You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ category.

Via Shakesville, I stumbled across this powerful and insightful article about bullying among school kids.  As somebody who grew up bookish, queerish, funny-looking, and with poor mastery of social skills and “appropriate” gender performance, this totally resonated with me.

The furthest I have come is to accept that I have both been bullied and a bully, both oppressed and oppressor, and that I have thoroughly soaked in a definition of “normal” that I am still trying to undo, day by day. Some of that “normalization” has been enforced by other marginalized people, too — even my own friends — which makes it much, much harder to unlearn.

That is why it’s been tempting for me to just keep doing “normal.” I couldn’t when I was a kid. But I have since learned how.

I’m just not sure that’s such a good thing.

Go read the whole amazing, painful, honest, powerful piece.

The front flowerbed at Arb’s and my place is starting to take off – perennials that I’ve planted over the couple years we’ve owned the house, are established enough now, that they can dedicate some energy to blooming! Of course, weather that’s good for flowers is also good for weeds, and our weed crop is plentiful, so I was out pulling weeds yesterday evening.

flowergarden201505

Working in the front yard is not a peaceful and relaxing experience for me. I feel self-conscious about bending over with my back to the street and my butt in the air and often get into weird positions trying to avoid it. I’m on edge and there’s a constant stream of snarky comebacks and verbal self-defense going on in my head, along with self-pep-talks about how this is my yard and I have the right to be in it and what I look like while doing yardwork is nobody’s business.

Why?

In a word: men.

Like last night when a carload of young men appeared seemingly out of nowhere, yelled something about my fat ass, and peeled out with a screech of tires and raucous laughter.

This shit doesn’t happen super-often – not every time I’m out in the front yard, for example. But it’s often enough that anticipating it and steeling myself against it, takes a non-negligible portion of my mental CPU cycles. It doesn’t matter that not every man who passes by harasses me, and that in general not all men harass women. Enough men harass women often enough, that being on guard against it is an almost-constant thing you do, if you’re a woman.

If you want to take down somebody else’s argument, a certain familiarity with the nature of intellectual or philosophical (as opposed to playground) argument is required, so that you can construct your own counter-argument.  In an intellectual argument, the person putting forth an argument sets out a number of premises (statements of facts), which, when you add them together, at best makes it impossible for their conclusion to be false (deductive argument), or at least makes it much more likely that their conclusion is true (inductive argument).

If you want to show that somebody’s argument is wrongity wrong, there are two, and only two, tactics allowed:

  1. Show that at least one of the premises of the argument is untrue.
  2. Show that even if the premises of the argument are true, the conclusion does not follow logically and/or inductively.

Tactic #1 requires good research skills, including the ability to find good sources, and the consideration to provide links and references so that others can evaluate those sources.  Research does not include saying, “Well it’s never happened to me, and nobody whose opinion I consider valid has every described anything like this to me, therefore the person recounting their experience must be mistaken.”

Tactic #2 requires an understanding of formal logic and logical fallacies, as well as an understanding of inductive reasoning, for example, the scientific method and statistical inference.  Be sure you know what a Straw Man argument is, both so you don’t make one, and so you don’t go calling somebody else’s argument a straw man incorrectly.  Be familiar with Ad Hominem and Ad Hominem Tu Quoque fallacies, and again, refrain from using them, and don’t go accusing others of using them, unless you actually know what they are.  Understand that correlation does not equal causation, but that scientific research can still draw meaningful conclusions even if not all of it can meet the gold standard of perfectly-designed, randomly-assigned, double-blinded, longitudinal, etc etc etc experiments.

I know, I know… that’s a lot to ask of somebody who just wants to assert that their knee-jerk, market-wisdom-based, common-sense, status-quo-supporting opinion is Truth.  Especially since going through the work of checking facts and reading the research may prove you wrong, and then what do you do.

The tango that they dance in Argentina is a very, very different dance than you might see on Dancing with the Stars.  It’s highly improvisational, and allows not only the leader, but also the follower, to make artistic decisions.  Everything is communicated between the partners through physical contact, whether it’s a slight shift of the shared center of balance, or physically pushing with hands, feet, or legs.  One guy that I taught tango to, who was into martial arts, commented that Argentine tango is very much like judo, except that the object is to NOT fall down.

Here are Miguel Angel Zotto and Milena Plebs dancing to “Gallo Ciego”, by Osvaldo Pugliese.  By where they put little flourishes with their feet, you can tell they’re very familiar with this particular recording of this particular song, but the steps they do together could all be communicated with lead and follow, no need for pre-planned choreography.

 

One particularly interesting thing about Argentine tango is that because of its origins in a time and place where men significantly outnumbered available women, there’s also a tradition of men dancing with men, without any gay connotation to it – not that gay guys don’t dance tango together nowadays and make it very, very homoerotic.  Here are brothers Enrique and Guillermo De Fazio, dancing a milonga – a country dance that was one of the precursors of tango.  It uses many of the same steps as tango, but goes a whole heck of a lot faster.  Because they do break apart a fair amount, some of this performance probably had to be pre-choreographed.  Note how every once in a while they’ll trade who’s leading and who’s following.  Enjoy the hot guy-on-guy milonga action!

 

Because tango music is in four beats per measure, you can actually dance it to any music that’s in a multiple of four.  Here, a fan has taken an Argentine tango video, and redubbed it with VNV Nation (the band I introduced you to last week), and it works.  In “real life” it’s hard to dance tango to industrial music, because when you go to venues where they play industrial music, you usually wear big, stompy boots, and they tend to be too grippy to spin well.
  

How many of you out there have either heard these words or said them to others? I’m willing to bet most males out there has heard it at some point and many women have told the males in their lives these words. It’s part of the social narrative, these constructs of what gender is and how someone should and should not act. Men are strong, men don’t cry, men are athletic, men demand respect, men settle their differences physically and most importantly men don’t show weakness.

Of course, this is all tripe. These social constructs are ultimately just that, constructs. And like anything constructed, it can be deconstructed. When these things are deconstructed, the seem silly and pointless. However, pointless as they may be they are still exceptionally harmful.

And of course that’s where Be A Man comes in. These three words are the epitome of how patriarchy harms everyone. These three words are toxic. These three words have done so much harm to so many men that I am ill equipped to describe exactly how. Fortunately for both me and you the good people at The Representation Project are. They are currently creating a film tackling this very issue. I urge everyone to watch the trailer for this upcoming film: The Mask You Live In.

Role reversal. It’s a fantastic way to check if a situation is horribly wrong. A brilliant example of this is found about 3 minutes in on this pretty great video. It follows the point I made in a previous post, but in a new, wonderfully hilarious way.  Watch, laugh, be better equipped to deal with anti-choicers.

Ms.Betty Bowers thoughts on the 2014 Olympics.

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Share this Blog

Bookmark and Share

Contact Info

Need to send me email? I have a infrequently monitored email account. Reach me at : arbourist at outlook dot com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 231 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

July 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

Moontime Warrior

Fearless Philosophizing, Embodied Resistance

naefearty

Your fantasy is my nightmare

loving lily

I have a dream

Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

...my outlet for (almost) everything...

anywomans humanity

Identifying structured oppression of women

Stop Trans Chauvinism

Stop Trans Chauvinism - Issuing No Passes on Misogyny, Homophobia, and Racism in Trans Activism

eternal revindication

politics, subversion, history, philosophy

Dawn of Kali

unlearning transpolitics, among other things

Week Woman

A Pox on the Patriarchy

Listening to Lesbians

our voices matter

women's rights are human rights

Women's Rights are Human Rights

Dan Ariely

My Irrational Life

thentheysaidburnher

demand radical change

Women of the Patriarchy

Critically feminist.

Purple Sage

Lesbian.Feminist.Atheist

Rebecca Mott

Exited Woman's Exploration

liberation is life

scientific and fighting feminism

F.E.D. U.P.

Feminist Eatery Database - Undercover Project

Bad Science Debunked

Debunking dangerous junk science found on the Internet. Non-scientist friendly!

FemHype

the safe space for women who game

AROOO

A Room Of Our Own!

Feminists Unknown's Blog

Together We Are Stronger

socialessentialism

feminism gone radical

eachone

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Feminism — The Other "F" Word

Feminism: The radical notion that women are people, too.

O Pie-oneers!

Because I couldn't think of a philosophical pie pun

Elle Beaver

Canadian feminists discussing issues & challenging each other. And everyone else.

Mac1949's Blog

"A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny." — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Blog

The political arm of the pro-choice movement in Virginia

Laura McNally

Psychology | CSR | Women's rights

The Iron Astrolabe

A Cage of Iron Laws

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

I am, therefore I write

Random musings on my life and the world

Miss Ethics

Ethics for the lives and interests of female college students

ThisFeminism

A blog about equality

Rise Up Times

Media for Justice and Peace

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Shoshana Kessock

Storyteller, Game Designer, Freelance Writer and Unreality Expert Since 1982

New York Post

Your source for breaking news, news about New York, sports, business, entertainment, opinion, real estate, culture, fashion, and more.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 231 other followers

%d bloggers like this: