Weekly Feminist Reader

What’s behind the birth-control price spike?
A hilarious review of “daddy” comedies.
On the serious harassment problems with a high school ROTC instructor in Tennessee: “Flash your breasts at the chief and you could smoke cigarettes on campus, students alleged in statements to investigators. Run topless in the gymnasium during an unauthorized sleepover and the chief turned a blind eye to drinking rum in a West High restroom.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez decries the trend in his country of teenagers getting boob jobs.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye.
Iraqi refugee women and girls are being forced into prostitution in Syria.
Ok, ok, I know it’s Rush Limabaugh and I should expect this. Still.
Jodie Foster talks about her latest role as a woman avenging a group of men who assaulted her. She says:

But is there a streak of feminist empowerment in your character’s actions? A cop in the film says, “Women kill their friends, husbands, shit they love.” You kill strangers in the street.
Such a big part of the female psyche is that we hate inwards. What if there was a woman who said, “I’m not going to be that kind of victim. I’m not going to hurt myself, I’m going to hurt you.” What would that feel like? This was no feminist design on my part — although I call myself a feminist — but that’s exhilarating to women who see this movie.

The fembot, reconsidered in light of the new Bionic Woman show and those awful Heineken ads.
A conference this weekend devotes itself to advancing the science for a male birth control pill.
Clarence Thomas says of Anita Hill, “She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed. That’s not the person I knew.” In other words, that sexual harassment was totally warranted! If you’re not demure, you can expect it.
On what happens when the Tyra Banks show tries to tackle the topic of women and porn.
Congress approves yet another 90-day funding extension for abstinence-only programs.

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116 Comments

  1. Mehitabel
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Men don’t necessarily have to earn more, know more, or have more control. But lift more? Well, technically, yes. If you have a man and a woman of roughly equal size and health, the man is going to be stronger because men have more short-muscle fibers that enable them to lift and/or carry things for a relatively short amount of time. Women generally have more endurance (good for long-distance carrying, walking/jogging, childbirth), but men have more fast-twitch muscle fibers (good for sprinting, lifting heavy objects, etc.).
    The evil “patriarchy” has nothing to do with that. Not many of you seem to realize how much of our behavior is biologically based. Oxytocin, anyone?

  2. alawaric
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    13lesslee – also, you define your partner in negatives- according to you she is “less intelligent, less physically strong and making less money than you.”
    yet she is your equal?

    That’s not at all what I said, which was “I don’t think I’d feel insecure dating a girl who made more money than me, but I probably would if she also was smarter and more athletic than me.”
    In other words, I would feel weird dating a woman who was my intellectual, financial and athletic SUPERIOR. I’d have no problem if she was my equal. Or if she was superior in some of those ways, but not others.
    That said, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to pass judgment on what other people look for in a mate. If some guy just wants just to date stupid girls, that’s his beeswax. You might find that distasteful, but it’s not unethical or immoral.
    SarahMC – The reason I used housewife as an example is because it’s good example of a traditional gender role.
    I’ll agree: if a guy thinks *all* women should be SAHM, that is obv. very sexist. If a guy thinks women should be free to do whatever they want, but wants to marry a woman who wants to stay home and do the cooking and child-rearing, that is fine with me. People who think their own personal preferences should be universal suck, IMHO.

  3. SarahMC
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Now you’re saying that men *have* to lift more?
    “Men don’t necessarily have to earn more, know more, or have more control. But lift more? Well, technically, yes.”
    Men don’t have to lift more than women in order to be “real men.” Men, on average, are physically stronger than the average woman. Nobody’s disputing that. You’re debating a strawwoman.

  4. 13lesslee
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    SarahMC:
    “Is it because you’ve internalized the patriarchy’s mandate that as a man you earn more, lift more, know more and have more control?”
    you know, there’s another level to that too, where women keep proving themselves to be capable in both public and private arenas and then there’s always such a backlash.
    you know, if a woman is capable of lifting as much, knowing as much and earning as much as her male counterparts, then there’s all these new york times articles or forbes articles or whatever media outlet articles decrying how unhappy, unmarriageable, repressed and lost women are today.
    so it’s a catch-22, if you stay within the confines of “feminity” you’re considered weak, but if you venture out and suceed at a career, you have articles reminding you how you’re basically a miserable, emasculating shrew.
    but i guess all y’all already know that- that’s a reason why we read this site!

  5. Mehitabel
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    “It’s relevant because depending on one’s sex partner for a living means having less say in how, when, and whether to have sex – and therefore less ability to avoid unsafe sex.
    This applies no matter how developed or undeveloped the surrounding nation is.”
    I’m sorry if you think that American marriages are like that. When I don’t want sex, I say so. And we don’t have sex. I realize there are marriages in which this is not the case, but most marriages in developed countries are healthy ones. And there are resources for battered spouses to flee an abusive marriage.
    In third-world countries, this is a more serious problem, and I understand that. I think that the emphasis needs to be on educating the children about healthy monogamous relationships and providing resources for abused women.
    But I don’t think anyone has the right to condemn stay-at-home spouses for the choices that they make. Do you think it’s fair or right when people condemn you for things that you do that you feel are sensible or correct?

  6. SarahMC
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Nobody’s condmned stay at home spouses.

  7. SarahMC
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and Mehitabel, you may not like to think of it this way, but married women who don’t earn an income are at a serious disadvantage in their marriages (assuming they don’t have millions of $ in personal savings accounts).
    It is risky for a woman to depend on her husband (or any other person) financially. They are literally at the mercy of their husbands. The divorce rate was low during the early part of the century because women couldn’t afford to leave bad marriages – not because marriages were all hunky dory back then. If you are at another person’s whims like that, you’ll put up with a lot in order to feed yourself and your children.

  8. Mehitabel
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I believe Alaric said:
    “If a woman wants to stay home and be a housewife, what’s wrong with that?”
    And Mina replied: “This is what’s wrong with that…”
    So, yes. One of you did condemn it.
    And feminine is not a “confine”. What’s wrong with acting like a lady and being treated accordingly? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any mass media outlet refer to a ladylike woman as “weak”.
    “Man, that Audrey Hepburn. What a wuss.”

  9. Mina
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    “I’m sorry if you think that American marriages are like that.”
    You’re sorry if I think that many American marriages are sexual relationships?
    This reminds me of those people who claim they just want to discourage premarital sex then badmouth sex in general, as if marital sex doesn’t exist too.
    “When I don’t want sex, I say so. And we don’t have sex.”
    Likewise, in many sexual relationships (including marriages that are sexual relationships), when A doesn’t want sex with spouse B anymore, A says so. And they don’t have sex anymore. And B just might want to leave this relationship – which isn’t an abusive wish. Nobody, including B, should be trapped in an unhappy relationship, after all. Meanwhile, if A can’t afford to have B leave, then how much can A afford to keep telling B “not tonight” in the first place…?
    “And there are resources for battered spouses to flee an abusive marriage.”
    OTOH, how many resources are there for non-abused housespouses to keep breadwinners in sexless marriages or at least paying alimony?
    “Nobody’s condmned stay at home spouses.”
    Yeah, there’s a huge difference between pointing out a risk and condemning the people who take that risk.

  10. 13lesslee
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    what does acting like a lady entail?

  11. oenophile
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Oenophile-the benefit to men would be-not getting a woman pregnant. That’s a nice benefit.
    You flaming idiot. It’s a benefit to me if I can get someone to pay off my student loans, but that doesn’t mean that the FDA will approve a drug or medical device that has severe side effects but makes me give off a phermone that causes people to give me money.
    MEDICAL BENEFIT TO THE PERSON.
    I am not making this stuff up. I am not the one who wrote the laws. Honestly, what is WRONG with you people? I just got bitched out because I had the nerve to explain Supreme Court jurisprudence.
    This shoot-the-messenger thing is bloody annoying and has to stop.

  12. 13lesslee
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    acting like a lady reminds me of my grandmother who would always stop me from laughing too loud, or playing too hard or having too much fun or being too comfortable with my body because it wasn’t ladylike.
    to me, that was confining. maybe not so for other people, but i know i’m not the only one who finds actng ladylike and being treated accordingly as being confining. what if someone thinks i’m not acting ladylike enough? can they, like my grandmother, condemn me for that?
    i’d rather be treated like a human any day.

  13. Mina
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    “acting like a lady reminds me of my grandmother who would always stop me from laughing too loud, or playing too hard or having too much fun or being too comfortable with my body because it wasn’t ladylike.”
    I now wonder what she’d have thought of the novel _The Diamond Age or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer_…

  14. Mina
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    “Oenophile-the benefit to men would be-not getting a woman pregnant. That’s a nice benefit.
    “You flaming idiot.”
    What’s so idiotic about noticing that the benefit of the male pill would be a temporary version of the same benefit that a surgerical procedure already approved for men has?

  15. Mina
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Oops, typo. That should be “surgical,” not “surgerical.”

  16. Jessica
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    K folks, I’m shutting this one down–sorry. Too much troll-feeding going on. Alaric, calm yourself. Mehitabel, you may want to check out Finally a Feminism 101 blog before continuing to comment here. Thanks.

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