Men’s Rights Activists: Sore Winners

While working on this blog, I ran into many articles by supposed “men’s rights activists”. If any of you are self-acclaimed “men’s rights activists” you are the sorest winner’s out there. Men have almost every right known to humankind. I know, it’s a little frustrating that you lose some privilege when women get more rights but really?

If you’re not familiar with the work of these lovely individuals, here’s a few of their top achievements:

1. They inform us women what the word bitch really means. Women really can’t understand what this insult really encapsulates when it’s spewed at us, so we need these awesome individuals to spell it out. Apparently being a “bitch” is a condition innate in many women today; it includes: “anger towards men, use of insulting language, a stubborn will, a tendency to make demands, a narcissistic attitude, an argumentative disposition”. Being any of these things leads to a dysfunctional women who questions male authority, which obviously is problematic because men know best and we should blindly follow them.

2. They let us know really how men are just better than women naturally. According to Principles 101: Feminism, Manhood, and You, “Men too possess their own natural advantages in the form of superior physical strength and superior mental prowess. However, when men seek to benefit from their own natural advantages, Feminists cries foul.” Also apparently since women stereo-typically like to go to the bathroom in groups, we shouldn’t be allowed to determine our own future because we incapable of independently going potty.

Now, besides you know, these beliefs just being completely out of rational logic, men’s rights activists make life difficult for both men and women. Men’s rights movements “biggest qualms” are men’s higher death rate in wars and from crime, men’s higher death rate on the job, sexual violence against men, and men’s higher suicide rate are all issues that are important. But really they don’t care so much about these things; there real goal is to deflect and derail discussions about feminist issues. This is problematic because there are issues that men and boys face, but Men’s rights activist don’t have two shits to give about them, they just want to make sure that feminism doesn’t achieve any of its goals. I don’t know about you, but it think it’s a problem when a movement doesn’t even care about helping the few in it’s group who need help, we should just screw over a disenfranchised group because we don’t want to give up any of our privilege.

Let me know what you think.

Sam

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Lily Allen: New Video Makes some waves

I love this new video by Lily Allen. If you’ve seen my previous post on Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, you’ll enjoy this. It’s a parody on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines Video and Miley’s VMA performance. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sam

Why its tough to be a woman in politics: Part 2

Women in politics are categorized into stereotypes: the most popular are the Ditz (ie Sarah Palin) and the Bitch (ie Hilary Clinton). While I’m not going to dispute that there will be women politicians who will fall into this category, I will say that you should not demean or trash women candidate on whether or not the fit into their category, you should criticize them on their ideology and political beliefs.

During Sarah Palin’s election run with John McCain, a man moved into the house next door to her and wrote a book called “Rogue” depicting lies of extramarital affairs and drug use. Throughout the campaign, Palin was objectified for how she looked being seen as a sex symbol instead of a politician. She was framed as a bad mother because her daughter was pregnant during the campaign and she wanted to run for national office while having a young child with Down’s Syndrome. Most of her criticism was focused on how she measured up as a women, not on her ideology or political beliefs and let’s be real people, there’s plenty of things to criticize Sarah Palin on when considering her stance on policies.


 

Hilary has been portrayed as the cold-hearted bitch of American politics. Even people who advocate for a change in how people dipict women, still say thing such as Hilary “finally has permission to be a bitch” and “As a post-menopausal woman, she no longer needs to concern herself with the armies of attackers who for years have ceaselessly found her insufficiently girlish, womanly, or sexually desirable.” I think its important to note that Hilary is perceived as a bitch because she’s taking on the role as the firm leader in order to “fit” better in the patriarchal and man-centered culture that is our political system.

Again, there will be women who fit into the general stereotypes of the “Bitch” and the “Ditz” but I think that it’s important that we as a society try and move ourselves away from the mind set of classifying women in this way to a point where it hinders their success. I think instead we should solely focus on the ideologies and the political beliefs of the women who run for office and maybe we no longer will be the developed nation with the lowest amount of women in our governmental offices.

Sam

Why it’s tough to be a woman politician: Part 1

It’s tough to be a woman politician in America. There’s a few reason for it. This is going to be a two to three part series on why women have a much more difficult time in politics:

The first is gender norms. When you think of what a woman or a girl should be, you tend to think of a woman as kind, gentle, and passive. Girls are socialized from a young as to be feminine. We should play with dolls, do ballet, and wear everything that is pink. We are taught to accept things and not to be put up a fight (or else we’re being bad). This is somewhat of how we think women should be in the public sphere. A woman should stay at home and should be passive next to males (or risk being a bitch). However, we consider leaders to be assertive, authoritative, and headstrong. Women who try to be leader reach this dichotomy: either break gender norms and be a leader (and be ridiculed in the process being labeled a bitch) or choose not to get involved in politics and follow established norms.

A poll from the National Journal surveyed members of Congress on whether or not they believe that it is harder for women in politics. 81% of Democrats (out of 90 votes) believe it is harder to be a woman in politics. When asked why they believed such some congress members were cited as saying:

“Depends on which office she is running for. It’s usually a challenge for women to break into power-broker networks to raise money.”

“Old prejudices die very hard.”

“It’s still, ‘You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.’ Very few strong assertive females are treated the same as their male counterparts. They are labeled if they are outspoken.”

3% of Democrats surveyed believe it is easier to be a woman in politics and 16% of Democrats surveyed believe there is no difference in difficulty between men and women.

In that same poll, 44% of Republicans (out of 80 votes) believe it is harder to be a woman in politics. When asked why they believed such, some members were quoted saying:

“More to prove, and women usually get a later start or derailed because of kids and family.”

“It’s still a man’s world generally in politics at all levels for a variety of reasons, including women having more family responsibilities than men and conservative women less likely to run, and tradition. However, the world is changing, and if Hillary runs in 2016 and wins, that could change the paradigm.”

“The times they are a-changin’ but it takes time. It’s harder for GOP women than Dem women.”

25% of Republicans surveyed believe it is easier to be a woman in politics and 31% of Republicans surveyed believe there is no difference in difficulty between men and women. 

While there are great differences in how each party views women in politics, still a majority of each party sees and recognizes the difficulties women in our political system face. 

A 2010 study by Loyola Marymount University surveys women and how they view themselves as qualified when deciding to run for political office. Of the men and women surveyed, 33% of women and 35% of men had conducted extensive policy research; 65% of women and 69% of men regularly engaged in public speaking; and 69% of women and 64% of men had fundraising experience. So the men and women who were surveyed were relatively equal in the experience they have. Despite the equality in experience, women were found to be substantially less likely than men to see themselves as qualified to run for office. Women were found to be 29% less likely than men to see themselves as highly qualified and were 80% more likely to consider themselves not qualified at all. Women also have a stronger sense of the inequality that women politicians face: 78% of women believe it is more difficult to be a woman in politics compared to 57% of men believing the same.

Let me know what you think of these statistics and keep a look out for the next parts in this series!

Sam

He’s assertive, she’s a bitch

I’ve spent the weekend at a debate tournament in Atlanta, GA. I was listening to people talk about debates and someone said, “I hate those girls that are really nice before rounds and then get bitchy during the debate.” It’s statements like that the completely infuriate me, mainly because this is a huge double standard when it comes to debate and life in general I believe. Men can be aggressive in a debate and people thing they’re a good debater. If women are aggressive, she’s being a bitch. I’m going to admit something- I’m an aggressive debater, sorry not sorry.  I stand my ground and I’m not going to be pushed around in a debate. Many people think this is a negative quality in a women. In fact, many people think a woman should shut up and keep her mouth shut– if she isn’t she’s a bitch.

Let me tell you the worst comment that has been said to be about how I’m an assertive debater. My opponent last year, after facing me a few times, asked “Sam, you’ve made someone cry in rounds before, right?” I was shocked and pretty insulted by this comment– the reason I was asked this is because I am a women and I’m assertive. If I was a male, no one would have questioned how I act in a debate. Patriarchy at its finest.

This hurts women in a few ways:

1. It hurts us in the workplace. You have to be assertive now a days in the work force. There are more people in most feels than there are jobs. If you want to rise to the top, you’re going to have to push for it. However, men who are assertive are seen as driven and are given a pat on the back, a promotion, a better title, a raise, or a mixture of those options. Sadly it’s not the same for women. Women are can go one of two routes in the workforce. We won’t be assertive because that’s how our parents, teachers, mentors and society have conditioned us. We should be nice, quiet and reserved and good things will come to us. We also could be assertive but most likely will be reprimanded for it because we look bitchy and pushy.

2. It hurts us in academic spaces. If we speak our minds, we look like a know-it-all and pushy. That’s one reason why men refer to smart, assertive, and intimidating women as a bitch. It just encourages young women to sometimes “play dumb”– we all have either encountered this or have done this. I think a good example is Cady from Mean Girls. She plays dumb so she isn’t intimidating to Aaron, that way he will like her because god forbid that she be perceived as intelligent.

The reason I have a few problems with the word bitch in these contexts.

First, I’m think it’s important to know the origin of the words you use. I think knowing why words came about is pretty important in order to stop re-entrenching oppressive and dominating language and behavior. So let’s get a small history lesson on the word bitch. The word bitch emerged in the 12th century from the word “bicche” to refer to a female dog. However, referring to a woman as a female dog predates the origin of the word bitch. In Ancient Greece and Rome is was a sexist term to compare women to a dog in heat. In the Dark Ages men used it to suppress the common belief that femininity was sacred.  This is also when the insult “son of a bitch” emerged to ridicule pagans who worshiped Diana, the goddess of the hunt. That phrase then evolved to mean an insult to a horrible man. So during the Dark Ages, the term was used to insult men, by either referring to him as a woman or equating him with a dirty female animal. However in the 18th century, we began insulting women once again with the word bitch and it was used so much it began forced it’s original meaning (female dog) out of usage. At the beginning of the 20th century, the word began to refer to obscenity– the worst meaning of the word at this point in time was referring to a woman as a whore. The next real rise in the word was in the 1920’s after women got the right to vote. Then the word popped up again in popularity after World War 2 and women weren’t needed to hold down the home front. During the 3rd wave of feminism, feminists tried to reclaim the word and have control over it’s meaning.

Second, men (not all) use the word to put down women, to dominate them, to ensure their privilege. And I think this is a real problem. I don’t think a lot of people understand this is what it does but they use the word to dismiss a women, despite her intelligence, despite her accomplishments, if she is intimidating then it’s one of the first words that comes to mind and probably is what they refer to her as. And I think it is critical that we try and remove this concept and idea of women out of our culture and society. It will remove this double standard how how men are expected to be an assertive, authoritative figure and women need to be a damsel in distress: quiet, reserved, and polite, keeping her comments to herself.

Let me know if you agree or disagree,

Sam

*Disclaimer– I don’t think that every time that someone uses the word bitch this is what they mean intentionally. I personally believe that men using this word toward women has historically served a purpose which has perpetuated that same meaning to our culture and discourse today.