Is Daddy a Princess?

My sister is talking to her 2-year-old daughter Klubnikis.

“Is Klubnikis a princess?”

“Yes!”

“Is Mommy a princess?”

“Yes!”

“Is Daddy a princess?”

“No!”

“Why isn’t Daddy a princess?”

“Because he is a boy!”

Maybe I shouldn’t have children, after all, because my first automatic response is, “Well, Daddy can be a princess if that’s who he wants to be.” There is nothing worse than a preachy parent.

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And This Is Yet Another Example of Feminist Writing That Annoys Me

Imagine if I told you the following: “At my university, Jews are expected to fill out endless paperwork proving that they do their job right. They have to narrate in painstaking detail exactly how they implement the strategic goals of our institution in every aspect of their teaching. Every Jew has to calculate the number of hours he or she spends on each job-related assignment and submit the paperwork. Then, the Chair meets with every single Jew and discusses his or her progress. Jews are also required to take long ethics training because it is assumed that Jews don’t know how to behave ethically without such training. During college events, Jews have to wear a sign on their chests identifying them.”

Pretty offensive, eh? When I imagine that sort of a work environment, I want to go and destroy such a university immediately.

Everything I have written about the treatment of Jews at my university is absolutely true. I just forgot to mention that everybody else is treated exactly the same way. And that changes the picture somewhat, doesn’t it? We might be an overly bureaucratized place but we are not anti-Semitic.

Would you know that from my story, though?

Now, read the following excerpt from a feminist article:

Women exist in a legal state of permanent consent.  Consent is an automatic defense to a charge of rape and unless there is sound evidence that consent was withdrawn, it is frequently assumed that it was not.  If a woman did not actively withdraw her consent, there is no case to answer – the legal status of a woman is that of consent to sexual intercourse.  Furthermore, the presumption of innocence over guilt in effect means that it is insufficient for a conviction to be upheld purely on the basis that a woman asserts that she withdrew her consent in the absence of such evidence.

For some women, the withdrawal of consent becomes in effect a legal non-option.  Crimes of sexual violence against sex-workers are notoriously difficult to prosecute, as the assumption is that they payment has brought the agreement not to withdraw consent.  Any evidence that a woman may not have withdrawn consent, is evidence of the innocence of the accused. Such evidence may include payment; sexually arousing dress; prior sexual activity; drug or alcohol use; being asleep; being sexually unattractive, or being insufficiently aware of danger.  Up until 1991 the majority of women lived within a formal legal state which denied her the right to remove her consent: a woman could not withdraw consent to sexual intercourse from her husband; marriage was an automatic defense.*

This is all pretty incendiary. And it’s completely true, too. Except for one small detail. All of the above is just as true for a man as it is for a woman.

When we pretend that implied consent only has to do with women, we cannot even begin to address the real issue. This is not about women being singled out by unjust legislation and an anti-feminist culture. This is a problem that we all face. Men and women alike exist in a state of implied consent. Can anybody really claim that a male sex worker will find it easier than a female sex worker to bring a charge of rape in court? Does anybody really think that being sexually unpopular, having a rich sexual past, being inebriated, etc. do not make it as hard for men as it is for women to prove they have been raped? Really?

I think it would be a great idea to discuss the concept of implied consent because it’s a very complicated issue that needs to be explored. But we will never get to explore it if we get stuck on this one-sided approach to the subject.

* The rest of the article is even more egregiously stupid than this, if you can imagine that.

Update on the University Cafeteria

I don’t know what happened but our university cafeteria has improved dramatically this year. Instead of mountains of deep-fried and breaded stuff, we now have a person who makes salads for people right in front of them. And the salads are all great. The line to the salad person is a lot longer than the line to the hamburger stand, which is very nice to see.

We also now have stand that sells fresh fruit. The selection is not huge and the prices are high but, still, this is a great start.

Now look at this beautiful salad I just got. And I also bought two fruit salads but I can’t photograph them because they are gone already. 🙂

And a question for everybody: my colleague from Spain and I were discussing how salads are eaten in our cultures. For both of us, a salad accompanies the main course and it feels weird that here in North America people eat salad first and then the main course after that. I always have to struggle with waiters who want to remove my salad before serving the main course.

How do you eat your salads? And also, should I start posting photos of the salads I make at home? I’m a salad fanatic and I always invent new ones.

A Brilliant Idea for Couples

Fellow Aspie blogger Izgad and his bride Miriam used this brilliant strategy to explore their different communication styles:

Drawing from my theater experience, little game that I invented for us, as a means of thinking about our relationship and explaining how we relate to each other to others, is the BZ and Miriam skit. I play her and she plays me. She tends to play BZ as dour with a penchant for monologuing. I tend to play Miriam as jumpy and ecstatic with a touch more common sense than BZ.

I think that this is an amazing idea. Once, my students did an oral presentation where one student impersonated me teaching a class. That presentation was a lot more helpful to me in my teaching that all of my peer and administrative evaluations combined because it allowed me to see myself through my students’ eyes. And I can’t say that I liked everything that I saw. It was truly a revelation.

I now can’t wait to play this enlightening game with N.

Can a Feminist Criticize Women?

Spanish Prof writes:

If I can’t make a negative comment about Madonna’s performance during the Superbowl because it would be considered sexist and ageist, then feminism in this country is kind of f**ed.

I agree with Spanish Prof completely. Time and again, I hear this strange suggestion that being feminist is supposed to preclude one from being critical of women. What I find especially funny is that people don’t realize that when they defend the idea that women are always above reproach just because they are female, they actually buy into the patriarchal mentality that only afforded women the roles of a saint and a whore. Women’s humanity and human fallibility is denied by this approach.

One’s criticisms become sexist when one criticizes women (or men) as women (or men). If you say, “God, Madonna’s performance was so awful”, you are not being sexist. But if you add, “Well, who could have expected anything better from a woman?”, you are sexist.

Being held to a higher standard because one is female is as damaging as being given a free pass because of it. Both of these attitudes are sexist because they are based on treating women as representatives of their gender and not as human beings.