Sunday, March 29, 2009

Male Feminists

Woohoo! Shout out to all the male feminists who are helping protect women and creating a more equitable society for them.

It is so important that we hear from male feminist voices. Their input is so important because they are such a big part of the change our society needs to realize. The issues that affect women are inextricably connected to men and it's just so important that men become more vocal about feminism because there is an expectation that males are not feminists. Even worse, there is an expectation that they resent feminists.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Blue Shirt

So I hear the "girls are so catty and pissy" stereotype a lot and after reading this thread on Feministing I had to post (because for whatever reason it fails every time I try to log on to Feministing to comment.)

It's annoying because as a girl once you hear this you start trying to prove how not catty and grudge-holding you are. Unfortunately, anger's a pretty run of the mill emotion that comes up a lot.

Last night Jack and I were discussing anger and he said his first impulse is to blow up while I said mine is to be passive. I rationalize my anger-- I'm not angry because someone has done something wrong to me I'm angry because I'm misunderstanding something or overreacting or some other excuse. We got to the subject of those awkward early teen and preteen years when I had friends who would call me ugly. As in, I looked "like a child" because "I had no boobs" (I was 14... Where would I have gotten boobs?!) and guys "wouldn't" be attracted to my looks and "anorexic freak" and many more. We discussed the moment I decided I was ugly at the age of 12. The most screwed up thing was that I took these comments and processed them as matters of fact, not insults. They were observing that I was too ugly to expect love like you might notice that I have freckles and size 8 feet. It didn't occur to me that I should be angry.

So okay, I had some shitty girl friends back in the day, but I also let myself have shitty friends because I had no perception of myself as a person who deserved to not be called ugly. Furthermore, I was under the impression that all anger I experienced was a failing on my part. When I began to make my own transgressions against other girls it wasn't because I'm a girl it was because I didn't believe I had any right to be angry. If I experienced conflict I needed troops of other people to validate my opinions and couldn't approach the person I was in conflict with directly because I didn't consider myself good enough to be able to express anger. The irony is that when I actually dated the same girls told me I thought I was all that and when at the age of 15 (despite all evidence to the contrary) boys liked me I got a signed note informing me that everyone is not obsessed with me, but that I thought so and indicating where I may and may not be with my boyfriend. Oh, the drama. Ironically, I'd have never spent more than a day with these girls if I'd had any perception of myself as a worthwhile person (never mind being all that).

So now I hear people tell me that girls don't make very good friends. From other girls. Who are my friends.
"Hey Debra, isn't it pretty obvious that people in blue shirts are quick-tempered and have alcohol problems?"
"I'm wearing a blue shirt..."
"Other than you."
"You're wearing a blue shirt."
Consider this: every one of the most vicious girls who attacked me then went on within a year or two to experience depression, attempt suicide, or have an eating disorder. It's now so painfully obvious to me that the "cattiness" that people believe is unique to women isn't a result of our being inherently rotten, but an after-effect of the damages already incurred from feeling like shit. I had shitty girl friends, but I don't think it had anything to do with ovaries making us go all wacky, I think it had to do with a belief that we weren't good enough to experience anger and have that experience acknowledged by the person (or people) with whom we had conflict. And there's a whole slew of reasons why it might be girls in particular who think they're not good enough.

So please, stop telling me girls make shitty friends. Stop saying that if you are a girl, it's an ironic and constraining world view. If you consider yourself a woman, then at the end of the day you're not better off being one of the guys so learn to accept your womanhood and then learn to love it. It helps with that whole cattiness thing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prostitute in Distress

Quick Disclaimer: I'm talking specifically about sexually frustrated, self-proclaimed nice guys who are angry at women.

Is the damsel in distress actually just a glorified prostitute? This morning I was contemplating Heartless Bitch's piece on nice guys and the nice guy relationship with sex. It seems a lot of these nice guys are sexually frustrated. The most absurd element of the frustrated nice guy situation for me is that it doesn't seem very "nice" to help a girl out and expect some kind of romance in return.

"However can I repay you for saving my life?" "Well, I can think of a few things we could-" "Oh I'm not interested in you like that. Here's some cookies, let's just be friends."
Well doesn't that just bite? If you're a nice guy, probably. While these boys not unlike many girls have bought into the fairy tale concept of love they got confused about why women fall in love. It is suddenly shocking when in real life they find their troubled little lady, swoop in to comfort or teach her and she runs the other way. But, it isn't the ni
ce guys that should be insulted it's us, the ladies, who ought to cry out with indignation. We're accused of wanting bad relationships, even jerks because we're not buying into this concept of a relationship. This concept that says that kind acts deserve to be repaid with sex or marriage. It's freaky when you think about it and so wrong. It's wrong because sex shouldn't be about paying up. It shouldn't be about giving Mr. Chivalrous Savior Guy what you owe him.

It's no wonder that so many women are sexually unresponsive and unsatisfied. How much pleasure can we take in doing what at some point became our duty. The prince wakes Sleeping Beauty up and when he wants her to "thank" him, she's supposed to be excited about it? Yikes.

Furthermore, the problem with Knights in Shining Armor is that they project needs onto the object(s) of their affections. Because they're looking for someone to save, they often go around rescuing cute girls that don't need rescuing. They would like to believe the tender, fragile (hot) souls they are pursuing are not independent people who can want them or not, but women who need them. Thus enter the frustrating rejections. It is not the nice guys who ought to be frustrated though, because what woman wants to be a fixer-upper or a project to be worked on? Otherwise, they find themselves in a relationship acting like a doormat, when it ends they feel cheated because they devoted time and energy to someone only to see her run the other way. The entire time, he is trying to fix, to save, and to help that which doesn't need fixing or saving. While he thinks himself noble for putting his lady up high on a pedestal, she's still reeling from falling off it.

Of course, it's insulting to be the object of a nice guys' affections because they so often want you to be his "good girl" counterpart. Ever notice how those nice guys like to think you're a shy, timid thing? As if it isn't bad enough to be a person in need of a man, now you're a his counterpart. The only one who needs saving is the poor schmuck who goes around trying to find timid little girls to play the part of his girlfriend. He already has an idea of what girlfriends do, he's not trying to find an autonomous person, he's just casting you in a role.
What woman hasn't dealt with this? It sucks to be infantalized by a peer and plenty of my male peers have done it to me, all of them were the nicest guys. I would need a notebook and one would gallop in with one in hand the next day, I would be interested in a book or CD and a nice guy would show up and lay it at my feet-- a humble token of his affection.

I've found these guys everywhere. They sit and stare me down in class every day post-rejection and I'm never sure if he thinks I'm feeling guilty or lucky to be in his spotlight. They'll infringe on my privacy and offer to do things like pay for me when I don't actually know who they are. Yet, they always want a prostitute to their good will. They don't pay because it's nice, they pay to impress and if I have boyfriend they assume he's somehow worse because I chose him. Yeah, nice guys are just too good for the rest of us, they don't get rejected because they go around asking women to repay their supposed kindness in sexual favors, they get rejected because they're just too damn good. It has nothing to do with a girl simply not choosing him as her sexual partner, it's because she wants to be treated like shit. He doesn't "finish last" because she's looking for a good guy who isn't a martyr for her affections, it's because he's not rich or handsome enough. It's because every girl is a prostitute and somehow he paid and was so nice he let her walk away without putting out. He will make any number of excuses and explain the reason for his pain any manner of ways just so long as he avoids responsibility for it. Of course, that's easy when every girl is a prostitute waiting to pay up on her debt to men.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just not that into..

He's Just not That Into You the movie. The movie was a little too complicated because they had to cover an entire book full of dating issues and decided to make some oddly connected people all deal with various problems of the dating world. The best line of the movie was,
"If a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, it's because he genuinely doesn't give a shit."

A revelation!! Thank you. It's harsh, but women (and men) of every age need to realize that when people don't treat you with respect it's because gasp they don't respect you. Wow.
Everyone in the film is white, middle to upper-class people living in the strangely common HUGE apartments in New York. The only people of color in the whole film were working for the white people.. as Hispanic construction workers or an Asian who works for the white lady at a newspaper. Then there's the roving troop of gay men who appear and give dating advice to straight people (because that's what they do, right?) and act really, stereotypically gay.
(Quick aside, why so many gay men and so few gay women in pop culture? The gay guy is becoming a regular in chick media and there's Brokeback Mountain, but why are lesbians invisible to pop culture?)

Let's for a moment put aside the significant problems of stereotypes and the all-too-wealthy white people that the movie's about. Let's talk about the advice. There are little clips where it shows people talking about the advice "If he's not having sex with you..." "If he's not calling you..." "If he's married..."
Some of it is very, very good. The book was a huge wake up call for me when i came out. I needed to hear some of that stuff. The parts that relate directly to my first quote are perfect. Let's look at that again,
"If a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, it's because he genuinely doesn't give a shit."
The things I liked included how the movie touched upon some of the negative and confusing aspects of technology in its role in modern dating and the way girls are taught from the age of five that if a boy is mean to you it's just because he likes you and how screwed up that is when it carries over into our adult lives.
Here's the things I disagree with: not getting married isn't a valid option for couples. The movie suggests that a guy who doesn't "believe" in marriage as the end-all of relationships is commitment-phobic or just not interested in marrying the woman he's with, it also suggests that every woman wants marriage. Wrong! You should wait around for the guy to make things happen-- ask you out, find you, call you. While I'm not for the idea of hurling yourself (at times, physically) at every guy that wants to grab drinks with you, I think women shouldn't expect or be expected to play a passive role in their own dating life. The message of "if he wants it to happen, he'll work for it" is right, but I think it should go both ways. It also sets up this weird power dynamic where the man achieves favor by "proving" his love to the woman and the woman holds power by making him prove his love. Instead of her showing him she cares and him doing the same or even flipping it around and the woman taking him out for a change, it suggests that the girl should withhold and the guy should pursue. Yikes.

Oh and the random clips where people talk about each chapter? Each person was a crazy girl who was making some kind of mistake. The ONE male was a guy talking about how if after a month or two there is no sex it means the person isn't interested. Which is somewhat true (if you don't have sex in the first couple months, you might not have it. Ever. Or unless you get married.) BUT the guy was a LOT less crazy than the women of the film. Oh and all the women in the film are nuts. This film shows so little understanding of real women I'm surprised it was taken from the same guy who wrote that book that woke me up years ago.

I'd award this movie one out of five stars and that one comes from this quote. Let's look at it again.
"If a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, it's because he genuinely doesn't give a shit."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Watch Out Girls, The Old "My Dress is Really Old" Thing isn't Going to Work on Your Boyfriends Anymore
What a site. Today we'll find out the top 10 most suspicious remarks I can make to my boyfriend. Courtesy of (very insecure?) author Chris Illuminati.

10. "This dress is really old."

"What she could be hiding: That dress isn't old, it's new and it was expensive." Watch out! I splurged on a dress!!
I admit, I've spent ($200) way too much on a dress before, but I sure as hell didn't go around pretending it was old so my date wouldn't think I'm one of those foolish women that goes around spending money on the expensive, girlish things she likes instead of flat screen TVs. Luckily, he was so busy telling my how incredibly, staggeringly beautiful I was in my over-priced (yet drool-worthy) garment I forgot about my embarrassment. And he definitely got me to take it off, but not so I could return it ;) .

9. Super suspicious: "Are you still hungry?"

Apparently if I ask this I'm "hiding" that I think my boyfriend is getting fat. Or, in the words of AskMen "she thinks you are turning into a load." Yep. This is how women say "you're an ugly fat-ass, mister!" Fortunately AskMen has uncovered this secret and now guys everywhere can get offended and insecure when their girlfriends bust out this insidious question.

8. Uh-oh is your woman asking this tale-tale indicator that she thinks you're a big toddler with no grasp of style?
"What are you going to wear?"

What does it mean!? "She wants to pick out your clothes and dress you up."

7. Awww shit! did she just ... "I'll find my own way to [some place you usually take her]."

...try to go somewhere without YOU?! But you're the most important thing in her whole wide world! Next she'll be able to drive and vote on her own too!

Yep, you need to go everywhere with your woman because women will cheat any chance they get. So don't leave 'em alone, if "she wouldn't run to the post office without asking you to tag along" you're good. If you hear her trying to say she's on her way to the mall don't believe any of that hooey. No siree. AskMen tells it like it is, "she is flying solo more than Chuck Yeager. She tells you she is going to the mall, so you think she is going to the mall. Guess where she isn't going? Figured it out yet, doctor? She wants you off her scent. She is going somewhere that she doesn't want you to know about. It could be something harmless, but chances are it's not. Chances are she isn't going to be alone for very long either."

6. The first sign you aren't the only man in the whole world she thinks is hot? (Other than that growing beer gut she pointed out to you in remark #9)
"I really like that guy's hair/shirt/suit."

Yeah, you should've seen this coming when she started driving herself to the mall to buy the over-priced dresses you hate (which is practically cheating on you.) "Hopefully, she is just admiring the look of other guys and not actually admiring other guys. If a woman starts looking at other men and commenting, you are losing her attention." Because it would be awful for a girl to look at anyone at all other than her boyfriend.

So.. now my guy will know that when I say "I think that guy who plays Jim on The Office is hot, I love his hair." I really mean "BE EXACTLY LIKE HIM! I want to have his babies and I am leaving you for him, I don't just admire his looks!"

5."You don't have to come"

"Now, suddenly, all the places you hated going, you don't have to go to anymore. Great for you, right? Wrong. ... She will have more fun without you and won’t have to worry about keeping you happy and occupied."
Actually, this is totally correct. She finally decided to let your whiny ass stay home while she goes and has some fun. She wants to hang out and be social instead of keeping you happy all night.

Of course, as far as AskMen is concerned, having fun without your guy roughly equates to being on the prowl. Rawr.

4."I can't drink/eat sushi."

Obviously I'm hiding a pregnancy. Ok, my boyfriend would have good reason to worry if I turned down sushi, but only because that's me. But pregnant!? Maybe I'm sick, maybe I feel horribly guilty about having fun at last night's dinner party while my guy wasn't there and I'm punishing myself. Oh no wait.. I'm pregnant. How could he have not noticed?? I'm ABOUT TO POP!

3."I'm seeing people from work."

Aside from the usual reasons a girl doesn't introduce guys who scrutinize their spending habits and get pregnancy scares when they aren't in the mood for sushi to their coworkers it's possible she "could just be embarrassed of you and doesn't want you to ruin her chances of success in the work place or her relationship with a certain group of people. It could also be the fact that she doesn't want other people (specifically Steve from sales) to meet you or know she is in a relationship. Any way you slice it, this isn’t a positive thing."
Me seeing people from work? BAD!

2. I'm basically saying I hate your guts we're done!!
"Don't wait up."

But don't worry, Captain Security you can (and SHOULD!) "call, text and be waiting by the door... Just hope she does come home."

AND The most suspicious thing a girl will EVER say....

1."Who was I talking to? No one."

"It could be another guy." AskMen's startling interpretation of the aforementioned suspicious remark is truly revolutionary. Your girl could be talking to a GUY. Not just any guy, I bet he's cuter, smarter, and better endowed than you too.

Yep, after all of this guy's hard work to make sure his girlfriend never goes anywhere without him she still manages to have a private conversation on the phone. Women really are such sneaky, untrustworthy creatures.

When I grow up I want to earn 40% less than my male counterparts as a physician

Yeah.. I got pretty angry. I'm glad NYTimes made this available. As you can see, higher paid professions experience larger wage gaps, which is cool because after going through grad school or med school, paying loads of money, possibly going into debt, working my ass off in residency or education or just climbing the ranks, etc I really want to be rewarded by experiencing a significantly larger pay gap than my sales associate and postal clerk sisters.

Seriously, once you're making more than an elementary or middle school teacher chances are, you're experiencing a 10% or larger pay gap with the boys. Ouch.

Props to travel clerks who experience equal pay for equal work.