Tag Archives: women

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.

Diane Freeleng, Feminist Horror Movie Icon

My sister and I are HUGE HUGE HUGE fans of Poltergeist. It was one of the movies that played 24/7 the summer that we had cable as kids. Schlock Corridor makes the case for a feminist reading of Poltergeist (1982) – focusing on JoBeth Williams’s portrayal of Diane Freeleng as the take charge one:

“While Steven has a mock gun battle with his neighbor, Diane is giving Carol Anne her first understanding of mortality, creating an almost Egyptian-level sarcophagus for the corpse of Tweety.

“This is the first time the film presents us with one of its themes: only women can get things done. Throughout the movie it’s female characters who are forced to actually effect change, and it all begins with Diane’s tender ceremony for Tweety. Later Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Strait) is the glue that holds the parapsychology team together, then Tangina is the key to the final rescue of Carol Anne – which Diane must do herself while Steven can’t even hold the rope correctly.

She’s a cool mom who seems to understand where Dana is coming from as she goes through her adolescent angst – possibly because she was around Dana’s age when she got knocked up. She’s also a stay at home mom. In 2012 this character probably couldn’t exist – she would have to be a writer or a painter or sell crafts on Etsy because the modern movie world doesn’t truly respect stay at home moms. But for all of her fond remembrances of ‘the old days,’ Diane doesn’t seem unhappy to be at home with the kids. Steven’s adulthood has turned him into a person he doesn’t truly recognize – it’s turning him into James Karen, in fact – but adulthood has been better to Diane.

I like to think that it was Carol Anne’s birth that started it all, though. It certainly fits thematically with what comes later – her closet turns into a huge vagina, and she is returned from the Other Side in an ectoplasmic birth caul. The rescue of Carol Anne is a rebirth, almost quite literally when she and Diane aren’t breathing in the tub. It also helps explain why The Beast is interested in the girl. It seems unlikely that the Freeling’s pool is the first serious digging in Cuesta Verde, but it is plausible that Carol Anne was the first baby born on the development. That makes Carol Anne’s rebirth a cleansing new start, a reclamation of the birth process.

“Carol Anne as the focus also feeds into the film’s essential feminism. The Beast wants to use Carol Anne as a beacon to attract the souls trapped between this side and the other; it’s her life force – something that comes from the feminine – that attracts them. The Beast is specifically said to be male – a male entity that is abusing the warmth of femininity to devour innocent souls.

The diminutive psychic is the final element of the film’s feminist trilogy – the cool mom, smart doctor and tough as nails medium seem to make up the life cycle of childhood.”

Here’s the trailer for the new remake (with a male psychic – boo!!!):

Bjork on Women, Music, Auteurs, and Authorship

Bjork talks to Pitchfork about her new album (coming after the collapse of her marriage) and about the unique challenges of women in the music industry:

“I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times. Girls now are also faced with different problems. I’ve been guilty of one thing: After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself.”

On the music press’s refusal to see her collaborators as contributors without removing her as the auteur voice:

“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it.”

“I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.”

Full interview http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/9582-the-invisible-woman-a-conversation-with-bjork/

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

How to Raise Independent-Minded Daughters

From a parenting discussion on Metafilter:

“You don’t have to have a degree in women’s studies or a nuanced understanding of gender politics to raise independent-minded daughters. My father certainly didn’t – he went to trade school instead of college and that kind of theoretical book-study was really not what he was into.

“But what my father did do, though, was encourage thinking in general. And he let me see that that was something in me that he valued. I’ve talked before about how Dad liked playing devil’s advocate in discussions just for the sake of getting a discussion going – I was actually one of his favorite sparring partners, in fact. I remember when I was in high school and we somehow got going on a conversation on the death penalty one night at dinner, and at one point he said something that just really got me fired up to the point that I forcefully put down the fork I was holding and said one of those “now, HOLD UP a minute” kinds of comments that lets you know that someone’s about to launch into an impassioned statement – and I was surprised to see Dad burst out with a grin like a kid on Christmas and hear him mutter, “oh, I love this.” And that’s when it hit me that Dad was excited to hear what I thought, and valued that I got impassioned about ideas.

My father valued my brain, and let me see that he valued it. He put value on me as a person rather than as a girl, and let me know that. And that’s a big part of what made me a feminist. Reading about gender theory and such can help you wrap your own brain around things, but your daughters may respond much more to having an example of a person who treats them as a whole person.”

Full thread http://ask.metafilter.com/254119/Feminist-basics-for-dads#3692024

Image from this post about Girls Who Code http://thenextweb.com/us/2013/01/24/girls-who-code-expands-across-the-us-with-summer-programs-in-detroit-san-jose-and-miami/

Good Groups, Bad Groups and Gender Representation in Entertainment

Commenter on a Reddit thread about Wolf of Wall Street:

“If you continually see, over and over and over again, men doing these great things, and women not even present for it, your stupid human programming is going to kick in and those are going to be the set rules. Good Group, Bad Group. Or – in my case, COOL Group, Bad Group. The need to see someone who looks like you doing the things you want to do is SO huge. It’s SO necessary to have positive self worth.

Imagine only seeing you as a sidekick or a hot reward. Maybe you would be like me – I was like, “That’s NOT me. I’m more like [the White Guy]!”

Like, it was possible for me to identify with male characters, but in order to do that, every single day I enjoyed that media, I would have to set aside the female part of myself. I honestly didn’t realize how damaging it was until recently. Or how easy it had become for me to dislike it, to think less of being female. I wanted to be cool, and cool was completely synonymous with being male. This is what I was taught, so it’s what I learned, and I would do my best to be that, by golly by gosh.

In order to pretend to be someone I wanted to be – fun and kind and goofy – I had to pretend to be a guy. In order to be the kind of hero I wanted to be, I was Flash or I was Robin – Wonder Woman wasn’t fun, she wasn’t goofy. Batgirl was never really part of the adventures, Crystal Kane just sat up in Sky Vault and ran a computer, I wanted to be part of the adventure! I was Ace McCloud! I was Michelangelo, not boring April! Stupid, stick in the mud girls aren’t part of the adventures! Or if they are – imagine a child pretending to be one of those super sexual heroines? Just…? Why is that what they’re limited to.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/cringe/comments/1zd1cs/female_version_of_the_wolf_of_wall_street/cft05e8

Image from Etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/89972756/spiderman-spidergirl-tutu-perfect-for

Domestic Abuse Survivor Tells a Future Victim What Happens Next

A survivor of domestic abuse explains what happens next:

“He doesn’t think you can make your own decisions. He doesn’t want you to be able to, either.

he would rather pay me the same amount to not work and stay home/stay with him.

He would rather sacrifice money to have you as personal property in his control.

I’d be relying in him to give me my “allowance”. What if he decides he’s not happy with me, I just end up out of pocket?

It takes away all of your financial independence.

1) This is his intent, and your danger. Abusers aren’t just fucked from day one, or even year one. They show their true colors once they have you financially and emotionally stranded.

He is saying he wants your time to the point of paying for it.  Not only are you now his whore, but there’s another level… Do you hang out with friends without him? Is it a problem if you do? Does it make him feel like he isn’t important, or that it’s taking too much time away from him? This may not have popped up yet, but once he is the sole breadwinner I can garun-fucking-tee that you won’t be seeing friends or family without him, and only when he’s okay with it.

2) you are neither smart, or an equal in his eyes. Look back at arguments. I don’t doubt that he compares himself to you… He already did that with finances.

3) I bet you really feel like he loves you. I bet he’s really good at making you feel that way… Just a little less so recently. Come to think of it, I bet a lot less recently. It’s not that he’s making you feel worse, he’s just worrying about your needs less. All those romantic things you love him for are from quite a while ago.

4) you’re going to stand strong, and he’s going to try to make it up to you romantically if he’s a good abuser, but something like this doesn’t rear it’s head in a normal relationship in the first place. He is going to be sweet as pie for a few days, or maybe even weeks if he works hard, until he’s annoyed that you still aren’t doing what he wants.

Am I crazy for being pissed off about this?

No, but it’s crazy scary that this is something you’re asking. It should be obvious, especially when you’re saving up for a house with him that he can’t even wait to financially isolate you in order to expedite getting a house faster.

Leave. This is fundamental, and he will not change, only hide it until you’re in his control. His intent is clear even if you don’t want to believe it. I’m sorry, and I try to rarely advocate leaving, because this sub is where you go to seek solutions, not to be told to throw in the towel. The difference here is that at this point the cheetah has shown it’s spots, and anything he does now is trying to hide them. He is waaay too sneaky about what he’s doing.

A normal person who respects you might offer you the choice to be a stay at home spouse or mom if you want it… But he’s trying to pay you to do it, getting mad that you’re trying to support yourself like he’s pointed out that you don’t do as much as he does, and is telling you that he won’t even allow you to do certain things for independence, even if it means financing a future together. You can’t win.

You are going to be controlled and abused by him. Remember, abusers must lure you in first with seemingly beautiful acts of love and kindness. Nobody thinks they’ll let themselves get into a relationship like that, but you’re going down that path right now. You need to get out. By the time it’s bad you won’t have friends, family, or money to turn to in order to escape.

Even if you don’t leave, build a financial safety net that he doesn’t know about or control. Sadly, many will not heed advice to get out when the signs are in plain red lights spelled out for you. Denial is a powerful thing. At least make a safety net for yourself so you aren’t powerless when the time comes.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/relationships/comments/1ywh5l/me_23_f_with_my_partner_23_m_3_years_he_wants_to/cfojpdt

Graphic from http://www.domesticpeace.com/

Abortions at 30-Year Low (and Not Because of Clinics Being Closed)

It’s amazing when you give people the full education and resources and tools to make decisions about their sexual health, it usually ends up for the best:

“The study, released by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights think tank, concluded that nearly 1.1 million abortions took place in the United States in 2011, some 700,000 fewer than in 2008. That’s the equivalent of 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women between 15 and 44. During the same time, the number of abortion providers fell by 4 percent and the number of abortion clinics fell by 1 percent.

“The national abortion rate appears to have resumed its long-term decline,” conclude researchers Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman. The rate of abortions in the United State has decreased almost every year since 1981, when, according to Guttmacher spokeswoman Rebecca Wind, there were 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women. The decline halted from 2005 to 2008. As of 2011, the abortion rate not only began to drop again, it also hit its lowest point since 1973.

Still, Jones and Jerman write, “It is crucial to note that abortion rates decreased by larger-than-average amounts in several states that did not implement any new restrictions between 2008 and 2010, such as Illinois (18%) and Oregon (15%).”

The increased use of contraceptives is thought to have played a role by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies—in particular among women living in poor economic circumstances who may have used birth control more consistently during the recession and the sluggish recovery period that followed.”

Full article <a href=”http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/abortion-rate-record-decline-map”>http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/abortion-rate-record-decline-map</a>

Huckabee: You Chicks Just Love the D

At the RNC stop-talking-about-rape hootenanny on Thursday, Mike Huckabee BLAMEDOBAMA for the war on women:

“Republicans don’t have a war on women. We’re having a war for women. To empower them to be something other than victims of their gender. If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.”

Uncle Sugar? What does that even mean? Does he realize that birth control doesn’t decrease libido?

TIME.com http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/23/huckabee-gop-waging-war-for-women/