Tag Archives: patriarchy

Taylor Swift is Peter Pan

7 Aug

First a very quick lesson in (internalized) misogyny:

We live in a patriarchy, a sociopolitical and cultural system that values masculinity over femininity (Ferguson).  Misogyny is perpetuated by our surroundings even in subconscious ways, so we are saturated by the confines of gender. Since we are indoctrinated by underrepresentation & sexist representation, misogyny becomes an ingrained cultural norm.  Double standards are so embedded in our culture we often don’t recognize when we’re reinforcing them. A “boys will be boys” attitude and judging a women’s appearance more harshly than a man’s are two examples. “Even when we may be aware of the gender roles and stereotypes at play, we still can internalize some deeply-rooted misogyny from what we’ve been taught. We must make a conscious effort to reconsider these thought processes and undo the damage, ” (Gudenau).

In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious choice to become a feminist:

Swift told the magazine over her avoidance of the issue [of feminism] earlier in her career. “I think that when I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.”  She continued, “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-talks-feminism-misogyny-in-maxim-38970/)

Let’s Talk “Infantilization” in the context of sociology & women, in particular:

Infantilization starts, really at the beginning of history.  We won’t go into that here, or the Greeks and their “boy love” but I suggest reading up on it, as it’s very compelling history.  For the purpose of this post, we will start at World War II (1941-1945 for U.S. involvement).  When large numbers of men were sent to fight, it became common for women to take over what were considered to be male jobs so that the economy would remain stable and production would continue. Although this was framed as a patriotic duty, many women enjoyed the autonomy and independence that employment afforded them and were disappointed when they had to give them up after the war ended. 

Having proven that they were fully capable of independence during the war years, women presented a threat to male authority and were potential competition for employment. Treating women like children strengthened and perpetuated the notion that women could not care for themselves without a man.  It was a way of reigning in independent women and infantilization was in large part a means by which men could regain control of women.  

Television at the time (which often reinforces the social norms) portrayed the acceptable station of women by telling simple stories that portray idealized families in a safe and comfortable world. These shows produce a sense of nostalgia and a certain level of enjoyment, but look deeper and feel stunned by the ways in which the female characters are treated like children by the men around them.  The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietLeave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best all capture this sentiment well. . .  In the case of I Love Lucy, the series’ main character was often treated like a child by her husband, which included demeaning language and, in some cases, spanking.  For Lucy, and many other women during this era, infantalization was a means of controlling women and perpetuating the myth that without men (a father figure), they were incapable of caring for themselves or exercising autonomy.

(https://study.com/academy/lesson/infantilization-of-women-definition-significance.html)

Let’s move on to the song at hand:

We discussed how we’re overwhelmed with misogyny, even subconsciously, by living in a world that values the masculine over feminine.  We have internalized those ideas, and perpetuate them, even unknowingly.  We discussed how infantilization was used in the 1950s to convince women to leave the workplace because they needed a man to survive.  And we went over how, in 2014, around the 1989 era, Taylor Swift said she had previously unaware feminism impacted her, but she felt the pressures of it more and more as she aged [and achieved more power].

My assessment is that infantilization, which still acts upon girls and women in current times, was deep-seated in Taylor’s psyche.  Just as that social tool has been internalized by most all of us, women, and men.  She wrote a song about her life at the time.  It’s a nice little story, with a sentimental bent:

Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter ’cause you’re dreamin’
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light  

Taylor emphasizes how comfortable and loved this child is.  They are tucked in and made to feel safe and peaceful.  This is a very idealized version of kids, and what it’s like to be one, with no tantrums or messes, no imperfect family life.  Only the good parts are mentioned here.  It relates to the 1950s television shows conveying a secure, comfortable home where men go to work, women keep house, and children are well-mannered.  Perfect.  

To you, everything’s funny
You got nothing to regret  

Taylor gives us examples of how children are carefree and innocent, with an obvious wistfulness.  Taylor wishes she could rewind time for herself.  These lines tell the listener that she has experienced the more serious side of life as she’s aged.  She has made mistakes she may regret.  It would be a lot more cozy and happy if she could go back to that comfy bed in the first verse.  The lines also convey that life gets more difficult as we gain awareness and make more social connections. 

I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up  

This chorus.  It’s the most obvious example of what I’m trying to say, infantilization is at play here.  The ‘never grow ups’ relate to the Peter Pan references later written in cardigan.  In the music video, Taylor follows magical golden glitter from scene to scene. It looks just like the pixie dust Peter uses to help Wendy fly off to Neverland, and conveys how beautiful remaining a child is is both Peter’s story and Taylor’s mind. And in Miss Americana, Taylor tells the audience that there is a saying that people get frozen in the age they got famous and she felt that applied to her, confirming her choice/circumstance.  

You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mom’s droppin’ you off
At fourteen, there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she’s gettin’ older too  

In this verse, Taylor addresses an older child, maybe even herself as a teen.  She indicates adolescents want independence and freedom.  They begin to push away from caring parents.  But she reminds the teen that parents have feelings too, so have empathy.  She finishes the verse:


And don’t lose the way that you dance
Around in your PJs getting ready for school  

Taylor continues, to show the difference between youthful innocence and the shame that comes with being an adult.  She uses the dancing example after the ’embarrassed to get dropped off’ lines, to show that teenagers are beginning to be influenced by society’s perception of them.  They become aware of social norms and may repress their natural behavior to abide by the rules set for them.  Taylor is glorifying the freedom of childhood here just as she did in seven, “Before I learned civility/I used to scream ferociously/Any time I wanted.”  In both instances, Taylor misses the times when she was free to be herself and not have to abide by a patriarchal society’s conditioning.  

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple  

Taylor is insistent in the chorus, growing up is worse.  And the lyrics, “when you are young they assume you know nothing,” could also tie back into the Peter Pan cardigan references.  It might refer to how, although Peter Pan and the Lost Boys could never grow up or fall in love, they still knew the magic of Neverland and its fairies, talking crocodiles, pirates, and all sorts of things that adults never could.   

And no one’s ever burned you
Nothing’s ever left you scarred And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up  

These lines are drawing on personal experience.  Taylor, herself, has been burned and scarred, now that she’s older.  As a child, she was protected from the outside world, kind of like the wives and children in the 1950s shows.  Father was the one who braved the mean, outside world and the family lived in a protective (if not restrictive) cocoon.  Taylor says as she gained the freedom of adulthood, she had to pay the price of being exposed to pain.  

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone  

This part is very sentimental.  It shows how young adults feel when they are leaving the comfort and familiarity of their childhood home and family.  It’s a very common feeling of fear of the unknown and reluctance to take the leap to independence.  This bridge is a reason many people gravitate to this song.  It’s their same experience as Seniors in high school, and Taylor captures the hesitancy perfectly.  It’s exactly these uncertainties exploited by infantilization.    

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on  

Now, Taylor brings the song to the first person and talks about her own situation directly.  She has finally gained the independence she had been longing for as a teen, but it’s lonely, and she has to soothe and comfort herself.  Nobody is there to tuck her in.  It’s not the freedom she had imagined as a teen, and she wants to reverse her aging process to feel that comfort again. She has fully embraced patriarchy’s teachings that women need someone to care for them.    

Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
Could still be little
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up
Oh, oh
Don’t you ever grow up
Oh (never grow up)
Just never grow up

This song is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for.  Taylor took for granted how comfortable and free she was as a child when she pushed for more independence as a teen.  As she got more freedoms, Taylor was concurrently hurt like never before.  And when independence was realized it felt like a letdown, cold and empty.  The beginning of the song is warm and lovely, the end is cold and regretful.  Never grow up, she cautions, or you might feel this bad also.

Misogyny is internalized when women or men subconsciously absorb sexist beliefs through socialization.  Women, in this case, Taylor Swift, can also hold an unconscious bias toward their own gender.  Just as the 1950s television shows contributed to the belief (by both men and women themselves) that women were a generally inferior gender, this song shows aging and becoming independent is a perilous, unhappy event.  Internalized misogyny is projected onto oneself and others by all of us (Gudenau).  And I believe an overemphasis on the happiness and comfort of childhood combined with the doubt that Taylor Swift can be happy tucking herself in, is an example of another women succumbing to infantilization.  Society tells women they need a man to be comfortable and happy, thus we believe that. And knowing Taylor’s lyrical story, we know there were consequences for her getting stuck at the age that she got famous.  The line, “Peter losing Wendy,” in cardigan, evokes the song’s theme of losing someone because you can’t grow up.   Just as Peter had to lose Wendy since he couldn’t really love her, and she went to grow up without him, Taylor lost someone because she didn’t want to grow up, either.  Internalized infantilization had her stuck.

Luckily, as I have already alluded, Taylor saw the truth.  Society tries to convince women they’re more happy being taken care of as a way to reign in female power.  And now she sings The Man, a song about how her life would be different if she was treated like a man.

WAP Grammys 2021 Performance is Not Empowerment or Feminism–It’s Misogyny

16 Mar

Visibility is imperative. Pushing norms is progress. But disguising the objectification of women for the male gaze as empowered feminism is super-problematic, and that’s what is happening here. Cardi b and Meghan Thee Stallion’s Grammys 2021 performance was supposed to push boundaries, and shock. And it did! Madonna pushed boundaries of female sexuality with her cones and simulated sex scene prior to this. But I see the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke twirking on all the negative YouTube videos for ‘top 10 cringe moments’, ‘celebs that are problematic’, ‘people who got cancelled’, etc, etc… And let’s not forget how Janet Jackson was ENDED over a fraction of a sec of nipple pasty action at the Superbowl. Can you say, double standard?!

Anyway, I keep seeing a lot of arguments for the merits of this song/performance because it matches what men do. Men have scantily-clad women on their videos, demean women as “bitches” (and far worse) in their lyrics, talk about sexual acts in explicit detail, and are “pimps” when they rack up the number of women they conquer. So people are arguing it’s cool that now women can do that too.

Except here’s the thing:

Feminism isn’t doing whatever you want or being as disgusting as men, it is breaking away from objectification, truly empowering the individual self and collective group of women.

Joining in on objectification of women is not empowerment!

em·pow·er·ment (N)- Authority or power given to someone to do something. “individuals are given empowerment to create their own dwellings” the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

This performance isn’t about women owning their bodies, sexuality, or controlling the narrative. This is women selling their image in a package that men like in order to make money and gain fame in the small niche that female rap artists have carved out.

Women in this patriarchal society have to fit in a box–the Madonna/whore dichotomy. Women in music, already in that narrow box of patriarchy, have to fit into an even smaller box of being a role model to girls while having sexual appeal for the general public. The rap category is an even teenier box a couple of select women have to fit in to keep going. In the end, the box is so small and limited, there is no space left.

People online are praising the performance as visible female sexuality, black women owning their own bodies, and empowerment. Which, I agree might be present (though in this writing, I’ll argue it’s in diluted form). I felt the performance was harmful to women’s progress. What I don’t want to do is add the the terrible narrative that black women’s sexuality is wild/animalistic/scary/out of control that colonialism, racism, sexism, and patriarchy has painted it. I find the performance harmful because it is misogyny in feminist clothing, to borrow the sheep expression.

I know there’s a whole song, and the music video that goes with it. I don’t know much about either so my critiques are based solely on the following video of the 2021 Grammy performance:

My racap of the action:

-A stripper pole-references the men’s domain of the strip club where women take off clothes and dance suggestively for men’s entertainment.
-Cardi B backs up and puts her butt-crack on the pole. Side-note: Butt implants are for men. A women can die getting plastic surgery to enhance her body. Her clothes will fit differently. She will have to move differently, walk differently, lay down differently than she did before putting plastic in her butt. And she may have complications later. Leaking, autoimmune issues, cancer… This is not for a woman’s pleasure–women’s butts are not an erroneous zone, or secondary sex characteristic. A big butt is for men’s pleasure.
-In case the viewer couldn’t put it together, a giant, clear plastic stripper platform shoe flanks the stage. The type of shoe men like to look at, but women have trouble walking effectively in, and certainly running from danger is out of the question in such a shoe. It shows the power dynamic–females are weakened by such a shoe but men get pleasure from them wearing the shoe. Men are in power here. The women are just props for them to use to achieve sexual gratification.
-Other suggestive moves that drive home this is a performance to cater to men’s sexual desire: Splay legs, she grabs/rubs her puss, gyrating hips and doing suggestive humping dance moves. Cardi B elevates and licks her own leg. Countless squats split legged. Laying with legs far apart on the bed. Crawling on the bed. Split legged humping. Laying on her back with split legs. The two women crawl toward each other on bed. They scissor their legs together. [Pet-peeve] this is NOT a thing! I mean, it might technically exist in the way the pile-driver is a thing, but not used in real life, it’s only for porn. This scissoring maneuver is performative and it’s is ignorant/Lesbphobic. As a matter of fact, if two out, butch lesbians did the same move, I’ll bet the reaction would be totally different. Then to finish the show, more split legs.

Here’s the test to know

a) if this is two women owning their own bodies, displaying confidence and empowerment

OR

b) this is a sexually suggestive performance for the male gaze

In the above video and descriptive paragraph, trade out the women for men.

Have you seen men doing a similar performance before? Does it seem like the same type of performance? Would it garner the same reaction?

I’d say fail.

You do not/would not see two men: Dancing on a pole. Licking their own leg. Crawling toward another man on a giant bed. Or scissoring legs together with another man…

This is not women owning their sexuality. This is objectifying & commodifying women for the male gaze.

Research by Calogero has shown that the male gaze can have detrimental effects on women’s self-esteem and self-objectification, leading to increased body shame and a worsened mental state. The male gaze creates a power imbalance. It supports a patriarchal status quo, perpetuating women’s real-life sexual objectification.

So that’s why I don’t like it. I’m not even going to mention being role model for girls, b/c the conservatives always trot that out to shame women. But I will say it would be nice if society was better at recognizing misogyny. I can understand why it’s difficult because it’s ubiquitous and pervasive. But we need to educate ourselves a lot better, because things are still BAD for women. And I would love to see women being successful by truly own their own bodies and sexuality in an empowering way. I hope it happens.

But this was not it.

Don’t Ever Say a Mean Thing to a Pregnant Woman (Says Patriarchal Society)

19 Nov

This whole conversation started because on Karlie’s baby bump video where she says, “Good morning baby” I commented, “nope.”  It was a (softly) negative Twitter comment in a sea of “congratulations,” “you will be a great mom,” and “you’re glowing.”    

Honestly, I take offense that all the comments were reverential.  Considering the negativity I see on EVERY SINGLE OTHER KK post, and Twitter as a whole.  It’s backward.  And here’s why:

So is it OK if I say Lady Gaga copies Madonna’s career?  Because we don’t know she’s pregnant?

How about Jared Ku$hner.  Can I say he’s corrupt?  Because he’s a man, and can’t get pregnant?

And would it have been OK to say something negative to Karlie 6 months ago?  Because she probably wasn’t pregnant then?

Socially chastising me for “being proud of saying something negative to a pregnant woman” is so predictable.  You’re making a judgement call.  And why?  Of course, socially-imposed “rules” are held up by individuals in society.  But, is this a good rule?  Why is it a thing?  

Is my comment going to cause Karlie’s baby harm?  I don’t want to put anything specific, because just-in-case.  But you get my point, that it’s probably unlikely that reading one Twitter comment is going to hurt either mom or baby.  Are women more “delicate” when they’re pregnant?  Women (for Millennia) doing agriculture and having a child right in the field then continuing on with work, prove–no.  And nutritionally, it’s a myth that pregnancy is the most challenging time.  Lactation, then the growth stage are harder on the body [Animal Science, major here!].  

Does pregnancy earn a woman more respect?  I think so, in our society (hence the social stigma), but I am a hard disagree that it should be this way.  A woman should be treated better, because she’s carrying a child?  But not at other times in her life.  Is pregnancy the most important job or function a woman ever will have?  Because a child is involved, women are more revered than normal?  To me, the fact I have to ask these questions, and the fact the answers are probably all yes, (in our culture) is wrong.

To me, that sounds more fucked up than treating a woman like a human, even if she’s carrying a child.  Don’t misinterpret my words–I am NOT suggesting people abuse pregnant women in any way, shape, or form.  But is it right to treat her like porcelain?  Nope.

Going Global [Anti-Valentine’s #10]

13 Feb

As you know, I hate that fake-a$$ holiday, and have been really good about writing an annual blog post about all that’s wrong with it. This is my eleventh? such post, I think!!!  Even when I’m terrible about writing anything else throughout the year. It’s important to me to get it done.

And yes, I am still a lazy writer (in my blog) and do not treat this as a college research paper. BUT given this era of opinion-pieces, unsubstantiated “alternate facts,” and plain ‘ol made-up nonsense, I’ve tried to at least indicate my sources. Is there a proper citation with bibliography-no! Can you tell I just didn’t pull the information and figures out of my a$$–I hope so.  Here we go my annual why Valentine’s Day is detrimental and shouldn’t be celebrated:

"The Models Go Green" -- The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW. Pictured: Janet (Cycle 9) (902) Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW ©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

“The Models Go Green” — The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW.
Pictured: Janet
(Cycle 9) (902)
Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW
©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Fear sells products.

Just ask the beauty industry. First step-Put great emphasis on a women’s physical appearance. Socnond, Insinuate that’s WHO she is (beauty), Third, indicate that beauty is the only way she derives all her power. Finally, make her afraid she’s losing looks and beauty through aging. Sales of lotion and makeup boom!

Sex sells.

angel-3

Look at any magazine, poster, or label. Nakedness abounds. People are more interested if there’s a hint of sexuality. True story.  Does there really even need to be persuasion here?  I hope not.  I will assume no, and move on.

Combine fear WITH sex and you have capitalist gold. Thus, Valentines Day.  And why a Catholic tragedy is even a current thing at all.

money
And with stock-markets demanding quarterly growth, more and more corporations are looking to foreign markets to increase sales. Advertising DOES have an impact on culture. Other countries do look to the United States, a world power. So it makes sense that America’s ad campaigns do dictate cultural change around the world.

cambodia-map-for-introduction
One example of the negative influence of America’s capitalism, specifically the notion Valentine’s Day must culminate in sex, is Cambodia. The country is in Southeast Asia, near Thailand and Laos. Cambodia has a tumultuous history, with the Brits colonizing it for awhile, communists taking refuge there for a time, and Americans bombing it (just the commies though!  *sarcasm*  obviously) during Vietnam conflict. As a person with an American education, I’m not sure of the whole history, or what Cambodia’s politics are today (or honestly, anything about them), but I know the treatment of women there is not that awesome.

Cambodia is apparently dramatic about romance. They have a concept called “sansar,” which means something like, Valentine or true love, or the person I want to marry. And this Sansar notion is heavily associated with Valentine’s Day. The people Combining the Valentine’s Day money = love = sexual reward with Cambodia’s ingrained notions of gender has resulted in a phenomenon of under-aged sex. In Cambodia Valentine’s Day is their prom–the expectation is to have sex.

The ministry of education in Cambodia issued a statement Tuesday imploring teachers to impress upon their students that Valentine’s Day is not about losing one’s virginity. Chuon Naron says in the statement “Cambodian students take Valentine’s Day to mean ‘sweetheart day,’ and they buy flowers as a way to convince girls to give up their virginity.” An exacerbating factor,”Cambodians have no idea about sex and their sexual rights because the sexual health education curriculum remains unimplemented.” (1) Education Minister Hang.

The quantitative survey on Love and sexual relationships found that 12. 4 percent young people state that they will be able to have sex and 14.3 young people in a couple state that they will able to have sex with their sweethearts on the upcoming Valentine’s Day. (2) Valentine’s Day in Phnom Penh in 2009.

Even worse? It has been reported that this sex will happen whether or not every participant is ready, whether or not they’re in a trusting, committed relationship, whether or not permission is given. Yes, not only has American-economy-driven Valentine’s capitalistic hedonism caused the sexualiziation of a “holiday” it had contributed to rape culture.

According to United Nations research (*A) one in five Cambodian men admit to raping a woman at least once. Half of that number started before the age of 20. (4) And nearly two-thirds said they had raped their partner, or more explicitly, their songsar. The figure rose to 34 percent when asked if they had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman. (3) 2013.

Jesus.

Public health specialist, Tong Soprach, conducted a smaller study of this trend from 2009-2014. He interviewed 715 Cambodians, aged 15 to 24, and what he found was staggering. In 2009, roughly two-thirds of young males said they were willing to force their partners to have sex on Valentine’s Day. [What??!] That number dropped some by 2014, but was still alarmingly high: among 376 male respondents, about 47 percent. (4) Phnom Penh Post, 2009.

National Police spokesman, Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, agrees that education is key to putting a halt to this abuse. He pointed out that most of the youth don’t understand the concept of Valentine’s Day, adding that “a lot of boys want to use this day for sex and to exploit girls”. Just how culturally accepted it is to engage in non-consensual sex is illustrated by the fact that half of the women interviewed for the UN study believed they couldn’t refuse to have sex with their husband. Two years ago, according to Chantharith, the police noticed a significant increase in sexual violence and rape among the capital’s youth on Valentine’s Day. “There are many young men going to the guest houses late at night with a girl – sometimes a group of boys with a girl – and they commit sexual violence,” he said. “So when we see a girl alone at night, leaving a bar with a boy or a group, we intervene.” (5)  On the whole, though rape and sexual violence isn’t only endemic in the southeast Asian country, but is treated by many as the norm, meaning perpetrators largely go unpunished.

So there’s that. Thanks U.S. Capitalistic fake holiday.  Obviously, this is one of the more horrible consequences that stem from constructing a holiday about “love” but really about money.  I think as citizens of the United States, we can admit Valentines Day is contrived and exploited in order to sell products.  Fear of being alone and single are combined with terribly impractical idealized romantic images, which are not really a thing aside from February 14th.  As a leading country, we need to be careful what we support and how we portray ourselves.  Our country (like it or not) is a role model for other places.  And our capitalistic patriarchy combined with a worse-for-wear undeveloped countries norms has lead to disastrous effects on women.

 

Think twice about what you support.
_______________________________________
(A)

Click to access p4p-report.pdf

(1)
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/on-valentines-day-a-deep-generational-divide-77963/

(2) PAGE 14

Click to access love_sexual_relationships_valentine_quan_study-14_eng.pdf

(3)
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/11/cambodia-valentine-s-not-virginity-day.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

4)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/12/the-country-where-valentines-day-is-the-most-dangerous-day-of-the-year/?utm_term=.e7eba904a65f

5)
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/cambodia-valentines-day-rape-consent-phnom-pen

“Crazy-Love” = RomCom

12 Jun

http://www.metafilter.com/62571/I-dont-want-no-more-of-this-Crazy-Love

-What’s missing from this unusual love story is love. Not once did I believe that Burt cared for Linda, the actual woman and not his idealized pin-up version. Linda was a victim of both a man and the times. Born in 1937, she came of age when women were expected to marry young and produce children. The police laughed at her when she was repeatedly harassed, and when Burt destroyed her pretty face, her marriage prospects dwindled to zero. The reconciliation with the man who maimed her was an act of survival.
-It seems unacceptable that someone should only receive 14 years for blinding and permanently disfiguring someone on purpose. Anyone who can convince themselves to do that is never going to be safe to have in society.
-If this strategy doesn’t work (as it shouldn’t) why perpetuate the myth that male violence towards women is merely misunderstood affection (and that the correct response to stalking/harassment is to embrace the stalker/harasser)?
-The day before the attack, in the face of several threats on the eve of her engagement to another man, Linda Riss called the police and begged for protection. Their failure to act resulted in Riss v. City of New York, a staple in Tort Law classes around the country. She lost and the case stands for the proposition that you can’t sue the police for failing to protect you unless they took some action or made some assurance that caused you to rely on their protection.
posted by Partial Law at 3:09 PM on July 2, 2007

-Partial Law – That of course, was addressed in VAWA, which created a private right of action when police departments failed to uphold their own orders of protection. This was then gutted by Castle Rock v. Gonzales, one of the many shameful decisions of the Rehnquist court and one of the most heartbreaking cases in a long-line of them.
-What a disgustingly misogynistic movie. This isn’t about a krrrazzzy kourtship, this is about a sociopath exploiting a woman in a scary manner. This isn’t “crazy love”, it’s about a subhuman asshole and the regrettable inequalities that facilitate his exploitations. This story isn’t unique or unfathomable, it’s going on everyday around the world. There is a woman in the US right now looking the other way while her live-in boyfriend molests her children. There is a woman in the Middle East right now marrying the man who raped her because her “purity” is gone. A woman in Indonesia is staunchly defending her drunken husband who beats her weekly. And on and on.
-In my opinion, he is Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) with some BPD stalker traits. And she is Histrionic Personality Disordered (HPD).

“The essential feature of the histrionic personality disorder is a pervasive and excessive pattern of emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious. They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others.

“Women with HPD are described as self-centered, self-indulgent, and intensely dependent on others. They are emotionally labile and cling to others in the context of immature relationships. Females with HPD over identify with others; they project their own unrealistic, fantasied intentions onto people with whom they are involved. They are emotionally shallow and have difficulty understanding others or themselves in any depth. Selection of marital or sexual partners is often highly inappropriate. Pathology increases with the level of intimacy in relationships.”
-As I said above, stalking and harassment is not “courting” behavior. These are tools of control and compulsion and future validation does not mean that they were ever acceptible. Were I to kidnap someone and hold her in my basement for years until she agreed to marry me, would that mean that my act of kidnapping was just extended courtship?

How Does One Person Promote the WNBA?

8 Mar

I’ve had just about enough of WordPress “Myspacing” my writing.  I just wrote a huge paragraph and when I pressed “save draft” it glitched out and erased my work-gah!

Storm-2010 WNBA champions

In honer of International Women’s Day I want to take action.  And I believe in the importance of the WNBA.  And the entertainment factor.  I want more merch availability, more money for advertising, more promotion in general, support from fans, and more teams–way more teams.

But what do I do?  Do I write to someone–who?  After reading a lot of internet articles, I felt more helpless then ever.  How do I–one fan with no money or connections–help a franchise?  The thought is there, but I ended up feeling like a failure, because I left my research with more questions then answers.

Even Chuck

As it is, I have been reading about some notable women in history.  I’ll share the articles with you, so I can at least do something today. . .

http://primajanetcollins.com/

https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/deborah-sampson/

http://lucyparsons.org/biography-iww.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/23/us/flo-kennedy-feminist-civil-rights-advocate-and-flamboyant-gadfly-is-dead-at-84.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/world/peopleevents/pande01.html

http://leanin.org/

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/womenyoushouldhaveheardof

Sex Edition [Anti-Valentine’s Day #9]

13 Feb

I think this topic may be my most consistent post.  Happy decade of annual posts to me!  TEN years in a row I have managed to address the ills of this “holiday.”  That’s exciting, and even though I’m very tired and short of time, here’s me making it happen.

I try each year to convey why Valentine’s Day is fake and ultimately negative.  See my “Valentine’s” Tag for prior topics which include feminism, environment, and capitalism among other things.  I really do hate this “holiday” and hope I won’t have to be inundated with it at work Saturday.  Hair salons are the WORST on Valentine’s day, followed by schools, but I imagine the YMCA will not be able to ignore the day, and I’m dreading that.  This year I will focus on. . .  Sex.  The inevitable conclusion of the day.  How could I have just remembered to write about THIS?!  

-the holiday emphasizes the man wining/dining and spoiling women with gifts. This emphasizes women as receivers, and passive. It also is a little prostitution-positive = You give me (women) valuable things and I’ll have sex with you (men)!

strange to see Bunny Ranch on my Facebook wall
-more prescriptions are written for Viagra around Valentine’s Day than any other time of year.  Which should tell you everyone is gearing up for the final moment.

– See more at: http://www.redhot.org/news/national-condom-day/#sthash.uRJgwOua.dpuf

Kidron's NV pics 069
-the condom industry sales increase by 20-30% around this day (it’s also national condom day–no joke)

So we can ascertain that all the Valentine’s hype DOES in fact lead to this logical conclusion:  Sex.  And as we know there are a lot of consequences of sex, and contemplating and preventing those issues is notoriously not our strong point as humans.  Here is some information about some of those–which do play a part on February 14th.

Amazing_Electron_Microscope_Photos_Mosquito_Head-1mdCU
-In their study, Grimley and her colleagues focused on 224 men — all with STD symptoms — who sought treatment in a Birmingham STD clinic. The average age was 26. In face-to-face, private interviews, each was asked the same set of questions. Among them:

How often have you used a condom in the past month?
How long have you been using condoms?
Do you have any intention of starting condom use?
Why do you use condoms?
Do you wear condoms for STD prevention or to protect your partner from pregnancy and disease?
Why don’t you use condoms?
And the results:

80% reported that most people their age did not use condoms consistently. They also said that 61% of people their age had gonorrhea.
81% acknowledged sexual contact with two or more partners during the preceding six months.
45% reported sexual relationships that overlapped.
65% said they had been diagnosed with one or more STDs in the past.
Of those men with one main sexual partner, two-thirds were not motivated to use condoms.
http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/news/20040126/many-men-dont-use-condoms?page=2

http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/MarketInsight/Consumer-Goods/Global-Condom-Industry/NI8052

610

STDs are not only a social ill, but they are financially costly to everyone:

-CDC’s new [2/13/13] estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections
in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system
nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.
America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections.
CDC estimates that half of all new STIs in the country occur among
young men and women. In addition, CDC published an overall estimate of the number of prevalent STIs in the nation. Prevalence is the total number of new and existing infections at a given time. CDC’s new data suggest that there are more than 110 million total STIs among men and women across the nation.
-STIs place a significant economic strain on the U.S. healthcare system. CDC conservatively estimates that the lifetime cost of treating eight of the most common STIs contracted in just one year is $15.6 billion.
http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/sti-estimates-fact-sheet-feb-2013.pdf

Is it any accident that National Adoption Month is 9 months after Valentine’s Day? Only speculation, here. . .

So that’s really icky.  Also, let’s not forget HIV/AIDS is an ever-present threat on the scene and any holiday that emphasizes that we must copulate threatens to make this scare even bigger than it already is.  How about a day in which caution is practiced?!

33621_456830357625_596627625_5259997_1855811_n
-at-home pregnancy tests also see a spike in sales in March (early at home pregnancy test month–for reals!).  It’s the highest sales month all year, as a matter-of-fact.
-Consumers spend more than $15 million on pregnancy and infertility test kits during the second, third and fourth weeks of March, with the third week of March ranking number one in sales.

Click to access Nielsen%20U.S.%20Consumers%20Sweet%20on%20Chocolate%20for%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day.pdf

Another obvious conclusion to romantic nights are the pregnancies that stem from them.  Many of them unplanned, unaffordable, or at worst–unwanted.
-Currently, about half (51%) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.4 million) are unintended.  In 2008, there were 54 unintended pregnancies for every 1,000 women aged 15–44. In other words, about 5% of reproductive-age women have an unintended pregnancy each year.[6]
• By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in 10 will have had an abortion.[7].
• The U.S. unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries.[8]  In 2008, two-thirds (65%) of the 1.7 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid. In comparison, 48% of births overall and 36% of births resulting from intended pregnancies were funded by these programs.[13]
• In 14 states and the District of Columbia, at least 70% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public programs. Mississippi was the state with the highest proportion (83%), and the District of Columbia’s proportion was 90%.[13]
• Total public expenditures for births resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $12.5 billion in 2008. Of that, $7.3 billion were federal expenditures and $5.2 billion were state expenditures.[13]
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html

crabby

So though I did much cut & pasting this year (I apologize) because of my work schedule and residual tiredness, I’m sticking with my opinion, Valentine’s day is full of bad side-affects, among them STDs and pregnancy along with all the fallout that goes along with those two things.  Please reconsider supporting such a day.  And if you must celebrate, and have sex, remember to be responsible and take so many precautions.

Entitled Man

19 Sep

We had to pick a book in NeuroAnatomy for a series of assignments, and we all had to have different ones.

The prof. started the list around (with my row) and some guy in the back felt like he had the right to jump the line. Even though every single person in that class hoped for a specific book, the dude in the back row felt entitled to stand up, look for the sign up sheet, grab said sheet right out of my hands while I was in mid-word writing my choice, and pick his book! And he acted as if it was nothing new, different, or rude to be doing.

I think he felt this way because he’s male. I can tell you, not ONE of those gals in the class would cut in front of the others, physically take the paper, in order to get her first choice before anyone else.

I was disgusted. Other girls laughed. Entitled dude went to hand the page to the next person in line, and I reached for it, saying I was in the middle of writing. He looked at me surprised (though I don’t know what was so surprising to him) and like I was acting bitchy and he didn’t know why. . .  I don’t think it’s unreasonable to stand my ground.

I get tired of being pushed around and made to take up less space (at concerts) and relinquish my turn (sign up sheet) for others–usually men.

Birth Control as Cure-All

28 Mar

Before we had sound medical science alcohol was used for a huge number of ailments.  You name it (disease, disorder, mental conditions (including “female hysteria” aka woman’s orgasm), and even surgery– alcohol was used to treat it.  More examples here:

http://www.barlifeuk.com/index.php/2011/07/drink-to-your-health-the-history-of-alcohol-as-a-medicine/

But then, research uncovered FACTS and we moved away from such rudimentary practices.  Or did we?  I would suggest, for as many good, and legit reasons birth control pills are prescribed there are just as many reasons that fall into the cure-all b/c we don’t know and don’t gave a damn about finding out category.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am very happy birth control is so widely available. I’m glad it gives women control over her own body and child-bearing decisions.  (All stats from Planned Parenthood–an organization I SUPPORT).

-majority of women believe birth control allows them to take better care of their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%). The financial success and emotional well-being of women are undoubtedly tied to contraception, while unintended pregnancies put a financial strain on everyone. The cost of unwanted pregnancies in the U.S. average an estimated $11.3 billion per year

– Oral contraception can cost as much as $1,210 per year for women without insurance

– 40% of births are unplanned. Birth control not only empowers women, but considering only 5% of men around the world even wear condoms. . .

-ugh–what a yucky stat!  I think the world should focus on the condom instead of how to get more and more BCP out there.  Condoms help prevent STDs too (AIDS!!!).  A lot of unintended pregnancy would be averted if men would take responsibility too.  Plus, it isn’t good enough to force women to have children, make it impossible for her to plan her own choices, AND put the whole burden of sexual activities consequences onto her.   This leaves men to enjoy as much sex, with as many people as possible–with no worry of consequences.  Then, if there IS an unintended pregnancy HE has the choice of how much involvement he wants to have.  Finally, at the same time men don’t have to think about sex, or be responsible for it’s aftermath, THEY get to make the laws regulating women’s access to preventative methods and what she does with her own body.  Tell me how everybody doesn’t see reproductive issues as political power issues?!

That was a train (though a very important one) away from my actual point:  The point is, birth control for women’s freedom and family planning is good.  It’s liberating.  It gives women power, and that is excellent BUT I think it can be lazy medicine.  I think it is haphazardly doled out as a band aid fix-all. Cramps?  Get on the pill.  Acne?  The pill.  Irregular periods?  The pill.  PMS?  The pill?  You’re a woman?  It’s too complicated to delve into what the underlying cause of your problem might be.  Besides, all the research is done about MEN’S problems.  The research funding goes to impotence–there’s no $$$ left to study little menstrual cramps–that’s just part of being a woman after all.

That’s dis-empowering to women.

It’s not for everyone. And just like any Monsanto product, we don’t really know what it is doing to us in the long term. And I think now that would be very hard to study, because we’ve run out of control groups. Even in lesbian populations (not your primary birth control user) BCP are being routinely supplied for skin or period pain.

Anatomy 2

How we (Cool and I) got birth control pills:

–>for 1 day of extreme, incapacitating, horribly painful cramps once a month.

-w/o even an exam of the repro system.
-w/o BW
-no R/O
-even with a hx of hypertension
-in a lesbian–or without even asking sexuality

-33% of teens aged 15-19 and nearly 800,000 women who have never had sex, who use oral contraception for non-contraceptive purposes.  most common reasons why women use the pill are reducing cramps and menstrual pain (31%); menstrual regulation, which for some women may help prevent migraines and other painful side effects of menstruation (28%); treatment of acne (14%), and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that can cause pelvic scarring, severe pain, and sometimes infertility (4%). About 14% of all women use birth control exclusively for reasons other than contraception.

So it’s great that birth control can band-aid so many conditions.  But my questions are:  Aren’t there any treatments specific to those actual conditions?  Why?  And do we KNOW long-term affects of birth control use?  Against an equal control group who has not been exposed to birth control.  Do we know this information for the intended use for reproductive issues AND these extraneous conditions as well?

I suspect the answers are still a mystery and here are the reasons for that:

-it’s because the research/interest for women’s health just isn’t there
-a doctor’s (male-dominated profession) mentality “quick fix” “cure all”

And that’s not good for women at all.

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frances willard (good thing this isn’t for a grade)

13 Mar

My citations would NOT be appropriate.  OK, it may be a cut & paste job, but this is a really interesting history of an early feminist in honor of women’s history month.  Anyway, it might not be my own, and it might be in a jumble, but the biography is inspiring and educational all the same.  Check it out:

-Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms (2).

-the alcohol problem represented the powerlessness of American women. The crusade to stop alcohol was a protest by women of their lack of civil rights. In the late nineteenth century, women could not vote. In most August 2011 105states, married women were considered “dead to the law,” their identity subsumed under their husband’s. Men could take their wives’ pay but not vice-versa. Married women could not own property in most states, and men could not be prosecuted for wife abuse. As late as the year 1900, in 37 states a woman had no right to custody of her children in the case of divorce. When the WCTU began its work, the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven, and prosecutions for rape were rare (3).

-Women in the United States were victims. The consumption of alcohol by the men of America, coupled with the The German by Laurel 009powerlessness of women, led to child and wife abuse and other oppressions of women. And liquor was truly a curse. In the late nineteenth century, there was one saloon for every 50 males over age 15 in working class sections. Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded. The liquor trade held a disproportionate share of public offices and was involved in corruption, crime, and vote-buying. By the year 1900, one of every 116 Americans was employed in the liquor industry. Americans spent over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages, $900 million on meat, $150 million on churches, and less than $200 million on public education (3).

-The women who fought to control liquor were opposing one of the most powerful, entrenched forces in American life. Alcoholic men spent their money on liquor and had no legal obligation to support their wives and children. In divorce, the same alcoholics were awarded the children. As the leader of the WCTU, in the forefront against the grave societal evils represented by liquor, Frances Willard became the most admired woman in America (3).

-in 1873-4: the so-called “Woman’s Crusade.” In Hillsboro, Ohio, in December of 1873, a group of Protestant winechurch women went to hear a temperance speaker. The women became so excited by the dangers of liquor portrayed in the speech that they stormed the local saloon with prayer and non-violent protest. Across the Midwest, normally quiet housewives began to march and to accost druggists, hotel owners, and saloon keepers and demand that they refuse to sell liquor. Women dropped to their knees for pray-ins at local saloons and refused to leave until the saloon shut down. Within three months, the women had driven liquor out of 250 villages and towns. Opened casks of liquor were poured down the streets. By the end of the Woman’s Crusade, over 900 communities in 31 states and territories had experienced it. Nationwide, 750 breweries were closed. Thousands of women felt empowered by the crusade, which was the first time many of them had taken a public stand for anything (3).

-Willard recognized, developed, and implemented the use of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as a political organizing force (2).

-The WCTU quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States, with local branches in most wine pic-niccommunities. It was the first national religious organization to be organized in the South after the Civil War. Its paper, the Union Signal, by 1890 was the largest woman’s paper in the world (3).

-She became the national president of the  Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, and remained president for 19 years (wiki).

-Under her leadership, the WCTU grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century (2).

-In their push to expose the evils of alcohol, Willard and other temperance reformers often depicted alcohol as a substance that incited black criminality, and implicitly made the argument that this was a serious problem requiring a serious cure.[ (wiki).

-National Prohibition has been interpreted as a cultural war between Protestants who were already well-Cool's b-day wknd 154established in North American and the newer Catholic and Jewish immigrants, who typically drank alcohol beverages as part of their cultures. In addition, Protestants tended to live in rural areas and towns whereas the newer immigrants tended to settle in large cities, thus creating another division. 5 WCTU membership included women from nearly every sector of American life, but consisted largely of lower-middle and middle-class women with strong ties to evangelical Protestant churches (5).

Although the WCTU had chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada with a very large membership, for years it did not accept Catholic, Jewish or African-American women or women who had not been born in North America. This reflected the cultural division conflict. When the WCTU began accepting African-American women, they were organized into separate chapter or unions. Black members tended to be teachers or other professional (5).

The WCTU was anxious to “Americanize” new immigrants, which meant to them, to persuade them to abstain from alcohol beverages. In the first two decades of the twentieth century much of its budget was spent on its center on Ellis Island in order to begin this “Americanization” process. The WCTU was especially concerned about the immigration of Irish and Germans and what it believed was the threat they posed to abstention and the promotion of prohibition (5).

-One WCTU leader expressed strong concern over “the enormous increase of immigrant population flooding us Easter 006from the old world, men and women who have brought to our shores and into our politics old world habits and ideas [favorable to alcohol]” and peppered her writing with references to this “undesirable immigration” and “these immigrant hordes.” (5).

The WCTU was not unique; the largely anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-German and anti-Semitic nature of the temperance movement has been extensively documented. 7 The WCTU also supported eugenics. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) actively promoted Prohibition and its strict enforcement and many women belonged to both the WCTU and the KKK, sometimes holding leadership positions in both organizations(5).

-Her tireless efforts for women’s suffrage and prohibition included a fifty-day speaking tour in 1874, an average of 30,000 miles of travel a year, and an average of four hundred lectures a year for a ten-year period, mostly with her longtime companion Anna Adams Gordon. (wiki).

-Willard insisted that women must forgo the notion that they were the “weaker” sex and that dependence was their nature and must join the movement to improve society, stating “Politics is the place for woman (wiki).

-The WCTU pushed for women’s rights to vote specifically so that women could vote for the prohibition of liquor. Halloween 2013 006As an organization of church women, the WCTU persuaded the Protestant churches to get behind the women’s vote as a vehicle to push through temperance. Suffrage and temperance were seen as two pieces of the same issue: national prohibition was finally enacted in 1919, shortly before women received the vote (3).

-The WCTU has proposed, supported, and helped establish protection of women and children at home and work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, traveler’s aid, police matrons, pure food and drug laws, legal aid, passive demonstrations, among many others (2).
-lesbian?

-“The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these Vodka_and_Martinithings were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere … In these days when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of ‘two hearts in counsel,’ both of which are feminine.”  –Frances Willard, The Autobiography of an American Woman: Glimpses of Fifty Years, 1889 (wiki).

-To most modern historians, Willard is overtly identified as a lesbian,[17][18][19] while contemporary and slightly later accounts merely described her relationships, and her pattern of long-term domestic cohabitation with women, and allowed readers to draw their own conclusions.[20] Willard herself only ever formed long-term passionate relationships with women, and she stated as much in her autobiography.[21] (wiki).

-denounced prez candidate for Catholic religion (prohibition documentary).
-later became Catholic (prohibition documentary).

1) wikipedia

2)  http://www.franceswillardhouse.org/Frances_Willard.html

3)  http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/temperancewillard.htm

5)  http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/Controversies/Womans-Christian-Temperance-Union.html#.UyImbD9dWtM

 

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