Archive for the ‘Femme Writes’ Category

  • Femme Writes – The Gender Binary

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    On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of October, we’ve chosen to write about Gender Roles. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.

    Since this month’s topic is gender roles, one of my favorites, of course I put this off until the last minute. What can I say? I’m a master procrastinator.

    Traditional gender roles are incredibly pervasive. It’s difficult to change the mindset of “Johnny in the field, Sally in the kitchen.” Even if you have no urge to be either Johnny or Sally.

    The problem is that these traditional gender roles create a gender binary. If it’s not female, it’s male and vice versa. If you cross the line, in any way, you are abnormal. So if you’re a man who likes to wear makeup or a woman who likes to play sports, you’re automatically labeled as “other.”

    You can see the danger in this, right? It makes no room for anyone who is homosexual or transgender, first of all. But it’s also troublesome for us straight folk. Men and women have no real choice but to fall in line and act the way they’re supposed to act. Be what they’re supposed to be.

    I’d say that women are kind of used to this. Maybe that’s unfair, and I’m not suggesting that we don’t fight against it (some of us, at least…don’t get me started on Sarah Palin’s brand of “feminism), but I think women have just dealt with this for a long time.

    Men, however, are getting a little taste of their own medicine (my opinion). I say this because really, men have been “in charge” all this time. The rules? They were mostly made by men; mostly white men, I’d guess. But in every patriarchal society, whatever men were in charge made the rules. And now? They’re having to live by them.

    The very definition of what makes a “man” is becoming less and less clear, as men push against the gender stereotypes that smother them.

    This gives me a lot of hope. While I believe that right now the typical “white straight male” is kind of in crisis(my opinion), trying to figure out who he is and how he fits into society, it gives me hope for the future. If men are finally seeing that these rules and regulations are suffocating, maybe women can finally get completely out from underneath those that hurt them most.

    Of course, each individual woman and man might need something different. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all finally just live by our own rules of individuality (aside from general laws that apply to everyone, please don’t start killing people), instead of being labeled and classified?

  • It’s Friday, we should break up – Taking photos of myself.

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    I guess I can’t be trusted.

    A couple of weeks ago, I found evidence of something pretty frightening. I did a photo shoot, and a rather extensive one, in which I tried to make it look like I was, um…twins…who were kissing. Seriously, figure this out. I have no idea what the fuck I could have been thinking. I’m also not entirely sure when this photo shoot took place, but I think at least three years ago. I’m pretty sure I recognize that apartment wall behind me.

    Of course, I immediately destroyed all the evidence. Who wants anyone to KNOW they’ve done such a thing? I won’t tell you how many photos there were, so don’t even try to ask. There’s no way that you’ll get me to tell you that there were at least 30 photos.

    And it is your lucky day. Because I only deleted 29 of them.

    That’s right. I saved one just for you guys.

    What the fuck am I DOING? Seriously…I’m worried about me. I can’t be trusted alone with my laptop any more.

    ~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

    And just a reminder, the 5th is coming up on Sunday! As always for a weekend, we’ll be accepting submissions through Monday or Tuesday. This month’s Femme Writes topic is Politics, Religion, and Women. I think it’s a pretty good topic. There’s plenty of room to find something that suits you, be it how far women have come or how far we have to go. Thanks in advance for your participation!

  • There’s been a change of plan.

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    I was going to write about a ridiculous cooking “class” my mom and I took at Williams-Sonoma (don’t worry, guys, I’ll get back to you in a little while), but I can’t focus.

    And this is ALL MARIE’S FAULT.

    Just so you know.

    Yesterday she sent me this article about a new study that shows that girls are hitting puberty earlier than they were 30 years ago. You’ll probably read that and think, “What problem could anyone have with that?” And also, “OH MY GOD, MY DAUGHTER IS GOING TO START HAVING SEX AT EIGHT YEARS OLD!”

    Yeah, no. In my opinion, that whole thing is just a scare tactic. And it’s made even more awesome because it’s aimed at fat kids (oh noes! Being fat means you might also be a slut!), white girls (don’t let them be slutty like those black girls!), AND tells you your kids might get breast cancer if you let any of this happen. I’m going to write more on this later, because I want to make sure I have my research done. But seriously, people, don’t panic. I’m pretty sure this is a giant load of bullshit.

    THEN there’s this whole 12th and Delaware documentary. And while I’m super glad someone made it, I’m pretty bummed I can only watch it on HBO. This is the sort of thing that should be available to everyone, not just those who are willing to pay extra for premium cable channels. It’s cool, I’ll catch it on Netflix. It will be my first horror movie!

    If you don’t know anything about it, it’s basically a documentary exposing so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) for the manipulative, lying, ridiculous pieces of crap that they are. And I’m sure there are some legitimate clinics out there, okay? But I’ve never come across one. It appears that these clinics will say anything to get women to continue with their pregnancies. And so my question to you guys is this: As a “pro-life” person, are you really okay with being lied to and manipulated by people who don’t think you’re smart enough or capable of making your own decisions?

    And I’m not saying that to try to convince you that abortion is okay or right or acceptable. This isn’t just some feminist rhetoric. I’m legitimately curious. I’m want to know if you’re really okay with the people you support and claim to be fighting with doing anything it takes to “win” in this “battle”?

    You can’t fight every kind of pregnancy prevention, except abstinence, and then take away every option women have when they become pregnant. It’s never going to work. Let’s all try living in the real world where people have sex (because aside from whatever fantasy land you choose, we have years and years and centuries of data to prove that people do, in fact, have sex). And having sex is pretty much the number one cause of pregnancy.

    Because of that documentary, NARAL did similar studies on CPCs in California. I have to say, the results are no less disturbing on that side of the country.

    I know this stuff isn’t interesting or entertaining or funny, but it’s important. Really think about this stuff, and decide how you feel. None of it is simple, none of it is easy, and we’re approaching these subjects from fundamentally different places. There really isn’t a middle ground, because the two don’t ever seem to meet up. It’s not one extreme end of a spectrum and the other. It’s two completely different spectrums. I don’t hope to change anyone’s mind, just encourage everyone to think before just blindly following something because of scare tactics or rhetoric. Do the research. Decide for yourself. And then insist that the people you support are fighting this fight with integrity.

    Oh, and also…now we have to SAVE THE INTERNETS! Evil corporations. DOOM. Click. Read. Sign. (Also note that Google is a now a major player in this. Google who’s all about free-source code and blah blah the people having access, yada yada. It’s not good enough to just stop AT&T dudes. They aren’t the only bad guys here.)

    SaveTheInternet.com

  • It’s called FEMME Writes, see?

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    I have some things to say. I’m sure you’re all thrilled.

    I’ve gotten a couple of comments and a few emails with this particular complaint, so I thought I’d address it. Marie and I started Femme Writes as a way to talk about issues that affect women. WOMEN. Neither of us, and I’d assume no one who writes for us, is trying to deny that these same things MIGHT happen to men. But really, it’s one day a month and the point is to talk about women. WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN. Get it?

    Now, I will say this: If you want to sit around and try to convince me that there’s a rash of women raping men out there? I’m going to laugh in your face unless you have some pretty convincing statistics. But you don’t, because I’ve researched the matter.

    Aside from that, though, there are absolutely two sides to every issue. And even rape isn’t something simple, as Jenny pointed out on the 5th (I can’t agree with everything in her post, but I do agree that it’s not always a black and white issue, as nothing ever is).

    If you, dear male readers, would like to start a writing campaign about men’s rights? I will happily support you. I’m serious. I really do try to be fair. But the thing is, Femme Writes is for a very specific purpose, and no, I’m not going to talk about men that day.

    We’re not discounting the male opinion on these matters. Not at all. I mean, if you’re an insensitive jerk, yeah, I’m going to have something to say about it. Generally speaking, though, I completely value a thoughtful opinion, no matter who gives it. It’s always good to hear a (smart and well thought out) difference of opinion.

    So let it go. It’s one day a month and the purpose is to talk about issues that affect women. As a man, we welcome your feedback. We’d even love to see you write a post on the issues. But stop whining that one day a month we’re talking about something and leaving you out. It’s ridiculous.

    Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that I have a post coming up about how it’s tough to be a man. And it’s not even sarcastic! See? I can be sensitive to you menfolk.

  • Femme Writes – Maybe it’s MEN who shouldn’t be drinking.

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    On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of August, we’ve chosen to write about Physical and Mental Abuse. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.

    There’s been some fuss over comments made by Dallas Chief of Police David Brown on the increased rape rate in our fair city. Originally reported on the Dallas Observer Blog by Andrea Grimes, the story has now also been reported on Jezebel.

    I suspect some of you will think that any outrage over this is a drastic overreaction, and to you I say, “UGH.”

    Andrea Grimes (I can’t tell you if she’s an actual reporter or just a blogger, I don’t know) was covering the meeting and wrote up her notes for Unfair Park, the Dallas Observer Blog. You can find her original post here. No one in Dallas seemed concerned at all, so the story didn’t make the local news.

    Basically when asked about the sharp increase in rape, while all the other crimes had decreased, Police Chief Brown, according to Grimes, said:

    “We’re needing to create a message to the victims of this type of crime, related to, you know, someone you don’t know that well, you having a little bit too much to drink,” explains Chief Brown, suggesting women, “have your friends watch you” if you intend to drink in front of a man.

    Ms. Grimes made a fairly snarky comment about the casual victim-blaming rhetoric set forth by Brown and moved on. And then…all hell broke loose. People were making pretty ignorant and sometimes nasty comments on her blog post. Which, I mean, I’m all for a difference of opinion, but the woman was just stating her opinion in the first place.

    More than that, while some people may think that it’s just semantics and what the Police Chief said was harmless…it’s just not. The follow-up article showed Chief Brown’s reaction to Ms. Grimes’s comments, and I have to say, I was even more disappointed in him then. He called her an irresponsible blogger and said that he didn’t suggest that women were to blame for rapes, just that they should be aware of their surroundings and travel in pairs or groups. OF COURSE. Because that doesn’t, in any way, suggest that it’s women and not the men who rape them who can prevent rapes.

    Before you get all riled up and tell me that I’m stupid and ridiculous, let me say this: I’m not in disagreement with the idea that women should be aware of their surroundings and that drinking can lead to bad decisions and that it’s safer to travel with someone than it is to travel alone. Here’s the difference, though: This is true for EVERYONE. Not just women. And the idea that rapes happen because women aren’t paying enough attention or they’ve been drinking or that outfit was too sexy or they were walking in an alley alone? Is just fucking ignorant.

    Yes, I agree that it’s okay to tell women to be careful. We should ALL be careful. But I’m here to tell you? We’ve been told to be careful. We’ve been told to watch how much WE drink (men never get told this, as far as I can tell, unless it’s in relation to drinking and driving). We’ve been told to never ever walk around alone. And guess what? We’re still getting raped.

    You know why? Because men are still raping women. Plain and simple. And we can just stop acting like “date rape” is some lesser form of rape. It’s not. Rape is rape. Whether you’re on a date, on a plane, in an alley, swimming in the ocean, or playing the piano.

    And while it’s true that alcohol is often a factor in rape cases, it’s usually the MAN’S drinking and not the woman’s that causes the issue. But no one ever says to men, “Hey, maybe you should watch how much you drink around women.” And that? That’s why Chief Brown’s comments were so disturbing to me. Because his first reaction was to tell women what they should do. He didn’t even say anything about educating men. Only women need education.

    Many of the comments on the follow-up blog disgust me so much, I can’t even tell you. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to compare rape to burglary. Someone stealing my car radio isn’t the fucking same as someone violating my body and the fact that people so easily make this analogy is a blatant example of how little autonomy women are given.

    More to the point, there are so many men who don’t understand what rape is. Or rather, who don’t understand what consent is. And women? We need to work on this, too.

    I don’t think that Ms. Grimes was trying to say that there’s nothing women can do to make themselves safer. I think what she was trying to say is that it’s time to stop putting all the onus on women for preventing rape. The only thing different from a night where a woman goes out alone, wearing “revealing” clothing, gets incredibly drunk, and gets home safely and one where she does the same things and gets raped is the presence of a rapist.

    And just by the way, my favorite comment possibly of all time, is this one:

    InfamousQBert comment: second, how hard is it for people to understand that what “causes rape” is the presence of a rapist?? it’s just infuriating to see so many of you putting the onus on women to stop doing things to get themselves raped instead of focusing on the men who are told jokes like “don’t. stop.” means “don’t stop” and other seemingly minor, but really insidious lessons? we’re told that women never want sex, so you have to push and chase, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to get a girl drunk so she’ll want to have sex (did anyone even see superbad? or american pie?). boys, girls, women and men are fed these lessons starting at a VERY young age. maybe we should think about teaching boys and men to always ask first and get an ENTHUSIASTIC yes before doing ANYTHING sexual. and we should teach women that it’s fully okay to say yes OR no and MEAN it, rather than teaching them to prevaricate and be coy.

    maybe men shouldn’t be drunk around women if they can’t stop themselves from RAPING someone? maybe men need to go out in pairs so that one of them can stop the other from RAPING someone? maybe men shouldn’t wear clothes that are so easy to get their penis out of just in case they might forget NOT TO RAPE someone?

    When you look at that last part, how ridiculous does it sound to you? And yet, this is what we tell women all the time and they’re not even doing the raping. And while I’m sure that not all men are “wired to rape” or whatever, a little education about consent and respecting women could go a long way. It’s not going to hurt those men who were never going rape someone anyway, but if more little boys were growing up understanding that consent should be enthusiastic and that women are people, not sexual objects to be chased and pressured and hounded and conquered, I think the world would be just a little bit better.

    And even feminists understand that women have responsibility. We need to be practicing enthusiastic consent. We need to mean “no” when we say it and mean “yes” when we say it. We need to learn that it’s perfectly acceptable to like and want sex. It’s going to be a long journey, and it’s going to be hard for us to get anywhere without members of both sexes on board.

    The system is probably never going to be perfect. There are going to be women who lie and men who lie, but that doesn’t mean that we should just pretend that there’s nothing we can do. There’s so much more I could say, but this is probably enough for now.

    UPDATE: I should add one thing. A reminder. Rape isn’t about sex. Rape isn’t about a man who is so overcome with sexual desire, he simply must stick his dick in the woman wearing the short skirt. Rape is about power and control. Rape is about physically taking from someone that which they do not wish to give. IT IS NOT ABOUT SEX OR BEING HORNY. Ever. It’s about someone feeling entitled to someone else’s body.

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