More Feminist News!

Black man vs. white woman – The Boston Globe: “Hillary Clinton contends with gender stereotypes, and Barack Obama with racial ones. Which bias runs deeper in the American psyche? The answer does not bode well for Clinton.” (Oppression Olympics defined. Just check out the graphic!)
Vaccinating Boys for Girls’ Sake? – New York Times: “Will parents of sons consent to a three-shot regimen that has been marketed as benefiting girls? How do you pitch that to Gardasil Boy’s parents? Think altruism. Responsibility. Chivalry, even? Oh, and yes: some explicit details about genital warts…” (Shocker: this is in the Styles section.)
Obama: First Female President? – Newsweek.com: “It has been a rarity in modern political life: a wide-open race for the nomination of both parties. But whatever happens from here on out, this campaign will always be remembered for the emergence of the first serious woman candidate for president: Barack Obama.”
Never Too Young for That First Pedicure – New York Times: “One recent rainy afternoon, Eleanor LaFauci, 7, sat with her feet in open-toed foam slippers, admiring her toenails, freshly painted watermelon pink. ‘Look, we’re reading an adult magazine,’ Eleanor told her mother, gleefully waving a copy of People…”
Want the government to pay for your sex change? Go to Iran. – FP Passport: “Last fall, Passport noted that more sex-change surgeries are performed in Iran than in any other country except Thailand. Ayatollah Khomeini approved them for “diagnosed transsexuals” 25 years ago, and today the Iranian government will pay up to half the cost for those in financial need.”

Join the Conversation

  • mistwolf

    The UK does offer aid with GRS, but you have to go to a doctor on the NHS, and frankly, all the surgeons in the UK approach butcher status. x.x
    I had my surgery in Thailand with Dr. Suporn. I didn’t pay any less than someone going to any of the other top-notch surgeons, though many people assume that that is why I chose Thailand.
    But outside of the fact of Dr. S being an artist, I love knowing that a good chunk of the fee he charges foreigners goes towards subsidizing women in Thailand who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford anything but cut-rate, low-quality surgeons. I met a few of the native girls while I was there and they were absolute sweeties. :)
    As for young girls and pedicures… Well, I am mixed on that one, but I worry that it will be a ‘gateway’ to scarier things like pre-teen Brazilians. x.x

  • mistwolf

    I love when blogs tell you your comment wasn’t posted and there was a server error, when it really was.
    I’ll go crawl into a hole and die of shame now. x.x

  • Mina

    “Also, RE: sex changes, was anyone else surprised that there was no mention of Iranian women pursuing this policy? I wonder if it’s just uncommon”
    I’ve seen it mentioned in this article from 2005:
    http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/35/15513
    It includes some stuff on transmen and some stuff on lesbians getting permits for sex-change surgery, then getting breast reductions and keeping the permits to show cops (instead of getting penises surgically added).
    The BBC article I saw earlier forcused on women:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7259057.stm
    but I got the impression *that* was in part because of this:
    “The original film, Be Like Others directed by Tanaz Eshaghian had its premier this month at the Berlin Film Festival. You can see clips at the film’s website”
    (Be Like Others is specifically about transwomen)

  • Mina

    “I love when blogs tell you your comment wasn’t posted and there was a server error, when it really was.
    “I’ll go crawl into a hole and die of shame now. x.x”
    Aw, don’t feel bad. The server is tricky. What I do is open up a new browser window, go to feministing.com, reload the site because whenever I just go to the site it shows the previous version I saw instead of the current version, and only *then* I can see if my comment made it through. :/

  • amanohyo

    I’ll agree with several other posters that the Globe article makes a lot of good points and backs them up with sound data. Saying that sexism is more deeply ingrained in society than racism doesn’t autommatically mean you want to compete in the “opression olympics.”
    And anjali, if you seriously think Obama’s “no red states, no blue states,” mumbo jumbo is going to magically make republicans vote for a man who wants to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants and is pro choice, then you are delusional. The “50 state strategy” works in the primary, it isn’t going to help him in the general election. I really wish you could turn republicans into democrats by saying “Let’s all work together! I’m super popular!” but sadly, it’s not that easy.
    Obama and Clinton have virtually identical platforms. Clinton has foreign affairs experience and policy making (change making if you will) experiece, and he has almost none. If voters treated the election like the crucial job interview that it is, she would win in a landslide. Has the Bush administration taught you nothing about the dangers of placing unqualified people in positions of power?

  • mathgoddess

    Marissa, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’ve forgotten who said this, but someone once wrote “Adolescence is simply the process of trying on one face after another until finding one that fits.” I think young girls feel the same way. As long as you give them opportunities to try on several “faces,” including those of leaders and self-confident workers, they will eventually find their own balance.
    I messed around with makeup all the time when I was ten, with my parent’s indulgence. However, my parents also gave me math problems to do in the car. Now I’m a math/computer major who avoids lipstick like the plague (makes them dry out. ew).

  • GrimaWormtongue

    being a history major and a costume designer, I’d like to point out that through out history children were dressed like little mini versons of their parents and expected to be silent little versons of. So the thought on our kids growing up older, younger in historial sence is off base.
    However, It still doesn’t make me feel very comfortable with the idea of my daughter if I had one going to her friends birthday party and having it be one of thease consumerism gigs. being girly and all that is one thing shelling out money for washing their feet is another.
    so muc more i want to say but I’m late. tada

  • http://thewickedwench.blogspot.com/ thewickedwench

    I’m from Boston, so I read the Globe article when it was first published, and I found it very helpful in explaining to my Dad about how subtle sexism can be.
    Anjali–I didn’t get the impression that the author was trying to “rank” sexism and racism as one being worse than the other. I thought the author was saying that sexism is more ingrained or more subtle than racism because racism means different things to different cultures, while sexism is prejudice against women, a population every society has.
    Every culture has racism/bias/prejudice against people in their society—some more horrific than others (slavery in the US, the holocaust in Europe, the Hutus vs. the Tutsis, etc.). But almost EVERY society is misogynist or at least patriarchal.
    I think the author was saying that sexism is more fundamental in the human psyche than racism.
    Zora Neal Hurston wrote: the black woman is the “mule of the world,” because not only does she face racism from her “own” women (and men) who are white, but she faces sexism not only from white men but from her “own” black men as well.
    So, I think it’s a valid point that black women felt disenfranchised from the 1st and 2nd waves of feminism. Women of color were sometimes purposefully, sometimes just ignorantly, excluded from the movement by white women leaders.
    In the same vein, the second wave of feminism was motivated in part by the women who worked for civil rights and anti war movements in the 50s and 60s and were then discriminated against by the supposedly “liberal” men they worked with!
    When I look at the history of the issue, it’s not surprising to me that the country is more “ready” for a black man over a woman (of any color for that matter). Black men achieved the right to vote before any women did (at least on paper). The Civil Rights Amendment passed, but the Equal Rights Amendment did not. It’s not acceptable to make racist comments in public anymore (ask Don Imus), but sexist ones are just dandy (Chris Mathews still has his job).
    When that asshat held up the “Iron my shirt” sign at Hillary’s rally in NH, people thought that was awful. However, if someone held up a sign at an Obama rally that said “Pick my cotton” or something else that was offensive, there would have been a national outcry.
    The studies cited by the Globe article didn’t deny that racism exists, didn’t say one is more oppressive than the other. What it did say was that racism can at times be mitigated by other circumstances, but when it comes to sexism, there’s pretty much nothing a woman can do to overcome it in the minds of sexist people.

  • Quizzical1

    The thing that the article about Gardasil for boys studiously refused to mention: males CAN get cancer from genital warts. It’s just that the men who do tend to be gay men who get throat cancer or anal cancer. I can see that Merck might want to avoid mentioning the link, as altruism and chivalry are more appealing to a parent (traditional values and all that) than trying to convince them that just in case their son is gay, he should get the vaccine. Likewise, uncircumcized men can get penile cancer from genital warts, via warts that are under their foreskin. Interesting how little you hear about these factoids.

  • Marissa

    I think there is a serious positive side to the many “oppression olympics” types of articles out there recently. This positive side is that the mainstream is discussion racism and sexism and something that is real and happening now. It seems like so many people are caught up in the idea of post-feminism/post-racial issues, where they think we fixed racism and sexism in the 60s and for people to keep looking at it is “made up” and “whiney.” I personally am just so glad at this miniature step forward where the larger culture is identifying the CURRENT impact of racism and sexism and identifying these problems as across American culture. I do not agree with the idea of figuring out which group is more oppressed, which is often the goal. But I do think it is ok to discuss how racism and sexism manifest themselves in our culture, because there are some differences, and we need to be able to identify when racism and sexism happens. Maybe these kinds of articles will help bring more awareness overall. Baby steps.

  • http://themessageshow.blogspot.com/2008/02/regifting-my-virginity-or-my-box-in-box_28.html Jennifer

    But I actually think what’s even more common today is that a lot of white people like blacks who don’t conform to the typical “black culture”.
    BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Oh, man. That was a good one. *wiping laughter tears from my eyes*
    Obama is a female candidate for president in the same way that Bill Clinton was the first black president.
    What? No.
    In one particularly telling strain of research, called the Goldberg paradigm, two sets of participants are asked to comment on something, perhaps a resume or a speech or a work scenario in which a boss speaks with an employee. To one audience, the person involved is described as a woman, in the other he is a man. Time and again, male participants (and, in some cases, women as well) judge the resume more harshly if it is a woman’s, or say the speech was strident if given by a woman but assertive if given by a man, or that the female boss was pushy while the male boss was concerned.
    And in another study, country lyrics were judged more harshly when the participants were told they were rap lyrics. So the point is…what, exactly?

  • http://themessageshow.blogspot.com/2008/02/regifting-my-virginity-or-my-box-in-box_28.html Jennifer

    BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Oh, man. That was a good one. *wiping laughter tears from my eyes*
    Damn! I actually read Nina’s sentence wrong. My mistake.

  • jmcchesney

    I would get my son gardasil in a second (now granted, he’s not even two yet, so I have a long time before I have to worry about it) but even without the threat of some kind of cancer, I’d like to spare him having genital warts if at all possible too. I don’t understand why it’s even controversial… it’s not JUST to help any unvaccinated partners he might have, but also him.

  • Quizzical1

    The thing that the article about Gardasil for boys studiously refused to mention: males CAN get cancer from genital warts. It’s just that the men who do tend to be gay men who get throat cancer or anal cancer. I can see that Merck might want to avoid mentioning the link, as altruism and chivalry are more appealing to a parent (traditional values and all that) than trying to convince them that just in case their son is gay, he should get the vaccine. Likewise, uncircumcized men can get penile cancer from genital warts, via warts that are under their foreskin. Interesting how little you hear about these factoids.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.blogspot.com Tami

    I agree with anjali re: the Globe article. The ranking of sexism vs. racism that seems to be rampant during this campaign is unproductive.
    I do find it interesting that, while most white feminists that I know in life and online have been quick to embrace the theory that sexism is more pervasive than racism, most feminists of color that I know, who truly face both racism and sexism in their daily lives, say their life experiences do not confirm that theory. Mine certainly do not.
    I think that all women learn to note the subtleties of sexism. We know it when we see it don’t we? Black people are similarly attuned to subtle racism. I have certainly noticed how the narrative of Barack Obama as a “empty suit” positions him as the ultimate affirmative action baby. No matter that the man has a distinguished 11 year record as a legislator, compared with Hillary Clinton’s seven years. A little research would reveal that both Obama and Clinton are strong presidential candidates, but too many people are eager to believe that a black Harvard graduate,civil rights lawyer, activist, state senator, author and U.S. senator is getting some sort of free ride. That, to me, is a result of the subtle racism that occurs even among progressives.
    I hate that this campaign has become so incredibly divisive. For the first time in a long time, Dems have two really great candidates and a shot at the White House. Yet, we are tearing one another apart. I also worry for feminism, because I believe feminists of color are becoming more and more alienated from mainstream members of the movement. In fact, I had promised myself that I wouldn’t come into anymore of these sexism vs. racism threads because I always leave feeling a little less hopeful that we can close the breach within the movement. And it is so crucial that we work together.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.blogspot.com Tami

    I agree with anjali re: the Globe article. This ranking of sexism vs. racism that I have heard so often during the presidential campaign is unproductive.
    I do find it interesting that while the most white feminists I know in life and online have been quick to embrace the narrative that sexism is more pervasive than racism, most feminists of color that I know find that their life experience does not confirm that theory.
    I don’t think you become a woman in this society without learning to recognize subtle and ingrained gender bias. We come to simply know it when we see it, don’t we? Black Americans are similarly attuned. I know that I have noticed how eagerly even progressives are to see Barack Obama as the ultimate affirmative action baby. A little research reveals that both Obama and Hillary Clinton are strong candidates that we should be proud of, but it is so much easier to dismiss Obama’s 11 distinguished years as a legislator vs. Clinton’s seven. It is much easier to think that a black Harvard graduate, activist, author, state senator, civil rights attorney and United States senator is getting some sort of unfair free right. That, to me, is just one example of the racism contained in this campaign.
    I hate that this campaign is so divisive. For the first time in a long time, the Dems have two strong candidates with a real chance of winning the White House. Yet, we are tearing ourselves apart. I also worry for the feminist movement, because women of color are becoming increasingly alienated. I know I told myself that I would stop visiting these sexism vs. racism threads because I always leave them a little less hopeful that the breach within the movement can be repaired. How are we going to work togeher after all of this is over?

  • http://www.whattamisaid.blogspot.com Tami

    Editing is fundamental…I should have said “unfair free RIDE.”

  • http://www.whattamisaid.blogspot.com Tami

    Editing is fundamental. I should have written “unfair free RIDE.”

  • owo9ja

    why is hillary’s clinton’s troubles indicative of a bias against women? why does everyone ignore the fact that she defeated 6 men (kucinich, dodd, gravel, biden, edwards and richardson), men with a ton more experience than her. that she is losing to a black man with the name obama speaks more to obama’s strength that some gender bias. Are folks saying that unless clinton defeats every single man, it must be sexism? it can be a faulty message or a faulty campaign manager. or even a weaker candidate?
    if sexism is the problem why does obama currently poll higher than mccain? perhaps many people simply see him as the better candidate.

  • http://www.losanjalis.com anjali

    This is in response to amanohyo and thewickedwitch’s comments:
    Thewickedwitch — your comparison of the outcry that folks should have had over someone carrying a sign saying “iron my shirt” at a clinton rally to the outcry that would have occured if someone held up a “pick my cotton” sign at an obama rally, is supremely racist and REALLY speaks to your absolute inability to comprehend the horrors of slavery. Comparing comments about housewifery (something that many women choose proudly) to comments about slavery (whereby people were raped, and dehumanized and owned by others) is offensive. i’m not saying it’s not awful that someone held up that sign at a clinton rally, i’m just saying take a look at your own racism before you spew it.
    Second, for those who haven’t REALLY done the research and think that Clinton is more “experienced” than Obama, i encourage you to read grassroots mom’s diary at this link — http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/2/20/201332/807. Read it, THEN let’s talk experience. I’d rather have Obama’s experience and serious work in Congress ANYDAY of Clinton’s work in Congress. It’s quite interesting to see the kinds of bills both of them proposed or worked on, and their abilities or inabilities to work with others to get them passed. And notice the bigger picture approach Obama has on the issues, and how he was ready to take many more risks than she was.
    Like Tami said, Obama’s been crafted as having a free ride and that’s totally racist. And while being first lady, Clinton may have gotten some experience, but for her to claim those 8 years as being an expert on foreign policy or other issues, is a bit disingenious. Plus she chooses what to claim as her 35 years of experience. She doesn’t mention being on the board of walmart while they were busting unions. She says she’s anti-NAFTA but couldn’t say anything against it while her husband was president, after she said earlier in her campaign that she was pro NAFTA. Eh, I question her recalling of her experience, and i very much question her judgment (also on things like the Iraq War). And the experience factor is just getting tired, in my mind. Cheney and Rumsfeld have over 40 years of experience EACH, what has that gotten us…
    And in regards to the insane comparison of experience in a racist manner, WHAT TAMI said:
    “I think that all women learn to note the subtleties of sexism. We know it when we see it don’t we? Black people are similarly attuned to subtle racism. I have certainly noticed how the narrative of Barack Obama as a “empty suit” positions him as the ultimate affirmative action baby. No matter that the man has a distinguished 11 year record as a legislator, compared with Hillary Clinton’s seven years. A little research would reveal that both Obama and Clinton are strong presidential candidates, but too many people are eager to believe that a black Harvard graduate,civil rights lawyer, activist, state senator, author and U.S. senator is getting some sort of free ride. That, to me, is a result of the subtle racism that occurs even among progressives.”
    I keep hearing from Clinton supporters that the media is destroying her and about all the sexist comments, etc. But look — Clinton has SERIOUS name recognition, her campaign manager Mark Penn ran her as the “incumbent” and as the “inevitable” winner and the media narrative picked that up for SO long earlier in the primary season. The media talked about her as the “Inevitable” straight from mark penn’s words for the longest time. She was 20-30 points ahead in the polls earlier in the primary and nobody was talking about the media destroying her.
    On Obama’s ability or non-ability to win this country (in regards to others’ comments), come on. Obama undercut someone with more name recognition, much more money than he had earlier in the primary, hugely funded ground operations across the country, and someone who the media narrative spun as the inevitable candidate earlier, and someone who was polling 20-30 points higher among dems earlier in the primaries. His 50 state strategy has everyone in every state feeling like they count. He’s brought out more dems in red states than had EVER been brought out before, and i have republican friends who are ready to vote for him over mccain. He opens up field offices in states and puts community organizers there, really empowering the communities, while clinton talks about “significant and insignificant states”. Claiming that his campaign is a popularity contest is really putting down the efforts that folks have put together towards someone they genuinely support and is insulting at best.
    that’s all for now…

  • Mina

    BTW, check out this reaction to a recent sexist article:
    http://www.metafilter.com/69532/does-this-woman-make-my-gender-look-stupid

  • Mina

    Got a 500 Internal Server Error last time, so here goes:
    BTW, check out this reaction to a recent sexist article:
    http://www.metafilter.com/69532/does-this-woman-make-my-gender-look-stupid

  • Mina

    “No matter that the man has a distinguished 11 year record as a legislator, compared with Hillary Clinton’s seven years.”
    BTW, check out this article on Obama’s state experience:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR2008010303303.html
    “…Since most of Obama’s legislation was enacted in Illinois, most of the evidence is found there — and it has been largely ignored by the media in a kind of Washington snobbery that assumes state legislatures are not to be taken seriously…”
    “For the first time in a long time, the Dems have two strong candidates with a real chance of winning the White House. Yet, we are tearing ourselves apart.”
    Exactly! Me, I like both candidates and I’m worried that this fighting could hurt the nomination winner when it comes to the general election.
    “His 50 state strategy”
    More than just the 50 states…
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_el_pr/campaign_delegates
    “…The Illinois senator won the primary in which Democrats living in other countries voted by Internet, mail and in person, according to results released by the Democrats Abroad, an organization sanctioned by the national party…
    “…More than 20,000 U.S. citizens living abroad voted in the primary, which ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12. Obama won about 65 percent of the vote, according to the results released Thursday…
    “…There is no comparable primary among Republicans, though the GOP has several contests this weekend in U.S. territories, including party caucuses in Puerto Rico Sunday.
    “The Democrats Abroad controls seven pledged delegates at the party’s national convention this summer. However, the group’s system of dividing the delegates is unique, and could create an anomaly in which Obama and Clinton end up with fractions of delegates.
    “The party will send 14 pledged delegates to the convention, each with a half vote. The primary was used to determine nine people, or the equivalent of 4.5 delegates. Obama won 2.5 and Clinton won two, according to Schon Marques.
    “The Democrats Abroad will hold a global convention in Vancouver, Canada, in April to select the other five people who will attend the convention. They will represent the remaining 2.5 votes.
    “The system creates the possibility that Obama and Clinton could each end up with a fraction of a delegate at the convention, Schon Marques said.
    “Democratic parties in U.S. territories use similar systems, in which they send twice the number of delegates, giving them each a half vote. But their systems are designed to ensure that that candidates do not end up with fractions of delegates.
    “Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said party rules allow for delegates with a half vote so that more people can attend the convention from far-flung places…”

  • JakobFabian01

    When I first saw the words “Obama” and “our first woman President,” I thought this notion was COMPLETELY insane.
    Then I read the Newsweek.com article. Now I believe this notion is only MOSTLY insane.
    Yes, the article itself has more than enough stereotypes to give offense (for example, Obama’s willingness to “air dirty laundry”).
    But there is ONE sense in which I might accept Toni Morrison’s notion that Bill Clinton was our first “black” President — and the notion that Obama might be our first “female” one.
    Assuming that Obama IS elected President, we might consider Bill Clinton the “gateway drug” (sorry, I’m suffering a metaphor shortage here) who made Obama’s election possible by reassuring racist white voters that even “black” white men are just people, so that, by analogy, real black BLACK men are just people, too.
    But the proof of whether Obama is really our first “female” President will have to come in 2012 at the earliest — when he proves to have been the “gateway drug” who will have made it possible for a real woman WOMAN President to get elected in this year.

  • JakobFabian01

    When I first saw the words “Obama” and “our first woman President,” I thought this notion was COMPLETELY insane.
    Then I read the Newsweek.com article. Now I believe this notion is only MOSTLY insane.
    Yes, the article itself has more than enough stereotypes to give offense (for example, Obama’s willingness to “air dirty laundry”).
    But there is ONE sense in which I might accept Toni Morrison’s notion that Bill Clinton was our first “black” President — and the notion that Obama might be our first “female” one.
    Assuming that Obama IS elected President, we might consider Bill Clinton the “gateway drug” (sorry, I’m suffering a metaphor shortage here) who made Obama’s election possible by reassuring racist white voters that even “black” white men are just people, so that, by analogy, real black BLACK men are just people, too.
    But the proof of whether Obama is really our first “female” President will have to come in 2012 at the earliest — when he proves to have been the “gateway drug” who will have made it possible for a real woman WOMAN President to get elected in this year.