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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Bits about Feminism

PART 1: Males Get Stereotyped For Their Gender Too (But It's Not Nearly As Bad As What Women Get)

Every time I make a post about a controversial subject, I get page views. So here's one. A few videos and other recent events have me thinking about things. None of the thoughts really have a cohesive theme, so here's just a list.


 Whenever people talk about gender platitudes, they always talk about those that aren't in the majority -- non-straight, non-white, non-male.  Females are known for suffering from "gender boxing", but males do too.  There are male stereotypes too, both positive and negative.

But the consequences aren't NEARLY as harsh. Straight white males have it the easiest -- they have all the power, so they make the rules. When males get generalized or made fun of, all that happens is we feel bad. What happens to women is that they're declared pregnant two weeks before they become pregnant. They get hit on on the subway then vituperated when they want to be left alone. They're forbidden from using the word "vagina" in congress because... reasons?  They have to bow their heads to anti-rape legislation formed under the belief that their body "shuts down" to reject the unwanted sperm, while thirteen-year-old girls vloggers on YouTube get countless commenters saying they're going to break into their house put a baby inside them.

 Here's a choice quote: "We didn't have the $250 it would cost to pay a bonafide illegal abortionist so the only option was amateur hour. There was no real discussion. ... I knew I was alone with the consequences whatever they would be. My boyfriend could walk away and no one would ever know. He was free. I was cornered."

Male stereotypes aren't nearly as devastating to our life choices. Male stereotypes focus on being tough, being strong, and being a winner. They're not supposed to cry.  They're shallow, dumb, and do anything to avoid work. We don't get stuff about how someone's going to put a dick inside us if we wear something that shows off our body.


Women's tropes are more about what they're supposed to do with their lives and limits their options.  They have to like children, have to have babies, and have to be responsible all the time. They shouldn't work, but clean the house, shut up, and look sexy all the time.

This article (from which comes a lot of this information and inspired this post) proposes an interesting hypothesis, called Ozy's Law. It states that, in a binary system, the stereotype of one type begets a stereotype of the opposite. For example, women are clever and clean, so men are dumb slobs. Women are killjoys, so men must have irresponsible fun all the time. Women want children, men don't like parenting. My big thought is which comes first?



PART 2: Anti-Masculinism and Flaws in Feminism

I think that Bronies (male fans of My Little Pony, like myself) are a movement/rebellion against masculinism. For years, women have progressively assimilated and participated in what was once exclusively male: sports, jobs, politics, video games, horror movies, gross-out humor, science fiction, war, motorcycles, handyman stuff, Dungeons & Dragons, rock music. I have no problem with this, but it's never really gone the other way, because for males, associating with anything female-centric is negative.

Until now. There's no question that My Little Pony is aimed at girls. And not just girls, but 6-12 year olds. But the Brony Phenomenon is huge. I wonder if there are more Bronies than fans in the target demographic. I've already mentioned why I love the show -- good animation, writing, humor, and voice acting -- but those are generic.  Why so many college age guys?


I think Bronyism is a bite of the thumb to that "winner, tough, strong" mentality. MLP:FiM has no vulgarity, no violence, no taunting (jovial or otherwise), no big-tittied women, nothing you commonly see in "guy movies".  It's a show about making friends, about inviting people in, creativity and work-ethic, and strong communication. Males are not taught these things. They're taught to be aloof in the hoof.  And bronies aren't just withdrawn Internet geeks. They're in the military, they're rockers like Andrew W.K. and MC Chris, celebrities like Stephen Colbert, and other people you don't expect.

I think guys are starting to see the masculine stereotypes, myself included, and getting sick of them. I hate sitcoms, because they portray every male as lazy, abrasive, inept at parenting, and out of touch. Commercials for cleaning products don't feature males, even though I always clean the bathrooms and take out the garbage. And babies? I was the one who changed my firstborn's first diaper, thank you very much. So yes, I'd rather watch "My Little Pony" than "According to Jim". At least the characters on that show like each other.

I don't know which show this is from.  Could be "Everybody Loves Raymond", "The War at Home", "$h*! My Dad Says", "The King of Queens", "The George Lopez Show", take your pick.

Someone smarter than me needs to write a paper on this. There's definitely a correlation between bronies and fighting against male stereotypes.

I have certain manners of behavior, given to me by my gender, which I cannot control. To wit, Lindsay Ellis's recent critique of Charlie's Angels featured Lindsay in a burqa (niqab?) as commentary on the contradictory nature of sexy, ass-kicking women. Fellow NChickers Elisa Hansen and Nella Inserra, jumped out, hoping they could join in the making fun. Elisa was dressed in a nightie/corset and Nella, who is not a small girl, was dressed as Power Girl, complete with the "window".


upon which my reaction was...

BOCCE BALLS!
And proceeded to stare at the screen, slack-jawed and drooling at every jiggle. I'm mentioning this because this often happens when I'm out and about.

I have wandering eyes. They will often drift to passing women and parts of those passing women which I find attractive and pleasant to look at. Eye candy as it were. If I have sunglasses, it's game on. But if I know people can see me and my eyes are exposed, I will try to keep it to abbreviated glances. But let's face it ladies, you know I'm looking, even if it's brief. You can see someone's eyes move and what they're looking at, from thirty feet away. Don't believe me?  Try it. So if it's on a computer screen and they can't see me, I'm going to stare at Nella's cleavage and do this.

"GUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHH..."
I cannot control my eyes, but I can control what I say and what I do. I may stare at a woman for sexual reasons, I may extrapolate what she looks like without clothes, I may even imagine doing vulgar things to her, but for god's sake, I keep my thoughts to myself. Not like the poor people who approach Stoya (porn star-turned-aerialist). Dear god, when the guys who buy replicas of your vagina are better behaved than the people on the street, there is something wrong.

I've made mistakes about feminism in the past. I'm probably making some now. But I like women and I like talking about women.  I like them more than men.  Men are intimidating.  They're mean and "yelly".

But as much as I like women, I have trouble figuring them out and what they want. I think they do too. To that end, I need some kind of general philosophy or guideline to follow so I know if I'm doing something wrong.


Right now, my guiding motto is "If it stops someone from doing something or evaluates based on something they can't control, it's bad". This doesn't clear anything up about abortion or hot button issues like that, so it's not perfect. But it clears up the snafu of being able to have opinions regarding women while not diminishing them.

For example, you can make opinions on a woman's appearance, but you cannot relate that to the quality of what they produce There was an article, legitimate journalism, about a female cellist that was more about about how she looked than about how she performed. (I can't find it now, otherwise I'd link to it.)

That is what not to do. If you're judging them by something that does not impact what they do or they're not in control of, you're incorrect. For example, take this music video by Karmin:


Now if I said stuff about how her outfit and hair are ridiculous or that she looks/acts like a British Katy Perry, that would be wrong. Because that doesn't have anything to do with her music. BUT, I could say that she does nothing in this video but stand by the phone, wearing progressively slutty outfits. Or I could say something about the white girl rap interludes or the "cheerio" lyric. That's relevant to the performance. It's about the verbs, not the nouns or adjectives.


Feminism won't succeed without strong male support. Because they have the power. One thing I never hear from feminists is how giving females more power benefits men. Because it does.

Less restrictions on their bodies and behavior means less work we all have to do. Giving up power won't change anything -- it'll have the same effects it has for giving it up to anybody. Women in power do stupid, corrupt things too. When women get options, men get more options, instead of always having to be the breadwinner or the one who kills spiders or gets stuff down from the shelf. There's less babies to take care of. Less child support checks. Happier wives and girlfriends because they're doing what they want and are satisfied.

Support is there -- Gone with the Wind and the WNBA wouldn't and couldn't be successful unless men liked them too. Lindsay Ellis recently said "The hard thing about social activism is staying civil and not alienating potential allies; tumblr does this often."


Feminism also won't succeed without a unified front. NOTHING succeeds without a unified front. That's why Native Americans tribes failed to refuse relocation.  That's why China has not yet taken over (with their numbers, they could do anything with the, but how are you going to get a billion people united?). Nazi Germany fell because too many of their own people tried to sabotage their efforts (its hard to get support when your mission statement involves wanton murder and kidnapping your next-door neighbors).  And it's why America could not win the Vietnam War -- they had their people focused and working toward a goal, we didn't.

Feminist leaders keep making contradictory statements on certain core issues. Someone needs to write a manifesto, or be a figurehead that we can all rally behind. If you've got a football team and some players are doing a run play, some are doing a pass play, and some are punting, that ball's not going to get down the field. When we get to a point where we can all agree about Booth Babes, we'll know it's on its way.
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