Monday, December 16, 2013

Et tu, NPR?

Take this pie and shove it!
(Image by ayndroid via morgueFiles)


Why would NPR fall back in time with their headline “GM Gives A Woman The KeysTo Drive Its Future.”  Gives?  Gives? 

Okay, I have to bring this around to an argument about teaching now.  Years ago, I talked to another English professor.  He used to laugh when students talked about their grades.  If they failed, they often said that their instructor “gave” them an F.  If they passed, they said they “earned” an A.  He would laugh at them and point out that they earned the F the same way they earned the A.

Which brings us back to the article’s headline.  Did they “give” it to her?  It is just tokenism and a way to pad their numbers?  Or did she legitimately earn it?  I don’t hazard a guess; I’m not big on tracking what GM is doing and what their execs are like.  But I do know that if she honestly earned the position, as we would expect any male candidate to do, then we shouldn’t belittle her accomplishment by putting out headlines that imply that women only achieve things through being “given” them.

One of their points in the article is that “Even now in Saudi Arabia, women risk violence or arrest for just sitting behind the wheel of a car.”  How is that even relevant?  What does that have to do with any of this?  We’re not living in Saudi.  We’re not following their laws.  Is the author trying to show that we’re more advanced? That we actually “let” and “give” our women these things?

I suppose this wouldn’t be that bad, but it was a woman who wrote the article!  Marilyn Geewax.  Golly gee, Geewax, maybe next time you can go ahead and write a wonderful article about a man who gets an executive position, and you can go ahead and put the same information in about him.  Talk about how he was “given” the position, and point out something about circumcision, maybe.  Make sure to mention that he has kids (“a mother of two” is so cleverly slipped into the article…)

When are we going to stop looking at boobs and start looking at resumes?  When are we going to go ahead and report things fairly and equally instead of picking terminology that denigrates? 

Sorry, NPR, but you really fouled this one up.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lenovo – You’re the Dick!

So I got two emails from a company I used to love...Lenovo.  I say “used to love them” because right about now, not so much.  

But wait – what am I fuming about?

I got two – not just one, mind you, but two! – ads in email from Lenovo over the holiday weekend. 

Their tag line for their labor day sale?  “To the man working for the man.”

Yeah, “to the man” and the subject line of the first email was, as you can see in the pic, “You’re the man.” 

No.  No.  No, no, no, no, no.  I need to return my computer now.

Yes, this is a screen capture of the ad I received...
gotta love a company who knows that only men use computers!

Here goes my return letter:

Dear Lenovo,

Apparently, you got confused about who owned one of your computers.  Because, you see, I’m not “the man.”  And, in fact, while I work for some men, I also work for some women.  So I’m not even working for “the man.” (Yes, I get the reference to “the man,” but that’s just as insulting – assuming that only men are in charge…)

So, Lenovo, while I’ve had my computer for several months now, and I even posted about how awesome the customer service was, I now see the folly of my ways.  I apparently purchased a product meant only for men.  I would like to return my computer and get a refund.  Of course, I’m not sure if that’s possible.  To be fair, I have been using my computer, and I may have gotten women-cooties all over it. 

Perhaps in the future, you will deem it proper to make a product that women like me can enjoy.  Until then, I will just have to save up and buy a Dell.


A Totally Pissed-Off Crazy Ass Feminist

(And, yes, I actually did send the letter with my contact information to Lenovo through their Customer Service website…)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mayors will be mayors…

Law books
by southernfried
I’ve been following a horrifying news story.  And I want to thank Ruben Navarette, “a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.”   His lovely article “Will ‘Mayor Naughty’please step down?’ alerted me to the fact that, first, this is a horrifying situation, and second, people are still fucking idiots.

Mr Navarette talked about Bob Filner, the mayor of San Diego, who “has been accused of sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, lewd comments and other boorish behavior by -- at last count -- 17 women.”  Navarette says that he “snarkily predicted that we'd get to 20 women by Labor Day.”  Because, you know, it’s fucking hysterical that the mayor harassed and abused over 15 women who were willing to come forward and face the personal attacks that were bound to happen because, of course, the crime in this case is often being willing to talk. 

Navarette further points out that “…all the while, Mayor Naughty fiddles. Filner isn't exactly cleaning out his office. He doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks about him. He won't leave, and it might just be that -- even with all the pressure being applied -- we can't make him leave.” 

Possibly without even meaning to, Navarette is helping to prove that point.  By calling him “mayor naughty” and talking about “How embarrassing are the Filner follies? Try this on for size: Hooters restaurants in San Diego have banned the mayor because, according to the management, Filner doesn't respect women. What do you do when you're deemed morally deficient by a restaurant chain that made a fortune off the concept of waitresses serving up hot wings in tight shorts and cleavage-baring T-shirts?”, he is one of the guys who seems to think that it’s amusing when men abuse women.  Calling his actions “follies” and joking about his title…these aren’t the musing of someone who feels that a man has done something wrong.  This is a man who believes in the good old boys’ club and is amused when someone gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  Further evidence is in his comments about Hooters.  While I know that many other feminists may hate Hooters, I see it as further freedom of choice.  If women can make money by dressing in something that has more coverage than a bikini and being friendly with lonely men, what’s wrong with that?  And while some Hooters have had issues, many of them have very good benefits and treat their employees well.  But, of course, the women are in the wrong and being “morally deficient” when they wear “tight shorts and cleaver-baring T-shirts.” 

In the end, Filner agreed to resign,  but he only “apologized to accusers but denied ever sexually harassing them.”  Filner’s actions, as reported by women in this article (with slightly less humor) included “more women—one of them a great-grandmother and another a retired Navy admiral—came forward and told stories of Filner touching, forcibly kissing, making lewd comments and even placing them in headlocks.” 

I have nothing against innocent until proven guilty…and I have nothing against proper criminal and civil proceeding occurring.  That *should* happen.  But I’m worried it won’t.  I’m worried that, since he’s just a ‘naughty mayor’ and since we all have a ‘mayors will be mayors’ attitude that he will never come to justice.  Sure, he lost his position, but he caused that to happen.  They did nothing to deserve what happened to them.  They were innocent bystanders, and he abused his power and them. 

I don’t want to just bring up the evils of men sexually harassing women.  We all know about that.  We need to change the perception of it.  We need to stop joking about it and making it funny.  Many, many things in life are funny.  Sexual harassment and abuse does not fall into those categories.

Monday, July 29, 2013

When you assume, you’re an ass

Quite a while ago, I wrote a paper on women’s education in Iran and the UK.  It was long, and it was interesting (at least to me), and it left me thinking a lot about subtle – and not so subtle – visual cues that we receive in our reading.  For example, in children’s readers in Iran, women are shown in the “proper” roles and places: mothers, wives, caregivers, homemakers.  The images are consistent and an important way to reinforce, from an early age, the roles of men and women in society.

So why did I bring that up?

Well, this past Sunday, I was looking through the coupon booklets in the paper (yes, I clip coupons).  Anyway, I found what I considered to be a horrific spread.

Johnson & Johnson had ads/coupons broken over two pages.
On page one, there were four coupons: band-aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, and Visine. 
The image was of two boys who had apparently just finished (or were about to begin?) playing soccer.  The tag line: “Make sure they’re ready to get back in the game.”

"Healthy Essentials for Boys"

Boys play sports!

On page two, there were four coupons: Stayfree, Carefree, Motrin, and Clean & Clear.
The image was of a girl holding a notebook with other girls looking on (but blurred) in the background.  The tag line: “Help her be ready.”

"Healthy Essentials for Girls"
Girls bleed and need to be acceptable and pleasant-looking!

I say: What. The. Fuck.

Why the fuck would you assume that girls need to be ready with maxi pads, Motrin, and Clean & Clear?  Apparently they need to make sure their faces look good and they aren’t bitchy during that time of the month.  Boys, on the other hand, need to be healthy and not suffering from any physical harm because, of course, they’re boys, so they’ll play hard.

Again I say: What. The. Fuck.

So here’s a shout out to Johnson & Johnson!  Why not assume that, just maybe, women might play sports, too! And boys might need help with their acne!  It’s shocking, I know, to assume that women should be more than just “ready” (perhaps for the boys that are now done playing soccer?).  Why can’t women be “ready to get back in the game”?  Why can’t boys just be “ready”?  Why the fuck do we have to make these assumptions?

Now, obviously, I’m not stupid.  It’s not like boys really need maxi pads, but they can use Motrin.  They can use Clean & Clear.  And girls can definitely use everything on the “boys” page. 

Maybe Johnson & Johnson needs to pay attention to more than just “healthy essentials” and also pay attention to “healthy assumptions.”