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Friday, 29 March 2013

Women's History and Reproductive Rights

By: Liberate Zealot

It's the last days of Women's History Month in the US and in that time I haven't really written anything about the topic for Feminist Armchair Regime.  Women's History Month is a time to celebrate woman and their achievements from the past and sharpen our gaze on the continuing concerns and causes faced by women.  This year much of the focus is on women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but like every year, it’s important to consider reproductive justice and the role family planning plays in equality for women. 


The individual women who achieve notice in the annals of history, the Elizabeth's and Hypatia's, had extraordinary privileges for their times, one of the most significant being the ability to choose not to marry or have children.  And so it seems obvious to me to state that family planning is the bedrock of women’s rights.  The ability to plan when to have children, and when not to, is a necessary part of achieving parity in education, in income, in the work force, and in government.

The right to reproductive control over ones own body is a right that has long been denied to the majority of women.  And the more intersectional oppression one faces the harder it is to access ones reproductive rights.

For decades before the legalization of the Pill or Abortion wealthy and middle class white women knew how to access safe options of birth control.  Not so for poor women and women of color. This disparity is the reason Margaret Sanger (who is also not the massive racist so many people believe her to be) protested the Comstock Laws and opened the majority of her clinics in neighborhoods with high populations of poor people, immigrants, and people of color.  Currently access to contraception and abortion in the US is still very much based on class, race, and location.

And we know the limiting of reproductive rights is about hurting women.  It isn't about viewing fetus' as children and thus worthy of protection, because the protections of poor children are being stripped away.  And it isn't a secret that many of the states which are the focus of the anti-choice movement have high populations of people of color and people living in poverty.  Mississippi, the state with the most focus around Personhood Bills, and until this month was the state with the most restrictive abortion ban, is also the state with the most African-Americans and the most people living in poverty.

If we can't control our own bodies and whether we become pregnant or not than it's much harder to control our education and careers.  Certainly if we can't control out bodies or plan when, or when not, to have families then we can't live full lives of relationships and pursuits outside of the heart and home.  And should we pick one we'll be shamed for being lazy, for denying our womanhood, for being cold-hearted, for "mooching" off a man.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

There is no chance for us if we're denied the most basic human right of deciding what to do with our own bodies. 

I've learned the history of women.  How one must be exceptional, come from immense privilege, to be afforded a place as a woman in general history. How the many amazing unrecorded women faced impossible choices, if they had any choice at all.



Monday, 25 March 2013

(Disney) Princess Life Lessons

By Eudaimonatrix

(apologies for the wonky formatting. Cut & paste fail).

I'm feeling inspired by #safetytipsforladies (which is currently a thing on twitter) and, thanks to a gentle nudge from a fellow Hiver, I've decided to put that inspiration to some use - sharing important life lessons I learned from Disney Princesses.

Disclaimer: To borrow from Feminist Frequency, it's both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while pointing out/poking fun at some of its more pressing problems. Disney princesses have their good sides too - but this article isn't about that.

Without further ado, here are the 10 most important things Disney taught me about what it takes to be a proper, successful princess (*cough* little girl). 

10) Sing or be silent - jibber jabber is unbecoming. And for sidekicks.
10: Like this guy.

9) Judge that book by its cover, girl - the prettier the prince, the happier you'll be.  

8) If you have priorities other than a man, you're doing it wrong. Only win the war or stop the murder if it'll net you a husband. Preferably a prince of some sort. 
 
8: Brave, Right? Now put a ring on it, Johnny.

7) Other girls are catty and/or trying to poison you. Confide your troubles in animals instead - you'll get less sass. 
 
Don't take that apple! She's not a cute little woodland creature!

6) No boy will ever notice you without the right dress and shoes. Pink and dainty, respectively. 

5) Why run or ride a horse when you can dance your way to your destination? Just don't try to leave the enchanted forest - especially in those shoes. 
 
Woodland creature? Check. Somewhere to be? Check. Work it!

4) Mansplanations make the best serenades. Let him open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder - and make sure he asks Dad if it's okay for you two to get married. If the men agree, bliss guaranteed. 
 
Don't you dare close your eyes, girl. I'm serious.

3) If he says "he can change" after being an abusive monster, believe him. Nothing bad can come from that kind of optimism! 
 
Nothing says "I love you" like whatever this is...

2) To get the man (which is the most important thing) don't be afraid to relocate, redo your entire personality, and above all, hold your tongue. Dudes dig the silent, compliant type. 
 
Who needs to talk when you have a pink dress?


1) If someone kisses you while you're asleep, you're his property now. Live happily ever after. As chattel.


The end!

Shaming vs Call-outs and Being Ashamed

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Discussions of sexism, rape culture

In the world of internet call-outs, specifically the calling out of oppressive behaviors like sexism or racism, a lot of people seem confused between public shaming and publicly showing the actions that people should be ashamed of.  As someone who works in childcare and has studied discipline techniques and the psychology around them I need to be aware of the difference between shame and ashamed.  And considering Adria Richards and some of the "discussions" I've gotten in I think it's important to try to pass on understanding about the distinction between shame and ashamed, especially in the public sphere.

First the basics:
Shame is a noun that describes deep and painful feelings brought about a disgraceful state, or can include having brought about that disgraceful state. When used in regards to public shaming it's a transition verb that is used to describe punishments or ways to negatively motivate people to doing things. (Negative motivation don't necessarily mean bad, but the taking away from, in this case it's the taking away of pride/happiness).

Ashamed is an adjective that describes a sense of guilt over wrong doing.  It can include feeling shame, but remember shame is the feeling, ashamed is the act of feeling.

But this undergoes a bit of a change when we talk about public shaming vs public call outs.

In this case the shaming is meant as a punishment, generally THE punishment.  Past examples of shaming as the main form of punishment include the use of stocks and dunce caps.  Modern day examples include a teacher speaking loudly to a kid about their bad behavior in front of the whole class,  or parents forcing their kids to stand with signs (describing their bad behaviors) in public areas.  In this case the public shaming is the act of punishment, its very purpose is to cause such emotional harm that the person no longer engages in such actions.  Psychologically we know this generally causes feelings of victimization, mistrust, and doesn't stop bad behaviors.

Now lets talk about call outs and how they fit in.  Call outs are meant to be used to highlight oppressive attitudes and actions that harm not just an individual but a group.  Call outs, to a certain extent, are meant to be public because they are in response to an action that is public and harms the public.  In the classroom when my students engage in oppressive speech I do a public call out. I say the speech is inappropriate and explain why. Now this is pretty easy, in the class I'm in a position of power.  But let's say the person calling out the oppressive action isn't.  Maybe they're not just lacking a position of power, but are in a hostile environment (like many STEM conferences and jobs are for women).  Then an immediate, in person, and educational call out might not be an option.  Maybe the person wanting to call out the behavior doesn't know the perpetuators name (which makes reporting instead of calling out an issue).
Either way when it comes to public call outs the internet is a powerful tool that can provide some safety and also a stage and microphone to the person calling out.  Now remember, the point of call outs is not to cause emotional harm to the person being called out, but to hold them accountable and high-light their oppressive actions. Call outs can name or not name, they can provide pictures.  Famous call outs include Elevatorgate, and the recent mass call outs of CNN for their coverage of the Steubenville rape trial.  Some sites and groups exist for the very reason for callouts (and to a certain extent warnings) HOLLABACK or SexistFacebookDudes for example.  We've engaged in many call outs on this blog (our previous post was a call out).

Now call outs are about behaviors that people should be ashamed of.  They should be ashamed of their sexism, racism, homophobia, perpetuation of rape culture, transphobia, microaggressions, harassment or whatever else they did that was oppressive and harmful to an individual and a group.  But public call outs are not about shaming or punishment, though they can potentially result in both.

It's easy to see the call outs against CNN and its reporters as a call out vs a shaming because it was an organization, a group of people, and they're in the public eye.  Also they've yet to face any harm for their perpetuation of rape culture.  But people seem to be having a much harder time believing Adria Richard's was calling out harmful behavior instead of publicly shaming people.  Even though they were people at a conference, representing their companies, and speaking loudly in a public area, and adding to the inhospitable and hostile environment that STEM areas often are for women.  Perhaps it's because the call out resulted in punishment that people can't see that the call out itself wasn't the punishment/shaming (or the cause of the men being punished). These men engaged in sexist jokes, and when it was brought to light through Adria Richard's call out they were banned from the conference and fired.  Understandable if you're engaging in sexism at a conference while representing your company.

The men apologized for their sexist jokes.  Hopefully they were truly ashamed, instead of only ashamed of getting caught. But they weren't shamed, even if they did feel emotional distress over the call out.  The call out wasn't the punishment, it wasn't public for the purpose of emotionally hurting these men.  It was public because their actions were public, public sexism in a sexist environment, and it's purpose was highlighting the sexism and asking them, the conference, and STEM to do better.


Friday, 22 March 2013

To The Dude Who Thought He Did The Internet A Favour By Calling Me Broken

By: Malanka Sveta

You know what I fucking hate? I fucking hate having to constantly tell dudes "I get what you mean, but...". Why should I have to watch my fucking tone when what you fucking said is reprehensible? If that's not what you fucking meant, too fucking bad. That's not my fucking fault. It's also not my fucking fault that you feel so fucking entitled to praise for not being 100% a terrible person that when a mere woman says "Really?!? That?" you get fucking defensive instead of clarifying. The fact that, yes, I know what you meant does not make what you actually said fine.

You know what else I fucking hate? People who know fuck all about rape, or me, making assumptions about me based on my status as a survivor. That's right, I don't hide it. I am not ashamed of being a survivor. There is nothing shameful in having been the victim of a crime. I think we need to relook at survivors. Not all survivors are open about it, and that's fine because we (survivors) are not the Borg. What works for me, what I am capable of, what I do, all of that has nothing to do with anyone but me, nor should anyone model their behaviour on mine (not because I feel there is something wrong with my bahaviour but because we are not the Borg). I am, in part, a visible survivor because people need to know we exist. That they love us, or hate us, or frighten us, or enrich us, or touch us, or see us every day. We're everywhere (like lolcats).

*Trigger warning* http://vimeo.com/62186332

This dude really has some impressive thoughts on rape, rapists, and backlash. He has no fucking clue about survivors. And I don't have the fucking energy to be nice about this. Dude. I am not fucking broken. If you feel that way about survivors, perhaps you are.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Open Letter to CNN

By: Liberate Zealot

As many people are well aware, the primary Steubenville Rape Trial is over, and the rapists were convicted (and will likely serve 3 year or less between the two of them).
Justice is served?
Hardly, but that hasn't stopped CNN, specifically Fredricka Whitfield, Paul Callan, Candy Crowley, and Poppy Harlow for feeling bad for the rapists.
One way to fight this horrible example of rape apology and rape culture is to publicly call in out in the broad sense, another is to personally call out the people responsible.  I'm attempting to kill two birds with one stone.

"I'm writing to you because your reporters commentary over the Steubenville Rape Trial and its verdict has been absolutely reprehensible.  Reporter after reporter bemoaned the fate of the rapists and how their "promising lives were ruined" for being held responsible for the crimes they committed.  Whitfield, Harlow, Callan, and Crowley all expressed sympathy for the rapists and much of the footage was focused on the rapists and their families crying after the verdict was read.
I can think of no other instance where reporters try to heavy handedly drum up support and sympathy for people convicted of serious crimes. Certainly the other stations did not engage in this.  And the actions of CNN's news teams are especially inappropriate considering the ubiquity of rape and the lack of rape convictions that exists in the United States.  The commentary of your reporters and film shown not only speak poorly of your ability to show serious news without bias, but also perpetuates this serious rape culture.  Such actions are inexcusable.
I expect CNN and it's specific reporters and news hosts to issue public apologies for their inappropriate and harmful language while reporting on the Steubenville Rape Trial.  I also expect CNN to feature an expert on rape and rape culture so as to fight against the harmful ideas that you and your representative perpetuated.  I will continue to boycott and publicly call out CNN, and encourage all of my friends and colleagues to do so, until CNN, Whitfield, Harlow, Callan, and Crowley all apologize and explain why such coverage was inexcusable." 

Please feel free to copy and share the letter, and use it yourself when calling out CNN.


You can contact CNN on-line

Or tweet them and the responsible reports:
@CNN
@FWhitfield
@crowleyCNN
@PoppyHarlowCNN
@PaulCallan


Sign the Petition

And a follow-up, considering it's been five days with no apology:

I'm absolutely horrified that CNN and its reporters have refused to apologize for their abhorrent rape apology during their reporting of the Steubenville Rape Trial Verdict.  I cannot believe that any station with the pretense of serious reporting would not only engage in such behavior, but refuse to make restitution for their perpetuation of rape culture.
You had the opportunity to show growth and to educate America on a topic that we desperately need enlightened.
For too long has rape been framed as something that just happens, with rapists less than culpable.  Where making reports against rapists is treated as "ruining their lives", with no regard to the fact that the rapist is the active person, the criminal.
You've had the chance to apologize.   To turn this into an opportunity to educate America on consent, rape, and rape culture.  Instead you give us nothing but silence.  On top of the sickening dose of rape apology you've already spewed.
You and your reporters are completely unacceptable. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Stop Acting Like 'Sluts' - Clean This S**t up!

By: Violet Paradox
*Trigger warning for slut-shaming, aggression, and assault.*

 
This video was posted on a friend's timeline today and I happened upon it while scrolling through my Facebook news feed.  Now I cannot count the amount of times I have bitten my tongue, uttered a few choice words, taken a deep breath and kept scrolling when coming across problematic posts from friends.  It would be mentally exhausting to call out every single bit of sexism, racism, homophobia etc. that I came across on Facebook or any other social media forum. Exhaustion that could threaten my physical health ultimately. So generally I am selective of the potential battles in which I engage with Facebook friends and choose ones that might actually get people to think about issues rather than just retort back defensively.  This was one of those times.

 The video captures two young women in a McDonald's restaurant who appear to be a drunk after a night out.  They are a little loud, and one of them, for reasons the video does not make clear, lays on the counter in an attempt to peer over the other side.   A man appears, whom I assumed at first was the manager of the store but who is then identified as just another patron, and the first thing he says to them is, "Behave yourself, get off there!"  Ok.  Not an unreasonable thing to say considering one of the women is on the counter.   He drags her off the counter and shoves her to the floor and then proceeds to put his hands on the other woman, who shrugs him off.  The next thing he says, hence the title of this video is, "Stop acting like sluts, clean this shit up."   The women protest that they did not make the mess on the floor that he was pointing to and that they, in fact, had eaten their food.  The whole time he is arguing with them he is using his body to intimidate them, continuously putting his hands on their shoulders. (which can only be seen as aggressive as they were not threatening him physically in any way), and trying to make them leave the restaurant.

 The Oxford Dictionary defines slut as;

noun  
derogatory

1 a woman who has many casual sexual partners.
2 dated a woman with low standards of cleanliness.

 Firstly I have to add  if you are a woman, the chances that you have been called a slut at least once in your life are extremely high.  Women get called sluts every day for little or no reason and more often than not it is a tool used to intimidate and silence.  Its shaming quality is enormous and it's not an exaggeration to say women go out of their way to avoid that label. Women get called sluts for voicing opinions, for turning down men's advances, for just being attractive, for being successful, for just being.   So these young women, for seeming to not care about how their behaviour was impacting those around them are deemed to be acting like 'sluts'.  And a lot of the people watching and sharing this video are seemingly nodding their heads with enthusiastic approval. I guess it is possible this man was referring to the second dated definition of the word.  Even with the remote possibility he was, and he genuinely believed that these women had made the mess he was accusing them of making, (and that everyone listening and watching this spectacle understood it to mean the same), it is still a gendered slur.  It is used only to describe a woman with low standards of cleanliness and, therefore, still misogynistic in nature.

The fact that these were young women, who were slightly inebriated and dressed for a night out in short skirts was all this man needed to inject the word 'slut' into his diatribe.  He couldn't possibly have known how many sexual partners these women have had.  Acting like inconsiderate assholes does not equate to being a slut, (by the dictionary definition or any other), so we can only assume that his use of the word was based on observations that supported his already established prejudice.

I have no problem with people who make a mess being told to clean it up in whatever tone is appropriate if they did indeed make the mess.  I do, however, take issue with this man thinking that it was necessary to tell them to stop acting like 'sluts' and using unnecessary body contact in an attempt to intimidate and scare.  They were hardly a physical threat to themselves or anyone else.  Considering he wasn't even the manager or a member of staff, maybe he should have been bringing it to the attention of staff rather than taking matters into his own hands.  He had no right or authority to be putting his hands on these women.  Since he had already verbalised that they were acting like 'sluts', then his treatment of them was probably already justified in his mind.  Also, considering how many people are agreeing and supporting his actions, it seems like almost everyone agrees that 'sluts' or women acting like 'sluts' deserve whatever treatment anyone wishes to impose on them.

My comment on my friend's Facebook post was only a couple of sentences.  I have only received one notification of an additional comment and haven't been back to check.  I wrote this post to get my own arguments clear in my head if I felt the need to comment further.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.  We'll see.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Oz the Great and... sigh. This again. (A review).

By Eudaimonatrix

**Spoilers and profanity**

My littlest sister very badly wanted to see Oz the Great and Powerful. So the ladies of my family (my mom, my two younger sisters and I) wandered off and caught it on opening night.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to 1939's Wizard of Oz, and explains how Oz got a wizard. And it's terrible. It's a modern day "climb my penis to safety!" tale. Barf.

It's getting mixed reviews...and I suppose there are some nice things I could say about it. It's pretty, and it has some really beautiful moments (the sub-plot with the China Doll is pretty excellent). The cinematography is excellent, there are some really clever homages to the original movie, and the cast tries. But that's it. For the purposes of this blogger, the film is a disaster and an incredibly regressive film for such a strong female cast.

Spoilers ahead....


First, look at the f*cking picture. Just look. The woman in white must be some sort of damsel in distress, right? And her and the woman standing to her left (our far right) - clearly rivals of some sort, right? Ugh.

Let's introduce our hero: Oz, the titular character as delivered by James Franco. Oz is a selfish, dishonest, womanizing schmuck. From the first scene to the last (the last, post-redemption scene) he never relents with the pursuit of sexual gratification. As far as I could tell, he never learned that he was an exploitative jackass whose shameless objectification and pursuit of women actually created the effing Wicked Witch of the West. His last scene in the film is scoring a kiss of the woman whose kingdom he just stole. Sure, he's supposed to be a redeemed anti-hero by the end of the movie, but I don't buy it - his "victory" is illusion, he's never at any point in harms way, he gets the gold and the girl (which have been his motivation the entire time), and his plan to rule Oz hinges on an elaborate hoax. Oz the Great? I call bullshit. Oz is a MacGuffin and an asshole.

So, how did he become the hero of this hot mess? Well that would be because he stole all of the thunder from Glinda (Michelle Williams). The good witch Glinda is the rightful hero of this film. She's the heir to the Emerald throne, and has been leading a rebellion for 10 years prior to Professor Doofus MacGuffin's appearance. She's also a total badass whose power, and the respect and love she commands from the people of Oz is basically the entire basis for the victories of the film. But she's been sitting around waiting this past decade for the wizard her father prophecized before his death because apparently, the heir to the throne who also happens to be a crazy powerful witch can't lead her own people to rebellion. She needs some idiot conman from Kansas to save her with fireworks. What, what? Yes, that's right - fireworks. And a projector. She's clearly loved, respected, and basically frigging amazing. But no, that's not enough - we need a dude with no powers at all that she has to beg for help to save the day, as a penis is apparently an important component to being an inspiring leader, and the only way to get written into a prophecy (seriously - do women ever show up in hero prophecies as anything other than the miracle pregnancy storage device?). Pffffffffffffft.

And...the "wicked" witches. As I alluded to already, the Wicked Witch of the West (the one Dorothy melts in the original film) is created when Theodora (Mila Kunis) is spurned by Oz the great asshole. Two small problems: her and Oz are together for a little over a day and... Theodora's broken heart is spurned on by her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) pulling the classic "women are competitive back-biting b*tches" card). Why are the witches wicked, you ask? Well, Evanora is kind of wicked. She poisoned her way onto the throne, and seems to be a bit of a liar and kind of a fascist maniac. We never find out why she does any of this (because she's wicked, presumably), but whatever her reasons are, her wickedness is completely surpassed by the monster she creates out of her sister. Over a boy. That she'd just met.  I don't even understand why she's wicked. She was totally right to be furious with Oz over being a manipulative jackass, but it was nothing that a rational person couldn't have gotten over with a bottle of whisky and some chocolate ice cream. Glinda probably would've been up for that - she herself points out that Oz is a narcissistic, selfish, liar. She just needed him to defeat Theodora (who wasn't evil before she showed up) and Evanora (even though she didn't actually need him for that, because everything required to defeat Evanora, including the epic duel part of things, was handled by Glinda herself).

Oh, and as soon as the witches become "wicked" they get UGLY. Because, of course - you totally can judge books by their covers.

The entire movie hinges on women's worlds' revolving around male figures of authority and/or men who show them sexual interest. Blergh. And, to add insult to injury, the man in this particular story is a total asshole who gets all of the credit for Glinda's badassery. Even with 3 tremendous female talents as co-leads, this movie just couldn't resist the urge to completely crap on women as powerful agents of their own destinies.

I give this movie 2 blerghs out of a possible 5 "for f*ck's sake it's the 21st century.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Part of the solution: Providing info on services for men in Toronto


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



Yesterday morning I caught wind that U of T is going to be hosting an MRA speaker. A friend shared this lovely and daintily-written article on her wall (caution - it goes to A Voice for Men - if you don't want to give them page hits, then you might want to pass):



The baiting part is probably my favourite. This way if counter-protestors show up and are impolite, well by golly, we were "warned" and they can be as violent and vitriolic as they'd like because, heck, why not. If no one shows up, well by golly! They scared us all off! Success!




Not that they could ever hope to harness or emulate the awesome of Freddie Mercury's nipples.

Anyways, as fun as that all is, I've decided that since no one else was up to organizing a counter-presence, I'd arrange one myself. I was at that previous "infamous" counter-protest and I noted that one of the elements missing was an offering of tangible alternatives to people who may get sucked in by such speakers, so I thought I'd set up this event with a different tone and intent. 

From the Facebook event page:

Once again the U of T campus will be playing host to a speaker that relies on sexism and racism as scapegoats for some of the legitimate grievances that men in our society currently face, to forward their bigoted agenda. 
This article gives a thorough background on the speaker coming to campus:
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/michael-laxer/2013/03/guess-whats-coming-u-t-mens-rights-movement-janice-fiamengo-pau 
Information on the event here, that won't give their page undue hits (it still has info on the old location that has since been updated): 
http://wx.toronto.ca/festevents.nsf/591df5f4e9bb95b0852572ff00502015/8b64bf07cf5bb4d885257b1a00785c5b?OpenDocument 
It can be useful and cathartic to simply protest hate speech on campus, but we recognize that events like this so often take advantage of vulnerable people who are sincerely looking for answers. Let's make this counter-presence a productive one and provide as much information as we can gather and distribute to attendees. 
If anyone has contacts with organizations that support men in Toronto, please post links here to help us distribute them more effectively. Let's work together to make sure the men who are facing hardships are heard and actually given something tangible and constructive to walk away with.

Being reactive can be very useful and appropriate, but I personally want to build up a collection of resources so when these issues continually come to fore (and they will), we'll have some alternatives already on hand. And, just as importantly, if there are gaps in services (as there very likely are), this will give us a good way of finding out what those gaps are. Heck, we might even be able to get the participants at these events on board to help close those gaps and create or expand services within Toronto to support them.


For any readers, please let me know about what services you know of that are available for men in Toronto. I mean any services, such as addiction counselling, housing assistance, suicide intervention, support for survivors of sexual violence, court support, etc. If you know of services that are missing and needed, please let me know that, too. Let's use this opportunity to be productive and address these issues in a real way.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Babe, is this Sexist?

Thanks to everyone who voted on the Facebook poll to chose the topic of our Oscar Edition of Babe, is this Sexist? We had a hard time picking out some of the exact moments to address (thanks to Seth MacFarlane there were so many), but this time there was a very clear winner!

EVERYTHING!

  • The opening "Boobs" number
  • The Rihanna/Chris Brown domestic violence joke
  • The Jennifer Aniston stripper joke 
  • The sexist and racist jokes conflating Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek being interchangeable and so pretty people don't care they can't speak "proper" English
  • The Zero Dark Thirty -women can't let go of anything joke
  • The two separate child rape jokes (Quvenzhan√© Wallis being young enough for George Clooney and the Jack Nicholson house reference).  
These were all sexist and deserving of being called out.  And plenty of people have.  But a lot of people think all this sexism (and racism and homophobia) are OK, because it's just MacFarlane's shtick, he's edgy and offensive.
But honestly, these jokes are old as dirt.  They're not creative or challenging, they're a regurgitation of ideas, jokes, and themes that have been in existence for ages.  Good satire, the satire of Swift, punches up at those in power, not down. A Modest Proposal was not written at the expense of the Irish.  Colbert targets the white, straight, Christian, and often wealthy men that he's a caricature of.  Meanwhile MacFarlane jokes about women, and violence against women, and rape of 13 year olds, and sexualizes young girls, while representing and entertaining an Academy that's 77% men. 
Seth MacFarlane's intent doesn't matter.  The fact that this is his "type of humor" doesn't matter.  Perpetuating sexism, and racism, and homophobia is what matters.  And no amount of shouting "just joking" can defend that. 


Any suggestions for the next installment of Babe, is this Sexist? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.