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Posts from the ‘Feminism’ Category

Regarding The Harassment of Women and Girls.

The #metoo and #timesup movements in Hollywood are presently shedding light on workplace harassment. However, women and girls are most typically introduced to the world of harassment by men, right around the time they get boobs, if not before.

However, bullying of females by males in both childhood and adulthood has more to do with violence and control than sex and beauty. Even our fathers and our friend’s fathers are guilty of objectifying us or talking down to us, yet fathers are rarely held accountable for this behavior because they are so sanctimonious, so gilded in impunity. And I have no choice but to dedicate this blog post to the things that fathers do or don’t say to, or about, their daughters, that objectify, degrade, and belittle them.

An example of a celebrity father who said things he shouldn’t have to his very young and impressionable daughter would be Alec Baldwin. In 2007 he famously called his then 11-year-old daughter Ireland Baldwin a ‘rude, thoughtless, little pig’ in a voicemail. Here’s the transcript which is still available on here.

Once again, I have made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone. You have made an ass out me of for the last time. Three letters: ABA. A, Always, B, Be, A, Answering. Always be answering. Still, be answering. AIDA. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Attention. Do I have your attention? Interest. Are you interested? I know you are ’cause it’s pick up the phone or get your ass straightened out. You answer or you get hit with a brick. Decision. Have you made your decision to pick up the phone? And action. AIDA. Pick up the goddamn phone. You got a call coming in, you think I made it because I’ve got nothing better to do? I could be shouting shit at random people on the street, but I’m calling you. I don’t care that you’re twelve or eleven or whatever, are you pig enough to pick it up? I’m a good father, and you’re a pig. I don’t give a shit. Good father. You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you thoughtless pain in the ass? AIDA. Get mad you daughter-of-a-bitch. Get mad. You know what it takes to answer my call? It takes brass balls to answer my call. Go and do likewise. The phone is ringing, you pick it up, it’s yours, you don’t, I got no sympathy for you. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. You better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me. Pig. Oh, also, tell your mother I said: “Go fuck yourself.” This is Dad, ring me back when you get a chance.

Via Gawker

Alec Baldwin has since apologized for the voicemail many times over, and his daughter, downplayed the incident in an interview, and she and her father have an amiable, but a somewhat tarnished relationship.

Some fathers presume to comment on their daughters looks or make them the butt of a joke or undermine their intelligence, or perhaps they allow someone else to. The #metoo and #timesup movements continue to reveal the real world of females. A world that is often depicted or portrayed in a way that is cliché or humorous. But our lives are not television sitcoms.

I remember an encounter that took place when I was in junior high school, between my friend’s father, my father, my little brother, and myself. Except I wasn’t a part of the conversation, I was merely the topic and the discussion focused on my looks most notably my resemblance to a “dog” and a large zit on my chin that looked like my brother had “punched me in the face.”

It was a defining and revealing event in my life, small but mighty. It’s sneaky little comments like this, conversations that take place out of the earshot of wives and mothers that reveal the true nature of not all, but most, fathers.

The things Alec Baldwin said to his daughter come from a place of anger at his estranged wife (whom his daughter closely resembles) and desperation for acknowledgment as a parent. Some fathers, like Donald Trump, spew caustic venom with effects less evident than those who would lash out at their daughter in anger. They speak to or about women and girls including their daughters, in ways that are disguised as playful or humorous but are quite damaging.

At the root of all of the things that men do to hurt women, whether physically or emotionally is misogyny. Pure, simple, classic, tired, dusty, old, misogyny. That shit is rampant. It’s infectious; it sneaks its way into almost every relationship a female ever has with a man.

Even good men, good fathers are guilty of perpetuating impossible standards by which their princesses are supposed to judge a potential mate. Because when she gets married, he’ll have to give her away to this guy, transfer his ownership, relinquish his control over his girl.

If it seems like I have a paternal ax to grind, I do. If this post happens to offend your fragile male ego, good, I’m not going to offer you any reassurance. If the shoe fits, I want you to wear it.

I commend fathers who respect their daughters and treat them well and don’t call them names or bully them whenever they feel threatened. I appreciate men who do as much for any and all women and girls. It’s unfortunate that you men are the exception and not the rule.

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It’s a girl.”
― Shirley Chisholm

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Wife, Mother, Feminist

Before I was ever a wife and mother I was a feminist, and have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. Not because I wanted an authoritative job or to change the world or anything noble like that, but because my whole life I have wanted to have as much validity and credibility as a man in any given conversation.

More importantly, for me, feminism is about setting a universal standard for the fair and equal treatment of women around the world.

Initially, I was going to make this post about how I compromise my feminist beliefs every day. But the more I worked on that post, the more I realized, that I’m not compromising my feminism at all, I’m simply flexible.

For example, I do all the cooking and cleaning and laundry around the house for the most part. Not because I have to or am limited to cooking and cleaning and child-rearing as my entire scope of existence, instead I do it because it makes life easier for me. I don’t have the patience for nagging and pestering and reminding my husband to pitch in if he pulls the vacuum across the carpet its because he did it without being asked, or not at all.

So, even though I think that women and men are equally capable of cooking and cleaning and there should be an even balance in household chores, I do all that housewife shit because I’m empowered to, to either make my husband cook and clean, or not.

In other parts of the world and even right here in the United States women aren’t allowed to be anything but a wife and mother, and while both of these things give me life, my child and my husband are my worlds, there’s still more to me. I’m allowed to be more than Jeremy’s wife, or Jack’s mom.

Feminist is not a dirty word in our house; I plan to continue my education and continue to raise my son to a respectful and empathetic human being. So that someday he can use the fact that he is a male and therefore automatically a person, wherever he goes on this earth with all of the rights and privileges therein to positively impact the lives of women and girls in his life, and his community.

 

The Girl

As some of you may know, I work at a major retail store. My official position is that of a sales floor person. But in recent months I have spent a lot of shifts working up front as a cashier and customer service person.

My time up front has been plagued with interesting customer encounters, some good, some not so good. I have made quite a few observations concerning customers and customer service relations at store level.

One of my observations has been the treatment of sales floor persons by customers vs. the treatment of front end persons by the very same customers. Customers on the floor are typically happy and satisfied with my assistance. Never taking a question further than my answer.

However, up front is another matter. Something happens psychologically to a person at the checkout. And the same guest who was so friendly and willing to trust the word of a floor person behaves as though the front end person, or cashier to be specific, is some sort of sub-human lacking basic human intellect and rights.

A more important observation I have made has been the blatant and abusive sexism demonstrated by customers and inflicted upon female cashiers and front end persons. Countless times a day, myself and others like me, are referred to as “the girl” or “the lady” or “that girl” or “that lady”or “this girl” or “this lady”. The phrase is usually followed up with a problem or situation that is somehow “her” fault in the eyes of the customer.

Yet if a man is the one in charge up front the problem is typically resolved quickly and easily. Often times if a woman is in charge, like me for example. I have to call a man for backup, so they can tell the customer the same thing I did, and the man is somehow magically understood.

The underlying problem is that I almost never hear “he”  or “him” followed by a complaint. It is almost always “she” or “her” that manages to be so stupid at the same job every day. This dumb female cashier stereotype is administered by men and woman shoppers alike.

My point is this: Think about the way you treat people in customer service. They are simply doing their jobs, the same jobs, over and over, day in and day out, the best way they can. They do it on weekends, and holidays, birthdays, and family gatherings. They do it late at night, or early in the morning. They take almost as much shit as a nurse, but for a lot less pay.  So please, remember your manners the next time you’re out shopping , and more importantly remember that cashiers are people too. They may know their jobs well, or they may still be learning, either way, offer them respect, even if they happen to be a woman or a girl.

 

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