idiothole: (chillin')
For those blissfully unaware, there are two strands of "men's movement" as I see it in Finland today. There is the academic strand of Critical Men/Masculinity Studies, essentially a strand of Gender Studies that takes after the critical understanding of gender and how gender forms socially and applies these theories specifically to men, men's relationships (with women, children, other men), men & violence against women and other men. This is the one that parses how patriarchal society and its expectations not only harms women but also men, forcing them to adapt to ideas of dominant masculinity in the same way as women are trying to fit feminine ideals that exist in society. Patriarchy makes distant fathers and can rob a man from closeness to his own family, the very family patriarchy dictates he ought to work for.

Like Betty Friedan noted as she dissected the (white suburban American middle-class) housewife institution, nobody benefits from the arrangement. Not the man, not the woman, and not the children.

So that's one strand.

Then there's another strand, who hasn't as much as seen the vast literature of feminist classics, both old and new, at the library, hasn't read a single essay online, and probably hasn't even consulted a woman on her feelings on gender politics/ideals/roles/norms.

This men's movement simply sees feminism as an affront to gender equality because feminism has that pesky history of looking at, ugh, dare I say it, women. What about teh menz???? What about teh menzzz?????

Look here, feminists will say. Ours is a varied tradition that encompasses a vast amount of differing views and viewpoints throughout its history. Look at first wave feminism, look at the second way. Look at black feminism, post-colonial feminism, lesbian feminism, transfeminism, look at the critique that feminism does onto itself, look at the deconstruction of biological sex and social gender, look at the way that post-modern feminist theory has taken these concepts apart and found new ways of looking at it, completely taking out the idea of a simple gender binary. Look at equality efforts to make legislation catch up to the times with regards to LGBTQ individuals' rights.

But primarily feminism is a reaction to a phenomenon that is older than feminism - whether you want to call it patriarchy or whatever. It's a reaction to a concept that hasn't allowed women a voice. It's a reaction made by women because men didn't think the issue of women not being able to work certain jobs or earn or vote or own property or inherit money or go out on their own an important task to tackle.

Gets longer, continued behind cut. )
idiothole: press gang icon by me. (Default)
So I come home late last night after a night out in my non-slutty Halloween costume (poor princess - just a tiara with pretty unglam clothes!) and happen upon this article about Stephen Fry talking about how bad straight men have got it because women are prudes don't like sex as much as men. I was pretty drunk but still angry, and had a 140-character rage and decided to go to bed.

This morning I wake up and decide to re-read the article, thinking perhaps I misjudged it.

No, still as douchey as last night. According to Fry (who I quite like in general and love on QI, despite unfollowing his dull Twitter account), straight women are grossed out by men and so they don't want sex and so straight men will never reach the dizzying heights of sexual pleasure as enjoyed by gay men, who all like sex a lot and get to enjoy it together, unoppressed by the constraints of straight female desire (or lack thereof).

Long rant is long. )

So in a nutshell: I am disappoint. :|
idiothole: (kick. ass. die. young.)
I have a Women's Studies course on intersectionality which is pretty fascinating. All my reading of feminist and anti-racist blogs has made me very familiar with the terminology but it's not all things I've learned previously.

Last time we watched Precious in class, and our assignment was to think about "significant markers" or statutes that Precious has in the movie. I began jotting down during watching and the list got very long very fast.

child/teenager (depending on your viewpoint - nevertheless, she's not considered an adult who can live independently at the beginning of the film)
doesn't fit into beauty standards
close to illiterate
dependent on welfare

We were also asked to think about intersections of these statuses in different situations. Obviously in the American context, black and poor far too often co-exist - slummification or whatever it's called in English, the structural racism. Precious is sexually harassed - because she's female, because she's black and partly because she's overweight and doesn't fit beauty standards (because the mindset is, she should take it as a compliment). She is raped and she is blamed for it, and unable to stop it from happening, thanks to many statuses that weaken her (age, gender, race, looks, weight, poverty).

Our teacher warned that while thinking about this might seem easy in the beginning, it will quickly become more challenging, and I definitely noticed this. There are situations in the movie where a lot of these factors contribute, but also situations that Precious overcomes tremendously, thanks to her own fighting power, nurtured by the teacher she gets to know.

It goes from a horribly depressing story to one of absolute triumph, unimaginable by my comfortable, privileged white middle-class existence in a relatively fair, relatively equal and relatively safe Nordic welfare state.

It is strange, and I look forward to the class discussing the film next week. This course isn't going to be a cake walk.


Some things I've thought about this week..

1. Is a devout Muslim man any more or less likely to be a closeted bi-/homosexual than a devout Christian man? Does the different cultural background mean a thing in this?

(My gut feeling to the first question is no. My answer to the second is 'probably' but the ways in which it manifests remain a mystery to me.)

2. How Jewish is a secular, atheist Jewish identity?

(I don't have an answer for this, nor do I really require one, just something that's been on my mind. I'm a non-religious person brought up in a Christian society, so I've always been really out of touch with how people define themselves through religion - the same as me through my non-religion? Or differently? I'm guessing the latter. Mine is a non-committal to anything, a shrug but with a willingness to learn about others. I don't know, it's strange.)
idiothole: (it happened during several nights)
It's interesting following Sally Bercow on Twitter. Sally's twitter bio is simple and tells you everything you need to know; Labour activist, does the odd bit of broadcasting & writing, mum of 3. Doesn't answer to Mrs Speaker.

She happens to be the wife of John Bercow, who's currently the Speaker of the House of Commons (in the UK parliament). He's also the Conservative MP for Buckingham, but of course currently tied by the impartiality of the Speaker's chair.

Sally doesn't answer to Mrs Speaker, which sends out a clear message; she's married to a man, but isn't married to his position, or the professional limitations of his position (such as impartiality). So she's vocally, fiercely Labour, and outspoken about her past life (including alcoholism and one night stands). She's feminist, regularly refers to the right-wing paper The Daily Mail as The Daily Fail or The Fail, and comes out against Tory policies.

Thanks to all of these facts, she's got haters. She typically refers to them as Fail readers or Tory trolls, which a lot of them no doubt are, but some are just angry that she exists. That she's a woman who benefits from her husband's job in terms of publicity but isn't limited by it, and doesn't feel like she needs to represent him in any way shape or form, or shut up about her views. She calls out her haters on it, regularly, and rightly calls them misogynist.

gets a bit lengthy. )
idiothole: (chillin')
good girls are happy and satisfied
I won't stop asking, until I die
good girls are sexy, like every day
I'm only sexy when I say it's okay

robyn, "who's that girl?"
idiothole: (chillin')
1. So I'm surfing a lot of Pepper/Tony movieverse fic because LOVE and also? LOVEEEE. And I just ran into a massive, hugely rec'ed (according to delicious tags) fic that's five parts and I was like, "oh what's this?" and it's a genderswap that turns the pairing into slash and casts Pepper as male.

Which I suppose could be, I don't know, kind of interesting and certainly looks to be for some who loved the fic but for myself, I just

(A fic where Pepper woke up as a dude one morning and she and Tony were already dating and Tony would have issues, or Tony wouldn't have any issues at all and Pepper would have issues with how little issues Tony had and comedy ensues - that would've been something I'd be really interested in. But a fic where Pepper is, from the get go, male. I don't know. It just rids something essential from the dynamic. And gets rid of a Significant Awesome Canon Female, which is sad because it's so rare. But whatever, I won't begrudge people who dig it, not my issue.)

2. But a fic I really, really enjoyed so much and that was friggin' brilliant in all accounts is this one:

For today or the rest of my life by [ profile] calicokat - Iron Man movieverse, Pepper/Tony, Pepper/OMC, NC-17. No spoilers for Iron Man 2.

This is deliciously long, Pepper point-of-view fic that just delves deep into her professional and personal lives and looks at her job and how she values it. It has her characterized with this totally awesome no-nonsense attitude with regards to Tony, while still being believably in love with him, and carrying out a relationship with an original character. I normally dislike OC's but I recognize they can work in context and here it really works and serves a purpose towards the whole story. Also? It gets pretty friggin' hot in places.

Even though the story has been made AU by Iron Man 2, it is SO SO SO worth reading if you like Pepper or like the pairing or just want some really good Iron Man fic.

3. I kiiiiind of want to talk about Pepper in Iron Man 2 now despite the fact nobody will ever probably read this but me.

i am cutting this for definite spoilers. )

idiothole: press gang icon by me. (type-writers & deadlines)
1. Fandom feminists misconstrue things and always focus on the irrelevant.

An approximate quote from a friend when discussing what I now call The Moffat Paradox (though only inside my head). The Moffat Paradox is the thing I've been struggling with as of late, when seeing some serious hate hurled at the man who is arguably my favourite writer on television, period (dude's written two of my all-time favourite TV shows, ones I've watched and rewatched countless times) for some of his off-page comments. I say off-page because even though Steven Moffat says some douchey things in interviews every now and then, which has caused some people (particularly in the Doctor Who fandom as I understand it) to label him an awful misogynist, on-page (in the shows he writes) I don't see..

On-page? The man writes complex, awesome, lovable female characters, far better than a lot of fandom favourites, in my personal opinion. Look at Amy. Look at Lynda Day (Sam, Tiddler). Hell, look at Coupling (a view that some may strongly disagree with - "these characters are just shrill stereotypes of women!" I've heard, and yes, but look at the men, they're just as much stereotypes, they're just as ridiculous). Are there problems in his writing? In my view, in the same way as there a problems with all writing, if you look close enough. I don't see it, and even if I go looking for it, I don't tend to find much.

So what gives? I don't know. Privilege? But I don't particularly care. I just care about the writing, I just care about getting these fantastic characters who I adore. I still want my Press Gang movie.

And that's where my second problem comes in, kind of. Because I feel pressured to become an apologist for Moffat, and that really upsets those who find him Enemy of the Gender number uno. And yet, isn't this just one viewpoint among many? The way I see it, there isn't feminism - there's feminisms. I'm not sure how mainstream this point of view is but it basically comes from the fact that the feminist movement has always been splintered by differing views on what it actually is. There's the objections to the exclusion of WoC, transwomen etc - they have to create their own feminism because the middle-class, white mainstream feminism won't accomodate them or further their goals. But there's also other feminisms, radical, liberal, third-wave. I'm no expert. It bears mentioning, though, that we come from different feminist traditions. For example, Finnish feminist history is radically different from the American one. We got voting rights early on (even had seats in the parliament), we never had the hausfrau institution as largely as the US did (and no Feminine Mystique to liberate us from it) and Finland obviously never had slaves or racial segregation.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I sometimes wonder about the homogenizing effect of the so-called fandom feminism. Are we in agreement most of the time? Should we be?

I get a little defiant when people infer I'm a Moffat apologist because I don't think of the man as The Big Bad. I'm not apologizing for his comments - but I'm still stating my case, and I refuse to let others' opinions affect how I rate my entertainment. Or what female characters I find awesome.

Something that always resonated with me strongly was somebody saying, "You can't shame or look down on women for liking what they like, even if it doesn't reflect the so-called feministically acceptable parameters."

And that's where I get a little defiant. So my viewpoint isn't correct? Am I a bad feminist now? Fuck that noise, I've got the same right as everybody else - I critique when I see something worth critiqueing, I speak out when I see something objectionable. (Note: this is regarding feminism. Things like racist stereotypes, questionable portrayals of PoC, I obviously as a white chick shut up and listen. I recognize my lack of authority on that subject.)

So I reject that category. I'm not an apologist because I don't apologize, or try to excuse his comments - I just know I personally care more for what's happening on the show. And Amy wearing a mini-skirt or being a kissogram are no great flaws for me, when the character is otherwise feisty and quick-witted and fun.

(The next thoughts will be shorter, promise.)

2. I observe this guy in a female-dominated fandom space (I say fandom space, not fandom, because I think fandom as a whole can be huge and sprawling and uncontainable - this particular space is noticeably female-dominated). I can see his discomfort. It comes out in small comments about fangirl sexuality, or how he the straight dude should be the ultimate judge of female beauty, not the girls of straight or bi-curious nature. And I wonder why this is. Is it the first time he's in a female-dominated space? The other males in it don't seem to be the same at all. Is it age? Political views? Whatever it is, it's interesting.

3. I hate being talked to like I'm a guy, but in the sense that it's assumed I'm a guy, because male's the norm, right? And then, always after the comma or after a breath and in another sentence, or a minute later, "or if you're a chick.." like that was the option you once had, and you went for chick instead of cultural norm the dude. I get it's about key demographics but for once I'd prefer there to be no assumption. And when I recognize there's no assumption, it's like a breath of fresh air.

It really shouldn't be.

4. Finnish has no grammatic gender. I see the English-speaking fandom sometimes bend themselves backwards to find hir and zir and whatever have you, so the language wouldn't rule the genders, because 'she' is just a 'he' with an 's' in front of it. It's strange. I don't know how much language matters in gender issues. I've studied languages where I've had to define my own gender - Hindi for example - by my choice of verb form and adjective gender. That's been admittedly a little weird (I've always considered myself female, don't get me wrong but it's never coloured every sentence I speak of myself). But I never thought of 'she' as lesser than 'he', as deriative of 'he'. I just thought 'she' was a damn beautiful word.

But it is strange, to have grown up knowing a language where gender comes out in nouns signifying people (nainen/mies - woman/man, tyttö/poika - girl/boy etc), not in pronouns or verbs. It doesn't mean a Finnish mental landscape is genderless. I wrote a short story where I never used the main character's name, only referring to them as "hän" (genderless pronoun equivalent of he/she). But even as I typed away, I began reflecting the character's behavior against which gender they would be -- and eventually settled on female. In my head, gender existed and when readers - if readers - would read it, gender would come alive in their heads as well, I believe (it might take a longer while for them, though). And I wish I could tell you there's a void of gender polarity in our heads, in our culture, but there really isn't. There's two genders in the Finnish language (even if they don't always show themselves), and any understanding of gender ambiguity has to be learned.

There's really no concluding thought on this, just think it's interesting that the politics of language have made this such a poignant issue in English. I don't look down on it, I really don't. I just know that sexism exists even if you remove those linguistic things.
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