Syllogismism

Woman drives drunk. Naturally, Feminism blamed.

Posted in Feminism, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on August 6, 2009

As a response to the tragic story of the drunk driver who was responsible for the deaths of 8 people on a New York freeway,  the AP published an article about how women are drinking, DUI’ing, and child endangering more these days.  Unsurprisingly, feminism was highlighted in paragraph 4 as the real culprit.

“Younger women feel more empowered, more equal to men, and have been beginning to exhibit the same uninhibited behaviors as men,” said Chris Cochran of the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Because, you see, when women start thinking that they have the same basic human rights as men, all hell breaks loose.  People die.  Equality Kills.

Interesting also that criminal, reckless endangerment is akin to the “uninhibited behaviors” that men regularly exhibit and that we expect from them.   This troubles me.

So buried at the way bottom of the story we get a couple of paragraphs citing some relatively legitimate reasons why women might be drinking more now:

“Our society has taught us that women have an extra burden to be the perfect mothers and perfect wives and perfect daughters and perfect everything,” Levounis said. “They tend to go to great lengths to keep everything intact from an external viewpoint while internally, they are in ruins.”

In the current recession, women’s incomes have become more important because so many men have lost their jobs, experts say. Men are helping out more at home, but working mothers still have the bulk of the child rearing responsibilities.

“Because of that, they have a bigger burden then most men do,” said clinical psychologist Carol Goldman. “We have to look at the pressures on women these days. They have to be the supermom.”

All valid points (disregarding the notion that woman = wife and mother) and much more likely than the empowered women crap that keeps getting top-billed blame for any gender-specific “pattern” that hits the news wire.

The dire consequences of not eating breakfast

Posted in TV, Women's Bodies, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on April 26, 2008

This story actually made me laugh out loud rather riotously at work. I think I startled my cube mates.

So, according to Science!, if a woman takes really good care of herself and eats the right food, when she finds herself great with child she will be rewarded with a bouncing baby boy. Regularly skimping out on breakfast? Eating junk food? Sorry lady, you’re stuck with a girl. And it’s your own damn fault. Now go to your room and don’t come out until you’re ready to breed properly.

Oysters may excite the libido, but there is nothing like a hearty breakfast laced with sugar to boost a woman’s chances of conceiving a son, according to a study released Wednesday.

…a low-energy diet that skimps on calories, minerals and nutrients is more likely to yield a female of the human species.

Beside racking up a higher calorie count, the group who produced more males were also more likely to have eaten a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12.

Fifty-six percent of the women in the group with the highest energy intake had sons, compared to 45 percent in the least-well fed cohort.

Ah, so much snarking and blaming to be done, so no brainpower to be thinking or desire to be typing. It’s beautiful out there and I have some veggies to plant!

Just one thing: 54% to 45%? That’s your “more likely”? Is that statistically significant enough to warrant a press release? Even if it is, the research methods seem pretty sketchy here. I’m skeptical about the methods, assumptions, and results of all gender-focused Science!, but the studies that rely entirely on daily self-reporting are especially suspicious and less than credible.

The odds of an XY, or male outcome to a pregnancy also went up sharply “for women who consumed at least one bowl of breakfast cereal daily compared with those who ate less than or equal to one bowl of week,” the study reported.

Great. Can’t wait to see the Special K commercials after that gets out.

Jumping up and down

Posted in Dudes, Mysognistic Bullshit, Women's Bodies, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on December 26, 2007

I was in and out of the hospital for a few weeks a couple of months ago with some crazy intestinal bullshit that made me walk all hunched over popping chewable fiber tablets, terrified of eating bread products or spicy food. I was suddenly a hundred years old. I most definitely blame the patriarchy.

I went in to see my doctor in the morning a few days after the last hospital visit with some new belly pain and she forced me to go to the ER because she was worried my condition may have worsened. I really, really didn’t want to go. The last time I had gone to the ER with stomach pain I was there for 4 days and left with a mild morphine addiction. They sure are liberal with that stuff when they don’t know what’s wrong with you, lemme tell ya.

On this ER visit, I was attended to by a creepy ass old doctor with a long grey ponytail that despised me. I could tell this by the way he sneered at, chuckled, and dismissed my complaints. I wanted to scream at him that my doctor had forced me to come. I wanted to go home and curl up in bed for the rest of the week. I was mos def not on a mission to get narcotics. If a cup of Maalox was gonna make the pain go away then please, give me the goo and let me be on my way. Please please please, don’t admit me.

But this guy straight up hated me. He didn’t believe a single word that came out of my mouth. I knew this the way that people just know things.

Needless to say, I didn’t trust him much either, so when his evaluating presses on my abdomen became a little too gentle and caressing, I got tense. It wasn’t egregious fondling, and if it had been my own doctor I would have thought she was just expressing care, but it was a little too gentle for a doctor that had showed nothing but skepticism of my illness and contempt for my existence since I walked in the door.

He fed me some tummy medicine and came back a few hours later to see how I was feeling. “I think I’m fine” I said. “No more pain.” I got up and waddled around the room in a haphazardly-tied hospital gown and old undies, declaring myself fit as a fiddle. It worked! The Maalox worked! Can I please go home now? Then the doctor says:

“Jump up and down.”

“Jump up and down?” I asked.

“Yeah, let’s see if you’re really feeling better.”

“No.”

“What?”

“I will absolutely not jump up and down in front of you.”

Looks at me quizzically. “You won’t?”

I sit back down on the bed, determined. “No. No. I won’t.”

He looks at me from the side, with his eyes all squinty, and writes something down.

I lose my shit. “I’m not a crazy person! I’m not! Why are you looking at me like I’m crazy? Seriously, I can’t jump up and down in front of you. No! No. But I feel better, I feel just fine. Let me go home, okay? I won’t jump up and down. No. Definitely not. And I’m not insane.”

Looks at me as if I’ve just threatened to blow up the hospital. “I’ll just have to take your word on that.” Audible Pfft. “You can go.” Wave of the dismissive hand. “I’ll have the nurse bring in the papers.”

Of course I acknowledge the possibility that there was some sort of medical necessity at work there and that my doctor was truly attempting to determine, via the random jump demand, if I was lying about feeling better. In this scenario, my creepy doctor was looking out for my well-being.

If this is truth, it’s partial at best.

Taking in the whole scenario, I think it’s clear that dude was on a serious fucking power trip, to say the least. Me: A sickly woman in a stiff, cold, sterile bed, mostly naked under a thin hospital gown, who has expressed fear about her impending bankruptcy from these endlessly escalating hospital bills and wants nothing more from this man than to be allowed to go home. This is a portrait of vulnerability, and we all know how appealing female vulnerability is to men who get off on their assumed patriarchy-given power to demand things from women that they have no right or reason to demand.

Maybe I’ve been fortunate in my choice of female doctors and therapists, because in all my years, no female doctor has ever demanded uncomfortable personal information that was irrelevant to whatever I was there for. No female therapist has ever asked me for sexual details. No woman has ever demeaned me by asking me to jump up and down in front of her for any reason, ever. No woman has ever asked me to do something that made me feel like my vulnerability was being taken advantage of. That’s not to say that no woman has ever done such things, but never to me.

Or maybe I’m more conscious of my vulnerability and discomfort with male doctors than with women and more suspicious of their motivations. Yeah, maybe that’s it.

Or maybe I’m absolutely right to think that men in positions of close authority over women’s bodies are allowed to force a level of intimacy that is uncomfortable and wholly unnecessary, and that this is true especially in the most sanctioned of authoritarian relationships – the ones where the disparity in power is accepted near-universally.

Whatever little sovereignty a woman may have over her experiences, her body, her choices – these are negated entirely when in the presence of an authority man. Especially when she is at her most vulnerable, when she is most dependent on his assessment of her.

The man in this kind of power position has the legitimate right to take for himself anything and everything that belongs to a woman, all in the name of her health and well-being. He can demand her humiliation with little challenge, as long his demands aren’t outright illegal, because the world expects its men, especially those with his kind of power, to dominate the half of the species that are supposed to exist solely for the purpose of arousing, satisfying, and comforting the other half. And because the patriarchy expects its authority men, its doctors and psychiatrists and police officers, to verify for the rest of the world how not-quite-human women really are, what with their odd afflictions and emotions and behaviors, by treating them as not-quite-human.

He can tell a woman to jump up and down in front of him. He can ask her questions that nobody should ask for any reason. He can softly caress her belly when he should be pressing down on it. He can write down notes about how crazy she is because she didn’t do what he told her to do. And she’s the one with the problem, because she’s a woman. He’s a doctor. Enough said. End of story.

And I say boo.

Women in public places

Posted in Dudes, Misogyny, Mysognistic Bullshit, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on October 2, 2007

I had a conversation with a guy friend recently in which he told me that my friend Pam’s intelligence, humor, friendliness, beauty, and kick-ass pool playing skills were not enough to make her attractive because she was “just a barfly.” Another good friend told me that he would never have a relationship with a woman he met in a bar because he wouldn’t want to be with a woman “like that.” I challenged them both on their sexist double standards and I’ve been mildly obsessed with the idea of The Barfly ever since.

(Okay, before you go questioning my choice of friends, let me just say that I live in a small town. If I didn’t begrudgingly tolerate feminist ignorance among my friends I would have exactly zero of them)

So I decided to do a little investigation into this whole Barfly thing. The official definition is a person who spends a lot of time drinking in bars. However, the slang definition, according to the oft-cited Urban Dictionary, is as follows:

Bar Fly

1. A bar fly is a sleezy woman that hangs out at bars with no other intent but to hook up with a man for the night. Bar flies normally leave a wet stain or mark on bar stools. They are disgusting whores.

2. A heavy drinking woman with a mom face but milf-like qualities such as a nice rack and a small ass. Can be surprisingly tight in the vagina. Will deny being a bar fly.

Apparently there are several synonyms and spin-offs to the Barfly. Yay!

Bar Hag

A chick who hangs at the bar on a daily basis, fucks whover buys her drinks/drugs and thinks she’s hip to the scene.

Bar Nasties

Horribly skanky girls that regularly occupy the local bars trying to hit on bartenders in the attempt to integrate their alcoholic or otherly abused life with someone who is trying to earn money to get through college by holding a part-time job because they want their futures to be stable enough to avoid people like this.

Bar Ho

A stupid drunk ass bitch who goes to the bar strictly to spread her taco.

Bar Slut

A loser whore who tramps around the bar looking for anything that has anything between its legs.

Bar Leech

A woman that takes a man’s offer to buy her a drink with no intentions of dancing or going home with him. After the girl gets the drink she will usually “recieve a phone call that her brothers in the hospital and she has to go”

Bar Troll

Similar to Barfly but a MUCH Nastier Uglier Version, that not even all the alcohol in the world could get you to sleep with her.

Bar Rag

Ugly drunk women who always seems to be at the end of the bar. Will go home with anyone who has at least 5 dollars in pocket.

Ah, there’s nothing quite like the sneak-up reminder of how despised women are. Especially the ones who go out into public.

I have many things to say about the Barfly, but I’ll have to say them in another post because for now, the Urban Dictionary has gotten me all kinds of riled up.

The tagline: “A slang dictionary with your definitions. Define your world.”

My world. Funny.

Under the current reviewing system, newly submitted definitions are entered into the editing queue before appearing on the site. Volunteer editors vote to accept or reject definitions in the queue…Each submission is reviewed by a number of volunteers (the exact number varies, but lies between two and nine), with controversial definitions being viewed by more people. Definitions with more accept votes than reject votes appear on the site.

The quality control issues with that site are obviously enormous and I realize that the bulk of entries are being written by teenage boys (but wait – is the fact that the guys writing this crap are young supposed to make me feel better about the world?), but I’m still quite unnerved by the fact that entries are actually reviewed before being posted and this kind of shit still gets up there. Hot damn, the hate is palpable. These entries were approved, for chrissake.

Ever read the forums at the bottom of movie pages on IMDB? Or the comments on any girl’s YouTube video? Or spam subject lines? My inbox terrorizes me daily. The internet has made it possible to spew hate before unsuspecting and oddly captive readers, the likes of which have never been seen before.

Online public spaces are so often dominated by proud misogyny. Boys write for boys as the default audience and women are intruders, lucky to be let in and laughed at and threatened when they try to point out that they’re actual people and not sex dolls or cartoon characters or ideas. Websites where anyone can say anything inevitably and tragically become places for men to alienate and degrade women; to remind us that we exist on the margins of humanity. Anonymity + no rules = the truth comes out. The gloves are off. No reason to pretend. And it feels fucking awful.

Please, dear feminist readers, start a blog if you haven’t already and write in it if you have. We need more places where we can go to escape the hate.

Nipple licking in America

Posted in Dudes, Misogyny, Sex, Women's Bodies, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on August 14, 2007

Okay so I know it’s hot out and everything, but where the hell did guys get the idea that it’s perfectly okay to saunter around the 7-11 without a shirt on? I get the no shirt thing when you’re putting a new roof on a house or maybe installing an irrigation system, but out in public, walking down the street, in chilly air-conditioned convenience stores? What’s the deal?

Yeah okay, you have a nice chest. Your celtic tattoos make you an intimidating sexpot. Your nipple piercings make us all quiver with desire. Your well-defined pecs haunt my dreams. Whatever. Put a fucking shirt on.

Here’s the root of my problem with male shirtlessness: It’s profoundly unfair. As you probably know by now, I’m not a huge fan of patriarchical injustice, and this one just reeks of it. Not only is it unacceptable for women to walk around topless, it’s plain illegal. It’s called indecent. Immoral. In too many places it’s still illegal to breastfeed in public, and in the Bible Belt you can be arrested for not wearing a bra.

Actually, I made that last part up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

Why? Because it is unfair to tempt straight men this way. See, it’s also illegal to go around feeling women up, and if women could go topless in public it might make it more difficult for the tempted men to not break that particular law. Can’t count on men to control themselves, or course. It’s gotta be up to women to make sure men don’t violate them. Men are not responsible for their own impure thoughts and compulsions to act on them, women are. Fancy that. Classic boys-will-be-boys, women-are-responsible scenario.

Now let’s say I got a strong desire to go lick the pierced nipples of celtic tattoo man. Which, for the record, I most certainly did not. Pretty much. Anyway, it’s fairly clear that no one’s too worried about my impure thoughts and desires, otherwise male shirtlessness would be similarly outside of conventional moral boundaries. Either this is because the world thinks that women don’t have such desires or it’s just not concerned about our inability to control ourselves.

It’s a bit of both, I suspect. Most (American) women have been taught to maintain pretty strict control over our desires and sexual compulsions ever since about the 3rd grade. Such enduring lessons include: Make them want you regardless of if you want them back, and don’t give in to your own want unless it will get you something more meaningful in return. Approach their desire with caution and in a proper ladylike fashion while maintaining your sexual attractiveness at all times. If you express or give in to your own desire, we will call you a slut. If you don’t give in at the appropriate time, when they really need it, we will call you a tease, especially if you dare tempt them with revealing clothes.

Them, them, them, them, them. Blah. What a bunch of horseshit. Too bad so many of us still abide by this stuff. This is the stuff that keeps us fighting with each other over developmentally disabled frat boys, questioning our worth and value in the world because the dude that we’re not even that into doesn’t call us back, and trying to find clothes that reveal just enough to make them wish they could touch us but not so much that they’ll actually try.

Basically, this is the stuff that patriarchies are made of. It’s a very useful tool for male domination: keep the women repressed with concern over how to get men to want them while still keeping their dignity intact, as well as how to prevent men from hitting them, raping them, leering at them, ignoring them, or just generally treating them like shit, and the men are free to walk around town with their shirts off enjoying all the perks of male privilege that are so ingrained they don’t even know they have them.

Oh calm down, I wasn’t talking about you.