Category Archives: Women’s Rights

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) On Planned Parenthood

 

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So, apparently there are categories of rape.

Well, this happened. In what can only be described as pandering to the Old White Man lobby, the GOP has decided that rape is, well, too broad a term. But apparently women didn’t like that and fought back. And so the “forcible rape” wording of the Hyde Amendment disappeared.

Mother Jones describes what made Chris Smith, the representative who decided that date rape and incest and statutory rape aren’t rape-y enough to be called rape, retract his wording.

The GOP effort to rewrite the meaning of rape incited a Twitter campaign of protest (using the hashtag #dearjohn). Editorial pages and columnists protested. Progressive groups initiated a crusade to kill the bill. And The Daily Show, of course, got in the act (around 9:15) too. MoveOn.org launched a petition against the bill, saying Smith’s legislation would “set women’s rights back by decades…As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape—a lack of consent does.” EMILY’s List, issued its own petition, declaring war on the bill and one of its most prominent proponents: Speaker of the House John Boehner. Its website, BoehnersAmerica.org, urged “Boehner and his cronies to stop using rape victims as political pawns.” The group said, “it was known from the beginning that Boehner and his boys would fight to take away women’s freedoms whenever possible.”

Smith’s bill did unsettle some GOPers. Differentiating between types of rape, Politico reports, befuddled Republican aides. “Such a removal would be a good idea, since last I checked, rape by definition is non-consensual,” one GOP aide says.

Well, I’m glad they’re on the same page as us when it comes to the definition of rape.

Maybe when a man slips a drug into a woman’s drink, and she can’t control her body when they have sex, that doesn’t seem violent. But you tell that to a woman who has been impregnated by a man who took advantage of her. You tell her that what she experienced was not rape but rather “rape-ish,” to quote the Daily Sho

And the thing is, this legislation will still disenfranchise women if it goes through, even if the word “forcible” isn’t attached to it. It will still make it even harder for lower-income women and women of minorities to get safe abortions. Maybe Chris Smith doesn’t have to worry about affording an abortion, but that doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

Also, just an administrative note: I’ll be blogging for Alan Colme’s website, Liberaland. If you want to support this awkward little kid, you can read my first article here.

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Women's Rights

Cry Me a River: The Politics of Tears

Definition of sexism, according to Merriam Webster:

  1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex
  2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Most of the time, what we identify as sexism is directed at women. Our society is built on constructed roles, on classification. And one way society classifies its members is by gender. Gender roles have a great impact on the lives of all people but are more clearly defined when under the public scrutiny.

Liberals and conservatives had substantive problems with Hillary Clinton’s policies, but apparently substance puts a foul taste in the media’s collective mouth. So we were bombarded with bullshit about Clinton’s “sartorial slip-ups” and being “too emotional, too sensitive, or too weak” because, hey, she’s a woman, and these are the things we need to watch in women.

My mom was a huge Hillary supporter in 2008. Now, I have problems with Hillary Clinton. But I can guarantee that those problems have nothing to do with whether or not she wears boxy suits. Women in politics are treated horribly by the media. The idea is that a woman must be simultaneously tough and soft, beautiful and well-dressed. And she mustn’t cry, because that’s a sign that she’s too weak to handle public office.

Crying is, in essence, equated to weakness. And which gender is traditionally the crying kind, according to the socially constructed role? Women, of course! So it is socially unacceptable for men, the opposite of women, to cry. Because crying is weakness.

So when John Boehner cried on Election Night, everyone went all what the fuck? Partly because it was sort of obvious that the guy was drunk or something, and partly because we’re not used to seeing men cry in public, whether or not the tears were real. But it became a meme, John Boehner: the Republican in touch with his feminine side! And it was funny, right?

But why? Why was it funny when John Boehner, who is already quite the character, starts to cry? Because it’s not normal, according to society. Men just don’t cry. We’re having a debate on sexism in the progressive movement right now due to the Julian Assange rape accusations, but few people are talking about the hypocrisy of mocking John Boehner’s crying.

Boehner is a mockable guy. He’s got the strangest complexion I’ve ever seen, he’s a blatantly corrupt guy, and his name is BOEHNER. But making fun of John Boehner for crying  just because he’s “showing his emotional side” reinforces traditional gender roles.

Wonkette wrote about John Boehner’s interview on 60 Minutes, saying that “thanks to his stage mom standing off camera, yelling at him to cry on cue, he didn’t disappoint.” Now, Wonkette isn’t meant to be taken all that seriously. It’s along the lines of Gawker and Jezebel, etc., but they are liberal. However, this really bothered me. It’s the idea that a man can’t cry, that he needs his mom to help him cry. Why wasn’t his dad standing off stage?

Then that whorish glossy, the New York Times, ran a piece by Gail Collins that detailed the new speaker of the House who “weeps a lot.”

“He is known to cry,” the outgoing speaker, Nancy Pelosi, told Deborah Solomon in The Times Magazine. “He cries sometimes when we’re having a debate on bills.”

Pelosi, of course, does not cry in public. We will stop here briefly to contemplate what would happen if she, or any female lawmaker, broke into loud, nose-running sobs while discussing Iraq troop funding or giving a TV interview.

Ironically, Collins failed to contemplate what would happen if a man were to start sobbing in public, because clearly she just finds it funny that a man, a grown ass man, could possibly cry in public. Yes, Nancy Pelosi faces a great deal of sexism. Yes, that’s a serious issue. But this is not about Nancy Pelosi. This is about John Boehner.

The most arresting moment came when Boehner told Stahl he can no longer make visits to schools, or even look at the little kids on the playground, because he immediately starts crying.

That had me alarmed. I thought there was going to be some terrible story about an ailing child that would then force me to have warm and sympathetic thoughts about John Boehner.

But no. The reason, Boehner finally choked out, was because “making sure these kids have a shot at the American dream, like I did, is important.”

That’s a remarkably hypocritical sentiment, considering that Representative Boehner’s education policy revolves around not giving any money to public schooling and higher education for the truly disenfranchised, ever:

  • Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)
  • Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted YES on allowing vouchers in DC schools. (Aug 1998)
  • Voted YES on vouchers for private & parochial schools. (Nov 1997)

Clearly he’s being a false bastard. But why don’t we talk about that? Why don’t we talk about the substance of what’s wrong with Boehner, instead of just slinging petty (and sexist) one-liners at him. Now I’ll admit, his orange glow cracks me up. But there’s a reason for that: he’s a spoiled, partying, golfing son of a bitch who doesn’t give a shit about the general welfare. You know, that part of the Preamble.

Well, Collins also remembers the Clinton crying shenanigans:

Traister is the author of “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” a chronicle of the Clinton-Obama battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. One of the best-remembered moments in that campaign — Hillary Clinton cries in New Hampshire — is an excellent example of the difference between what men and women can get away with, tear-wise.

“Hillary didn’t cry,” Traister pointed out. “Not a drop of liquid fell below her lower lash.” With her back to the wall and the presidency on the line, Clinton approached the edge of a sniffle and we are still talking about it. Boehner is driven to great, noisy sobs when he contemplates the fact that as a youth, he mopped the floor at his father’s tavern.

Why do we remember the Clinton Teargate? Because the media did such a good job laughing it up about her. Now, it is true, that there is a great disparity between the accepted volume of tears that can come from men and women. But I’d actually argue that it is the other way around. While Hillary Clinton got massacred when her eyes got watery, I think the reason she was mocked was because the office of the President is seen as a masculine entity. She was in a different category, at least in the eyes of the media and the public. Masculinity is seen as strength, as stoicism, and so when Hillary Clinton started to cry, people took it to mean that she was cracking. Now I find that appalling, but it’s important context. So it’s not that she was a woman crying, but that she was a woman crying in a man’s game.

And if we mock men for crying in a “man’s game,” that only leads to more suffering for women like Hillary Clinton, who want to break through that glass ceiling but are held back by bullshit social constructs.

Here’s the most offensive bit of this article:

Boehner is opposed to extending unemployment benefits for the jobless, and he wants to kill off the law that guarantees health coverage to all Americans. So you know when he starts weeping when his wife says she’s “real proud” of him, it’s not a sign of softness.

In 2007, he cried while delivering a speech on the floor of the House, in support of funding for the war in Iraq. “After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on?” he sobbed.

So you’re probably thinking, why is this offensive? Well, Collins does a moderately decent job pointing out Boehner’s political bullshit. But she fucks it all up by making it about the crying. About the unmanly tears shed by this Tangelo American.

Why is crying seen as a sign of weakness? Of course he’s an asshole. But what this article does is simplify the matter into John Boehner is a lying sack of corporate-owned shit, and therefore he shouldn’t be able to cry even in situations that may actually be upsetting. But what if I told you that he is rumored to have a drinking problem? What if he’s an alcoholic? What’s funny or weak about that?

Nothing.

Attack that. Laugh at how outrageously hypocritical he is. But just try not to act like a sexist prick in the process.

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Filed under Media, Women's Rights

Elizabeth Edwards, dead at 61.

A truly incredible activist, author and mother, Elizabeth Edwards died of her cancer this morning at 10:15. She posted this message on Facebook yesterday:

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered,” Edwards wrote on her Facebook page Monday. “We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human.

“But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that, I am grateful.”

 

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PETA is a misogynist prick.

Take a look at this lovely photo:

You know, I agree with PETA on most of their objectives. But I’ll never support them because they have this fucking ridiculous history of promoting the same old heteronormative standards of beauty, hooking up with Pam Anderson, among other  beautiful blonds, for Maxim-esqe campaigns. They believe in respecting the rights of all animals, but they apparently don’t give two shits about another disenfranchised group-women. And look at this woman. She’s a faceless body, a digitally-enhanced, skinny, white, physically fit body with large breasts. This is what girls see on a regular basis. It’s no wonder why people suffer from low self esteem. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating, it’s so damn frustrating to see a message that basically says, “It’s okay to be seen if you look this hot.” But what about normal women? What are we supposed to do, be ashamed of our body scans?

I wouldn’t be so grossed out of this was being run by a group that didn’t push its progressivism. But PETA does, and well…  a pair of disembodied titties solely meant to appeal to a horny male audience ain’t progressive. That’s just fucking ignorant.

Alternet’s Julianne Shepherd put it perfectly:

PETA is notorious for using sex to spread its animal rights message, constantly resorting to hypocritical and base imagery at the expense of potential women supporters. Even a campaign in support of breast cancer awareness–and opposing animal testing–featured a video game that involved clicking on cleavage–again, disembodied. They also, apparently, have a little problem with heteronormative fat-phobia. And let’s not forget Pam Anderson’s photo shoot for PETA that had her lady parts carved up like a piece of meat–not subtle, but at least they were being straightforward that time. The point is driven home time and again… even with a woman at its helm, PETA would sacrifice feminist vegetarians–who would be awesome advocates–for the titillation of its male audience. And that sucks.

Something else I haven’t seen anyone say: exploiting the gross breach of civil liberties for their agenda is also pretty shitty.

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Women’s “Arousal gel” ads give the media a boner.

If you watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, you’re well acquainted with the Cialis bathtub ads. But just in case you don’t watch, I’ll explain. Cialis is what doctors call a peen med, and it gets a hell of a lot of advertising time during MSNBC prime time, among other channels. And that is weird, but fine.

However, there’s an advertisement for a new product, Zestra, which has been deemed much too scandalous for cable. And what is Zestra? The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it is “a botanical aphrodisiac” that is supposed to be an equivalent of sorts to its male-friendly brethren, except for women. So, I assume that the ad is just a bunch of skanky sluts doing skanky slut things.

Not so much. It’s about as sexy as those ads for birth control pills.

So what’s the deal? Why can’t Zestra advertise even on Oxygen?

The Chronicle has an answer:

Many networks and some websites have declined the company’s ads; a few will air them during the daytime, and others only after midnight. There is no nudity, sex, or mention of body parts, unlike ads for men’s products referring to “erections lasting more than four hours.”

“The most frequent answer we get is, ‘We don’t advertise your category,’ ” Scherl said. “To which we say, ‘What is the category? Because if it’s sexual enjoyment, you clearly cover that category. If it’s female enjoyment, you clearly don’t.’ And when you ask for information as to what we would need to change so they would clear the ad for broadcast, they give you very little direction. … And yet they have no problem showing ads for Viagra and other men’s drugs. Why?”

So basically, a woman entrepreneur gives the collective media a boner, and to cover up the embarrassment, the media decides to pretend that woman doesn’t exist.

That’s ridiculous, and it’s a double standard. And more importantly, it’s just more evidence that the media is very much a misogynistic institution. Says Laura Grindstaff, an associate professor of sociology at UC Davis, “when you see naked women bounding around in any music video or open a magazine and see ads for cars or cosmetics… that is not women’s sexuality. What you see is completely bound up and constructed by male ideas of what women’s sexuality ought to be.”

Grindstaff (the most unfortunate name for this particular story, by the way) theorizes that “an ad like Zestra’s, with no men in it, about women’s pleasure for the sake of pleasure,” threatens the idea that women’s sexuality does not exist outside of reproduction and therefore outside of the man’s world. Which means that men are not actually in control of women’s sexuality.

Professor Rita Melendez of San Francisco State agrees with this premise. “If they really can’t run these ads, it’s telling women they are not – or should not be – in control of their desire, or that there is something shameful about their sexual desire, and that has huge implications for their ability to control pregnancy, partner abuse and sexual health. You’re putting something so core to women in the realm of male control, or at least outside of female control.”

Just something to think about while you watch Rachel tonight.

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Life’s a (Gendered) Bitch

My friend Mel (right) and I at our graduation, conforming to the Good Girl image in our bridal white. But two girls in white walking down the aisle together is... a little gay, no?

I’m not known to be much of a morning person. Each day, I wrench my reluctant eyes open to glare at the alarm beside my head and reach out blindly for my blue glasses. Depending on my mood, I fix my hair and (perhaps) make-up without much thought. Trudge over to my closet, frisk my clothing and pout when I find nothing that will hide my stomach, bloated from PMS and that chocolate cake from the night before. My collection of Trying-To-Look-Fit-For-Society-Clothes is mostly tight and form-fighting and feminine, if not immediately so. Instead, I pull a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt out of my Oh-Fuck-It dresser, and that’s the look of the day. In the end, my less-than-classy appearance neither inhibits my intellect in class or affects the ways in which I interact with my friends.

So why the stress? Why the frustration of not being able to fit into that slender pair of skinny jeans? Apparently, I have been classically conditioned into accepting my feminine persona as inherent, as part of my natural identity. And why wouldn’t I have been? I’ve had a vagina for my whole life—or rather, I’ve never had a penis—and I have breasts and an abdomen that drives me crazy for one week each month. Even as someone once described by one of my favorite high school teachers as being “one of the more delightfully frustrating students I’ve ever had the pleasure to teach,” I didn’t question my interest in art and language and boys until I found out how intriguing politics and the media and girls are.

Society is an insidious force, a calculating and subtle beast with a penchant for classifying even the eccentrics and nonconformists among us. I detest censorship and have no trouble throwing a nice “Fuck you!” at an aggressive driver, but I won’t say nigger or retard or faggot because those are really bad. I am totally comfortable with my bisexuality, but I’m queer in gay circles because bisexuals aren’t really respected. Lesbians don’t like bisexual girls because they’re just slutty or insecure. Guys love bisexual girls, especially when they come in pairs. To add to the mythos surrounding my bi brethren, Paula Rust explains that bisexual women often alternate between identifying as lesbian and bi, which seems to indicate on a superficial level the “sociopsychological immaturity of bisexual-identified individuals” (Rust 185). She continues, suggesting an insightful conclusion—that this exposes how difficult it is to construct “a bisexual identity in a social world that offers only two authenticated categories, heterosexual and homosexual.” I tend to agree with Rust, at least with regards to my own experience. The biggest frustration I face as a bisexual stems from my own fluid sexuality, and my inability to classify myself into one half of a binary.

Or so society says. It’s a simple game, Society Says, and we gladly bend down to touch our toes when instructed to do so. And every morning I play Society Says when I go through the motions of feminizing myself. I blindly accept my womanhood because I grew up wearing dresses and admiring my weirdly nipple-less Barbie. Even before I was born, I was a woman. Glenn and Darlene Regan beamed as Dr. Kramer told them “You’re having a girl.” They named me Caitlin Elizabeth Regan, and that was that.

Kate Bornstein suggests in her article, “Naming All The Parts,” that the way in which we are gendered “has little to do with vaginas. It’s all penises or no penises: gender assignment is both phallocentric and genital” (202). Penises are noticeably present and vaginas are noticeably vacant. My cousin Joseph will most likely grow up to accept his masculinity because the doctors took a peek at his genitalia and exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” when he was born (Lorber 112). His parents chose a decidedly masculine name, and they smothered him in blue and green until he was old enough to dress himself. And when six-year-old Joseph decided to play dress-up with his cousins, he picked out a shimmering pink princess gown and flamboyantly marched around his uncle’s house, mostly because his eldest cousin insisted on hosting a fashion show for the adults.

My uncle chuckled and asked his “Josephine” to spin around for him. When Joseph went outside to play, a woman my mom was talking to spotted him and frowned. Her face paled and she whispered, “Oh, Darlene, when did your daughter get sick?” Mom didn’t understand until she caught a glimpse of Joseph. Laughing, she shook her head and explained that the fairy princess was just her nephew playing dress-up, eliciting flustered giggles from the neighbor. Joseph remained blissfully ignorant of the mix-up.

Judith Lorber explains that gender “usually takes a deliberate disruption of our expectations of how women and men are supposed to act” to catch society’s collective eye (112). What qualifies as a “deliberate disruption” of a gender norm? Well, the Princess Joseph Incident certain does. Lorber adds that “when [a person’s gender signs] are missing or ambiguous… we are uncomfortable until we have successfully placed [them] in a gender status.” Human beings are inherently analytical, and we are constantly categorizing things we sense. Without even thinking about it, I mentally shunted that apple I had this morning into my Attempted Diet Box. The cookies on which I’ve been snacking? The tiny Cates running around in my head tossed them into the aptly-named Not Helping Bin. Gender roles and descriptors fit into our mental boxes and bins, and when our brains have sorted the data, we make a judgment.

For the same reason that my neighbor had trouble with Joseph, society doesn’t know how to deal with sexuality. And there’s a reason for that. Sexuality is a relatively recent science. Psychologists only started using the term heterosexual in the Victoria era, so I’ll give them some time to figure it all out (Katz 153). According to Jonathan Katz, Dr. James Kiernan first recorded it while studying human sexuality. However, his study participants “were definitely not exemplars of [normal heterosexuality],” writes Katz. Kiernan described them as having “psychical hermaphroditism,” in part because they experienced “inclinations to both sexes.”

Sounds a little like bisexuality to me. What a joy it was, explaining to my dad that bisexuality is not a stop on the train to Lesbian City. And that I certainly can be monogamous, that it’s not some sort of sexual compulsion. Mind you, my family is a fairly progressive one. My parents were more than accepting, but being progressive and having preconceived aren’t mutually exclusive. My dad thought that I would end up in a ménage à tois. My mom, on the other hand, told me that she’d never imagined me getting or staying married, so she was glad for the confirmation. My answers were respectively along the lines of, “It’s not that literal,” and “What are you implying?”

Robyn Ochs discusses how her coming out as a bisexual woman reinforced her feminist beliefs in an essay entitled Bisexuality, Feminism, Men and Me (704). “I realized how I had been performing my designated gender role,” in living as a heterosexual woman, she explains. “It’s amazing how being in a same-sex relationship can make you realize just how much of most heterosexual relationships is scripted from the first date to the bedroom to the dishes. In relationships with women, I learned how to lead and learned that I liked to lead sometimes. As sometimes I like to follow. And as sometimes I prefer to negotiate every step with my partner, or to dance alone,” she adds (706). While I think that she hints at the gender roles exhibited in same-sex relationships, I feel the same about how allowing myself to be bisexual has allowed me to step outside of the standard heteronormative viewpoint I always held.

Last year, I wasn’t out. I was the president of our GSA and probably the most outspoken person about LGBTQI rights in our 300-person high school, so it didn’t surprise anyone when I did come out at the end of the year. But I really didn’t date. Pressure to date nearly suffocated me while walking in the hallways, listening to people talk about boyfriends and girlfriends and how far they’d gone and how many times they’d gone there. It wasn’t so much the sex that I was frustrated about, but rather the fact that I was this girl, fairly attractive and quite smart, totally available and sort of desperate. There was a wall between my true self and the dating world, and even if I pounded on it and screamed until my lungs collapsed, I couldn’t get through to my asshole classmates. Maybe I was single in school because I was too self-involved to see they weren’t really all assholes. Or maybe I was too self-involved to see how many girls flirted with me, how many probably would have dated me or at least agreed to a hook up.

“Like many women,” Ochs starts, “I grew up hating my body. I remember wearing shorts over my bathing suit as a preteen to hide my ‘ugly’ fat thighs” (704). Though I am comfortable in my skin now, I still wear shorts if I don a bikini. “As a teenager, I spent a lot of time worrying whether I was attractive enough. Of course, I was never quite up to the standard… For the record, I have always been always been more or less average in weight. But average was not good enough. As long as I didn’t look like one of those women in Playboy, I wasn’t pretty enough.” Sex sells. It’s why we have to be size zero, why our hair must be long and lush, why our skin clear, and why we poke at ourselves and our perceived flaws—our big noses and volcanic zits and grotesque thighs. “Our culture,” Bornstein says, “is obsessed with desire: it drives our economy” (212).

It’s why we drive ourselves insane with stupid diets and ridiculous rituals to stay thin. Like so many other girls, I trapped myself in a vicious cycle of restricting my daily intake to around 300 calories and bingeing on crap before purging. The way in which I purged didn’t involve vomiting because I couldn’t make myself do it. I over-exercised, often spending four or five hours at the gym. Of course, eating disorders don’t just come and go; they are caused by depression and anxiety and various things that I have had issues with in the past, but as someone who is still dealing with the occasion urge to purge, I can’t put the blame solely on my psychological disorders.

Our gendered society expects various things from its gendered sheep. Women should be thin and gorgeous and smart, and so the media projects images of the ideal woman into our advertisements and city streets and commercials and daily conversations. She is white, probably middle-class or upper-middle, and curvy but not in the “fat” way. She’s got lovely eyes and lovely hair and lovely lips, but she’s not stunningly sexy enough to be threatening. She’s confident but collected, prim and proper. She wears J. Crew and reads Harper’s Bazaar and drinks Starbucks coffee. She is a commodity, bought and sold by the media conglomerates that control almost everything we consume. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.

Heteronormative, white men dominate our work force, our government, our media and certainly our economy. At any time of the day, I can flip between the cable news channels and find a white man in a conservative suit, and if not a white man, at least an affable black man, like CNN’s Don Lemon. Primetime news is predominantly cluttered with bumbling, egotistical white men, all graying and outrageously tall. Rachel Maddow might be the only woman in primetime news today that in any way strays from the standard gender role of an anchorwoman. While I find Rachel beautiful, she’s not a leggy blond like Megyn Kelly. In her words, she “dresses like a first grader” and “looks like a dude” (Traitser). However, even she succumbs to the anchorwoman archetype when she puts on her “lady clothes.” Could she get away with wearing her blue Elvis Costello glasses or baggy shirts and jeans on television? Probably not.

Noted curmudgeon and televangelist Pat Robertson suggests that “feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” While I’m not really interested in Wicca or killing children, I guess the rest of it is right. Or this man can’t let go of his prejudices. It is hard to fight the gender roles men like Robertson preach while entrenched in a society so heavily stratified by gender expression, though I do think I am able to rebel in little ways that are really only possible because of my environment. In a liberal family, I don’t need to worry about wearing pearls and skirts and heels and push-up bras. My more conservative clothing allows me to appear more gender-neutral, even if I’m wearing skinny jeans or a fitted blazer. And I feel more comfortable when I’m dressed like this, so I’m more likely to speak my mind and fight for my convictions.

I want to be taken seriously in my professional life. I want to be treated fairly, to be paid equally and for my body to be respected. I’m white, so I don’t need to worry about breaking through racial barriers, but there are still a lot of things I have to combat. I’m a vegetarian and a bisexual as well as a wealthy white girl from the suburbs of Philadelphia. I want to join the Peace Corps and work as a freelance journalist. I want to travel to Thailand and Morocco and Afghanistan. I’m a teenager and a satirist and a feminist and a lover of music. I’m a nocturnal, Irish, blue-eyed brunette born in New York and raised in Pennsylvania. I embrace the way in which my sex has informed my gender expression, but I’m more than just a walking, talking vagina. To take me solely as a woman is to look at a two-dimensional sketch of who I am. But my outwardly appearance is one facet that could ruin my career aspirations or pitch me to success.

Bornstein, Kate. “Naming All The Parts.” The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. Ed. Tracey E. Ore. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 202. Print.

Katz, Jonathan N. “The Invention of Heterosexuality.” The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. Ed. Tracey E. Ore. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 153. Print.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.” The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. Ed. Tracey E. Ore. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 112-13. Print.

Ochs, Robyn, ed. “Bisexuality, Feminism, Men and Me.” The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. Ed. Tracey E. Ore. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 704+. Print.

Robertson, Pat. “Pat Robertson at the 1992 RNC.” Republican National Convention. Houston. 1992. Speech.

Rust, Paula C. “Sexual Identity and Bisexual Identity.” The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. Ed. Tracey E. Ore. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 185. Print.

Traister, Rebecca. “Rachel Maddow’s Life and Career.” Editorial. The Nation 30 July 2008. The Nation. 30 July 2008. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. <http://www.thenation.com&gt;.

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