don’t trump us women, again

img_0912

A silver lining of Trump as the republican nominee was that he boasted and embodied the inky underbelly of our United States: bigotry, lies, racism, homophobia and sexism.

With the latter, he exposed what is often invisible to men (and some women, too): a deep hatred of women. Leading up to the election, many male friends (in life and on FB) registered how often they’ve heard or witnessed similar Trump-like sentiments usually when women aren’t present. Many sympathized. Some even admitted to long ago participation, and apologized. Apologized for things they hadn’t quite recognized because it’s so prevalent and praised in how we raise males, and: they’re not on the other side of it—unless they’re gay, that is. Homophobia has everything to do with not being ‘manly.’ It has everything to do with misogyny. What’s the primary painful pejorative for boys/men? You pussy! Fighting words!

Some of us (both genders) did vote for Hillary because she has a vagina even if she was not our valentine. Why? Because the world has been sorely out of balance since the Neolithic Era in terms of male/female energies. It’s long past time. White males have had infinity to do it ‘right’ and yet…

We just wanted a turn. We weren’t even asking for 50/50, more like a slight tip toward the feminine at—hopefully—30/70.

I knew that ANY male who ran against Clinton would beat her. ANY male. This piece I wrote in 2011 discusses race vs. gender in politics:  in the USA, black men got the vote before white women. Sexism always surpasses racism because of its insidious invisible ubiquity eclipsing all nations/races; women live everywhere.

So I believed that any man could win EXCEPT Trump. Because he didn’t just admit to his venom—fill in his dirty laundry list of intolerance and his conclusion that women’s only value is sexual—he bragged about it! He bombasted the shit out of it. He said he could shoot somebody ! and not lose any voters. And he was right.

Yet…none of us are going away, to whatever imagined place ‘away’ would be. Not happening. Sorry/not sorry! The right-wingers may have helped divide us with the Bernie/Hillary/third-party click-bait but I believe we have each others’ backs now no matter who we voted for. Divisiveness won’t win today.

But…less than three days after the election, I again see and hear commentary from defensive white dudes: “not ALL men” and “could we ease up on blaming white males.”

We can’t change any issue—within or without—unless we can identify and name the cause. [see: men can ‘hate’ patriarchy, too] Both women and men are naming it:

  • The world is in this state due to the imbalance of female to male energies.
  • White men are the primary drivers of this lopsidedness.
  • It’s not a criticism; it’s an accurate observation, and a fact.

So men—a plea. We could use your help like you’ve had and still have ours for: labor movements, civil rights demonstrations, LGBT rights, DAPL pipeline. [men have rarely worked for ‘women’s’ causes: ERA, abortion rights, equal pay for equal work on par to us women supporting other social justice issues]

Don’t make us do it without you. We like you and want you as allies. We may be mad at the global mess y’all have made—and keep making—but in most cases it’s not personal. It is however essential to safeguard the earth, to save ourselves.

If you’re not doing “it,” then don’t take it personally; take ACTION. Please stand with us and don’t retreat, returning to the white male whine of “not ALL men” as an excuse not to show up for us. We need the rest & best of you—now—like never before.

blinkered bernie-ites: stop! you’re embarrassing the rest of us

492530060-democratic-presidential-candidates-u-s-sen-bernie.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2

Many Christians love Jesus but are ashamed by certain followers. Well, “Bernie or Bust-ers” and various* Bernie lovers, I like Bernie and I’m not feeling “the Bern” the way I did. I’m feeling a bit burned.

IMHO, Jesus wasn’t salvation as much as a wise, compassionate philosopher. Bernie’s also a compassionate man but he’s no savior either. Your ‘god’ is not better than someone else’s ‘god.’ This is how religion has fomented hate around the world. It frightens the bejeezus in me—and probably in Bernie—to watch anyone placed high on a ledge, only to be pushed off later. Remember Obama?

Has a church denomination begun with Bernie starring as the deity? Because this lionization has many of the hallmarks of religious mania, complete with Hillary playing the role of Satan. I think Trump is more befitting of that part.

Didn’t we learn to not name-call when we were children? Can’t you support who you want without dubbing the other candidate “bitch,” “liar,” “cunt,” “republican”? Or displaying a disgusting misogynist meme with Bill saying, “I choose other women over Hillary; you should too.”

Or this fabricated acrostic:

C  Corrupt

L  Lying

I   Incompetent

N Narcissistic

T  Two-faced

O  Offensive

N  Nag

…blaming Hillary for Bill’s policies, not allowing Hillary to ever amend her stance? You’re sounding like those conservatives who called any progressive thinker a flip-flopper when new information altered their position.

I’m not here to defend Hillary but I am here to cry foul because these are all things I’ve seen from Bernie supporters, not Republicans who’ve always had their hate-on for Hillary.

I’ll say it again: I like Bernie. It’s mortifying to be aligned with such meanness from supposedly liberal intelligent people. Then if anyone protests about gender issues—which are more than real in this election—or dare to use “vitriol,” the best word to describe the sexist tripe I’ve listed, we’re dismissed.

Dismissed like black people have been by saying they’re using “the race card” when protesting unfair (and deadly) targeting by our society. Or rape victims who’ve had a sex life (nooo!) and sometimes wear “revealing” clothing. Or any man wearing a turban at the airport. Or a child who disagrees with an adult. Or native tribes when explaining how sport team monikers are insulting and hurtful. To discredit rather than stand for your beliefs is a juvenile way to deal with dissent.

We’re not calling out sexist behavior or suggesting thoughtfulness because we’re defensive or biased—leave that to the Trump-e-teers—but I also don’t want to defend the obvious. [see: men can ‘hate’ patriarchy, too] We’re trying to illuminate hurtful things, wanting to elevate the conversation. We’re asking you to act with grace. Be kind and be dignified in your disagreement. Unlike the tactics of the red party.

Do your research. **Hillary and Bernie have much in common. Dislike the parts that don’t match up. Be passionate about what you love and want; many of us do so without hating ‘the other.’ We still have a ways to go until this is decided. If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, let’s all be graceful ‘losers’ not tantruming toddlers. Let’s all put on our adult panties and get on with it.

As my beloved role model, Mr. Rogers, says, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

 

*In case there’s a question: “not all” Bernie-ites

**Compare candidates

catcalling 101

cartoonAll around the planet, females have to fend off catcalling from when we’re toddlers, topsy-turvy teenagers, ‘hot moms,’ middle aged, finally slowing at matron until we’re almost invisible at ‘peri-crone.’

If we’re smirked at, whistled to, insulted, kissed at, patted, pinched, grabbed, sang to, leered at, winked at, had lewd gestures performed in front of us, yelled at, scolded or called names even once a week—after 20 years of that—it’d be overwhelming. For some of us who regularly walk in cities, it’s outside of 10 times a day. Check out this comic strip by Ursa Eyer and especially this 2-minute video of a woman who walked around the NYC for 10 hours (in jeans and a tee-shirt) and was catcalled 10.8 times an hour!! plus, creepily, had one guy silently walk next to her for five minutes!! (exclamation points extremely necessary here)

Besides the obvious intrusions written above, this stuff starts with saying ‘cute’ comments to children, like: S/he’ll be a heart-breaker or You’ll have to beat them off with a stick, are despiritingly objectifying. Kids don’t like it and they feel uncomfortable.

Then there’s the ‘nice harassments’ women endure: You pretty Baby, Don’t you wanna talk? Niiiiicce or the ubiquitous, Smile. This is still harassment. Feeling uneasy while out walking, riding the bus/subway or getting into a store or work makes it that much easier to decide to drive, but if you live in big cities, you often don’t have that choice. Frankly, I’ve even gotten this obnoxious bedeviling while biking.

Hearing the dictum, Smile, arouses anger in me and others. I used to call my regular face “neutral mad face” because if I walked along any street, some wanker would tell me to smile. Why must I smile when I’m out? Lots of men don’t smile while walking and us women don’t command them to show their teeth. There’s a 2 1/2 minute faux public service announcement that gently ‘advises’ us how to view women wearing a “resting bitch face.”

Contrary to media driven messages, my life purpose is NOT to make men happy. None of us are here for your entertainment. I didn’t wear my skirt/shorts/top/yoga pants/jeans/swimsuit for you. I don’t have to smile if I’m not feeling it no matter how much “prettier” I’ll look to you. If you’re male, I’M NOT HERE FOR YOU; it’s not about you. Please leave us be. Say hello to us as you’d talk to a child, a grandmother, a dude, a nun. Wouldn’t talk to them? Then don’t talk to us.

Erin McKean succintly said:

“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.'”

And neither is smiling.

if men had to do it…it wouldn’t be being done

If men had to do it

Lately this photo has been circling around social networks. As nice looking as these men are, it could be assumed they’re holding these postures only because they’re comedians; the photo’s amusing and something comedians would do for laughs. But because Carell, Stewart and Colbert are politically minded, they’re illuminating and mocking how women are arranged, twisted and bent to sell things. This photo’s entitled: If Men Had to Do It.

What’s “IT”?

IT is this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

http://www.realbeer.com/blog/images/20060314-stpauli.jpg

And even more disturbing, this:

http://www.mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander/images/Dolce-Gabbana-Ad-Sexist.jpg

In most ads, women pose in half-naked, stilted and misshapened positions for others—i.e. men—to eyeball while the male models are usually accomplishing something, are mostly clothed, engaged in an activity, “taking charge” (maybe like the dick above) or working.

Women instead, introspectively gaze off in the distance with almost exposed breasts, maybe unzipped jeans and are often dreamily reclined and arched about on a bed, divan or floor like throw pillows waiting for someone to use them. Or turned into items like the ‘woman-as-beer’ pic above. Urgent alert: women are actually human (see: women aren’t food); we do things, too.

Secondly, females are dismembered components: lips, legs, breasts, butts or headless trunks in a delusional torso type only representative of 3-5% of the female population: non-existent  hips, ample and often artificial breasts, long computer enhanced legs and hairless bodies (see: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself) measured in ounces instead of pounds. Barely joking on that last one.

This faux female image has become the ridiculous ideal for adolescent girls whose brains are just emerging out of the chief childhood Theta brainwave state and aren’t yet capable of decent discernment. That “womanly” depiction lingers long into adulthood primarily because 97% of all media we see is male driven creating this kind of dysfunction: 75% of normal-weight women feel they are overweight, while 80% of 4th graders have done fad diets. See: ‘weighty’ women & “little petty places.”

If we want female reality displayed, we’ll need more gender balance in all aspects and channels of media.

Sometimes, in order to see what’s so ubiquitous and so obvious that IT becomes invisible, we’ll need to reverse IT, like the comics above did.

Next time you leaf through a magazine, watch a beer commercial, view a mannequin, check out a movie, see a billboard, play a video game, and the image of a woman is shown—in whatever distorted or partially clothed state—mentally replace that woman with a male figure.

Go ahead, take your time. What do you see? Sophomoric male fantasies exposed? Women as busty perfumed chattel? Absurdly embarrassing isn’t IT?

For more detailed information see The Gender Ads Project.

UPDATE: Just found this Canadian school project. A short illuminating film. At 2:50, you get to see this gender role reversal played out extremely well: Representation of Gender in Advertising.

UPDATE 2: Men on motorcycles—ooo la la

eeeeeee! it’s a spider!!! it’s a muslim!! it’s a hoodie!

Here in the “Inland Northwest” United States, Spring comes a bit later than I’d like. But all it takes is one 60 degree (15.5 C) day and the insects flutter and wriggle to life.

Based upon the accuracy of the available measurements, we can say that there are between 150 million and 1.5 billion insects for every woman, child and man: 148,574,965.09 insects per human.

Please don’t stomp, spray, poison, squish, burn them. Leave them alone or put them outside. Please! They’re necessary for the health of the planet. Your fright doesn’t give you license to kill others and this includes insects.

I realize how absurd that sounds given the state of human global warring of tribe upon tribe, country upon country, “collateral” damage, not to mention the utilitarian objectification and subsequent subjugation of animals, ditto for plants and trees, systematic destruction of plant and animal habitat for human “growth,” the war on the earth itself with fracking, drilling, mountain top removals, bulldozing…

The myth of scarcity, the anxiety of consumerism in all its manifestations of commodities and experiences, the panic of “never enough,” that someone will destroy, steal or otherwise harm you or your stuff is a driving force beneath the patriarchal paradigm. Fear is the seat of it all.

But fear cannot be the be-all-end-all. It shouldn’t trump introspection, kindness or fairness—though it does—and it’s the biggest drug pushed across the U.S. and much of the rest of the world disguised in words like: “homeland security” “health” “progress” “restoring our neighborhoods” “smart defense” “humanitarian intervention” “surge” “terrorist” “ambition.”

Don’t be fooled. Fear is behind xenophobia and homophobia, sexism and racism, all “-isms” and phobias. Phobia means fear, people; there’s a phobia for everything.

Fear doesn’t have to be the only thought, or even the first. Just because something could happen or has happened before doesn’t mean it will. Doesn’t mean your fear is rational. Justifications are just that. Rajneesh once said, “If you want security, get in the coffin.”

A man in a turban is usually just a man in a turban. A teenager in a tight skirt is still a girl. Neither is about you. If you’re afraid of the first and titillated by the second, deal with it within yourself. Don’t project your alarm or “need” outward. That’s YOURS! It’s NOT them. Difference is not an evil or an object.

If a spider crawls out from under your stove or a honey bee is working your flowers or a yellow jacket is circling your picnic or a black boy—wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles—is walking toward you, that’s YOUR terror talking. That’s NOT reality no matter how real it feels to you.

Conceivably one day your fear of others’ power to “get” you or your goods will subside by starting small. Begin with gentleness to the ubiquitous insects by letting them exist, and move from there. Maybe then you can allow other cultures, species, people different from you to exist, too.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

why women don’t date nice (entitled) guys

Years ago, a male friend bemoaned that women liked the ‘bad boys’ but only wanted to be friends with ‘nice guys,’ like him. “I clean up the snot and tears those guys leave,” he said. “I do the work, he got the benefits. Then she falls in love with one of those guys all over again.”

Yes. That’s how it looked to him. Except, this ‘nice guy’ was a ‘nice’ player; he fell in love with being in love, not women. He’d write breathtaking love letters, buy thoughtful presents, speak intelligentsia, woo and delight until one day that ‘she’ seemed tarnished. No actual woman could live up to his entitled dreams of perfectionism.

When he fell out of love he always thought she was flawed, not his unrealistic ideals. His usual time span was two years before he’d hurt his woman with an affair, throwing over the artist for the professor, the torch singer for the judge, the writer for the dancer.

Yes, a nice guy.

Too often the myth that women like assholes or in their submissive heart of hearts want a master continues to be written and is frequently used to justify men’s bad behavior by telling women what they like and don’t like. But analysis doesn’t bear this falsity out. In various studies, being kind, sensitive and trustworthy are often at the top of women’s list. Noooo! Really!?

Entitled people often think they know what others want, need or even think. They’ll insist you like things you don’t, or tell you you’ve thought things that you haven’t. Arrogantly projecting their needs, fears or judgments about you onto you is common. If you protest, you’re wrong, too sensitive, too dramatic.

Privileged people can’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know what’s ‘below’ them. The wealthy, many conservatives, whites, males, adults to children, middle age-ers to seniors, being born in the U.S. vs. Haiti, etc. often breed a class of people who only know what they would do, what they need and they don’t have much compassion for what they haven’t experienced or don’t understand. Demanding others pull themselves up by their bootstraps, the entitled don’t realize those ‘others’ may not even have boots.

Some of these entitled ‘nice guys’ delude themselves that they are nice because—comparatively–maybe they are, but heartfelt kindness consists of more than one action, is deeper than one aspect of personality. The comic character above sees only his personal slant while being blind to his blanket judgment of “all women.”

Regardless of gender or age, we’re all looking for a bit more kindness, understanding. We want to be seen as we are, not as we’re told we are. [see Women Aren’t Food]

If you’re not getting the attention you need from women maybe instead of deciding what they’re doing or not doing, you might turn your gaze to yourself.

this test may correct your “vision”

Heard of the Bechdel Test? Cartoonist Alison Bechdel of DTWOF created this test–26 years ago–to detect gender bias in movies:

  1. Does the movie have at least two females who have names?
  2. Do they talk with each other?
  3. If so, are they discussing something other than a man?

Keep these questions in mind whenever you watch any same-stream movie, animated kid’s film [don’t get me started on the misleading stereotypes fed to kids—as deplorable as “kids” foods], indie film, or TV. I’m talking about most decent entertainment made so please dismiss “chick flix” and boring action movies; they cancel each other out, through sheer inanity. Though, strangely, Nextflix does have an “Action” genre (with sub categories) but no “Women” or even “Chick Flix” genre.

Don’t misunderstand, I like some movies/TV that fail this test. Like The Wire, for instance. Liked it a lot but every female is flat, portrayed as “things” for Bunk and McNulty to woo trash over. Kima Greggs could’ve had a great storyline being a lesbian and a female cop. But, nope. There’re very few scenes in all five seasons where question 2 came into play and one was a tiny sex scene when Greggs was cheating on her partner. Sigh.

It’s not like movies/TV with fleshed out women (pun-ny, but not talking bodies here) aren’t ever hits. Think: Thelma and Louise, Cagney and Lacey, Juno, Julie & Julia, Annie Hall, The United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie, The Kids are All Right, even The Devil Wears Prada.

So the date-with-a-movie thing works for some women because they want to be with you, not because they necessarily want to see the film. If you want to be a hit—with at least thinking women—find movies/TV that includes them as whole beings. Or just do something else more fun instead.