A feminist perspective about the feminist perspective

Category: Gender

It’s not discrimination, it’s just good morals

Grab your boots and shovels, because we’re going to Bullshit Corner!

A woman was fired from a dentist’s office because she was too attractive.  But this has nothing to do with gender.

Oh no.

It has everything to do with morals from God.

You see, the dentist, after ten years, decided that he couldn’t control his urges anymore for his secretary, but it wasn’t his fault.  No, it was the devil’s.  And the woman’s.  She just wouldn’t stop being sexually-harassable.  He tried to make her stop, he really did!  He told her the bulge in his pants was an indication of her wrong-doing!  But God love him, he just couldn’t stop her evil ways of being born the way she was.


This pisses me off.  I tried to disbelieve the idea that 7 out of 7 men in the Iowa courts found this to be completely legit, but then when I found out my mind just said, “Yep. Of course that happened.”

I don’t see how people can look at our world and believe that women are being treated equally in the workplace, or that something isn’t wrong with firing without probable cause.  Discrimination is everywhere, and our courts are holding it up as valid!  There is nothing in this situation that is fair.

Oh well.  The internet is fired up for this news, so we’ll see what happens.

AP News

Huffington Post

Mother Jones


National Post



Gender Norms: Creating New Instructions

I wish there were a way for me to be an expert in everything that I write about, but given that I’m 26, I don’t think I’ve had the time.  So, feel free to start the conversation about this when you want to!

Ah, the need to conform to gender norms.  I’m sure we’ve all struggled with this at some point, feeling constrained by what society tells us is right for us to feel, do, wear.  In feminism, I feel like we’ve reached an impasse on what is right.  On the one hand, some of us feel that we can be perfectly happy sticking to gender norms, as long as it is our choice.  On the other hand, some of us feel as though we’ve taken a step back and are objectifying ourselves through being what society considers attractive.

I for one feel good about my gender lines and don’t mind how other people view me.  I’ve already shed my shame about what I wear and do, and I certainly don’t owe apologies to people who consider me trashy.  So why does it matter to other people?

Research has time and again told us that people will stick to gender norms.  People tend to feel positive when they adhere to the social norms that they see and mimic.  Gender norms allow us to comprehend “normal”, and when we succeed in reaching the coveted “normal”, even for a moment, we’re pleased to think that we are more socially acceptable and therefore more lovable. (Gendering the Self: Selective Magazine Reading and Reinforcement of Gender Conformity by Sylvia Knobloch-Westerwick and Gregory Haplamazian)

In fact, when we find materials like magazines that reinforce those stereotypes and we engage in them, we tend to feel more like the gender that we are influenced to be. (Same reference as before)

So why wouldn’t women, even feminists, feel better about themselves when they adhere to social norms?  Feminists may feel an inner guilt for giving in, but the reward system is so strong that we can’t argue with how it makes us feel.

Guidelines and rules are important to human beings, and even if those rules constrain us, it’s a comfort to have them there.  How overwhelming is a model of a plane or a car if there are no instructions?  How much more slowly do we have to build and contemplate what to do?  The stress is more intense!  What if we’re doing something wrong right now, and the model can’t be salvaged?

Likewise, we base our personalities on models of people we grow up around, and what culture tells us our gender is supposed to do.  While some of us break away from these gender norms and rules, many people struggle with the idea that maybe they are doing something wrong, even if they do break away from the norms.  There are no instructions for people who don’t fall into a neat little place in the “normal” scale!  (Conformity to Gender Norms Among Female Student-Athletes: Implications for Body Image by Jessie Steinfeldt, Hailee Carter, Rebecca Zakrajsek, and Matthew Steinfeldt)

This lack of instructions can cause us more stress in all life situations.  Female athletes, for example, can’t grow their strength to their full potential for fear that it will ruin the femininity of their bodies.  They still strive to fit in the gender and sexual norms despite doing what they love to do, and it hinders them.  It may seem as though a woman can’t be as physically strong as a man because they appear to be naturally smaller, but in truth women limit the way their bodies grow in order to stay within the norms. (Same reference as before)

Gender norms also force us to have personalities that are on the opposite spectrum of the opposite sex.  Researchers found that women who tended to be more gender normal were far more different from men than women who moved away from the gender norm.

Together, these results clearly indicate that the social learning of gender, operationalized as the level of conformity to gender norms, plays an important role in personality styles. This would mean that greater or lower compliance to a given set of gender norms leads to differences in personality, and that, regardless of sex, the degree of conformity to these norms establishes differences between people, even within the same sex. Furthermore, those women who adopt and are more identified with what is traditionally expected from them regarding what they should do, think, or feel have personality styles that differ more from those found in men, and those women who comply less with the expectations and feminine norms differ less from men regarding personality styles. Thus, we can state that our data suggest that gender socialization plays an important role in personality differences between men and women, because, when the degree of adherence to gender norms in women is taken into account, the differences with respect to men decrease.

(M. Pilar Sánchez-López, Isabel Cuéllar-Flores, Rosa Limiñana and Javier Corbalán  Differential Personality Styles in Men and Women : The Modulating Effect of Gender Conformity)

Just imagine what kind of lives we could lead and what kind of stereotypes we could crush if we moved away from what society told us gender should be.  Women and men don’t have to be so different from each other, and identifying yourself as a man or a woman despite your genitalia should be no special issue.  Society is dictating our personalities and confining us to being a certain way just because of the way we were born.

The temptation to stay with gender norms is a strong one, and we all struggle with it.  But we can make instructions for other ways of life!  We can learn about different choices and because we would be able to understand them, we could respect them.  Education first, people.  Create instructions for your gender lifestyle, and let other people know that it’s okay to be the way that they are.  The reward system to be happy with yourself will follow.

Calm Down and Stop Hating

Okay, I can’t keep to myself anymore.  It’s time for a good old fashioned rant.


Hey anti-feminists.  How’s it going?  Seething in your hate for me right now because I have a different opinion from you?  I wish I could say that I’m sorry, but I’m not.  I’ve spent this past week looking at nothing but hate for feminists.

How proud you are to hate us.

How you wish we would just let men take back their rightful place.

How selfish we are for wanting to join in on national conversations.

I hear you.  Sort of.  It’s kind of hard to get past all the base insults you keep throwing around.  You keep saying that all we do is throw around insults, while you yourselves keep calling us sheep, bitches, worthless…

You mock us and ask others to join in the hate.  Not two weeks ago I saw a post that was laughing at feminists for sending their support to others who were going to a rally.  What was there to be mocked?

I particularly cringe at the stories that start with, “As we all know”, like everyone has the same exact experience and opinion as you, and feminists are just some creepy sub-species that works to devour reason.

I don’t know why you think it’s okay to tell feminists to shut our mouths while you spew hate.  Why is your opinion the only good one?  How all-knowing could you possibly be?  Do you see yourself as perfect, as God-like?  You must be right because that is the opinion in your head?

That’s pretty damn arrogant.

I know I’m not perfect.  Sometimes I miss parts of conversations, or I confuse statistics.  But I correct myself.  I let other people talk and have their opinions.  I understand that people have different viewpoints from me.

All I ask is that people don’t live life to hurt other people.  But that’s all I’ve seen this week.  People just hating other people, trying to hurt them because they’re different.

Where has the love gone in your life?  Why are you so angry?

Let me tell you why I’m a feminist.  I want to help people.  I want to help the poor get the health care that they need to make their lives better.  I want to expose human trafficking so that it can be stopped.  I want to help create a world where people can walk out onto the streets without being beaten, harassed, raped, kidnapped, killed, or bullied for being a certain gender or living a certain way.  I want safety for future generations.  I want happiness for the people that I love, and people I don’t even know.

It all starts with education and understanding.  It continues with healthy conversations and actions.  I don’t mind that you have a different opinion than me; I just wish that you wouldn’t do it with hate and anger.

So, and I say this with all seriousness, calm down.  I know there is some common ground that we can land on.


Saudi Arabia’s New Project

Yesterday I found a story that fascinated me.  The anthropologist in me wants to study this story from the very beginning, but the undergrad in me knows that without previous research, I’ll never get it approved for my capstone.  So, I’m just going to work on it here!

Saudi Arabia has found a way to work around Sharia law and allow its educated women to move into the workforce.  The project should start next year, in the Eastern part of Hofuf, and should create about 5000 jobs just for the women.

How are they doing this, you ask?  They’re creating an entirely woman run city.

That’s right.  The only way they can find to allow their women to work is to bring them into an area where men will no longer be allowed to go.  Women will be working on all parts of the work process, including managerial, and the project should bring about 133 million dollars into the economy.

To be honest, I am nervous about this project.  Violence against women, especially women trying to gain or who have an education, is horrifically prevalent.  Many of them will probably be walking to that area alone, and call me pessimistic, but in many violent areas women are grabbed and assaulted when they walk anywhere, and I’m afraid this will be no different.

I’ve never heard of another project like this, so I’m anxious and excited to see how it will work out and change the culture.  I’m also curious about what culture will develop in that area.    I’ll probably be posting about it whenever I find new information, so expect updates!

Related Links

The Raw Story


The Jane Dough


NWO Truth

New York Daily News

The Gender Riddle

A father and son are in a car accident.  The father dies instantly, but the son is taken to a hospital.  The doctor comes in and says, “I can’t operate on this boy.”

“Why?” asks the nurse

“Because he’s my son.”

How is this possible?


I couldn’t answer this riddle when I was younger.  The fact that it’s a riddle means that we would have to break past our preconceived notions to solve it.  When we hear the word “doctor”, we are to immediately assume that it is a man, because that is predominantly a man’s field.

And even though when I was a child I used my tea tray as an operating table for my teddy bears, I still couldn’t answer the riddle.  And I realize now why that is.  I knew it was okay to pretend to be a doctor, but I also knew that I would never be one.  In fact, there was no way for me to be a doctor, because that was a man’s job.  I was never convinced otherwise.

I always wanted to be a boy for these sorts of reasons.  It was never that I didn’t feel right in my body; it was that I wanted the freedom of choice that boys had.  I hated being handed a softball instead of a baseball.  I despised the high heels of my barbie dolls.  Where were my choices?  Where was Barbie’s choice to wear some frigging jeans?  Why were the girls in the Babysitter’s Club so constantly nice and all knowing?  Didn’t they get angry and kick someone?

Even now, I don’t entirely relate to girls who are girls to the hilt.  I’m not upset with them for it; I just don’t understand.  I want to do boy things in predominantly boy settings.  I want to LARP, play Dungeons and Dragons and video games, and I always want listen to raunchy jokes.  I enjoy doing these activities everyday!  (And I cannot wait to start playing Warhammer 40K.  Necrons!)

And yet, the choice that I made, the same choice that many boys made, has created a situation where I’m told that I’m just looking for attention.  That I’m just pretending to like these activities so that boys will like me.

Screw that.  I want my decisions to be based on the same criteria as any male.  Sure, I’m a huge nerd.  But I’m proud to be a huge nerd, and I shouldn’t have to justify that!  Reach outside your preconceived notions.  Break the stereotypes of my gender.  Solve the riddle.


I Have No Uniform for my Sexuality

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that I present myself to the world.  I’ve never been conservative in my dress, but I’ve always made sure that it had nothing to do with just being blatantly sexual.  Some of my clothes choices might be considered sexual by some people, but I’m not sure how they can justify their judgements.  I wear clothes because I love the way that I look!  My personality is on my sleeve, so to speak.

Anyway, this quote angered me.  What is a “whore uniform”?  A little ankle, as in the old days?  A calf, a knee, a wrist, an elbow?  Not having these body parts covered used to be considered scandalous, and it took us a long time to allow ourselves and others to dress the way they wanted.  Unless we want to go back to being entirely covered, there is no justification in calling what someone wears a “whore uniform”, and there is certainly no reason to change how you treat them based on what they wear.

If I wear a tie, does that mean that I’m imitating a man?  Should people come up to me and address me as “sir”?  No, because that would be ridiculous.  I think we are putting too much emphasis on what clothes are relegated to.  Maybe we’re wearing shorts and skirts because it’s damn hot outside.  I know I am.  I also love twirling in my skirts.  It’s fun to dance, to mix and match, to be bright and colorful.  My mind isn’t on whether or not I’m wearing a “uniform” when I put on my clothes.  There is no woman who has a uniform that forces her into a single mindset or a character trait.

PS:  No one should be treated like a whore.  That’s just wrong.


What Gender are You?

Gender has always been a confusing topic for me.  It’s not so much that one could be male or female.  I understand the biological forces behind being treated a certain gender.  It’s when someone isn’t mentally that gender.  I want to use the right words, treat them the right way, relate to them in the way they want to be related to.  The terms confuse me the most, and I’m not afraid of admitting that sometimes I just don’t get it.  So, for those who are confused with me, allow me to learn along with you.

Transgender:  Okay, so this is the first word I learned about not identifying with one’s original gender.  You feel you are the other gender, and are trapped inside your body.  It has to be a frightening experience.  Why can’t people understand that we don’t have to fit into certain gender roles?  And I know a lot of the times it isn’t just that.  It’s… feeling like your skin doesn’t fit.  Like someone stole the body you were meant to have, and the only way to get it is through expensive surgery.  It has to suck.

This has nothing to do with sex.  If a women feels she should have been a man, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is attracted to other women.

Transgender according to the internet (Wikipedia, if that’s okay with you guys):

  • “Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.”[2]
  • “People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.”[3]
  • “Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”[4]

Cisgender:  I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I’ve tried to understand, and I wish someone could explain it to me.  As far as I know, it’s being satisfied with the gender that you were assigned at birth and all the baggage that comes with it.  Are you the epitome of the girly girl and the manly man?  Is it being irritated with being slightly like the other gender?  I know I’m not cisgender, because I love being a boyish girl, even if sometimes I also like to be girly.

Cisgender according to the internet (Wiktionary!):

  1. (LGBT, of a person) Identifying with or experiencing a gender the same as one’s biological sex or that is affirmed by society, e.g. being both male-gendered & male-sexed.

Pangender/Bigender: This I hadn’t heard of until tonight.  The general idea is that you don’t identify as either male or female, but a conglomeration of both.  I like the idea behind it.  I don’t see why we have to conform to gender roles, or even need to feel male or female on any particular day.  Just be and let be!

Pangender/Bigender according to the internet (Wikipedia): a term used to describe people who feel that they cannot be labeled as male or female in gender. As such it has a great deal of overlap with genderqueer. Pangender people feel that they do not fit into binary genders, instead identifying as mixed gender (both male and female) or as a third gender.

Third gender: This is clearly a recognized gender in other areas of the world.  The western world is rather limited in its view of gender, and it’s probably part of the reason that I can’t understand other genders.  I think maybe this is about the same as pangender.  I know it doesn’t have anything to do with being a hermaphrodite.

Third gender according to the internet (Wikipedia): The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are categorized (by their will or by social consensus) as neither man nor woman, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders.

Androgynous: As I understand it, being androgynous is having both female and male characteristics.  It’s difficult to know if they are male and female, especially when they dress in a way that doesn’t define their gender, such as in dresses.  I also know there is a lot of discrimination that comes from this, because you are constantly degraded for not fitting into one form.  Of course, that could happen with any gender type, but I’ve seen it happen with this.  I think that’s ridiculous.  Why do we always have to fit into forms and roles?

I know.  I’ve said it several times.  I don’t mean to repeat myself, but it is bothering me that we don’t distinguish in our culture.

Androgynous according to the internet (Bing dictionary):

blending masculine and feminine: neither male nor female in appearance but having both conventional masculine and feminine traits and giving an impression of ambiguous sexual identity

“androgynous looks”
physiology hermaphrodite: having both male and female physical characteristics
Well, anyway, I hope I haven’t insulted anybody.  I really just want to understand.  I hate when I’m insensitive to someone anytime, but especially out of ignorance.  Discrimination should be diminished, and we have to start by learning the terms.
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