Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Women and children"

You know what phrase I cannot stand? The phrase “women and children.” Why, you ask? Well, one reason why is the phrase’s divisive effect between two groups of people: women and children, and men. In other words, the phrase puts an unnecessary fence between these groups of people.

Another reason why I greatly dislike this phrase is that it goes contrary to the wise adage “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Why, then, is it necessary to separate the women and the children from the men? I can only think of one reason why, and it is the simple, physiological rationale that women get pregnant and men don’t. This is why that I can see the necessity of some governmental programs that benefit women and children. Actually, I only see the necessity of one such program, namely, WIC. For the rest of the governmental initiatives that benefit women and children, I can think of at least one way in which men would benefit from each of those initiatives. Which is, in our current year of 2008, sad. Even that is an understatement.

This physiological rationale also applies when it comes to departments of health for the sexes. Because women get pregnant and men don’t, I can see the necessity of having two national Departments for Women’s Health versus one for men’s health. However, how many such departments for the sexes are there? Try one Office for Women’s Health versus a nonexistent Office for Men’s Health, and adding insult to injury, the former gobbles up funding like you wouldn’t believe. Now, I can understand why an Office for Women’s Health is important, but come on. Are men that expendable? Apparently we are, because not only do men have to register for the selective service upon turning 18, but also, women in the armed forces are actually prevented from firing their weapons on the front lines (I read that on some military website). And we wonder why our military men die so much more often than our military women.

Equal opportunity, you ask? Hardly.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nina Burleigh's Article

If you have a moment, check out this misandric article written by Nina Burleigh of the Huffington Post.

The title alone is misandric because it uses the phrase "man enough," so already Ms. Burleigh starts off on a bad foot, placing her in bad company with Maureen Dowd (Are Men Necessary?) and many others.

Another quote that caught my eye (actually, both of them) was this: "The fact is, as the UN reported some years back, women world-wide are five hundred years from parity with men." Well, among other things, you have to ask the UN why it's 500 years and not 499, or 501. But seriously, have they even thought about what men around the globe are going through in the year 2008? Personally, I think that it is men who are not even close to parity with women, given the copious amount of attention -- political attention, that is -- that has been given to the issues of the latter, not the former. This is to the extent that the former's suffering is almost always laughed off as insignificant when compared to the historical suffering of the latter.

Only when we look at human suffering as a whole, not as a part (which is what the UN is doing), will our global society be able to move forward -- it's as simple as that.

Another quote: "Every day in America a woman gets the crap beat out of her by a boyfriend, every other day, in New York anyway, a man kills his wife or girlfriend. That's feminism 101, friends, it's where we really are on a planet where whole nations can still deny women the right to drive, use birth control or go to school, and force them to wear black blankets over their heads."

This stuff is nothing new, it's been hackneyed by many scholars and politicians. But since I'm such a firm believer in equality, I am aware of the truth that this quote is ignoring. Truth such as:
- there are women who kill their husbands and boyfriends, and get away with it -- just ask Mary Winkler, for example.
- there are men who get the crap beat out of them by a girlfriend, but when the men call the authorities, guess who they arrest? You're intelligent, I'll leave you to figure that one out.

Ms. Burleigh may preach feminism 101, but I'm afraid that she's taking female privilege around the world for granted. Privilege such as South African girls having had a special school built just for them, and that's just for starters.

One final quote from the article! "Calling female reporters 'sweetie' is not - ahem - a step in the right direction." As if a waitress calling a male customer "darling" is a step in the right direction.

Overall, it's a terrible article that fights injustice with injustice. How anachronistic can you get?

Monday, May 26, 2008

"There's no excuse for abuse"

... unless (a) the abuser is female and (b) the victim is male. Then there's plenty of excuse. Unfortunately, this is the terrible reality of domestic violence in the year 2008.

Speaking of abuse, however, sometime last year, I came into possession of a pamphlet that was the size of a business card. The words "There's no excuse for abuse" were written on the pamphlet, hence the title of this entry. Even though I've issues with the visual appearance of the pamphlet, I looked inside and found that, to my satisfaction, the tips that the writers of this pamphlet provide are gender-neutral. In other words, they apply to female as well as male victims of domestic violence.

However, here are the issues I have with the pamphlet, in no particular order:
- The colors that it uses are shades of pink and purple -- very gender-neutral colors indeed (/sarcasm).
- There is a symbol that appears on the front that is a combination of the circular peace symbol and the symbol of the planet Venus; of course, the latter symbol also represents women as a whole.
- On the back is a list of shelters in the Philadelphia area, but what the pamphlet doesn't tell you is whether or not they accept male victims.

And perhaps the pamphlet's most fatal flaw:
- They fail to mention the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women, which is one of the few domestic violence organizations out there that is gender-neutral. They do what all DV organizations should do: stand up for the rights of all victims, regardless of their sex/gender.

This organization has a web page, and they can be reached at 888-7HELPLINE. Please, if you feel that you have been victimized in any way, go immediately to a safe location and give them a call. They can help you out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Misandry defined in other dictionaries

Or should I say, "Misandry defined in other dictionaries, assuming that word appears in the dictionary in the first place."

The motivation for this post stems from a substitute teaching assignment I had late last year. During my preparation period (where basically you get to hang out, for all you non-teachers out there -- this is also called a "prep" period), I got a chance to examine several dictionaries in order to compare the number of variants of the term misandry to its sister term misogyny (no pun intended). In all honesty, I think the former only appeared in one dictionary, at best. Unsurprisingly, the latter appeared in all of the dictionaries I examined, and adding insult to injury, variants such as "misogynist" and "misogynistic" appeared as well.

So that's one pet peeve I have about dictionaries, namely, unequal treatment of sexism directed at specific demographic groups. What's more, even if the word "misandry" does appear in a dictionary, it is not guaranteed that its definition will mirror that of misogyny. For example, there is at least one dictionary out there that simply defines "misandry" as the hatred of men, whereas when it defines "misogyny," that definition is hatred of women, esp. by men. My reaction to the latter definition is simple: only a bigot says that.

I mean, why do we even need the "esp. by men" part? Why can't the word "misogyny" be taken at face value (and I hope the staff member who scolded me at another substitute assignment read that last question)? When will the all-out scapegoating of males stop? When will the scapegoating of any demographic, for that matter, stop?

And most importantly, when will dictionaries open their (expletive deleted) eyes and treat "misandry" with the same seriousness as they treat "misogyny"? And no, saying that that's because misogyny has been around for thousands of years, is a cop-out. Thank you for rubbing it in my face.