Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mansplaining: A Case Study

Well, well, well. It seems something has pissed me off enough to actually write.

In the 6 years that I've been writing here, I've long strayed from the "misandry!!1!" "men are scum" side of things. In fact, I've probably gone WAY too far out of my way to be inclusive to men. What can I say? This blog has been with me a long time time and covered my evolution of theory and learnings.

Anyway, a professional experience on Friday left me so fucking pissed off that all I could think for about an hour after was "I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men I hate men."

Friday, March 20, 2015

*Crickets*

I'm sitting here at 1am just randomly tired and angsty. I moderated over at FacebookSexism today (which I'm down to doing about once a week for reasons of self care and being busy) and after managing a whole bunch of hateful trolls that popped up like they do after every time I post (block, block, blockity block) I remembered that this blog exists.

Oh, this blog. My dear nerdyfeminist.com...what am I to do with you?

It's no secret that my writing has petered off in the past few months. It's not just LESS content: it's (what I would consider) significantly less substantial content.

I didn't happen over night so it's taken me a while to notice that I'm at a point where it's like the wind is out of my damn sails. I've seen a lot of bloggers in many fields reach this spot, or something similar to it. For me it's a real writing block, unlike the others I've had. My brain isn't thinking, "What should I write about?" or "What should be my inspiration?" or "When the heck can I find time to write?" to

"Do I even want to write anymore?"
"Is this thing worth keeping up?"
"Is this what I want?"

As I've mentioned before, my personality type is such that I beat myself up about not producing content. I want to reach the goals I set myself. Since 2009, that has been important to me. But it's just sort of NOT anymore. Where I used to want to write 3 times a week, I now can let weeks slip by without putting a single word on the page.

And I'm not upset about it.

I don't really know where this is going. I'm not announcing that I'm shutting this thing down or anything. I'm immensely proud of (most) everything I've done here and I definitely want to keep it open as a place to come rant if I need, but I'm just letting go of any expectations that I have for myself about it.

I'm just working through it all still and I know, I know, who cares? But yeah, that's where I am right now if anyone is wondering.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Please join me in supporting abortion access in Texas

I'm joining some friends for the Bowl-a-thon in support of The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity this year! My team is called Friday Night Rights!

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Please support me by donating to my page as I work toward likely getting the lowest score the Bowl-a-thon has ever seen! (Good news! Your donation will make a difference even if I publicly disgrace myself bowling.) I'm bowling because I believe that everyone should have access to the abortions they need, regardless of how much money they have. Because of unfair and unnecessary laws, safe and legal abortions can be out of reach of those who don't have the money to pay for them. I don't think that's right, so I'm doing something about it.

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Y'all. Seriously.

We know it ain't easy for abortion seekers, especially here in Texas. I'm trying to help in any small way I can. I need your support.

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Several times a month I receive thankful messages for creating and managing this page and educating folks about various issues like misogyny and rape culture. I'm so appreciative of these comments and I ask that if you have benefited from my work here at all, consider pitching in $5 for my fundraiser. If that is not accessible for you, then share/boost!

I'll love you forever.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My very thorough and official reaction to Patricia Arquette's comments at the 87th annual Academy Awards

Why it seems like just last week that I was discussing White Feminism's (TM) latest fail. Oh wait.

The next chapter in the on-going saga that is exclusionary feminism has already been released! This time starring Patricia Arquette: 

Without further ado, here is my highly anticipated reaction, in chronological order:






[Image text: reaction gifs of Mila Kunis nodding, Lea Michele listening with a smile, then it fades and she looks around confused, followed by Oprah shaking her head and looking disgusted and a final one of Prince giving an angry glare over his shoulder and walking away.]

There's almost no way that you've arrived at this post and don't know what this is about, but just in case: Arquette made some comments about wage disparity at the Oscars on Sunday which might have seemed progressive, but were actually super White Feminism (TM.) The worst of what she said wasn't on stage. Later to the press she said.
So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.
Obviously, as the joke of the title of this post indicates, I don't have really anything substantive to add to the conversation. So many other people have thoroughly explained the issues here forward and backward. But with it being the big feminist topic du jour, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't just note how much I agree with the backlash against these statements. It's infuriating how so many of my fellow white feminists continuously fail to think about anything beyond their own position in life. When you have the power of a podium behind you like the Oscars stage and you want to say something very BIG, you had better think through what it is you're actually saying and wanting for the world before you open your mouth.

I mean, look, if we want to talk about wage inequality on a national stage, I am so up for that. But any conversation about it which focuses on (apparently) on straight, white women is inherently flawed and won't get us far:

[Image text: wage gap data broken our by race and gender with Asian men making the most and Latina women the least. More information and audio available at the source, NPR.]


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just lean away, forever, please

You know what's really messed up?

Using White Feminism (TM) to bully other women.

I know this happens literally all the time every day in big and small ways, but I'll cut right to the chase on this one. I'm talking about the reaction to Jessica Williams saying she ins't ready to take on the job of hosting the Daily Show after Jon Stewart's departure.

If you're engaged in social justice on Tumblr (and other places, but that's my frame of reference), you were well aware of the many calls for Williams to take this soon-to-be-open gig. I was one of them! I agreed! Williams is awesome and hilarious and her filling that seat would be incredible.

BUT

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The definition of exclusion

Earlier this month I attended an event as part of a series here in Austin under the title "The Growing Divide." This one discussed the city's housing crisis. Three panelists examined the fact that affordable housing is becoming more and more scarce, people are increasingly being pushed out into the suburbs in order to be able to afford the kind of lifestyle they want (which contributes to our out of control traffic issues) and that there's a ton of gentrification going on.

In case you aren't aware of the troubles Austin is facing in this realm, might I suggest a Google search, because it's kinda scary. But I'm not actually here to talk about this topic broadly. I wanna talk about this panel specifically.

First the nicey nices: it was fairly informative. For example, I appreciated that the speakers focused in on a few very practical solutions, like extending zoning for back houses (so called "granny flats") which is an easy fix to encourage density without requiring extensive infrastructure changes. I also appreciated that they kept things really non partisan and it felt productive.

Except for one glaring issue: all three panelists were white and wealthy. 

It was such a ridiculous oversight that it truly distracted from my experience. I mean, how in the world can we really talk about affordable housing and not include low income voices? How can we really talk about gentrification and not include people of color?

One of the panelists was one of Austin's newly elected 10-1 city representatives...from the wealthiest district. Place a call to one of the working class POC recently elected, it's not that hard! This is just like basic 101 level stuff here. In fact, the point where I bristled to the discussion the most was when this same panelist made a comment along these lines to try to make us all care more: "We have to remember when we're talking about 'affordable housing' we're not just talking about things like poverty and crime, we're also talking about people like those in my district, which is one of the wealthiest, who can't afford to live in the neighborhood they were raised in........."

[Image text: "Really?" face]
Oh brother.

So yeah, like I said, the discussion was fairly informative but it was perpetuating the systems that be...it was, in its own way, contributing to "The Growing Divide" and blatant exclusion. Think about how much richer, realistic, and important this could have been if marginalized voices were centered.

Jesus, just be better, people.


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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Super Bowl 2015

[Content note: cissexism, death]

I'm a slacker. While in years past, I have dedicated a LOT of time and attention to Super Bowl ads, I barely even watched this year. In fact, for the first quarter I was actually out on a walk and the second quarter I was straightening up around my house. I did catch the Katy Perry halftime show (shrug) and a few ads, however.

I love the Always "Like A Girl" ad (although I had seen it before.)



I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING.

It's pretty damn cool this would air during the Super Bowl, which historically has skewed to being out right hostile to women.

While I do love the overall message of this ad, I know it's an AD and it has to be remembered within that context. As Jilliam Berman wrote at the HuffPo, "The ad may be the first time a [menstrual] care product was advertised during the Super Bowl and is a prominent example of how companies trying to woo women customers are shifting advertising tactics...The idea for the touchy-feely ad campaign came from a common business exercise: analyzing consumer research."

So at the end of the day, it's trying to sell us something. I do support advertisements moving toward this empowering perspective, but we can't ever forget their main motive.

I also caught the pretty horrific "your kid could be DEAD, DEAD I SAY!!!!" spot from Nationwide.




I have a feeling someone was fired over this.

I mean, if their goal was to stir controversy and discussion, they did, but I'm not sure the overwhelming negative response was worth it. It's a pretty classic case study in how treading the line of "in poor taste" can  back fire on you.

Otherwise, I didn't really catch any ads that stuck with me. Was there something horribly offensive that I missed?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Anti marriage equality folks are a' floundering

Have you ever seen someone more sadly cling to something than the folks who are against marriage equality in 2015? It's beyond embarrassing.

I, like most people, assume that nationwide marriage equality will be and SHOULD be achieved soon. There's just no logical argument against it...certainly not from a constitutional perspective. But, nevertheless, as conservatives are apt to do, some sad, floundering anti marriage equality folks try their damnedest to make a case.

The one I heard last week on NPR's On Point (and have heard before) was the whole, "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!" side to it where an ultra conservative argued that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples because they produce kids...and the state sanctioned marriage as a special thing for people who produce kids...and the government has an interest in ensuring that children are parented by their biological mother and father.



Yeah.

So many things wrong here, all of which highlight the ways that the anti marriage equality side is so ridiculously out of touch with reality that it's laughable. Let me touch on the biggest issues I see right off the bat...

1) So are they lobbying for heterosexual couples who can't or don't want to have kids to lose marriage rights? Of course they're not.

2) Um, all kinds of homosexual couples actually ARE parenting together...everywhere, all the time. Like it or not, lady.

3) Being someone's biological parent does NOT automatically make you the best person to raise children. As the many of us who survived abuse know. Also...something tells me these people would actually be just fine with a "nice, straight, white Christian couple" adopting....

3) There are SO many queer couples who can reproduce. I love this photo set from Tumblr that demonstrates as much. Not only are these anti marriage equality people showing how homophobic they are, they're also incredibly transphobic/exclusionary and have very little grasp of the basic concept of gender diversity...which isn't surprising but sure is fucked up nevertheless.

[Image text: Two women cartoon figures. One is saying, "I am a lesbian trans woman." The other, "I am a pansexual cis woman." With the caption, "We are a queer couple able to reproduce.]
I recognize that marriage equality shouldn't necessarily be the main focus of LGBT+ discourse (especially when so many trans youth are homeless and face violence, for example.) But since it has  reached a fever pitch in national politics anyway, we can at least all agree that anti marriage equality folks are bananas. Sad, strange bananas.



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The catch 22 of the compliment

[Content note: misogyny, harassment]

A couple weeks ago I reblogged a post on Tumblr where a young woman, Gweneth Bateman, conducted a social experiment. She agreed with the guys who sent her compliments online, because if she didn't reply, the men were rude.

The results were simultaneously disturbing and not surprising...dudes who went from calling her "amazing" and "cute" went to cold or outright mean when she agreed with them. I caught it when it only had maybe around 1,000 notes but it took off, other women added their similar results, and it was even featured on BuzzFeed.

When I added my commentary I said,
So much of society is oriented toward validating expressions of low self esteem in women. (Think how common negative self talk is.) Beyond that, we are supposed to chase and value any "compliment" that men throw our way.
Hence the ever present response to complaints about street harassment, "Just take the compliment."
So therefore when we disarm the perceived power they feel they have over us, we’re bitches.
I've been thinking about this more and more and I can't shake it from my brain.

Is there really any way to win when random dudes (who you are not reciprocating interested in) compliment you? Lots of people on the BuzzFeed article said that these women should just say a simple "Thank you" but I think that's not really a solution either. How many women have been accused of leading someone on because they were just trying to be "nice?" All I can think is that unwanted compliments are kinda a catch 22...we don't reply we're a BITCH, we agree we're a BITCH. If you play nice, he'll later accuse you of leading him on and you're, guess what, a BITCH.

It's annoying. And tiring. It also reminds me how dangerous it is to create your self of self-worth from external sources in general...because if you agree, the rug will suddenly be ripped out from under you.





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Monday, January 12, 2015

Best/Worst of Golden Globes 2015

[Content note: rape]

So Golden Globes have come and gone. Since I've had something to say about it the past few years,  I figured I'd throw in my two cents again. I know pretty much everyone who writes about pop culture and/or celebrities and/or feminism will also do so...so I'm not going to get in depth or anything. I just want to note a few things.

Worst moments:
  • Jeremy Renner making a disgusting joke about J. Lo's "globes" aka her breasts aka stfu Renner.
  • The whole Margaret Cho/North Korea bit. And it being pretty much the only Asian representation last night.
  • Fey and Poehler's Bill Cosby rape jokes. Disliked for the reasons listed at the link.
  • Ricky Gervais saying  Quvenzhan√© Wallis' name wrong. I keep thinking about how she's a KID at these things and people do crap like that and ugh. No.
  • Selma getting snubbed for all the major awards. Y'all...that film...is...seriously amazing. Ava DuVernay deserves everything in my mind.
  • Billy Bob Thornton saying, "You get in trouble for saying anything these days" in his old white man southern draw. This went under the radar, I feel like. But all I could think was, "So you're definitely a bigot then?" But at least he stuck to his word and didn't say anything else and just took his ass off stage after a simple, "Thank you." Weird moment.
Best moments:

Overall a very mixed bag. 


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A super important post about my evolving feelings re: one, Ms. Taylor Swift

I haven't been fond of Taylor Swift in the past (like both last year and the FAR past.) In fact, I believe my exact words about her went a little something like, "She's the worst."

But I have something to admit.

*Deep breath*

I don't hate her anymore. I'm not saying I like her...but ok, I kinda like her.

I could chalk this up to a "Swiftamine" situation, which is true, but also, there have been a few things I've seen here and there lately which have caught my eye and given her come credibility in my mind.



I thought long and hard about even mentioning this because Swift, overall, is still FAR from perfect. And I'm still going to cringe at her...a lot, probably. But because one of my anti-TS posts recently got a little traction for some reason, I felt it was perhaps appropriate to issue at least a light amendment on my opinion of her to "actually, maybe not the worst, I guess."

Because if my feminism can't acknowledge someone's personal growth, then what is it even for?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just a thought

I've long been both annoyed and confused by two, often intersection groups of people:

1) Folks who seem almost exclusively oriented toward trolling the internet to find people they dislike, writing they disagree with, and general stuff to complain about and

2) Folks who think that they are the arbiters of what is "really important" and therefore--if you address a personal observation that falls outside of their narrowly defined realm of "really important stuff," you're frivolous, pathetic, etc.

It boggles my mind why some people don't seem capable of letting others be. Why come back to a source that pisses you off over and over? Of course, I believe if someone is being actively oppressive or bigoted and you want to call them out, then do so. But if you arrive someplace (yes, I mean here specifically) and you find something that makes you roll your eyes because you just don't agree--why would you take the time to be hateful and mocking? And why would you come back? So much of what I write about is just derived from my personal thoughts and reflections. If yours are different does that really warrant scorn? Does it require your time and energy?

What a sad place you must be in to wish to spend your time that way.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

There is no Plus Size Department for Men

[Content note: Body shaming, fatphobia, misogyny]

I read something a few weeks ago that has stuck in my brain. I can't remember if it was a tweet or a tumblr post, but it was something along the lines of, "Did you ever notice there is no men's plus size department? Bigger men can just shop where smaller men shop." (I hate that I can't properly attribute this, but despite some Google searching; I can't find the source, bear with me.)

Of course, there actually are upper size limits to the men's department and not everyone can comfortably fit in the men's clothes that are typically available. But that aside, the stark contrast between this approach to men's and women's clothing, in general, is very telling.*

Basically, I can't see it as anything but the intersection between fatphobia and misogyny.

Since this concept stuck in my brain so thoroughly, I though I'd spot check it and see how true this is. I went to Target's website and found that you can buy men's jeans from a 28" to a 50" waist on the same page, no problem, whereas women's jeans are definitely divided out into standard and plus size, (for the over size 18 crowd.) Don't even get me started on the totally arbitrary and widely varying topic of women's clothes sizes. But for the sake of a comparison, a 50" waist would equate to approximately a women's size 30, which is not even an available pants size on Target's site...to my knowledge.

I don't have much else to say, except this is bullshit. There's really no reason that plus size departments need to exist (and for them to drop off at a max of a size 24, for that matter) ya know? Men's clothing dictates as much. The division in women's sizing, at the end of the day, just feels othering to me.

I'll end on a tweet I saw lately which amused me and I was actually quick enough to capture a citation for:
*ETA: I had someone ask why I didn't account for "Big & Tall" stores for men, as if this refutes my thesis. I am specifically NOT talking about specialty size shops; I'm talking about general clothing retailers who have divided sections for women's sizes but who have a very large size range for men all together. I thought that was pretty clear (since I don't mention anything like Lane Bryant, etc.) but apparently I need to state that explicitly.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Privilege Example #3,499,231

I haven't written anything about Ferguson because I think this is definitely a time for me to shut up and listen/learn. I've been reading a ton and keeping up (mostly through lots of awesome commentary from Black people on Tumblr and Twitter.)

But I was sent an ask recently from another white person who was lamenting having to discuss/debate the whole situation with their white parents (who were probably saying all the racist shit you see floating around right now like, "What would MLK say about that rioting!!1!")

My initial response to reading the ask was YUP, I feel that. I'm so sick of getting into these counterproductive discussions with racist family and acquaintances. But then, as I said in my response, I thought about it some more...and white privilege is definitely worrying about trying to educate your folks about these issues and not worrying that one of them (or you) will end up the next one dead.

So while I might not write much about that topic here, and it's not really my place to take up space in the online discussion this time, I am working to try to educate other white people in my life about this issue. It's (literally) the very least I could do.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Rape Culture Watch: Shia LaBeouf Edition

[Content note: Rape culture]

As has been well circulated, Shia LaBeouf recently said during an interview with Dazed that he was raped during an infamous performance piece.

The following response has been disgusting as usual, with disbelief and shame, particularly from perennial asshat, Piers Morgan. Even some of the less insidious comments I've seen sickened me. On one comment string on Facebook, someone posited, "Of course men can be raped too--they have anuses." (As if this is the only way someone with a penis could be raped. Missing the point, hard, there.)

Any time someone comes forward with their story like this, and is inevitably shamed, mocked, and disbelieved. So I wonder (again and again and again) why rape apologists think someone would make this stuff up? What does someone stand to gain from make a "false accusation" except scorn and hatred?

Take the usual "high profile" rape case, which involves an accusation made against a famous man by a woman or many women. In this situation, rape apologists say that the woman is trying to get his money, or whatever misogynistic garbage they can dig up...which made me wonder: why do they think Shia LaBeouf who is, himself, a rich dude, would make this up?

Well if Morgan and his ilk are to be believed, the reason is attention. Cue head explosion. Rape apologists have a dismissal for every person, every story, every time.

All of this negative energy around victims' stories like this--the shame and disbelief-- only serve to do one thing: continue to make it less and less likely that victims feel comfortable speaking out.

And it's fucking bullshit.


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