bell hooks talks about Lean In as the antithesis of revolutionary feminism. She argues Sheryl Sandberg has offered a masculine vision of success that is measured by material gain and fitting in with dominant White male corporate culture. hooks argues while Sandberg may have some semblance of feminist spirit guiding her philosophy, she is not an advocate of feminist politics. People want a “positive” story and individual exceptionalism; they don’t want to hear about the obstacles that minorities face in everyday life. They don’t want to hear that people like Sandberg get ahead by fitting in to their environment and bending to the existing structure, rather than fighting against it actively.
hooks argues that Lean In is aimed at a very small, White group of already successful women, rather than presenting a model for altering the system to allow diversity to flourish. Click below to listen.
Read bell hooks expand her argument on why “powerful White male-dominated mass media” gave Sheryl Sandberg so much attention.
In a perfect world, you could tell a woman she’s hot and she would smile and say thank you because there would be no millennia-long history of women’s bodies being used and abused by men, no notion of women’s beauty as being ‘for’ men, no ridiculous beauty standards. Complimenting a woman on her appearance would be just like complimenting a person on their bike or their shoes or the colour of their hair; it would not carry all the baggage that it carries in this world. But that’s not our world, and it may never be. Yeah, it sucks that women often take it ‘the wrong way’ when you give them unsolicited compliments. You know what sucks more? Yup, patriarchy.”
- Brute Reason.
This article made my heart sing. Imposing unsolicited compliments on women and then being angry when she does not respond with enthusiasm is an example of everyday sexism. It’s all about context. As the author points out, complimenting someone you know very well (a friend or family member) and who welcomes such comments is fine. Feeling a need to vocalise your judgement about a woman’s looks on the street, at work or anywhere else is not okay. The idea that women need to be evaluated on their looks, “complimentary” way or otherwise, is a form of sexism. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago.
[Image: a woman sits at her computer reading. “Nope,” she says at the screen, kicking it. She continues to say “nope” as she boards a spaceship and flies into the sun.]
“In the postindustrial economy, feminism has been retooled as a vehicle for expression of the self, a ‘self’ as marketable consumer object, valued by how many times it’s been bought—or, in our electronic age, how many times it’s been clicked on. ‘Images of a certain kind of successful woman proliferate,’ British philosopher Nina Power observed of contemporary faux-feminism in her 2009 book, One-Dimensional Woman. ‘The city worker in heels, the flexible agency employee, the hard-working hedonist who can afford to spend her income on vibrators and wine—and would have us believe that—yes—capitalism is a girl’s best friend.’”
-Susan Faludi, in The Baffler, on the Lean In movement and the history of feminism and capitalism. Read more on Sheryl Sandberg here.
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I see problems with a narrow conception of feminism, but I always think it’s worth reading examinations of how feminism is a potential disruption to capitalism.
- Reblogged from longreads
Just gonna leave this here…
dont forget in the states :
100% of men can be drafted
0% of women can be drafted.
just gonna leave these here for you guys who are getting pissy over my ‘white privilege’ post
Now, I’m not all anti-social justice, but you certainly can’t ignore these facts.
But let’s take a guess as to why women generally are prohibited from serving on the front lines in warzones, and why they are discouraged from working in the industrial sector? Patriarchal expectations of appropriate roles for men and women based on gender.
Who commits the majority of homicides? Men.
Why are men more likely to commit suicide instead of seeking help for their problems? It’s those pesky patriarchal gender roles again, equating emotions with femininity and therefore weakness, which discourages men from talking about their problems.
As for the custody thing, the majority of custody decisions are agreements made between both parents, which again, are probably overdetermined by patriarchal assumptions about gender that paint women as being more nurturing and therefore better parents than men.
So, although the person who made this clearly wanted to argue that male privilege doesn’t exist, what they actually did was make a pretty good graphic illustrating the ways in which patriarchal expectations and structures within a society hurt men as well as women, which, since feminism is actually aimed at dismantling the patriarchy is why men also need feminism.
Reblogging for that comment
PRAISE THAT COMMENT. THIS WAS SAID PERFECTLY.
Hispanic women are fully aware that our culture is entrenched in misogyny, but not necessarily any less than American culture. Women in the United States are often expected to take their husbands’ last name. Many men still go to their bride’s father to ask for her hand in marriage; just because we see it as a sweet gesture it does not mean that it isn’t patriarchal in nature… Loving tradition and having pride in your culture does not mean these women cannot vocalize the gender issues of their communities. My mother’s feminism was the truest form of feminism for me; a belief in the potential upward mobility of all women.
Patricia Valoy, Civil Engineer, feminist blogger, and radio host reflects on gender politics and the sacrifices her stay-at-home mother made for her children after they migrated from the Dominican Republic to the USA. Valoy writes that Western feminism encouraged her to see her mother as being trapped in patriarchy, but she argues that we need to find a way to move past narrow conceptions of feminism:
Feminism cannot continue to exist as a monolithic block, or we will never be able to include women from all walks of life.
Alyx Gorman quotes her friend in a good deconstruction of the latest Australian advertising beauty campaign to condescend to women. The ad pretends to “get real” about women’s bodies by using the word “vagina”, feeling pleased with itself, thank-you-very-much, for being so honest. The ad features a thin, white, naked and conventionally attractive woman talking about “that bit of discharge” in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The ad then usefully offers women a solution to our dampness/wetness problems: we should wear panty liners every day! Hooray and thank you!
Gorman does a great job of showing that this ad is part of a long line of advertising that pushes a product most people do not need and manufactures it as a solution to our (non-existent) problem. This is a stock premise of advertising: it creates problems and solutions for consumers to guilt or shame us into spending money. The issue here is that the message is twisted: vagina is not a dirty word, says the ad - it’s just women’s bodies that are gross.
Read Gorman’s article on The Vine.
- Source: zeezeescorner
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill delivers a public apology to the parents, children and communities affected by the State-sanctioned practice of forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies. It is estimated that 17,000 children in South Australia were adopted before 1980 “and some of these were forced adoptions.” Forced adoptions were a common practice around Australia between the 1950s and the 1970s, affecting around 150,000 unmarried mothers across the country.
Source: SBS Australia.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Part of me thinks it’s too soon to be writing about this because I don’t think I’ve completely processed how I feel, but I also think maybe this has happened to other women and I should talk about it in as raw a way as possible. I’m still really embarrassed and ashamed and garbled up inside, but maybe this can start a helpful discussion in terms of women and comedy.
Last night, I was on a stand up show in the East Village. The show started out with a small crowd and the host did an amazing job interacting with them and riling them up. By the time I got on stage, there were about 20 or so more people in the audience and the place had really filled up. The show was still kind of loose because of the back and forth between the host and the audience, so when I got on stage, I riffed a bit about the stuff that had happened before and then talked to one guy on the side of the audience who the host had dubbed “Banana Republic.” All joke-y. All in good fun.
Then, I start my actual set and do my first two jokes, which go pretty okay. I start another joke that is vaguely sexual - not crude, not crass - mainly silly and that goes well too. The next joke I do is about my boyfriend.
At a comedy show, when you’re on stage, usually you can’t see the audience because of the bright lights. So I’m looking into pitch darkness. As I start the joke, someone yells, “Does your boyfriend know?” referring to the sexuality joke I’d just told. I stop, laugh and say that he does because I think it’s just more of the loose environment that’s been going on at this show. I attribute it to an audience member just having fun.
I start to tell the joke about my boyfriend again, and at the midway point, the same voice yells something else derogatory about my boyfriend, homophobic and misogynistic towards me. I stop, confused. I can’t see who is talking to me so I make a HUGE mistake and say, “Sir, if you’re gonna talk to me, you need to come to the front because I can’t see you.” I think calling him out like this will shut him up.
- Reblogged from gabydunn