these identities or lives as a ceding of their personhood.  Some glory in the chance of rebellion.

All of these lives and choices have worth.  And I hope, with all my heart, that they are centered around a freely made choice.

I just wish society recognized the choices of women.  And saw us as full humans worthy and capable of making choices about our own lives.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Babe, Is this Sexist?

And once again we address Rosie the Riveter remakes and cleaning advertisements. But this time they're mixed together!


Of course this is fucking sexist, as has been noted by other people.  But seriously, how anyone could have missed the sexism (or not cared) and approved this image is beyond me.

Rosie the Riveter was a rallying cry for women to support the Nation during war time.  It was about women entering the work force in new and necessary ways. It was about casting off old gender roles.  It was about more women shouldering new responsibilities with pride and success.

To take all of that and turn it into some cheap knock off about cleaning (traditional women's work) is so fucking sexist and reductive and just a ridiculous understanding of signs and signifiers and art/history that I really cannot fucking believe it!

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