Feminism is not about who opens the jar.
It is not about who pays for the date. It is not about who moves the couch. It is not about who kills the bugs. It is not about who cooks the dinner. It’s not even about who stays home with the kids, as long as the decision was made together, after thinking carefully about your situation and coming to an agreement that makes sense for your particular marriage and family.
It is about making sure that nobody ever has to do anything by “default” because of their gender. The stronger person should move the couch. The person who enjoys cooking more, has more time for it, and/or is better at it should do the cooking. Sometimes the stronger person is male, sometimes not. Sometimes the person who is best suited for cooking is female, sometimes not. You should do what works.
But it is also about letting people know that it is okay to change. If you’re a woman who wants to become stronger, that’s great. If you’re a man who wants to learn how to cook, that’s also great. You might start out with a relationship where the guy opens all the jars and the girl cooks all the meals, but you might find that you want to try something else. So try it.
And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally, this is so. Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial’. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. A scene in a battle-field is more important than a scene in a shop - everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists.
Good comment by NPR’s Linda Holmes on the coded, homophobic language ‘honest’ but anonymous NFL insiders use, and the masculinity they claim is not compatible with gay men in locker rooms.
First, there is no naturalized gendered body. All of our bodies are modified with regard to gender, whether we seek out surgery or take hormones or not. All of us engage in or have engaged in processes of gender body modification (diets, shaving, exercise regimes, clothing choices, vitamins, birth control. etc) that alter our bodies,
just as we’ve all been subjected to gender related processes that altered our bodies (being fed differently because of our gender, being given or denied proper medical care because of our gender, using dangerous products that are on the market only because of their relationship to gender norms, etc). The isolating of only some of these processes for critique, while ignoring others, is a classic exercise in domination. To see trans body alteration as participating and furthering binary gender, to put trans people’s gender practices under a microscope while maintaining blindness to more familiar and traditional, but no less active and important gender practices of non-trans people, is exactly what the transphobic medical establishment has always done.
Judith Butler Explained with Cats
On binarythis.com Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble is explained - in a dialog with confused kittehs.
(hat tip to G. on fb)
Multicultural Books, Children, and the Social Construction of Identity
As Bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle points out in "True or False? Multicultural Books Don’t Sell: We Are the Problem, We Are the Solution":
“Time and time again, at the bookstore and at children’s book festivals, I have observed white children picking up books with kids of color on the cover, and heard adults express surprise at the choice. “Are you sure you want that one?” they’ll ask. Or, “Wouldn’t you like this book instead?” It’s not the kids who are the problem. Kids really, really, really only care about a great story. In twenty years of connecting children with books they love, I have only seen one child—ONE!—balk at a book cover because the main character was a different race from her own. It’s the adults who underestimate a child’s ability or desire to see beyond race.”
None of this is to say that Miley Cyrus deserves a pass, especially in light of her co-staring role in Appropriation-polooza the VMAs. There is much to be said about how she, Macklemore, Robin Thicke, and Justin Timberlake all seem to be celebrated for their connection to and performance of cultural productions tied to blackness. Yet, unlike their black counterparts inside and outside the music industry, they are not castigated for dysfunctional culture, or scapegoated for white social ills. There is much to be critical of regarding Miley’s performance and the role of MTV here (putting her face in the booty of the African American female dancer; her history with twerking; and her recent interviews saying she loves “hood” music). This isn’t just about appropriation or even the performance of black culture that is rooted in the white imagination. Rather it is about double standards. It is the celebration of white artists amid a culture that denigrates African Americans who partake in these cultural productions. It is about a culture that profits and privileges Miley and Thicke, but cites sagging pants or sexual dancing as evident of dysfunction and pathology. To talk about “appropriation” and the centrality of privilege and anti-black racism requires also talking about whiteness
Janet Mock used more accurate language to describe the royal baby:
The #RoyalBaby has been assigned and designated male at birth.— Janet Mock (@janetmock) July 22, 2013
For interested people who can read German, Nicole at kleinerdrei wrote about the question "Was wird es denn?" (“What [gender] is it going to be?), why the question is terribly annoying and simply not easily answerable.
How to Talk to Little Girls
This is a interesting text by Lisa Bloom on how to talk to little girls - without reinforcing the belief/stereotype/pressure that their looks are the most important thing about a girl. The basic idea is to engage girls of all ages in a conversation about things they like - books, for example - besides being pretty. I think encouraging that the girls think that they are pretty themselves is also good, but I like the idea of it not making the first, central point of your interaction with the child.
(Via genderblog on facebook)
I’m obviously not the only person who understands gun violence to be an issue about families and gender. I had to check Mitt Romney a few months ago about his comments about unwed mothers contributing to gun violence. I disagreed with him for a lot of reasons, the main one being that most of the perpetrators of gun violence are not single mothers, or mothers at all. Shooters are usually men. We make violence sexy to men. We package and sell violence, and guns, to men. And we do this on an even larger scale to young men; and on a disproportionately larger scale to men of color. Violence is a part of how we gender our society.
Not only does this packaging of violence give us the sexy, hyper-masculine men of our Western dreams, it also helps us disproportionately target, criminalize, police, and continue to dominate communities of color. This is where we see a difference between numbers and exceptions. When we think about the death of the 15-year-old girl who performed at the inauguration, we think of someone who didn’t belong on the receiving or giving end of a bullet. But who does? I think about that 15-year-old girl and then I think about Number 500, the Westside man who was shot and became the 500th person to be murdered in Chicago in 2012. Or I think about Tony Dunn, my loved one, who I’m sure has a number assigned to him as well. Poor, uneducated men of color are the face of “the shooter.” And when they are shot we are allowed to look away, add a tally mark, and continue to report on how people like them kill folks who get to have names and not numbers.