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I would like to thank a recent commenter here on DWR for the placement of a tidy swarm of bees squarely in my bonnet. The honour, of course, goes to Godless Cranium for this nugget of wisdom shared on a previous thread:
“And I’m not saying sexism doesn’t exist or doesn’t play a factor sometimes, but I don’t think it’s as pervasive as you think, and I certainly don’t think all men are oppressors like patriarchy theory demands we believe.”
Before you can say “not all men…” check that thread for my response, I have it covered – but I think such a clearly stated denouncement of the patriarchal nature of our society requires a response with a little more… hmm… vibrancy than just a text based reply.
As chance would have it, current political events in my dear home province of Alberta have served up a glorious(?) example of the sexist and patriarchal attitudes that continue to flourish in our society.
The political event that I refer to is the leadership race for the Alberta provincial Progressive Conservative party. As of November 8th, the women who were in the race have both dropped out citing extensive misogynistic threats and physical and social intimidation.
“The only two women vying for the leadership of Alberta’s PC Party have both dropped out of the race.
Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans — socially progressive voices within the party — both gave notice on Tuesday that they were withdrawing.
Jansen, the PC MLA for Calgary-Northwest, cited intimidation and harassment for her decision.”
“In all of that time, I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend in Red Deer.”
Hmm. What is going on in the upper political echelons of our political class?
“In the release Jansen said she has been harassed online and her social media feeds have been “filled with filth.” The final straw in Red Deer was when “insults were scrawled on my nomination forms.”
“Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”
Hey now, politics is a rough and tumble affair, one should expect to face slings and arrows – it is a part of the process. I mean male politicians get the same calibre of flak, right?
“Sandra should stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”
“What a traitorous bitch.”
“Now you have two blond bimbos in a party that is clueless.”
“Dumb broad, a good place for her to be is with the rest of the queers.”
Let’s listen to what she has to say about the harassment she, like other women, face every day.
“Jansen was highlighting an issue that is bigger than her experience, according to Nancy Peckford of Equal Voice Canada.
“The vast majority of elected women are encountering some sort of misogynistic behaviour, online bullying, or harassment on a fairly regular basis,” she said.
“I think what’s very disturbing for Equal Voice is the misogynistic and sexist undertones and explicit commentary that’s used to diminish women’s contributions to public life and also undermine the confidence and the leadership female elected officials are offering.”
The misogyny she is experiencing is systemic, it happens everywhere all the time. Watch as Ms. Jansen explains her motivations as to why she made her speech. It is a damning look at how patriarchal our society actually is.
“Other women have also spoken out about the sexism they encounter in public life, including Conservative MP Michelle Rempel.
“The everyday sexism I face involves confronting the ‘bitch’ epithet when I don’t automatically comply with someone’s request or capitulate on my position on an issue,” she wrote in a National Post opinion article in April.
“It involves my ass being occasionally grabbed as a way to shock me into submission. It involves tokenism. It involves sometimes being written off as not serious when I’ve clearly proven I am.”
“That combination of the immediacy and the anonymity means that it’s sort of exploded into a new culture of pretty vicious, vitriolic attacks,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the attacks are particularly vicious toward women, and the attacks against women aren’t just violent, they’re sexualized violence. So it’s quite disturbing to see that some people will behave in this way, and it’s a challenge for our political culture to respond effectively to it.
She hopes more and more people will come together to condemn misogyny in politics and said it’s important for party leaders to forcefully and unequivocally reject the attacks.”
Yep. Misogyny needs to be addressed and kept in the spotlight, not only as the struggle for this generation but also the next generation of women and girls to show that having political aspirations (or professional ones) doesn’t mean facing a constant stream of harassment and misogyny.
But wait! There is more! Let’s go to another profession and and listen as Danielle Campbell describes what women have to face if they want to join the Police.
“Danielle Campbell walked into the canine unit 20 years ago as the first female graduate of the Edmonton Police Service dog handler program.
She faced insults, taunts and the reek of urine on her belongings.
“When I was in the unit they drew Xs on my eyes and they drew cocks around my face, a whole bunch of them … they would urinate on my gear.
‘It was ridiculous,” she said, referring to how a picture of her and her dog was defaced. “The sergeant in charge did nothing about it. Nothing.”
Campbell, 51, is no longer a police officer with EPS. She ended her 27-year-career in August 2016 when she resigned as deputy chief of police, the highest rank achieved by a woman within the city’s police force.”
The common saying is that women have to work twice as hard to get half as far ahead in society. Danielle Campbell is the embodiment of this, as her hard work and dedication – her proficiency at the job – eventually fought her way to the level of Deputy Chief of Police.
“A high-ranking officer in the human resources division told her she had to sign a document saying she wouldn’t get pregnant.
She was also told she could never become a dog handler because of her gender due to concerns over her menstrual cycle affecting the dog.
“I burst out laughing. But he didn’t laugh with me, he was dead serious,” she said.
“I just stood up and I said ‘This conversation is over. You have absolutely no empirical data to support that. That is just ridiculous,’ and I walked out. And to be honest with you that’s when I thought I was going to be fired.”
She wasn’t fired and neither was the officer or officers who sent her a Barbie doll in the mail, noose around its neck with the note: “No split tails in the dog unit, take a hint bitch.”
So yeah, I’m thinking there might be something to it when women say there is a culture of harassment and misogyny that makes their careers and lives more difficult than it needs to be.
“I really believe that so much has improved, and there’s so much more support for diversity and inclusivity and gender equality.
“But we’re not fully there yet,” she said, adding what she sees happening in the United States and, closer to home, in Alberta politics, is concerning.”
Please note the sentence – “we’re not there yet”. This is the key right here. Liberal dudes are so very quick to say the need for feminism is over, or sexism isn’t that bad, or that prevalent. Dudes… *you* don’t get to say any of that shit. When we hear it from women, then, and only then, can we declare sexism to be ‘over’ and no need for feminism.
It’s not your call. Stop trying to make it your call, it isn’t always all about you.
This is the same RCMP that just got its ass sued for $100 million dollars because of its misogynistic treatment of women. A quick snip from that story –
“We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”
Those were the words from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to every woman who was ever harassed, belittled, demeaned or assaulted in the RCMP, as he announced a stunning $100 million compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.
“It’s an acknowledgement of the culture that has existed since its inception,” said Catherine Galliford.”
So, one of the most iconic and venerable institutions in Canada – one that is supposed to uphold the LAWS OF THE LAND and stand on the side of justice – also happens to be rife with patriarchal misogyny (the cosmic background radiation of our society). And they just admitted it. This settlement will get its own post, of course, but it helps set the stage for the other story which is the focus of this post.
Let’s mull over this headline and article from the Calgary Sun.
Male Mounties Launched Suicide Pool for Bullied Female co-worker, Lawsuit Claims
“One of the first female members of the RCMP Musical Ride was bullied, hazed and sexually abused by her male colleagues to the point they launched a suicide pool and took bets on when she would kill herself, according to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
It was like a dream come true for Caroline O’Farrell when, at 25 years old, she was accepted to the famed Mountie Musical Ride.
But the dream quickly became a nightmare.
The alleged abuse from 1986 to 1987 included being repeatedly doused with cold water and then dragged face down by the arms and legs through stall shavings which included horse urine and manure. Others would then kick the wood chips, dirt, urine and feces onto O’Farrell’s head and body.
One of the hazings allegedly occurred just before her bachelorette party.
In one humiliating episode, her male colleagues locked her in a tack room and held a mock trial – including costumes, a judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer – and demanded she give them her underwear.
In another incident in 1987, a fellow RCMP officer stuck his finger out of the fly of his pants and stuck it near her ear as she slept while another member filmed it, the lawsuit alleged.”
Shit like this is what patriarchy is for women. It is systemic attack on their worth as human beings and it happens in nearly every facet of society. Patriarchy is ubiquitous and sadly remains fundamental to our society. Did you know what the best part is? Dudes that deny the existence of patriarchy – it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake – we certainly don’t need feminism calling out the grave injustices against women and fighting to change them. (/s …FML)
Let’s look to AuntieWanda for feminist analysis of this situation.
“Oh but women just aren’t suited for law enforcement, that’s why there aren’t that many women in the fiel-” SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN MALE DOMINATED CAREERS.
Even those who are charged with protecting others will savagely use their power against women in horrific ways. And this was a member of their team. Imagine what sort of abuses these assholes subjected ordinary folks to.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started a suicide pool because of their abuses and torture of their fellow officer. It is not like they did not know the damaging effects of what they were doing, they made a fucking game out of it.
Beyond that, their conduct only lost O’Farrell her position. She was removed “for her safety”.
They [the higher ups] were aware of the problem, but instead of actually punishing those responsible, they punished the victim. They remove women from these positions for their own safety, but allow the perpetrators of violence and humiliation to keep their positions.
What does that say other than “Women don’t belong here”? What does that say other than “You will be hurt and abused by us and the only one punished for it will be you, by losing your job”?
And people wonder why there are still male-dominated fields, people blame women for not being interested, for not being strong enough, for not being able to handle positions of power. People blame women for their own abuses at the hands of the men in these fields, for them losing their jobs, for them leaving of their own volition when the situations are so much more complicated and horrific than any of that implies.
No one who knew of what was happening deserves to still be an officer. Even if they didn’t participate, if they did not fight against what was happening with every ounce of their power, if they didn’t stand up for their fellow officer and denounce the abuses she was facing, if they never spoke up or if they helped cover up it doesn’t matter, they do not deserve their position of power if that is how they will use it.
This is the most frustrating thing. “Well why don’t women just go into those fields then?” This is why. Because men will threaten, harass, and even physically assault us for having the audacity of wanting particular careers.
Why aren’t more women in construction, the military, law enforcement etc.? This is fucking why. Men make us fear for our lives.”
Well said Wanda. Any questions?
We are on ‘easy-mode’ today as hollywood movie posters are not exactly puzzles wrapped in mystery shrouded in illusion – when it comes to illustrating the faint glow and hum of the patriarchal superstructure of the society we inhabit.
Well here we have the standard Avengers movie poster. Everyone in their heroic pose, but something is a little different for Black Widow. It seems, somehow (*gasp*) that some of her superpowers must come from displaying a well defined tuckus to the gaze of the viewer.
Is anyone else showing off their super-tuckus? Evidently not.
Through the magic of the internet, let us witness a great equalization, and redraw our poster.
And there we have it. Butt-power for all. Now tell me again about how equal society is and how we need to move past these tired and dusty feminists concepts like patriarchy and sexism…
It must be said, we are fans of Neil Degrasse Tyson here at DWR. :)
Sure, this is a twitter conversation, but I’m confident that NDT would react similarly outside of the digital world. What are men supposed to do if they cannot be feminists? You do what NDT has done right here, you identify the sexism, call it out for what it is, and then shut that shit down.
One of the frustrations that women experience is that people don’t believe them when they point out sexism in society. So, now thanks to Elizabeth Plank and Vox we can get a newscast rundown of the sexism that pervades our society and of course, the Olympic games.
As always, if you’re wondering if we are even close to equality take a peek in the comments section of the video. They will disabuse you of any sort slappy-happy egalitarian nonsense that happens to be bumbling about in your neural network.
I’m not sure if talking about patriarchy while discussing a TV show based on conspiracy theories is the best plan, but what the hell. If this sort of shit is happening to Gillian Anderson, it can (and probably does) happen to you, if you happen to be female.
“Anderson and Duchovny’s legendarily potent onscreen pairing—rife with sexual tension yet ambiguous enough that a simple embrace could leave fans swooning for days—has been the object of heated obsession for decades, ever since The X-Files, a show that transformed serialized TV and elevated the potential of genre storytelling, premiered in 1993.
Tales of alien abductions, malicious government conspiracies, shadowy figures, and a plot to take over Earth drove the series’ “mythology” arc, in which Mulder (a believer) and Scully (a skeptic) hunted down the truth about what really happened to Mulder’s missing little sister.
But it was the unexpected magnetism between Anderson and Duchovny that truly gave the show its rabid appeal.
“The chemistry was there from the first day they ever appeared together in [Mulder’s] office,” series creator Chris Carter tells me. “It was not apparent until that first day that these two people were gonna click. The chemistry you can’t manufacture. It was just total luck.”
The success of Fox’s six-episode X-Files event series, which premieres with an episode written and directed by Carter on Sunday, hinges in part on whether that chemistry—and the excitement and anguish of watching the agents, clearly two halves of a whole, engage in the will they/won’t they dance—can be reignited again, nine seasons, two movies, and 25 years of X-Files history later.”
I’m excited to see the new shows, as I was a fan back in the day. Unfortunately, here comes the P…
But while Scully asserted her authority at every turn, Anderson found herself fighting just to stand on (literal) equal ground with her male co-star. The studio initially required Anderson to stand a few feet behind her male partner on camera, careful never to step side-by-side with him. And it took three years before Anderson finally closed the wage gap between her pay and Duchovny’s, having become fed up with accepting less than “equal pay for equal work.”
“I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick,” Anderson says of Fox’s curious no-equal-footing rule. “Or that, somehow, maybe it was enough of a change just to see a woman having this kind of intellectual repartee with a man on camera, and surely the audience couldn’t deal with actually seeing them walk side by side!”
She laughs again, this time at the absurdity of the notion of Dana Scully as anyone’s mere sidekick. “I have such a knee-jerk reaction to that stuff, a very short tolerance for that shit,” she says acidly. “I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘Fuck no! No!’ I don’t remember somebody saying, ‘OK, now you get to walk alongside him.’ But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made.”
The work Anderson put into securing equal pay back in the ’90s seemingly came undone when it came time to negotiate pay for this year’s event series. Once again, Anderson was being offered “half” of what they would pay Duchovny.
“I’m surprised that more [interviewers] haven’t brought that up because it’s the truth,” Anderson says of the pay disparity, first disclosed in the Hollywood Reporter. “Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced. It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.
“Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”
She stammers for a moment, at a loss for words. “It is… sad,” she finally says. “It is sad.” (Sources told the Hollywood Reporter Anderson and Duchovny ultimately took home equal pay for the event series.)
Yeah, 2015 and sexist bullshit is still flying high in Hollywood. Awesome.
Nope. No extra barriers, playing field even, no systemic problems to see here…
‘Of course she would have to avoid stereotypical female behavior, and so she could never cry. She would work long hours and hide her pregnancies and her preschooler’s art. One of my co-workers even hid being married. When confronted, she practically swore never to reproduce, and she never did.
I did not mention my first maternity leave, from which I returned to find a curly-haired stranger sitting at my desk, his feet propped on a cardboard box with my client account list packed inside. I had to re-earn the contents of that box, starting that morning. I also didn’t mention the “moo” sounds that traders made when I headed to the nurse’s office with a breast pump, or the colleague who on a dare drank a shot of the breast milk I had stored in the office fridge. I thought of the guy known for dropping Band-Aids on women’s desks when the trading floor was cold because he didn’t “want to be distracted,” and the many times I had heard a women share an idea at a meeting, only to see later that same idea credited to a man.
But I didn’t bring up any of that. Women like me were “team players,” and I was often complimented on my thick skin. Like members of a dysfunctional family, we kept our secrets to ourselves.
Instead, I kept the conversation light. I shared a funny story about my first day on Wall Street, when I opened up a pizza box to find condoms instead of pepperoni slices. Unwrapped. I was “the new girl,” and the guys just wanted to see me blush. I did blush, and I lived.
“It’s not that bad anymore,” I said with a laugh.
She was horrified. “How could you stand that?”
“Stand what?” I thought to myself. I remembered one guy telling me that we should hire only “women who have brothers.” I asked if she had any brothers. The pizza incident was nothing compared with everything else she was about to experience. I truly thought we were offering her the job of a lifetime if only she could let the bad stuff slide.
At that time, women on Wall Street were earning 55 to 62 cents to every dollar a man in the same position earned. Afterward, Bear Stearns imploded in the mortgage market, and while I stayed close to the markets and the people who worked for them, I left. Children gave me perspective about the price of money. The women labeled stellar successes were giving up more than I was willing to part with. With the benefit of some perspective, I began to think more deeply about what I and my female colleagues had experienced.”