A Disgustingly Sexist Campaign: Boys Suck, Girls Rock

I thought I’d seen every stupid sexist idea anyone could come up with. This website, however, just takes the cake. It publishes admittedly fake stats and slogans to convince people who are expecting a child that they should not want this child to be a boy. Basically, it’s a “boys are bad, gross and useless” campaign. It publishes stories from parents who report on how their sons suck and stories from other parents on how their daughters are a total joy. As opposed to those useless sons, you know. Here, I snipped a small portion of the disgusting website for you (press on the pic for a larger view):

The vile, nasty and stupid (sorry, but I just have no patience with people who unburden themselves psychologically at the expense of children) creators of this stupid, nasty and vile campaign say that their goal is to combat the prejudice that many expectant parents have against giving birth to a girl. Having a daughter needs to be promoted as something good, they say.

Of course, the easy solution here would have been to start a campaign saying, “If you care about your child’s gender, then you are a flaming idiot who isn’t prepared to have a child in the first place.” Or, “I just hope that my kid is healthy and happy. Gender? Why should I care?” But no, these sexist jerks have chosen to reaffirm the most stupid gender stereotypes instead.

Mind you, people can’t control the gender of their child. So what is supposed to happen when a person who spends time on this idiotic website and wishes passionately for a girl, then gets stuck with one of those stupid boys who pee in fish-tanks, destroy furniture and set things on fire (these are all examples from the website in question, of course)?

What’s more, there are already even bigger fools who celebrate this perversion as. . .  a victory for feminism. I mean, the stupid campaign constructs the male identity as aggressive, violent and destructive and female identity as beauty-salon-visiting, obedient and docile even BEFORE the kids are born. A boy who is “a bookworm” is described as a disappointment to his parents because that makes his masculinity somehow faulty. The website uses pink for girls and blue for boys. Yes, this is a definite milestone of feminist achievement.

I also want to remind everybody that at least one person is born every day in this country whose biological sex cannot be determined as either male or female. People who have been brainwashed by the idea that the gender binary is to be maintained at all costs then do horrible things to these children in order to make them fit into a preconceived notion of definitive maleness or femaleness. I have been reading up on intersex recently and let me tell you, it’s horrible to see how often people inscribe gender on the bodies of newborns in very violent ways.

I also wish that people tried to keep in mind the plight of transgender folks who discover later in life that they were born into a wrong gender. It is that much harder for them to confront their families about who they really are if their parents believe in a very strict definition of gender. A definition that this campaign reinforces.

This is why the last thing we need is yet another stupid website pushing the pink versus blue dichotomy. We especially don’t need this garbage to be sold to us under feminist auspices. Countless people suffer every day because of the gender binary. It is a task of feminists to dismantle that binary, not to reinforce it. Why is this so hard to comprehend? Why, people, why?

Sheesh, folks. Do I really need to have my mood spoiled and my blood pressure raised by these vicious child-haters, stupid pseudo-feminists and brainless sexists so early on a Saturday morning?

False Feminist Issues Versus Genuinely Feminist Issues, Part III

– Pay equity has not been achieved yet. This is a crucial issue which will not be resolved by promoting the belief that “men conspire to keep women down by paying us less.” We will not achieve pay equity, in my opinion, until the male identification with professional realization and money-making is weakened and the female identification with them is strengthened to a point where they meet somewhere in a healthy intermediate point. (I can go into more detail in another post if people are not sure how this is supposed to work.)

– Gender discrimination in the workplace should stop. And it’s up to all of us to stop it. A man who believes that women should not be doctors, firefighters and soldiers are as much of an idiot as a woman who believes that men should not be massage therapists, secretaries, and daycare workers. There is nothing in anybody’s anatomy that makes one incapable of performing well in any job.

And the most important thing that, I believe, would help us resolve all of the above-mentioned issues:

Let’s stop fixating on genitals so much. As progressive and enlightened as we are, we still allow the biological sex (of others as well as of ourselves) to matter to us way too much. As long as we see the world in terms of men and women, men versus women, female interests against male interests, we will be stuck in this gendered universe that hurts all of us forever. Just imagine the freedom we will all experience when people will read as little into the shape of our genitals as they do into the shape of our ears and the length of our toes.

Last week, in my Spanish 102 class, I handed out an exercises with pictures of people practicing different professions (we are studying the vocabulary of the workplace). Immediately, several students raised their hands.

“There is a mistake in the handout,” they told me. “Here it says that this person is called Carlos and that doesn’t make sense.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Well, he looks like a girl. And besides, this is an elementary school teacher, so it’s got to be a woman.”

I started getting hot behind my ears, especially because the students still don’t possess the kind of command of Spanish that would allow me to explain to them that it’s nobody’s flapping business how Carlos looks and what profession he chooses to practice. And also that we should not be policing anybody’s gender identity in a Spanish class or elsewhere.


One-Sided Pleasure

My blogroll is populated with weird posts today. What is it, winter avitaminosis? See this one, for instance:

I’m willing to bet more women have felt guilted or pressured into sex acts they didn’t want, than men have felt pressured into pleasuring women without getting off themselves.

Of course, this blogger is willing to bet since this kind of statement can neither be proven or disproven. Remember, folks, when you say such things, you reveal nothing about society or gender relations. You do, however, reveal a lot about your own pathetic sex lives. Either have the honesty and the courage to write about your own experiences, or keep these useless generalizations to yourselves.

See more from the same post:

We’re still socialized to accept, to say yes, to not rock the boat so as to avoid the perennial sulking, scowling and cold shoulder from male partners that result from our setting boundaries.

Why not just say, “My male partners tend to sulk and scowl, and I have no idea how to deal with it”?

Also, why resort to this weird generalization about some mythical “we” who are socialized into accepting any form of sexual activity that men propose? Does anybody really have the experience of Mommy and Daddy lecturing her at the age of 5 (15, 25), “Sweetie, when you grow up and your boyfriend wants anal sex, oral sex, group sex, BDSM, golden shower, or any form of sex you don’t feel like engaging in, remember that, as a woman, you need to accept it to prevent the guy from sulking. Remember, honey, just say yes to any male suggestion of sex, OK?”

Can you imagine a patriarch telling his teenage daughter, “You have refused to engage in acts of coprophilia that your boyfriend suggested? How could you? Didn’t I spend my entire life teaching you to just say yes? You are no daughter of mine!”

Seriously? Women are socialized to ACCEPT sex? Where does that happen? I live in a society where young women get are endless exhortations to wait, to say no for as long as possible, only to have sex when they are absolutely, completely, totally sure that it’s time. Female sexuality is discussed in terms of a precious gift, while male sexuality is not.

When we say “no”, we are “uncool”, and this is the ultimate female sin; whereas when a man refuses a woman, the universal assumption is that once again, the woman is the one who is deficient, who fails to please, who isn’t up to snuff.

This is just too bizarre. One of the central patriarchal myths is that a healthy male sexuality is capable of performing anytime, anywhere, with any one, while female sexuality is selective and delicate. A man who refuses sex will, in all probability, be branded as impotent and ridiculed by his own buddies. In the meanwhile, a woman who does not refuse sex will be branded as a slut by hers.

As an extra bonus, I suggest that those valiant people who manage to wade through the confusing post I quoted here count the number of instances where the passive voice is used and “society” is invoked. And we all know what that kind of writing means, don’t we?

Womanly Women and Manly Men

The beauty of Internet is that a couple of ill-advised clicks can transport you into a completely different universe. This is how I stumbled on an article that discusses Hollywood’s loss of popularity by a passionate character called John Nolte.  Instead of discussing Hollywood’s ills, the article’s author engages in a very entertaining public fit of hysteria about actors who do not conform to traditional gender expectations:

We The People love Sandra, Will, and Denzel for a reason. She’s gorgeous, smart, womanly, classy and approachable, and the fellas are masculine, confident, classy, and non-neurotics who take charge. They also make films that deliver. Not all the time. But most of the time we the customers know that if they’re in it, there’s a better chance than not of bang for the buck.

What they are not and what no movie star has ever been is a child playing a grownup (the exception, of course, is comedians like Adam Sandler or Lou Costello). The Orlando Blooms will never be movie stars. Neither will the Michelle Williamses. And don’t get me started on Shia Le-what’s-his-name.

Look at your history, both recent and long past. Hollywood may have changed over the last few decades, but the people — the customers — have not. The human animal simply doesn’t evolve that quickly. Furthermore, stars shouldn’t represent who we are; we don’t want to see ourselves on the screen. Stars should represent who we want to be. Men want to be John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. Women want to Ava Gardner and Barbara Stanwyck.

Masculine men.

Womanly women.

Who knows why in the strange imaginary life of this rant’s author Sandra Bullock, whose only more or less memorable role was precisely one of a “manly woman”, has transformed into a paragon of femininity.

What I wanted to draw your attention to, instead, is the italicized confession John Nolte makes in this piece. His hysteria over the bad, horrible Hollywood stars who do not fulfill the traditional

Will Smith, Nolte's favorite manly man, actually looks great as a woman.

gender expectations is driven by a realization that he himself does not measure up. He tells us very clearly that he is not one of those masculine men, which is precisely why he wants to see them on a screen as often as possible. If he could see one in a mirror on a regular basis, he wouldn’t be bothered by not encountering him in a movie theater.

And it’s always like this, people. The greatest partisans of strict gender roles, the worshipers of womanly womanhood and manly manhood are so obsessed with gender for the simple reason that they feel they never can catch up with this elusive, non-existent category. If only somebody were kind enough to tell them that manliness and womanliness are highly subjective, that they mean entirely different things to different people, that searching for the gold standard of gender in real life is futile. Maybe then they would be able to go to the movies and simply enjoy a film.

Keep reading the article. There is a hilarious discussion of how commie-pinko-unpatriotic-anti-American Hollywood actors “insult” the profoundly conservative American audiences with their partisan movies. And then read the comments because, seriously, it’s a glimpse into a different world. There are folks who actually say that Hollywood actors “hate the troops.” Priceless.

Who Is Hurt More By This, Men or Women?

When only mothers get tested to see if they have an impact on their children’s obesity, whom does this hurt more (besides the children, of course), men or women? Who is insulted more by this kind of study, men or women?

This is obviously insanely offensive to both men and women. This is why I keep repeating like a broken record that gender stereotypes and the entire stupid gender binary hurts both men and women. And instead of getting together and trying to figure out how we can break down this system, we engage in creating endless check-lists of who has been victimized more by this system. As evidenced by the recent thread on gender discriminating feminists.

And I’m willing to bet that this thread will also be graced with comments as to how men (or women) are victimized more than women (or men).

Gender Issues in Our Lives: A Semi-Open Thread

Reader Titfortat posed a very interesting question that, in my opinion, deserves a separate thread:

I’m curious if any of the theorists in magic land actually encounter even 1 tenth of the nasty gender stuff they claim happens out in the real world?? That question goes out to both male and female that inhabit Clarissa’s fine blog.

In my own life, I can say that it took me years of very painful struggles to get rid of gender conditioning that was undermining my existence in a variety of ways. In grad school, I remember lying on my bed trying to read a book in preparation for the comprehensive exams, and in the meanwhile, this nasty voice in my head kept reminding me that reading was not what a woman should be doing and that it made me a total loser as a woman to be doing that.

There were forced public gynecological exams I had to undergo as a child since the age of 11 (Soviet Union, everybody). I had to get married when I didn’t want to in the least because good girls didn’t shame their families by having long-term boyfriends, they got married. I’ve been pawed, harassed and beaten in the street by men who didn’t accept a “no” (Ukraine, people). I’ve been fired from a teaching position for being “too pretty” (Montreal, folks). I’ve been offered a lesser salary than male colleagues with lesser qualifications for the same job. I’ve been told more times than I can remember that I’m not a real woman, I’m a man, I have something seriously wrong with me for wanting to have a career, for not being interested in finding a husband to keep me, for paying my own way, for liking to read, for liking my job. Every single time I heard this, it came out of a woman’s mouth. I’ve had male colleagues suggest that my good grades, my publications, my grants were all a product of me sleeping with both male and female professors. I’ve been slut-shamed by female friends many many times.

Still, the hardest part was getting rid of my own inner gender conditioning, learning to accept all the ways in which I didn’t conform to the gender stereotypes of what a woman should be like. I think I managed to do it, and it has been such a relief to shed the burden of gender expectations.

So this is my story. Please share yours.

I’ll make this post sticky for a while, so that people can share their own stories of how gender stereotypes, roles, conflicts and issues hurt them in their lives. Scroll down for new posts.

Please remember that I’m not looking for statistics on what happens in New Zealand or wherever. This is a thread where we share personal stories. Anonymity is welcome.

Gender Genie Is Stupid

I’ve tried this gender genie thing that is supposed to guess the gender of any text’s author, and it hasn’t guessed right even a single time. I’ve tried it both on my research and on my blog posts. Of course, I haven’t tried it on everything I ever wrote. I’m sure I must have produced something “female” at some point.

The weirdest thing is that while both my research and my blog are “male writing” (whatever the hell that means), my blog is significantly more male than my research. And these results are consistent, so there must be some principle behind this madness.

I guess all that the gender genie proves is that gender is a myth. Maybe soon somebody will prove that the Earth is round and – if we are really lucky – that it revolves around the Sun.

P.S. I just checked this post in the gender genie, and here is the result:

Female Score: 115
Male Score: 273

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

I’ve spent 6 hours at a spa today and my writing is still male? What else is a person supposed to do to start writing female?

Are Good Men Scarce?

I have just encountered yet another in a long series of articles that bemoan the scarcity of good men in our society:

The fewer genuinely good men there are, the greater the bargaining power they have in relationship — and the more concessions women (at least those who are eager for marriage) are told they must make. Since so many successful women want to draw from the ever-shrinking pool of genuinely attractive and functional dudes, rivalry (or so we’re reminded) must be inevitable.

Initially it seems like the author of the article (in spite of the completely baseless suggestion that eagerness for marriage is all on women’s side when we’ve known for almost 30 years that it’s actually the opposite) wants to subvert the myth of male scarcity. However, it soon becomes obvious that he is eager to contribute to the myth that good men are hard to find:

A society that coddles young men by allowing them to remain emotionally obtuse adolescents for a quarter century (and that admits them to college with lower grades than their sisters’) makes mature, responsible men scarce.

And then I scrolled to the end of the article and realized that the author of this most recent contribution to the “there aren’t enough good men available for all the good women” is, of course, none other than Hugo Schwyzer. The same passionate feminist who keeps warning women that if we are too fat or too old (over 35, that is) the bad, horrible men will necessarily reject us. I start to get a feeling that Hugo Schwyzer needs to promote the idea that good men are scarce to draw attention to his own exceptional goodness.

The myth of male scarcity is always part of an anti-feminist backlash. In the Soviet Union, where women reached the heights that their American sisters couldn’t even begin to imagine in the period from the 1920ies until the 1970ies, the same boring story of how women pined in loneliness because there were no men around surfaced in the decade of the seventies. Mind you, this myth did not arise in the aftermath of World War II when men were genuinely not there as a result of the huge losses of life during the war. This myth appeared after the demographic imbalance of the post-war era had been corrected in the following generation.

Of course, the belief that it’s hard to find a good man among the overwhelming majority of immature losers is as baseless in the US as it was in the Soviet Union. Women’s rights are being slowly eroded in this country. Just look at the war on birth control if you need proof. However, an oppressive system needs to offer women a reward for taking away their opportunities in the public sphere. The myth of male scarcity is one of such rewards.

This might sound paradoxical to you at first but just think about it. If a woman is not successful in her personal life, she doesn’t need to look to herself for reasons why this happens. It’s the fault of those bad, immature men. And how enjoyable is it to get together with one’s girl-friends and make fun of the immaturity and the uselessness of men in our lives! I played this unhealthy game for years and let me tell you, it rocks. Who cares if men find it easier to succeed financially and professionally if one can just dismiss all that by ridiculing their imaginary incompetence in the private sphere?

In reality, there is no shortage of good men or good women. Jerks of both genders equal themselves out. What is really scarce, though, is insightful feminist analysis that avoids reiterating tired anti-feminist stereotypes about both women and men.

Masculinity and Me

A friend sent me the following definition of masculinity with the comment, “When I tried figuring out if I knew anybody who’d fit this definition, I kept thinking of you.”

Here it is:

  1. Physical–virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional–breadwinner, provider;
  3. Sexual–sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional–unemotional, stoic;
  5. Intellectual–logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical,
  6. Interpersonal–leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, individualistic (applies to western societies);
  7. Other Personal Characteristics–success-oriented, ambitious; proud, egotistical (applies to some societies); moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous. (Levine, 1998, p.13)

Aside from the “virile” and “athletic”, these are all my own, cherished attributes. Also, instead of “moral”, I’d use “moralizing” to describe myself.

Just goes to show you how valuable all of these pseudo-scientific definitions of gender are. If you think about it, you’d see that these are all very positive characteristics. Their opposites (weak, cowardly, dependent, inexperienced, illogical, unreasonable, non-objective, impractical, follower, unambitious, immoral, untrustworthy, indecisive, inhibited, etc.) are obviously very negative.

This tells us that whenever people talk about masculinity and femininity, they simply assign all good qualities to people with penises and all bad qualities to people with vaginas. The source I’m quoting suggests that genetics somehow makes people with penises ambitious and trustworthy and people with vaginas illogical and cowardly. There is evidently nothing even remotely logical and scientific in such artificial societal constructs. I guess, the article must have been written by a total girl.

The bad news is that North American pseudo-feminists have interiorized this faulty logic to such an extent that they keep teaching in class and writing in books and articles about how the female essence is, indeed, of the emotional, illogical, irrational, even “animalistic” kind.