Saturday, December 24, 2005

Pseudo-feminist progress?

Got a phone call very early this morning from a different time zone, so I'm up drinking coffee and trying to watch the news.

While flipping stations (there's not much news on), I found the WWE on USA. The opening act was a bunch of women in skimpy outfits wrestling each other in front of hundreds of screaming US troops. Actually I'm wondering if this is an old tape, since it's in Afghanistan, but what do I know.

Anyway I was watching this totally degrading, ridiculous performance and thinking, well, on the one hand these women are fighting each other, not stripping. So it could be worse. And I've always been a 'live and let live' kind of person when it comes to things like stripping, which I know some college students choose to do just because it pays so well. I just think it's a sad statement on our society that it pays better than say, working in a research lab. But on the other hand, I was thinking about how maybe women aren't making more progress because we allow each other to act like assholes.

Other minority groups have made significant progress by banding together and coming up with nasty names for members who cavorted with the enemy, e.g. calling someone an oreo is not considered a compliment. I'm not saying I agree with segregation of any kind, because I don't. But maybe if we really want women to be viewed with respect, we need to police ourselves a little.

So does anybody have some funny, derogatory names we can use for women who propagate these degrading stereotypes? I can't think of anything. What would we call these people? Calling someone a slut or a bimbo doesn't accomplish anything, and doesn't carry the connotation that indicates what it's for.

I was thinking about this because I heard a really offensive ad on tv last night, by one of these companies that specializes in selling diamonds. They were saying they're not a regular jewelry store, they want to work with couples in love, blah blah blah. Then they said, and I'm not making this up, "We'll find the engagement ring that she loves, that he can afford."


Anyway, as much as I complain about work, yesterday was kind of fun. Mostly because I think one of my experiments might have actually worked. It will be a while before I know for sure. But I'll take staring at a microscope any day over, well, being a WWE wrestler.


At 9:17 AM, Blogger jo(e) said...

Stuff like that drives me crazy. But somehow our culture has perpetuated this idea that if ONE WOMAN thinks it's okay to be treated like a sex object, then any other woman who speaks up about it is a total bitch and should be ignored.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what gives anyone the right to judge anyone else?

if a woman wants to be treated that way, then whatever.. it's their choice

if another woman doesn't want to be treated as a sex object, good for them as well.

why do we need to force our views/philosophy/ideas on other people?

live and let live...

yes, there are stupid people out there (let's not forget that 50% of the people are below average). And there are stupid men that will think all women should be treated as sex objects. But dissing other females isn't going to improve things for anyone.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said...

Of course, the degrading stereotypes and assumptions abound. Women like diamonds, and men like sports, and we're all white, middle class, and Christian.

I once wrote a college paper opinion piece (we're talking undergrad in New York City in the mid-80s. Okay, so I'm old...) It was about racism. I used the metaphor of an old rickety fence. That was the fence of segregation and separation.

I said it was an old rickety fence that few people noticed before the civil rights movement. I explained that the civil rights movement was like a group of people who propped up the old broken pickets, and painted a few, so that we would all notice them, see that they were indeed there.

The goal should have been to take them all down, to get rid of them, but unfortunately, someone got the idea that propping them up and painting them was the point. So, we as a society reinforced them, and replaced many of the broken pickets with concrete and brick, etc.

Of course, I'm no idealistic (and know-it-all) teenager any more, and I've gained a bit more humility than to to think I've got the solution to racism and sexism.

But I must confess that every time I get an EEO form that asks me to self-identify as "white male non-hispanic" my blood curdles. That doesn't define me. That puts me in a class of people who have as much in common with me (and each other) as "under 5'6", brown hair, speaks 7 languages".

Come to think of it... I identify much more with the latter group than the former. The point I make is that often our assumptions about the default category are as stereotyping and degrading as those about minority groups.

In my research this comes out a great deal in terms of (language-based) nationalism, where someone who speaks German or Russian is assumed somehow to have more in common with their co-linguists than they do with other people of the same socioeconomic background, or people who have the same chosen career, or the same religion, or the same sort of hometown. What silly assumptions we make. That is, they would be silly if they weren't so harmful.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Alon Levy said...

ArticulateDad, a quick look at racial segregation and exclusion in the US will reveal that the situation is getting better and better. Blacks today are better off than they were 35 years ago, despite the fact that overall the poor have gotten worse off; and the improvement looks even better if you exclude the regressive 1980s. In addition, the rate of interracial marriages is on the increase, although it's still a tiny fraction of what it would've been if marriage was race-blind.

At 3:17 AM, Anonymous James said...

I just call them what they are; whores. They occupy a higher rung on the sewer ladder than that of a stripper, porn slut or prostitute, but they're still whores.

Many females choose to be models, strippers or "escorts" to pay for college. Thing is, there are many people like myself who simply refuse to hire them. I rigorously screen the backgrounds of my prospective employees, and have shit-canned many female candidates who chose to whore themselves out.


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