Since the weather is getting warmer up here in Illinois, people have started locking away their winter clothing and pulling out their shorts. My younger brother in middle school noticed this especially, since many of his classmates, who are 11-13 years old, are wearing short shorts up to their asses. He shared his disappointment with me, and while I've always been aware of this sort of behavior, I've given it much more extensive thought today. We got onto the subject after discussing societal norms dictating the way our generations act, whether it's the fact that the consumer products given to us by marketers has lowered our life expectancy from the last generation, or the role models we have in our culture. He stated that the women at his school were being inappropriate, and I reminded him that at a certain level of human development, we are only products of our upbringing and that he should not pass too much judgment on them. More to the point, the availability of modest clothing (even when my sister was growing up in the 90's) is scarce for young women, and what was once only found in sex shops is now an appropriate style for children. It's a fact that sex, violence and drugs sell (many summer blockbusters have all three), but the unapologetic way marketers target the youth with these appeals is only overshadowed by the general way parents take little responsibility with their children as the economy gets more unstable and entertainment/social media becomes more prominent.
These conclusions, however, only regard the youth; what about women in general? The last couple months in our election cycle have demonstrated the worse of our society's ignorance and bigotry. With laws stating that women should have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion, defunding for Planned Parenthood, prominent figures (while maybe not supporting) ignoring inflammatory and pigheaded statements by Rush Limbaugh, the general fight against birth control (which can be used to treat Reye's Syndrome), and the simple inequality regarding payment, it has become more apparent that while women may be equal in the eyes of federal government, they are still treated as subordinate citizens by our society.
I would like to know how your opinions on this matter vary, but overall I feel that it's something that should be discussed.
the general fight against birth control (which can be used to treat Reye's Syndrome)
I don't know that I'd include the part in brackets.
Birth control is worth fighting for on it's own merits. Off label treatments (which go far beyond relatively rare illnesses) are entirely valid reasons to be prescribed the pill. But using them as primary arguments for keeping it legal is to concede the bigger fight over sexual liberty. It's like gamers making the argument that video games do good by pointing at Foldit solving an enzyme folding problem related to AIDS. Sure, it's a good thing and laudable, but it doesn't justify all those hours in front of other games that don't contribute to the fight against AIDS. Those need to be (and can be, usually) justified on their own merits.
When it comes to the pill the primary purpose is contraceptive. It, along with other contraceptives, make sex safer for women who don't want to get pregnant. That is an entirely justified purpose in my eyes. Making that argument is harder, politically, because people feel uncomfortable talking about female sexuality in public. But it's worth making.
As to the sexualisation of children, I think there is a fine line to draw.
Pushing children to act and dress prematurely sexily is an obvious Bad Thing. It's something that can't really be addressed easily from a media point of view, but is well worth a try.
On the other hand, part of it is how we view their behaviour. The idea of looking at children through the lens of sexuality is a bit creepy to me. I used to work as a lifeguard. Children's swimming costumes come in a similar range of styles to adult ones. But I wouldn't consider a child wearing a two piece to be trying to be sexy. In the ideal situation they are wearing something that they wanted to wear, either because they like the style or it's what makes them feel comfortable. There are issues when they are dressed a certain way by parents or when they are dressing for display, but it still doesn't need to be sexualised by the observer.
There is a general attitude towards how women dress that does overly sexualise everything. Everything a woman wears seems to be scrutinised for it's effect on men, with the men being entirely passive actors who are entirely controlled by their inherent sexual urges. I understand the (twisted) ideas behind this even as I reject it (this is actually a fairly moderate take - if you want to see the real limits look at what some Men's Rights Activists have to say about immodest women). I don't understand how that is extended to children though. With women, we Menz are meant to find them inherently attractive and so their showing cleavage or ankle drives us to harass and rape, so they had better cover up for their own good. With children... eww.
I'm willing to concede regarding my Reye's Syndrome comment, you make an excellent point. I also agree with you about the judgments made about sexuality. I have no problem with how people dress, it's the implied social constraints that bother me. It's the insecurity driven by marketers, and maintained by men. An interesting issue that you and Chi_Mangetsu bring up, suppression of women rights being as dangerous as exploitation.
On another note, it is a real sausage fest in here. It reminds me of the panel for women's health being made up of entirely men.
Just this thread. I know there are only 3 people with 5 now 6 posts, but I was hoping for some input from someone directly affected by the issue. I think the PCE needs more people in general let alone women. It seems like the same 10 people make all the posts.
The second, which is easily the best article I've read today, is about 'Hipster Misogyny'. Basically;
Racism is bad things done by racists who totally hate different races, and I don’t hate different races, therefore I’m not a racist, therefore whatever I do isn’t racism. Presto! It’s “ironic” or “reclaiming” or “making fun of racism”, and anyone who can’t tell that, and are accusing me of racism, must obviously be wrong or hyper-sensitive or something, because as logic totally proves, I’m not a racist and don’t hate any races, therefore nothing I do can be racist.
This stuff really pisses me off. It ends up being a barrier to inclusion within those subcultures and groups (if you enjoy racist jokes with your friends it's going to discourage your including friends of other races). The attitude in general also acts as a blind spot for actual racism within groups that consider themselves progressive or liberal. Lately there has been a hell of a lot of this among atheists. After all, it's religious groups that systematically discriminate against women. Surely atheists are inherently feminist and so immune to accusations of sexism? And this kind of thing is actually worse among that sort of group, for pretty easy to understand reasons;
Sadly, Dunning-Kruger [link added] operates just as well in terms of social awareness as it does in terms of anything else. The more socially aware we become, the more we understand how bigoted we’re capable of being, and how far we have to go to be able to consider ourselves anywhere near past it. But when you know just enough to fancy yourself more aware than others, and fancy yourself incapable of fucking up, but not enough to understand just how incredibly capable you actually are of fucking up, you become even more of a problem than the totally ignorant.
The fight towards genuine cultural change begins with recognition of the problem. In order to do that, we can’t shuffle it aside or say it’s someone else’s problem. We can’t let ourselves get away with just adopting the exterior trappings of awareness and advocacy. We can’t just learn the bare bones and use that to extrapolate the sense of ourselves being one of the “good guys”. We can’t pretend that intent is a magic bullet, or that “ironic” and “self-aware” sexism (or any other form of discrimination) is functionally any different than the “real” kind.
That's why I love that Freethought blogs have a solid number of feminist and other writers willing to call that shit out, repeatedly and in the face of heavy abuse at times. It's also why I like seeing more voices doing the same things within the gamer community, where horrific sexism and abuse is usually just laughed off. The fact that there was recently an article on Penny Arcade calling out sexism in the fighting game community was an incredible shift from that community sending death threats to rape victims last year.
I think it's an excellent point. If you are using irony to hold up a mirror to racism or sexism then you have to be good at it. Even the best irony based comedians tread a fine line and often offend those who are not as well versed in irony. Al Murray's success is, sadly, sort of based around this misconception.
I love the implication that porn is generally offensive to women. While the majority may be, the medium is not. "Female Friendly" porn, woman on man domination, and gay porn are in no way offensive to women. Mass amounts of porn being offensive to women is only a representation of our society's distorted depiction of women.
The documentary on Palin was called "game changer" for a reason.
I agree with you that I liked the pre-2008 John McCain. I didn't agree with him on everything, and some things about his personality came to light in 2008 that I'm not sure I like, but I still generally think he's a respectable guy.
But if you go back and look at the polling in the summer of 2008, before McCain chose Palin as VP, Obama was building a full head of steam. By the time the democratic convention was over, the election was looking more and more like a solid Obama win, not a landslide, but a solid win.
McCain wasn't going to beat Obama by choosing a "safe" VP candidate. That would result in fighting the good fight and losing by 4-5 points. McCain needed a game changer, but that obviously comes with a risk.
He did need a game changer. A charismatic woman conservative was a good choice, it shook up the race, but his campaign managers should have found someone better. When she spoke freely for herself, she effectively lost the race for McCain. Picking Sarah Palin was a gamble, and her general ignorance about the simplest of issues overshadowed her charismatic stage presence.
Ironic is a panel of all men deciding on the sexual and reproductive choices of women or former KKK leaders-cum-judges ruling on the legality of Apartheid. Acknowledging the fact that the woman who had the potential of being the first female VP in US history has less credibility than Lisa Ann who portrayed her in Nailin' Palin is just fucking sad.
This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they 'naturally' go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.
I apologize for the use of an awkward metaphor, but something about that rubs me the wrong way.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing the existence of differences in privilege and some of the things he said are accurate, but some simply aren't accurate.
People, both men and women, do judge men all the time, for all sorts of reasons. Men are absolutely judged by comparison to various standards of "manliness," and expected to conform to certain behaviors in that regard. It's routine to call insults like "homo" or "fag" as "homophobic," but note that the vast majority of the uses of those insults are (1) males insulting other males and (2) as often as not don't actually relate to preference for a particular sexual act, but rather the extent a man embodies some ill-defined standard of "Manliness."
The same again is true of moral behavior. Men are not judged in the same way as women are, but are judged nontheless. It is probably true that a woman with 3 husbands the way Newt Gingrich has had three wives might be judged more seriusly than Newt is, but Newt certainly still gets a lot of shit for his indiscretions and was even forced to resign in part because of them. And if you think no woman could get away with that, just look at Elizabeth Taylor who was famously married eight times to seven husbands and is in some ways, celebrated for that.
Likewise, Men are certainly judged by their appearance in different ways than women are, but are judged by their appearance to some degree just the same. What else can you call a conversation about Mitt Romney's hair or Rick Santorum's sweatervest or Christ Christie being fat? Now you've certainly got a valid question as to whether a woman that is as overweight as as Christie (300+ lbs at 5'11") is would ever be seriously considered, but you can't simply pretend that men aren't judged that way unless you're being willfully obtuse.
It's also absolutely true that men and women have different standards of what is considered attractive in a more general sense. A man who hasn't taken care of his skin might be "rugged" and a man with grey hair might be "distinguished" or "patrician," both of which have positive connotations. On the other hand a woman with lots of grey hair might be "grandmotherly" at best, which carries not so positive connotations.
This is not quite related, but this is also a thought I had following some discussion on a post at Dispatches from the Culture Wars last week regarding "Mens Right's Advocates."
I'll start by saying what I said there, don't get me wrong, a lot of MRAs are crazy and adopt views that are blatantly misogynistic. I do have some interest in the psychological and sociological roots and implications of those views, but that doesn't make them any more appropriate.
On the other hand, a few of the points they raise are interesting and semi-legitimate. It's relatively well known that the family law system tends to heavily favor women both in custody and in financial issues. Now, there may be many valid reasons for doing so. In many cases societal norms have rendered mothers the primary caregivers and society expects them to be the primary caregivers, so it's not suprising that courts would tend to default to awarding custody to women and ruling men are obligated to provide financial support.
There's also a lot of rules within the child support system that tend to lead to substantial unfairness. Like rules that require men to be up to date on child support payments before the payments can be modified (even if they've lost a job). These have strong policies underlying them, but don't work as intended.
When I raised some of these issues there, someone said in response "as for child support, the answer is simple, if you don't want to pay child support, keep it zipped up, it's as simple as that."
The thought that gave me was "why does that argument get any more play than people who suggest a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant shouldn't have had sex." Now, obviously pregnancy is a health condition and a personal condition in a way that child support is not, and this argument immidiately tosses health related abortions and any sort of rape question.
But beyond that, many liberals would adamantly argue that a woman who doesn't feel she's financially ready to support a child ought to be able to obtain an abortion. They will also adamantly argue that this is not contingent on notice to or permission of the father or any family member.
Why is it that women have this right, but a man's legal duty to support a child is conditioned solely on the woman's decision to have that child and ask for support?
I had an interesting conversation the other day about names and how a man's potential and success is often judged by his name. Those with more common Biblical names (and the many variants depending on nationality) tend to be near if not at the top of the list while the more esoteric ones tend to be lower. Of course, this is largely due to the commonality of the names; I'm sure there are as many Johns, Pauls and Lukes on the street as in highrises. Though that doesn't change how people react to more typical names over the stranger (or more ethnically suggestive) ones. Fair or not, a potential employer is more likely to make a Joe Smith a priority over, say, a Tyquon Davis.
Of course, this sort of fallacious assumption has its pitfalls.
Comparatively, women really don't have this problem. Oh, and if I hear another baby being named Aidan (or variants thereof) I'm going to backhand the parents.
I find names say a lot more about the parents than it does about their kids, but at the same time, it's not like apples often fall from orange trees, right? If you're the type of parent who would saddle their child with a name like Lynkin Daynjer (this is a real, honest to God name a guy I used to work with gave his son), you're probably not going to be writing a best-selling parenting manual any time soon, and that's going to have some effect on what your kid grows up to be. Chances are, you're a semi-alcoholic male stripper (yup, buddy actually sidelines as a stripper...) whose kids are more likely to benefit more from your absence than your guidance through life.
As much as I hate to say it, if I'm an employer and I get resumes from Jacob Benjamin and Lynkin Daynjer crossing my desk, I'm definitely going to be making some snap judgments about what kind of employees each is going to be if I hire either of them, and it's not going to be good for Lynkin's odds at getting the job. Actually, I don't really hate to say it, I'm going to conclude that one set of parents was at least able to spell common names, while the other may be functionally illiterate (at best) or rejects from Jersey Shore (much closer to the truth), and their sons aren't statisticall likely to break family patterns.
Didn't someone carry out a study, or something, that showed that children with 'exotic' names actually do have a more difficult time as adults. I can't remember the reasoning behind it exactly, it was either giving them a strange name makes them feel strange, so they find socialising a bit more awkward, or they feel feel that they have to live up to the name, and many end up failing.
like most things involved in raising kids to adulthood, putting it all on one thing is usually far too simplistic. Chances are, there's a combination of factors, the ones you mentioned, as well as things like having parents who feel compelled to "express" themselves through their child's name without giving any consideration to how many times that name is going to cause grief for their kid from teachers, other children, all the way up to employers and fellow employees. The kind of person who will slap a name like Lynkin Daynjer on a newborn is often not the kind of person who has the greatest parenting skills in the world. Not to say it's a 1 to 1 correlation, but if you had to guess which one of either Lynkin's or Jacob's father was a stripper, you know as well as I do which one the odds were better on.