Gender essentialism is the assumption that women are naturally like this, while men are naturally like that, and nature made it so and anyone who deviates from that pattern is a freak. Most commonly it comes in the form of “women are naturally submissive and men are naturally dominant”.
This is an absolutely unprovable statement. It is an opinion, not a fact. Look at the amount of gender conditioning we receive from infancy: different colors for girls and boys (in some cultures), commercials proclaiming boys like toy guns and trucks while girls like dollies that pee. Throughout life, we are punished for deviating from our cultural gender norms, and yet very few people find it easy to avoid those deviations.
“Society has a problem with female nudity when it is not … ”—Badu pauses to get her words together; she wants this point to be very clear—“… when it is not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. Then it becomes confusing.”—
“Feminism (at least my brand) doesn’t oppose sexiness, but it opposes compulsory sexiness… If women could be sexy on our own time—if looking and acting sexual was an indicator that we were actually interested in being sexy, rather than just doing what we gotta—then sexiness would mean something. We’d realize that actually, women aren’t sexless when left to our own devices. We’d discover the many different things that make women feel sexy (some of us kinda rock the cargo pants, thank you) and we’d be more comfortable with women being unsexy when they had other shit to do.
“There’s no such thing as a “fake woman”. A real woman may be your best friend or your worst idealogical enemy. They’re fat, skinny, and everything in-between, some shave their legs and some don’t, some have vaginas and some have penises (and some have both), some are near-saints and some are murderers, and some are even Sarah Palin. It’s no good to pick out your favorite group of women and single them out as “real women” because of their biology, psychology, or ideology. There’s no point in feminism unless it’s working for the equality of ALL women, not just the ones you agree with and like.”—
“Being a feminist doesn’t mean suddenly no longer liking problematic things. If you stopped liking everything that was sexist in media and entertainment there would be no media or entertainment left. Being a feminist, to me, is being aware of what it is you’re liking, and of its problematic aspects.”—sabrina_il (via tumblinfeminist)
Cat calls. Cougars. Sex objects. Recent research suggests that these are not just expressions; some male brains neurologically deny sexualized women “humanity.”
A study by Princeton psychologists hooked up men to an fMRI machine. After being hooked up, these men were shown pictures of both men and women. Some were scantily clothed; some were not.
The results showed that images of people activated the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is highly involved in social cognition (e.g., recognizing human faces, when separating one person from another).
The exception was when men high in sexism viewed pictures of sexually dressed women. These pictures did not activate the mPFC for sexist males. This suggests that these men’s brains did not perceive these women as fully human.This study is consistent with the work of University of Padova researchers. They found that when women were dressed sexually (compared to when they weren’t), people implicitly associated them more with animals.
Other research has found that merely focusing on a woman’s appearance (fully dressed) is enough for people (men and women) to dehumanize a woman. Specifically, we found that people assign female targets less “human nature traits” when focus is on their appearance. These traits are perceived by humans to separate people from machines, automata and objects.
Another study found that these women are seen as less moral (sincere, trusting) and less emotionally warm (likable, warm).
These findings are also consistent with a wide range of work showing that objectified women are perceived as less competent. Interestingly, research even finds that when men view sexualized pictures of women, they subsequently view a female experimenter as doing a worse job. In other words, men “carried over” their views of the sexualized women to another woman, who was not scantily dressed.
And lastly, research shows that men and women view sexualized images (of both men and women) as lacking “mind,” which is basically a denial of thoughts and emotions. In this work, people even had less concern for the sexualized people’s pain, compared to when they were fully dressed.
The picture truly is bleak when women (and in some cases men) are evaluated solely on their looks and/or sexualized.
In a 1982 study men and women were approached by a stranger and asked for either A: a date with the stranger, B: to come home with the stranger or C: to have sex with the stranger,
Men said yes to sex about 70% of the time. Not one woman said yes to the advance. This has been used as evidence, by the kind of people that think that “boys will be boys” is a suitable justification for sexual harassment, as evidence that men are hornier than women. In turn, this is used to implicate men as being unable to control their libido, which is a common tactic of rape apologists. Finally, this undermines women’s sexuality, so that when they do express it, because it’s perceived as abnormal, they are slut-shamed.
(As a side note, the “women are prudish, men are slutty” narrative is often explained away by way of sexual selection theory. For a much more interesting and robust explanation, read Sex at Dawn by Cacilda Jetha and Christopher Ryan.)
Well, that study is incredibly stupid, and I’ve been saying that for years. But now, we have a new study that investigates, catalogs and explains all the ways that it is stupid. Hooray Science!
First they redid the original study and got the same numbers, then they redid the original study with multiple changes to see how it changed the date, here is what they found:
If you ask women why they said no to the proposed casual sex, most of them say both that it wouldn’t be safe and that they wouldn’t enjoy it. A central conceit of the original study is the assumption that the sex would be any good, which is almost always true for men, but rarely true for women, especially the first time with someone.
This fact is supported by the fact that bisexual women are more likely to accept a proposition from a woman than a man. The risk of rape or sexual assault during a one night stand with a strange woman is negligible compared to the risk with a strange man. Plus, while men are expected and encouraged to be selfish in bed, women are socialized to be giving, careful and communicative.
Also, men and women are equally likely to turn down sex with a wealthy but unattractive man or woman, yet equally likely to say yes to a wealthy and attractive man or woman. This undermines the commonly held theory that women are, on a genetic level, gold-diggers whereas men choose their partners based on physical attractiveness.
Finally, and most importantly, if you ask someone to go to bed with a strange man or woman and then specify that there will be no danger and that the subjects will enjoy themselves, the number of men and women who say yes are about the same. The conclusion, both sexes tend to look for sex primarily as a pursuit of pleasure. It’s just that while pleasure in a one-night stand is all but guaranteed for a willing man, it’s all but guaranteed not to happen for an equally willing woman.
This study is strong evidence, not proof, that heterosexual/bisexual women and men are both having sex primarily for pleasure rather than for babies, money, status, security or anything really. Of course those of us who actually pay attention figured that out a long time ago.
With gems like "it is no news the GWRC known as Greater Wellington Regional Council has a Feminist on board,her name is Fran Wilde,when I tried to search for Fran Wilde,it had some mention of her but when I searched elsewhere it turned put she’s a Feminist."
And "I went to Wellington town today would anyone like to hear that Male/Female toilets are disappearing and are being replaced with Unisex toilets"
AANNND "As owner of a couple of camping/caravan parks during my lifetime. Guess who makes the most filth and the most mess in toilets WOMEN. yes thats right Women."
Women are paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and work the same hours. Women who work full time earn only 77 percent of what men make—a 22 percent gap in average annual wages. Discrimination, not lack of training or education, is largely the cause of the wage gap. Even with the same qualifications, women earn less than men. In 2007, full time, year round female workers aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree were paid 14 percent less than men.
Women are segregated into low paying occupations, and occupations dominated by women are low paid. Women are tracked into “pink-collar” jobs such as teaching, child care, nursing, cleaning, and waitressing, which typically pay less than jobs in industries that are male-dominated.In 2007,nearly half—43 percent—of the 29.6 million employed women in the United States were clustered in just 20 occupational categories, of which the average annual median earnings were $27,383.
Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men. Women are more likely than men to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. One study found that 69 percent of unpaid caregivers to older adults in the home are women. Because combining unpaid caregiving with paid work can be challenging, women are more likely to work part time or take time out of the workforce to care for family. Twenty-three percent of mothers are out of the workforce compared to just 1 percent of fathers.
Women are more likely to bear the costs of raising children. When parents are not living together, women are more likely to take on the economic costs of raising children. Eight in ten custodial parents are women, and custodial mothers are twice as likely to be poor as custodial fathers.
Pregnancy affects women’s work and educational opportunities more than men’s. The economic costs associated with pregnancy are more significant for women than for men. Unplanned and mistimed pregnancies in particular can result in the termination of education and keep women from getting and sustaining solid employment.
Domestic and sexual violence can push women into a cycle of poverty. Experiencing domestic or sexual violence can lead to job loss, poor health, and homelessness. It is estimated that victims of intimate partner violence collectively lose almost 8 million days of paid work each year because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends, or dates. Half of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.
“My daughter Alice is 5. Last year, someone gave us Free to Be You and Me [a 1970s record extolling personal rights], and I almost pulled it out of rotation, because there are some things in it that are like [triumphant voice], ‘And girls can do this!’ Alice would say, ‘I know that, why are they saying that?’ I didn’t want to initiate insecurity in her where there was none. It’s different from 1975. And I think, frankly, we owe it all to the Spice Girls.”—Tina Fey (via tinafeyisawesome)
“What does it say about society that men are so comfortable drawing their own genitalia all over everything. Women do not feel comfortable to do that. I would never… Who has a sharpie? I’m gonna do it. This is gonna.. Ok, I am gonna christen this walls with a vagina! Where is the sharpie?”—
I read a book once, where the protagonist got in trouble for drawing a vagina on the bathroom wall. All the characters in the book thought she did it because she was a lesbian, but she really did it because she was fascinated that no one else did. Penises are drawn all over the place, but you never see vaginas. The protagonist was fascinated with the function of vaginas, how they existed for things to go in and out of them (in: penis, and out: babies, blood). Does anyone know what book I am talking about? I can’t remember what the name of it was or what it was about!
And after all that 'we're not entirely sure it really happened'
*Extreme trigger warning for detailed description of rape*
Here is an article on stuff about Libyan rape survivor Iman al-Obeidi. Not only is ‘alleged’ in the article’s title, despite the article stating clearly that the Libyan government confirmed she was gang raped (but, you know, they heard she was a prostitute so whatever), as if that wasn’t enough - after her painstaking recollection of the attack, the article ends with “There was no way to immediately verify her account.”
Um, okay. I’m pretty sure that the government spokesperson did that. But even if they didn’t, surely in a war zone governed by a military which put the order out to use rape as a weapon pretty early on in the piece, we could all just go ahead and believe her? And maybe also not mention that some douchebagspokesperson decided to call her a prostitute to make it all better? Because regardless of whether she was a sex worker, or a criminal, or a nun, she laid out her horrible story to reporters and you, Stuff, decided to just keep that little seed of doubt for everyone to walk away with at the end.
I often tell a story about a conversation I observed in a feminist theory seminar that I participated in about a decade ago. A white woman was explaining to a black woman how their common experience of oppression under patriarchy bound them together as sisters. All women, she explained, had the same experience as women, she said.
The black woman demurred from quick agreement. “When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror,” she asked the white woman, “what do you see?”
“I see a woman,” responded the white woman hopefully.
“That’s the problem,” responded the black woman. “I see a black woman. To me race is visible, because it is how I am not privileged in society. Because you are privileged by race, race is invisible to you. It is a luxury, a privilege not to have to think about race every second of your life.”
I groaned, embarrassed. And, as the only man in the room, all eyes turned to me. “When I wake up and look in the mirror,” I confessed, “I see a human being. The generic person. As a middle class white man, I have no class, no race and no gender. I’m universally generalizable. I am Everyman.”
Lately, I’ve come to think that it was on that day in 1980 that I became a middle class white man, that these categories actually became operative to me. The privilege of privilege is that the terms of privilege are rendered invisible. It is a luxury not to have to think about race, or class, or gender. Only those marginalized by some category understand how powerful that category is when deployed against them.