Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

why women in combat are beside the point

January 23, 2013

Females are allowed to serve in combat now, and this is supposed to be a great thing for females and a win for feminists.

It is not.

Of course it is fantastic that soldiers will be judged on their skills and ability rather than on their sex.  And, of course, females may struggle to qualify for these positions that have opened up– after all, most males don’t qualify for those positions.

Panetta’s decision was obviously a correct move– as long as the qualifications don’t change.  It is a mistake to deny anyone opportunity and prestige before they are even tried.

But it’s still beside the point, and here’s why.

It encourages this idea that females are only good enough if they can do the things males can do.

So if male work is worth more, female work is valued less– just by virtue of it’s being done by a female.

Obviously females should not be rejected from lines of work, or activities, than males traditionally do. 

But think about a nurse, homemaker, secretary, librarian or elementary school teacher.  They are probably female. 

Now if you think about a doctor, lawyer, or university professor, those professions are probably are lot less gendered, but leaning male.

But maybe a computer technician, sports commentator, truck driver– you think male, right?

And if you see a female in those professions, you might think she’s pretty special, because you know she’s probably worked twice as hard for half the credit.

Pilot vs. flight attendant.

Lawyer vs. paralegal.

Doctor vs. nurse.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  The problem isn’t that females aren’t participating in male professions– that can be overcome by females working hard and proving their value.

The problem is that males aren’t participating in female professions.  That would require an enormous change in the way we all value work and gender.

Haven’t you met a male who was great with kids– who would have made a great mother?  But I wonder: as much as he loved his kids and enjoyed making a home and raising them, how long do you think he could stand it, after a lifetime of people teaching and reinforcing the idea that males are providers— that they just don’t do that Why?  Just because!

Have you met a male nurse?  Didn’t you wonder why he wasn’t a doctor– if there was something wrong with him; if he couldn’t cut it, if he was just lazy, or ran out of financial aid or something?

But I bet you didn’t think that about a female nurse.

Myself, I’m a librarian.  And while most of the librarians I’ve worked with have been female, how many library directors do you think were female?

Ah… now we might see some advantage to being a male in a female profession.  But that’s a bit off-topic.

Right now, I’m glad females have another opportunity.  But it still makes me wince.


April 13, 2009

My boss was recently telling me about how sometimes, she wants to go to an event downtown (Los Angeles), but she would have to be out at night and she worries that it is too dangerous to be out after dark.  “Things happen,” she says.

So I replied something to the effect of, “Boss, if you want to do something, then you should do it!  Don’t give in to the patriarchy and people who would keep you scared at home because you’re a woman.  If you do that instead of doing what you need to do, what you are free and have the right to do, they’ve already won.”

After making sure that I wasn’t joking (I wasn’t), she pauses delicately and says, “Okay, if there’s an event I am interested in downtown, I’ll just send you.”

Witty woman, my boss.

I think she was annoyed that I was suggesting she ignore her perfectly reasonable fears.  Then again, we could always go together.  I understand there’s a risk.  I’m just not a coward and I’m not a submitter.

Plus, I know kung fu.

The F word

November 7, 2008

Well, the truth has finally become unavoidable.


Since I left Christianity and stopped believing in god, I have been allowing myself to think that perhaps, despite the anti-women preaching I’ve been subjected to over the years, despite the strong bond between Evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party, despite my old pastors and my father and Billy Graham and James Dobson and all the other men who felt it their duty to brainwash me… despite all that, and despite my husband’s differing opinion, I have allowed myself to confess the truth.


I am a feminist.


I believe a woman’s right to control her fertility is a fundamental right.  It is her womb and her child and her blessing and her burden, and anyone else’s involvement is by invitation only.


I believe that men and women are equal, and without any of the “equal with different roles” or “men are leaders and women are supporters” bullshit that I ate for 27 years.  There are two people in my household; therefore there are two, not one, heads of the household.


And while I’m at it, the rejection of the feminine aspect from the sacred realm– the denial of a feminine place in the godhead or in religious ceremonies– is wrong.  I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but I’m sure it had to do with women’s complicity.


I believe that women should enjoy sex and showing off their bodies, and not just in the ways the Christian men say we can (in marriage only; for husband only). 


To say that “a woman can do anything a man can do” is misguided.  Equality is not defined from a man’s perspective; it is defined from a human one.  A woman must be guaranteed the freedom do whatever she chooses and is able to do.


A woman’s name is her own, as well as her property, her children, her vote, her health, her religion, her self, her thoughts, and her life.


In same way that atheism is not anti-religion, feminism is not anti-men.  But men are not the ideal, and achieving men’s status is not the goal.  The point is not to request our rights, but to assert them and live as if we have them.  Freedom will follow effort.


I assert my right as a human to be free from coercive and unwanted interference.


I am a woman and I am a feminist.


Oh, and in case you were thinking of the other F word: if anyone’s got a problem with that, they can fuck off.