Friday, June 20, 2014

Never Read the Comments [Trigger Warning]

The folks over at Feministing have a really interesting (and pretty dang accurate) piece about the comments section of articles on campus sexual assault. A fun thought experiment: think about how you would respond to these statements/questions, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Why didn’t she just report to the police? Rape is a crime. Crimes get reported to the police. How do we know this even happened
  2. Rape isn’t just a crime. Rape steals a woman’s soul and she is deprived of a piece of her heart that she will never again regain.  She will be a shell of her former self forever. I weep for her.
  3. Thanks for this coverage. As a college survivor, it means a lot to me to hear about other people coming forward and speaking out.
  4. #3, how do we know you’re telling the truth? You don’t have any proof you were raped.
  5. Yea #3 you can’t just make accusations like that
  6. #3, a friend of mine was falsely accused of rape in college, he’s a good guy I know he didn’t do it, you should think about the lives you’re ruining
  7. When I went to college we knew how to keep our knees shut and didn’t get blind drunk. I will tell my daughter when she leaves home that it’s up to her to stop boys from doing the things they do.
  8. Yo that chick is hot.
  9. #8 I googled her she’s not that hot
  10. How do we know she’s telling the truth? If we had a police investigation we would know for sure. But she never told the police why should I trust her………………..
  11. I am against rape but I believe this is an issue for the police to deal with why are schools involved in this at all?*
  12. Rape is a NATURAL instinct. Lions rape each other in the wild all the time.  Rape is bad but this is the world we live in.
  13. The real victims here are our boys. What happened to innocent until proven guilty????
  14. #13, innocent until proven guilty is a standard used by courts, not journalists. Check your facts
  15. #14 NO! Newspapers can’t just print these things and ruin these boys’ lives, it’s just not right. And don’t tell me to “check my facts” this is America I can say whatever I want
  16. Who would want to rape that girl?
  17. Why didn’t she call the police???
  18. Just a whore starved for attention
  19. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for FEMINISM. FEMINISM tells women it’s fine to put themselves in vulnerable positions by partying and being promiscuous. Look, I don’t mean to excuse these boys but I don’t let a ROBBER into my HOME and give him the code to my SAFE and then get mad when he TAKES MY DIAMOND.
  20. She’s probably lying
  21. Why didn’t she call the cops?


Saturday, February 15, 2014

The 1950's called. They want their sexist, outdated views back.

It's been a while, fair blog readers. I've been busy with life and neglecting my blogging. Thankfully, someone wrote something silly and sexist, which has provided inspiration for a blog post.

Found this gem of an article (which sounds very similar to the article that sparked my last blog post)  through a Facebook friend. The author, Susan Patton, has a book called Marry Smart: Advice for Finding 'The One' coming out in March. Can't wait to read that one...

Right off the bat, Patton demonstrates that she's stuck on traditional gender role stereotypes.

Statement #1: "Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry.* But chances are that you haven't been investing nearly as much energy in planning for your personal happiness as you are planning for your next promotion at work."

* Unless you're not heterosexual or don't have an interest in getting married.

I find it annoying that the author separates out personal happiness (AKA snagging a man) and one's career, as if the latter does not contribute to one's happiness in any meaningful way.

Statement #2: "You should be spending far more time planning for your husband than for your career—and you should start doing so much sooner than you think. This is especially the case if you are a woman with exceptionally good academic credentials, aiming for corporate stardom."

I laughed out loud when I read this line. 'Planning for your husband?' What does that even mean? For those of us living in the real world, where the economy is still recovering and divorce rates are still fairly high, we realize the importance of people having careers of their own so that they can attain financial independence. Yet the author insists that we spend more of our time and energy finding a husband than building our careers... and then goes on to contradict her own statement when she says that this is especially the case for women who want to achieve corporate stardom. I don't know about you all, but last time I checked corporate culture pretty much guarantees that you'll be spending way more time on your career vs. your personal life in order to make it to the upper echelons of the corporate world, especially if you're a woman.

Statement #3: "Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women."

The author espouses the value of higher education for women, then goes on to remind us that our highly educated selves are too challenging for men. Most of the educated men that I've met feel the same way as the educated women I know - that they want someone who is able to keep up intellectually and engage in meaningful conversations with them. This kind of thing is a commonly used tactic to make women feel anxious about waiting to get married - drilling into their minds the fear that they might end up old maids because men are only interested in younger women.

Statement #4: "Men won't buy the cow if the milk is free."

Anyone who's okay equating women with cows doesn't really deserve to have anything else they say taken seriously. Beyond that, it's an icky example of slut-shaming and endorses a generalized view of men that just isn't true.

Statement #5: "Can you meet brilliant, marriageable men after college? Yes, but just not that many of them. Once you're living off campus and in the real world, you'll be stunned by how smart the men are not."

Sure, it may be hard to find men with the qualities you're looking for in a husband, but it's not impossible. The author's assertion that men in the real world are dumb is not only absurd (and insulting), I'd argue that the opposite is true - I've met more mature, smart men in the so-called real world than I ever did in college.

Statement #6: They'll probably do very well for themselves, and their desirability will only increase after graduation.

To quote Kanye West, "Now, I ain't sayin' she a gold digger."

And finally, statement #7 (my personal favorite): "Not all women want marriage or motherhood, but if you do, you have to start listening to your gut and avoid falling for the P.C. feminist line that has misled so many young women for years. There is nothing incongruous about educated, ambitious women wanting to be wives and mothers. Don't let anyone tell you that these traditional roles are retrograde; they are perfectly natural and even wonderful."

This is a common tactic that people use to try to discredit anything feminists say - taking the beliefs of a small group of folks who identify as feminists and making them out to be representative of the whole movement. Feminism is about women having the right to make whatever choices they want to make in their lives, and being full  supported in those choices. If a woman who is highly educated and ambitious wants to get married and have babies - good for her. If she doesn't, that's great, too.

In the end, all we need to do is blame feminism (and not listen to those darn feminists) and everything will be okay.

I hope you got a few laughs out of the article and this blog post. Happy Weekend!

Onward and upward,

MM

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Women, Babies, and Breadwinners, Oh My!

Because I miss blogging and haven't written anything in a while, I thought I'd write a bit on a wonderful Fox News piece I just read, called "Why women still need husbands" (The answer being BABIES, of course). I've selected a few choice statements from the article to discuss.

Statement #1: "Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you."

Hahaha. This is just a ridiculous thing to write.

Statement #2 : "They [women] want balance. And there’s only one way to get it: rely on a man’s more linear career goals."

Actually, there are a few other things that we can do to help improve work/life balance that - SURPRISE! - have nothing to do with relying on someone else's "career goals." Provide, via policy at various levels, PAID family leave (we're one of only a handful of countries that doesn't do this), flexible work schedules, and more affordable childcare.Or women could simply choose not to have kids, which - gasp! - does actually happen sometimes.

Statement #3 : "There’s no way to be a wife, a mother and a full-time employee and still create balance."

See answer to #2. Also, depend less on stereotypical gender roles (and date/marry people who do the same) to dictate what men and women are supposed to do, so men feel more comfortable with things like parenting and housework and women feel more comfortable (and less guilty) working outside the home.

Statement #4 : "I know what you're going to say. Where are these husbands on whom women can depend? And you're right: there are fewer men these days who seem eager to be primary breadwinners. But ask yourself whey and I bet you know the answer."

Because FEMINISM RUINED EVERYTHING.

The end.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Lot Can Happen in Five Years...

About five years ago, something happened in my life, that helped mold me into the person that I am today. Though it seemed pretty terrible at the time, it's something that I'm celebrating today.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

National NOW Conference Highlights

This year's National NOW conference was held in Chicago, Illinois, July 5th through 7th. I left for Chicago the evening of the 4th, watching fireworks light up the sky as we traveled through Minnesota and Wisconsin. After stops in Eau Claire, Tomah, and Milwaukee, I arrived in Chicago around 6 am on Friday, July 6th, ready to spend the day listening to and learning from some fabulous feminists. I've provided some highlights from my experience at the conference below.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Importance of Celebrating Our Victories and Our Heroes

This week had been a mixed bag in our seemingly unending fight for social justice and equality. Some very important decisions were issued by the Supreme Court this week, and an extreme anti-abortion bill failed to pass in Texas (though it will likely pass in a second special session next week). I've linked to the opinions and short explanations of the SCOTUS decisions below.


 Employment Law: Vance v. Ball State University; explanation of decision  
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar; explanation of decision

Affirmative action: Fisher v. University of Texas; explanation of decision

Indian Child Welfare Act: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl; explanation of decision

Voting Rights Act: Shelby County v. Holder; explanation of decision

Proposition 8 (CA): Hollingsworth v. Perry; explanation of decision

Defense of Marriage Act: United States v. Windsor; explanation of decision

There's a lot more great info and coverage of the decisions at http://www.scotusblog.com.

(Sigh. Just reading through and linking those decisions and explanations was exhausting, so I'm not going to spend time elaborating on them here.)

We've had wins and losses this week, and while it's necessary to acknowledge the losses and what they mean, I think we should celebrate our victories and heroes as well. DOMA was ruled unconstitutional, meaning that  "same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples."  And Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered long enough to kill an abortion bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, force clinics to upgrade or close and require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

The reality is that we NEED to celebrate the victories and people who helped us gain them or we won't have the energy and enthusiasm to continue to fight. Fighting for equality is hard and it's exhausting. I know that if I never took the time to laugh, cry, and be joyful about the good things that we've achieved, I would have burned out a long time ago (and I'm not that old, so that's sayin' something!).

I'm doing what one writer at Jezebel suggested:
For the next day or so, against all of my anxious instincts, I'm choosing to dwell on the good things that just happened, so I have the energy to deal with the bad stuff coming down the pipeline. There's more than enough of it to keep my anxiety reserves full.

Onward and upward,

MM

Friday, June 14, 2013

This is what a feminist looks like?

In the past week or so, I've read a number of interesting pieces about feminism, sexism, and related topics. And, despite my better judgment, I read a lot of the comments. As with any article or blog post on the topic, there are always people who feel the need to say unoriginal and often misogynistic things in the comments section. But one thing that always bothers me when reading the comments is the generalized term "feminists," and the fact that many times folks who use this term are the same people who get upset when feminists (or anyone else, but especially feminists) generalize about men or women or some other group.

Here's the thing, as much as some people think that all feminists feel, think, and do the same things, anyone who actually knows any feminists in real life knows that that's not true. Being a feminist, for most of us, is just one part of our identity. And those other parts of our identity influence how we think, feel, and act, and influence how we 'do' our feminism.

I am a feminist. I'm also an introvert who dislikes small talk and loves to read. I'm a Minnesotan, which means I've probably eaten a good number of hotdishes over the years, and know what "Minnesota Nice" actually means. I enjoy cooking and have a cooking blog. I've been an advocate at a sexual assault/relationship violence center. I'm heterosexual (I like men!). I have a Master's degree in public policy. All of these parts of my identity influence how I feel, think, and act.

So, internet commenters, please refrain from generalizing and stating that "feminists do this" or "feminists say this." Unless you've actually talked to every feminist ever - which I doubt, unless I've somehow missed your phone call.

Onward and upward,

MM