Archive | June, 2010

The Nation- Women on Top

29 Jun

Katha Pollit writes a phenomenal op-ed in the Nation which illustrates quite candidly my thoughts on “The End of Men” article. And to reiterate my original sentiments: while I’m overjoyed that women are enjoying greater economic and social success, the playing field between the sexes is hardly level. No, it will be several generations before girls will truly experience an egalitarian society.

“American males are bathed from birth in pop culture that reveres the most childish, most retrograde, most narcissistic male fantasies, from misogynistic rap to moronic action movies. Where would they get the idea that they should put away the video game and do their homework? That social work or schoolteaching is a good life for a man? Girls get a ton of sexist messages, too. But even if they grow up hating their bodies and dressing like prostitutes, they know that if they don’t want to end up waitressing, they’ve got to hit the books and make a plan.”

When I was growing up, college was my only option. While my brothers could make a decent living with only a high school education, I was well aware that I could either marry and spend my life in service to some man, or I could get an education, forge a career and garner financial independence. I am so thankful I chose the latter.

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“Ima Spender” baby teether for little girls. *palmface*

24 Jun

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This is atrocious on so many levels. Their is nothing “heelarious” about promoting bad credit through baby teethers. Reminds me of all the baby crap for girls that’s splattered with “Diva” and “Shopaholic” and “Daddy’s Little Drama Queen” sayings. What are we teaching our children? That harmful gender sterotypes are cute? Ughhhh.

The Nation: Mama Grizzlies to Working Moms: Drop Dead.

18 Jun

http://www.thenation.com/article/mama-grizzlies-working-moms-drop-dead

This whole Palin-esque “mama grizzlies” phenomena sweeping the nation is, from a progressive feminist standpoint, a giant crock of you-know-what. I have many friends, colleagues and family members who identify themselves as conservatives and I respect their well-informed opinions regarding fiscal responsibility, financial reform, taxation, etc. But what I have yet to understand is this giant push by the GOP to appeal to women’s lib through what can be characterized by nothing other than “anti-woman” policies.

This article in The Nation does an excellent job of illustrating exactly how anti-woman the GOP is becoming. By slashing funding for essential programs like education and child care assistance, the GOP is forcing women to either go on welfare or resign themselves to dependence upon a male breadwinner. By not giving women the tools and support they need to progress economically, the GOP is remaining a party that represents big business interests and white males who earn a quarter million dollars per year or more.

While I rejoice in the idea that “the year of the woman” has produced so much political progress for women candidates, this seemingly positive event could have very grave consequences for women, and more specifically, working women.

“That being said, it’s maddening that a party that has resisted every advance of feminism and undermined women’s economic strength at every turn now claims to embody ‘the overall triumph of the women’s movement,'”

It reminds me of a sad fact: one of the greatest impediments to women’s liberation is not men, but in fact other women. Continue reading

The End of Men? Not so much.

16 Jun

I watched an episode of Colbert this morning and the topic was a recent article printed in the Atlantic Daily, an article entitled, “The End of Men.” Naturally, a headline like that is going to peek interest so I instantly googled the hell out of “The End of Men.”

My Google search produced a very long, yet well-researched article and social commentary written by Hanna Rosin on how women are essentially taking over the world by becoming better educated, more financially independent and less male dependent. She quotes some of my favorite feminist philosophers like Simone de Beuvoir, although, and I might be wrong, some of Rosin’s quotes are taken out of context. She talks about the growing movement from a preference for sons towards a preference for daughters because women, having entered the work force en mass during the 1960s and 70s, are quickly surpassing men and are, by Rosin’s analysis, better equipped to handle today’s economy and culture.

I agree with most of what the article has to say, but as the mother of sons whom I love beyond description, it’s a tough pill to swallow, this idea that my sons will really have no place in society as adults, it seems a bit extreme. She explains, quite accurately I might add, that boys typically mature later in life and have tradionally relied on muscle power, not brain power, to earn their place in the world. She points out that in the Great Recession, 3 out of 4 of the jobs lost were jobs held by men. The number of women professionals is growing, and women are becoming more likely than men to graduate from college with a degree. Women’s progress is hard to ignore.

But by Rosin’s analysis, I should be the perfect example of these new “Alpha Females” taking over. I mean, I’m a college-educated professional woman, I raise my children without a breadwinner, in fact, I raise them with no man at all. I enjoy financial independence, a graduate degree, career advancements, and the occasional international vacation. I should feel equal to my male counterparts, should I not? I don’t feel equal actually. It’s difficult for me to empathize or understand this so-called “war on men” when, as a woman, I am still not adequately represented by my government. Only 16% of American lawmakers are women and everyone is aware of the fact no woman has been elected president. Look at the abysmal statistics regarding female CEOs and Fortune 500 female professionals. This is not even to mention the sexual harassment, objectification, rape, pregnancy discrimination and other plights women face.

I struggle with this idea that one sex has to be better or that if statistics lean in favor of women, that automatically means men are being trampled upon. I don’t deny biological differences but at the same time, I don’t agree with using them in order to force an idea that has no grounding. Statistics do not prove social trends, they might be indicative but they are not proof. The title of “The End of Men” might be believable if it were Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief and Wall Street was dominated by the ladies. But it’s not. Women are still homemakers (whether by choice or not), still teachers and nurses and care-givers. And men are politicians, doctors, engineers and other “breadwinning” high-paying professions.

Simply put, I think the idea of “the end of men” is a gross exaggeration. Just as women are much more than the babies they birth and the sexual arousal they elicit, men by the same token, are more than just sperm and a paycheck. People are valuable because of what they do and how they live, not what they earn or what role the fill in society, and certainly not what gender or sex they are born.

NYT Opinionator: Bernstein on The Very Angry Tea Party

15 Jun

I came across this article yesterday about the tea party and I can’t seem to get it off my mind. Bernstein’s analysis is absolutely spot-on and the style of his writing, while dense, is extremely eloquent. This in particular struck me:

“The opposing metaphysical claim, the one I take to be true, is that the very idea of the autonomous subject is an institution, an artifact created by the practices of modern life: the intimate family, the market economy, the liberal state. Each of these social arrangements articulate and express the value and the authority of the individual; they give to the individual a standing she would not have without them.” (3)

 I like Berstein’s analysis. No one likes to admit they are a product of their environment; instead they like to believe they possess the power to control the environment in which they live. Americans are very much about the control and the tea party especially. The entire premise behind this “faux Libertarian” movement is the idea of citizens regaining control of big bad government. This common myth that government is out to get the people and can never be a force for positive change, only bad, is grossly false. While I maintain that government is not exempt from its share of corruption and greed and mistakes, it’s still largely good. The sources of corruption in modern-day society that I see, does not come from any administration or governing body, but instead from big business, corporate America, and all the other money-slinging heavyweights in Washington, or in other words, they very people who fund the Tea Party movement.

Shalom!

15 Jun

I’ve been playing around with the idea of creating a blog for a very very long time now. I admit that I previously viewed blogging as a complete and utter waste of time; but alas, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have stuff to say, links to share, articles to summarize, etc. and since Facebook has its limits, I am forced to blog.    : )