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Why There's Still a Need for Feminism: 2 parts out of ??? - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Why There's Still a Need for Feminism: 2 parts out of ??? [Dec. 31st, 2011|11:56 am]
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[Current Mood |awake]

Part one.  The BBC couldn't find a 12th woman as interesting as a female panda named Sweetie for its "female faces of the year 2011."   See this site's discussion: http://jezebel.com/5871634/

One wonders who at the BBC--what gender, that is--decided on the ones they did pick, including Sweetie.  (I suppose we should be glad there weren't more non-human females: a dolphin with a calf, a mare nuzzling a child, a bitch who'd nursed a kitten, a hen protecting her chicks...after all, if a panda is a fit substitute, why not?)

Of the human females chosen, one of two female politicians from the US was Michelle Bachmann, ignorant, spiteful, venomous, and not Elizabeth Warren, intelligent, thoughtful, moderate.  The other was Gabby Giffords, more for her having been shot & recovered than for her political stance and her long-time courage in facing death threats.  No problems with that choice, though.

The non-US politician, the first woman president of Brazil, is a choice I'd agree with (though not the only female politician of note in 2011.)

Four women "notable" only for their relationship, however tenuous, to a man: Charlene Wittstock (almost didn't marry a prince), a Spanish duchess (married a younger man), Pippa Middleton (sister married a prince), the US Marine who asked Justin Timberlake to the Marine Ball.

Two more were celebs: a tennis star and a singer.

Two more were victims of sexual violence, one in Libya and one in the US.

But consider:  Three women shared the Nobel Peace Prize.  Not one of them was on the BBC list. 

Elizabeth Warren, as I mentioned, has been bucking the "meanness" trend in politics with common-sense,intelligent, and well-supported arguments for the past several years.

Forbes lists "10 most powerful women authors" .  
Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (novel) this year.   Kay Ryan won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry this year.   Around the world, women have written notable fiction and nonfiction this year. 

the BBC couldn't find a single woman writer worth including anywhere in the world.  Not the bestsellers in fiction.  Not women writing solid, worthwhile nonfiction.  Not journalists.  Nope: women who write just don't count.

And not a single woman scientist.  Not a single woman composer.  Not a single woman human-rights activist. Not a single woman entrepreneur or even CEO of a major company...or for that matter a minor company.  No women in agriculture.  No women in aviation or space exploration.   No women in banking, other finance fields.  No women in communications.  The only military woman chosen for having asked a celebrity to a dance.

So what did they find instead?   What made them "female faces of the year?"

4 women attached (even peripherally) to a man.
3 women victims of crime (2 sexual assault, one attempted assassination)
1 athlete
1 pop singer
1 head of state (yay!)
1 really lousy politician (close to the worst the US has to offer)
and a panda named Sweetie.

So mostly...not women chosen for their accomplishments (tennis, singing and head of state excluded.

The male faces of the year included all humans (gee, no rare male animal flaunting his handsomeness and maybe named "Studly?" )   Two were crime victims (a policeman killed by a  bomb, a student suffering assault and robbery during riots), one was a suicide (and counts as one of the two athletes as well),  one was a US admiral, one was a US presidential candidate caught in sex scandal, one was an actor, one an undercover cop pretending to be an activist, one a farmer who disapproved of a pop star's clothing (yawn), one was a golfer (the second athlete), one was a businessman close to a political personage, one was journalist and phone-hacker, and one was a rapper whose political rap went viral.  In other words, what led to their being chosen was their own actions and/or the political significance of the outcomes.  None of the men were notable for being attached to a woman (let alone being the brother of someone who married someone notable.) 

Part two:  Those who confront misogyny--whether in its violent forms of rape, assault, and abuse or in its less violent forms--are used to the "Yes, but--" response.   Here's an excellent article to ponder: "Why Yes, But is the Wrong Response to Misogyny".   Most women have heard most of those Yes, but...excuses and more besides.  "But" is not joined at the hip to "Yes,"  and those who speak as if it is need to surgically excise that pair from their vocabulary.


[User Picture]From: tattercoats
2011-12-31 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this thoughtful and well-presented comment. I've been fuming quietly about this, with occasional incoherent splutterings.

If I find more useful expression of my feelings on this I'll be back and let you know.
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[User Picture]From: tattercoats
2011-12-31 11:47 pm (UTC)
If I may... under the wire of the new year (14 minutes to go here) this is how it shaped up in my head. I relied heavily on your precis and Jezebel's killer line.

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-01 01:57 am (UTC)
It's brilliant! I love it! (Had to go look, of course.)
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[User Picture]From: konoichi
2011-12-31 07:33 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-01 02:16 am (UTC)
Did you see the YouTube of the little girl in the toy store demanding to know why the only things for girls were princess stuff and pink stuff, and how come the boys got to have different colors?

When I was a kid, in the much-maligned (and rightly so, about some things) 1950s, basic toys (blocks, Lincoln Logs, etc.) were the same for both boys and girls. True, girls weren't "supposed" to want Erector sets or chemistry sets, but some girls did, and if they did they got the same ones boys did. We all got the same blocks, not a set of pink ones for girls and a set of blue ones for boys. (And by the way--women who used firearms back then--whether for plinking or hunting--did not use pink ones. Blech.)

Now there's this notion that girls' science kits have to be about fashion (the chemistry kit for girls is about makeup and perfume...I WAS a girl who wanted a chemistry set and I had zero interest in makeup or perfume. I had my eye on bigger things. Not allowed a chemistry set, I read Encyclopedia Britannica on how to preserve olives, made my own lye solution out of fireplace ashes (read about that in another book), and--not knowing that lye would eat the solder out of a tin can--created an ugly hole in my mother's prized wooden counter. My next bright idea in chemistry (also based on some articles in Encyclopedia Britannica plus information from some books in the school library) was stymied by STILL not having a chemistry set, but a guy I knew in class did. His parents let him have a lab in the back of their garage. Let me just say that I came up with one heckuva rocket fuel, but it was just a wee tad...touchy. As the back wall of his parents' garage could attest. For some reason my mother the engineer was not eager to give me dry cells, chemicals, or let me mess with the engine of her car. ("You don't follow directions" she said, after observing me with Tinker Toys. True. But the Tinker Toy directions didn't tell you how to hook the battery powered motor of a toy motorboat to some rubber bands and thence to the "water wheel" made with Tinker Toys. The directions were for simple stuff. If I could see how it would work from directions, what was the point of building it? Of course my machine flung water halfway across the room...but I could have fixed that if only the splashing water hadn't been heard...

Christmas one year was a) a new wagon, b) lumber for building sides for the new wagon, c) tools for building sides (saw, hammer, bolts, screwdriver, wrench, nuts, nails, and the use of my mother's hand drill. I was one happy kid. Although...since the directions were so simple...and the wagon quickly became a stage coach with the addition of a small table and a tablecloth...if I recall correctly only two sides of the original design were built and the rest of the lumber turned into other stuff I thought up. I still have the hammer; the saw suffered an evil fate in a hurricane while I was in college.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-01 03:21 am (UTC)
Women back then, no. My mother did target shooting (which more women did than hunted) with a Colt Woodsman, a very special one I wish I'd inherited. A friend of hers whose father was a poacher (among other things decidedly not illegal) was a crack shot with just about anything and NONE of it was pink. I knew a few women hunters, more target shooters, and they used regular ordinary firearms. I will guarantee you that no one thought the women I knew in my childhood were any less female for wearing appropriate outdoor clothes when in the outdoors (nothing pink!) or using regular firearms. (There were women who wouldn't have touched a firearm--but it was still a rural area and lots of women did.)

I saw my first pink firearm at a gun show, a pink .22 rifle, maybe seven years ago. It was disgusting. That was supposed to be Daddy's little girl's first gun. Right. When I took the old rifle in to a really good gun shop for some work, they had a .22 rifle with its [expletive deleted] stock done in pink camo. Disgusting. Now you see pink stuff in the Bass catalog, including "action figures" of a family in the woods--the mother and daughter are of course wearing pink and lavender. The clothes for women are all designed to be attractive to guys ogling women, not useful for women actually hunting and fishing.

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[User Picture]From: gifted
2012-01-02 12:56 am (UTC)
That hammer must be quite the treasure.

You're a woman after my own heart. One of my best childhood days was when my uncle let me into his (dangerously disorganised, but well-endowed) garage, and told me not to come out bleeding.

Oh boy, the things I created.

I'm still designing and building today, and people pay me for it. :]
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[User Picture]From: 90sbondgirl
2012-01-03 06:10 am (UTC)
My MIL gave my almost-3-year-old a red toy guitar and a toy drill set for Christmas; they're still hot items. My 9-year-old loves her nesting hammer/screwdriver set. My dad taught me, at the same age, to change a tire, use a lawnmower and weedeater, and drive a nail. "Feminism" is alive and well at our house, I'm happy to say.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2011-12-31 10:10 pm (UTC)
But don't you know Pippa Middleton conducted herself appropriately all day and everyone LOVED her dress?
*rolls eyes*

Those lists are a (very unfunny) joke.
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[User Picture]From: gauroth
2012-01-01 02:27 am (UTC)
yes, dear old Aunty BBC makes a mess of Persons of the Year yet again. The list for Sports Personality of the Year was also women-free.

Bloody idiotic stuck-in-the-50s-nitwits! Why do I pay my licence fee when the men in charge ignore women achievers??!

At least there are posts like this to tell the fools at BBC that they're wrong. I suspect things won't change until we all tell dear old Aunty what a total prat she is by ignoring the achievements of women. Let's keep pushing on for recognition of amazing women's achievements!
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[User Picture]From: safewrite
2012-01-01 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. As a woman who had a very non-traditional job in a male dominated field, I have great interest in beating back all forms of subtle misogyny.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-01 11:03 pm (UTC)
I'm still working on the non-subtle ones, but yeah. My mother, trained as an engineer, could get work as an engineer only during WWII (liaison engineer for the Army Air Corps at an aircraft factory.) I don't know her pay scale during the war, but postwar, she was always paid less than men doing equivalent work. She shrugged some of it off as "the way things are, no use fighting it" and given that she was a single mother raising a kid on her own, I doubt she had the time or energy to spend on anything but survival.

But. It's about damn time the media--including the BBC--got over the notion that women are noteworthy mostly in connection with men, crime, or sex.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2012-01-02 01:00 am (UTC)
correction: I doubt she had the time or energy to spend on anything but survival, and raising a damn fine person out of that kid.
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