Welcome to Feminist Truths

We are reborn! Getting shut down by lawyers working for the mafia (it is a long story) hasn't put an end to Feminist Truths.

The good news is that Feminist Truths is back and I have made it my quest in life to deliver truth to the masses.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Truth about Work Place Abuse in Adult Entertainment

The video below was sent to me and contains footage (censored) depicting how female p*rn stars are treated in California's adult entertainment industry.



And if this is the kind of abuse happening in California, what kind of abuse is happening in the rest of the world?

Note: This isn't to say all p*rn is bad. ie. There is a growing movement of Feminist P*rn, including the Feminist P*rn Awards.

The Truth About Hooking Up, Dating, and Doing Relationships While Feminist

By Liz - Guest Writer

The way most Western education is framed, I think, is very strange. I didn't actually think this until I studied abroad in Ecuador, where most university students live with their parents, and actually often live with their parents until marriage. The fact that I lived in apartments or dorms with friends was very strange to my Ecuadorian friends, and when I thought about it... it is pretty weird.

At 18ish, many Western young adults head off to college, where many experience "independence" for the first time. Although this involves a lot of good life-skillsy things like learning to pay bills and manage a budget, one of the more significant things people experience in college is a phenomenon called hookup culture. And if we're not calling hook up culture weird and bizarre, we have a problem. It's been normalized and become hegemonic! Nooooooooo!

For those of you who are too young/old/cool to fit into said culture, let me explain briefly:
Hookup culture tends to be defined by a casual approach to sex (and sexish things). The term "hookup" takes on a lot of meanings and there is no one definition, but I think about it as "making out +." So anything that happens in that realm may be referred to as a hookup. As this is the dominant relationship script in colleges there develops the culture: we do it, we talk about it, and then we listen to other people talk about it.

How widespread hooking up is is somewhat up to debate. Kathleen Bogle, who wrote the book Hooking Up, found in her study that 91% of female college students believed that hookups occurred fairly to very often, while only 40% reported that they had actually participated in a hookup during college. This is why hooking up is significant. If fewer than the majority are actually doing it, it might not seem so big, but this is what most people believe is fact. That is culture.

So what of it? Well, some people believe that hookup culture is the devil, while others fetishize it, and others still that it has its place because of its benefits.

Unfortunately, most of the studies so far on hookup culture are on heterosexual couples, and as a cisgender, heterosexual woman, my experience is also in line with what information is already out there. Gay hookup culture on campuses is something that I know about through friends, but is not something that I know enough about to really speak on. (--> Perhaps there is someone out there who can? Because those are voices/experiences we need to hear from as well.)

I feel somewhat conflicted about hookup culture. I've always felt a little conflicted about it, but it wasn't until I read Bogle's book this summer that I really started to question it. Here are most of the arguments for/against hooking up (that exclude like... religious ones):

Point 1: Hookup up is positive because it allows women to have a sexual experiences without distracting relationshipy things. Not all people want a long-term, monogamous relationship. For college students, hooking up can give the positive things (fun sex stuff) without the downer things (boring relationship, commitment things).

Point 2: Hooking up is negative because women trick themselves into thinking that hooking up is what they want. Bogle found that some women who sustained hookup relationships believed that these may one day turn into a traditional boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, however that is not how most hookups work. Believing hookups to be fun and/or advantageous to starting something else, women engage in hookups despite actual ambivalent results.

Point 3: Hooking up is positive for women because it is erasing some of the sexual stigma women face. As a culture that expects (heterosexual) hook ups to happen, women have more sexual freedom and are encouraged to participate in a culture that allows them to enjoy sex.

Point 4: Hooking up is negative for women because it doesn't actually get rid of sexual stigma, and in fact encourages men to take advantage of women without emotional commitment. Without that emotional connection, it is easier to delegitimize women and call them "sluts" for analogous behavior from men, which goes unpunished.

Thing is... I think all of these 4 points are true to some degree. As a college senior, I have participated in hookup culture all four years of being in my university, through hookups as basic as making out at a frat party to having a sustained hookup relationship with a friend. Personally, I'm really busy and sometimes barely have time for my girlfriends. Imagining factoring a relationship into this gives me a headache. I am glad that my friends and are at a point in history where our sexuality is somewhat encouraged, and we do encourage each other. However, I think the days of slut-shaming are far from over, and it's difficult to say this when I know that there are some people who would still judge me for my behavior, no matter how tame or wild it is.

Earlier this semester I wrote about this on my blog, and I talked about something called pluralistic ignorance, which is something that Lisa Wade, another sociologist who studied hooking up, found is an issue with hookup culture. Hookup culture has become somewhat hegemonic. I think in general, monogamous relationships are somewhat hegemonic, but that's a subject for another post. But when we (college students) accept hookup culture as fact without questioning the results (kind of ambivalent... it's good, it's bad, sometimes it's fulfilling, eh) we're creating an environment that makes hookup culture bad because no one is questioning it.

College students, whether or not hooking up is personally satisfying (and for a lot of college students, hooking up is not as satisfying as they want it to be), continue to participate in it because that's what we believe to be the norm. Since the post I wrote earlier this semester, I joined an online dating site and have been experimenting with that a little. I don't have to participate in hookup culture. I have options. Honestly, I don't have a lot of time for meeting up with guys I've met online either, but I've been on a couple dates and it hasn't been a negative experience. I'm concerned with fundamentally having equality between me and whatever man I go out with, so I have found it interesting that the simple switch from being an undergrad (*cough*: in a state of extended adolescence) to being a grad student or post-grad for dudes switches their mindset from hookup culture to traditional dating.

Where feminism comes in, is I think it is possible to have whatever kind of relationship works for you, whether it is hookups or a sustained casual relationship, or dating, or a relationship, and still be feminist. If you feel like you're not being valued enough as a person, or that your position in the relationship is somewhat marginalized or unequal, just get out of it. Don't waste your time. College students have the opportunity to experiment with their sexuality without the awkward parent-thing, so I think that's something that should be taken advantage of. If that means just going on dates... that's fine! I have lots of friends who have never hooked up in college, and it's not like it's something they're particularly pining after. Sexuality is a personal experience and can't be defined by what we see on MTV or ABC Family or whatever. Everyone experiences it differently, but maintaining a critical mindset allows us to evaluate whether or not what we're doing makes us happy and determine whether or not what we're doing is a feminist act.

Liz blogs about feminism, current events, pop culture and teens at Our Turn: Feminism for Newbies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feminism: The Sliding Scale

FEMINIST - Seriously, feminists will protest almost anything they think causes inequality.

ie. The Muff March

Activists in London and Southampton are staging a "Muff March" on Saturday December 10th to speak out against labiaplasty and what they call a ‘pornified’ culture driving increasing numbers of women to seek vaginal cosmetic surgery, and to protest against the cosmetic surgeons profiting from it. The activists will be wearing fake ‘muffs’, will march down Harley Street, famed for its cosmetic surgeries, and stage a synchronised "muff dance".

Demand for labiaplasty is increasing rapidly due to the online porn industry. Its not just saggy breasts women are seeking surgery for. Between 2007 - 2008 there was a 70% increase in the number of labiaplasty operations carried out by the NHS, and last year the Harley Medical Group received more than 5,000 inquiries about cosmetic gynaecology. Researchers at Kings College London are studying the demand for labiaplasty and have suggested this increase stems from the increasing ‘pornification’ of culture. The protest comes two weeks before Christmas, a period during which demand for cosmetic surgery has been found to surge.

The "Muff Marches" protest includes slogans likr: “Keep your mits off our bits!”, “there’s nothing finer than my vagina!”, and “Harley Street puts my chuff in a huff”.

Over 325 people have so far signed up to the London event on Facebook.

Ahem...

Which brings me back to the real reason I am writing this post: The concept of a Sliding Scale of Feminism. A scale of 0 to 10, sort of like wine dryness to sweetness.

0 - A woman who doesn't care that she is treated poorly and basically does whatever men want her to do.

5 - The average woman in the world.

10 - A hardcore feminist.

Obviously there are some women out there who want labiaplasty and have a specific idea of what their vagina should look like on an aesthetic level. On the opposite end there are women who think body modification for the sake of male standards of beauty is wrong.

Now I admit there is always the potential for some kind of horrible accident and a woman might want to seek labiaplasty as an effort to get her self esteem back, and yes, she should totally have that option. But that isn't really a feminist issue to me except on the level that it gives the victim back some of their self-esteem.

Thus I would leave the door open to people doing these things because they might see it as part of their healing process after some horrific accident.

Also some people are just really into body modification... tattoos, piercings, implants... there is a whole sub-culture for such things. Not my cup of tea, but people are free to make their own choices.

There are some things I believe in that makes me think I might be more of a 9.5 on the Sliding Scale of Feminism. Maybe a 9.1 or a 9.9. There is no way to accurately measure unless I come up with some kind of more scientific survey which determines exactly where people are on the scale.

So... on my list of things to do in the future I need to craft a survey which does two things, 1. gauges what topics people consider to be a feminist issue, and 2. asks people to gauge themselves on a scale of 0 to 5 how much they agree to disagree with a specific feminist issue. Add up all the scores, come up with a score out of 100, and then pinpoint based on the responses people give whether they are a 5.2 or a 9.7 or whatever on the scale.

Note: The questions and answers on the survey should be made precise and avoid any vagueness. Vagueness decreases the accuracy of a survey because then people will just pick one of the numbers when uncertain which number reflects their own beliefs.

1 - Disagree Strongly (worth 0 points).
2 - Disagree (worth 1 point).
3 - Not sure (worth 2 points).
4 - Agree (worth 3 points).
5 - Agree Strongly (worth 4 points).

Times 25 questions... a grand total of 100 possible points. Divide the total by 10 to get your result. Voila! Suzy's Sliding Scale of Feminism.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Truth about Hijabs

FASHION - It is cultural bias that assumes that hijabs (headscarves worn by women in Muslim countries) is a shackle.

Some women (including devout feminists) make assumptions that hijabs are mandatory and a sign of their lesser status as women. But in reality these things have nothing to do with why women wear hijabs.

When wearing a hijab women are treated with more respect. Their hair (considered sexual in both western and Muslim cultures) is seen as distracting from the personality. Thus when wearing a hijab the focus becomes their face, their facial expressions and therefore their personality. Thus men behave more respectfully.

It is a cultural phenomenon in Muslim countries. Not so much a tradition or a fashion rule. Its a phenomenon which frees women to be treated as equals and is reinforced by cultural beliefs surrounding the hijab.

So ripping the hijabs off of women isn't actually freeing them. Its forcing them to embrace your own cultural beliefs... and that isn't freedom. Its abusive.

Wearing a hijab means this woman won’t have to worry about whether or not she’s fashionable or kewl. She isn't going to be part of the sexually exploited parts of culture which see beautiful hair as a sex symbol.

Instead she will be confident about herself as a person, feel treated like a person instead of like a sex object, she can focus on her career, her education and she can find a job where her pay is equal to that of a man... as opposed to wearing sexually revealing clothing and having to fight her way up a corporate ladder which sees her as a sex object instead of an intelligent and sophisticated woman.

Fashion can have a very real effect on how people are perceived. If two men apply for a job at an insurance company, one is dressed in a black suit and the other comes wearing baggy jeans, who gets the job offer?

They say "Clothes make the man." Its abundantly obvious which one will receive the most consideration. The baggy jeans man would have to have a very impressive resume and references to win that job offer.

In this case we should make a new phrase: "The Hijab makes the woman free."

I am rather tempted to start a whole new fashion trend: Feminists Wearing Hijabs! Now that is a fashion statement!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Truth About College Feminism

By Liz - Guest Writer.

I've been waiting to post on here for awhile, to read some of the posts and see how it works, but now here I am! And I am definitely planning on writing more about my experience as a College Feminist and what college feminism looks like to other people I know. Anyway, this is my introduction, my name is Liz and I blog at Our Turn: Feminism For Newbies.

This is me.
From a photoshoot my college's chapter of FMLA
did called, "This is what a feminist looks like,"

I entered college four years ago with high hopes for feminist discourse. So I was initially surprised when the professor of my women's studies class asked the students if they identified as feminists, and I was the only person to raise my hand.

What? I thought. What the heck are they doing in a women's studies class!?

Generally, the response of the students in class was that they weren't feminists but they supported women's rights. This made no sense to me. Hadn't everyone read Susan B. Anthony chapter books when they were learning to read? Didn't everyone watch Xena: Warrior Princess reruns during the summer? Where the heck were they getting their information about feminism? I had heard the "I'm not a feminist but--" line in high school, but I expected college to be some sort of utopian land where everybody could talk about gender stereotypes and feminist scholars in peace and harmony. I was wrong.

It turns out that a feminist identity is somewhat of a rocky road for many women (and men), but college seems to be an important catalyst toward honing ideology about gender and equality, and one's ability to identify as a feminist. A lot of men and women enter college with a base knowledge of feminism: that it means women can vote and work outside the home + sometimes feminists are scary man-haters who want to take over the world. For a lot of students, college is the first time that they can really engage each other about gender, sexuality, and inequality in a classroom setting. And (awesomely) this is something that a lot of people think is exciting. Thankfully for my faith in feminism, by the end of the semester, most of the people in that class identified as feminists. I saw a similar pattern when I was a teaching assistant in the course a year later, but it was interesting to watch the transformation of students who didn't identify as feminists to students who wanted to take more women's studies classes (and in the case of two of them, become minors).

This attitude, unfortunately, tends to be something that women embrace more than men. Personally, I think every student should be required to take at least one women's studies or gender/sexuality studies class in college. And as a women's studies minor, I've found the demographics of my classes really interesting. I have had very small women's studies classes that are all female, where we are able to talk about patriarchy and men quite openly, and students have shared really intimate and traumatic experiences. I've had other classes where the only men in class are bisexual or gay. And I've had a couple classes where there are not only gay men, but straight men. And this is what I love. Talking about feminism with diverse crowds.

There is a perception that a lot of dudes share, that feminism is important and does good stuff (yay equality) but is not particularly relevant to their lives. Well, my good sirs. Feminism relates to everyone.

As feminism is fundamentally concerned with the equality of women, you cannot have a good feminist conversation about gender roles and oppression without talking about masculinity. And even me, uber feminist that I am, when I first started reading about masculinity in my classes thought that it was going to be a bunch of revisionist, sexist-apologetic crap. But no, it's awesome. Michael Kimmel is my jam. But what I find most exciting about reading about male studies and feminism is that a lot of guys in college are open to the idea of feminism, but if I can relate feminism more to their life and situation, they start to see why it's important. All of my closest male friends identify as feminists (this is partly because all my male friends are gay or socialists or both), and we have really interesting conversations about feminism. Could we have had these conversations maybe 7 years ago when we were in high school? Probably not. And for some of them, we probably couldn't have had these conversations a couple semesters ago.

Ultimately, what I'm trying to say is that I think that in general there is tension between adult feminists of an older generation and feminists my age that comes from this feeling that younger feminists aren't serious enough, or aren't on top of it for declaring themselves feminists publicly. In my experience, I know that people's perceptions of feminism change. Freshman year most of my friends didn't identify openly as feminists, but they do now. People change, and I think being open to teens and young adults as they are forming their world views and learning about what's out there is really crucial to welcoming more feminists into the fold. We've got room for everyone.

The Truth about Postfeminism

ENTERTAINMENT - Today someone asked me what my favourite feminist book was, which one I would recommend... and I immediately thought back to university and a book I found in a bookstore...

INTRODUCING POSTFEMINISM

It wasn't one of those dry, boring reads.

It was funny. It was informative. It was full of information and facts, history and a distinct look at what postfeminism is.

WHAT IS POSTFEMINISM?

Put plainly, postfeminism is about choice.

Examples:

#1. The choice between having a child or not having having one.

#2. Having a career vs being a gold-digger (or being homeless and jobless).

#3. Getting married or not getting married.

#4. Enjoying sex and exploring your sexuality vs being a prude.

Life is all about choices. Postfeminism supports the idea that women without choice are slaves to whatever society tells them to be. Thus in order to break free women need to choose for themselves what they want to do.

Nobody is forcing them to choose, but bad situations will often cause people to make difficult choices.

ie. You have 2 kids already and you're a single mother. You get pregnant and you don't think you can afford a third child. You might not believe in having abortions, but you and your 2 kids can't afford to have another mouth to feed. Does the woman stand by her beliefs and risk becoming homeless or does she opt for the practical approach for the safety of her existing children?

It may not even seem like she has much choice sometimes. It happens.

ie. A teenager with very conservative Christian parents gets pregnant. She is too afraid to tell her parents and too young to go to an abortion clinic without a guardian (some countries require parental approval if the teen is considered too young). She becomes paranoid her parents will disown her or maybe even kill her if she tells them she is with child. Does she tell her parents? Does she run away and have it anyway? Does she have an abortion using a coathanger?

So many options. Each a hard decision.

ie. A young woman gets raped by her boss. Does she tell her friends? Does she tell the police? Does she press charges? Does she quit her job or does she keep working under such stressful conditions, putting her in a position where she might get raped again? Does she sue his ass for mental and physical anguish? Is she able to move on and eventually find happiness or will she eventually become androphobic?

The importance of choice and freedom of choice thus becomes abundantly clear. Each of these choices has to be equally supported by family, loved ones and society. Not necessarily approved of because some people will doubtless disagree, but the woman's right to make her own choices is fundamental to her freedom as a human being.

Women, regardless of what decisions they make, need societal support for those decisions. If they choose one thing over another society should not be ridiculing such women. They're victims of circumstance.

We should not be blaming the victims. We need to be helping them. (Of course some people will choose to blame the victims, and that is their right, but one can hope that most people would be kind, compassionate and understanding enough that they would recognize that sometimes people get into bad situations and when in bad situations they often just follow their heart.)

Lets take myself. I am currently shopping for sperm because I want to have a child. I suppose I could just find myself a willing male participant, but I don't want any daddy with legal issues coming back to haunt me.

I've made a choice that I want to have a child. I've also made a choice that I don't want there to be a father. The closest thing to a father will be my girlfriend (who may eventually become my wife).

And to those of you out there who don't think two lesbians can raise a kid, I recommend you watch this video:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Truth about Condoms With Teeth in South Africa

RAPE - In 2010 during the World Cup in South Africa over 30,000 'Rape-Axe condoms' were handed out free. While the condoms (which in truth are more like diaphragms worn by women) won't prevent rape, the jagged-teeth inside is designed to rip penises up.

This grim invention was invented by Dr Sonnet Ehlers after she met a rape victim who commented "if only I had teeth down there". This stroke of inspiration led Dr Ehlers to research the possibility of a diaphragm which is designed to make sex painful for rapists.

Rapists sadly rarely regret their actions. Too often the law fails and the rapist is never punished. The rate of reporting rape is very low and the conviction rate is likewise low.

Ehlers was working as a blood technician with the South African Blood Transfusion Service and this caused her to come into contact with numerous women who had suffered rape. She originally wanted to call it RAPEX, but later changed it Rape-Axe.

Women afraid of being raped simply insert the Rape-Axe condom inside themselves like a diaphragm or tampon. If her worst fears later come true the Rape-Axe's hooks itself to the penis and won't come off, instead becoming tighter and tighter the more they struggle. It can basically only be removed by a doctor. The diaphragm would remain attached to the attacker's body when he withdraws, the Rape-Axe still attached and causing excruciating pain. While the man struggles to try and remove it the woman makes a quick get-away. (Note: This won't work during a gang rape evidently.)

Like all condoms and diaphragms it also prevents pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

After the World Cup was over Ehlers wanted to begin selling the Rape-Axe condoms for approx. $2 each...

But the truth is this never happened. The devices never reached the mass market.

And the reasons vary... some women feared reprisals from the rapists who might murder them over their flayed penises.

Drugstores refused to sell an item designed to cause pain.

Some people say the device is medieval to which Dr Ehlers responds on her website by saying it is "a medieval device for a medieval deed."

Others even compared it to a chastity belt, an item which basically enslaved the sexuality of women.

The end result is that the Rape-Axe is a controversial item and there is comparatively few women who would buy and use such an item.

The best defense against rape is confidence and martial arts. Any woman can learn how to knee a man in the groin and then run away. Awareness and training is key, not fancy gadgets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

System favours the few, the male

By Rachel Ross

When I look back on my pursuit of science, it's difficult to ignore the influence of the Playboy bunny.

Years ago, when things seemed bleak and I felt like the only teenage girl in science, all I had to do was look around me at the beautiful women. Pictures of scantily clad women were proudly displayed in the physics lab at the nuclear facility where I worked one summer. In those few cherished weeks at the nuclear plant I got a real taste of what it might be like to be a scientist, working with an all-male team of engineers and physicists.

When one of my male supervisors saw me looking at one of the models, he blushed and quickly tried to cover the picture. But the guy only had so many hands, and believe me, it wasn't enough to cover up all the cleavage.

What surprised me most was that it seemed as though he'd never questioned those
photos before, like I was the first woman ever to walk into that room, as
though it had happened quite unexpectedly: a girl in the physics lab — who
would have guessed!

The following year, I applied to journalism school.

I've thought a lot about why I abandoned a career in science, largely because I
know I'm not alone. Although there have been slow gains in the number of women
enrolled in some scientific fields, we're not even close to equal
representation. And in the case of computer science, we're no better off than
we were 10 years ago.


I don't blame the guys at the nuclear facility for my career choice — they were
actually a brilliant bunch whose brainpower was much more intimidating than any
Playboy bunny. But I believe my time there was indicative of problems
experienced by many girls.

I went home early that summer because my stomach just churned from the stress.
I didn't think I was good enough at science to make it a career; it seemed like
someone had to practically die for anyone else to move up; I thought I'd have
to work night and day to make it. And I was longing to see some boy whose name
I can't even remember now.

These same themes emerge in studies on the subject: a lack of self-esteem,
negative stereotypes of scientists, fear of loneliness and ineffective role
models.

But I think the critical thing — what is really holding back many women from
science — is the "axiomatic" learning system: a common method of teaching where
memorizing rules is of primary importance. Instead of learning the rules for
ourselves through observation, we're simply told the rule and forced to believe
in it. Axiomatic learning has a long history in education, dating back to
Pythagorean times — which is probably why it's still used. I'm sure it served
Pythagoras well, but today it handicaps the majority of girls and boys.

If we really seek an inclusive education system, then I believe it's time to
make a change. It's time to bring Pythagoras into the 21st century.

One of the most telling studies in recent years, the National Science
Foundation's 2000 report, found that "at all levels of education and in
employment, women are less likely than men to choose science and engineering
fields."

A study by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) shows that the
percentage of women in engineering has improved in the past 25 years, but women
are still seriously under-represented. The percentage of female students who
have completed undergraduate degrees has risen by less than 2 per cent in the
past five years.

In some fields, such as chemical and material engineering, women made gains
around 1997, but those numbers have since levelled off to where they were in
1995. Others fields, such as computer science, suffered modest losses before
rising back up to just about where they were seven years ago.

Computer science still has the lowest percentage of women of all the
engineering sciences, with just 11.8 per cent of undergraduates being female.
It is not on the decline, but during a period of peak demand for programmers,
female participation remained oddly unaffected.

These numbers don't play out well in the labour force, either.

In 1997, women made up just 23 per cent of the United States' science and
engineering labour force — the same percentage as in 1993, according to the
National Science Foundation.

Certainly, lots of women work at technology companies, but I think it would be
short-sighted to call everyone who works at a technology company a technology
worker.

At Microsoft in Seattle, where I worked in the 1990s, there were lots of women
on staff but were receptionists, managers or in the marketing department. Of
the 22 programmers on my husband's team at Microsoft, only two were female. And
when I think back about the other teams I met in my two years there, that
number seems fairly indicative of the company over-all.

This isn't the company's fault. Most large tech firms run special programs to
encourage women to pursue science as a career. I think we're basically past the
stage of blatant sexism: Human resource people would be happy to hire a female
engineer. But they can't hire people who aren't there.

Some people don't think the numbers matter. After all, if you believe men and
women are truly equal, why stress over stats? So what if the majority of
technology workers are men?

The problem is we don't have enough technology workers to meet our needs.

By 2005, Canada will have only 30 per cent of the workers it needs in the high-
tech hardware industry, according to a study by the Impact Group.

More than 46,000 new jobs will be created in microelectronics, photonics, opto-
electronics, wireless and radio engineering by 2005. But the study showed
Canadian schools will only be able to produce about 10,000 properly trained
recruits.

Those are the numbers — they have a time and place. Students, like the rest of
us, are well aware of the low female participation rates in science programs.

But I don't believe we should push young women into careers they don't really
want — be it to fill a perceived shortage or worse yet, in the pursuit of
statistical equality.

"Pushing" is not what is required. Studies show young girls are equally
enthusiastic about science as boys, but as girls grow up they shy away from
technology careers.

I recently met an exceptionally bright high school student who was captain of
her robotics team. She was actually thinking about not going into engineering
because she didn't want to be the only girl.

On the surface, she was brimming with with confidence, and certainly had the
intelligence to back it up. But no one wants to be the odd one out, the woman
in electrical engineering.

We don't have to push girls into science. We just need to make sure that those
who are interested are encouraged and included.

Science is also suffering from a serious identity crisis.

The subject has unjustifiably developed a reputation as a non-creative field —
especially computer science. I find this laughable, especially when I think
about the challenge of designing a new piece of software from scratch.

Sure, there are rules you have to work with, but we need to remind students,
especially girls, that science is all about the creative application of those
rules. Sometimes you have to know how to break the rules to your advantage.
That's what makes programming really fun.

As for electrical or chemical engineering, once you get into research, you are
the one who discovers the new rules. They could be the rules that hold a
molecule together, or the ones that bind the universe. Most of what we believe
today is still a theory and, unlike other fields, science has a good history of
being open-minded to new ideas — especially if you back it up with experimental
evidence.

Another common concern about science is that there's no room to move up. Women
fear they'll be stuck doing grunt work forever, backing up someone else's
research.

When I worked at the nuclear facility, one of the things I quickly came to
learn was that there were few opportunities for career growth. Or so it seemed.
I caught many of the full-time staff talking about how they'd been stuck in the
same job for years. Like many teenage girls from my generation, I had my
ambitious side and I knew I'd need room to grow, in whatever job I chose.

So if you work in science and technology, watch what you say around
impressionable students.

Studies of young women found that career flexibility was far more important to
girls than boys and that women are more influenced by job opportunity.

I've heard other researchers dispute that finding — specifically because it
doesn't explain the recent decline in the number of female computer science
students, during a period of demand for programmers.

I believe that the stigma of the software industry as an almost evil business
discouraged many women from entering the field during that time of peak demand.

That stigma partly stemmed from a general anxiety about computer technology
that grew in the nineties. I've seen other reporters blame the Internet for
just about every societal problem on earth, as though evils such as kidnapping,
child pornography and the simple act of lying didn't exist before we all got
wired.

Then there's the greed factor. We tend to look at successful software
developers — say Bill Gates — as greedy, more so than the average chemist.
However necessary, the ongoing Microsoft lawsuit was a black-eye to the
industry. To those who vehemently dislike Microsoft, it made software look like
a cutthroat business. To those who sided with the Seattle firm, it made the
rest of the industry look like whiners.

And no matter what your religious beliefs about operating systems, from an
outsider's perspective, the software industry seemed more tied to a profit
motive than any other. Our attention to the dot-com market hype and subsequent
crash added to perceptions of an industry driven by greed.

Why should that matter? This might sound a cliché, but studies suggest girls
are more influenced by a need to make the world a better place — an ideal
that's not often tied to money, especially among idealistic high school
students preparing to choose a career.

The software field also suffers from the general perception that programmers
are all work-obsessed, which doesn't play well into the modern concept of
balancing work and family life.

People often ask me if Microsoft programmers are worked to the bone, spending
long hours in darkened offices with sugar-based snacks and espresso.

That rumour is only partly true. Microsoft programmers do drink too much coffee
and eat too much sugar. The company's private buses are all stocked with
baskets of candy. Back on Microsoft campus, the administrative assistants keep
their own baskets of free gumballs and Hershey's kisses in the halls. If you
walk around the maze of offices, you'll spot a big tub of M&Ms every so often
too. On the anniversary of your hire, you are required to put a pound of the
chocolate treats out for every year you've been there.

But the eating habits aren't to support an exceptional work load. There might
have been round the clock hours at some point in the eighties — I don't know, I
only worked there at the end of the century — but at this point the company has
far more programmers than it needs.

In general, jobs in software aren't more time- or labour-intensive than other
careers and there are still a lot of opportunities to pursue other things. I
think this needs to be made clear to all women with an interest in science —
it's a career yes, but it doesn't have to be your whole life.

Remember the smurfs, those little blue cartoon characters that lived in a
mushroom village?

The smurfs had an interesting kind of community going. Each smurf was highly
specialized, so that their life revolved around one basic trait. There was
Jokey smurf, who was always playing practical jokes, Baker smurf who made a lot
of pies for Jokey, and brainy smurf who generally drove all the other smurfs
nuts relaying his wisdom.

Then there was Smurfette. She didn't do much, beyond brushing her hair and
looking in the mirror.

When I was growing up, especially in my teen years, I'd developed a Smurf
Theory on Life. It wasn't anything that I discussed openly at the time, but it
was a kind of background thought process that coloured my view of all people.

The fundamental tenet of the Smurf theory on life is that people have a single
trait for which they are known. They are the best at this one thing and don't
dabble in others. In real-life terms, this meant that as a girl I could be
either smart or pretty. Subconsciously I was convinced that any time I spent
learning how to put on make-up or buying a new purse was time taken away from
the learning process.

I was convinced that I had to hold steadfast to one lifestyle — either pretty
or smart — and stick with it.

Truth is I wasn't very pretty, but I did get good grades. So I went with my
natural gifts and left the makeup routine to other girls.

I believe that many girls take at least part of the Smurf theory to heart.

They believe that they must be outstanding in their field or not bother at all.
Surveys of young women show this belief is common: Women tend to underestimate
their own skills at math and science and don't pursue subjects they aren't
confident in.

The other half of the Smurf Theory — that girls can either be smart or pretty,
but not both — is reinforced by an inaccurate but well-established stereotype
of female scientists as somewhat unattractive women, almost non-sexual beings.

The cover photo for this story raised a few eyebrows in the newsroom, but
that's exactly my point. Why is it that smart women aren't taken seriously when
they get all decked out? Modern women should be free to strive for both goals —
to be sexy and smart.

I've often joked that what we really need to do to draw young women to science
is establish mandatory uniforms for all engineers. I was thinking something
like the ones on Star Trek.

They have that slender, glamorous yet strangely intelligent look. But all
joking aside, we need to make a concerted effort to show young women scientists
who also lead fulfilling lives in other ways. Be it through family, traveling
or hobbies, we need to counteract the belief that science — especially computer
science — is only for workaholics.

My husband is a computer engineer. I asked him what he and his friends thought
of the handful of girls in his program. He said that they always assumed the
girls in his program were rather exceptional. The men, he said, ranged from
just plain lazy to brilliant, but the girls were always smart and hard-working.
The girls also typically ranked very high in relation to the over-all class —
generally in the top 10.

Basic bell curve theory would suggest that, in terms of marks, we should see
some women at the top, some at the bottom and the bulk, smack in the middle.

But all we're seeing are the upper rung of achievers.

What happened to the average girls?

Well, they probably just aren't applying.

Studies show that girls tend to pursue subjects that get them the most
recognition.

So those with the average grades in science and math, the ones who are usually
overlooked as middle of the road, are abandoning science for subjects where
they believe they are more likely to shine.

I believe our own language tends to reinforce the idea that only the very best
women can make it in science and that our attempts to encourage young girls
with exceptional role models is really counter- productive.

Think about how we describe famous women in science. We tend to call them
extraordinary, heroes, championing the cause, striving onward despite
adversity. That doesn't sound very attainable, especially to a girl who
persistently underestimates her own ability.

While the stories of high achievers are inspiring, they need to be balanced
with stories from average women, in average technology jobs. A stream of
ridiculously successful role models reinforces the belief that only outstanding
women make it in science.

The role models we present to our children may be the only women in science
they ever know. I didn't know any female scientists growing up. Did you? If
your only role model is extraordinary and you think you're just average in
math, how high would you rank your chances of success? Would you even bother
applying to a science program?

Everyone always talks about what a poor student Albert Einstein was.

We need a female equivalent — lots of them. Women, alive or dead, who didn't
always get A's in school yet enjoyed a long career in science.

But we also need to ask ourselves why girls feel they are struggling in math
and sciences. Does our learning system contribute to their own lack of
confidence?

I believe that education today plays into our weaknesses — especially in the
last two years of high school.

Think back to your own classes in physics and chemistry. The classroom goes
from a series of experiments to a series of formulas. In Grade 9 you made
things pop, fizz and turn colours in test tubes. In Grade 12, you spend a whole
lot of time memorizing the rules about when electrons jump from one energy
level to another.

The classroom becomes increasingly axiomatic: more and more focused on
memorizing the rules than observation and discovery.

Mary Williams of Memorial University of Newfoundland outlines the problems with
our current education system quite effectively in a paper that is titled, A
Debate on Encouraging Women in Science and Engineering.

The basic idea behind axiomatic learning is that you start with an elementary
principle, or axiom, and through deductive reasoning you use that axiom to
prove more complex relationships.

There's a certain hierarchy to axiomatic learning, which is why people who
learn best this way are often called hierarchical learners.

Geometry is probably the most obviously axiomatic subject.

We start out with basic rules such as all right angles are equal to one
another. Then we use those rules to develop others, like the Pythagorean
theorem. And so on. It's like a string of axioms, each building on the one that
came before.

For axiomatic learners, the concept or rule is of primary importance — the
applications take a back seat. And that tends to be the way we teach older
students: by presenting the proofs first and the applications later, if at all.

Hence, pure axiomatic learners are the kinds of students who do exceptionally
well in tests or competitions. It's not that these students are necessarily
brighter; our current education system favours them.

Williams says that in schools today we tend to teach math, physics, and
chemistry according to the axiomatic tradition. She calls university the
"empire of the axiomatic" and says that the closer you get to graduating high
school, the more axiomatic the learning becomes.

I remember the axiomatic approach used at my high school. The teacher would
stand up and tell you the rule. Most of the time you had to take the rule at
face value — especially in Grades 12 and 13. Sometimes, you'd have a chance to
do an experiment. But the sole purpose of the experiment was to prove the rule
you were already told. If your results didn't add up, you were best-off using
the findings from someone else's experiment.

There was never time nor materials to try it over again, to see if there's some
kind of pattern emerging or if you can find out why it didn't work the first
time.

Unfortunately, most people aren't hierarchical learners. The majority of us
learn using the reverse strategy, by watching how things work and drawing
conclusions from our observations. It is called relational learning because it
puts the relationships first. Rules eventually come out of the experience.

How do you know if you're a relational learner in an axiomatic environment?

Williams suggests you ask yourself the following questions:

Were you a little slower in school, or would you simply skip over certain
lessons completely in an effort to catch up?

Did you question the legitimacy of the rules you were told?

Did you question why you even needed these rules in the first place?

If your answer is yes, then you're probably a relational learner.

I am a relational learner; my husband is an axiomatic learner. The difference
is so startling that every time we talk about my robots, one of us ends up
throwing their hands in the air and walking out in a huff.

But it wouldn't start out as a fight. Initially, my husband would look at the
robot, spout off a couple of rules about capacitors or resistors, and consider
the problem solved. I'd just be looking at him, rather perplexed, thinking,
"What the heck are you talking about?"

It's like we're speaking in two different languages. For a long time, I thought
this was because he was just smarter than I was and talking over my head.

Despite the fact that I'd built these robots without his help and knew them
inside and out, I assumed he had some kind of higher power that god gives to
engineers.

When we read Williams's study, we realized that it wasn't brain power that
separated us, just the way we learned things.

He understands the world based on rules that he inherently believes. I need to
come to those rules, in my own time, by checking to see how things actually
work in real life. I need to see it in action to be a believer.

Now that we realize the differences in our approach to learning, my husband
helps me by suggesting what parts of the circuits I should look at using my
multi-meter. By studying how the circuit works at various points, I can figure
out the problem. And I learn some of the rules along the way.

Are all women relational learners? No.

But studies such as one done at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., in the 1980s
suggest that most women are relational learners: as many as 93 per cent.

Most men are relational learners too. Seventy per cent of men, in fact, learn
best in a relational setting where they can draw conclusions from their
observations.

As luck would have it, only a small percentage of the population is axiomatic
learners. So our current education system for science favours the few and the
male: because about 80 per cent of axiomatic learners are men.

So how can we reassess our school system with that in mind?

In my ideal world, children would be assessed and reassessed every couple of
years to determine what kind of learner they are. There would be separate
streams for relational and axiomatic learners.

They'd have to cover the same material; they'd just do it in different ways.

I'm not convinced that relational learning has to be slower. That's a misguided
belief because relational learners tend to be slower in our axiomatic system. I
think that if rules are carefully reiterated after a student has identified
them for himself, we'll find that a single experiment actually provides far
more rules than it does in an axiomatic system, where it's basically one rule
per experiment.

It's all in the teaching: carefully pointing out the rules learned as a summary.

The problem with my ideal learning system is that it would cost more money.
We'd need more teachers, more materials and probably more field trips to
incorporate a truly relational experience.

So what can we realistically do in our classrooms today?

Perhaps the easiest change would be to simply state the rule after the
experiment is over every once in a while. This might show the relational
learners that science isn't just about rules and turn it into a more genuinely
creative process, even if the end goal is to teach them a rule.

Always explain why the rule matters and how it applies in the real world. Give
more than one example, because relational learners generally need the rule to
be reinforced by several experiences to really internalize it.

Recognize that some students who are doing poorly might benefit from some self-
guided study.

Start an after-class program for students who aren't doing well so they can use
the lab to conduct their own, albeit supervised experiments.

Encourage parents to buy a chemistry set or explore physics at home.

To do the most people the most good, we could just abandon hierarchical
learners — but I think that would be just as short-sighted as the system we
have now.

What we want is a mix of the two, so that both hierarchical and relational
learners have a chance to shine.

Not every girl is going to want to pursue science. My goal is not to push or
mislead girls into a career they won't enjoy, just to give them the opportunity
to explore.

The truth is, we might be expecting a little bit too much, too fast. It wasn't
so long ago that sexism was a perfectly normal occurrence and women in science
were basically ostracized.

And we could just wait, cross our fingers and hope that our daughters even out
the numbers a little. Maybe the next generation of computer scientists will
have a bit more estrogen.

But why wait when there are so many easy, obvious ways we can help young women
come into their own in science?

With a good dose of self-esteem, some parental interest and participation we
can show our girls just how good they can be at science.

And just get in as much relational learning as you can as a parent or teacher.
I'm thinking about making t-shirts that say, "I'm not slow, I'm relational."

Then we need to dispel the myths. Science is a career, not a death sentence and
all kinds of women get involved: women with children, women with friends, even
women who have great legs.

I still think of those Playboy bunnies as women in science somehow, and not
just the ones hanging in the physics lab. Polly Matzinger was a Playboy bunny.
She worked in the Denver Playboy Club in 1969. Now she has a doctorate and is
one of the world's leading immunologists.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Any girl can be pretty and smart.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Truth about Rape & Revenge

FEMINISM - The following video ("Man Down" by Rihanna) has raised some interesting controversy about the topic of revenge on rapists.



Naysayers of the video state things like "Promoting violence as a solution to violence is wrong" and "Think of the children!" and so forth.

Except children has nothing to do with this.

And violence, sadly, is often the only answer to violence. Its the reason police carry guns and batons. Its the reason why we have freedom fighters and defensive forces. Often violence is the only response that makes any sense.

And when it comes to rape the courts are often unable to pronounce guilt due to lack of evidence.

But the victim of the rape knows with absolute certainty. The victim becomes judge, jury and executioner if they feel revenge is the only way to achieve some semblance of justice.

And to some extent, prevention. Rapists typically don't stop at one rape. They keep raping. Once they've crossed that line they lose all respect for their victims.

And rape victims sometimes commit suicide. Even if they don't their lives will be irrevocably changed. How many lives can a rapist ruin if they go unpunished?

Speaking for myself I am an advocate of using a more thorough way of wringing the truth from the rapist (someone really needs to invent a better lie detector) and either castrating rapists or at very least sending them to a penal colony.

But for some women such punishments may not be enough. Their minds won't rest until they've sought their own personal revenge.

And for those of us who are naysayers I say to them: How do you know for certain you wouldn't do the same thing if you were raped and brutalized? How can you judge something when you've never experienced it yourself?

The truth is you don't know. You will never know unless it someday happens to you, at which point you will have to decide for yourself. Do you hide what happened? Do you go to the police in hopes that you might get justice? Or do you seek justice with your own hands?

And where is the line between justice and revenge? Are you doing it for your peace of mind or to protect the lives of other women who could become future victims of the rapist?

An analogy I would give is that of Batman.

Batman's parents were murdered. Batman's revenge was not to just hunt down the criminal, but all criminals. It takes a special kind of person to seek that kind of vigilante justice.

It would be exceptionally rare to find a person who looks beyond their own personal revenge and seek justice on behalf of all victims. But they're out there. They're not doing it with a mask or a cape either. They're doing it by raising awareness. They're doing it by teaching self defense classes. They're doing it by teaching women to stand up for their rights.

I would argue that is the true feminist way, using knowledge and experience to uplift and protect the lives of other women. Violence can be understandable when used for personal revenge, but true justice has be found in other ways.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Truth about Double Standards

FEMINIST - There are quite a few women out there who are expecting a double standard from their relationships.

ie. They want a man who treats them with respect and equality, but at the same time expects the man to be the sole breadwinner.

ie. I think it is ridiculous some women out there still expect the man to pay for their dinner/etc on a date.

#1. It makes you look like a gold digger.

#2. Its impolite.

#3. You should be independent and not dependent on the male for anything. If the male insists on paying, fine, let him have his ego trip, but don't expect him to pay all the time.

Applying this double standard of desiring equality and yet expecting the old treatment is backfiring and just creating more inequality. It backfires because the male either grows to resent your dependency or they expect sexual favours in exchange for your dependency. Its one or the other sadly. The male who can just give, not worry about it, and not expect anything in return is one in a billion.

Lets say you got on a date with a guy and he pays for the taxi, the meal, the movie tickets and drinks afterwards. In other words he pays for everything. He is EXPECTING SEX after the date.

Same goes with a marriage where the man is the sole breadwinner. If the woman is at home all the time what he is expecting is:

Food on the table.

A clean home to come home to.

Clean clothes.

Lots of sex regularly.

Essentially the housewife is a slave because in theory she has no life outside of the home. If she isn't performing her "wifely duties" in the bedroom then the man starts looking elsewhere for sex... secretaries, co-workers, affairs on the side. (And this is equally true for women sitting at home, bored and craving romance and sex on the side.)

Now it is true that at certain ages children can be a handful and it is wiser to have one parent stay at home to take care of the kids. But this task should be split equally between both parents so they have equal time to bond with their children. Its only blatant traditionalism that dictates the woman is the only one who can stay home and take care of the children.

Stay at Home Dads is a relatively new idea, but its a growing idea and one I feel deserves applause.

For women its simply not practical to be dependent on someone else for your finances. If the man ditches you and leaves you with nothing, what do you have to fall back on if you don't have any money of your own? It is far more practical to have your own career, your own money and be able to stand on your own two feet if the need ever arises.

"If you're going to wear the pants you have to pay for them yourself."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Christian Feminist lives Biblically for a Year

RELIGION - Rachel Held Evans describes herself as a Christian feminist and she has gone to great lengths over the last year to test out the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible.

The 30-year-old blogger and author from Dayton, Tennessee has spent a year doing the following...

She slept in a tent outside of her house while she was having her period (Leviticus 15: verses 19-33).

She praised her husband at the city gates (Proverbs 31: 23).

She made her own clothes (Proverbs 31: 22).

And she even spent some time on the roof contemplating her contentious ways. (“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a contentious woman in a whole house.” — Proverbs 21:9.)

Evidently the last one was more for fun and to give herself some time alone to think.

“It was sort of like doing penance,” she says. “It was part of submitting to my husband, so I would spend time on the roof just seeing what it’s like to live in a house with me, a contentious woman. Now obviously that’s not in the Bible; that one was a definitely a stunt of my own making.”

Evans lives in a small community in the American Bible Belt, was raised as an evangelical, and she wanted to explore the idea of traditional Biblical womanhood and its meaning in modern society.

The conflict between conservative Christian and liberal feminist values may seem disparate beliefs that would hardly mesh, but she was drawn to the task and has been blogging about her exploits. A book is forthcoming in Autumn 2012.

“I really enjoy the contrast, conflict and the almost dissonance in scripture about women. I find that kind of encouraging because there’s not a single mould that women need to conform to. Really there’s no such thing as one biblical model for womanhood,” she says. “People are still trying to put (women) into categories and we don’t all fit. That’s true for the women in the Bible, too. They didn’t all fit easily either. On one hand, you’ve got Peter telling women to have a gentle and quiet spirit and, on the other hand, you have Jael who drove a tent peg into a guy’s skull, which is not exactly gentle and quiet.”

Evans was inspired by A.J. Jacobs’ book "The Year of Living Biblically". She loved the book, but felt that it would be very different if it was written from a female perspective. Conversations in her local evangelical culture made her want to challenge some of the assumptions about the ideal of Biblical womanhood.

She didn’t embrace polygamy however, which was a reality for many women in scripture.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Truth About Women And Disability


Almost daily I hear friends and family tell me: “don’t stress”, don’t worry”, family will help you figure it out”. One thing that my friends can’t fully grasp is the effects of the socially imposed barriers that arise as a result of being a woman living with a disability. They find it difficult to relate to the very real circumstances we differently abled women face. These include feelings of isolation, unemployment, lack of easy access to available government services and more. It’s these manufactured societal attitudes which serve as a means of lowering ones’ self-worth thus disregarding the true essence of a female with a disability. In my opinion these truths are directly linked to the feminist notions around human rights, equality, low income standards and unemployment.

Being a young, university educated woman I too had aspirations of a successful career in Media and Communications. After five years of hard work like many women my age I attended a graduation ceremony where I received my diploma. Yet nothing prepared me for what was to come; years of struggling to find that job, countless interviews followed by rejection. One thing I was never told while in university was that my disability would dramatically lessen my chances for employment. However this is not simply about disability, these and other everyday barriers are being overcome by women who are perceived as visible minorities. More often than not this results in failure to access proper health care, controlled government assistance, social exclusion with minimal to no room for growth or self-advancement; which brings me to the idea of the invisible woman and the need to bridge the gap brought on by the social perception of the “acceptable norm” or normalcy.

The common societal argument is that any deviation from the “norm” should be medically or otherwise monitored, questioned or collectively frowned upon. Women (disabled women included), who do not fit the standard image of a professional, capable and independent individual should automatically be perceived as incapable, unable, and dependant; like the feminist movement, the disability movement as it relates to women, should focus on breaking down the many societal walls that create unfounded feelings of inferiority in us. It is this fear of being “socially perceived” or rather misperceived that prevents us, women in particular, from achieving our full potential. These misled ideas of dis-ability and the female embodiment are nothing but superficially levied social constraints that stand in the way of discovering the real the possibilities behind acceptance.

About two months ago I got married; I am a wife now, but also a dependant according to societal norms. I no longer receive financial support based on disability. My husband is my “primary” caregiver and although I now run a copywriting business; I am a dependant. My unstable income is seen as not enough to grant me the financial independence I crave. Despite my go-getter nature and an eagerness to get ahead, I know that in societal eyes, I will perhaps always be seen as someone who “needs help” from others, I will keep hearing words like: “you are not quite what we’re looking for”. There is a chance that my future children will be seen as children of a parent with a disability and the stigma that comes along with it.

The fact is, in this fast-paced world filled with constant societal pressures, perception is everything; more than anything else it is about that image of the perfect woman, the perfect, wife the perfect mother. Women like myself who have felt that pressure of knowing they will never fit the mold, also know this has to change. We all need to tell ourselves that we acknowledge that these societal norms are nothing but a way for others to shield themselves from that which they cannot explain. As women we need to stand up and let our voices be heard. Working towards a common norm where our collective differences are celebrated rather than judged is the key to personal and emotional freedom.

For more information on disability and feminism visit: http://disabledfeminists.com/blogroll

Also be sure to check out: http://www.feministezine.com/feminist/

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Truth about Rape & Sexual Assault

This post is a work in progress... the end result will be a chapter in my forthcoming book: Feminist Truths



If you've heard the old adage that rape isn't about sex, its about power, this is only partially true.



I would argue that rape is more about corrupt morality than anything else. Yes, the rapist abuses their power (whether it be physical strength or however they manage to abuse their victim), but the body of the rapist only does what the mind of the rapist tells it to do.



Therefore I think we need to look squarely at the mind of the rapist and consider what kind of morally corrupt person would rape another human being (not just women, although that is the obvious first choice of many men).



#1. We have to understand that rapists typically don't target women who are confident, because confident women fight back. Rapists typically go after small women who are physically weak.



#2. Rapists look for women who are "mouse-like" in terms of their lack of confidence. They see these women as less of a threat and more easy to control mentally. A less confident woman is less likely to go to the police afterwards. (Most rape victims never tell anyone. They are more likely to tell a best friend or a priest than go to the police.)



#3. It has nothing to do with how a woman dresses (date rape is a whole other topic I will get to later). A woman who dresses with confidence is less likely to be raped.



#4.



#5.



I'll add more later... bed time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Anti-Feminists should be Pro-Choice

ABORTION - In theory anti-feminist men (who constantly complain about having to pay child support and spousal support for children they sired) should be leading the fight for the right to legal abortions. Not just in Europe or North America, but globally.



And the reasoning is simple...



Men who fear being a parent and the responsibilities that come with it (ie. marriage, child support, etc.) should be in the front line of people asking / demanding that safe and legal abortions become a global phenomenon, and that a woman's right to choose an abortion (and it is a CHOICE) should be respected in the same way we respect anti-slavery laws.



Without that choice and that right the woman becomes a slave.



It is true there are men out there who are anti-feminists and anti-choice, but they're often (perhaps even always) coming from a religious perspective. They would very quickly change their minds if they had some children out of wedlock and started paying child support. (In other words they're hypocrites. They might claim they would support the child, but many of them would likely end up being deadbeat dads.)



And that is truth of the matter.



Criminalizing Women



Every Woman's Right to Choose



Wombs for Rent

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Truth about Feminist Videos on YouTube

Yeehaw! The following is some examples of feminist videos I found on YouTube, mostly ones which mention the word 'truth' somewhere. Maybe I will do another post later with feminist justice as the theme.







































There is also a whole slew of anti feminist videos, but I shan't be posting none of that garbage because they don't need the advertising.



There's also "response" videos, which are basically just video bloggers arguing back and forth. Nobody wins in those arguments because the bigots have already made up their minds.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Women's Unemployment in Britain

Unemployment figures out today show that women’s unemployment in Britain is now at its highest level in more than 30 years – 1.05 million women are now unemployed, the highest figure since May 1988. More than half a million women - 512,700 - are now claiming job seekers allowance - the highest figure since April 1996.



In related news...



A new report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission is warning it will take another 60 years – or 12 general elections - to achieve an equal number of women MPs.



The report, "Sex and Power", also found that the number of women in the Cabinet has fallen to its lowest level in a decade. Women are similarly absent from the top tables of media, business, the judiciary, the arts and the education sector.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Truth about Bigots

The following is an excerpt from one of the chapters from my forthcoming book "Feminist Truths". This is not the final draft of the chapter.



A bigot is a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, often exhibiting intolerance / animosity towards others whom they consider different usually on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, inter-regional prejudice, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Often they have particularly ideology.



In the case of feminism the anti-thesis therefore is a sexist bigot, a person who is intolerant and prejudiced against women... a "woman hater".



The origin of the word bigot in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and referred to at the time a "religious hypocrite". The exact origin of the word is unknown, but it may be from the German phrase "bei gott"



Etymology aside, sexist bigots are essentially why there is a feminist movement in the first place.



Bigotry is largely a learned behaviour.



We could debate the causes as being influenced by parents, family members, friends, peers, teachers, past lovers, etc... Lots of blame to go around. Although stubborness is often considered a hereditary trait, nobody is born a bigot. Parents teach their kids a variety of behavioural things by accident / design and once children are imprinted with these skills / habits they grow.



Thus a father who hates women will often make sexist comments and impressionable children pick up on these things. By the time they are teenagers these children are either following in their parental footsteps, rebelling against their parents, or both.



One might argue therefore that sexism will never be eradicated simply because bigotry will be passed from one generation to the next... however the degree to which it is passed on is lessened. Each generation is less sexist than the one before because they are also being influenced by friends, teachers, peers and society in general.



As society becomes more focused on equality for women and men, bigotry is reduced in incremental amounts.



We can see this more dramatically overseas in Africa and Asia where feminism is growing at a faster rate and will someday catch up to feminism in Western Culture.



We also know that bigots are being left behind. They are less likely to get married, if they do produce children there are more mothers who are willing to be single mothers now (thanks to government enforced child support payments), which means bigots aren't passing on their faulty beliefs unto their children as often as they used to.



So the good news is that bigots are an endangered species, but will probably always be there.



To some extent we should be secretly thankful to bigots. They keep feminists on their toes and give us something to be angry about. Anger can be an inspiring thing when used in a righteous way.



I'd argue however that you can't let that anger become hate however. That leads down the path of Zealotry / male hating. (*cough cough, hate leads to the Dark Side*)



As feminists we have to be better than the bigots. We have to stand for Truth, Justice and Equality... and to do so we need to behave with honour and virtue without personal bias, unlike the bigots who are ruled only by their hate and prejudices.

The Truth about Zealotry

The following is an excerpt from one of the chapters from my forthcoming book "Feminist Truths". This is not the final draft of the chapter.



Not all women are feminists.



Some women, sadly, are zealots. More specifically, they're male hating zealots, and they will use lies, trickery, subterfuge and any number of unethical things to accomplish things which have nothing to do with equality, but are all about hatred and revenge against the male half of the species.



These zealots give feminism a bad reputation and its one we have to live with.



Now you might wonder how they ended up this way.



The truth is these women have suffered and been traumatized, usually the result of bad relationships and they have become (for lack of a better phrase) "damaged goods". Any male readers out there will know what I am talking about.



We're talking about women who have been traumatized so many times in relationships that they've lost the ability to trust, to love and instead have become consumed with hatred of men.



Now I don't have any statistics of what percentage of women are zealots. Based on the percentage of women who suffer sexual abuse during their lifetime (one in three) and based on the number of women who have been in bad relationships (ie. divorced) we can estimate that the number of women who are 'male hating zealots' is actually quite high.



I should note however that zealotry doesn't mean they believe in female superiority. Based on personal experience I would say there is a very tiny percentage of women who believe women are superior. Almost nil.



I should also note that zealots still believe in equality, but from a very warped perspective and with an 'any means necessary' approach which rubs people the wrong way and thus gives them a bad reputation. The zealots might claim to be "Radical Feminists", but unless they can actually quote historical examples of radical feminists I think they're just bullshitting you.



I believe in the practical approach to feminism. Think with your brain, not your bruised ego. If you are going to marching or doing any kind of feminist activism you need to be smart about it and thinking about optics.



ie. If you behave like a belligerent idiot people will treat you as such.



But if you behave calmly, rationally and still stand up for women's rights then you are a shining example of feminism in action. You want to be Lady Liberty lighting the way to equality... not a male-hating Amazon and poster child for the anti feminist movement.



Its all about leading by example. You have to be better than the people who stoop to such levels.



I would argue that some women out there need to examine their own morality of what is right and wrong. If they foster goodness and discipline themselves by keeping equality on their mind (and not being distracted by anger) then they will be able to build upon and create a strong sense of morality which will be like a lighthouse to them in the dark storms of patriarchal society.



If you lose your way and get drawn down the road of anger (and I am sorry for paraphrasing Yoda from Star Wars), well then anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, suffering leads to the Dark Side. Oooooo!



Let feminism and equality be your guiding light. Going down the path of zealotry will only cause you more anguish than its actually worth.



Imagine 2 women with the exact same boyfriend. It turns out he is cheating on them both. Worse, he ends up stealing both of their rent money / cleaning out their bank accounts and the 2 women end up having to move in with friends.



'Woman A' forgives and forgets. She chalks it down as a lesson learned and will be more cautious about who she shares her bank account info with. Years later she doesn't even remember whatshisname's name.



'Woman B' bears a grudge, not just against the jerk who stole her money, but also against 'Woman A' whom she blames for stealing her boyfriend away. Over time and more bad relationships 'Woman B' begins to hate and despise all men, becoming what men commonly call "damaged goods".



But Woman B doesn't stop there. When she expresses herself in some therapeutic way (ie. art with castrated men) it ends up becoming pretty clear that she has become a zealot.



I believe however (because I've seen it happen) that zealotry can be cured over time.



I will cite the example of Canadian artist Victoria Van Dyke.



When not even a teenager Victoria Van Dyke was used as a body shield by her own father in a police stand off. Later when she was placed in a foster home she was raped and sexually abused for years by her foster brother and foster father. Its no surprise that she lost all trust for men. Suicidal and suffering from severe depression Victoria was in a mental asylum for many years before finally being declared fit enough to re-enter society. During that time however she produced a wide array of poetry and artwork dealing with her own trauma and also her desire to castrate sex criminals.



However with time even damaged goods like Victoria Van Dyke recovered. She doesn't write poetry or make art any more, but is in university. As to the reason why she recovered I have here an excerpt from an email she sent me:



"I realized that the stress was getting to me. The constant stress just seemed to erupt like a volcano and I found the more I dwelled on the unhappy thoughts of my abused teen years the unhappier I became. I needed a break from being unhappy all the time and one day I just decided no more."



"You might say I went cold turkey. I just stopped hating myself. I stopped making art, stopped writing. I threw out all my depressing clothing. I only buy clothing I consider happy looking now. I took up exercising and going outside."



"I have more friends now too. People I can actually talk to. I still talk about my past, but its more like a footnote now. I started making art again recently, and I might make my own website sometime to promote my art and poetry. The big difference however is that the stuff I make now is much more happy and sensual. I get more joy and release from making art which makes people laugh."



"You might say its all about thinking positively, but I think it was really that one day where I finally decided enough was enough. I was tired of the sexual abuse from years ago messing with my life. I just wanted to get on with my life and find happiness."



- Victoria Van Dyke




And there you have it, a reformed zealot who suffered years of sexual abuse. It broke her down emotionally until she simply couldn't take it any more and she had a mental epiphany.



Sadly I don't think many zealots have that mental epiphany. They end up hating and blaming men for the rest of their lives.



But maybe, if we're lucky, a few will read this chapter and realize that the path of hate isn't helping them and they will learn from Victoria's example.



A true feminist doesn't hate men. She learns to live with them and tries to teach them the truth about equality.

How to Pick a Fight with Sexist Pigs

Recommendation #1. Never pick a fight with a super famous celebrity. Why? Because when and if they Google their name your website will be lost in a long list of websites both praising them and dissing them. Plus super famous celebrities are being dissed constantly so you'd really be piling on the bandwagon and its unnecessary.



Thus ideally what you want to do is pick a fight with someone who is vaguely famous or semi famous, someone who is an egomaniac and Googles their own name regularly.



Recommendation #2. Research your target. Don't just pick them because they stuck their foot in their mouth more than once. You should try and determine how whether this person is a genuine scumbag or whether they just maybe a whoops.



ie. Comedian Michael Richards losing his temper at hecklers and using the N word. That was a BIG whoops and he later apologized for it. Another example is Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Israel rant, blaming Israel for why there is war in the Middle East, something which he later apologized for. These are extreme examples of sticking your foot in your mouth.



No, what I mean is you should only go after people who are unrepentant sexist pigs. Meaning they don't apologize, they refuse to admit their guilt and they instead continue to consistently make sexist comments.



One way to determine who these people are is to visit anti feminist websites or Facebook groups and track which people are saying bad things about women or feminists.



Recommendation #3. Stay local if you can. ie. The local mayor, city councilor, MP or pseudo-celebrity makes a much better target.



ie. I would love to go after Lord Maurice Glasman (British House of Lords) for making a variety of comments about immigrants in the UK, but he hasn't said anything about women so I am picking my battles here.



Recommendation #4. Don't bother with them if you don't REALLY despise them. You will get bored quickly of arguing / picking a fight with someone who is kinda blah in the first place.



Recommendation #5. Email them directly and keep copies of all their responses. You are looking for the angry belligerent tidbit where they show their true colours, but remember to...



Recommendation #6. Always stick to the TRUTH! Your argument against them has to be credible. Don't go making up phony quotes. Honesty is the best policy.



Recommendation #7. Video is even better. Catch them on video using the C word or something like that and their a** is grass!



Recommendation #8. Avoid excessive name calling and losing your temper. Keep your argument based on reason, logic and facts. Its much harder to argue against facts.\\







Recommendation #9. Remember your goal is to make this discussion public. ie. A message board may be a good place to start.



Recommendation #10. There are pros and cons to going after someone who is stubborn. Pro, they're likely to say a variety of stupid things out of anger / sheer stubbornness. Con, this isn't an argument you will win because they will never admit defeat. Your goal therefore is to bombard them with enough facts and well reasoned arguments that they eventually give up talking to you, even though they refuse to concede they were wrong.



Notes



While it is sometimes fun to ridicule their poor grammar / spelling / lack of brain power, don't keep bringing up their lack of intelligence. Throwing insults won't win the argument. Your goal is to unveil their bigotry so that other people can see what they're doing is wrong and then make their own decision whether that person deserves to be ostracized.



If they send you hatemail first (ie. they are picking a fight with you) try and research who they are before responding to their hatemail.



Don't say anything you might later regret. If you stick to the truth you can't go wrong.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Truth about Child Slavery in America

These videos show some very interesting statistics about child slavery and prostitution in America.











Abducted Girl: An American Sex Slave is an indie film looking for producers / $$$ so the film can be made properly. I think it has potential.



What is a real shame is that the average Hollywood producer would rather be making be making an action blockbuster with no moral value than making a film with actual substance and purpose.



The closest thing is the Liam Neeson film "Taken", which points the finger at Europe when in truth America has more than its share of child slavery.







Another film on this topic I'd recommend is the 2000 film "Suspicious River", which shows the slippery slope of prostitution into slavery.

The Truth about Anti Feminist Hate Speech

FEMINIST - If you've ever read someone's blog post, misogynistic essay or YouTube rant supporting anti-feminism or violence against women you know how annoying and infuriating it can be to think there is very little you can do to prevent such horrific hate speech from being spread over the internet.



And the saddest part is that such hate speech is really just a bunch of lies and misinformation, often depicting feminism as some kind of female supremacy movement. ie. http://bit.ly/oo5paM



Well I am here today to tell you there is a way to fight back against such websites. Here is some useful tips on:



HOW TO FIGHT ANTI-FEMINISM



#1. Blogspot and similar free websites have Terms of Service which prohibit the posting and promotion of hate and/or violence. In the case of Blospot all you have to do is click the "Report Abuse" link at the top of the page, follow the instructions and submit the website where you saw hate speech. (You can also report nudity, exploitation of minors, illegal activity, copyright violations, etc. Do not submit false claims however, it won't help.)



#2. YouTube (and similar video websites) also have the option to report videos for hate speech. On YouTube you need to click Share, and then click "report this video as inappropriate". ie. Today I reported a video on YouTube which compared feminists to the KKK.



#3. Independent websites (the server is owned by the user)... there isn't much we can do about them. Its their own website and their own server so we can't do much about it, can we. Or is there? If you visit Alexa.com you can visit the entry for that website and place a negative review. If the website in question is also a company (or the person who owns it works for a specific company) you can also post negative reviews via Google Maps / Google Places.



#4. NEVER, EVER link directly to the website you are trying to get rid of. Linking to the website is just free promotion for that website. Refer to the site by name only or use a bitly.com shortened version of their URL, and even then I recommend only posting it like "http://bit.ly/oo5paM" and not as a clickable URL.



#5. Post responses to that website or video. Fight back against their argument using reason, logic, facts, statistics with references (don't make up false statistics), quotes by famous personages. Refute their claims. ie. If they are saying things like "feminists hate porn", inform them that this is inaccurate. There are way more pro-sex feminists than there are anti-sex feminists.



#6. Don't bother emailing or responding to emails from anti-feminists. They won't listen to reason and will talk until they are blue in the face out of sheer stubbornness. Don't waste your time on people who have already gone down the road of hate.



#7. Don't fight fight hate with hate. You have to be better than them. Speak and write things calmly, avoid using caps or bold text (use italics instead) and explain things logically and honestly. Anyone who can read between the lines and isn't narrow minded will be won over by your calm and logical argument. Anyone who is thinking with hate on their mind is a waste of time. Its the people who are open minded you need to win over to the side of truth, justice and equality.



The truth is there are many way you can fight back against anti-feminist hate speech. It just takes calm and affirmative action.



See also Dealing with Anti-Feminism







NOTE: Normally I am against censorship, but when it comes to hate speech we have to stand up for truth, justice and equality.

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