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Old 05-29-2015, 06:53 AM   #1
DanaC
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The Gender Equality Checkpoint

As most of you know I have a strong interest in sexism and gender roles - how they arise, how they shift, and the current contours of our gendered culture.

Often I read an article, or series of articles, which set out, or highlight current areas of gender inequality, or more optimistically, of the closing of that gap in some way, and I think to post them in here. I never know quite where to put them - and if i started a thread for every article - or even every little cluster of related articles - I'd flood the Cellar :p

Sexism - however it manifests - like racism needs to be discussed and understood.

The world is changing. And our concepts of gender are changing. These shifts - sometimes seeming to move towards greater parity and sometimes seeming to shift back - have been a part of the human experience for as long as we can reasonably trace back through our history, and most likely for as long as we have had the human capacity for complex thought and self-awareness. It does feel, though - looking at the past few hundred years in western culture - that we are broadly moving towards greater parity and towards a less stark division of labour and a less polarised understanding of gender roles. (though - some would argue we are returning to greater parity)

Looking specifically at the now, however, it's clear that movement is a stuttering one. We take steps forward - we take steps back. There are areas of broad consensus and areas of deep struggle.

Well - that's enough of a rambling introduction from me. This thread is for all those little snippets of news or current studies that speak to the shape of gender in our culture, that show how far we have come or how far we still have to go - and whether we even all agree on the journey.

As a final note: from my perspective sexism, and in particular gender inequality, is usually something I associate with the female experience. But these divisions are not clean cut - and this thread is intended as a space for other perspectives as well. The ways in which men become trapped or coralled into particular roles, and the ways in which those expected roles can then disadvantage men in some areas of life (such as child custody, and rights to parental leave) are part of the same social system that disadvantages women in other areas of life. Add in the range of LGBT experiences and the intersections of race and gender, and the different perspectives multiply far beyond the binary division of male and female.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:04 AM   #2
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I'll come back later and post a few snippets that caught my attention over the last couple of weeks - but for now a bit of positive news:


Quote:
The University of Oxford is to appoint its first female vice-chancellor since its records began nearly 800 years ago, after Prof Louise Richardson was nominated for the university’s most senior office.

Richardson, currently the principal and vice-chancellor of St Andrews University, is an expert on the growth of terrorist movements. She held a succession of high-profile positions at Harvard until she was appointed to lead St Andrews in 2009.

Students and staff hailed the nomination as a momentous event in Oxford’s history. Richardson, 56, told the Guardian she hoped her nomination would inspire current and potential female undergraduates.
http://www.theguardian.com/education...ice-chancellor




And a funny vid (though for a serious cause)

'If men had periods - manpons'

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Old 05-29-2015, 07:58 AM   #3
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:55 AM   #4
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I've got a lot of conflicting thoughts about feminism.

I grew up as a strong feminist. I was exposed to it as a child. For example, my mom served a term as president of the League of Women Voters for Maine back in the 70s when that group was reaching the height of its activity. I believed there were pretty big injustices for women then and something had to be done.

In college, I wasn't active in feminist issues, but I supported them.

I still do support feminism, but I define it more in terms of equal rights and protections for all. Not in terms of lifting only women up or tearing men down. I've been in the professional working world for a quarter of a century, and for that entire time, my bosses have all been women. For over half that time, their bosses have been women. Maybe my personal experiences don't match others, and maybe it's because I'm in a field with a lot of women in it (paralegals) but from where I'm standing, I don't see a need to help women to gain more power over men.

One thing that bothers me is the idea of driving wedges between people. Doesn't matter if it's man/woman, black/white, gay/straight, citizen/immigrant. Whenever I hear people talking about feminism, all I see is a big fucking wedge.

But I support equal opportunities, treatment, and protections for all.

A bit of a tangent...
A friend on FB bragged this week about how she got a car salesman fired because he kept hitting on her during a car sale. His behavior sounded horrible and needed to be corrected, but I didn't see how there should be a congratulatory celebration on FB about destroying this guy's livelihood. She had scores of posts from people cheering her on. And maybe it's all appropriate. This guy had bad people skills and didn't understand the proper way to interact with women. Yes, it's OK to convey to a woman that you are interested in her, but not when the only reason she is spending time with you is so she can buy a car. And even if you make a comment or subtle body language in an appropriate situation, if she doesn't pick up on it or respond in kind, she's probably not interested in you, and you should stop making advances. This guy needs to learn both lessons. Maybe getting fired will help him learn that. Or maybe getting fired will cause him to hate women. The only thing good that realistically might come out of this is the car dealership management might increase their training efforts on what constitutes inappropriate behavior. I kinda doubt it though. So it's a FB celebration about fighting sexism by destroying a stranger's livelihood.

I think my thoughts on feminism maybe changed when I was watching Thelma and Louise with a large group of people, and the feminists in the room cheered loudly when the sexist trucker had his truck blown up by Thelma and Louise. His advances on the women were objectifying and crude, and he looked gross, but he didn't deserve to have his entire livelihood destroyed. And to have that cheered.

It all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't like wedges that divide us.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:21 AM   #5
Lamplighter
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The following exchanges made for a delightful morning's read,
particularly since I had just finished reading Dana's new thread.

Let this be my first minor contribution to what may become a outstanding thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
...
This Is How Much Hillary Clinton’s Pantsuit Costs
Time - David Kaiser - 5/28/15
Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
Maybe if she answered question by the press, they would have something else to write about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
Patience, Grasshopper. Good things come for those who wait.
Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman View Post
Nothing good will come from her.
She's a deceitful, power-hungry egomaniac.
This is all about winning and power - nothing to do with really wanting to lead.

Right now she is running like an incumbent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaC View Post
And this makes her different from every other candidate how?
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:23 AM   #6
DanaC
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Quote:
A friend on FB bragged this week about how she got a car salesman fired because he kept hitting on her during a car sale.
This kind of thing pisses me off. It's one thing to make a complaint to a company about the way you've been treated by a member of their staff - it is quite another thing to revel in destroying someone's career because they acted like a dick.

Quote:
I've been in the professional working world for a quarter of a century, and for that entire time, my bosses have all been women. For over half that time, their bosses have been women. Maybe my personal experiences don't match others, and maybe it's because I'm in a field with a lot of women in it (paralegals) but from where I'm standing, I don't see a need to help women to gain more power over men.
Unfortunately that is something of an exception. Paralegals began as a mostly female thing - it initially came out of secretarial support for lawyers. There are industries where women make up a reasonable percentage of management - though statistically speaking, even in fields that are female dominated in terms of work force (primary/elementary teaching for example) management still tends to be predominantly male.

This is one of the difficulties, I think, with feminism generally. For some people, their life experience is one of strong women in positions of power - and it can make the inequalities that do exist seem less prominent or relevant. It is also important to bear in mind that whilst statistically women may fare worse in the world of work overall (pay disparity, promotional disparity, and the unconscious biases that affect hiring practices) there are areas in which men fare worse (male teachers of younger children for example face a lot of discrimination in hiring) and their experience of discrimination is just as valid and just as potentially damaging to them as individuals.

An interesting look at gender in the legal profession:

http://www.legaltechnology.com/lates...w-infographic/

And a piece by a male paralegal :

http://paralegalhell.com/2010/11/10/...ale-paralegal/
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
...This guy needs to learn both lessons. Maybe getting fired will help him learn that. Or maybe getting fired will cause him to hate women. The only thing good that realistically might come out of this is the car dealership management might increase their training efforts on what constitutes inappropriate behavior....
I think making an example of some incident goes far beyond the effect on the individual.
This story will have an effect on all the other salespeople at this dealership, and maybe spread to others as well.

But the take home msg I got from your story was something else.
It was the dealership's decision to fire the man, not the woman's.
This woman did not put up with this behavior, and reported it.
I'd suggest that may be a big part of the reason for the response on FB.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:35 AM   #8
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I think reporting it was the right thing to do. Celebrating the downfall of the salesman was overboard though.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
xoxoxoBruce
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It's a facebook fairy tail. For all we know she tried to use her body to literally fuck him out of his commission, and when he balked she felt it was an insult, so she destroyed his livelihood out of spite.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
DanaC
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I really don't see how that kind of thing helps at all. In the grand scheme of life, a bloke hitting on a woman is not the world's worst sin. is it part of the bigger picture? Yes. Do unwanted advances have the potential to twist into a form of harrassment? Yes. And for some women (I'd suggest many) there is a cumulative effect of catcalls in the street*, unwanted strangers groping on buses/trains/in clubs, getting hit on by men when you are just trying to conduct some business and/or access services etc.

But - each individual incident is often fairly minor. That chap got hit with the anger that comes from the cumulative effect of this stuff.








* catcalling in the street usually starts when a girl hits 11 or 12 (sometimes younger) and intermittently continues til around the age of 30-40.

My first experience of it was as an 11year old being shouted and whistled at (and invited to suck cocks) by grown men. My last experience of it was a couple of years ago when a lad leant out of his car and shouted horrible things.

I've also been hit on by a boss, by a much older, senior work colleague and by a hospital porter (whilst standing in the smoking shelter, dressed in pyjamas and dressing gown). And had my arse slapped by an older colleague when I first became a councillor).
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:14 AM   #11
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Found another interesting article about men in paralegal profession.

Quote:
Experts who study the labor market have hypothesized that an unstable job market may lead more males to seek employment in alternative careers. And does that come as a surprise? Women who cross into traditionally male-dominated professions often do so for financial reasons and end up earning bigger paychecks than they would in traditionally female jobs.

Men who do the reverse may not be rewarded with larger salaries, but they may find more job security. Additionally, men are frequently able to advance further and faster in traditionally female jobs than their female counterparts. This is what is sometimes known as the glass-elevator effect.

Howard Lee is a legal assistant at law firm Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen in Richmond, VA. He said that he feels being a man in a traditionally female profession has its benefits.

"I feel [male] paralegals have great chances of securing final interviews and, ultimately, job placement," said Lee. "Many HR departments are trying to get more diversity in the paralegal workforce."

In addition to contributing to gender diversity, male paralegals may be having other effects on the profession. For example, since men are often paid more than women for doing the same jobs, salaries may begin to increase as more men enter the paralegal profession. Also, the presence of men may increase the perceived status of the job because men are often automatically considered more qualified and more serious about their careers.


http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/2...lass-Elevator/

I've never heard the term 'glass elevator' before. This process of jobs gaining status and wage increases when men enter the profession is a fascinating one. There's a fantastic book, called The Struggle for the Breeches, which looks at male and female working patterns from the middle ages onwards. One of the case studies was the changing status of ale and beer making. Originally, brewing was a female task - something most women undertook as part of their role as homemaker. As brewing processes changed, becoming more complex and 'skilled' and requiring more equipment it moved out o fthe home and became a male profession. Women still made ale at home - but it was a low status occupation. The male brewers, who brewed beers, were considered a much higher status - skilled work. They then prevented women from undertaking such work - through the guild system, which operated as a closed shop disallowing female workers - except in auxillary roles as helpmates for their brewer husbands.

The wholescale entry of men into a field pushes up that field's status - at the same time, the wholescale entry of women into a field pushes down that field's status (teaching being the obvious example).

Obviously, when I say 'field' I am talking in broad terms - but it works for task types within a field too. Spinning or carding versus weaving for example.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
One thing that bothers me is the idea of driving wedges between people. Doesn't matter if it's man/woman, black/white, gay/straight, citizen/immigrant. Whenever I hear people talking about feminism, all I see is a big fucking wedge.

But I support equal opportunities, treatment, and protections for all.
On the one hand I totally agree. It isn't helpful to divide ourselves from each other. Unfortunately - racism and sexism (as well as bigotry against LGBT people etc) is already operating to divide us. In order to tackle that it has to be recognised. Equality for all is the goal - but it is amorphous and unfocused to simply call for equality - first the inequality has to be identified.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:21 PM   #13
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A quick word about 'patriarchy':

That staple of feminist theory is often misunderstood and mischaracterised. But - as a way of understanding power structures it has some value. It is important, though, to take on board the negative impact of such power structures on female and male lives. Patriarchy isn't something men impose on women - it is something we, as a society, impose on ourselves, and whilst in some regards that system of power structures benefits men at the expense of women, it doesn't benefit all men - nor are all women disadvantaged.

Patriarchy at its heart disadvantages most of us, and shores up the power of the few.
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:00 PM   #14
xoxoxoBruce
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Here's the answer to your dreams.
Let it well up, fall around your shoulders, and ooze between your whatever.

Wow, is that some sick shit or what.
I suppose it's like Scientology, or The Power of Positive Thinking, if you believe, anything good happens it gets credit and anything bad is your failure.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:12 PM   #15
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Here's another one.
People not only making money reinforcing insecurities, but convincing women... and men, that women must be painted hussies.
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