Category Archives: Women’s Rights

Don’t Call Women “Girls”

At my job before this one, one of the millennial guys said, “Oh this vendor is going to have their girls look over this.” And one of the woman VPs said, “Really? They have little girls doing this for us? That’s amazing.” It was a good way to call it out with gentle ribbing and a reminder that language matters.

From MeFi:

I work with plenty of men who refer to their professional female colleagues as ‘girls’. It’s especially bad when it’s referring to an all-female team, like ‘the HR girls’.

They don’t call their male colleagues boys. Children generally have lower social status than adults. Women generally have lower social status than men. Calling women ‘girls’ in a professional contexts suggests you view them as extremely low on the social ladder. It’s demeaning and belittling, and implies that they’re more naive and less competent than their male equivalents.

Some women get socialised to go along with this and only ever be nice and unthreatening in the workplace, even if it costs them personally and professionally, because shit like calling women girls pigeonholes grown women as all of the negative things society implies about very young women 24/7 – annoying, irrational, flighty, overly emotional.

Reducing some women’s status in this way can be harmful to all women – I’ve learned to be firm and icy enough at work that I don’t think anyone does this to me, but doing it to my peers devalues the status of a group that also contains me. It makes us all a bit more dismissable and disposable as a demographic.

I call my male colleagues out on this all the time and it feels like a sacred duty.

Discussion in context.

Listen to What Women Say

A guy writes in Road & Track magazine article, ‘When I Quit Cutting My Hair, I Learned How Men Treat Women On American Roads.’ He grows his hair out so when he wears a helmet when he motorcylces, drives mistake him for a woman – and lash out:

The fifty-something man in the aging Lexus SUV was red-faced from screaming as he pulled up next to my motorcycle and lowered his passenger window. I caught fragments of every nasty word I’d ever heard my Catholic-school classmates whisper to each other during recess. Then he slowed the torrent of abuse long enough to enunciate the next sentence clearly: “Bitch, I am going to get out of this car and beat you until you can’t stand up.”

The essay is helpful and useful and it’s good to have this point of view – but it’s another case of not believing the daily experience of many women until a man validates it. Commenters on Metafilter:

“literally all he had to do to learn this lesson was listen to a woman saying ‘this is what it’s like for us’.”


“For the ‘we don’t believe this is what happens when women tell us this, but if another man has experienced it too, then maybe it’s actually legit‘ category.”


“At least once every time we gals haul horses on a road trip down the interstate, one of the passengers will jokingly, (bitterly) wave our hands in the air and yell, “OMG a woman pulling a horse trailer!”

This is in reference to the fact that there’s something about a woman hauling a five horse trailer with a big engine 4WD that just drives some men to absolutely explode with testosterone. If they were putzing along at 20 mph under the speed limit, they’ll have to speed up to 105 mph to keep you from passing. They’ll blow past at warp speeds for fear that you might get ahead of them on the off ramp. They’ll dive in front of you deliberately when they pass attempting to get you to throw the horses on the floor when you have to slow down. In town they cut you off. Run the light. Deliberately stop in the middle of a lane and peel out. At a four-way, they”ll make sure they proceed out of turn (or not stop.)



“until I became a mom, I built and drove stupid fast cars. There is nothing that will provoke idiots than a girl driving a big muscle car. I’ve seen multiple wrecks where some asshole has decided that he needs to go faster than me, or be in front of me,or tries to outdrive me. I’m a trained driver, I don’t street race except where its a street race location, I don’t even go ridiculous speed on public roads. But,I tell you what, I could fire up my Shelby, with her 350 Windsor and her dual hollys, and I could find an asshole who will be angry that I’m driving it in less than 10 minutes. Hell, I’ve been at mustang rallies where people…ok men…were furious that I owned it, refused to believe that I’d built the engine and transmission myself, and would ask if my boyfriend/dad/husband/brother actually owned it. My as camaro got the same reaction. There is a large subset of men who believe woman should be posed on top of cars, not winning quarter mile drag races.

Image from the Road & Travel article.landscape-1454004575-jack

Corrective Rape

Thirty-one lesbian women have been reported raped and murdered in homophobic attacks in South Africa since 1998. But according to Triangle – a gay rights organisation – only two cases of “corrective rape” have ever made it to the courts; there has been only one conviction. “This is a sad fact in this country generally, women are very reluctant to come forward,” says Sharon Cox from Triangle. “Corrective rape” is the term used to describe the rape of a lesbian woman by a man to either punish her, or “correct” her behaviour.

via Corrective Rape: An Ugly Contradiction.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Offers Degree in Happy Housewifery

Via Alternet:

Coursework for the program includes nutrition and meal preparation, textile design and classes on “the value of a child” and the “biblical model for the home and family.” Seminary President Paige Patterson says “We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God’s word for the home and the family…If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed.”

Panties and a Baseball Bat: Indian Woman Protests Dowry Tradition

Taking it to the streets:

Clad only in her lingerie and armed with a baseball bat, Chauhan finds this the best way to get the police’s attention to solve her post-marital life issues. Chauhan apparently has registered complaints against her in-laws — husband Pratapsinh, brother-in-law Ranchhod, in-laws Bhavdeep and Mangooben, who have been harassing her both mentally and physically.To avoid harassment, she had been living alone since last year. Yet the harassment continued. “I had complained at least four times against them. But the police did nothing. I had to get the police attention anyhow,” she said.

India Discards Widows to Die

Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die

Ostracized by society, thousands of India’s widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets, hunched over with walking canes, their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces. A widow makes her way in Vrindavan, India, where an estimated 15,000 widows live on the streets. These Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition — and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families. They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck.