Tag Archives: Sexism

Quote of the Day: White Knights

Quoth LoudmouthedBitch

To me, a “White Knight” is someone who will “defend” someone (usually a female), not for the sake of defending them, but to seem awesome. They usually expect something in return (praise, the everlasting love and affection of the (usually) female). When they do not get praise/everlasting gratitude&affection, they often quickly transform into the “Whiney Knight,” who complains about the lack of gratitude and asks why they ever try doing “nice” things in the first place.

Very accurate.

Ah, I loves me some insidious sexism.

A commenter pointed out to me an “scientific” article claiming the bold title “Scientists say genetic variations show that men think differently“. They used this as “scientific” proof of how women are naturally more passive and cooperative than males, which of course has the implication that some jobs are better suited for females and that the traditional role of the woman in the house taking care of the children is not so out of place.

This kind of thing annoys me immensely, especially since when I actually took the time to read that article, it quickly became apparent that Science proves no such thing. In fact, the best the article could point out was that

While the two sexes have the same basic genes, many of these are more active in the brains of only one sex. These gender-specific patterns of gene expression could affect many aspects of behaviour, the researchers said.

That’s it. That’s the great evidence of what “Scientists say”. A mild discovery and a weak correlation.

However, since most people will barely bother to read more than the title of the headline, the idea of what “Scientists say” will stay in their brain, and they may link others to the same dubious claims as proof of how feminists are going against female nature or some other nonsense.

Why does mainstream media do this? More importantly, why have they not been taken to task for this nonsense? How can such a misleading article stay online? It’s like reading an article which boldly claims that Scientists say that “Skin colour affects intelligence”. How come insidious sexism gets a free pass while people have wizened up enough to counter insidious racism?

Of course for me, further annoyment was caused when I linked this article to reddit, assuming that people in /r/feminisms can see the obvious, and immediately I was asked to explain what’s wrong with it. When I did that and pointed out that it’s annoying I had to do it, I am then told that I’m being rude. FFS people! We are allowed to be annoyed when we’re asked to explain the obvious again and again and again. Being annoyed at it gives out a clear signal that people should start using their own head for once, instead of asking for Cliff’s Notes.

Follow up on Japanese Sexism

japanese white rabbit…
Image by colodio via Flickr

On my post about Sexism in Japanese culture, one commenter left a reply that I thought was far to interesting to let it delve in obscurity. So I’m posting it here to give you perhaps a deeper understanding on what goes on there.

Having lived in Japan for a while and having married a Japanese woman, I’d say that’s you’re fairly correct in your assumptions. In general, the progressive image of Japan comes under a lot of heat in many areas when viewed from the inside-out.

Japan has never truly had a woman’s revolution. I visit corporate clients on a daily basis and find that the majority of women are still used in a 1960s-ish ‘coffee secretary’ role. I’ve been told directly by more than a few clients that they tend to hire women solely for having them around the office to meet male workers, marry them, get pregnant, and leave the workplace so they can get new, younger women in the office.

The idea behind this is that it helps Japanese male employees meet women (which they’re fairly near utterly incapable of doing on their own sometimes) and don’t have the free time to usually pursue because of long work hours. In this way, it keeps Japan from extinction.

On the other hand, sexual harassment is the norm, and there doesn’t exist much currently to combat such things. I’ve seen female employees treated like complete garbage by men who have never had to confront the word ‘equality.’

So has the oppressing hand of man kept women down and successfully prevented a woman’s revolution?

Not Exactly….

In Japan, the workplace is traditionally the domain of men and the home is the domain of women. While men puff out their chests in public and can show dominance over their spouses there, they are normally completely at a loss to control ANY home issues.

The woman handles all money and the man readily gives her his monthly paychecks. She normally doles out a pittance to the man to buy a bit of lunch, and dictates all monetary issues.

I know many a man that I can deflate upon asking why they can’t come out for a drink.

“My wife only allows me 500 yen (5 dollars) a day for lunch.”

In this way, there’s a bit more under the carpet than can be easily seen.

I’d argue that a woman’s revolution has never occurred because the majority of Japanese woman are quite happy with the status quo and don’t feel the need for work when they can dream of being a house wife that holds out her hand to collect her husband’s money.

I liken it to some people on welfare in America/Australia that don’t bother getting jobs because life’s already basically paid for, but many Japanese woman seem quite comfortable with the arrangement. Perhaps they don’t know better, or perhaps it just IS better (I often wonder what life would be like if I could just collect a spouses money and maintain the house all day)

Of course, there are a minority of woman who want to achieve a life where they can manage companies and advance in their line of work/careers, and these women truly get the shaft and have to endure a barrage of men trying to put them back in their place.

I often get angry at it, but Japan is a place where you accept roles and stick to those roles. It’s not going to change overnight.

It IS changing slowly, extremely slowly. Men today seem to have lost a bit of their old ways and are slowly emerging in home life. Some would argue that women’s control has actually increased due to a weaker man.

I loved your post, totally agree, would love to see change, but am cognizant of the fact that I’m viewing the whole situation from a different cultural standpoint and perhaps could be wrong.

-Craig

EDIT: Just to make it clear since the comment above can be taken to apologize for the rampart patriarchy of Japan (Although I do not think that was Craig’s intention) when it says stuff like:

So has the oppressing hand of man kept women down and successfully prevented a woman’s revolution?

Not Exactly….

I believe it has been absolutely the oppressive hand of man that kept women down. I do not see the role of the woman in such a society as having any power but rather as having internalized their oppression and trying to use the position decided for them by the patriarchy to its full extent. As Sitakali wrote in the comments (and I agree wholeheartedly):

I find excuses like the one presented here to be good examples of why cultural relativism can be dangerous. Just as Sharia Law is not acceptable, regardless of the cultural history of Islamic nations, so is this separation of “duties” along gender lines unacceptable and unfair.

PS: This is the reason why I like blogging my thoughts on things like this, even if they’re not so well educated. So often will you find people that are able to provide a thoughtful and new perspective on something you’re thinking of, correct your preconceptions and generally ecpand your understanding.

Is it just me or is Japanese culture really so sexist?

Sakura Haruno
Image via Wikipedia

I recently started watching Naruto and by now, I’ve watched around 17 episodes and what has really made an impression of me is the undeniable sexism that exists in the story. You see, in these series, at the point where I am now at least, you follow the story of Naruto, a kid “ninja” who is travelling around with his Sensei and his two schoolmates, 1 girl and one boy. As is to be expected, they have to overcome any number of enemies and challenges in their travels.

Until now, I haven’t seen the girl do anything. Seriously. While the two boys have defeated enemies far stronger than them, and shown some awesome initiative and power, continuously impressing their Sensei, the girl’s accomplishments until now are: Faint, Fail to provide a weapon to he schoolmate, cry over the body of the one she loves, roundhouse kick someone (not anyone powerful mind you) who tried to steal her bag, be the object of lust for Naruto. And that’s about it. Oh no, wait, her biggest accomplishment is that she managed to climb a tree using Chakra.

I keep waiting, since the 3rd episode, to see her do something exciting. Anything. But she won’t. She politely stays away from all the battles and is dutifully impressed and scared when the true heroes, teh mens, do all the dangerous stuff. This kind of shit is so heavy it really threatens to ruin the whole show for me. I keep hoping it will get better but given past experience with Japanese cartoon, I can’t hold my breath.

You see, I’ve also been watching the Legend of the Galactic Heroes for a while now and that one is far worse at reinforcing the patriarchy. There’s basically two strong women in that show, both in some kind of advisory role, which isn’t as bad per se but given that the whole thing revolves around dozens and dozens of men, it’s really sad that the only thing women can do apparently is advise the men. But as bad as this is, it got even worse as the show moved on, one of these women got married to one of the main protagonists and then she immediately became practically his wife-slave. It would show the protagonists sitting in the living room relaxing, while his wife would cook, clean and arrange of all the social duties. Her biggest fear was that she wasn’t a good enough cook for fuck’s sake.

All the other women that were married naturally had the same role. Take care of the household while the men did the important stuff like war and politics. I was thinking if this was because this looked like an older TV show but then I learned that it run from 1988-2000 which is definitely not that old. This can only mean that Japanese culture continues to remain so patriarchal that such displays of sexism are considered the norm and expected by the majority of their viewers. Nevertheless, I was hoping that Naruto, which started 10 years later, would be more progressive, but alas it was not so.

It also makes me wonder if any girls watch shows like Naruto or if it’s explicitly targeted at boys. If girls watch it, which character could they possibly identify with an support? Can they really enjoy having their gender being displayed simply as an object of lust?

So I’m curious, is Japanese society really so sexist in the 21st century? For one of the most progressive countries out there, their patriarchy seems exceedingly preserved.

Their Fault, They're Female

I think I just found out my new favourite blog. This new kid on the block just popped up in the internetubes and in their own words:

This is a space to share stories of gender discrimination, pay gap disparity, denial of rights, and inequality. It can be in the workplace or outside it, but keep it short, include as much detail as you can, and when commenting let’s remember that solidarity is the key. If someone made you feel like it’s your fault you’re female, this is the place to fight back.

Long live the women who refuse to shut up.

Fuck Yea I say to that!

I went through their initial stories and some of them truly made me RRRRAGE, especially the kind of blatant harassment and sexism that goes on in the workplace.

This is definitely a nice addition to the blogosphere, lets hope they stick around. Now y’all go subscribe to it.

On the heterosexual male's love for the cock

Quoth Blue Linchpin (on the pro-rape position of Eivind Berge)

Let’s get this straight: it’s not exactly a revelation that women’s bodies are traded for wealth. This is the general model for how society expects relationships to work. It is, however, just that: a model, a social construct. Male sexuality has no worth in society because those it is of no worth to those in power, ie men. Eivind, as a heterosexual male (aha! So that’s why his link specified heterosexual society) has no desire for cock. He is not willing to pay for it, or make any effort for it, and he would surely cry crocodile tears if it were forced upon him. Would he change his mind if the cock in question were attached to a wealthy business owner, and he were a single father in need of cash? Quite possibly. Does this mean Eivind’s only worth is as a sex object? After all, Eivind is just as capable of being valuable in other ways.

Check the rest of this awesome post btw. It’s very nicely skewers the bullshit arguments made by this very very misguided person.

On a related point: One has to wonder how it comes to be that s0 many right-libertarians end up being misogynists or supporting sexist positions (and then end up wonder why there are so few womyn in their movement). I’m guessing it has to do with the fetishism of market theory, making them try to apply it in every possible situation. If one ignores the social circumstances around one exchange, then it’s not difficult to reach such absurd conclusions. If one simply starts from the basis where women’s worth is in their vagina, it’s not difficult to end up with absurdities such as the pro-rape argument of our Norwegian libertarian above. By refusing to look on why a womyn’s worth rests is their vagina in the first place (hint: it’s because of the patriarchy), you can only start from wrong premises.

Oh, and if you’re up to it, do link to Blue Linchpin’s blogpost about the pro-rape position of Eivind Berge by menioning his name in the link anchor, so that her post get some nice Google juice and people looking for his name can see what he stands for.

Yes, male feminists do exist.

Ok, this is starting to become a trend. It’s the third time now (that I remember) that someone I’ve been arguing online with about feminism in one way or another, with me on the side of feminism of course, has assumed that I am a female. The last example was more subtle, but of course the best one was this comment where the misogynist insisted that I’m a female even after I explictly said I’m not.

I guess this happens a lot in reddit because I do not have an avatar and my username is fairly neutral in gender. This generally means that it’s assumed that I’m a man 90% of the time. The only exception is when I argue for feminism.

I generally do not bother to correct them up until the point where they’ve put their foot in their mouth as I find the hilarity that ensues after making such assumptions excellent. I do not deny that I’m a male when asked directly or when obvious female traits are implied (such as menstruation), but I do not act like a female nor do I try to trick them. In fact, I continue speaking as normal, as I would speak if they knew I was a male, which seems to confuse them greatly since their brain doesn’t eem to be able to compute someone acting/speaking “manly” and yet defending feminism.

The funniest must have been the one who accused me that I was simply stubbornly refusing to hear a “man’s opinion”. For some reason he stopped replying after I told him that I was presenting a man’s opinion. 🙂

Anyway, does anyone else consider this quite telling about the ones making anti-feminist comments? I can’t really put my finger on why I think this is damning however. What do y’all think?

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Quote of the Day: Gender Equality

Quoth Lucy Gillam

The first is that true gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.

And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.” My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.

Ayeap. This is what the shrill cries of males about “feminazis” are all about.

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What about discrimination against men?

Everyday Sexism
Image by Amayita via Flickr

In my recent encounter with sexism, one argument was often put forth by the males of Reddit. It went something like this:

If it is discrimination to setup male-only poker tournaments, then it follows that it must be discrimination to setup female-only poker tournaments. Therefore the guy did nothing wrong to use anti-discriminatory laws in order to take part. And if you would root for a female taking part into a male-only tournament and winning, so we are justified in rooting for a the guy in this case.

This is actually an argument that makes sense, unlike the rest of the misogynistic strawmen, and thus deserves a more detailed counter.

The short answer is no, it’s not discrimination when women do it. You’re not justified in rooting for a male crashing the women’s tournament. No, this is not a double standard. Why? Because of privilege and existing domination.

You see, we do not live in a gender equal society and many many sports and hobbies are male-dominated without particular logical reason (ie unlike some physical sports where the male physical build gives a distinct advantage) but rather as a historical continuity. This changes the environment and thus the ethical considerations we have, with which to decide if the label of discrimination can be assigned. You see we cannot judge as if the environment was already equal and so act as if we’re simply trying to maintain this equality. The environment is not equal and men are the privileged party in this case.

How are they privileged? In this particular case by dominating all such events (ex: poker tournaments). Why is this privilege? Because of a few things. First, a man playing in such an event, is not automatically assumed to represent the whole of his gender. If he wins or loses, he’s a good or bad player respectively, while women are treated as if they represent every other woman. Second, they don’t get to feel like an external no matter the event. There will always be a majority of males which act and speak in manners comfortable to other males. This by default makes it an uncomfortable environment for women, instantly putting them on their guard and accentuating their alienation. Finally, and this follows partly from the previous point, there will be a natural hostility of males, who now have to conform more with mixed-gender social standards, and thus will feel bitter that they cannot be as relaxed as they were. I believe it will manifest as a subconscious attempt to turn attending women off the sport.

So these are all effects that any woman entering a male-dominated hobby will face, something I’ve seen personally from my RPG/Tabletop gaming groups to the IT sector where I work. Even when there are people who wish to have more girls involved, their eagerness can inflame the problem rather than help (think of the awkward sweaty gaming geek trying to be nice to a shy girl joining the group, while leering at her boobs half the time.)

So all of these constitute the privileged position of males in a sector and thus an inequality that will remain until sexism is abolished. In this situation, someone who strives for equality, cannot simply act as if equality already exists. This is simply living in a dreamland and giving your silent consent to sexism at best, or actually acting like an unwitting apologist to misogyny at worst. Rather, someone who strives for equality roots for the weakest party until such time as equality has been achieved.

And this is the ethical aspect that determines that a women-only event in a male-dominated hobby is not discrimination.

You see women do not host such events in order to avoid losing to their “natural superiors” as sexists like to imply, they do it as a reaction to the fact that it’s impossible to avoid the male privilege in all such events. It’s impossible to avoid the subconscious hostility, patronization or over-eagerness that exists in male-dominated events and thus a specific event needs to be organized for fans of the hobby in question in order to play in a more relaxed environment. To call this setup discrimination is wilful ignorance which serves as an excuse for asshole-ish acts against it.

So to put it plainly, when there is a male-dominated hobby or job, any attempt to restrict entrance to females can rightly be called discrimination as the reasoning behind it is simply to maintain “purity.” On the other hand, when in the same male-dominated hobby or job, an attempt by the few females that exist to organize a female-only event cannot by any strain of imagination be seen as an attempt to restrict males, since they already dominate. Rather it is an event of solidarity which serves to avoid the very real effects of the male domination.

The same reasoning just as well applies to other marginal groups in different settings. Blacks setting up black-only events in a society dominated by whites and crypto-racist sentiments is also an understandable reaction. And not only that but when the roles have been reversed, when say you have a women-dominated hobby/job, in that case any attempt to restrict entrance to men can rightly be seen as discrimination against males.

In closing, things are not simply black and white on the issue of discrimination. It is the whole of the environment around any such act which provides the ethical considerations we need to in order to decide on the issue. Those ignoring them and simply looking at one such decision in isolation in order to jump on the high horse are simply using intellectual dishonesty in order to hide their sexism.

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Why feminism is simply fighting the symptoms, not the cause

No socialism without feminism
Image by Labour Youth via Flickr

Quoth the Barefoot Bum

I say that feminism and anti-racism are absolutely necessary and central to communism and socialism. But I also say that communism and socialism are also absolutely necessary and central to feminism and anti-racism.

I couldn’t agree more.

However I can expect the reaction of feminists or people targetted by racism when they hear this. Moral indignation that someone might propose that the problem is not what it appears to be. That somehow everything will be alright if we manage to convince enough people to treat women and non-whites equally.

But this is simply treating the symptoms of the disease, not the cause.

Women started becoming a second class citizen as soon as farming came around. Before that time, there was no sexism against women for their house duties were equaly important as the man’s. The man simply owned the tools and skills of the food production while the woman owned the tools and skills of the household.

The problems started occuring when private property came about through the increased production of farming and subsequently slavery. The man thus started owning more and more property (the tools of his trade) while the woman kept owning the same. And because mostly the tools of the man could be used in trade, he started owning the wealth. Thus the role of the woman was marginalized as she was not creating any wealth, and after enough generations, she ended up being treated as inferior.

This is all simplified but it is a historic fact that male sexism and the mistreating of women appeared as soon as private property became the norm. The only reason why women have now started to reclaim some of their equality is because Capitalism has forced them to enter the workforce, and like all exploited people, this exploitation is what is raising the awareness of their inequality.

This inequality is not because of some innate feeling of men to be sexist. It is because men have been the only ones until now who have been creating wealth. And the ones with the wealth wield the power. Thus the women, who were not wielding any power, ended up being considered inferior organically, just because it looked that way. Now that this is changing with more women becoming workers, feminism is becoming more powerful.

But Feminism is not going to remove the strain of sexism from the world, for the Capitalist system demands it. Women will always need to give birth and many of them still give up their careers once they get married. This means that there are more men working, creating wealth and thus wielding the power. And as long as the manhood wields on average more power than womanhood, sexism will exist.

Communism however takes this distinction. There is no wealth, and thus there is no power. The duties of the man, of creating products and bringing food, once again become equal to the woman childbearing. Women staying home to raise their children (or men doing likewise) are not weakened because this kind of work, is still work, even if it does not create wealth.

That is not to say that Feminism cannot achieve victories as it is. This is a given since Capitalism will eventually equalize men and women in its exploitation. But as the Barefoot Bum says, you will only have replaced being exploited for being a woman, to being exploited for being poor. Same shit, different name.

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