August 2011

Susan Faludi's "The Terror Dream" links feminism and 9/11

Journalist Susan Faludi was born in Queens, New York in 1959 to a Jewish family. After graduating from Harvard in 1981, Faludi started writing for many of America’s most prestigious newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She particularly focuses her writing on feminism, crafting pieces in the 1980’s about the backlash against the movement.

Striking the Patriarchal Bargain

"If you can't beat 'em, suck up to 'em." That's the patriarchal bargain in a nutshell. Why try to work against a system that's so pervasive and powerful? Work with it instead! It's a philosophy which manages to be both depressingly defeatist and breathtakingly mercenary at the same time. Author Catherine Hakim is promoting the patriarchal bargain, and showing you how to strike it, in her new book titled Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom.
Slate has a great interview with Hakim, in which she is pretty blunt about her position. For example, the American workforce penalizes people for being fat (obese women earn less money than slim women). But instead of working to combat this form of discrimination, Hakim's final answer to this (and other criticisms) is that "Discrimination is part of life itself. Discrimination is part of being an intelligent and thinking person."

Gender Roles in Ingeborg Bachmann's "A Step Towards Gomorrah"

Austrian Ingeborg Bachmann’s short story “A Step Towards Gomorrah,” tells the story of a lesbian relationship, but still adheres to traditional Austrian gender roles. The main character Charlotte’s husband Franz still conforms to these traditional gender expectations, as well. Women in this story are confined to World War II gender and marriage ideals. However, Charlotte tries to escape these traditional systems, but all fails. After conforming to traditional gender and marriage ideas for years, Charlotte tries to escape the system through dominance in lesbianism.

Trivializing the Feminine

Late last week, a Huffington Post blogger insulted a wide swath of the blogosphere by sneering at women who blog about knitting, cats, and cupcakes. Since I blog about all of those things, she has insulted me, too. Nice, right?
It seems that Peg Aloi is stumping for stronger female role models in the media, which is a worthy cause. But why start with three long paragraphs about how womankind has been rapidly backsliding from the gains made by the feminist movement? And why use blogs about knitting as evidence for that?

No Strings Attached: The Movie for the Woman Who Can't Have It All!

Otherwise known as Hollywood: SSDD

We recently purchased a half-off special at our local video store; for $5, we are able to get all of our month’s rentals for half-price. To get our money’s worth, we’ve been renting a lot of new releases for $1.50, and it seems as if I’ve watched more movies this month than I’ve seen all year long.

A few nights ago I watched No Strings Attached, though I'm not sure why; I guess because it had my darling Natalie Portman in it and I will see any movie she is in. I was expecting something more than what it delivered. I should have known that with a costar like Ashton Kutcher, it wasn’t going to have any substance.

The Plight of the Juggalettes

Every year, fans of Insane Clown Posse (which bills itself as "the most hated band in the world" and few would argue with that claim) gather for a four-day music festival which the Village Voice described as "a shantytown psycho-porn amusement park."
Everyone wants to feel that they have worth. Personally I believe that this is what drives all human endeavor; not the desire for a mate, but the desire to feel worthwhile.
Imagine, then, what kind of a life you must lead, if your way of feeling that you have worth, your primary means of achieving external validation, is to give out free hand jobs at a Juggalo gathering. As described early on in Emma Carmichael's Deadspin article.

What Feminism Means to Fox News

You're really pushing my buttons these days, Fox. Normally, you sit at the periphery of my consciousness like a mosquito buzzing a few inches from my ear. I know you're there, I know you're annoying, but I rarely give you too much of my attention. I'll just sort of half-heartedly swat you away whenever you get too loud.

Lately, though, you've been posting all kinds of crap on the internet that just makes me want to smack you full-on between my palms. You've already got the racism down pat over at Fox Nation--hey, we knew you had it in you the whole time--and now you've covered sexism while you're at it, too. This gem of an article popped up under the Men's Health section of the Fox News website. I didn't know Fox News had a Men's Health section but I'm sure it gives plenty of advice on how to avoid shooting yourself in the face with your rifles and how much light beer is too much. Useful life skills for the modern man, you know. 

To be fair, this article was originally published over a year ago on But Fox seemed to endorse it enough to reblog it. It's called "5 Feminist Demands She Wants You To Ignore." Already Fox is making it seem like feminists are a subset of women that just run around demanding things all day. You don't really need to listen to them because they're not your woman. She would rather you ignore the harpies. The condescending tone doesn't stop at the headline, either. The article identifies a modern feminist as simply a woman who pays her own way and doesn't need a male mate. Last I checked you didn't need to pay all your own expenses to be under the impression that men and women were beings of equal worth, but I'm not going to rail too hard on a sloppy definition. Then we get this bite: "While the notion of the sexy feminist isn’t completely false, you need to be aware of those pesky feminist demands that even the most independent of women is expecting you to ignore. Why don't women just tell you what they want, you ask? Silly rabbit, then they wouldn't be women!"

Ha! I get it. Women are tricky, mysterious, inscrutable creatures, right? And those who actually have the gall to believe they're equal to men just keep making pesky demands that ruin the fun for those involved in the patriarchy. Some of them might be a little sexy, though. It's not completely unheard of. 

Conservatives Weigh In On Subsidized Contraception

Panic and hysteria and oh just stop it already


Not to bludgeon my armchair psychiatry all over the place, but sometimes I wonder if the religious right isn't suffering from a big collective case of borderline personality disorder. Or at least the splitting symptoms--you know, where you find it difficult to see shades of grey, where things are either entirely one way or entirely the other and there's no in between.

Because most of the time when I hear conservatives chime in on an issue, they push it to its most extreme possibilities. Gay marriage? If everyone were gay, there would be no babies! Better make sure no one is gay so that our species doesn't die out. Same with abortion--if we kill all the babies, there will be no more babies. And the same logic applies, evidently, to contraception.

I wish I were kidding. But Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) used this very logic on the House floor. "If you applied that preventative medicine universally, what you end up with is -- you've prevented a generation," he said. "Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That's not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate, we're a dying civilization."

You guys. We are so close to running out of babies in this country it's ridiculous. If every woman doesn't have babies all of the time, we might run out of America. So no gays, no condoms, no pills for you. Just lie back and think of the founding fathers. Keep on multiplying like a good girl.

Seriously, do people buy into this? Do we really think there is a baby shortage in this country? We don't have enough jobs for the people that are living here. Even if we maintained a steady population instead of inflating it with newborns, we'd still have a few too many folks kicking around. Fewer kiddos--especially fewer unwanted ones--is not a bad thing. People are still going to want to make little people with their faces on them. It's not as though women never breed on purpose.

Health Insurance Will Be Required To Cover Birth Control

A lot of special interest groups are up in arms over the news that the Obama administration is going to require health insurance to cover birth control - and without a co-pay, to boot! But this is a watershed moment for women in America. I think fifty years from now, people will look back on this as being one of those Big Things That Made A Real Difference.
First of all, there's no reason that birth control shouldn't be covered by health insurance. What is health insurance for, if not to prevent and control health issues? And surely an unintended pregnancy is one of the biggest health issues of all. Birth control is not a frivolous or cosmetic issue. For many women, it's a matter of life or death - both literally and figuratively.