Women are unhappy – blame (not patriarchy, but) feminism!

26 05 2009

Earlier today my friend emailed me this op-ed by Ross Douthat from The New York Times.  It’s loaded with standard anti-feminist rhetoric about how “all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness.”  Riiiiiiiight, Uh-huh.  His opening paragraph:

American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.

This is horribly oversimplified in so many ways.  For starters, the wage gap still exists, so women are not more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s.  And how easy is it to leave abusive relationships?  Definitely easier said than done.  Furthermore, sexual harassment in and out of the workplace is a persistent problem that many women constantly put up with but given the court’s unfriendly record towards women, many women do not sue sexist employers.  Do women really “enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility”?  I would say not exactly, given that abstinence-only sex ed still reigns in this country, and many abortion clinics have had to shut down because of the shitty economy.

The article that Douthat links to?  Not a reputable source.  It’s from Double X and it’s by notorious anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers.  I didn’t have the patience to read her article so I just scrolled through it briefly and when I hit the bottom of the page this is what I read:

Why are there no conferences, petitions, workshops, congressional hearings, or presidential councils to help men close the education gap, the health care gap, the insurance gap, the job-loss gap, and the death gap? Because, unlike women, men do not have hundreds of men’s studies departments, research institutes, policy centers, and lobby groups working tirelessly to promote their challenges as political causes.


Her closing paragraph:

The struggle for women’s rights is far from over, but the serious battlegrounds today are in Muslim societies and in sub-Saharan Africa. In these and other parts of the developing world, most women have not yet seen so much as a ripple of freedom, let alone two major waves of liberation. We should be directing our efforts toward the millions of women who have never had the luxury of coping with the problem that has no name.

Condescending much?  Ethnocentric much?  Let us liberated westerners plunge ourselves into the poor “third world” and rescue these oppressed women from their plight!  But I digress…back to Douthat’s op-ed.  In his second paragraph, he writes:

In the 1960s, when Betty Friedan diagnosed her fellow wives and daughters as the victims of “the problem with no name,” American women reported themselves happier, on average, than did men. Today, that gender gap has reversed. Male happiness has inched up, and female happiness has dropped. In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.

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“What’s Good for the Bitch is Good for the Bastard”?

26 05 2009

While I was wandering around in a bookstore the other day, I saw this:


It’s by the two women who brought us the Skinny Bitch books (Skinny Bitch, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven and Skinny Bitchin’), which proclaims “sugar is the Devil” and “soda is like liquid Satan” (Yes, it’s probably not a bad idea to consume less sugar and soda, but is shaming women the best way to go about doing that?).  Skinny Bitch has been a best seller on The New York Times Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous Paperback Best-Seller list for 92 weeks, and has sold  a whopping 1.1 million copies nationwide, according to Nielsen BookScan.  It’s shameful that a book that tells women to “Stop being a moron and start getting skinny” would be successful…It goes to show how much society idolizes and values thinness.

When Skinny Bitch first came out, a lot of my female friends raved about it.  I wasn’t too excited about it, and reading the first few pages was enough to make me put the book down.  It begins with “Healthy = skinny. Unhealthy = fat”.  Not only is that incorrect (healthy can come in different shapes and sizes.  Weight (and BMI) is a misguiding measure of one’s health.)  Being skinny is the desired beauty/body norm, but it does not always mean healthy.  “Fat” is also a subjective term and a social construct.) but it is also very fat shaming.

Skinny Bitch is a vegan manifesto that is very misogynist, fat-shaming, condescending to women, and just terribly misguided in their approach to promoting veganism.  Why can’t women want to try veganism or vegetarianism because they wanted to do so for personal beliefs, their health, the environment, etc. instead of because they were shamed into it?  Why can’t women just feel good about themselves and want to be healthier instead of being shamed by a stupid, condescending book?  But of course, the self-help industry (as does capitalism) thrives on people feeling badly about themselves and the way they look, so the idea of telling someone that they look good, that they are already good enough is simply unfathomable!

And now we have Skinny Bastard which hit bookstores at the end of April.  It is geared towards men and tells them, “Eating well isn’t some ‘girlie’ thing—these Bitches will whip your ass into shape with their straight talk, sound guidance, and locker room language…if you’re man enough to take it.”  This plays right into gender stereotypes – that men are completely independent and individualistic and can’t take/don’t need advice from anyone, especially women.  And it implies that men who can’t get through Skinny Bastard are not man enough.  Here we go with the shaming again – now men are being shamed and their masculinity is being challenged.

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Proposition 8 upheld: Protests in over 100 US cities TONIGHT

26 05 2009

As most of you probably already know, today the California Supreme Court decided to uphold Proposition 8.  As a “compromise,” Justice George agreed to preserve the 18,000 same-sex marriages that had been performed in between the May legalization of same-sex marriage and the November passing of Prop 8, because Prop 8 did not include language specifically stating that it was retroactive.  Although I can’t say I’m surprised by the decision, I am angry and disappointed.  Although the decision could have had a worse outcome if the 18,000 marriages were deemed invalid, this is still a saddening setback in the struggle for full equality.

Check out Bilerico and The New York Times for the story.

If you are also angry and disappointed by this decision, check out the list of 117 protests in US cities that are happening tonight.

Quick Hit: Sonia Sotomayor nominated for Supreme Court

26 05 2009

This morning President Obama announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court.  She will be the first Latina woman, the first woman of color (and the third woman) to be a Supreme Court Justice.  Unsurprisingly, there has already been a lot of conservative backlash.


A lot has been written about this already:

From Feministe: Sonia Sotomayor nominated for the Supreme Court

From Racialicious: Open Thread: On Sonia Sotomayor

From Think Progress: Conservatives Blast Obama’s Hispanic SCOTUS Nominee As “Not the Smartest” And An “Intellectual Lightweight”

From Reclusive Leftist: Sotomayor announcement marred by the usual crap

Ladies, do you have a bob haircut? Long tongue? Liberal-minded? Wear pants? Well, Reverend Phil Kidd wants you to “shut up!”

26 05 2009

via Pandagon:

Meet Reverend Phil Kidd, the charming homophobic anti-feminist “man of God” who just wants us ladies to “shut up” once in a while.

"Shut up," Kidd tells his wife through brain messages, in this cozy and heartwarming family portrait

"Shut up," Kidd tells his wife through brain messages, in this cozy and heartwarming family portrait.

This all around good natured guy has some advice for us women.  Behold, “Hey Lady, Shut Up!”

In I Corinthians 14:34 we read, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak,- but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” This verse is not implying that al women that speak in the church are out of order, there are certain times when it is right for women to be vocal in the assembly. First, when they Receive Salvation they should be glad to confess Christ as their Saviour. Second, when they Repent of Sin and they need to make public confession before the church. If the transgression is known by the church and they want to get right then confession should be given to the church. Third, when they Rejoice In the Spirit they have the right to praise the Lord. The Bible says everything that has breath has a right to praise the Lord. But there are some times when the Scripture commands woman to shut up!

First, they are commanded to shut up concerning the Authority of the Church. I Timothy 2:12 tells us that a woman is not to usurp authority over the man. God never has called a woman to preach. I know some “mainline” churches are ordaining woman to pastor their churches. Even radio and television are now promoting female pastor’s. What a sad day, seeing woman open the bible and expound the scriptures. Eve, in the Garden of Eden, in a perfect surrounding could not even quote on verse correct. I sure would not trust a woman to expound truth in this sin cursed mess we live in. Some sorry Baptist Churches are now letting woman teach men and boys classes. No wonder America has turned “Sodomite”. Too many young men have had too many woman as their voice of authority.

Second, they are commanded to shut up concerning the Administration of the Church. Usually when I start dealing with the business of leadership in the church most pastor’s bow their heads. Why? Because Pastor’s all across this this land are allowing woman to hold positions that they have no right to hold. It makes me sick to watch a woman stand on a platform and lead a choir with men in it, or even worse to see a woman lead the whole congregation! Singing is an important part of the worship service. This office is not a calling, but it should be led by a man with leadership ability. .

Many Baptist churches have even put women on their pulpit committees. Can you imagine going to a church in view of a call and having a woman asking you questions concerning your doctrinal stand? Someone needs to tell them to sit down and shut up!

Third, women are commanded to shut up concerning the Apparel of the Church. 11 Timothy 2:9 commands the woman to dress in modest apparel. I have personally seen that in a large percentage of churches, the long tongued, rebellious, bobbed-haired, preacher-hating, pants-wearing, liberal-minded women have determined the standard of dress for the church. The cowardly preacher is afraid to cross this group. He knows if he does, these loud-mouthed women will take their weak husbands and go to another church. Sadly, most woman pull their hair, grit their teeth, and even yell back when the preacher deals with modest dress. Some will even get mad just reading this article. I say to you, SHUT UP!

In conclusion, I wish to defend the women of our churches for one reason. The fact that women are taking the leadership in our churches is the result of sorry men that will not get involved and do their part. At least some woman are willing to do something! So, you good-for-nothing, hen-pecked men that have been laughing your way through this article, you need to get off your lazy back-side and do something for God. Your wife runs the home because you are too sorry to run it yourself Lady, when your sorry husband dies, please marry a man next time.

This guy is entertainingly ridiculous.  Unfortunately, it seems that he’s got some pretty hardcore followers who think he’s pretty great.  Let’s just agree to disagree.