Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweden Toy Store Offers Gender-Neutral Catalog

A toy store in Sweden has published a gender-neutral toy catalog. From the Wall Street Journal:
"On some pages, girls brandish toy guns and boys wield blow-dryers and cuddle dolls. Top-Toy, a privately-held company, published 12 million catalogs and owns the BR Toys chain, with 303 stores in Northern Europe."
The store has also trained employees to avoid gender stereotypes. As a salesperson explains:
"If someone asks for a present for a 5-year-old girl, we don't automatically take them to the dolls sectio. Instead, we ask them what her interests are." 
Well, yes, that would be the logical thing to do, wouldn't it? But, let's just go ahead and cue the fainting couch cries of "political correctness gone awry!!" (Annnnnnd, yep, read the WSJ comments. Or not.)

When I was about 5, my mother brought home a He-Man toy for me that she had picked up from a garage sale. When she gave it to me, I said something along the lines of, "That's for boys!" When she told me that it was okay for girls to play with "boys'" toys (not to be confused with boy-toys), it was like a whole new world opened up for me right then and there.

Up until then, I was playing only with "girl" toys because I thought those were the only toys girls were, like, legally "allowed" to play with. After this belief was revealed to be a myth, my gaggle of childhood friends and I had made our toys have many cross-GI Joe/Barbie/Popple/Transformers adventures, wars, and romances.

That's apparently really scary to defenders of "traditional gender roles." 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

SPLC Sues Conversion Therapy Provider

“People who are told repeatedly that they are innately defective are being abused and traumatized. The cost of conversion therapy to gay men and lesbians may be nothing less than emotional devastation. They may spend years recovering from the trauma inflicted upon them.” -Laura Booker, LCSW

Booker was quoted in a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) article announcing that the SPLC has filed a lawsuit charging Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) of violating New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act for providing "conversion therapy" to lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients.

The SPLC's complaint, which can be found here (PDF), details the bases of conversion therapy and methods purported to prevent and cure homosexuality including having boys shower with their fathers, having boys beat a pillow "meant to represent the patient's mother," having clients removing their clothing during individual and group therapy sessions, cuddling others of the same sex, and being "subjected to ridicule as 'faggots' and 'homos' in mock locker room and gym class scenarios."

One of the plaintiffs, a former client, alleges that he suffered depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other emotional harm both as a result of the therapy itself and when he was subsequently unable to change his sexual orientation after using these services.

In addition to restitution to the plaintiffs, SPLC is requesting the revocation of JONAH's business license.

Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Playing At Logic

I guess I'm on a women's ordination kick this week, so here we go. 

Following this article about Mormon and Catholic women seeking ordination, I encountered a number of mansplainy comments absolutely brimming with unquestioned male supremacy. (Not surprising, really, as I would posit that one's tendency to mansplain correlates highly with one's belief, whether implicit or explicit, that men possess superior reasoning faculties).

One in particular stood out as being both condescending and telling. It begins:
“My brothers and I used to 'play priest' when we were growing up. As there is no such thing as a women Catholic bishop, priest or deacon, these women are merely playing too. If a horse is standing in a field and I go up to it and hang a sign around its neck that reads 'cow,' it remains just a horse! Giving a woman a name 'bishop,' 'priest,' or 'deacon' and claiming that she is validly ordained in the Catholic Church is no different. Blessed Pope John Paul II closed the door on this entire issue in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on 5/22/94, confirmed on 10/28/95 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Responsum to a Dubium...."
The first general theme of note here is that, apparently, if enough people believe that a very important man says that something is true than that something is, indeed, true, even if that something is in no way provable and is, in fact, a human construction. In this case, the commenter notes that only men can be priests because some other man said that only men can be priests.

I guess where "faith" comes in, is where the faithful collectively ignore the circular reasoning process involved and believe that it's not "just a man" proclaiming this truth, it's The Importantest Man Of All who is proclaiming this truth.

Two, notice how the commenter compares women priests to children playing at being priests. Compare this statement to the reasoning process for excluding women from the priesthood that posits that, unlike women, men possess the same kind of body that Jesus had and that, therefore, men are uniquely closer to god than women are.

Both notions infantalize women, suggesting that women are not full human beings in the way that men are. Unlike men, we are told we lack certain things (or a certain super special something?) that preclude us from positions of leadership and authority.

I think back to the way so many conversations with men, about abortion, have gone in my life. They often, but not always, carry a quite different tone than my conversations with women about the issue.

Many "pro-life" religious men, when speaking at women about the issue, speak as though they are uniquely qualified to render information, advice, and opinions about the bodies of people with uterii. They assume their words, and silly, uterus-negating moral analogies like "if someone owes me a debt, I can't just kill him," carry an extra special weight of authority in the conversation. I sense this assumption when they become genuinely befuddled to find they are engaging in a debate with a woman for whom A Man Said It, I Believe It isn't an operating philosophy of life.
My point here is that I reckon that a religion's tendencies to infantilize women, even if it pretends to pedestalize women, is likely related to its tendency to reject the notion that women are full human beings, with actual, full reasoning powers and the right to retain autonomy of our own bodies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Superior Bigots In Need of Protections

As a critic of male supremacist religions, I have been following the Church of England's recent decision to reject the introduction of female bishops. For some background, the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy approved the measure, but the House of Laity did not garner the required 2/3 vote to approve the measure.

Yes, in 2012, people are still having this quaint little debate about Women In Religious Leadership and are warning of Very Dire (yet unspecified) Things happening as a result of women's increased leadership.

Some of the reasons put forth for rejecting female bishops have been frustratingly amusing. From the BBC:
"The key concerns of opponents within the Church are over provisions for traditionalist parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop.

Critics of the legislation said it did not provide enough safeguards for the objectors."

I find that amusing because, so rarely, do we see people so explicitly admit how fragile the notion of men being the super-duper-est, most special gender is and how, due to this fragility, this notion of allegedly inherent male superiority needs to be very carefully protected from the competing notion that women are not, actually, second-class creations.

I'm reminded of that high school kid in Iowa who refused to wrestle his female high school opponent in the state tournament. In his case, I somewhat excused his behavior on account of his age, suggesting that he was likely echoing his religion and society's teachings about the "proper" roles of boys and girls-- which doesn't make it okay, but does give him a benefit of the doubt that he hasn't had much opportunity yet to think critically about gender.

I do not grant the same benefit of the doubt to the adults who willfully and consciously reject women in leadership positions- whether secular or religions. Such people reject the class of all women from various positions, and they do so not because of the content of our character, intellect, or actual ability, but because we are women. Just women. And that, apparently, tells them all they need to know about our capabilities.

This treatment of women, we are to believe, is still okay, moral, commonsensical, true, and righteous. In 2012.


The lackadaisical acceptance of male supremacy under the banner of religious freedom, unity, and tolerance is why I am increasingly frustrated by newfangled "feminist"/gender egalitarian claims that "men and women are oppressed in equal and opposite ways." In seeking to attract men to feminism, I fear we sometimes concede far too much.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Everyone" Will Support Marriage Equality By 2030

Wait, everyone?

Sure, why not.  It's Friday, I'm feeling okay with absolutes. Or Absolut.


My point is that this article kind of posits that Willow and Tara are largely responsible for the Millenial generation's acceptance of same-sex marriage in particular and homosexuality in general.

I swear this is not a drunk post. I think I'm mostly experiencing end-of-election-cycle fatigue where I don't have any spare ounces of sooper seriousness left in me at the moment, if you can believe it.

Talk about stuff now.  Preferably stuff like our favorite fictional and non-fictional lesbian and bisexual women on television. In general, I miss Willow and Tara being on TV, and I'm still not okay with how that all turned out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fun With Shopping

So I was browsing through the J. Crew catalog that inexplicably gets delivered to us and I became fascinated by the the varied names of clothing colors. (I get this way with respect to wall paint colors as well).

Did you know that men's pants come in a color called "charcoal herringbone," a color which I interpret to be "dark grey," and that in the women's pants section seems to be called "dark charcoal"?

Other favorite "men's colors" that were entirely missing from the women's pants color selection include "raw steel" and "grey crow's foot." OMG, so manly!

But don't worry, the women get "bright poppy" and "vibrant fuchsia" to make up for it.

All of these colors, by the way, are totally fine in my opinion. It's just a reflection of prevailing gender stereotypes that these colors get segregated into separate men's and women's sections and that simple colors like "pink" and "grey" likewise get paired with "masculine" and "feminine" qualities like steel and flowers.

And can we also talk about "boyfriend shirts" and "boyfriend pants" for a minute?

I don't get it.

So.... we, like, buy these items of clothing and pretend they are our "boyfriend's" clothes? They seem to be, I don't know, "girly versions" of man clothes that women can wear and still dress mostly adhere to the proper standards of femininity.  Will the fashion police arrest me if I buy "boyfriend pants" even though I don't have a boyfriend?  What if a gal wants to shop from the men's section, can she still do that?

And, is it okay if boys wear these "boyfriend" clothes?

Shopping is hard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tips For Hostile Internet Emailers

Just as a helpful hint for the day, here's how commenters who think I'm a Very Bad Person can have more productive offline conversations with me.

First, and most importantly, it would be extremely helpful if one operates from the assumption that I'm operating from a place of good faith and that we, therefore, might be having a miscommunication issue rather than a "Fannie is SO mean" issue.

Since that's an assumption that some people are utterly incapable of granting to anyone not in their cadre of like-minded folks, preferring instead to see villains and monsters in every simple Internet disagreement, let's continue.

When writing one's email tirade to me, one must remember that it's simply not an omen of good things to come when the command "don't be offended" prefaces one's commentary. When I see that order, I just know someone's about to say some really mean shit.

Secondly, when writing one's email tirade, also be aware that I rarely think (or care) about all the minute details of Internet conversations that are, say, more than a week old.  No, I don't remember what "H" said at 4:52 pm 2 months ago and how when "R" responded at 5:07 pm that was totally mean but I didn't even say anything about that mean comment when I called out "S's" comment at 3:34.  

It's like, at some point, you just have to move on with life, you know, and let things go.

A month is like 12 years in Internet time and while dude might remember every real and imagined harm that has ever happened to him on Internet, the truth is, I don't exist to Answer For his Totally Objective belief that my boundary-setting statements about his particular boorish behavior are "distasteful" and unfairly applied to him while I purportedly let "everyone else" off the hook for doing "the same thing." (Hint: It's probably not the "same thing," actually).

When I see particularly asshole-ish behavior I often will call it out, and if I don't call out other crappy behavior happening on the same forum or even my own blog, well I'm not sure what to say other than that I'm not, like, the Hall Monitor of Internet, I don't get paid for any of this, and I can't and won't "catch" every instance of People Being Mean On Internet and, hell, I won't even try to do so just for the sake of being morally consistent.

I don't have the time, I don't have the energy, and I actually do have other things to do in life. 

If dude wants to start paying me a salary to do that, I might consider it, but until then, I don't know, maybe he can start his own blog and come up with, like, the Perfect Commend Moderation System and tell us all what the secret to being perfect is.

Along those lines, I'm also not interested in reading line-by-line, bold-faced, and bracketed accusations, "rebuttals," and paranoid responses to my weeks'-old comments, especially if he, in emails to me, shifts from condescendingly writing about me in the 3rd person rather than to me.  That's such a strange phenomenon I've encountered other times on the Internet. Some bigoted men will, without further ado, stop directly talking with me in a comment thread and instead start talking about me, as though they're Totally Objective Observers having a private monologue moment about me to "the audience."

It's very bizarre and entitled behavior to just shut out a person from a conversation within a conversation about that person's rights.

Anyway, I do think this particular dude, the Angry Emailer that is, is kind of new to Internet conversations and blogging, so I'm deliberately not linking to the forum in which this weeks-old convo took place. It would feel kind of like making fun of a toddler who is still in that self-centric phase where ze thinks that covering hir eyes means that other people can't see hir.  It also seems like lots of people, including myself at one point, just kinda have to go through that "I think someone is wrong on Internet and if I don't rebut each and every point I think that person is wrong about, no matter how trivial, I might die!!!" phase.

My point is that I hope in time people like this guy learn that, believe it or not, lots of people who participate in blogging don't exist solely, or even at all, to be mean to people like him. It's actually quite self-centered to think that I sit around thinking of ways to be so unfair to him, or to anyone really, through my blogging and commentary. And, it's just not productive to continually assume the worst about other people's motives on Internet. 

On a related note about vilifying one's political opponents, I'm still figuring out ways to effectively engage with those who are unable to see their opponents as anything but aggressive villains.  The other day, for instance, I had the experience of telling an opponent of same-sex marriage that his argument was confusing to me, asking him to clarify, and then asking him if he could provide some practical solutions to his stated concerns.

I shit you not, this guy described my comment as a "new line of attack" and dropped a couple names of logical fallacies that he thought I was"committing"  by.... asking him to clarify his position because I didn't understand his argument.

It can be difficult to even know what to say to that, really, other than, "Wut?

I've learned that it's far easier for some people to accuse rather than to engage. To engage means that one sees one's political opponents as human, and however imperfect, worthy of dialoguing with. If one insists on accusing, no matter how much evidence of good faith the other person renders, one is quite literally acting obstinately devoted to one's own opinions and prejudices about what kind of person the political opponent is.

Dare I say it, it's the very definition of bigotry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Giving Him Airs

I was reading an article in The Smithsonian the other day and came across the following description:

"Amone, a tall, bespectacled physician with a baritone voice and an air of quiet authority...."

An air of quiet authority.

I see that phrase sometimes in various novels, articles, and descriptions of people and am never sure what it means. I think it's a lazy phrase, if I may nitpick. A writer or reporter should show the person being quietly authoritative rather than just telling us that this person has a mysterious, amorphous, and unspecified air of quiet authority about him and expecting us to take the writer/reporter's word on that.

And yes, I've never actually seen a woman, or a person with, say, a soprano voice, described as having an air of quiet authority.

Julia Serrano, in her book Whipping Girl, talks extensively about how even though she acted the same way before and after she transitioned from male to female, people treated her much differently based on her gender presentation. She writes, "[As a woman my] behaviors are still the same; it is only the context of my body (whether people see me as female or male) that has changed."

Likewise, I would reckon that when most people say that a person has an air of quiet authority, that air of quiet authority is less a thing that a person has and more of perception that other people have of him. It is something that is granted to him, if you will, not primarily because of things he actually does, but primarily because of his maleness, and particular physical traits and characteristics that he possesses in conjunction with that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Will the Demographics of the Republican Base Change?

During the run-up to this year's election and afterwards, I've read many articles suggesting that, due to the US's changing demographics, the Republican party will not be able to be successful in the future if it continually relies on primarily catering to its base of white (male, I would add) voters.

For one instance of this argument, see Thomas Edsall in The New York Times opinion blogs:
"The demographic threat to the Republican Party grows out of the fact that every four years the electorate becomes roughly two percent less white and two percent more minority, primarily as a result of the increase in the Hispanic and Asian-American populations and the relatively low birth rate among whites. By my computation, this translates into a modest 0.85 percentage point gain for Democrats and 0.85 percentage point loss for Republicans every four years. In other words, the changing composition of the electorate gives Democrats an additional built-in advantage of 1.7 percentage points every four years."
Any theories, predictors, or thoughts on who the Republicans will try to recruit to make up for the loss of those white fonts of unexamined privilege (at best) and dignity-denying moralizers who comprise its base?

What strategies will Republicans employ to attract new voters?

'Member when they tried to capture the lady vote in 2008 with the Sarah Palin schtick? I predict something similarly tacky and out of touch. Maybe an increase in dorky white guys rapping at political rallies or, on a more sinister level, the creation of more divisions between marginalized groups that the white Republican base has traditionally not given a shit about and, in fact, whose rights they have historically opposed.

Relatedly, I've seen many post-election incarnations of white homophobic, anti-feminist conservative dudes squawking statements like, "The end/armageddon/judgment/apocalypse is near!!" and "That's it, I'm checking out. This country is on its own!" which I think is just downright hilarious. (I also think Internet is calling it the Democalypse?) 

The message there is that if a white base no longer controls who gets elected, a black guy gets re-elected, and if white guys check out of the system, then women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, and other Others will of course be so incompetent at running things that the Entire System will collapse. White guys created their own formal and informal affirmative action programs in the public sphere for themselves throughout much of US history, and now many of them are still operating under the assumption that this historical dominance of white men was due primarily to them.... actually being superior at public sphere stuff than women and people of color.

They really think highly of themselves, some of these white male (and some female) Republicans.

The end of their gender, race, and class privileges are possibly nearing, sure, and that's a good thing.
Unfortunately, some of these guys are so mired in fauxbjective egocentricity that they can't help mistaking their impending loss of unearned privilege for a worldwide cataclysm for all people everywhere.

And then, others are so out of touch and hellbent on preserving their privilege that they seem to think the Republicans' Big Problem is that they just weren't homophobic, xenophobic, anti-woman, and anti-choice enough!

Sure, players, go with that strategy in 2016. Or better yet, keep shrugging yourselves, and your supremacist opinions, into indifference and irrelevancy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just A Thought

If a straight person really truly "doesn't care" what out lesbian, gay, and bisexual politicians, leaders, and celebrities "do in their bedrooms," then one likewise doesn't get all huffy-puffy resentful of the fact that they talk openly about being lesbian, gay, or bisexual and publicly identify as such.

It seriously grates on my "I don't even see race" nerves when people act like they "don't even care about people's sexual orientation" when (a) they so obviously can't handle being reminded of non-heterosexuality's existence and (b) the fact is, lots of people do still care, and not in a good way, that some people are not heterosexual and they would love nothing more than for us to either become 100% hetero, become "ex-gay," die out, or retreat silently and defeated back into the closet.

Leftist Gender Warrior gives a special lesbian fist bump to Tammy Baldwin:


Talk about the election today, or whatevs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On "Genderless Institution"

Circling back to yesterday's post, I want to talk today about that strange phrase "genderless institution," that some anti-equality advocates have invented to describe same-sex marriage.

(This phrase is similar to the less-frequently used "neutered marriage" that the inhabitants of one marginal, bizarre "marriage defense" blog use).

The reasoning behind "genderless institution" seems to be that same-sex marriage will purportedly demonstrate that "gender doesn't matter" with respect to marriage and that, quite possibly, the persons within the institution are or could become devoid of gender.  And, on one point, I somewhat agree: Same-sex marriage being legal does demonstrate that gender doesn't matter as much as many traditionalists and gender essentialists claim it does.

Most biological sex differences between men and women have been greatly exaggerated, and women are certainly not the "opposite" of men. Indeed, given that I would question if even two people are truly complete opposites or complements, how strange it is that humanity is so thoughtlessly treated as though any random woman will be the opposite/complement of any random man by sheer virtue of their purportedly Inherent Gender Essences.

This point is not to say that all people are or should be inherently androgynous, but that society needs to become more accepting of the reality that lots of different ways exist to be authentic men and women- including identifying outside of that binary - and that some of us who do identify as men or women can simultaneously differentiate for ourselves when and how much "gender matters" or doesn't matter in different contexts of our lives.

I mean, wow, that seems weird to have to articulate that people have different experiences of gender, but I also know that concept is difficult for sound-bitey thinkers who insist that one has to choose one, and only one, totally-concordant, grand, sweeping theory about gender wherein either "gender always matters, therefore men and women are total opposites" or "gender never matters, therefore we must live in a gender neutral society."

I guess it's difficult for some to acknowledge that reality is not often neatly-contained and summarized by bumper sticker phrases and uninspired gender stereotypes.

So, where was I?

Oh, right. Here's the thing about "genderless institution." The phrase suggests that same-sex marriage is an institution devoid of gender- as though if a woman marries a woman, then the institution is androgynous, and as though "gender" is a thing that is created only by a combination of a man and woman, and that therefore a group of women or a group of men by themselves do not have genders.

I guess that kind of conclusion is a logical result when one thinks of men and women as opposites wherein men and women, apparently, only find meaning in being a man or a woman in terms of how that identity relates to, and is above or below, the "opposite" gender." Under this thinking, men and women are not identities that stand on their own terms, they are relational identities, always dependent upon the existence of an "opposite."

Basically, my point here is to say that I just don't think the anti-SSM folks have really thought this "genderless institution" thing through.

I mean, if they're going to be all, "words like marriage mean things," then the least Team Ultimate Word Deciders could do is stop making up words that aren't even accurate.

I am a woman. As is my partner. We both have a gender, and that remains true even though we are married to each other and not to men. Neither our partnership, nor the institution that recognizes it, is "genderless."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parallels in Invisibility

"Homosexual acts remain illegal in Pakistan, based on laws constructed by the British during colonial rule. No civil rights legislation exists to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.
But the reality is far more complex, more akin to 'don’t ask, don’t tell' than a state-sponsored witch hunt. For a long time, the state’s willful blindness has provided space enough for gays and lesbians. They socialize, organize, date and even live together as couples, though discreetly.
One journalist, in his early 40s, has been living as a gay man in Pakistan for almost two decades. 'It’s very easy being gay here, to be honest,' he said, though he and several others interviewed did not want their names used for fear of the social and legal repercussions. 'You can live without being hassled about it,' he said, 'as long as you are not wearing a pink tutu and running down the street carrying a rainbow flag.'”
As I read this article, I kept thinking that all of the anti-gay rhetoric I've encountered over the years suggests that many people in the US would like to see a society much like what's described herein. 

Some people want to see gay sex re-criminalized. Some are resentful of gay pride parades and can't stand it when the reality that homosexuality, and non-heterosexual people, exist in the real world is "shoved down their throats" by, say, two men or two women walking hand in hand or being represented in school textbooks like how Regular People are represented in textbooks.

Anti-SSM campaigns often trade on this resentment and desire to invisibilize lives.

For instance, the anti-SSM Maryland Marriage Alliance's "Consequences of Redefining Marriage" list warns:
"Whenever schools educate children about marriage, which happens throughout the curriculum, they will have no choice but to teach this new genderless institution. In Massachusetts, kids as young as second grade were taught about gay marriage in class."
Aside from the strange lingo "genderless institution," this dire warning, which was also used extensively in California's Prop 8 battle in 2008, suggests that merely learning about the existence of gay marriage is some sort of threat to children and to society.  And, well, I'm not sure what the appropriate compromise on this point would even be. Would these opponents be more willing to support SSM if they could be assured that its existence would never be referenced or acknowledged in public schools?
What I find to be rather remarkable is that it's often opponents of equality who lambast liberal so-called "political correctness" that purportedly prevents people from talking about the truth and reality, yet here is an actual political campaign seeking to prevent people from talking about the truth and reality.

With recent court trends showing a judicial willingness to acknowledge animus-based motivations for anti-equality laws, propositions, and amendments, a big post-Prop-8 anti-SSM talking point has been that opponents of SSM are not bigots and that they like gay people well enough. 
If that's the case, they might want to consider how denigrating to one's dignity it can be, and how bigoted it appears, to suggest that children and society are better off if homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and/or lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are discreet, invisible, and erased from reality.

[Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pssst, ladies....

Doesn't this pamphlet totally convince you not to vote?


In case this image is difficult to read, here's a transcript (emphases in original, obvi):
"Vote NO On Woman Suffrage

BECAUSE 90% of the women either do not want it, or do not care.

BECAUSE it means competition of women with men instead of co-operation.

BECAUSE 80% of the women eligible to vote are married and can only double or annul their husbands' votes.

BECAUSE it can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved.

BECAUSE in some States more voting women than voting men will place the Government under petticoat rule.

BECAUSE it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur."
Now, dear readers, all of these "reasons" are gems, aren't they? From the sooper-sciuntific percentages that definitely bolster this document's credibility, to the still-used-today reason that we shan't grant rights to minorities because because because... VeRy BaD ThInGs might happen down the road!

What's most interesting, I think, is the contradictory overall tone of the piece wherein allowing women to vote is at once No Big Deal since women can "only" double or annul the vote of their hubbies and yet allowing women the vote is Very Dangerous because it will place the government under Petticoat Rule!!

It's like, the folks who wrote this pamphlet were incredibly threatened at the prospect of women gaining this basic democratic right, but they were trying to act like they weren't threatened at all.

Fun Fact: In 1874, the Supreme Court of the United States implicitly found that women were neither "persons" nor full "citizens" under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

In Minor v. Happersett, the Court cited the 14th Amendment's order that:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws."
After a lengthy and (in my opinion unnecessary, given their determination to affirm their already-held view on suffrage) discussion of citizenship, the men of the Supreme Court unanimously said out of one side of their collective mouth that women were citizens, and out of the other side of their mouth they "explained" that women just weren't the types of citizens who got to vote.

That is, they weren't the right types of "persons" that the 14th Amendment actually granted important rights to.

Fun times.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Christian Men on Marginal Females

So I got into a Facebook convo with a fresh-from-undergrad 20-something-year-old Christian guy who has Big Ideas about how to stop abortion. Namely, he thinks "we" should tell people not to have sex if they don't want to get pregnant, and abortions will mostly stop.

I wish that were a straw version of his argument, but that's really it.

This font of unparalleled wisdom likewise suggested this public health strategy to two very intelligent women at least a decade older than him who also devote pretty much every day of their lives to gender issues and social justice, as though he had lots to teach these women about the abortion debate.

So, as you can imagine, this dude quickly became my favorite!

During this conversation, he continually referred to men as men and to women as "females," as though females, rather than "women," were the proper equivalent to the word "men."

Now, you may notice that I made note of this guy's religion- Christianity. He is a friend of a friend, but his Facebook profile suggested that this guy is Evangelical. His profile picture is of himself and his wife. In the photo, he is centered and she is standing behind him, a bit to the... margin.

I didn't delve into this analysis on Facebook in my conversation with him. For, in my experience, even suggesting that a non-feminist Christian man's worldview of himself possessing intellectual and objective superiority over women might be a bit biased by his male-centric religion, and that this worldview is likewise reflected in his, say, photos and language usage mostly brings about reflexive, projecty "yeah well you're the real sexist" accusations.

As we all know, pointing out how some men are male supremacist and sexist is actually worse than them being male supremacist and sexist.

So, naturally, I turn to the wonderful denizens of Internet Feminism to engage my analysis.

It's indicative, right, of seriously problematic (dare I say? yep!) patriarchal views when a man calls men "men" while calling women "females," especially in a debate in which he is opposing women's right to control their own bodies?

Indeed, I contend that this guy's clinical labeling of women suggests a worldview in which men are autonomous, uniquely-enlightened, and central beings with Sooper Dooper Big Ideas under which "females," in our zoo-animal-like non-autonomous-consent-lacking state, must submit.