Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Warning: pedantry ahead. Let's distinguish between misogyny, misandry, and sexism. Misogyny is hatred and disdain for women in general. Misandry, hatred and disdain for men in general, is probably the most underused word in political debate. Although a lifelong feminist, I have always loathed  knee-jerk male-bashing and defended men against stereotyping all my life. Wikipedia has a decent definition of sexism: "Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred of people based on their sex rather than their individual merits."

I struggle greatly with my own misogyny. I was much more comfortable being the only girl in my political science classes at Fordham than attending an all girls Catholic College in my freshman year. I credit my 5 younger brothers and 5 young uncles. My four daughters might have contributed to the misogyny too:) Working in the women-dominated fields of librarianship and social work has been a terribly bad fit for me with dire economic consequences.

I am far more confident that men will like me than women will like me. I don't do tact. If I see a group of 5 men at a party, I know they need me:) All my shrinks have been men. I have done my best therapy  work with male clients. One client told me I must have been a gay male in a previous lifetime since I understood him so well:) The real explanation was that manic depressive closets resemble gay closets.

Misogyny and misandry are equally sexist. Women can be just as guilty of sexism as men. When people complain that Obama isn't tough enough, or nasty enough, they are being sexist. The glorification of the macho man is sexist. The idea that little boys can't cry or wear pink or play with dolls is sexist. The denial that fathers are just as loving, nurturing parents as women is sexist. Questioning the masculinity of a man who stays home and cares for his children is sexist. Expectations that daughters are better qualified to care for aging parents are sexist.

Sexism underpins our whole glorification of war and violence. It cannot possibly be defeated in one generation. All of human history is not changed quite so quickly. Taking care of my one year old grandson, I am conscious that preschool boys possibly suffer more from sexism than little girls. When a girl shows interest in traditionally masculine activities, it is often seen as upward mobility. When a boy shows interest in girlie things, people start wondering if he is gay. Older men in the elevator are already fretting about Michael's curls.

All of us are crippled by such attitudes. Preschools and elementary schools are a better match for most girls. Boys too often wind up on medication so they can conform to classroom rules and expectations. The idea that boys can't be babysitters or men can't be daycare, kindergarten, and grade school teachers is disgustingly sexist. Home health agencies seem to find it unimaginable that a client might want a guy to care for their aging mother. The idea that any man is a potential rapist or sexual predator is hideously sexist.

Tags: feminism, misogyny, sexism (all tags)



Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Working for the Government for 23 years the end of this month, I have found myself in fields where women dominate the working levels and men have dominated the management levels.  I have also been in offices where women have dominated the management levels with an equal mix of women and men and I have worked in completely egalitarian offices based on merit.

What I have found in both male and female dominated management teams is that they are not usually inherently sexist, but their decisions can easily be interpretted that way when one looks at the results.  Both male and female management teams have a tendency to promote people of their own sex, not exclusviely but in a preponderance.  My own, admittedly non-scientific, observation has been that this is due to a single factor.  People tend to cultivate and promote people that they perceive as being like themselves.

Often the "up and coming" analysts and supervisors have similar interests, hobbies, family backgrounds, and management styles as the managers that are cultivating them.  The management team sees people that they feel will be as accurate and successful as themselves.

This is always a major hurdle for the "other" peole who look, act, and manage differently.  Finding common ground and getting management to see them as equally successful and effective has been the challenge of many women in the past and now, in some offices, of men.

by Sychotic1 2008-07-11 12:31PM | 0 recs
Yes. People are tribal

Like promotes like. Like sees like as more talented, more qualified.

by catfish2 2008-07-11 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

another likeness which apparently affects promotion, is whether an employee is married or not (married are usually promoted faster/more), going to that "likeness" again

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 01:02PM | 0 recs
Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

An off-colored wolf often finds itself ostracized from the pack.  

There is an intrinisic logic to this trend throughout cognizant biological entitites that goes far beyond human sociology or individual intentional biases.  The first thing that a creature learns to do when it becomes aware of its surroundings is to determine when something is different.  Different is bad, different implies risk, biological units avoid risk and are statisically rewarded with survival.

It is a wholy human trait to go beyond the risk avoidance at more than the necessary level (risk faced attaining sustenance, competing for breeding opportunities, and a few layers of risk-acceptance by social animals for less direct survival rewards).  We still face the same types of survival pressures in our social grouping - your business unit survives if you can all work together, and shared traits among coworkers are often the safest path.  

Increasing social equality will always take a back seat to success inasmuch as the consequences of taking risks are too high, and/or the individuals involved are too timid.


by chrisblask 2008-07-11 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

An off-colored wolf will be ostracized from the pack because any oddity could be a sign of parasites or recessive genes.

Tribalism is socially constructed.  This seems an obvious statement, but what I mean is that the very idea of "like" and "unlike" are established externally.

To wit: about 100 years ago, Italian Americans from different regions didn't like or trust one another.  Over time, those differences merged.  When I was a child my Puerto Rican best friend never shut up "the fucking Dominicans", yet he viewed other Latinos as akin to him.  In most places, Jews are now for all intents and purposes white, but not long ago it wasn't that way at all.

It's natural for people to form sects within society as a whole, but what they define their group around is totally arbitrary and UNnatural.

by MeganLocke 2008-07-11 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

Very true, and in most places in America (I hope!), Italians are just seen as "white."  I am holding out hope that someday (probably long after I'm gone, but before we ever get a base on the moon) we'll all just be "people."  I'm not so naive to think we are anywhere near that yet, but wouldn't it be great?  Ah well, I can dream.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

Many of us today imho view people as just people, already.  Some (many? most?) non-first generation Americans still differentiate unduly.

But we overly chastize ourselves.  America is by leaps and bounds not the most biased country in this way, and I would argue we are among the least.  In a lot of places (and a lot of surprising ones) sub-dividing us all into segments is much more common or not at all questioned.


by chrisblask 2008-07-11 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

I agree that in the scale of bias, America is certainly in the top 1 or 2 quintiles.  But I disagree that we really view people as people.  I mean, we try to and we certainly do it more than previous generations (as a whole), but we aren't as colorblind as we like to think we are.  In fact, I think the notion of being post-race or post-gender can actually be harmful because it makes us all pat ourselves on the back and say "job well done, let's never worry about racism or sexism ever again."  

What do you think?

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

In my own non-scientific observation, but after having lived in various parts of Europe for the past nine years, I'd say that Americans are not nearly as colorblind as we think we are, but we tend to be a lot more colorblind than people in most places - including some of the more 'progressive' Euro countries.

For the most part, that colorblindness is a positive trait, but it sometimes comes at the expense of recognizing and celebrating diversity.

by vadasz 2008-07-12 01:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

I think you both make good points.

We are both more color/gender blind than we think we are, and in other ways not as much as we could be.  Also, there is as you say a risk of becoming so x-blind that we deny the wonderful differences between us, and the risk of over-patting...

I love our differences while I rail against some of the problems they cause.  The biggest problem may be that we have a Utopian goal of over-reaching some non-existent Uniformity in the name of Equality.

Uniformity is not Equality.


by chrisblask 2008-07-12 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

Human groupings are often non-biological - non-visible at least.  Much of that cultural morphing is a matter of merging cultures - societal norms that differ between groups at one time merge to become common or ubiquitous traits of newer merged groups.  Mammals in general can do the same trick - by nature a rabbit will move away from a cat (or freeze), but they can become socialy comfortable with each other and the cat becomes part of the known safe environment and they will play together.

The biological imperative to differentiate between a known environment and a differed environment goes all the way to the core.  The initial eye-spot could only tell light from dark - as in an object changing the environment by swimming between the viewer and the brighter surface, which would trigger motion away from the light source.

We see the level of development in humans in differentiation in the way we view the media.  "Why is there no good news?" - because we are primarily wired to discern the new and threatening changes in our environment.  This leads in our culture to people believing the world is going to hell in a handbasket when for the most part we have just gotten really good at broadcasting dangerous changes from such a wide field of view that we have not yet gotten good at separating out which ones are actually risks to us and instead often obsess with hitting our intenal panic buttons like trained rats.


by chrisblask 2008-07-11 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

I agree with everything you said; my problem is with the argument that there's some biological root to racism or misogyny (which I didn't hear you make).

Anyway, I think misogyny is also feuled by sexual dynamics - anyone who's straight has probably had a hard time not coming to hate the other sex at least at some point in their lives.

by MeganLocke 2008-07-11 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Cognizant Lifeforms are tribal

I avoided making too strong a connection between the biology of avoiding the different with the complex issues of human sexism and racism (and decent treatise on the subject would run to pages).  Not to overstate it, but it is in there.

In human (and primate) sexuality, the humiliating pain of rejection after taking the nauseatingly risky step of lowering one's defenses can be traumatizing, as you imply.  I think same-sex relationships are likely somewhat easier on average in this regard, and at least are less likely to lead to negative views of an entire gender.


by chrisblask 2008-07-12 08:14AM | 0 recs
Misogyny includes distrust of women

the thing is feminists can definitely be sexist. If a woman is vying for a position traditionally held by men, feminists, who tend to hail from academia and analyze things more than regular people, may say she's de-feminized herself or she's campaigning like a man.

Many a male and female this primary season who never considered themselves feminist said they wanted a woman like Hillary to be president.

by catfish2 2008-07-11 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Misogyny includes distrust of women

I just about concluded that to be a commentator on a major news outlet, a woman would need to promise  at least to bash Hillary and her supporters and probably trash women in general. Successful women are always had to guard against exceptionalism, resisting praise that they aren't like regular women.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Well written and insightful.  Rec'd!

by NewOaklandDem 2008-07-11 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I am far more confident that men will like me than women will like me.

I have the same problem. I started looking at my circle of friends and noticed that I only have 2 close girl friends while the rest are guys. I came to the conclusion its hard for me to feel comfortable around other women b/c I feel women can be the most critical/judgemental towards other women. [I guess thats the misogynist in me-]

rec'd for an awesome, thought provoking diary-

by alyssa chaos 2008-07-11 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I just wrote a long post below that goes into what you are talking about

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 01:00PM | 0 recs
For me, it is different....

and I have never quite been able to conclude anything.  I have a lot of friends, male and female.  

I am a heterosexual female, never married, though I did a few long term relationships with men.
Often my male friends are married.  I have lots of female friends, both unmarried and married.  Many, but not all, of my married friends seem to be unable to discuss men, good and bad stuff, with me.  My unmarried friends (two are divorced, one is a widow)  and I, can and do discuss men, warts and all.
Often, when I was younger, I sensed mistrust of me, from some of my married friends.....
I am a pretty talky, friendly person with everyone (men, women, kids)...I love sports and often have met (married men) on the golf course and played a round with them and had fun and that was all.  Some women really raise and eyebrow.

I have had many bosses (I am a retired teachers) over my forty years in education. Most were average...decent.  My two best ever were women.  My one worst ever was...a woman.  

Anyway, I think a lot of so called "alpha" women had problems with Hillary Clinton.  A lot liberal men in the press OBVIOUSLY had problems with the Clintons...and in particular could not allow themselves to see Hillary as an individual.  I think in general men have a harder time seeing women as individuals
The majority of female friends are strong Hillary supportes......and deeply disappointed in what we believe was an unfair primary.  A few females I know HATE Hillary with a passion because she did not leave Bill.  Interestingly enough, a few of them are married to jerks....and stay with him.  Maybe it is self loathing,

I do believe sexism in the media, and in a lot of the liberal community was hurtful to women this past primary.  I hope there is a dialogue about it because in my view, some still do not get it.

by Jjc2008 2008-07-11 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: For me, it is different....

All good points.  And I have to admit that there were times that I really really disliked (even hated) Hillary.  I'm sure some was sexism, but mostly it's just that I was so angry she was not Obama and that she wasn't losing quickly enough.  I'm sure I have been guilty of Obama blinders at times.  I actually find myself hoping his recent statements are "just" pandering.  Not a comfortable situation to be in, needless to say.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:26PM | 0 recs

The glorification of the macho man is sexist. The idea that little boys can't cry or wear pink or play with dolls is sexist. The denial that fathers are just as loving, nurturing parents as women is sexist. Questioning the masculinity of a man who stays home and cares for his children is sexist. Expectations that daughters are better qualified to care for aging parents are sexist.

I love you, redstocking. You're my hero. :-)

by atdleft 2008-07-11 12:55PM | 0 recs
Not to forget that

every little boy is (usually) raised by a woman.

by missliberties 2008-07-11 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Good diary.  Coming from any empirical/anecdotal evidence, sometimes it seems the most misogynist sex are women due to the traditional societal framework of women competing for attention of men, which could also be due to a natural/genetically inherent competition for the need of reproduction.  I have read studies as well that state when women go into a party, they first look to see how many women there are, there level of attractiveness, and the less of both,the mroe willing a woman is going to want to hang out, linking again to the competition.

I just had a firend yesterday tell me about her job and she said, yeah there are a lot of women in teh upper levels of management, if you were to work here, it would probably be easier for you being a guy.  Interesting

I also think that the fashion and gossip magazines perpetutate teh traditional roles of women (and men); the fashion magazines brainwash women into thinking that to be good little girls you have to be attractive, sknny, and stuff your feet into long uncomfortable heels so the manly mens will find you attractive and you will get male attention.

Gossips magazines are bascially bottom barrel shit talking of "Oh no that little slut did that, eew her outfit sux, OMG she gained so much weight, holy crap she is such a bitch, She is Ka-razy!", and so on...perpetutating men and women into the traditional roles of Manly mens and skinny/witchy women.  

Two girls at my work told me yesterday that their relationship with their mother is love/hate, extremely dramatic, because it is "different between two women".  

So is it nature or nurture, both?  Anyone have any opposing views or want to add to the discussion?

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

and if I type "teh" one more time when haveing a serious discussion and not playing Lolz, Why I'll...

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

"haveing" - I am on a roll

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 01:23PM | 0 recs
I thought teh was just me...

I also to tino to death.  My explanatinos to questinos cause frustratino and exasperatino...

by chrisblask 2008-07-12 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

After reading some of the debates during the primaries I tried a thought experiment that was interesting but inconclusive. Figuring that intellectualization confused things when it came to people, considered which sex would make the better president.  The results were all over the map. There are very strong differences in how the different sexes of one species would govern, but little clarity or consistency that I could find.

Dogs- no question, female "%tches) are vicious especially to each other.
Cats-- dunno. Would the hard-working aggressive female or the lazy peaceful male be better?
Goats. No question. Male goats are pure testosterone-soaked insanity.
Sheep. Similar, although not as extreme. Rams are jerks. Ewes can be wonderful and even wise.

Horses-- very tricky. Mares take care of the discipline within the herd butcan be a bit bitchy and selfish.  Stallions work, and work for all. They are  aware where every herd member is, and are alert to danger. However if challenged by another stallion it is war. One could argue that the stallion would be a fierce campaigner but good leader.

Chickens- a bit similar to horses. Roosters are wonderful if there  is a sufficient hen ratio. About 4 hens per seems to be the minimum. Then they will spend all day finding food and calling to the others and the chicks will sleep on their backs.  If the ratio falls they go insane and become brawling gang rapists.

by wrb 2008-07-11 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

It would appear McCain is most similar to the goat.

Interesting thought, though I must admit I would prefer a human to govern us (I'd make an exception for dolphins, both for their IQ and their toothy smile)

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

JSM is pure Old Goat.

I lack a dolphin herd. Sigh

Another grin: amniforgot/IMG_3139.jpg

by wrb 2008-07-11 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

hah, so you really were doing some experimenting!  And here I just thought you were thinking about animals.  Sweet looking baby goat (right?).

I am going back to mojo you for actual experimenting with farm animals (sorry, that didn't come out right)

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 02:57PM | 0 recs
by wrb 2008-07-11 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

"Cats-- dunno. Would the hard-working aggressive female or the lazy peaceful male be better?

"Meow", said the lazy peaceful male.

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-11 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

My 15-year-old cat would probably nuke the world.

by redstocking 2008-07-12 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I actually have never read fashion magazines or women's magazines in general, except for the hot sex tips when I am on line at Pathmark. Why do I think Cosmo can teach me something about sex I haven't figured out in 42 years? I completely agree with what you said about both the fashion and gossip magazines.When I was growing up, we never had a TV until I was 14; my parents read the New York Times and the liberal Catholic weekly magazines like America and Commonweal. We got Newsweek as well. I subscribed to the New Republic in high school. I wore a school uniform. I was spared so much. I agonized about my hair, but certainly not my weight or my makeup.

In college we agonized endlessly about our political purity, about how our actions matched our convictions. We usually had such conversations while devouring the best hot fudge sundaes within 10 miles. We loved to dance, but we didn't know anyone who went to a gym.

I think the mother/daughter relationship is probably the most fascinating, intense relationship of all. In my experience as a mother and a daughter, at about age 10, daughters decide you have had your chance at raising them; now they are going to raise you. I know I endlessly bullied my mom into going back to college when my youngest brother started school. Not only is your daughter a mother's worst critic, she is your most incisive, accurate critic.

When Vanessa was born, my brother Stephen said, "Good, you have a daughter to fight with. That will make you very happy." My mother and I fought much more than she and my brothers did. I claim that's because I won all their battles for them.

Expectations for women tend to flip every generation, putting women at variance with their mothers. For almost 200 years, we have been brainwashed into listening to the experts rather than to our moms, grandmothers, aunts.

Nature or nurture or both? With 5 very different brothers and 4 very different daughters, I resist generalizations. I would have been full of them if daughter no. 1 had been a boy, daughter no. 2 had been a girl. When I am told my grandson is all-boy, I reply, "No, he is his mother's son." Fortunately, he doesn't pull hair or dump sand on people's heads like his mother did.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Yeah, I forgot to add my Mother and older sister  can still get into some fantastically intense fights (or rather my sister verbally beating up on my mon, and my mom responding).  Growing up it was quite scary and embarrasing to witness their arguments, I would leave the home and hear them down the block, my friends would be like, WTF? (or the 8 yr old equivalent).  Like you said, my sister had "had it" with any of these rules and directions from anyone at a young age; she has always been a risk taker, unfortunately, I think in more negative than postive ways.  THough my family was not Catholic (Cathoic lite - Episcopalian), I was basically raised Catholic, attending a Cath grade school, but no wine, I mean, communion for me though :(.  

Good talking with you and welcome to the site (saw your intro diary earlier), I look forward to more of your diaries.

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

One of the most gratifying parts of grandmotherhood is the striking change in my relationship with my oldest daughter. We have always been very close, but we have always fought. This year, when I have been taking care of Michael 3 days a week so V can work part-time, we have had fewer arguments than we have had since she was 18 months old. V repeatedly stuck her tongue out at me in the delivery room. I joke that she should have been born with a printout: "You will win exactly 5 battles with this child. Choose them carefully."

The real reason women want grandchildren is that they know their daughters will appreciate, understand, and listen to them so much more once they have been in the same trenches:)

by redstocking 2008-07-11 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

"Why do I think Cosmo can teach me something about sex I haven't figured out in 42 years?"

Because they talk to men who are anonymous and therefore have nothing to lose by being completely honest and candid.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I once received very sexist but realistic advice. If I am being interviewed for a job by a guy, wear red. If I am being interviewed by a woman, wear any color but red.  I carry that to an extreme degree. I was wearing red when I met both my husbands.

I have never been hired by a woman when I was wearing a red dress. Of course, I have been a public librarian and a social worker.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

"I was wearing red when I met both my husbands.

You have TWO husbands? Damn, you ARE progressive....

BTW, loved your comment about men at a party need you.

We sure do! Men at a party without women are like a black labrador without a tennis ball.

Life just ain't good.

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-11 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I got married in 1968 a month before was 23. We had a good marriage for a very long time, and then it went wrong.  We tried very hard to resurrect it for 8 years,  because we were both absolutely committed parents.  He left in 1996. I will always love him and we are friends. In 2001 I married my Englishman whom I had met on a Jane Austen listserv in 1995. We are living happily ever after. So I have been married all but 5 years in the last 40 years. I love living with a man.

My mom was a political activist. She had 5 brothers and 5 sons. She used to start speeches, "I have lived with 12 men"--pause dramatically--and laugh, but only one of them intimately.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 05:12PM | 0 recs
Haha, that's very true!

My fiance reacts at least twice as strongly to me wearing red than he does to me flirting, wearing miniskirts, or basically any other form of "Getting his attention."  It's the funniest thing...I wore a red dress the night he proposed to me, and it threw him so badly that he forgot how he had planned to phrase the question!

by Elsinora 2008-07-11 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I find it interesting that you say:

" just had a firend yesterday tell me about her job and she said, yeah there are a lot of women in teh upper levels of management, if you were to work here, it would probably be easier for you being a guy."

I am a single guy in an office predominently comprised of females.  Since my time in this particular department there have been exactly two other men here.  One remains, the other was fired.  All three of us have been passed up for promotions (I was twice) and (since the other is civil service and his contract is negociated by the union) I have gotten less in raises on average than the other people who have worked here.  It has also been my impression that my work has been scrutinized with much more care than other people that work here.  And, with the exeption of those that have worked here for a very long time (now down to 1 from 3 people on the staff), one person that got a promotion, and the only two males remaining in the office, everyone else has left for better opportunities (usually right after getting a really nice raise).

So based upon my personal experience I would say a man will likely have a harder time in said environment, not an easier time.

by Why Not 2008-07-11 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

That sucks.  But I guess what my point really was that my female friend "perceived" her situation to be harder than my potential situation because she had a hard time working with her female bosses and obviously perceived the other male employees to be treated better by same female superiors (or guessing that I would fare better as a male).  

I have no idea how it would actually play out, I think there are far too many variables invovled to make a reliable prediction.  

Thanks for your input though, it adds a real POV to the mix.  Hopefully you just have bad superiors, reagrdless of sex, because that situation does not help with equal treatment of the sexes in teh workplace.  You should get your raise and take off!

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Believe me, if I had a chance to get a better job I'd probably take it.  But on the positive side, the unit has gotten much better since certian superiors left and there really isn't any continuity to left to praise but the few of us that stayed.  Maybe we'll bne able to change perception this year.  However, I don't know if it will translate into better opportunities.

by Why Not 2008-07-11 03:08PM | 0 recs
I prefer a def of sexism

that speaks specifically to power dynamics.  Interesting perspective though.

by linc 2008-07-11 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I prefer a def of sexism

That was a most superficial definition. I would love to hear more about your ideas. Power dynamics are complicated. As a parent educator, I worked hard to help mothers see that they had to relinquish some control if they wanted their child's father to participate more equally in childrearing. When daddy is in charge, mommy needs to butt out. I struggled with that mightily myself.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 02:01PM | 0 recs
Not really my ideas

but people like Bell Hooks, Audre Lorde, Cynthia Enloe.  Audre Lorde is particularly influential in my thinking- where the master's tools cannot be used to truly tear down the master's house, neither can the master's language and descriptions - or, in this instance, definitions.  For me, a definition of sexism that doesn't specifically speak to power dynamics is merely white-washing for a complicated social dynamic - its like speaking of racism without speaking of power dynamics.  Sure, black people can be racist too, but who is most dis-empowered by racism, black people or white people?  Who is more dis-empowered by sexism, men or women?

by linc 2008-07-11 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really my ideas

Who is more dis-empowered by sexism, men or women?

Getting into to specific definitions requires specific definitions of all the terms; so what is meant by 'power' and 'dis-empowered?'

Granted, the (generally) hierarchical nature of our society has vastly favored men over women for positions of power - in politics, business, the arts, and most other realms.

But it's also killed more men in war. And at least since the Industrial revolution, it's forced millions of men (and women) to spend much of their lives away from home and family, fueling a sense of disconnect between husbands and wives and fathers and children that often results in a kind of powerlessness (or at least feelings of such).

I don't bring this up as some sort of 'men suffer, too' comparison - no doubt women have suffered more in our sexist society than men. But power dynamics are so deeply interwoven between different strands of society - gender, race, economics, education, region, language, and more - that it's difficult to separate them into discrete units and examine them individually.

by vadasz 2008-07-12 02:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Not really my ideas

Going off to war, working in dangerous jobs, being killed on the job at  much higher rates, dying younger--I would be reluctant to claim that the average guy not in a professional job or a position of power doesn't suffer as much as the average woman. Being stoic is a crippling part of the job description of masculinity.

by redstocking 2008-07-12 07:59AM | 0 recs
I would say they are blatently obvious

as you indicate as much.  There are certainly a great many examples to choose from, but the base fact that power is primarily the province of one sex over the other is obvious.

Sure, it is mostly men that die in war, but it is also mostly men that start war...

by linc 2008-07-14 08:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I prefer a def of sexism

Sounds interesting, got a decent link for a beginner?

by Neef 2008-07-11 03:20PM | 0 recs
Dear redstocking...

Write more diaries. Like, a lot more. Constantly.

They're really well done.

by TCQuad 2008-07-11 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear redstocking...

TCQuad, Thank you so much.  I actually have written a lot that I haven't shared widely. So prepare for a deluge. All these compliments are lovely, but where are the trolls?

My writing and my manic depression are all tied up  together. I write when I am up (Joan is in the ascendancy), and throw out what I write when I am down (Mary is in control). Grandmotherhood seems to be bringing better integration.

Because I write intensely personal stuff and my daughters are less than thrilled about it, I get involved in pseudonyms, name changes, etc. It would take several CIA agents to follow my online trails.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 01:58PM | 0 recs

love it!  and can relate to much of your post as i have alittle guy at home and experience much of what you say first-hand.

by canadian gal 2008-07-11 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: pedantic?

Michael is the proud owner of a princess pink doll stroller, the only color available. Perhaps because he lives in Chelsea, every kid under 3 in the playground was fighting to push it.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I've never felt that feminism could be truly complete without an equally strong devotion to masculism.  We can't address gender inequality simply by going after the glass ceiling in the business world--we also must attack things like the near-automatic presumption that mothers are more suited as primary guardians of their children after a divorce.

My ex was raised by her mother, though she and her sisters all would have preferred to live with their father who offered a more stable home life and who, honestly, they liked better.  But absent signs of serious neglect or abuse by the mother, fathers rarely get primary custody.

by BishopRook 2008-07-11 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?


I agree with you on the custody issue. Once breastfeeding is done, fathers can do as much for children as mothers.  All along fathers can give bottles of pumped breastmilk. The parent who spends the most time with the child usually knows her better and is most attuned to his needs. Caring for children is learned, and if you do it right, it is intellectually demanding, fascinating learning.

I love spending my days with toddlers; they are the most amazing, fearless, persistent learners.

When my kids were young, there were more male teachers than there are now. My brother teaches grade school in Maine. Now male kindergarten are not allowed to touch a kid in tears.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

Now male kindergarten are not allowed to touch a kid in tears.

You can't be serious.  That's ridiculous.  Do they think men can't be comforting?  Not just this last Saturday, I had to comfort my 4-year-old cousin who had gotten kicked by his rough-housing brother.  He didn't seem to need a woman to help calm him down.

by BishopRook 2008-07-11 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

The sex abuse hysteria has had terrible consequences for children and the men who teach them. Of course I am not denying that it happens, but several of the cases people most remember were discredited. I am appalled at the number of New York City women who would not consider using a teenage boy to babysit either their girls or their boys.

I sit in the same playgrounds in Chelsea with Michael as I sat in when his mother and aunts were little. In the 70s there were noticeably more fathers sharing equally in childcaring. Now almost all my adult companions are nannies. People know I must be Michael's grandma,not his nanny, because I  am white. Most of the nannies are wonderful caregivers, but they are all women of color.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Male Babysitters

Even 25 yrs ago, I would not permit my boys to babysit for girls, not because I did not trust my sons in the company of young girls, but because I would not permit the possibility that they might be accused  of an impropriety if the girl(s) were unhappy or angry with them.  My sons were permitted to babysit for a family of three boys, who probably looked forward to my sons' being with them rather than the usual feminine caregivers.

My daughters were permitted to babysit for either sex; they, of course, were more proficient at feeding and bed preparations than my sons, though these daughters were/are not particularly maternal.  They just had imbibed more of the home-making skills along the way than the boys, who were neat enough and do a credible job of self-care as adults.

It's been an interesting life observing the differences in all four, each very different from the other, and trying, even now when they are adults, to not show partiality to one over the other, though they have very different needs, physically, psychologically, etc.  A certain degree of sibling rivalry remains in their adulthood.

by susie 2008-07-11 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Male Babysitters

Fortunately my daughters have all fallen in love with men who imbibed more homemaking skills from somewhere than any of my darlings did. Of course, I don't have very impressive homemaking skills to imbibe. I prefer organization over cleanliness every time.

My youngest brother just turned 50. None of them babysat except for each other. I babysat at least twice a week from age 12 to 18. Babysitting financed my trips to Manhattan to see Broadway shows. No one would have wanted my brother 18 months older to babysit. He would have led the kids out onto the roof.

Do you have two girls and two boys? That must be fascinating. When my girls were young, I kept trying to recall what my brothers were like at their ages to settle my nurture/nature questions. Individual differences seem greater than sex differences when I consider them  as individuals. But two boys together seem more boyish than one boy playing with one girl. That is equally true of girls.

I would have hired a boy whose parents I knew to babysit. When the girls were young, we belonged to a babysitting coop, so the question didn't arise.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

My guess is that it is because of the legal ramifications.  Parents see all men as rapists or potential rapists.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:37PM | 0 recs
I have begun to believe

The key to American misogny is the dress. I doubt a woman realizes how strongly negative most men would feel, if they had to wear a pretty, brightly-colored dress in public (guys, correct me if I'm wrong). I doubt a woman would feel even a fraction of the discomfort wearing a pantsuit. Not only would I (a male) feel uncomfortable, but I think I'd feel vulnerable, in some weird way.

A suit is structured, it's essentially a uniform. It obscures the lines of the wearer. This is why almost anyone looks good in a tux (the ultimate suit), because your flaws are de-emphasized. The "message" of the tux overrides your beer gut. "Yeah, I like me some Michelob but I dress like Bogart!". A dress on the other hand, does the exact opposite - it drapes and outlines. It's a judgement on the body of the wearer.

Women don't take longer to shop because they are less decisive. My wife can blow through the grocery store in half the time I do. When shopping for clothes she takes five times as long - she has to ferret though the 90% of outfits that will betray her body in one way or another. One is tight in the arse, another loose in the bust, etcs. Don't even start on shoes.

Men shop faster because we can close our eyes, hold out X hundred dollars, say "Armani" and walk out with whatever the clerk gives us. Well, that's 100% true up until the late 40's, when we might also have a gut we need to hide =). Then it becomes 80% true. Our hardest decision is "do I like it?".

I guess my point is that it's weird how we talk about sexism in the media, completely blind to the sexism in the mirror. We deconstruct these subtle signs of gender imbalance (was the term "period" sexist???) - and ignore the huge freaking elephant in the room, the fact that society demands women walk around partially dressed (by male standards), bare-legged, on stilts...

...and with hand-painted facial masks. Good lord.

Sexism will be in it's last days when both genders (or neither) wear summer dresses.

by Neef 2008-07-11 02:01PM | 0 recs
Don't Let Women Off the Hook

Thanks for the fascinating post, but I am not willing to let women off the hook. No one forces anyone to walk around partially dressed, barelegged, on stilts with hand-painted facial masks. No one forces anyone to  have botox. They choose to.

I have been walking around Manhattan in my Lands End overstock wardrobe for 30 years and no one has stoned me, mocked me, harassed me.  I have even  managed to have a gratifying sex life for the last 43 years. Both my husbands appreciate how quickly I get dressed. I dress by color, not style.

My feet are still recovering from the spike heels I wore as a teenager, so I wear sneakers or flats except for very special occasions when I might tart myself up in one inch heels.

Women are not hapless victims of fashion. We actually knew better 40 years ago, but seem to have developed amnesia. My confidence was always rooted in my intellect and character, not my appearance. Sure, I am not thrilled at looking at my plump, aging body in the mirror, but  I feel beautiful when my husband makes lovely love to me.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 02:24PM | 0 recs
Good for you

re: Lands End. I don't mean to let women off the hook (or even put them one one), but it is striking just how vastly different the genders are as regards presentation.

As you point out in your OP, addressing sexism is going to take generations, and I think part of that will involves re-thinking many common tropes. There really is an amazing, vast difference in how the genders clothe and present themselves, and I can't help but believe there is great significance to that.

Or it's Friday, and I'm feeling a little crackpot-ish =)

by Neef 2008-07-11 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Good for you

Hillary made the sensible, sane choice to wear a uniform of pants suits after making herself crazy as First Lady trying to adopt to constantly changing American expectations. She set an excellent example for young women. Nancy Pelosi is at the opposite extreme with her obviously expensive Armani wardrobe.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

The Scottish and Irish men may disagree with you, but I would most certainly feel vulnerable wearing a dress.

Is it societally ingrained  "sexism" for a woman to want to "look good" by conventional standards (in a dress)?  I see your point but are we going to far?  Does progression mean Star Trek same sex outfits?  Is it sexist for a woman to flaunt her curves, or for her to "want to" flaunt her curves?

I hope not, my girl looks good in a dress.  Am I sexist? Is She sexist?  Not disagreeing with you, just discussing the fact that as we do try to progress towards equality of men and women, I also think we should be careful not to throw away our actual differences that make us appealing to each other.   If we start labeling attraction as sexist, then we have gone to far.  We are not the same, but we should be afforded equality under the law, in the workplace, at home, and in society

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

I see your point but are we going to far?  Does progression mean Star Trek same sex outfits?  Is it sexist for a woman to flaunt her curves, or for her to "want to" flaunt her curves?

All good questions. I think this is part of what makes sexism so pernicious, is that it's difficult to tell where the lines are.

Do men not want to flaunt their uh, planes? How much does "body-as-value" play into inter-gender power calculations? We're both men, how comfortable would you be negotiating with me in a suit and you in a Speedo and spandex?

One of the diarist's points was how imbedded sexism is in the society, and I think part of decoding our intergender conversation is at least nailing down the amazing disparity in dress codes.

by Neef 2008-07-11 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

"Do men not want to flaunt their uh, planes?"

Old joke, which guy gets laid more often:

The guy with the biggest....wallet.

But, mostly, this reminded me of one of my favorite old blues songs.... t-I-Look-At-The-Purse/lyrics/490702#lyri cstop

Some fellas look at the eyes
Some fellas look at the nose
Some fellas look at the size
Some fellas look at the clothes
I don't care if her eyes are red
I don't care if her nose is long
I don't care if she's underfed
I don't care if her clothes are worn
First I look at the purse!

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-11 03:02PM | 0 recs
Being a Dirty Old Woman

I highly approve of men flaunting their planes. There are two unanticipated advantages to becoming a crone. I can openly leer at men for as long as I want without their noticing. A far greater variety of men of all ages look sexy to me.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Being a Dirty Old Woman

I have never had any attraction to woman younger then I, sure the package is primo, but the computer lacks...Programming and data.

Oh, and, believe me, we notice. No matter how old the woman, we notice.

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-11 05:23PM | 0 recs

to one of my favourite comments ever.

major mojo for you.

by canadian gal 2008-07-11 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

I wouldn't be comfy at all in a speedo, regardless of situation, and I am fit.  

Here is another one realting to dress code to add to the discussion, women in other countries are freer with displays of body parts, topless/nude on beaches, etc..  That could also be a rejection of American puritanical beliefs of modesty of one's body.  Women also use their sexiness and sensuality (with/wihtout clothes) to overpower men too for various reasons.  

Yes, I think we could sit here and hypothesize and ponder about this issue(s) for ages.  This is by far the most engaging and though provoking diary I have been involved in for a long time.  Kudos again to the diarist!

by KLRinLA 2008-07-11 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

Also, men in other parts of the world tend to dress more colorfully and, um, extravagantly. Even in Europe, which is more like the US than anywhere else, men are much more comfortable wearing pinks and pastels, experimenting with color matches and so on (and don't forget the ol' European man purse).

by vadasz 2008-07-12 02:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

In my youth men wore beards, long flowing hair, and bright colors. I thought suits would be obsolete.  I have felt deprived ever since, and always compiment any guy who shows a scintilla of rebellion and wears a colorful tie.  At one point we knew so many guys with beards, that my daughter at 2, glancing around a crowded Long Island Railroad train, plaintively asked, "Mommy, where did their beards go?"

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:02PM | 0 recs
Oddly enough

I remember pictures or Woodstock, and noticing how similar men and women dressed. It was a huge break from the traditional gender-role drass ofthe 50's

Thanks for the reminder!

by Neef 2008-07-11 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

"flaunting curves" is about walking the fine line between appearing sexually available and actually being sexually available (as in potentially able to be raped).  The very word "flaunt" is a pretty big giveaway to me. a heterosexual male, I'm certainly not going to complain about a little flaunting though!

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

Appreciate the sentiments, but the US has already experienced an enormous revolution in how people dress, and while fashions will change I think we have a pretty good sense of where things will go (and it's not in the direction of Mao suits or summer dresses for everyone).  

As recently as fifty years ago, men and women would wear suits and hats, and elaborate dresses and hats,  respectively, to baseball parks (and I'm using this as an example of a public space where you would not find this today).

Casual dress has won out.  The American uniform is now shorts and a t-shirt (and I mean that tongue in cheek because this is totally elective, the real uniform is whatever you have to wear at your place of work).  

And in addition to this there is the dress which is meant to express status, or romantic availability, or non-conformity, etc.  These aspects of dress aren't going away.

Symbols of status tend to be static (and so the dress many professional women wear, for instance, is a reimagining of the male business suit, though for both men and women status is also conveyed by being stylish--conforming the most recent trends--quality, and, in recent years, a dash of comfort and non-conformity, ie. I'm so important I don't have to wear the traditional monkey suit).

The symbolism of romantic availability, let's face it, isn't arbitrary, it's tied to what attracts those the wearers are trying to seek (and w/o spending a lot of time on this, I'll just suggest that motivation will never disappear).  

The appeal of novelty and non-conformity?  Similar deal.  No degree of gender equality will lessen the appeal of either (and for each person who opts out, which, can we agree, tends to happen with age, there will be someone new strolling into H&M for the first time, or whatever its successor happens to be).

Just don't see this stuff ever going away (and wouldn't want it to, since the US has had a clothing revolution which accomplished much of what needed to be done, shorts and a t-shirt is the new Mao suit, it's freely-chosen and much more comfortable).

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-07-11 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

Clothes are also so much cheaper relative to income than they were when I was a kid, and my parents had to scrape together enough to clothe 6 kids. Our Catholic school uniforms were a tremendous saving. Much as I hated the uniforms, I tend to wear a uniform, with color being the major distinctiveness. If you wear lots of red, shopping is very  fast. I love thrift shops because they carefully arrange clothes by color.

It depresses me how few New Yorkers wear red.  I think we should all wear red on Sept. 11. At my mom's previous request, I wore red at her funeral and we sung "We Shall Overcome" as the closing hymn.

I have always been grateful I don't have to wear a tie around my neck, and dresses and skirts are much cooler than pants in the summer.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 03:40PM | 0 recs
Great post

And no, I'm not advocating Mao suits =). I agree on the convergence of business wear - actually pretty much everything you stated so well. Clothes as leisure wear, clothes as romantic signal, clothes as status symbol. All agreed.

Where it intersects with the discussion of sexism is...may that outside of sports wear, clothing follows fairly strict, even extreme gender differentiation. Young men wear certain clothes to attract women, and certain scents. Young women wear very different clothes. In other words, there are two dimensions to clothing, purpose AND gender.

In any treatment of an "ism" (race sex age orientation) the challenge is to distill the valid differences between the population, and respect those while minimizing exploitation of those differences in power calculations. If someone tells Iman her skin color is beautiful, that's absolutely a valid compliment. If someone decides Iman's skin color makes her a poor job candidate, that's not so good.

Racism is "easy", because at the end of the day there are very few differences between me (AA) and a caucasian male. In fact, if you treat me LIKE a caucasian male, I can't honestly think how I'd be offended. I certainly treat my caucasian friends "like black people".

Sexism brings with it very LARGE differences that can't be ignored. Clothing is one of those. I doubt anyone can truly ignore the way someone else is dressed, so you have to work it into your internal narrative of them. You have to come up with a more complex narrative to avoid sexism, than you do to avoid racism. This black guy in front of you is a white guy. Done. It's an approximation but it works. This woman in front of you is a She doesn't talk, walk, smell or look like a guy, she's attractive (and you're not gay). Or her ambiance is less brusque and terse than a man's and thus your reactions are off-kilter. You can try to treat her like Mr. Smithers, your previous boss, but he wears Old Spice and you don't find yourself wanting to impress him.

The signals from dress are some of the largest gender differences, and so some of the biggest factors in resolving the "equality"/"valid difference" dissonance.

by Neef 2008-07-11 03:58PM | 0 recs
Kids, Clothes, and Autonomy

I have been thinking about clothes and sexism   as I observe how my daughter dresses her son. Will her younger sister, who is having a girl in late August, use any of his hand-me-downs? My son-in-law has strong convictions about his son's clothing, which I am not used to. We gently tease him about being a fop. Despite his longish hair, with curls clustered in the back, and his big blue eyes, 14-month-old Michael is only mistaken for a girl by a few older men. They promptly lecture me on his hair.

I was a fanatic about nonsexist childrearing when my children were young in the 70s and 80s. Clothes did not seem as gendered as they do now. It was entirely possible to avoid pink for girls. I don't like pastels and preferred bright primary colors. We were relatively poor and accepted any and all hand-me-downs.

Once my girls turned 2, they basically took responsibility for their clothing choices. They learned their colors early to veto clothes. I contemplated attaching a sign: "I am not responsible for this child's appearance." My oldest preferred to wear 3 outfits  simultaneously. My only rule was no long dresses and patent leather shoes while playing on the climbing structure in the sandbox playground. Elizabeth from 2 to 7 would only wear dresses. I never bought dresses. A good friend's mother bought beautiful dresses for her granddaughter, who refused to try them on and gave them straight to Lizzy. The day her youngest sister was baptized, Elizabeth decided to wear pantz and didn't wear a dress for 4 years.

Katherine, my third daughter, only wore purple for most of 3 years. Fortunately she had indulgent aunts.

No mother of 4 daughters feels confident about her childrearing decisions. But I am certain I was right to let their clothes be their business from the time they could make their preferences clear. My idea of taking them clothes shopping was to sit in a corner with a book and applaud their choice, setting a budget limit of course. We never had an argument in a department store. I have never dared buy them clothes as gifts, but welcome their excellent taste in clothes gifts for me.

When people said I must have so much fun dressing my girls, I looked dumbfounded. I had infinite amounts of fun buying them books, records, toys, and art supplies and look forward to buying many of the same things for my grandchildren. I haven't bought any clothes for my grandson or my granddaughter due the end of August.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:39PM | 0 recs
lol, that's wonderful

Katherine, my third daughter, only wore purple for most of 3 years. Fortunately she had indulgent aunts.

I too was very anti-pink when my daughter was growing up. I guess the proper term would be "pink agnostic". I kept waiting for her to mysteriously request bows and frills, but oddly that didn't happen =).

I do remember the sudden interest in earrings and clothes at 13...but they were vintage earrings and "artsy" clothes, which has defined her style ever since.

by Neef 2008-07-11 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I have begun to believe

"The American uniform is now shorts and a t-shirt"

and crappy, dirty, $8 plastic flipflops.  Ugh...they are the bane of my existence.  I hope that trend goes away soon.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

I was raised by parents who encouraged their two girls to speak their minds, question authority and know that we could do whatever we wanted to with out lives. I've always bucked the traditional "female" role, choosing career over children to this point and having very little interest in marrying. I've taken a lot of grief for it, but never from my parents.

With that being said, I'm pretty "girly" as well. I don't discount my feminity, but am comfortable with my strength.

I'm lucky to have a boyfriend who is as comfortable with his feminine side as I am with my masculine, but I am well aware that he would be judged by men and women alike for things that I adore in him. I don't at all think life is easy for men.

I think the reason why misogyny is such a hot topic is that our society (in the good old USA) really seems to value the masculine role more than the feminine. We value ambition and brawn, rather than intuition and "relating". We reward our ability to make money and do not reward raising children (except for those tax breaks) - all of which are traditionally feminine roles.

When either sex steps outside their traditional roles, many are uncomfortable. But to survive in the US, having ambition and drive are neccessary in defining "success" so women are the ones that usually have to adapt if they want to survive.

Of course I can't explain this as eloquently as redstocking, but I do think it's a fascinating topic.

by Dari 2008-07-11 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?


Your parents and I have a great deal in common. They must be proud of you. I had a question authority bumper sticker on my cars for years. That was how I corrupted the hundreds of children who passed by my house on the way to the grade school a block away. My teenage daughter snuck out and ripped it off the bumper because it embarrassed her.

I am more girly than I admitted. When I escaped from my high school uniform, I dressed to the nines on weekends.

I absolutely agree with you that the traditional male role is exalted, and caregiving is devalued and and often left to the poorest immigrant women, who often have to learn their children with relatives in their home countries. It didn't have to be this way. I will share what I wrote about my worries about feminism in the 1970s.

Your boyfriend sounds wonderful.

I look forward to more discussions with you.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 03:09PM | 0 recs
Great diary, great topic, greatly said.

My break with Liberalism came in stages but culminated the first day of summer 1995 when my blond, blue-eyed boy was born. It was one thing to mantle myself with the sins of the ages for being the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong nationality and the spitting image of Adolph fucking Hitler's wet-dream poster child - but there was no way in hell I was going to drape that shroud over Damien at birth.  He was born innocent of the sins of his fathers (and mothers).

When I was born it was hard being a girl.  
When Damien was born it was hard being a boy.

You said it better than I likely will.  Men are proscribed and restricted in so many ways.  "Everyone Loves Raymond" - because he is cast as an idiot vastly inferior to his wife.  Tim the Toolman Taylor is an acceptable role model because he is a pathetic jerk, whom his wife tolerates.  Statements like this one are fine for prime time TV...

Great, thoughtful commentary in the thread below.  I appreciate reading everyone's thoughts.  It appears that we are ready for the next stage in dealing with gender equality (and racial equality). I think the kinds of thoughts that the diarist and commentors are voicing are quite common - just below the surface and ready to be addressed.




by chrisblask 2008-07-11 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Great diary, great topic, greatly said.


I found your post eloquent and touching. Having a grandson has been a profound journey, evoking memories of my brothers as young children. I was 11 when my 4th brother was born, 13 when my 5th brother was born. In pictures, I look old enough to be their teenage mom. I recall their tears, their tenderness, their vulnerabilities. My parents were relatively enlightened, but only one of my brothers could cry when we were all together for a week while my mother died at home.

Mary Joan

by redstocking 2008-07-11 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Great diary, great topic, greatly said.

Great post.  My students and I had a good discussion about sitcom Dads last semester.  Think about the prevalence of bad to terrible (criminal?) fathers on tv, some live action, some cartoons.  The fathers are always macho, don't care about raising the kids at all, and are seen as lovable oafs [I know that some of these are not new anymore, but the reruns are still on]:

Family Guy, Simpsons, According to Jim, Bernie Mac (is that the name of the show?), Still Standing, Malcolm in the Middle, Sopranos, American Dad, Aliens in America, Everybody Hates Chris (maybe), Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, Grounded for Life, King of the Hill, Reba (the son-in-law and the father).  

We need to recognize the fact that each of these shows plays a part in teaching our boys that it's ok and normal to grow up being an over-masculinized, childrearing-averse, lazy, idiotic jerk.  

And don't even get me started on Aidan vs. Big.  

by ProgressiveDL 2008-07-11 08:00PM | 0 recs
Thank You So Much

This is the first dairy I have seen that treated this whole issue fairly!

Thank You again!

by missliberties 2008-07-11 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?


Exhibit A: Camille Paglia

by BlueDoggyDogg 2008-07-11 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Can a Feminist Be a Misogynist?

If only Paglia and Dowd could be sentenced to permanent conscious raising intensive care.

by redstocking 2008-07-11 11:40PM | 0 recs


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