Tag Archives: sexism

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.

Chris Hedges on the Rise of American Fascism

This essay from Chris Hedges is searing. Nearly every sentence is a grenade.

“College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity—embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values—civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class—while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended.

“These Americans want a kind of freedom—a freedom to hate. … They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.

“The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power.”

Just read the whole thing: The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism

How Girls Learn Emotional Reciprocity (and Why Boys Don’t)

From that same Metafilter discussion:

“Adolescent female friendships are LEGENDARILY difficult and drama-prone. And they are! Being an adolescent girl and navigating the emotional landscape of female friendship is hella hard! It’s not just media hype to sell Mean Girls narratives! But I think the narrative the media wants to attach to it is “girls are so over-emotional and mean to each other” when actually I think the deeper narrative here is, “Girls make intense emotional demands on their friendships in ways that boys don’t, and girls have hyperdramatic adolescent friendship landscapes because they are learning to engage in reciprocal emotional relationships without an adult to mediate them. Adolescent girl friend drama is children learning to manage reciprocal emotional relationships like adults. Boys friendships are not, culturally, allowed to be so intense, dramatic, or emotionally-involving, so I think boys do not get the opportunity to learn and practice adult interpersonal relationships in the same way, and boys friendships simply do not place the same emotional demands on them. Girls MUST learn to function with emotional reciprocity in their friendships or get shut out of them; emotionality is so proscribed in male friendships that they simply never face that demand.

“So you have a lot of girls arriving in their late teens and early 20s with a decade of watching adult women manage other people’s emotions and considering it a skill to emulate, and then a decade of struggling through the whirlpools of adolescent female friendships and learning to do the work themselves. They’ve served their apprenticeships. They face demands of reciprocity from other women they’re friends with, and they’re accustomed to the idea that relationships involve giving as well as taking.

“Some boys, however, arrive in their late teens and early 20s without having ever had a peer make emotional demands on them, and without having ever had to function in a peer relationship where they have to both give and take. Their closest emotional relationships are with parents, and parent-to-child is give-give-give so the child is take-take-take. I think a lot of these young men, it has literally never occurred to them that someone they are emotionally close to would make any emotional demands on them, because that has literally never happened, because their early childhood years were full of nothing but women, and their adolescent years featured culturally-limited friendships that were emotionally superficial. So some of these guys? Yeah, they finish college and start dating seriously and they’re perfectly nice guys who have literally no idea how to function as emotional adults because they’re only just now starting to practice. They have the emotional literacy of 11-year-old girls. And, yeah, basically someone’s going to end up having to raise them from 11-year-old-ness in interpersonal relationships to adulthood, because it’s not really a task you can accomplish in the absence of other people with whom to be interpersonally related. …

“And Because Patriarchy we’re going to act like that’s just how 23-year-old men act and all roll our eyes instead of recognizing that, no, they’re actually behaving like 11-year-old girls, but it’s pretty embarrassing for them because it’s one thing when you’re 11 but when you’re 23 you really ought to know better. And at 11 you’re just making everyone around you miserable but at 23 you have the full power to ruin lives with your bullshit.

Full discussion in context.

Dating an Emotional Charlatan

From a Metafilter discussion about modern dating and emotional labor:

“A few years ago, one of my friends began dating an accomplished lawyer who made good money. He was charming and generous. He 100% seemed like he had his shit together and could keep up with her. He cooked for her occasionally and his home was clean and comfortable.

“When they moved in together, his mother emailed her a list of links to Brooks Brothers and his measurements. He had never bought work clothes for himself. During the year they lived together, she had to put him on an allowance because he ran out of money most months. He wanted takeout every night and would pout if she offered to cook instead. His idea of helping out around the house was to unload the dishwasher once a week and demand enthusiastic praise for it. At the end of that year he put extreme pressure on her to re-sign their lease. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to break the lease two months later, when she broke up with him “out of nowhere.”

“I assure you, the men who are good at fooling women into believing they are competent adults and quality partners are good at fooling you into believing the same. This kind of emotional charlatan isn’t someone a few unlucky women meet in their 20s–these men are everywhere, across professions and classes. I’m definitely skeptical of your confidence in determining which men are good partners from the outside. If women–who have a much larger stake in not dating man-size toddlers–are so often wrong, how do you know that your assessments of other men are correct?”

Full discussion.

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

Shonda Rhimes on the Glass Ceiling

Influential executive producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder) receives the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and gives an incredibly moving speech. Full transcript on Medium.

“Woman after woman. Each one running and each one crashing. And everyone falling. How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?”

Full article (and where I got the image from) Shonda Rhimes at THR’s Power Women Event: “I Haven’t Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings”

Let’s Ruin Video Games

Found this rant via Metafilter:

“My name is Arden, and after a few days of thinking I’ve decided that I’m going to ruin video games.

I’m going to be doing everything in my power to destroy them completely. Walking simulators about feelings and emotions as far as the eye can see! Guns that shoot kisses! Lady characters that aren’t designed to cater to the whims of straight men! I’m hiding loving queer couples in every treasure chest instead of new armor. Every game will now be required to have at least one section that can be described as “too” personal. Fuck, if I’m feeling really bold, I might even throw some non-white characters into a game or two! I’ll magically replace every copy of every big-budget first person shooter with either Gone Home or Dear Esther and listen to the agitated shrieks of gamers.

Non-men have been “ruining” games for a long time, of course, by virtue of existing and trying to make the medium and the spaces around it more inclusive and less festering garbage.”

Full essay at http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/95229096014/lets-ruin-video-games

Part of Ruin Jam http://itch.io/jam/ruinjam2014

Arden’s newest project is a game called Date or Die http://dateordiegame.com/

Photo from her game Kindness Coins http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/47442539017/funny-comady-man-you-play-as-a-person-that-a

From this Metafilter thread http://www.metafilter.com/142425/Ruin-Jam-2014

Title for a Blog Post About the Wonder Woman Movie

“I’m just going to directly quote a Tumblr post that cropped up on my dash recently because it so perfectly encapsulates my feelings on the matter: Why Is It So Hard For You To Make A Wonder Woman or Black Widow Origins Movie You Pieces Of Shit ‘We Don’t Have The Money Or Resources’ Is That Why You’re Making Another Hit Batman Movie As If We’ve Never Seen One Before Wow What An Original And ‘Dark And Edgy’ Idea I Hate You: A Memoir. Seriously though. I am so, so tired of women getting sidelined as ‘bonus’ characters in wish-fulfillment stories. It’s like we’re incapable of having female heroes unless the story is about how they are dragged out into the spotlight to save their loved ones and it’s a gritty story of suffering. It’s not that those heroines are less worthy in any way, but just freakin’ ONCE I would like to see a giant blockbuster asskicking movie that is pure wish fulfillment with a woman superhero. I don’t understand why this is so freakin’ hard for Hollywood to understand. And no, side characters getting to kick ass do not count. Pepper Potts’ role in Iron Man 3 was great, but the movie is ultimately still all about Tony Stark all the time. tl;dr– all I want for Xmas is a Black Widow origins movie (1). 1. That’s not all about How Sexual Violence Made Natasha Who She Is Today because I swear to sweet Christ I think that’s the only acceptable backstory for women sometimes “SHE’S SO BROKEN YOU GUYS LOOK HOW BROKEN SHE IS.” (via Metafilter)

Revenge Porn and Systemic Misogyny

“‘Revenge porn’ is enacted by virulent misogynists, yes, but it ‘works’ to its evil ends because of systemic/assumed/unquestioned misogyny within our society. Bosses who immediately and without question fire women who are victims of this kind of thing represent a more insidious, difficult-to-combat evil, because they don’t appear as hateful trolls who are obviously beyond the pale, but rather as banal ‘normal’ people reacting as the system has taught them to react, doing what is expected of them to do. I’m glad this woman took this guy on. I’m also glad she never did what the awful LAPD officer immediately did—that is, suggest or even imply that her daughter should not have taken such photos to begin with. People like to feel sexy in a safe environment, people are curious about their own looks/bodies, etc. People who take revealing photos of themselves are not in any way to blame for the loathsome practice that is ‘revenge porn.'”

Frames, Feminism and Men’s Rights Advocates

“Feminism seeks to address gender inequality not just because doing so benefits women and girls, but because the presence of sexual discrimination and sexual violence is bad for everyone. … In the MRA view, mens and women’s interests sit in opposition to each other – if women win, men lose. When mens rights activists call for men to stand up because “feminism has gone too far”, they are implicitly stating that women and men can’t both benefit from gender equality. Whenever women gain power, men must lose it, and feminism has caused men to lose so much power that they must now fight to take some back. The gender struggle is a zero-sum game. So, feminists and mens rights activists disagree on two fronts: They disagree about the facts – whether women really have gained “too much” power at the expense of men (feminists would argue that living in a sexist society makes it difficult for men to recognise the true extent of the male privilege they still enjoy). But more importantly, they disagree on how the issue is framed; the MRA view men’s and women’s rights as being in opposition to each other, while mainstream feminists see gender equality as a net good to everyone.

Commenter on Metafilter

Venn diagram from Angstier Than Thou