Friday, 1 October 2010

Friday Feminist - Kaz Cooke

Cross posted

...if someone tells you that all the fights are over, and nobody needs to bother about being a feminist any more, think about these questions.

- How come, on average, girls do much better than boys at school and uni, yet women are more likely to be in lower paid part-time or casual jobs with fewer benefits and worse conditions?
- Why are most managers, bosses and politicians men?
- How come the average full-time wage for women is still less than the average weekly earnings for men? (In most cases, less than or around 80% of the man's wage.)
- What is the 'glass ceiling' - and why do women keep talking about it?
- Why is it that in many countries women who have been raped are arrested and punished because they are no longer 'virgins'?
- Why is it that in some cultures girls' genitals are mutilated? And why are girls in some countries forced to cover themselves entirely with fabric or risk being insulted or assaulted in public or legally punished?
- Why is it that in many cultures young girls are 'promised' to older men and forced to marry against their wishes?
- How come so many guys in our own society don't respect girls and women or their achievements?
- Why do some people persist in behaving as if girls are just toys for guys?
- Why do some girls feel they need to know 'What guys want' and 'Will guys like it if I...'? Wouldn't it be nice if girls more often thought, 'What would a guy have to do to impress me'?
- Why is it that radio stations and music channel;s play songs in which guys call girls 'hos', bitches and other brutal, disrespectful things, as if it was nothing - as if it was okay to do that?
- How come more girl singers can't sing their own songs dressed the way they want, instead of having to look as if they're practically in a porn video?
- Why do some religious leaders say that women who have their period can't enter a place of worship?
- Why is a teenage girl who gets pregnant sometimes asked or pressured to leave school, but the father of the baby isn't?
- How come most of the sports reports (and sponsorships) are for men's sports?
- Why do large corporations sponsor only (or mainly) men's sports, not women's?
- Why do so many radio and TV shows have lots of men but only one woman, never the other way round?
- How come male newsreaders and actors are allowed to get old and look 'distinguished', but the women have to try to 'look younger' by using cosmetic surgery?
- How come the mostly male politicians in the national government haven't fixed the child-care problem?
- How come the mostly male politicians in the national government, many of them with a religious bias, make the rules about abortion when they will never be pregnant? And when most male politicians leave the raising of their families to their wives and disappear for weeks at a time?
- How come even the women who work full-time with children usually do a lot more of the housework than their partners?
- Why do so many children's stories have male heroes, rather than female ones?
- How come women writers often write dramas and comedies with equal roles for guys and women, while most male writers tend to write interesting roles for guys but not so many good roles or lines for women? ...

Being a feminist doesn't mean you can't wear girly clothes, or you hate guys. Being a feminist means you support girls and women have equal rights with guys.

Kaz Cooke, "The F-word - Isn't everything okay now" in Girl Stuff: Your Full-on Guide to the Teen Years, Viking: Melbourne, 2007


Random Lurker said...

"Why do some girls feel they need to know 'What guys want' and 'Will guys like it if I...'? Wouldn't it be nice if girls more often thought, 'What would a guy have to do to impress me'?"

Hmm.. surely that's more a human condition than one afflicting girls? Certainly guys are frequently motivated by a need to impress women, and 'what women want' is considered by some men to be one of those age old mysteries that malekind has yet to figure out.

Cupcakes for all said...

*Why do women only want equality in jobs that are safe, high status, or clean?

* Why is is that Men suffer 95% of workplace injuries doing shit jobs like forestry, agriculture, fishing, mining, know really useful jobs that contribute to the wealth of us all?

* How come feminists don't agitate to lower the glass ceiling for the shit jobs?

* Why do feminists think that their make-work govt job is anywhere on a par with real productive jobs?

* Why are the habits of certain stone-age religions the concern of us here in NZ, shouldn't you address such concerns to the religion in question?

* And why are the women in such cultures often the most ardent of supporters of the very restrictions
that rile western feminists so much?

* Why do leftist feminists support the importation of immigrants of said religions which are anti female...which have a higher birth rate than NZ born, when feminists themselves will be the first to suffer under an Islamic regime?
The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

*Why don't western feminists realise that demographics are everything and if they don't start having babies, then said imported cultures and their unacceptable practices will make sure that 'feminism' no longer exists?

* Why is Feminism just a middle -class power struggle while most of the world is too poor and exhausted to worry about 'glass ceilings'. Ms Huggins is right.

* Why do feminist women say they get no respect when they are foul-mouthed self-entitled, and spoilt?

*Why do Feminists talk about equal rights but never equal responsibilities?

* Why don't feminists read more Jane Austen and really understand what is going on between the sexes and why women compete amongst themselves to take the moral high ground on everything?

* Why do brown cows eat green grass and have white milk?

David S. said...

Society, especially in the 3rd world, has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality. I think the thing that bothers me the most about this subject though is how we tend to measure equality in such materialistic terms.

The real measurement of equality should be happiness. There's no reason why one gender should be, on average, happier than the other. I think the dominant, separate expectations society places on each sex should be the central point for discussion. Woman are expected to strive for physical perfection, to look young and desirable for as long as possible. The results of this expectation are obvious and I doubt I'd need to point them out on a feminist blog. The dominant expectations that are placed on men are to be "successful". To have money, or power, or to be strong and masculine, and to have sex with attractive woman as often as possible. I may be biased, but I actually think that in this day in age, at least in developed countries, these expectations are more destructive than those placed on woman. The biggest statistical disparity between men and woman is not the wage gap, it's the fact that 90% of the prison population are men. All the crimes that men commit can be related to these dominant expectations. Property crimes, crimes of violence, rape and other sexual abuse.

"How come most of the sports reports (and sponsorships) are for men's sports?"

This might be a bit more controversial, I think the real issue here is, why are there separate "men" and "woman" sports at all? Now, on average, woman may not be able to compete with men at most sports, but this is not the result of people discriminating against woman, this is nature discriminating. Woman's sports don't get as much attention because these professions are about competition, and in most sports it's unlikely that a team with only woman in it would be competitive with a team comprised entirely of men. Is this fair? No, not really, but then, most men can't compete with the people at the top echelons of sport either. I'm 5'8 and weigh 52kg, there's no way I could play rugby for the All Blacks, nature hasn't built me to be able to compete at that level. But I'm not going to promote the idea that a sports league, tailored to my abilities, which are mostly the result of genetics (apparently all the men on my mothers side were skinny), should be created and promoted at the same level as existing professional sports. As long as it's nature, and not people doing the discriminating, I have no problem with it. When a woman has the ability to compete alongside men at any sport, they should obviously be allowed to.

humourless feminist said...

What about the menz!!eleven!

Cupcakes... I can't be bothered replying to all your points because well.. lol so hard, but of course sexism hurts men too.

I would just like to point out though, that women have faced a lot of exclusion from those unsafe jobs as much as they have historically faced exclusion from higher education and high paying jobs. C'mon, construction? Like that's a very female friendly workplace im sure. The type of sexism that says women can't do these jobs cause they're too weak or too sexy which will lead to sexual harrasment, are the same things that make these jobs so male dominated.

Working environments that are generally pretty hostile to women, don't make women want to work in them.

Misamisa said...

To David.

I try so hard to not make this a competition about who has it worse, because of course sexism hurts men too, but there are some things that just don't compare.

You say that men have it harder because of the way they have to be successful today. Just food for thought though... Successful for men can mean to be attractive, to make a lot a money, to be in a powerful position, to be athletic. All, or just one of the above is fine. For women it's just that one option. To be "beautiful" and only young women can be "beautiful".

Furthmore, look at the way women are treated when they are in powerful position, Helen Clarke, her ability to lead the country was questioned because she doesn't have children, she was mocked for being too masculine. Women who earn more than their husbands are routinely portrayed in the media as ball busters, as emmasculating. Successful women's sport teams are never given as much media coverage when for example, our nationl women's rugby team has won far more often then the All-Blacks in the past 4 years.
And if a women cares too much about her appearance? Not serious enough to be in a position of power.

Yup, men suffer so much.

David S. said...

Except I never said that men have it harder, I said the attitudes society has about men are IMO more destructive, because of the actions that men take as a result of their upbringing and environment. If a woman is raped by a man, the man may spend 15 years in jail, while the woman will have to live with it for the rest of her life. These actions are destructive to society as a whole. I think it's unlikely that there is no relationship between the crimes men commit, like rape, assault, theft, and the expectations that are placed on men to be "successful".

Disclaimer: I am not saying that men are not responsible for the crimes they commit, but I do think that discussing cause and effect is the way to improve society.

tussock said...

Wages: sexism.
Religion: pastafarian.
Respect: yourself.
Art: reflects culture.
Sexy: because she can?
Sport: tradition (is sexist).
Distinguished: see art.
Panels: tokenism.
Politician: hypocrite.
Housework: foreplay.

A Nonny Moose said...

Oh good lord Cupcakes, enough with the blanket statements. You accuse "all feminists want X so that's bad" then turn around and lump "all women" into a convenient package.

The first step of understand feminism, nay women, is to understand we are all different people, wanting different things.

And Jane Austen? Are you SERIOUS? We're supposed to rely on a story from over 150 years ago for our ideals of femininity and behavious towards each. Dude, take a look at the calender and all the variety of women around you.

"*Why do Feminists talk about equal rights but never equal responsibilities?"

Oh you mean things like equal parenting? Right, we'll get right on it when ALL MEN (see what I did there?) lend a hand to parenting, and it's called "Parental Leave" and not "Maternity Leave" (And of course I know there are wonderful men out there taking equal family responsibility, I was making a point about blanket statements)

"* Why is Feminism just a middle -class power struggle while most of the world is too poor and exhausted to worry about 'glass ceilings'."

You obviously do not understand the intersections of poverty, class, race, disability etc into feminism. Some people call this wider approach "womanism". Google it. Get yourself educated.

"* Why do feminist women say they get no respect when they are foul-mouthed self-entitled, and spoilt?"

Your opinion, all wrapped up in how the kyriachy thinks women SHOULD behave, to keep them in very small boxes. You only see "foul mouther, self entitled, spoilt" women because they're standing up for what men have so easily taken as theirs for so long.

God Cupcakes, do we have to send you over to "Derailing For Dummies" too, or are you just one of our favourite trolls under a different name. You offered no solutions to the problems, just the usual complaints about women's behaviour. Don't bore us, get to the chorus.