On Alimony And Feminists Being Sexist

May 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm (feminism, sexism, stupidity) ()

I nearly always enjoy Broadsheet, but this? What the hell?

It’s a post about the fact that the percentage of alimony recipients who are male is slowly, slowly creeping up. Because the press just can’t resist, they’ve given this phenomenon a stupid, cutesy name: “manimony.”

For reasons I may never understand, the post’s author, one James Hannaham, decides to go ahead and use “manimony” like it’s a legitimate word. It’s not a legitimate word. It’s an annoying little moniker designed to simultaneously mock men who receive alimony payments and delegitimize women who out-earn their male partners, as if either phenomenon is objectionable or ridiculous. Using the word sanctions these sexist ideas. Why would someone do that on a feminist blog?

Finally, Hannaham closes with this:

. . . Men still have advantages over women in business, but certainly not all women, and perhaps not the women they married. So the question becomes: Does maleness always create enough of an advantage that manimony will turn into the new reverse racism? Or should we pretend that equality already exists so that, one day, it will?

What the hell kind of question is that?

Yes, undoubtedly, men in general are privileged over women in general in business — that’s why, as the article notes, women are the higher earners in about one-third of straight marriages, men in two-thirds. But what bearing does that have on a given couple in which a wife makes more money than her husband? What if a male partner deprioritizes his career to support his wife or girlfriend? What if a male partner is the primary caretaker of children, thereby sacrificing some of his earning power? Why should that man be treated any differently from a woman who makes the same choices? (Answer: he shouldn’t be. Women who out-earn their husbands are just as capable as any man of paying reasonable alimony — that is, women can be financial providers. It’s really anti-feminist to suggest that women shouldn’t or can’t.)

And as to the second question — “Should we pretend that equality already exists so that, one day, it will?” — how, exactly, would not allowing men to receive alimony further the quest for equality? You know what we do by having higher-earning (ex-)wives pay alimony when appropriate? We smash right through the idea that men are breadwinners, women caretakers. We smash through the idea that marriage is a financial transaction in which women become their husbands’ property. And we affirm the idea that women can and should succeed in their careers, and that men can and should be free to pursue other goals. We affirm that making money and being supported are gender-neutral activities.



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Monday Feminist Lost Blogging: On Being “A Good Man”

April 14, 2008 at 11:18 am (feminism, sexism) ()

Okay, so Lost is very easily the most egregiously sexist* work I’ve ever enjoyed. Ever. There’s no use trying to dissect the incredible level of gender-stereotyping that goes on on that show — there’s just too damn much of it. If I spent time doing that, I wouldn’t have any left to wonder about the meaning of the numbers, or what happened to the Dharma Initiative, or who the Others really are. I wouldn’t have any time to think about how “Adam and Eve” could plausibly be Amelia Earhart and her navigator, or to work on writing Lost songs with Emily, or to work with Emily on creating unlikely but hot pairings of characters.

But one thing that’s jumped out at me, lately. I don’t think a single episode goes by without a mention of someone being “a good man.” As in: “You’re a good man!”

“He was a good man!”

“I know you’re really a good man!”

Etc., etc.

The reason this has me thinking. “Good man” is a phrase with meaning, and it’s a good and powerful meaning, too. It means that, on a fundamental level, the man in question is moral, upstanding, and brave. It means that he wouldn’t hurt other people, that he would instead protect them. Right?

But never in all the gendered compliments on Lost has someone been called “a good woman.” Because that phrase is meaningless, or its meaning is so disturbingly sexist one cannot use it, not even on ABC.

What would it mean to call someone “a good woman”? To tearfully proclaim, “I love you because you’re a good woman”?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean principled or courageous.

For this reason, I will never call someone “a good man.” When I want to say that someone is fundamentally kind, strong, righteous, noble, ethical, etc., I will use one of those adjectives, or call her, simply, “a good person” — “a good human being.” There’s nothing in the Y chromosome that brings bravery, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t hold all adults up to the same standard of risking oneself to protect others.

* And racist. And heterosexist. And…

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“Iron My Shirt”

January 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm (politics, sexism) (, )

Video via Bloggernista.

As Melissa at Shakesville has said and demonstrated with an abundance of links, “But the news is that she cried.”


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What a bunch of morons.

October 9, 2007 at 4:19 pm (sexism, stupidity) (, )

Warner Bros will no longer hire female leads? Guess I won’t be watching any more of their shitty movies.

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Chris Matthews on the Daily Show

October 3, 2007 at 9:47 am (movies/video/clips, politics, sexism, stupidity) (, )

John Stewart, thank you for helping misogynist asshole Chris Matthews make himself look like the fool that he is (again!). I wish you were president.

That is all.

Via Feministing.

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Girl beaten and arrested at school for dropping cake.

September 30, 2007 at 3:55 pm (frightening things, injustice, movies/video/clips, racism) (, , , )

It pains me deeply to intentionally expose any readers to a product of the Fox News corporation, but, uh, it seems as though no other mainstream news source has provided video coverage of this story.

To recap: a young girl dropped a piece of cake at school during a birthday celebration, and a security guard called her “nappy-headed” and broke her arm for not cleaning it up well enough. She was expelled, arrested, and charged with assault and littering. The students who captured the incident on film with their cell phones were also arrested and, when she protested the abuse of her daughter, the girl’s mother was arrested too.

Via Oh No a WoC PhD, contact the school and make sure they know that this display of institutionalized racial violence is unacceptable and deserving of punishment.

Story via Women of Color Blog.

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Kid Nation

September 29, 2007 at 8:56 am (frightening things, injustice) (, , , )

CBS’ new reality show is about what happens when 40 kids between the ages of 8 and 15 are dumped in a ghost town in New Mexico to “try to fix their forefathers’ mistakes and build a new town that works,” with no direction from anyone but the producers of the show, who are of course completely indoctrinated into the cults of capitalism, class, and consumerism.

The first task assigned the kids?

In the very first episode, the children were directed to form four armies for color war. And they did. They were told that victory would determine their class status. And it did. In a scenario Karl Marx couldn’t have made up, the winners of the war were dubbed “upper class,” the runners-up were labeled “merchants,” then “cooks,” and finally “laborers.”

The little capitalists were allowed to use their very unequal paychecks for very unequal chores to pay for goodies at the town store. The producers did everything but deny the lower income children their health coverage.

I hope these kids grow up to be anti-capitalist revolutionaries. I really do.

Before it premiered, “Kid Nation” itself was charged with endangering the children by violating child labor laws and even child abuse laws. Indeed, the consent form that the parents signed is as creepy as the ones you don’t read before you go into surgery. Even creepier was the scene when two homesick children cried and not one adult had the impulse to drop a camera and offer comfort.

Nevertheless, the real trouble in Bonanza is not that the cast of mini-survivors was exposed to “serious bodily injury, illness or death.” It’s that the children urged to build a better town (read “world”) than their forefathers were manipulated into the copycat media culture.


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Norway: No Car is Green

September 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm (neat things) (, )

Norway is enacting new advertising guidelines for auto-companies. They’ve concluded, rightly, that there is no such thing as an eco-friendly car. Emphasis mine:

Cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others,” Bente Oeverli, a senior official at the office of the state-run Consumer Ombudsman, told Reuters on Thursday.

Carmakers such as Toyota, General Motor’s Opel, Mitsubishi, Peugeot Citroen, Saab and Suzuki had all used phrases this year in advertisements that the watchdog judged misleading, she said.

One Toyota advertisement for a Prius, for instance, described the gasoline-electric hybrid as “the world’s most environmentally friendly car.”

If someone says their car is more ‘green’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ than others then they would have to be able to document it in every aspect from production, to emissions, to energy use, to recycling,” she said.

It’s amazing to see real acknowledgement that being green is about much more than just end-side emissions. Fuel efficiency is an improvement, but it’s not enough, and it’s not worth much when you’re using all the same nasty, wasteful processes to make the damn thing. Not to mentioned when you’re shipping the parts in some gas-guzzler of a truck!

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Deepa Fernandes on Media Justice

August 27, 2007 at 2:50 pm (injustice, movies/video/clips, politics) (, )

Via Zuky.

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The Onion on Fat Shaming

August 9, 2007 at 11:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Should we make fat kids feel even more ashamed?

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