Anti-feminist fun

26 09 2009

The Family Research Council (whose motto is Defending Faith, Family and Freedom – that’s enough to make me never want to be associated with them) held a conference last weekend called the 2009 Value Voters Summit that featured Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly (Hmph,what a lovely bunch) as speakers. So at this ultra conservative gathering, one of the talks was called “The New Masculinity”:

Feminism has wreaked havoc on marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new “masculinism” right. Such a “masculinism” will have its dovetailing counterpart in a new “feminism” for they mutually define each other and, in nature, are meant to be complementary.

Here we go with the classic villification of feminism again… Evil feminism, responsible for destroying men, women, children, families and marriage. So to remedy that, we need a “new masculinism”? The rhetoric used to discuss this “new masculinism” is blatantly homophobic. Here’s a taste. Michael Schwartz, Chief of Staff to Sen. Tom Coburn said:

…Pornography is a blight. It is a disaster. It is, it is one of those silent diseases in our society that we haven’t been able to overcome very well. Now, I may be getting politically incorrect here. But one — It’s been a few years, not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age. But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it. And that’s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that its genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is inflicted on people. [Bold emphasis mine]

Homosexuality is inflicted on people?!?!?!?! I don’t understand his twisted logic. And then he continues:

I had a very good friend who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time and then he had a religious conversion in the eighties. And he bought a old motel and turned it into a hospice for some of his former associates who were dying of AIDS. He helped, he helped almost 300 men die. This man was a real hero. But he knew that he wasn’t as healed as he thought he was. He was able to resist temptation. He was able to resist sin. But he wasn’t healed enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage. And he was a brilliant man in the sense that he knew himself. And he knew his limits. And he and I had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered. And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people. [Bold emphasis, again mine]

Say what?!?!?! Homosexuality is not a sin. Nor is it a malady. And besides, HOW the hell can looking at pornography “turn” someone gay?!?! This stupidity is way beyond me, and it scares me to think that a roomful of similar close minded conservatives all huddled together to promote a “new masculinism” through homophobia?!

Some of the other panels were:

Mark Bucher, Bucher & Palmer, LLP; Lila Rose, President, LiveAction

As many state and local governments are tightening their budgets to weather this fiscal storm, communities are taking a second look at the funding of the controversial abortion corporation Planned Parenthood. Since 1987, Planned Parenthood has taken in $3.2 billion in taxpayer funds. Planned Parenthood has used its money to support candidates who will continue this money stream and to lobby against initiatives such as parental notification laws in cases of minors seeking an abortion. Learn from people, like you, who have successfully stopped Planned Parenthood funding in their communities.

Ugh. Anti-choicers, go away!!

Candi Cushman–Education Analyst, Focus on the Family Action

True tolerance my ass.

Charles Donovan, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Thomas Messner, Visiting Fellow; The Heritage Foundation; Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President, Ruth Institute

Redefining marriage poses serious threats to the religious liberties of people who continue to believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. This understanding of marriage is an important religious belief for many Americans, but the freedom to express it will come under growing pressure as courts, public officials, and private institutions come to regard the traditional understanding of marriage as a form of irrational prejudice that should be purged from public life. This briefing will focus on policy and legal developments, as well as how to communicate the link between marriage and religious liberty.

Heterosexist much?

Dr. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

  • Why did the President’s science advisor support coerced abortions to protect the planet?
  • Why are top abortion funders underwriting efforts to co-opt evangelicals on global warming?
  • If “people are the problem,” what’s the final solution?

Cap and trade is about more than saving the planet. It’s the biggest tax hike in American history. It threatens to concentrate massive amounts of power into the hands of central government and international bureaucrats. And its ascendancy marks the rise of a new, more subtle challenge to the culture of life.

Ultimately, climate change hysteria rests on an unbiblical view of God, mankind, and the environment. Come and hear how the Cornwall Alliance is pushing back–producing ground-breaking studies on Biblical environmentalism, educating pastors and churches across the country, and activating thousands of Christians to rally against the hype through the Campaign. Learn why policies to fight alleged man-made global warming will instead cause hundreds of millions of premature deaths throughout this century, and how human liberty, responsibility, and flourishing are the key to a healthier environment.

Oh my god. Seriously?!

Sometimes this is all so ridiculous and laughable that I can’t imagine anyone buying into it or believing it. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of people do believe this bullshit.

Celebrate same-sex marriage in Vermont with HubbyHubby!

1 09 2009

In celebration of legislation allowing same-sex marriage in Vermont that is effective as of today, Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops in Vermont have renamed their Chubby Hubby ice cream flavor to Hubby Hubby for this whole month:


A Ben and Jerry’s wedding truck is to pass through Vermont, handing out free HubbyHubby to the public. Now isn’t that sweet? Says Walt Freese, chief executive officer of Ben & Jerry’s:

At the core of Ben & Jerry’s values we believe that social justice can and should be something that every human being is entitled to. From the very beginning of our 30-year history, we have supported equal rights for all people.

Same-sex marriage licenses are also offered in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, with legislation passed in Maine (which is facing obstacles) and New Hampshire (where same sex marriage will be legal in January). Similar legislation is pending in New York.

Women and feminists “detrimental” to the family says VA Gov. Candidate Robert McDonnell

1 09 2009

Virginia Attorney General and Republican Candidate for Governor, Robert McDonnell, wrote a 93 page master’s thesis in 1989, “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade”, for the evangelical school he attended in Virginia Beach, Regent University. In that thesis, he states that women and feminists are “detrimental” to the family. He describes feminism as one of the “real enemies of the traditional family.” He declares a 1972 Supreme Court decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird, which legalized contraception use by unmarried couples, illogical. At the end of his thesis, he maps out a 15-point plan that the Republican Party should implement in order to protect American families.

McDonnell spent 14 years in the General Assembly before going on to be Attorney General and his political track record exhibits blatant opposition to women’s rights. During his 14 years in the General Assembly, he pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he wrote of in his thesis, including restrictions to abortion, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor “the family”. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women. Then in 2004, he voted against allowing student health centers on college campuses to dispense emergency contraception, and has supported a lot of anti-choice legislation throughout his tenure, including a ban on late-term abortions, mandating that minors receive parental consent prior to having an abortion and requiring women seeking abortions to observe a 24-hour waiting period.

Now as he runs for Governor of Virginia, he tries to distance himself from his thesis, which clearly exhibits a lot of misogynist sentiment. However, actions speak louder than words and his track record is telling enough. According to Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal:

It would be one thing if this thesis was a satire, but it was a policy directive to the Republican Party. McDonnell went on to enact major planks of the policy agenda developed and described in the thesis. It also revealed that he has a well-developed belief against separation of church and state. One of his defenses on his views regarding working women is that his wife and two daughters work. However, we have seen with other advocates of the religious right that personal lives often have no relationship to public policy positions. We must evaluate McDonnell’s views by his actions as a public official, which have furthered an anti-women’s rights record.

I am sick of the religious right using rhetoric of “the American family” to promote and further homophobia and misogyny. It is frightening and disturbing having people like McDonnell as public officials.

This is cute.

14 07 2009

Saw this on my friend’s facebook newsfeed.  Hope you don’t mind that I stole it from you!

This is pretty cute, even though it of course ignores any sexual aspect to marriage (it’s for the childrenz!) and reinforces ideals of spouses necessarily living together, seeing each other every day, etc.

The comments, however, became a huge nasty fight about religion and same-sex marriage.  Just by not specifying that marriage is “between a man and a woman,” and not mentioning reproduction, this sweet child seems to have greatly upset some people.  Sad.

What we missed this weekend

15 06 2009

Violence against the trans community remains largely prevalent but ignored – Group of Teenagers Attack Trans Woman in Seattle

Up in Canada, Sharon McIvor celebrates her victory over sex discrimination in the Indian Act – Justice for Sharon McIvor and all First Nations women – at last!

The Great Wall of Mainstream Feminism

A sick family business: a father and a son collaboratively ran a rape trade business, WTF?! – Police Arrest Rape Traffickers, Then Book Trafficked Women on Drug Charges

How does the US measure up when it comes to Paid Parental Leave?

And how does the US compare to other countries when it comes to military spending?

Meet D.C.’s Anti-Gay Marriage Crusaders

GLBT Peeps, If You Want Your Rights, Fly This Flag!

Spain – convicted trans woman transferred to women’s prison after 11 years

The Chrysler/Fiat Merger will emasculate the dudes?! Just for clarification – A Car is Not a Penis

Another great post from Renee – Privilege and Ignorance Speak Volumes

Check out Food, Inc.‘s blog, Hungry for Change. See the movie if you haven’t already.

When A Man Stays Home and Takes Care of the Kids…

14 06 2009

The July 2009 issue of Bazaar shows us the catastrophic results of gender role reversal in this photoshoot.

via Sociological Images:

To me, it seems that the shoot is telling us that “Mr. Mom” is incompetant and cheats on his selfish, cold-hearted career-obsessed wife.  It is also interesting to note the way that the homemaker is unappreciated by the breadwinner for his work taking care of the kids.

Check out the captions on the images.  They are quite interesting.

Sociological Images notes two of the commenters’ reactions to the images.  They both made good points, so here are the two comments.

Amber Y. said:

I don’t think that this photoshoot mocks a man’s ability to take care of his kids. Raising (three) children is a lot of work, especially if your partner is not an active participant. Switch roles and what images do we get? An overworked stay-at-home mother and a distant negligent working father – a very common image thrown at us from all angles. What this photoshoot shows me is the dynamic between the hard-working breadwinner and the hard-working family caretaker, and the *lack of appreciation* for the one who watches the kids. “Mr Big gets downsized.” The breadwinner ignores the caretaker in every photo. The message here isn’t that men can’t take care of kids; it is that people who take care of kids aren’t as important.

EKSwitaj replied:

Amber, I definitely see what you’re saying, but if we say that’s the point of the photoshoot then why are the usual gender roles reversed?

I see a few possibilities:

1) Because men aren’t typically expected to take the primary responsibility, it’s easier to imagine a man having difficulties with children and/or considered to be less of an insult.

2) If a woman were shown as having trouble with children it would be seen more as “female incompetence” than as a sign of general difficulty. This is in part because of our typical gender roles and in part because of women being the marked gender.

3) Because of the expectation that women be more nurturing, it is more upsetting to see a woman ignore children than to see a man doing the same. (Women being the marked gender, however, means that it’s more difficult to transfer this into a general statement about breadwinners.)

What do you think?

YAY New Hampshire!

3 06 2009

New Hampshire is now the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage.  The New Hampshire Legislature approved changes to a same-sex marriage bill that Governor John Lynch signed into legislation today. The law will take effect January 1st, 2010.

Lynch, who originally supported civil unions but not same-sex marriage, said that a separate system is not an equal system.  He also said:

Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities — and respect — under New Hampshire law.

More at The New York Times.

Take The Plunge!

3 06 2009

There’s a recent post on Sociological Images about The Plunge, a wedding planning website for men.  The site reinforces heteronormativity and patriarchal gender stereotypes (women are the wedding planners and will turn into bridezillas who will drive you menz crazy!).  The general tone of the site is a guy commiserating with a husband-to-be being all, I feel ya buddy, wedding planning is so annoying but you just gotta pretend you’re into it.

If you click on Why You Need Us, it says:

Here’s the thing about wedding planning: it kinda sucks. It’s frivolous. It’s stressful and wasteful. It makes you play along with a fake smile, bored and bitter, creating the illusion that you give a damn.

Adding to the stress, your girlfriend is wonderful and lovely and all those syrupy clichés, but she’s about to become a bride…who is none of those things. You will soon be confused. You will soon be frustrated. You will soon feel that no one is on your side.

That’s where we come in.

The junk that matters…and nothing more

Instead of giving you the Dos and Don’ts of choosing stationery, we’ll tackle the (often controversial) stuff that matters, like what to do if her father’s a real prick, how to dis-invite your co-workers, how to handle cold feet, how to finesse the murky world of ex-girlfriends, how to save cash, and what counts as cheating at the bachelor party.

You need to know “what counts as cheating at the bachelor party” because after the wedding, (gasp!) you’re supposed to be completely monogamous!  So you better have a swinging bachelor’s party to celebrate (or rather, mourn) your last night as a free, single man.

And then it later says:

We get it. Your fiancée is devouring 87 wedding planning books, magazines, and blogs that all have the chipper tone of “Yaaaayyyy, Wedding!!!” It amounts to wedding-porn. And it makes you sick. So you can just ignore it and check out, right?

Yes and no. True, she’ll do the heavy lifting. But for better or worse, you also have a starring role in this sucker. So even though “real men don’t plan weddings” and “real men don’t need advice,” in this case, you need advice. Think about it like this: if you believe that you don’t need any help, then you’re implying, by logical extension, that you were born with some innate, feminine, inner-gift for wedding planning.

Real men don’t plan weddingsReal men don’t need advice?  Hmm.  So tell me, what does a real man do?  And by telling male readers that if they don’t think that they need help then they are logically implying that they were born with “some innate, feminine, inner-gift for wedding planning”?!  This is utter bullshit!  Cisgender, heterosexual men hate having their masculinity disputed or challenged.  Which is why this website tells them that unless they read it and use it for help, they are feminine.  To reassure them that they aren’t emasculating themselves by referring to the website.

Read the rest of this entry »

The M.R.S. Degree

1 06 2009
From the Ivy League to...marriage...?!!

From the Ivy League to...marriage...?!!

One of my best friends from high school is a phenomenal, intelligent young woman who goes to a prestigious Ivy League University. She recently switched majors (from Advertising to Business Management) and the other day she said to me that she actually didn’t really like the Business major so much.

So when I asked her why she switched to it, or if she’d consider switching out of it, she admitted that the main reason she switched majors was because in most Advertising majors were women and therefore she was mostly meeting and interacting with other women. However, Business Management is a more male dominated major and therefore she’d meet more men because there’d be more of them in her classes.

She said to me, “Come on, you know high school – there were like 5 boys. So I’m only doing Business so I can meet guys – not just in college but afterwards in the working world, I’ll be able to meet more men.” She didn’t need to say it explicitly, but we both knew that she was thinking about marriage. Or at least being in a steady, monogamous, heterosexual romantic relationship. She then mentioned something about her parents meeting right after college, when they worked at the same company, and how so many people meet their spouses in college or immediately afterwards in the workplace.

I remember reading an article in the New York Times a few years ago about women who went to college for the primary purpose of getting their M.R.S. degrees (read: to snag husbands) but I thought that this was/is just completely absurd! Back in the 1950s, women were incredibly pressured to get husbands at young ages, so getting married right after high school or college was perfectly normal. The dominant message that women got from society then was that their number one priority was to get married and have a family.

So the thought of a bright, intelligent and talented woman, in 2009, going to college to study something that didn’t even interest or engage her too much, expressly to try and meet a significant male other, especially a woman so close to me, was just completely ridiculous. Going to an Ivy League University can get you very far in life. It perplexes, saddens and angers me that my friend is not alone in aspiring for her M.R.S. Degree. After all, with shows like Sex and the City that make being single seem like a horrible nightmare and books like Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned from Harvard Business School, women are still pressured to get married…maybe not immediately after high school or college, but still before middle age.

Based on my observations, experiences and the experiences of others in my life, it definitely seems a lot more acceptable for men (young, middle-aged and older men) to be single than for women to be single. Single men tend to get more encouragement to remain single (“You’re a bachelor living the life!”) whereas single women are more likely to be asked directly or indirectly “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”, “Where are you gonna meet a man?” or “When are you getting married?”

What are other people’s thoughts and comments?