Posts Tagged ‘Feminism


What this ad is really saying…

*sigh* it never ends

hellooooo, she\'s not even sleeping on the mattress. *tsk*

helloooo, she’s not even sleeping ON the mattress. *tsk* and it’s also nice how the ad is implying some sort of “exoticism” with a questionably latino/african-american man and his Caucasian, long-haired brunette woman.

You can’t see it but it says things like “Give me: Beer, Food, Sex” and “Stop: Nagging, Moaning, Whining”

Commentary: Honey, it’s going to take a lot more than a piece of plastic with some batteries to control me. Or…wait…maybe not…*scandalous!*

While googling this gadget I did find that there is one for men that is equally offensive. Interestingly this version was not stocked in this particular store. Ahhhhh marketing demographics.


What I needed from Hillary…

Tonight marks the first moment where I am seriously considering becoming an Obama supporter. Sure, I looked enviously at my peers who seemed enamored by the boy-wonder and wished, every now and then, to feel the same for HRC. But for the most part, I was ok with the fact that she didn’t really rile me up, she just felt like a good, solid choice.

But something has changed. Hillary, what happened?

What’s with the dirty tactics? The snide remarks? The we’re-really-not-that-different-but-I’m-better-and-besides-it’s-my-turn? I was ok with not being ecstatic or enamored with your campaign, but when I started to get that queasy sinking feeling I had to question things a bit deeper.

When the campaigns first started I was excited about the prospect of a heated battle. And then, I was enraged. I found it infuriating how you were treated differently and unfairly because of your gender. How it was simply a-ok to air a woman calling you a “bitch” (it came from another WOMAN, much to the TV network’s delights!) and to have people completely discount your accomplishments as simply a way to catch up to your hubby. I looked on admiringly and thought about how well you had kept your composure (throughout all of those messes), how you’d raised a successful and confident daughter, and how (I’ll admit it was a bit delightful) men seemed to fear you. I thought, here it is, we are finally ready, we can finally do this. Women deserve this.

But then…

The articles and op-ed pieces trickled in. Obama is the preferred candidate overseas…Obama presents a clear economic plan…Obama has the power to bring people to the polls…and, even as the commentary started pouring in I thought, meh, O-blah-ma.

But dammit I want to feel excited. I want to feel that my interpretation of patriotism is taking hold. I want to feel that something NEW and exciting is happening in our country, that we are getting out of the rut of the same-ol-same-ol. I’m not naive enough to think that Obama is a complete 180, I know better than that. He has, after all, been successful in a very flawed system, no doubt by figuring out how to use that system to his advantage. I needed to see that in you.

And no, I’m not talking about how I needed you to be a more “personable” and “soft” woman. I find it tremendously convoluted that you’ve had to simultaneously denounce your femininity, project your masculinity, embrace your femininity, and deny your masculinity all at once. It’s exhausting to be a powerful woman, clearly. But Hil, I think I wanted you to just come out and say it. I think I wanted you to fearlessly have a heart-to-heart with us, I wanted you to say, “You know what, this is bullshit.” “I’m a woman, a mother, a politician, a wife, a hard-worker, an upper class Manhattanite, and a ball-buster.” “If you elect me, this is what you get.” Hil, I didn’t want to see you revert to the old tactics. Don’t you know? This is a new campaign, a new generation of voters, that stuff just won’t fly.

Of course, I want to honor the hard-working feminist women who came before me, those who worked tirelessly so that I can sit here and freely blog about these topics, advocate for emergency contraception, attend any school I want and, hell, even vote! And I thought to myself, how could I not vote for you? How could I slap my foremothers in the face like that? But you know what? I expect more from our first woman president, perhaps more than I expect from any male president. Maybe that’s not fair, I don’t know. But I want her to be someone I can really be proud of, someone who has put up with years of shit (as I know you have) and says “I’m not gonna play that way.” Someone with the ovaries to really risk it all for what she believes in. Someone who was willing to have faith in a country who, clearly, was not ready for her.

Was that too much to ask?

The reality is that it doesn’t much matter what I think (in terms of votes). My voting days in the primaries are long past, and I get to just watch as things unfold. No matter who wins, I’ll support them. I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that somehow 4 years of McCain is any sort of viable alternative. And the truth is, I’m not sure I’m at a point where I can get ecstatic for Obama (I often felt shamed by the Obamanites and just can’t shake that). I guess I feel left out in the cold. And I’m wondering how many other intelligent, hard-working, loving, emotional, firebrand, battle-axe, what-have-you women are out there feeling the same way…?


(ps. yes, the image is supposed to be ironic, mkay?)

(pps. i’d also like to add that i think it is truly incredible that this election has caused this much strife over who to support. maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. i don’t know. but in the past it has just felt like we all voted for the least evil and then went about our business. at least this has been exciting. and tremendously thought provoking. that’s what we’ve been waiting for, ya?)


Women’s History Month

…and I haven’t done my part.

But yesterday, while lecturing in class, I asked my students how many knew who Gloria Steinem was. Out of a class of 50 undergrads, 2 raised their hands. In a moment of exasperation I lowered my head and said “this is the disconnect the first wavers are talking about!” — that was met with blank stares. Anyway, while spending a few days lecturing on whether Freud was dead, I found myself walking home and thinking, is feminism dead? Between the recent articles pronouncing the end of women’s studies, and the battle for existing women’s studies departments to retain their autonomy, it seems as though the importance of feminism and women’s studies is being missed. The ironic part of it is that we are also in a historical moment where a woman and black man are the leading candidates for president and it is becoming increasingly clear that gender bias is somehow more tacitly accepted than race bias.

Feminism, and women’s studies, opened the gates for a variety of other disciplines that problematize the myriad of other “-isms” we face: queer studies, race studies, critical theory, and feminist tons of feminist (re)interpretations and (re)presentations of theories and fields conceptuatlized by men/patriarchy (ahem, Freud).

So, I came across this video, posted on’s Broadsheet. It is a new promo video for the Feminist Majority Foundation. I think it’s funny that part of making feminism “ok” or “cool” is to make sure we say that feminists have good sex. But whatever. I suppose we are, after all, a society fairly obsessed with sex, even though we know that feminists have better relationships.

Oh, and this video provides yet another reason for loving Ugly Betty and its cast.

And you know how after a YouTube video plays it always shrinks down and has along the bottom a series of other related videos? Well, I found this next one which was inspiring and led me to the parent site “Antigone Magazine



International Women’s Day

…was yesterday. But you know, I always like belated birthday presents because they sort of extend the holiday a bit, so let’s think of belated blog posts as serving the same purpose.

The following summary is from the official IWD web-page:

2000 – 2007
IWD is now an official holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

(Sure would be nice to have it as an official holiday in the US)

I don’t have a whole lot to say about IWD, except that I’m glad it exists and look forward to a day when we can simply celebrate women’s achievements rather than hope for more (you know, when all the -ism struggles are out the window). I’m not sure if that’ll happen in my lifetime. But when I feel a bit downtrodden I love to watch this speech by Isabelle Allende (I think I may have posted it before, but I’m not sure, apologies if I did). So, in honor of IWD and women everywhere, enjoy this video (and many others on “Ted”):


Quote of the Day: Gee, I never thought of politics like that!

Robin Morgan recently put out a statement in support of Hillary. In it she said the following:

I support her because she’s refreshingly thoughtful, and I’m bloodied from eight years of a jolly “uniter” with ejaculatory politics.

The full text of her statement can be found here.


What this ad is really saying: Episode 3 (No F*&#ing comment!)


There’s Something About Hillary

Well, as I write this, votes are being counted in New Hampshire in a very important primary. I’m really not sure who I support as the democratic candidate, it’s true. And since by the time the primaries make it to FL it doesn’t really matter all that much I admit I don’t feel that pressured to make a decision.

My rather uneducated opinion is that we need someone with experience, a truly skilled politician to begin to clean up the mess. My hunch is that Hil has more experience in terms of how the presidency actually works than the others, and while I don’t particularly agree with all of her decisions, I think she is probably the best person for the job. Eight years of Hil followed by 8 of Obama might begin to get the country back on track.

But that’s not what this post is supposed to be about. No, the idea for this post began a few weeks ago, just before the holidays, when JPR and I were walking along Steinway St. <insert dreamy music and swirl/fade back into time to set the scene>…Yes, we stopped into the Rite Aid so I could pick up travel size bottles and happened to see a Hillary doll. Upon pressing the doll’s hand, Hillary begins to bobble around and sing to the tune of “My Country Tis of Thee” — however, the Hil version goes something like “My name is Hillary, First broad of liberty, of thee I sing…Land where my husband lied, and I stood right by his side…”. You get the idea.

Now, upon hearing the first “broad” of liberty line my jaw dropped. But what I found more appalling was that she is clearly identified by her husband’s misconduct, and berated for her decision to stay with him. I’m sorry, but last time I checked the conservatives were all about upholding the sanctity of marriage. It seems like Hil’s decision to keep her home intact and practice that fine Christian art of forgiving should have warranted her a bit more credit, rather than discredit. In case you want the full effect, I was able to find a video of the doll on YouTube.

Now, fast forward to today. D-berg sent me an Op-ed article from NYTimes by Gloria Steinem. I’d read Steinem’s brief comments on a article where she expressed her support for Hillary. But in this Op-ed piece she reflects on the recent defeat of Hil in Iowa and the astounding success of Obama. She points out that the gender issue is something the country has not gotten over as much as it would like. In true Steinem style, she begins the article with a reversal of gender (if you haven’t seen her piece lambasting Freud’s theories I recommend it, flawed as it may be) to make us aware of the glaring double standards that exist in our society. She describes Obama to the letter, but presents the characteristics as pertaining to a woman, not a man. What she’s trying to get us to see is that our gut reaction is probably to NOT vote for this person, who is essentially the same as Obama, but a woman.

The part I like most about this article is her discussion of the polarizing and unifying forces present in the elections (and in society in general, for that matter). While Obama’s race is, for the most part, a unifying factor, Hil’s gender seems to be quite divisive. I’m reminded of the amazing comment made at a McCain rally where a woman stood up, grabbed the mic, and asked McCain, point blank, “How do we beat the bitch?” During this entire election I have been quite disturbed about the polarizing nature of gender. I haven’t really been able to put a finger on it, but I think Steinem describes it quite well in her article. Why is it ok to obsess about Hil’s physical appearance? her emotional displays (which, frankly, I deeply admired)? her “bitchiness”?

Of course, Steinem doesn’t discuss the inherent advantages that Hil has had as a white woman in the United States. Yes, as one commenter points out, white women have had an unspoken agency that far surpasses the agency of black men throughout history. I think this is an equally valid avenue to investigate, but that’s not the point of Steinem’s article. The point is to draw awareness to the double standard that women are subject to, and to point out how we can see this still occurring on a national scale in the 21st century. That’s the point. However, as Broadsheet points out, she is in danger of creating a competition between “who’s got it worse” — and I think that’s just the kind of counterproductive writing we DON’T need right now. But when discussing race and gender, and class and sexuality for that matter, as well as other -isms, that is always a danger. And I think it is important to realize that we can critically examine one issue, gender in this example, and that shouldn’t mean we are negating or disregarding the others. We’ve got to be able to critically examine how our identities influence our situated experience in the world, bottom line.

I found the reader comments to be even more interesting and informative than the article, as I often do with online articles. Supporters and critics came out in full force (last I checked there were 533 comments) regarding Steinem’s article, and I think they really represent the struggle that we still face around BOTH race and gender.

So, agree or not with Steinem, race and gender are at the forefront of these elections, and they are operating on individuals in ways that we can spend years struggling to understand. But it just seems that there’s something about Hillary that really gets people going in a way that hasn’t really existed since…Janet Reno? I don’t know.

Now, it’s off to do some reading and then turn on the tube and get the preliminary results from NH…

Hil gets verklempt…

July 2018
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