Lady-related links. Yay!
–Those two cops? “Not Guilty.” M.Snowe didn’t attend the trial or follow it too closely, but it seems to me that when a guy admits to “wearing a condom,” it might be because he was having sex. Just sayin’. Even if there wasn’t enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt–there’s also a classic case of the too-often-invoked blaming the victim here. M.Snowe will be out of town–but if you’re in the mood to protest…
–Remember when you could be Marilyn Monroe, not have a size negative-twenty body and still be sooo sexxxy on the beach? Yeah, me neither. While I appreciate the NYTimes’ hard-hitting analysis of common knowledge here, they don’t do much to encourage a change. Also, have you SEEN this? (I like to think that the horrible job market is the only reason this many women would stoop to be in this commercial. Of course, I am wrong about that.)
–HelloGiggles? More like Hello Projectile Vomiting! Seriously? VOMIT. (Disclaimer: you should believe that this website has every right to exist, but please join me in abhorring/opposing the notion that it defines itself as “the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females. Everything hosted on the site will be lady-friendly.”)
–Lactating Men. “Nuf said.
–Run for the hills! (Preferably the ones in liberal bastions like San Francisco!)
–Another sad fact about education.
–Slut shaming! But also, it’s just a great accent to listen to…
–M.Snowe doesn’t know how to feel about this. It’s great that the kid won’t be told not to “throw like a girl,” or that it’s “Mommy’s little princess,” but couldn’t the child still grow up to be healthy and have his/her parents create an environment relatively free of gender stereotypes without concealing the sex?
–”Abandoning the pro-choice movement’s 50-state strategy has a pragmatic charm to it on the surface. But the potential for collateral damage should put even the most practical pro-choicers off this strategy. Even the best-case scenario, where women are able to travel great distances to obtain abortions, there is an unacceptably high and unnecessary cost, and often for women who were already struggling to pay for the basic necessities. Throwing the most vulnerable women in our society overboard should not be considered a workable compromise.”
M.Snowe doesn’t know where to go! Typical lady, can’t follow directions.
Lately, M.Snowe has grown tired and felt particularly uninspired when just writing down or ranting about injustices, especially with regard to women and minorities. It’s nice to think that it might clarify and foment the writer’s own ideology, but does it really do anything else? The femiladies of the past all hooted and hollered and it got them places–mostly because those places were so obviously within what they were entitled to as members of the human race. (“Oh, you want to vote? Oh, you want to play sports?! Yeah, I guess it would be unconstitutional to bar you from that.”) But today, the issues *appear* more nuanced. Of course, M.Snowe would argue that some of the very same issues are at play (unfair wages, old boys clubs, fetishization of the female form, ageism, etc., and so on). What some view as nuanced (should we fund abortion or Planned Parenthood?) M.Snowe views as a pretty straight-forward attack on the freedom of women, freedom that is being challenged in the home, in the workplace, and in the doctor’s office. Only beginning in 2014 will it be illegal for all women to be defined as having a “pre-existing condition” under medical insurance. If we’re still living in the past, 2014 is certainly far away.
But, as M.Snowe suggests, the opposition to women’s rights has added artificial nuances to what should be incredibly straightforward debates. It’s the political equivalent of the G spot debate: “OMG, does a woman have one? Where is it? Should I be able to make her come somehow? Maybe she should get on top? Should we introduce toys? Wait, I might have to do that? Oh forget it, she can just find it herself later, if it even exists.” If a man can be funded to have the ability to spill his old funky seed all over the place (Hello HMO funding/taxes going towards Viagra!), a woman should be able to have the funding to reject that nasty spunk and the mistake it would be to carry its fertilizing result to term. This is just the abortion/health care debate, but you could expand it to practically anything else having to do with women–women writers, women in sports, etc.
But see, how much of that did you agree with? Because of the anti-women’s rights folks, some people will come up with weird, intricate arguments to counteract my claims. Reverse discrimination! Studies that show something neurological that hasn’t actually been proven! Okay. So we need to volley back.
People like Tina Fey are leading the parry to that thrust. Exhibit one. Essentially, what Fey (and the writers at SNL) are doing is: Taking it back to a primitive level, calling out basic and classically sexist ideas, and making everyone incapable of arguing with the blatant sexism while simultaneously indulging in it.
In a sense, Fey is breaking down the nuances by reverting back to the initial issues that no one can possibly be allowed to argue or excuse anymore (“Oh, don’t mind Norman, he just gets off on objectifying women, haha!”). No one can discount a woman’s writing because of her appearance–any reviewer or fellow writer who did that in all seriousness would be out of a job and a reputation. But, a more nuanced discrimination is afoot. Any quick glance at the book review sections in the NYRB or the NYTimes or the New Yorker (or other cities’ literary pursuits, mired as they may be) will tell you something is creating a disparity between men and women. While most people doubt that it is how “pretty” a female writer is, there is something fundamental and prejudiced about the lack of female voices.
But here’s the big question: When we point to primitive unfairness and injustice, and they are funny and ridiculous and universally laughed at, does it lead to enlightenment? Or are we just laughing at our condition?
M.Snowe has some friends, almost entirely male, who take shots at her ardent feminist bent (and M.Snowe sometimes participates, because it’s funny). The jokes range from “get back into the kitchen,” to “your brain is a third the size of mine, it’s science.” These are funny because neither the teller nor the receiver believes in any of the jokes. They are funny because they are inconceivable and wildly in error. But they are also, to some extent, part of the prevailing mood–at least in the abstract.
M.Snowe enjoys these jokes–and being a Funny Woman is important, if nothing more than proving Mr. Hitchens wrong. But M.Snowe can’t seem to escape the notion that as much as these jokes reinforce the stereotypes to the point of counteracting them–do they really convince anyone to change? M.Snowe enjoys jokes of this ilk because she understands the struggles still to be had, and looks to them for relief and inspiration. But, at the same time, will people who somehow still encourage these stereotypes just enjoy the jokes on the surface, and look no further? If this kind of joke, or style of irony doesn’t work to change people’s views, what will?
Batten down the hatches!
Seriously, red alert, readers!
Oprah, in her infinite wisdom, has decided that her magazine will feature “eight rising poets” in a photo shoot, so that all the readers can see them “express their dynamic personal styles—and show you how to cultivate your own,” i.e. with awesome clothes!
Dear Oprah and your magazine minions: Of course we believe that you are oh-so-pro-lady it hurts. But this is just wrong. This is something we would expect of Cosmo, or Seventeen (and we still wouldn’t like it). While it’s quite lovely that these WRITERS will get some extra publicity, and therefore extra commish, this is not cool. It’s true M.snowe may not like your book club–but at least it just sells books–usually good works of literature, so that’s all good. But, did you parade Jonathan Franzen around in Versace and make him use a hula hoop? When he apologized to you for that Corrections kerfuffle, did you literally make him eat his words? No, you didn’t, because he is a respectable, straight male who clearly is allowed to take his writing seriously.
For Shame. As someone who is constantly hounded by the rag mags, which obsess over your body and its fluctuations (a topic that has nothing to do with your craft and is therefore irrelevant), you should know better. M.snowe is sick to her stomach. Thank you for sending us back to the 1950s. Thanks for reminding us that in order for a woman to have anything substantive to say, she must look good while saying it, because then at least you have something pretty to look at while you’re nodding and not really paying any attention.
p.s. At least the commenters on the O website seem to be chiming in with dismay.
Wisconsin, Charlie Sheen, and Cleveland, Texas.
You might think these three things are quite dissonant, aside from the fact that all three have been a part of new coverage of late. But actually, they all have something else in common: Someone is being fucked over, dismissed, or totally obliterated due to a financially or culturally accepted mindset.
So, here are the three stories:
While m.snowe could go article by article and break it down for you, she thinks that sites like Feministing have already done the heavy lifting in that way, so why sound like a broken record? What m.snowe wants to talk about is the idea of victim-hood, especially as exhibited in these three stories.
In one way or another, all the victims of these articles are stigmatized, or at the very worst, made out to not be victims at all. The Wisconsin public sector workers are by and large over-educated people who took crappy wages to do some of the most essential (and unpraised) jobs in their state–teachers, cops, nurses, firefighters. One of their only real benefits is pensions and decent health coverage. But, because of certain largely untrue stereotypes about state workers in general, including that they are overpaid and under-worked, the Republicans in Wisconsin can claim that every other citizen is actually the “victim,” and destroy a simple framework of rights for an already heavily dismissed sector. According to the Republicans, the public workers are the ones bleeding the government dry with undue cause. And therefore, it’s easier for some citizens to stomach it/legitimize it. I’d like to see the state representatives vote for requiring a state-wide referendum when they want their own pay raises above a certain level. Also, let’s not forget–unions were first formed in the United States to protect sweat shop and mill workers. Think of where we might be had those unions never been formed.
Charlie Sheen smacks around a bunch of women (repeatedly, at different points in his life), and it gets a blip on the gossip reels, and perhaps he’s given a slap on the wrist. But, he abuses himself and the reputation of CBS to a point of no-return, and he’s pulled off the air. Who’s the victim here? It’s certainly not Charlie. As Anna Holmes of the NYTimes puts it:
“But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)”
Basically, these women were asking for it. This is an example of what m.snowe likes to call, “The Dateline Effect.” M.snowe watched a lot of Dateline NBC as a kid–and almost unilaterally, all the murder-mystery stories were about pretty (usually blond) white women in their teens or twenties from a good quiet American town who were abducted or otherwise murdered by their husbands for no seemingly apparently reason. For a large bit of my childhood, m.snowe thought she was out of danger, seeing as she didn’t live in a quiet cul-de-sac, wasn’t named Stephanie or Mandy, nor had a cute dog and an adoring boyfriend who might turn violent. These are the victims we want to champion–the normal, the ones like us, or the ones that are the least offensive to the greater population. This of course was unsaid by news organizations, but absolutely implied. People of color, or differing orientations, etc.–anything outside the perceived norms of greater America. No one wants to say it, but this effect proves: some people stand by the idea that some people are “worth more” than others–and so when those with higher price tags are victimized, it defines the very top of victim-hood–young, innocent, beautiful, white, straight, etc.
But what happens when you are not at the top? Apparently, you’re disregarded when a celebrity shoots or hits you. Apparently, you are accused of asking to be raped at 11 YEARS OLD. First, m.snowe should say that there is a long history of all women (young, old, scandalous, virtuous) being somehow blamed for rape, as if rape would’ve been prevented by them, had they done something differently. The notion that a young victim should’ve dressed differently, or posted things on her Facebook page differently is complete crap. We created laws so that they can be enforced for all citizens. And no matter what, eleven years old is way, way underage for any kind of consent. This girl has only been alive for a decade. It doesn’t matter how she dressed, talked, etc.–she was taken into a house and battered and raped by 18 different, utterly disgusting creatures who like to pretend they are men. And the town? The ones that are commenting are more worried about the basketball prospects since two of the alleged rapists were on the team. Or they’re worried how the town will deal with 18 boys and men in jail. M.snowe is furious. You should be too. Who would defend a murderer by saying “well, that guy he murdered shouldn’t have worn that obnoxious shirt today.” The theory that men get some leeway because they are sexual animals who can’t keep it in their pants is an insult to awesome men everywhere.
m.snowe is often conflicted as she writes this blog, because sometimes, as a person who is pro-lady, you get into a situation where you essentially simultaneously become very anti-lady in incredibly specific cases (Ahem, Ahem, AHEM!). Of course, often, these women that you are against are public figures, and that opens them up to public discourse, and the criticism they might so royally deserve. And if women are truly to feel the full scope of intellectual equality, then they should be able to debate without worrying about gender.
But what about folks who are just putting their lives out there, into the blogosphere?
In the past two or three days, there have been multiple stories involving women writing about their lives. And not their lives as kick-ass independent awesome women, but as Stay at Home Girlfriends, or the dreaded “Mommy Bloggers.” For some reason, people want to read the intimate details of these people’s lives, instead of hearing about their ideologies, political views, etc. Truthfully sometimes, that’s more interesting. Perhaps it’s because some of them seem like train wrecks–M.snowe thinks so, at least–and we all know that makes for good entertainment. Or perhaps it’s to get people like m.snowe infuriated at the backwards logic that some of these articles or blogs promote. Either way, these blogs and articles are becoming the most read (and, according to the NYTimes, multi-million dollar businesses). M.snowe has many thoughts, but first, the articles we’re talking about:
- How to Survive as a SAHG (stay-at-home-girlfriend)
- Another SAHG’s blogged response to the previous article called “feminism schmeminism”
- A detailed NYTimes account of the top-earning “mommy bloggers” and the phenomenon surrounding it
Clearly, there are things that m.snowe thinks are just ludicrous. In the first link, regarding providing sexual favors:
“Frankly, there’s no real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn’t be ready and willing when he is. I try very hard to keep my boyfriend happy and this is a key part of doing so.”
She also admits at the end:
“I’m positive some people reading this will assume I’m a brainwashed and battered woman, and I can’t say I’m all that concerned.”
I don’t think this woman is battered or brainwashed–that lets her off the hook too easy. But you know what? Frankly, m.snowe doesn’t care. Who is this woman that anyone should care? Either her or her boyfriend’s expectations (or a bit of both) are skewed in a scary way. But, hey, people can mooch off of others if they find a willing partner with which to do so (or they lose their jobs in this economy and need to get back on their feet). Whatever. I’ll tell you why m.snowe is a bit angry about this piece–why did the website even publish this? Oh, that’s right, because schmucks like m.snowe will link to it, and it will get traffic, and ad revenue, you get the drift.
And here we go again, in article 2 (my underlining):
“…a lot of women are still wired to be nurturers and care takers and that there should be absolutely no shame in wanting to fulfill those innate desires.”
My innate desire? To flip you off. But I resist, at least electronically, to do so, because no one should listen or care about your ridiculously fonted (what is that, lucida casual?), black-background blog.
Clearly, the NYTimes article has a more interesting story on its hands, and page five (if you can get through the first four somewhat stereotypically exasperating pages about women becoming mommy bloggers) sheds some interesting light on what it means to be a personal blogger, and just how personal you actually get, and how to keep it an enticing read for your visitors. Also, “mommy bloggers”–can you please do me a favor and find a new name for yourselves? Thanks!
So, M.snowe is just saying, go to good blogs, and let’s forget about this mess!
Today, M.snowe reflects on Valentine’s Day. V-Day celebrations were said to have started in Ancient Rome, although “pagan” festivals of love and fertility (like Lupercalia) were happening way before that anyway. Let’s face it–Valentine’s is now a day where men are expected to get their ladies (if they have one) a present, and be extra loving to them in showy ways that women are supposed to expect, and brag about (not that you all don’t notice that already). M.snowe witnessed a scene of two desperate males shopping for Valentine’s gifts–walking what seemed to be an endless desert lined with pink and red-hued shop windows, slowly, resolving to reward their efforts with beer afterword. Whatever. And M.snowe doesn’t care if you’re single and hate Valentine’s, or if you’re single and you love Valentine’s, or you’re single and indifferent. Or, if you’re alternatively attached and love, hate, or don’t care about it either. But regardless, consumer culture tells us Valentine’s is a holiday where women are supposed to sit back and get excited and pampered, and men are supposed to provide something for them, with maybe only the hope of a steak and a BJ in return (not to mention the heavy-handed reinforcement of “traditional” modes of love).
It is days and celebrations like these that further propagate the idea that women cannot do anything without the support of a man, and that the man must take the lead in all situations. Valentine’s is just a simple reminder that men must provide–society expects it. Fuck that shit. In honor of fucking that shit, let’s take a moment to honor a forgotten Valentine, Emily Warren Roebling, who in her own day did the providing, and got next to no recognition for it.
M.snowe went with two American History buffs to the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend. Upon making our first steps across the bridge, they started to swap info on what they knew about its historic construction. Both agreed that it was designed and begun by a civil war veteran, John Roebling, and then after his death, his son took over. M.snowe knew nothing of the history of the bridge, except that is was complete in 1883. When the plaques on the first tower were consulted, we realized that Emily, wife of the son, was truly the one to complete the bridge–as her husband was paralyzed and bed-ridden, and she was well-versed enough in mathematics and engineering to finish the plans. Neither of my history buff friends knew about Emily. Although she is given some credit, the plague reads:
Um, exsqueeze me? I believe her “faith and courage” (not to mention sheer ingenuity) helped HER complete the bridge. She was not a muse here–she was in the thick of it, going to the site and instructing the workers.
So, M.snowe says to you, her Valentines, don’t be happy with the back of a great work–be devoted, be sacrificing, if you choose, but build your own bridges, as you may.
p.s. Think I exaggerate? M.snowe heard this weekend about a speaker at a leadership conference who un-ironically referred to his wife’s study towards an “MRS” degree. Really?
Ladies and Gentlemen, m.snowe knows it has come to such a mainstream point that perhaps it is cliché, but she effing respects Tina Fey–she appreciates her comedy writing (with a few very minor caveats) and admires her as a trailblazer–one of the first female comedy writers to edge her way into corporate upper echelons, and to be heard/respected there.
Okay, enough gushing. But in what m.snowe calls a coup of the New Yorker, Fey has written a short “personal history” piece for them–although it could easily fit under the “shorts and murmurs,” or a “profiles” piece. Woody Allen can just sneeze somewhere in Central Park and the New Yorker shows up, willing to wipe his sodden nose with a filigreed handkerchief and publish the snot (they do the same for Malcolm Gladwell). It’s refreshing that they let Fey have her say, and she says what she needs to in a pithy, cool, and honest four pages.
She basically outlines her struggle with “juggling it all,” being a high-powered writer and comedic performer, being a producer and parent. She does it in a way that m.snowe strives for herself–she stays away from shrillness, but does not blush at the thought of talking in harsh terms about the gendered politics involved in her business. And of course, she’s hilarious.
M.snowe’s favorite line:
“I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they’re all ‘crazy.’ I have a suspicion–and hear me out, because this is a rough one–that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.
The only person I can think of who has escaped the ‘crazy’ moniker is Betty White, which, obviously, is because people still want to have sex with her.”
And after the personal wrestling match, Tina comes to this very worthy, m.snowe-approved conclusion (further acknowledging that she will forever respect Fey):
“This is the infuriating thing that dawns on you one day: even if you would never sleep with or even flirt with anyone to get ahead, you are being sexually adjudicated.”
And here is the strongest statement of the bunch–the rally call and the manifesto:
“It seems to me the fastest remedy for this ‘women are crazy’ situation is for more women to become producers and hire diverse women of various ages. That is why I feel obliged to stay in the business and try hard to get to a place where I can create opportunities for others…”
Just try and tell me that you do not want to drink that Kool Aid.
Thank you, Tina–keep writing!
Every morning, msnowe sweeps through the “papers” (i.e. the online newspapers) to catch at least the bare minimum of the day’s headlines. Today was no exception, except, well, within 15 minutes, between stories of revolt in various Middle Eastern/African countries, there were four different stories, from the NYTimes & NYMag, that she couldn’t help but become obsessed with. In no particular order:
Let me break it down for you.
#1 Gridiron Girls
Article Summary: OMG, women are watching football, and they enjoy it! Even despite the rapists, dog fighters, and reports of brain damage, women represent at least 34% of viewers!
Why is this? Because the NFL is actually filled with “stories.” And women LOVE the “soap-opera aspect of the NFL.” The women loving on football also all watch Real Housewives, Intervention and Jersey Shore, which is basically the same thing. Oh, and they all look like these models.
Analysis: Clearly, it’s those clever marketers tricking women into liking football, the manliest of all manly sports. msnowe won’t underestimate the power of marketing here–perhaps, just perhaps, there are a few women who fit the description this article lays out before us like a play book. But I’ll tell you one thing–you can bring Febreeze and Pink Ribbons to just about anything–but that doesn’t translate into women sitting down and enjoying the damn thing you’re sponsoring. msnowe may only be able to speak for herself, but she watched baseball way before there were any sparkly pink hats available for purchase, and now she still doesn’t want one. The “crude archetypes” of females as clueless twits aren’t really overcome by this article–we’re still treated as though there must be some other hook, some hook other than the pure enjoyment of the thing itself. It’s like the age-old question about the G-spot–it just keeps shifting around to best suit those who need to find it (or it disappears).
#2 Wikipedia’s Gender Gap:
Article Summary: Only about 13% of Wikipedia’s thousands of article authors are women. Isn’t that horrible! No wonder it’s always HIStory–women don’t even bother to contribute, so you can’t say companies, etc., are just being biased–they’re “running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men** and, some say, uncomfortable for women.” Of course!
Analysis: msnowe actually perused the report, and let’s remember, folks–this was a sample of the Wikipedia population–a little over 176,000 people responded to the voluntary survey. (msnowe would like to compare this to a survey on how many people of either sex usually respond to surveys). 126,701 men responded to the survey, reporting themselves to be either readers or writers of Wikipedia. Only 42,191 women answered the survey. (904 people did not tick a gender and responded as “Other.”) So right off the bat, you’re starting with a skewed sample. Oh, and this was a world-wide sample. As much as msnowe would like to say that everywhere women are freer and just as educated and able to contribute to Wikipedia in their spare time, they’re not. The leading country that had respondents for this survey? Russia.
But no matter what the article gets wrong, it does say one good thing–more women should write about what they care about on the site.
**”The obsessive fact-loving realm” dominated by men? Sounds a lot like how men describe the NFL in order to exclude women, if you ask msnowe…
#3 More Conflict in Childcare Equality:
Article Summary: This article basically debunks its own premise. You just have to read it carefully.
“Despite those crazy media headlines, Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan explains that the study did not examine the quality of the couples’ relationships or their parenting beyond the two staged videotape periods, or anything about the children’s development; it also did not distinguish between men who took on childcare duties from day one and those who started to do so just prior to the study. But what it does do is add powerful evidence to the idea that childcare task sharing alone does not necessarily correlate with a harmonious co-parenting partnership.”
Analysis: Basically, it means we’re at square one–anyone’s guess. You can be just as un-harmonious if only one parent is taking on the brunt of the childcare grunt work. It’s about finding that compromise between parents, and what works best for your own family. One route doesn’t necessarily lead to martial bliss. The author’s emphasis on “power-sharing” was, well, powerful.
#4 Porn and Men, But Really How Porn Affects Women:
Article Summary: This about sums it up–
“And so a conundrum emerges. Men, over-saturated by porn, secretly hunger for the variety that porn offers. Women, noticing a decline in their partners’ libidos, try to reenact the kinds of scenes that men watch on their computer screens. Men, as a result, get really freaked out. They don’t want their real women and their fantasy women to inhabit the same body.”
Analysis: Ah, the eternal problem: Men objectify women, look at shit-tons of porn. Men lose interest in banging real women who don’t have hydraulic tits. Women scared and worried that men are totes over them, and try to compensate for their flaccid breasts and thighs by throwing in some dirty talk. Chaos ensues. I’m pretty sure Aeschylus wrote about that, a lot.
A. This report is highly anecdotal.
B. msnowe needs to barf.
C. This report assumes that most women don’t watch porn, but then assumes that they can “mimic” porn stars.
D. This report also assumes that women are just objects of your imagination, trying harder and harder to be your fantasy.
E. The whole concept of the article is based on one sexuality counselor/blogger’s notion that more men were complaining of “delayed ejaculation,” on how the author “read about a University of Kansas study that found that 25 percent of college-age men said they’d faked orgasms” (he didn’t even read the actual study it was based on!). Then the author made the intellectual leap that somehow this was connected with porn (because he looks at porn), and then he interviewed…wait for it…DOZENS(!) of porn consumers. Wow, dozens!
F. msnowe would run out of alphabet if she kept going.
G. Oh yeah, and the report is really, really offensive to men, too.
All these articles were written in the hope of high page views and “most emailed” rankings. And in effect, msnowe is helping that along. In itself, there is nothing wrong with using a snappy title to hook people. But there is something wrong when data is skewed in favor of some imaginary claim that the title makes.
Each of these articles (perhaps with the exception of the childcare equality piece) describes how women are clearly just reacting to something that men are causing them to do–whether it is learning to love football because men decided to give them NFL apparel and pink ribbons, working extra hard to care about the “facts realm” that really only men know how to navigate, or women noticing men have lost interest and therefore getting raunchy and porn-tastic in the bedroom. msnowe calls bullshit. These are all viewed from what big strong hetero men want or expect from women, or reinforce how men want women to view them. For whatever reason, women who do something that is culturally “male” are encroaching, and no one, especially journalists, will stop from letting us know that this is highly unattractive, or at least try and explain it away.
This blog touts itself as having a 4th Wave Femiladyist bent. So what, exactly, is that? Well, we can’t take the credit for creating this term. A friend, colleague, novelist, and fellow blogger came up with it, while trying to describe exactly what msnowe was doing here. She thought it was apt, because, well, it means everything and nothing all at once.
A few points of reference on what a 4th Wave Femiladyist is (and isn’t):
–A combination of waves 1-3, yet none of them (if wave 4 is defined as a movement, msnowe will have to change her number)
–Proud to be a lady
–Hates the media’s portrayal of what they think it means to be a lady
–Pro-straight (but Anti-fervent imposition of “family values”)
–Anti-Anti-Abortion (i.e. Pro choice)
–Reads way too many late 18th Century novels
–Thinks humor is as good a way to bridge the gender gap as any
–Won’t vote for a politician lady just ‘cuz she’s a lady, but sure wants more of them
–Was accused of being a “feminazi” in highschool and wonders if that word is still being said in common parlance, and whether other suffixed “-nazi” forms exist for other pro-equality groups (“homonazi,” immigrantnazi”?)
The definition is endless and always changing.
Approximate conversation from this weekend (while watching World Series Game 4):
Dude Friend: “You girls claim not to, but you sure do talk a lot about the appearance and attractiveness of sports players.”
Other Dude friend: “Yeah.”
Me: “But, that’s because we’re of the opposite sex. If we were watching women play sports, I bet–”
Dude friend: “Ha, ‘women playing sports.’ The only sports I watch with women in them are mud wrestling and gymnastics. “
Which brings us to this new online magazine for high-school aged kids, created by ESPN. Oh, and don’t forget, they have a “girl” version too.
The regular ESPN Rise magazine has a lot of content–but most of the stories center around sports profiles of athletes (high school up to pro), conditioning best practices, training, recruitment tips, and other items of that ilk. The girl’s website has some of that, targeted at girls, but it also has stories like this one:
“The Choice Is Yours: Mope or Motivate”
“Battling it all: taking on a former teammate can be tricky, especially when she happens to be your friend. You can keep the tension to a minimum by staying focused on your side of the net.”
No where that msnowe could find on the “regular” Rise site was a story about staying besties with opposing team members. Are girls so uninformed and catty that they need this kind of advice? Apparently. msnowe played a shit ton of sports in high school, and not once did she worry about “friends” on the opposing team. You play fair, but hard, and there’s nothing to worry about –they aren’t your friend on the field. Duh.
But this story is just a sliver of the root of the problem with these websites. Like my friends and I watching “sports” on Sunday, men and women gather to watch professional sports, say the World Series. But, of course, we are watching men play. Although sports channels assume mostly men are watching, women watch, are knowledgable, and care about the games too. Largely, this is accepted (though made fun of through jokes about how women do not truly appreciate sports). Most women who love sports have learned to ignore this somewhat stereotypical chiding, and have risen above it (we even have some announcers now, and SportsCenter has some blond chick!).
BUT, women’s sports? If any of them are even professional, men aren’t supposed to want to watch them. They aren’t “for” them. They’re for other women, and perhaps effeminate men (which is the worst possible kind of man to homophobic sportsjerks). And so women are given their own space, but one notably devoid of men. msnowe isn’t saying that a male audience would legitimize female sports (they’re already legitimate), but it only seems fair that if women watch and consume male sports, males should be willing to support female sports (and not just the ones where they’re in bikinis or covered in mud). Women, to some extent, are nobler than men in this respect–they view sports (male and female) as such, and although they may comment on a man in terms of his viability as a sexual partner, they see these men first and foremost as athletes. Men, on the other hand, if made to watch, for example, softball or soccer, would (most likely) immediately sexualize the players, and any athletic talent would be a side comment to their jocular comments on bra size.
Which leads msnowe’s rant back to these two “separate but equal” web magazines. Fuck that, they’re not equal. And we can see that even by their very names. ESPN Rise, verses ESPN Rise GIRL. Basically, what that tells me and my fellow lady sports fans is–hey, you could read either, but this one is more for the fluffy stuff you care about that aren’t real sports topics; and it’s telling boys that they need not concern themselves with female sports. The fact that msnowe has to type “female” before sports pisses her off. We’re happy that ESPN recognizes there are girls playing and caring about sports out there–we just think they’re using Title IX the wrong way.