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"
You were saying?
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities
Let’s stop claiming that certain genders and sexualities “reinforce the gender binary.” In the past, that tactic has been used to dismiss butches and femmes, bisexuals, trans folks and our partners, and feminine people of every persuasion. Gender isn’t some faucet that we can turn on and off in order to appease other people, whether they be heterosexist bigots or queerer-than-thou hipsters. How about this: Let’s stop pretending that we have all the answers, because when it comes to gender, none of us is fucking omniscient.
In one experiment, mothers were asked to guess the steepness of a carpeted slope that their 11-month olds would be able to crawl. Then the children actually crawled the slope, and the difference between actual and mother-predicted angles was noted.
The results showed that both boys and girls were able to crawl the same degree of incline. However, the predictions of the mothers were correct within one degree for the boys and underestimated their daughter’s ability by nine degrees.
What this shows is that the presumption that boys are more physical causes parents to encourage their boys more in physical activities while cautioning their girls. This further translates into providing more opportunities for boys to be physical and fewer for girls. The result?
Boys actually do develop stronger physical skills than girls. But not because of anything innate or biological, but rather because of the gender roles that the parents subconsciously projected onto their babies.
The experiment mentioned is available in full HERE.
My mistrust [of men] is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man—the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonization of the feminine in everyday conversation, the accusations of overreaction, the eye rolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets in my presence.
If men’s kindnesses toward women were really only kindnesses, a man would be pleased if another man or woman offered these kindnesses to him. He would be pleased if another man or woman lit his cigarette or pulled out his chair for him. He would be pleased to derive his income, prestige, power and even his identity from his partner. He would take pride in another man’s or woman’s offer to walk him to his car at night. But in fact, “one of the very nasty things that can happen to a man is his being treated or seen as a woman, or womanlike.
The big secret about the golden age of “male providers” is that it never existed. First, women have always worked. Second, and just as importantly, there have always been men who were too poor, too queer, too sensitive, too disabled, too compassionate or simply too clever to submit to whatever model of “masculinity” society relied upon to keep its wars fought and its factories staffed. “Traditional masculinity”, like “traditional femininity”, is a form of social control, and seeking to reassert that control is no answer to a generation of young men who are quietly drowning in a world that doesn’t seem to want them.
Men’s rights activists don’t organize marches; they don’t build shelters or raise funds for abused men; they don’t organize prostate cancer-awareness events or campaign against prison rape. What they actually do, when they’re not simply carping in comments online, is target and harass women—from feminist writers and professors to activists—in an attempt to silence them.
Ugly is more than a physical description. For a woman, it’s meant to be shorthand for worthless, undesirable, and undeserving. And lesbians are by popular definition ugly women. This categorization of dykes as ugly serves a purpose. It’s not only meant to make claiming the identity less appealing, it also provides a perfect explanation for why some women choose women over men. In fact, it’s meant to rob us of that choice: presumably, we are involved with women because we are too ugly to attract a man’s attention. The problem is, we don’t seem to be aware of how ugly we really are.