Friday, September 2, 2011

August Stuff and Some Links

Writing: 9204 -- 3 pts.
Editing: 4380 -- 1 pt.
Submissions: 5 -- 5 pts.
TOTAL: 9 pts.

Koala Challenge 9

Still not where I want to be on writing, but it's more than July, and July was more than June, so hopefully I can keep up the trend.

Some Links:

Fantasy Art -- Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor -- This Tumblr thread collects artwork of female fighters wearing armor that might actually protect more than 5% of their bodies in a fight. There's some great art here, so check it out. I particularly like this one, a cartoon that comments on the issue. :)

Iowa Student Dies After Brutal Beating in which Attackers Shouted Gay Slurs -- The media's attention has drifted away from the issue of anti-gay bullying and bashing, but kids are still dying. Marcellus Andrews, 19, was a college student and member of his church's drill team when some guys in a truck stopped and attacked him on the porch of a friend's house. They called him a faggot while beating on him, and one of these jerkwads kicked him in the face when he was down. He had severe head trauma and died in the hospital. This crap might not be making big headlines the way it was earlier in the year, but it's still happening and it still needs to stop. :(

CHRONICLES OF MANSPLAINING: Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom -- I just ran into this one today. It's framed by a discussion of a particular incident, but in general this is absolutely the best explanation of what "mansplaining" is and why it's offensive that I've ever run into.

Then the blogger, Sady Doyle, explains how this springs from and feeds into the larger issues:

Here’s where we appeal to that “lived experience” thing. Because: Have you ever had a guy come up to you — on the street, in a bar, whatever — and just straight-up say, “hey, I wanna talk to you?” Happens all the time, right? Happens to women, all the time. But have you ever just straight-up said, “no?” Not “no, I have a boyfriend,” or “no, I’m busy,” or “no, I have to race to save the city from the Joker’s diabolical machinations, for I am the Batman,” or any other excuse: Just the word “no,” by itself?

Yeah. So you know what happens next, after you say “no.” The guy always keeps talking. He tries wheedling, or begging, sometimes. But if you say “no” firmly enough, or often enough that he gets the point, the dude just starts yelling. He tells you that you’re not that hot. He tells you what a bitch you are. (“You bitch, I have a Rolls Royce,” was my favorite of these.) Sometimes he follows you down the street, yelling at you; sometimes, he follows you in his car. These dudes are always so fucking certain that they’re entitled to your time and attention that they will harass you until you give it, or at least until you’re scared and sorry for not giving it. You do not have the right not to interact, as far as these guys are concerned.


That’s the real problem behind Mansplaining, and all the rest of it: We live in a culture where men are taught that, if they want women’s time and attention, they are entitled to it. They simply cannot grasp that a woman has the right to say “no.” You bitch, I have a Rolls Royce or you coward, I have more blog traffic than you: Whatever it is, it’s a guy insisting that he’s entitled to a form of attention a woman doesn’t want to give him, and lashing out at the woman for not giving it. From hence springs Mansplaining, sexual harassment, rape culture, and everything else we don’t like about how men treat women, from the tiniest violation to the most violent. All of it, ALL of it, springs from the idea that women should be ignored or punished when we say "no." Which is the idea Professor Feminism is reinforcing with his actions, as we speak.

The guys who comment here are cool, and actually see women as human beings. There are some guys in the comments at Tiger Beatdown who likewise Get It and aren't part of the problem. So many men are, though, that a majority of women in our culture treat all men they don't know well carefully, fearfully, because they have no idea which guy is cool and which guy might start with the "Who do you think you are to say 'no' to me, bitch?!" drill. Back to Sady: "That’s what it’s actually like, being a woman: Playing nice with every random asshole, because this random asshole might be the one who hurts you. And then, if he hurts you anyway, they’ll tell you that you led him on."

This relates back to my post last year on how women are socialized to be victims, and men are socialized to believe that anger is the proper response whenever a woman denies them something they want.

And to wrap up on a couple of positives:

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich -- Warren Buffett This is an NYT op-ed piece by one of the richest people in the country who thinks it's time America's super-rich paid a bit more tax. Nice to know not all the super-wealthy are scrambling for every shelter and loophole they can find. Props to Mr. Buffett -- I wish the Republican bigwigs would listen to him.

School Superintendent Gives up $800,000 in Pay -- Massive kudos and applause to Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell. His area has been hit with some of the highest unemployment in the country and his schools were suffering along with everyone else. Powell effectively retired, then let them hire him back for $31,000 per year, which is $10K less than a starting teacher makes.

"A part of me has chaffed at what they did in Bell," Powell said, recalling the corrupt Southern California city officials who secretly boosted their salaries by hundreds of thousands of dollars. "It's hard to believe that someone in the public trust would do that to the public. My wife and I asked ourselves 'What can we do that might restore confidence in government?'"

He also said, "How much do we need to keep accumulating? There's no reason for me to keep stockpiling money."

Another rich (or at least very well off) guy who deserves major props.



Charles Gramlich said...

I like the armor one you liked too. I've never heard of mansplaining. Never observed it, but then I'm a man so I guess I wouldn't. I'm glad I have a wife so I don't have to approach any women anymore and risk being accused of mansplaining. Actually, I almost never had the courage to approach women anyway, and at the first sign of disinterest I was gone. I was told a couple of times by women that they were just trying to play a little hard to get. But I never wanted to force even a moment of my attention on someone who didn't want it. It certainly would have embarrassed me.

Kara said...

You know your submission rate rocks, right?

Thanks for the link to Sady's blog. It's a little sad that this is the case, but I feel so lightened of spirit whenever another woman articulates these obstacles we have to navigate everyday, but are often left unacknowledged.

Also, bright ending point!

Suzan Harden said...

Angie, you still made the Koala happy. That's a good thing!

This must be the week for ladies getting fed up. Kristine Rusch had a great essay about how all writers are treated like women in our society for these very same reasons.

Years ago, some guy was harrassing every woman in the subway car I was in, asking them to go out with him. It was freaky, the scared body language, the shying away. And I do understand the fear. When he got to me, I looked him in the eye and said no in a rather loud voice. The guy shut up went to a seat by himself and didn't bug anyone else. The really weird part was the nasty lookd I got from the other women.

Angie said...

Charles -- I'm glad I have a wife so I don't have to approach any women anymore and risk being accused of mansplaining.

The only way you could be accused of mansplaining in that situation would be if, when a woman turned you down for whatever you proposed, you proceeded to explain to her exactly why she was wrong and stupid for doing so, because after all she's not that hot anyway and who does she think she is to be saying no to you, so she must be one stupid bitch. Honestly, I can't imagine you being that agressively butthurt-nasty to anyone, ever.

I was told a couple of times by women that they were just trying to play a little hard to get.

It's sad as well as frustrating that there are still women who do that. It comes from the traditional belief that a woman who says yes right away is a desperate loser or a cheap skank, though, and a lot of women are still afraid that a man won't value what comes too easily. Women who know what they want and go after it, or even just say yes to it as soon as it shows up, often experience negative reactions. Which is stupid, but there you go -- a lot about traditional male/female interactions is stupid. :/

I'm sure Lana's very glad she has you too, for all sorts of reasons. :)

Kara -- Thanks! :D Actually it just means that these seven or so stories I have circulating just keep getting rejected [cough] but at least I'm persistent, right? [grin]

I feel so lightened of spirit whenever another woman articulates these obstacles we have to navigate everyday, but are often left unacknowledged.

I feel the same way. I read that and thought, "Yes, exactly, that's IT!" And the link between mansplaining and street harassment and outright rape and everything else -- it all tracing back to men who've been socialized to feel entitled to have whatever they want from a woman, from attention to admiration to sex, makes perfect sense. It's like the unified field theory of female oppression. [wry smile]

Suzan -- I read that post of Kris's and yeah, it's pretty amazing how so many of the common weaknesses in women also apply to writers. If you think about it, though, it makes sense. Women have those hang-ups because until recently, we've been kept dependent and powerless in society. Writers, under the traditional publishing model, have also been kept dependent and powerless. So it's not really surprising that a lot of the same problematic beliefs and behaviors would appear in both. It was a very cool observation on her part.