Go here now, read and weep. To people who think that sexism in STEM is just hype, let me tell you that unfortunately, I have *NEVER* worked in a single lab or workplace of a technical nature where I have not experienced some sort of sexism– ranging from inappropriate comments to outright harassment. That is right– not a SINGLE lab or company. I would say my resume contains places people would consider inspiring, cutting edge, and liberal. Please be respectful and think about that.

Hattip @Mathbabe !

Tags: , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

To date I have never attend a Gender Studies class, read any Betty Friedan, burned any of my bras (those things are damn expensive) or gone more than a week without shaving. Sometimes I wear lipstick; sometimes I wear heels. Sometimes I even cook breakfast for men I care about; but only if they do the dishes in exchange. I have an apron that’s pink and somewhat frilly, and sometimes I wear this too, because it has nice pockets and is a souvenir from a great vacation in Tokyo. I support and admire women of strength and of power, and I am pro-female. This does not entail that I necessarily hate men; the world does not exist in binary forms and if there is any animosity, it is merely annoyance in a stereotypical form of frustration between the sexes. I do not know what this word feminist means, because I have never looked it up in the dictionary.

But evidently, it must mean something to me. I have been told before that I am a feminist and sometimes I call myself one for the sake of simplifying arguments. It seems that I have even labeled some of my writing so.

And evidently, it must mean something to others if only that sometimes men roll their eyes at me and women become inexplicably either suddenly warm or colds towards me. Anything that warrants such a viceral reaction deserves to be explained, if even for the mere reason that I avoid strife and find it off-putting to say the least that one should ever react to me in a negative way for mere use of a label. The only other adjective of similiar scope that has been undeniably placed upon me seems to be Asian, and if one were to react in the same way to that label, it would be called Racism, and unacceptably so.

And so now that I am 20, a nice even number, exactly a prime number’s worth of decades, it seems to be a good time to evaluate what that f-word means before I go on, as I am neither so young as to bear it irresponsibly, nor too old to re-evaluate.

Here is what the New Oxford American Dictionary says:

a person who supports feminism.
of, relating to, or supporting feminism: feminist literature.

which is an utterly useless definition.
And so we must look one step up, to feminism itself, which means:

the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Which sounds to me a sane and rational cause to support, even self-evident.
I do not know really why one should have such a negative reaction to this well-meaning and logical definition, but I do not claim to have a thorough understanding of the behavior of people on the whole. All I wish to emphasize is that this word seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the cooking of food, cleaning of kitchens, dressing and portrayal of bodies, hatred of men, or most puzzling of all, lesbianism. And with that definition in mind, I can confidently say that yes, I am a feminist, in the true sense of the word, which is, after all, how words ought to be used, and perhaps you should, too.

P.S.: I am notoriously bad at detecting sarcasm so if you are in the same boat as I there is some of that in the above.

Tags: ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Suzanne Venker wants us to surrender to our “nature”, our femininity, so that “marriageable men will come out of the woodwork”.

I ask: Why use the word surrender? And what the hell are we going to do with all these men waiting on hand and knee to marry us anyway?

Oh, how I wanted to avoid reading her article, “the war on men“, on fox *cough cough cough* news. Why ruin a lovely Saturday morning? But since it was only about a page long, and I have a very short attention span for these sorts of nonsense, read it I did.

I don’t have the time nor fuse to do a thorough reading and analysis of the piece. Nor do I wish to research the author more thoroughly. As such, I will simply give my reaction to a few select quotes. You may form your own opinions and arguments as you please. Me, I have better things to do.

Note: the best way to read the following is to insert an explecitive of your choice before every noun. Since this a relatively family/work-friendly blog, I left it out, but feel free to be creative.

“Women aren’t women anymore.”

Excuse me, I’m pretty sure as long as we have the correct body parts which we may do with as we please and/or identify as female, that is woman enough for me.

“All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat.”

Uh, no. This is just plain incorrect. The percentage of female lead characters (and I mean lead characters, not femme fatales, objects of attraction, love interests) is still relatively small. The percentage of strong female leads, even less.

“Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”

To make the assumption that men are driven by their d*cks you might as well assume women are driven by their uteruses. Oh wait…

“Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life.”

Thanks for saddling us with the consequences of sex. I hope you never saddle anything else of mine.

“Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.”

Then perhaps it is time for men to undergo some change: learn to appreciate women who are career driven, independent, and maybe someone you can actually have a intelligent conversation with? And perhaps someone who can actually be your partner and equal?

“In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy.”

This quote is the one that gets me the most. DO I SEEM ANGRY TO YOU?!

In all seriousness– maybe women are angry for good reason: maybe anger, like pain, is a necessary evil– because it keeps us driven, and points to the fact that there are real, concrete issues out there to be angry about.

If women are angry, I hope we stay angry until there is no more to be angry about. Better to be angry and passionate for change and justice than passive and content to settle.

And just for the record, I can be damn feminine when I want to. Maybe I just have other priorities.

For an extremely funny and entertaining critique, check out this vid from the colbert report.

Tags: , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Mini Feminist Rant #1

16 Jul 2012

After discovering earlier this year a really simple way of avoiding the New York Time’s (very) loosely implemented firewall (which I am not going to tell you, since I am a supporter of the press and really there are quite a few dozen ways to avoid it) I’ve been following the Opinion pages on a regular basis, especially the “Room for Debate” section, which features different responses to a central question. Usually, these debates are well-rounded and bring me some faith back into the intellect of the human species. Occasionally, though, there is a really unfortunate WTF moment. Case in point, this recent discussion centered on the question “Are Modern Men Manly Enough?” Seriously, the description alone is enough to make me vomit: “Are men spending too much time at the spa and the gym in lieu of grittier, manlier pursuits? And if so, is this making them less masculine?” Really, NYT? Really?

Now, this wouldn’t have been so bad, if there had been lots of great, insightful responses debunking gender stereotypes etc. Instead, we get pieces titled “Where are the Meat and Potato Men?” and “Rediscovering the Don Draper Within“. Seriously. I’m pretty confident the latter is satire, though, thank Goodness, since I’m crossing my fingers that no one would say “I got messed up by my feminist mom in the 1970s, who taught me that gender was a social construct” with a straight face. But the Meat and Potato Men one looks to be serious, and seriously alarming. Natasha Scripture ends her piece, basically a description of personal dating preferences and how she was turned off by a date that cried to mourn the loss of Maurice Sendak by stating “I hope we don’t become so much like each other that we end up essentially morphing into one androgynous being. That would just be plain weird”. I’m a little weirded out myself.

Listen, gender, image, masculinity, and dating are all great topics that are truly worthy of discussion. But do we really need to revert to Mad Men stereotypes (as gripping of a show as that may be) to do so? And if we must, can we at least do it in an enlightened way?

Tags: , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·