Sunday, February 25, 2007

Evil Lib-ruls and Feminazis

It's funny to think about how strongly feminist (and mostly liberal) I am, considering the fact that my parents are both conservative Republicans and listeners of Limbaugh. Today I talked to my dad, and he mentioned that there is going to be a "conservative response" to The Daily Show. (I did my own searching and found out about The 1/2 Hour News Hour here. Yeah, Faux News is pretty much a staple at my parents' house, so I'm not surprised that the show is broadcast from there.)

Of course, I reminded him that when he listened to shows that vilified liberals and feminists, he should think of me, his own flesh and blood, and remember that I'm not a bad person, nor am I an unreasonable person. I told him I was the kind of person that Rush Limbaugh would hate, and he didn't believe me.

I don't really have much to say about this, I just hope that I provided enough of a human link for my parents to realize that when they listen to that crap on the radio and TV about what feminists and liberals are really like, they think about me, and they realize that it's not really true.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Upcoming Events

I'm still not used to living close to a city (OK I'm an hour away from Boston, but that's a lot closer to a major city than where I grew up), so I only recently started taking advantage of all the neat things that happen during the weekends. I already have a couple major events that I want to go to this March:

1. MFA screening of China Blue on Saturday, March 8. It's a movie about a blue jeans factory in China, and it focuses on the lives of the women and girls who run the machines. It looks really interesting because it doesn't just focus on the bad factory conditions, but it also looks into what these people are actually like. On a funny note, the guy who made the movie also made a fake propaganda film about the factory to appease the guy who runs the company (who thought that the footage was going to be used in a positive light).

2. Wheelock College's conference about pornography, pop culture, and feminist theory, March 23-25. I get to meet so few actual feminists who know something about theory, so that's one reason I want to go. The other is because I'm not so familiar with the debate on the pornification of culture (hey go easy on me, I have two jobs, I don't have time to research everything). It sounds pretty darn interesting, and I hope that I can meet some people to discuss theory with.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I read a post lately at Feministing about the so-called IWF denouncing feminism for making girls and women "sluttier" and saying how feminism promotes a "hook-up" culture. And I've been watching mainstream news more often than I would've liked this past week. If they're not discussing Anna Nicole (and by "discussing", I mean showing pictures of her barely concealed bosom and of the contents of her fridge), they're discussing the effect that Britney, Paris, and Lindsay (so infamous we no longer need to use their last names) are having on young girls, based on the fact that they party a lot and don't wear panties. (No underwear? Alert the media!)

I've heard many times how feminists are the ones responsible for women becoming "sluts". (Unlike men, but hey, I wouldn't want to cramp a playa's style.) Here's a thought: if more money was spent on adequate sex education, if parents didn't get offended at the mention of the word "vagina", if teenagers (mostly girls, but I know boys also have insecurity issues) were talked to earlier about sex and respecting one's body, maybe they wouldn't feel the urge to let just anybody touch them. Maybe if girls were taught that "the first love is self love" (something a friend of mine once found in a fortune cookie), they would feel more comfortable touching their "dirty" parts.

Parents tend to take the "I'll Tell You When You're Older"or "Ask Me Any Questions You Want" approach when confronting their kids with the issue of sex. The problem with the first approach is that kids are naturally curious, and telling a child that you won't talk about something until they're a certain age makes it a taboo subject and lets your child know that there certain subjects that they can't get information from you about, even when they're the "right" age. The second approach appears to be more open, but honestly, what questions is a child going to have about sex? If you want your child to understand more than just the general mechanics, you have to be the one to volunteer the information. Otherwise, they will find out elsewhere, whether it's from their friends or someone who is having sex with them.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Man in the Box

It's my fourth day in my new job and already I'm "out" as a feminist. I've kind of joked about it, and I haven't been as abrasive about my views as I might normally be around people I'm more comfortable with, but it's work, so I've learned to tone it down for the sake of getting along with my coworkers (I'd rather fight my battles when my job security is better).

Anyway, I brought up the fact that I was feminist, and that launched one of my dudely coworkers into a tirade about how feminism has chipped away at the spirits of men, so that they're only shells of their former, glorious selves. To illustrate his point, he drew a square on the board. He pointed out that men used to be able to do whatever they wanted, so they had all the room they wanted in this square. Then feminists came along (at this point he shaded 1/3 of the square) and told men they couldn't behave in certain ways. Then more feminists came along (and there goes another 1/3 of the square) and men were even more restricted in how they could act, until finally (everything but a small portion of the square is shaded at this point) men were only able to behave according to a small amount of behaviors.

I'm not sure exactly what his point was. Men are restricted as to how to behave? You mean they can't just go around treating their wives as slaves-with-benefits? Maybe he was referring to the "good ol' days," where dudes could be dudes, and girls could be virgins or sluts. I tried to point out that stereotypical dude behavior was mostly enforced by other dudes ("Dude, I'm not gay or anything!"), but my point was lost. I don't know why people can't understand that feminism does not seek to immasculate men, but rather to liberate them from patriarchy. It was interesting that my coworker chose to use a box to represent how guys have been allowed to act within society, because he probably didn't realize that the box represented patriarchal values.

And on to a separate, but important, issue: the whole vulva vs. vagina thing really bothers me. The vulva contains all of the external parts of the female reproductive system, and the vagina is simply the passage between the cervix and the hymen. But why do we refer to the vulva as the vagina? Perhaps because the patriarchy values the vagina most of all. Not only is it the passage from the womb (the battleground of the woman, where the patriarchy seeks to control entrance and exit), but it's also the passage to dude-hood, whereby a dude transitions from a boy to a man, simply through sticking himself inside. The clitoris? Pubic mound? Labia? These things are of no concern to a dude, they just get in the way of his groin spasm (unless he's one of those modern dudes who measures his manhood by how often he can make his woman fake it).

The urge to correct people when they say "vagina" and they mean "vulva" is really hard for me to control. It's only slightly less annoying than, say, when people say they "could" care less versus they "couldn't" (and I've gotten in the argument before with people convinced that they actually *could* care less about something).