Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Feminist rant.

No, seriously.

I don’t consider myself a feminist, because there is entirely too much crazy associated with that movement and because I don’t like the term. It doesn’t make sense to use a word that invokes one gender to describe a movement that works toward equality of gender. But I do very much agree with the goal. So this is, technically, a “feminist” rant.

This rant brought to you by a French book that “argues that the idealism of “green” politics and a romanticized notion of naturalism are steering women away from careers and back into the home,” according to this New York Times article. A French women who has read the book posted a comment on one online forum saying that the NYT review was more accurate than a lot of other English reviews, so I’ll trust that they got it pretty much right.

I am getting REALLY tired of the constant message that women make decisions primarily, or even just in large part, in response to social pressure. I can’t remember the last time I saw the same suggestion for men. But every damn time there’s a change in some trend or another for women, everybody’s got an opinion on what societal pressure is causing it. And behind all of these arguments is the assumption that, given a REAL, FREE choice, women would obviously choose to go out and work full-time jobs.

Furthermore, I have never seen a corresponding suggestion that, given a REAL, FREE choice, men would choose to stay home with their kids more and do more housework. No, men can be different from women — that’s their nature — but women have to be the same as men and if we’re not, it’s due to societal pressure rather than our own choices.

The standard is still the male. (At least, in adulthood — more on that in a moment.)

The whole point of feminism was not to pressure women to go out and work full-time. The point was for us to be able to work outside the house if we wanted to. To be able to make our own choices. So why is there such a huge freak-out about women choosing to stay home?

The funny thing is that, even while there’s a huge freak-out about women not making the “right” choice, women have much more freedom than men do to make their own choices. A woman who stays home might get crap for it, but she also might be applauded for taking on a very difficult job — I’ve seen about half and half in the experiences I’ve heard about from other women. A man who stays home gets a lot more crap and a lot less applause, and he’s an outsider in many parenting groups. But then he’s cooed over for actually spending time with his kids, which I would find terribly condescending, on par with the assumption that the woman in the boardroom is just the secretary (or “sure sweetie, you can pretend you have a place here — and we’ll pretend to listen to what you have to say”).

It goes from things as trivial as fashion (women can wear pants but men can’t wear skirts or makeup) to things as major as choice of career (women can be doctors but male nurses get ridiculed or asked why they’re not doctors). Little girls who play with trucks are encouraged; little boys who play with dolls worry their parents. Girls are encouraged in school and boys are falling behind, feminized (sit still and shut up, or be labeled ADHD and medicated; considerably less education is hands-on) or just ignored.

So when they’re young, boys are supposed to behave like girls (but not have “girly” interests), and when they get older, both men and women are supposed to behave like men.

Am I the only one who thinks this is seriously messed up?


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Quick detour into politics

I’m not going to go into a rant or anything, but this is an interesting explanation of the Shoe Thrower from a religious studies professor.  Briefly, it’s not just a shoe, it’s a symbol — shoes are considered unclean in the Muslim world; they’re removed before prayer as part of the ritual of cleansing oneself, and they are not allowed in sacred places.

(Then again, this comment on Reddit where I found the link to the article explains that many Muslims consider shoes to be only materially dirty, not spiritually, and do not remove them for prayer if they’re not in a mosque.)

Watching the video again with that in mind makes the entire incident much more significant.

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