Gender Issues

Recent posts

Tips For Men With Good Intentions

Actually, this fabulous blog post by my feminist friend Xenologer is less of a collection of tips and more of a comprehensive guide to understanding how male privilege can negatively affect the interactions of well-intentioned men with women. Using simple language and concrete examples, and packing a ton of links for further reading, Xenologer unpacks how guys who don’t perceive themselves as sexist can have happier and healthier interactions with not just women, but everyone around them who’s impacted by patriarchal power structures – which is to say everyone, really. Here are some of my favorite points from her post (though really, you should just go read the whole thing):

Recognizing your privilege is important – and perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to feel bad about being privileged. When feminists point out instances of male privilege, we’re not trying to shame you for having it: “You are definitely not a bad person for having male privilege, and you don’t need to be a sexist male to have it. It’s not ‘misogynist privilege,’ after all. Continue Reading →

Understanding “White Feminism”

Depending on how much of the online discussion about feminism you follow, you might’ve run across the term “white feminism.” Batty Mamzelle gives a great description of the term here, explaining that it doesn’t just describe feminists who happen to be white. Rather, it’s “a specific set of single-issue, non-intersectional, superficial feminist practices…that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.” The post also suggests that when white feminists feel affronted by the term, and want to enter discussions saying “please recognize that I’m not like those other white feminists,” they should remember what it feels like to try to discuss feminism with men who say, “but I’m not one of those men who benefits from male privilege.” It’s totally frustrating to have someone miss the point of a systemic critique of oppression, right? Continue Reading →

Let’s List How Feminism Hurts Men

I’m a fan of satirical role reversals in rhetoric, as with this list of how to end sexual assault by limiting men’s freedom. Now there’s a list of all the ways in which feminism hurts men. We see examples like “Because of feminism, all birth control is covered for women without question or debate, while men have to fight to get insurance companies to pay for their Viagra prescriptions” and “Because of feminism, it’s hard to find a movie with a heroic male lead anymore.” It really makes you think, doesn’t it? Since all of the examples are so obviously exaggerated… Continue Reading →

Media Misrepresentation – Where Are The Boys?

I recently introduced the 2011 documentary Miss Representation to the 12th grade Health and Wellness class I teach. The film touches upon (well, hammers, really) some themes that are near and dear to my young feminist heart: objectification, media representation, gender stereotypes, and the like. As I expected, they ate it up. Each new disturbing infographic that flashed over the screen garnered a heavier sigh, a snarkier chortle. And with good reason. Continue Reading →

Sexism In Science

In case you missed it, a scientist who contributes to Scientific American turned down a blogging opportunity from one of their affiliates – who then called her an “urban whore.” And yet, rather than use this as an opportunity to combat racism and sexism in science, the blog removed her post commenting on the issue. It’s since been restored, but important questions remain: how can we hope to address issues of inequality (by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and other identity factors) if there’s still so much bias at institutional levels? And how do efforts to combat sexism and racism in science reflect similar struggles in other parts of society? Continue Reading →

Texas Voter Laws Affect Women Disproportionately

As reported in Salon, a new voter ID law in Texas could disenfranchise up to one-third of women voters. Many voting-age women do not have an identification document that currently reflects their legal name (due to marriage, divorce, and so on). Additionally, photocopies are not accepted for the multi-step name-change process, making additional hurdles for women and transgender people – but not cis-gendered men. This makes me feel somewhat cynical, as Texas already doesn’t have the greatest record of looking out for its female citizens. Ideally everyone, regardless of gender identity, would have access to facilities to easily change their names, marital status, sex, and so on – or if that access is restricted, it shouldn’t affect their ability to do vital things like vote. Continue Reading →

Why To Keep Using The Word “Feminism”

We’ve all run into someone who says things like, “Yeah, I agree with a lot of feminism, I just don’t like calling myself a feminist because [XYZ].” One common reason given is that feminism is (supposedly) just about improving women’s living conditions, while the speaker considers him/herself a humanist, someone who wants to raise all of humanity. Which is a nice idea, but there are, in fact, specific reasons to describe oneself as a feminist. And no, they do not include hating men. The brilliant blogger Spacefem describes her reasons for doing so in a blog post here. Continue Reading →

Creating A Culture Of Inequality

I’ve posted in the past about sexism in the geek community, which extends to the tech industry as well. This letter, written by tech journalist to her daughter’s high school programming teacher, exemplifies many of the concerns about gender equality in technology and geek culture. Being the only girl in the class and having little support from adults when the boys began to marginalize her led to a terrible experience – no doubt similar to what many women who enter all-male fields go through. How does one begin to change a sexist subculture? The letter is full of helpful suggestions on how to create a more supportive environment for learning. Continue Reading →

Tips For Male Allies In Academia

Don’t be that dude: handy tips for the male academic is a lovely post aimed at male professors who are sympathetic to the sexism and gendered micro-aggressions that many women in academia face. I like that the post recognizes the importance of collaboration in achieving gender equality, and I think a lot of the tips are applicable outside the ivory tower as well. Continue Reading →

Red Pillers: Pickup Artists Plus Mens Rights Activists?

In case you haven’t heard of the Red Pillers, they’re an internet community that is “an overwhelmingly male population advocating unpopular opinions on females, but it is almost entirely focused on attracting and seducing as many of them as possible.” This is in the words of a Business Insider column that describes the group’s goals and interactions. Many of their strategies sound like those of pick-up artists, while many of their complaints about how women are actually manipulative gold-diggers sound like those of men’s rights activists (or MRAs for short – check out some of their crazy logic over at Manboobz). I think discourse about gender is usually a good thing…but discourse built upon sexist stereotypes? Not so good. Continue Reading →