Let’s examine a traditionally male-dominated role that is very well-respected, and well-paid, in many parts of the world — that of a doctor. In the UK, it is listed as one of the top ten lucrative careers, and the average annual income of a family doctor in the US is well into six figures. It also confers on you significant social status, and a common stereotype in Asian communities is of parents encouraging their children to become doctors.
One of my lecturers at university once presented us with this thought exercise: why are doctors so highly paid, and so well-respected? Our answers were predictable. Because they save lives, their skills are extremely important, and it takes years and years of education to become one. All sound, logical reasons. But these traits that doctors possess are universal. So why is it, she asked, that doctors in Russia are so lowly paid? Making less than £7,500 a year, it is one of the lowest paid professions in Russia, and poorly respected at that. Why is this?
The answer is crushingly, breathtakingly simple. In Russia, the majority of doctors are women. Here’s a quote from Carol Schmidt, a geriatric nurse practitioner who toured medical facilities in Moscow: “Their status and pay are more like our blue-collar workers, even though they require about the same amount of training as the American doctor… medical practice is stereotyped as a caring vocation ‘naturally suited‘ to women, [which puts it at] a second-class level in the Soviet psyche.”
What this illustrates perfectly is this — women are not devalued in the job market because women’s work is seen to have little value. It is the other way round. Women’s work is devalued in the job market because women are seen to have little value.
A 2007 Rhode Island study looked at 30 men and 30 women who had just had coronary-artery bypass surgery and tracked the medications they were given. The researchers were astonished to find that men got pain medications, while women got sedatives. With chronic pain problems, women’s symptoms are often minimized.
Judy Foreman, author of A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem, looks at the prevalence of chronic pain and how we treat it differently in men and women. (via oupacademic)
I’m horrified but not astonished.
Most girls are relentlessly told that we will be treated how we demand to be treated. If we want respect, we must respect ourselves.
This does three things. Firstly, it gets men off the hook for being held accountable for how they treat women. And secondly, it makes women feel that the mistreatment and sometimes outright violence they face due to their gender is primarily their fault. And thirdly, it positions women to be unable to speak out against sexism because we are made to believe any sexism we experience would not have happened if we had done something differently.
I cannot demand a man to respect me. No more than I can demand that anybody do anything. I can ask men to be nice to me. But chances are if I even have to ask he does not care to be nice. I can express displeasure when I’m not being respected. But that doesn’t solve the issue that I was disrespected in the first place.
I can choose to not deal with a man once he proves to be disrespectful and/or sexist. But even that does not solve the initial problem of the fact that I had to experience being disrespected in the first place.
As a young girl, I wish that instead of being told that I needed to demand respect from men that I had been told that when I am not respected by men that it’s his fault and not mine. But that would require that we quit having numerous arbitrary standards for what it means to be a “respectable” woman. It would mean that I am not judged as deserving violence based on how I speak, what I wear, what I do, and who I am.
excerpt from “FYI, I Cannot “Demand” Respect From Men so Stop Telling Me That!" @ One Black Girl. Many Words. (via fajazo)
We need to start teaching all young boys to be accountable. We’ve failed our young boys and girls for too long.
I don’t know what asshole invented the idea that teenage girls are the cause for all evil, but I really hope that person never has to raise one. I don’t want him to see her dissolve in his fingers as society tells her to eat less, be thinner, be the damsel in distress, be something for a man to fix, be different but not too different, be special but never ever a special snowflake - I don’t want him to watch as she realizes that no matter what she loves, she’ll be made fun of for it. She can simply like her coffee from Starbucks and suddenly she’s vapid and thinks herself poetic. She’ll want to play video games but be called a fake nerd, particularly if she poses in any remotely flirtatious way because for some reason despite the entire community playing games with poorly dressed women they still hate it when a real girl wears less clothing, she will be seen as trespassing in a specifically male space - but when she falls in love with a female-based television show for children, she’ll watch as men step on themselves to sexualize it. If she wants old-fashion romance she’s seen as being naive but at the same time is told to keep herself ‘pure’ for some dude that might not hurt her. If she admits to being anything, she makes herself a target. She will be told her worth is based on how much a man values her. She might love to cook but she’ll hate being asked to stay in the kitchen, she might love to read but get told she’s too introverted by half the population and ‘not that special’ by the other. If she loves to go out and party, she’s ‘just another college co-ed,’ if she loves to spend her friday nights watching anime, she’s a shut-in. God forbid she be proud of something: the words “I’m different from other girls” are a death sentence because we live in a society that doesn’t want to see women like that, a society that doesn’t like the idea maybe we all are actually different and not carbon copies of each other, maybe we all would like to feel unique and loved and worth knowing - maybe the real problem is that she will be raised to believe being a girl means silicone and photoshop and dying as a way to move forwards a plot - and she doesn’t want to be seen as that. When she says “I’m not like other girls,” she means she’s not like the girls she sees on tv, these invented two-dimensional creatures that say one line and then get chased down by monsters.
She can try all she likes. She’ll be shut down at every single fucking turn. What she doesn’t know is that they’re getting her ready for when she’s grown up because she’ll be so used to being stepped on she’ll just give up. Why respect women when you don’t even respect little girls?
And when she is burning up, when she mentions that her insides are volcanoes and her skin is too thin to contain them: she will be told she is hysterical, that she’s doing it for attention.
I don’t want him to watch as she shuts down, as she learns to live as a paradox, I don’t want him to see her rip herself to shreds in order to be perfect, I don’t want him to realize that there’s no way she’ll get help because she’s only doing what she’s told.
when we talk about women in refrigerators it’s not always something super literal
i don’t imagine in writers room across the globe they’re all sitting there like “well we’re out of ideas let’s fridge another one” (but maybe they do i have no idea)
but what’s happening consciously or unconsciously writers are deciding that women are more valuable dead then alive. this goes way back. this is poe saying there’s nothing more poetic than the death of a beautiful woman. this is a dozen pre raphaelite paintings of ophelia drowning because they found her suffering erotic. this is the first reaction to laura palmer’s body being found being, “she was so beautiful.”
fuck this. fuck this.
i’m sick of writers getting passes. fuck this. our strong women are taken from us. we don’t get survivors. we don’t get triumph. women get chopped into artistic little pieces for the male heroes to choke own because we’re more valuable this way. because this way you don’t have to worry about our hopes and fears and opinions because we’re dead and dead women tell no tales. they can’t speak out against injustice because men took their tongues. and they think it’s beautiful. death, the ultimate passivity, the ultimate waiting room, is the most beautiful thing of all. there’s nothing more poetic than the death of a beautiful woman.
women matter. they matter when they are living. not listening to women while they’re still breathing is a failure and should not be regarded as anything else. it is a failure with very serious effects
#it’s a combination of this I think and the desire to see men punished #women are punishments the same way they are rewards #you love your hero? give him a beautiful girlfriend #you want to see him punished? or you want to see him in pain? or you need to motivate him towards your story? #take that woman away #kill her brutally and make it his fault #make him feel it #it’s because men are the Subject and women are the Object #men are the Self and woman are the Other #they don’t put themselves in a woman’s shoes because they are quite literally unable #they don’t see women as people or as fully realized characters so they are fully comfortable killing them off because it very much does not matter to them #maybe they feel a pang of sadness #but it’s the hero’s sadness they feel #they mourn his loss not her death #they feel empathy for his pain not her death #so much of the time she does not even rate consideration as a factor #and it’s fucking disgusting
Within patriarchal culture, the girl who does not feel loved in her family of origin is given another chance to prove her worth when she is encouraged to seek love from males. Schoolgirl crushes, mad obsessions, compulsive longings for male attention and approval indicate that she is rightly pursuing her gendered destiny, on the road to becoming the female who can be nothing without a man. Whether she is heterosexual or homosexual, the extent to which she yearns for patriarchal approval will determine whether she is worthy to be loved. This is the emotional uncertainty that haunts the lives of all females in patriarchal culture. From the start, then, females are confused about the nature of love. Socialized in the false assumption that we will find love in the place where femaleness is deemed unworthy and consistently devalued, we learn early to pretend that love matters more than anything, when in actuality we know that what matters most, even in the wake of feminist movement, is patriarchal approval.
It is interesting then that second-wave feminism, as expressed in the US during the sixties and seventies, was largely scornful of the status of women of indigenous cultures and assumed not only that all women in such cultures were victims of patriarchal systems but also that there was no expression of female power within them. The general view was that women who lived without access to modern technology had little or no real power. Some influential feminist voices that were otherwise quite insightful almost exclusively saw motherhood as a trap to women’s advancement, one that should be avoided by whatever means possible. References to babies as "parasites" and phrases such as "baby pollution" were commonly heard, and anyone who advocated more natural ways of giving birth than the norm in the seventies was considered by many to be a traitor to her gender.
I don’t know if some of you have been to these live reads at LACMA, where a classic film is read live on stage by actors who just sit and read the script. We did one recently of American Pie, but we reversed the gender roles. All the women played men; all the men played women. And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles — they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments — the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast.
It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, “It’s boring to play the girl role!” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!
Before John Green, his general category of realistic (non-fantasy) YA was rife with teen angst and “issues” fiction that you might have associated with the legendary Judy Blume, or with newer writers like Sarah Dessen or Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson’s classic 1999 novel Speak, about a high schooler struggling to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault, was so influential that three years later Penguin launched an entire imprint named after it. One of the books launched under the behest of Speak was Green’s Looking for Alaska. But it’s Green whose name you’re more likely to know today, not Anderson’s, although Anderson has won more awards and written more books.
On Twitter, Green has 2 million followers. Compared to the rest of the leaders in Young Adult fiction, that number is staggering. To approach even half the Twitter influence of John Green all by himself, you need an entire army of YA women. Anderson, Blume, Dessen, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, Rainbow Rowell, Maureen Johnson, Malinda Lo, Holly Black, LJ Smith, Ellen Hopkins, Shannon Hale, Lauren Myracle, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and Leigh Bardugo: As a group these women only have about 1.2 million followers on Twitter. That’s the voice of one man outweighing several decades of women who have had major successes, critical acclaim, and cultural influence.
2013 Accomplishments in Feminism:
- January 16, NY Times: "Kerry Washington Becomes the First Black Network TV Lead Actress in 40 Years."
- February 12, The Guardian: "US Senate renews domestic violence bill despite Republican opposition"
- February 27, The Washington Post: "100 years after suffrage march, activists walk in tradition of Inez Milholland"
- February 28, Mother Jones: "GOP Caves, Stops Blocking Violence Against Women Act"
- March 4, USA Today: "Obamacare critics’ big complaint: Contraceptives"
- March 23, Feministing: "Zerlina Maxwell Speaks Out Against Rape Culture on Fox News"
- March 26, PolicyMic: "GLAAD Expands Mission to Include Transgender Rights"
- May 2, Think Progress: "Women’s Health Groups Slam Obama Admin’s Fight To Maintain Age Restrictions On Plan B"
- May 2, The New York Times: "Obama Picks Nominees for Commerce Dept. and Trade Representative"
- June 6, The Nation: "Walmart Strikers Target Waltons, as NOW Calls Out Obamas"
- June 25, Rolling Stone: "Senator Wendy Davis Holds 11 Hour Filibuster to Block Anti-Choice Bill"
- June 28, POLITICO: "Obama Administration Finalizes Free Contraception Coverage Policy"
- July 7, The Windy City Times: "Transgender issues discussed at NOW conference"
- July 12, BBC, "Malala Yousafzai Speaks At United Nations About Girls’ Rights to Education on her 16th Birthday"
- July 26, Mother Jones "Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA and Proposition 8 on the Same Day"
- August 13, US News "Calif. Governer Signs Transgender Students Rights Bill"
- August 24, USA Today: "Women play larger role in 2nd March on Washington"
- August 28, POLITICO: "Women’s groups push hard for Janet Yellen for Fed job"
- August 31, Times of India "Indian Gang Rapists Light Punishment Sparks Massive Global Protests"
- September 12, Colorlines: "100 Women Risk Arrest for Immigration Reform"
- September 12, The New York Times: "Women’s Groups Rally for Immigration Reform"
- September 15, The Nation: "The Populist Rebellion That Tripped Up Larry Summers"
- September 26, PolicyMic: "Marissa Alexander, Jailed for Self-Defense Shooting, Released on Bond"
- October 3, CBS News: "Wendy Davis Announces She’s Running for Texas Governor"
- November 19, Village Voice: "Feminist Comedian’s Telethon Raises $50,000 for Abortion Rights in Texas"
- November 20, Ms. Magazine: "Gloria Steinam Receives Top Nation Honor For Women’s Rights Work"
- November 21, LA Times: "Engineering Toy Marketed to Girls Raises $285,000 on KickStarter"
- December 15, The Washington Post: "Celebvocate: Kelly Rutherford on equal rights in family court"
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