Saturday, August 07, 2004

Whoa-men Indeed

Courtesy of Dissecting Leftism, I found this link to an article by Yvonne Roberts about how feminism has taken a step back, and women's rights are returning to a previous state of entrapment. While some of what this woman says rings true ("Today, we are encouraged to look inward - at our sex lives, our inner child, our rotten upbringing - rather than outward, at the social and political realm, to seek the solution to our unhappiness"), I wonder at her inability to "see the forest for the trees," as they say. Women are trapped by their biology, or so this woman and many others insist. They couldn't be more wrong. What too many women do not understand is just how priveleged we truly are - especially in today's climate in the free world. We are not caged by our womb - we are given abilities and boundaries that are broader than men will ever have. We can choose to have children - or not to have them. A man has to nail down a willing female. We can choose to work, or stay at home with our children - not only is it socially abnormal for a man to stay home (that is, outside of the current norms), psychologically, it is hard for many men to accept that role due to their own instinctual male needs. Rather than relish those freedoms, women like Yvonne Roberts and the leaders of NOW see it as unfair and cruel. They wear blinders and refuse to see that women can have their tubes tied or use birth control, and become powerful, dominant forces in the business world. They forget that men do not have the option to become "single fathers" without having anyone walk out on them. Women have the right "to choose" whether or not to kill their baby. Men have no say as to whether or not their child lives or dies. If there is inequity in today's world, it is that men will never be able to convert their bodies into an incubator for human life. We should take heart that sexist behavior is, for the most part, an attitude that is not only not acceptable among the civilized, it is illegal. Women have reached a point of freedom that is at a pinnacle, where our rights are strongly defended and promoted. Before women come down on society and men, they need to start examining just how far they can go and how many options in life they have. Then take a look at a man's choices. You may find yourself hoping that men do not do the same - or we may have a NOM (National Organization for Men) on the horizon.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Call It What It Is

Geek girl 2 over at Musings & Ephemera has an excellent post on abortion. And I like the way she words it, "As previously stated, I am not anti-choice. I just prefer to call a spade a spade, or in this case a baby a baby." Right on.

The Power Of Words

Apparently our unhappy reader, as I mentioned in this post, has apologized to Peg Kaplan for his comments. I was surprised - and heartened. Too often we say things in anger, and then are too stubborn to admit our error. I am leaving my post as it stands, as this is an issue that often comes up and frustrates myself and others. However, if nothing else, it gives me a little hope in human nature that this guy recognized the need to apologize - that takes a bigger person than many of us often are.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Captain, Our Communicators Aren't Working!

Geek girl 2, over at Musings and Ephemera has an interesting post on relationships in response to several posts by myself and Peggy Kaplan. I think her points are excellent and insightful - not to mention, I totally agree!

Shut-Up Words & Bigotry

Recently there has been a little rumble in the blog(o)sphere (what is with the "o"?) regarding racism, at least in my little ring of regular blogs that I read. I got hit with one, and so did Peggy Kaplan of What if?. As it turns out, they appear to be from the same irritated reader. You can read his posts here and here. So let's get really offensive and talk about shut-up words and racism. Shut-up words are words that are intended to shut you up. These include, but are certainly not limited to, threats of sexual harassment, religious prejudice, political barbs, and, my personal favorite, racism. These all attempt to force people into silence and embarrassment. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, racism is defined as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." However, in today's America, we use racism as a term to delineate anyone who talks about someone of another race or a racial issue without using glowing terms and engaging in absolute approval of everything they do. Or at least, it is always on the precipice, ready to fall off and crush you lest you teeter ever so slightly on the edge of what popular culture does not want to hear. For example, if you don't think affirmative action is a good idea, SPLAT! If you think affirmative action could use some tweaking, SPLAT! If you think affirmative action is an excellent program which should be used at all places of employment and education and is the perfect solution to all our problems....phew! You just made it out safely. Racism applies to anyone who determines their race to be superior....not just concerning black or Hispanic races. A black person or white person can be racist. A Japanese person can be racist. Read the definition. It can apply to anyone. No one corners the market on bad behavior. Now let's talk about the experience of being called a racist. It is something that stops you in your tracks. I'm what?! Especially if you are someone like me, you stand there and look behind you, determined they must be referring to someone else. Racism has never been something I have ever understood. Racism is never in my mind, nor does it guide my hand. Behavior determines my view of people, certainly not something as ridiculous as where fate concocted your DNA strand. So when you are called racist and no part of you has ever been that way, it is a shocking, horrifying experience. It makes you question every motive you have ever had regarding your view, treatment, and response to others. Remember, racism is considering your race superior, or defining a race as superior. Being uncomfortable around a group of people that are a different race than you is not being racist. Thinking yourself superior to them, or thinking of them as superior to you, is racist. Being uncomfortable is human, just as a man is uncomfortable in Victoria's Secret (are you with me here, guys?). Is the experience of being the victim of racism worse than being called a racist? I have no doubt that it is. It is demeaning and inhuman. Is it vicious? Yes. Is it impossible to overcome? No. Is someone having a different opinion about how to bring minorities into the workplace the same thing as that person being racist? No. That is called having a different opinion. It is called using your brain, looking at what is in place in our legal system, seeing that is doesn't work a good portion of the time, and thinking that there has to a better way. Someone calling you racist based on your thought-out conclusion - they are being a bigot (defined as "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices"). I am offering definitions here because I think we have distorted and shaped the meanings of words so that fear is inspired by them, rather than thought. So let's be honest and use them appropriately, shall we? Now, let's open the playing field a bit. Racism is another form of prejudice. So have I experienced racism of a sort....well, my last name is Jewish by marriage, so yes, I have experienced racism, but I am not about set myself up at a podium and start proclaiming my victimhood. I have no right to it, as my experiences have been mild. Others have experienced cruel and horrific treatment at the hands of racism that I can only imagine. However, what I have experienced is prejudice. I am 5'3", female, petite, with certain parts of my anatomy more blessed than others, if you get my drift. Do you know how often I have conversations with men glancing down at my chest every five seconds, or worse yet, staring blatantly? Do you have any idea how many times I have not been taken seriously because I am a woman, both in the workplace and in social situations? And because I am mildly attractive, I get no respect from some men, and more than a few women right me off as a bimbo. So yes, I have experienced prejudice. I have walked into an arms dealer and had every eye on me because I "didn't belong." I've been told I'd make a good secretary because I'm a woman. Now, let's add to the list. I have opinions like everyone else in the world does, but mine are conservative, sometimes political, ones. Prejudice - I've been introduced to you on many occasions. I have few friends because of our intolerance of differing opinions in this society. Because I don't agree with the shallow nature of today's social life, I am left bereft of close friends and uncomfortable around groups of people. To add to the fun: I never get drunk, think casual sex is irresponsible, believe recreational drug use is among one of the dumbest things you can do, and wearing clothing that shows most of my body is not my style. My Friday nights are spent with a movie or a book, as I do not get on well with the Friday Night Crowd. My point is this: many people have experienced some form of prejudice. Can I keep my mouth shut and have more friends? Probably. Can I change the way I look or how I'm built? Only if I want to do a TV reality show. There are certain things about me, like my genitalia, reproduction possibilities, and appearance, that are just the way they are, and I have to deal with others' responses to them. It is demeaning and frustrating. I do not, however, walk around and call people prejudice, sexist chauvinist pigs, unless they do something to earn it. Having an opinion does not make you prejudice, racist, sexist, etc. unless it fits the meaning of the definition. But if I call you, a male reader, a male chauvinist pig, it makes you shut up, doesn't it? It makes you wonder if your opinion, that children are better served by mothers than day care, is really sexist? Could it be that you have some hidden strain of piggish male that runs subconsciously behind everything you say? Do all women think this of you? Are really a horrible person? Do you see my point? Yes, words hurt. I know that. It is why I use them very carefully. Do I think Al Sharpton is an idiot? Yep. Does it make me racist? No. Do I think he needs to deal with the fact that slavery is over and we have made incredible strides towards to equality? Yep. Does that mean that discrimination has disappeared and racism is non-existent? Please - I live 10 miles from the center of a KKK clan. Stupidity is not my gift, and neither is denial. But those are the fringes of society now. We have standing jokes about these idiots. These are no longer the rulers. No longer is racism accepted among the civilized. That old attitudes die hard is a fact. Given that we 40+ years on the road to equality and the obliteration of racism and prejudice, we have made incredible strides and those MUST be acknowledged. To demand perfection - it will never exist. That I will always be looked at differently than a man - that is just the way it is. I can never change that. However, I can encourage and revel in how far women have come (and I can kick them in the ass when they start becoming stupid and irresponsible). Some people will always see other races as lesser. I am thankful, though, that these people are looked down on, these true racists. Words damage people....look at Peggy Kaplan's responses. She has been hurt, not only by a friend, but by the very concept of racism being aimed at her. I know this irate reader obviously has the right to all hurt feelings, and no one else could possibly ever understand what it feels like to be maligned. He would do better though to look at his own motives when he strikes out at others. Taking out his pain and bitterness on those that don't deserve it is no better than being racist. And he had best realize that bigotry is a nasty cause to support. __________ See update.


Just read that post and had to comment on the following: Perhaps if you took off those blinders n your eyes, you might see that though slavery is over in America, and nobody you know has ever owned slaves. We as a nation still haven't come all that far. Is this person serious? Haven't come that far yet blacks hold the positions of Secertary of State and National Security Advisor, hardly token positions. Oh and let's not forget that the current Sec of State was the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Popular music is dominated by African-Americans who are probably rank up in that top 2% of income earners if CD prices are any indication. Other than hockey, blacks dominate every professional sport and almost constitute a monopoly in the NBA. Lets not forget that what, 50 years ago pro sports was segregated but the reader is right...the nation hasn't come that far. Discrimination will never be eradicated, here or anywhere else because human nature will not allow it. I think the thing that irks me the most is that of all people, Sharpton is the LAST person who should be lecturing the nation on discrimination. Sorry,,,had to vent on that one.
Steve, reader

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Life for you must be so damm easy. Seriously, life must be real easy for you for that you could make such an insensitive comment like you did or do. In your post Wait, Behold, Is That A Tear? you write or chide: Al Sharpton needs to get a grip on the fact that it is 2004, and slavery has been out of vogue for quite a while. In fact, he may find it shocking, but not a single person I have met in my lifetime has owned slaves. We've come a long way, baby. You act as if discrimination and racism has just died, went away, and everyone in this country is playing on an even playing field. Perhaps if you took off those blinders n your eyes, you might see that though slavery is over in America, and nobody you know has ever owned slaves. We as a nation still haven't come all that far. Discrimination does still exist, racism is still apparent, though it is more hidden than before, believe me it is still alive and prospering in America. Just because you are not effected by it, or been subject to it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I know you will disagree with me, and probably dismiss what I have said. Perhaps that is why there is no place for someone to place a comment on your Blog. I just thought I would offer you a view from the other side of the fence. You probably will dismiss it as you would as anything utter from any black person. I just wanted to take some time and let you know that words hurt, and the intent and venom in your words do hurt and do offend. With that I will leave you with two quotes, then leave you be. You do not stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out si inches and say you're making progress. No matter how much respect, no matter how much recognition, whites show towards me, as far as I'm concerned, as long as it is not shown to every one of our people in this country, it doesn't exist for me. Malcolm X (1964) I do not imagine that the white and black races will ever live in any country on equal footing. But I believe the difficulty to be still greater in the United States than elsewhere. An isolated individual may surmount the prejudices of religion, of his country, or of his race, and if this individual is a king he may effect some surprising changes in society; but a whole people cannot rise, as it were, above itself. A despot who should subject the Americans and their former slaves to the same yoke, might perhaps succeed in the commingling their races; but as long as the American democracy remains at the head of affairs, no one will undertake so difficult a task; and it may be foreseen that the freer the white population of the United States becomes, the more isolated it will become. If America undergoes great revolution, they will be brought about the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States, that is to say, they will owe their origin not to the equality, but to the inequality of conditions Alexis DE Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)
Anonymous reader

Dismissing Beauty?

Berry says beauty not easy LONDON - It's not easy being gorgeous. Halle Berry should know. "Beauty? Let me tell you something - being thought of as a beautiful woman has spared me nothing in life," she said. "No heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless and it is always transitory."
To suggest that beauty has not spared Halle Berry any difficulties is ludicrous. Of course it has. She has never known the pain of being unattractive - and for some, it is harsh. No, it does not change life, nor does it eliminate the frustrations and pains that exist for everyone in life. But having grown up as a moderately attractive female, I have always been thankful for the fact that when I dress up, I don't look too bad - I am certainly no super model, but I can garner some glances. There are people who, no matter how much they do, will still not be considered attractive.
Berry finds cosmetic surgery 'plastic' "Personally, I'm really saddened by the way women mutilate their faces today. ... There is this plastic, copycat look evolving, and that's frightening to me. ... It's really insane, and I feel sad that's what society is doing to women." - Halle Berry, 36, at a news conference Monday in London to promote her new movie Catwoman, criticizing the obsession with beauty and youth that she says prompts many women to get plastic surgery. Source
While I certainly agree with Ms. Berry's assertions regarding physical attractiveness, I find it ironic when models and actresses stand on this pious podium. The very people that encourage this obsession with looks are going to criticize those who are attempting to obtain them. I in no way endorse plastic surgery unless it is used to correct a disfigurement or bizarre feature. But thanks to airbrushing, intense dieting and working out, and our looks-obsessed media, women like Halle Berry are setting these impossible standards that women are carving their bodies to obtain. I am not saying that these goddesses are responsible for women who have plastic surgery - but it is hypocritical to call these women "insane" when our models and actresses spend thousands of dollars on skin regimens and clothing, and their pictures are touched up to create visions of perfection that can only exist with the help of graphic artists. Instead, why don't they start insisting that they be photographed for those glossy covers....with all their flaws exposed? No more airbrushing, digital enhancing or detracting - just the person, with their real skin, real clothes, and genuine smile. If only actions would be used instead of meaningless mumble.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Why Hire Women?

Women have to understand that they can't have it all. They can be equals in the workplace, earning the same money and the same promotions as men, but only if they give up the maternal side of their life. And that means not spending nine months of every year on maternity leave; not dragging the new-born, whining brat around the office so setting off the hormones of every other female within 100 yards; not staying at home unexpectedly just because little Justin has a sniffle; not asking to work a maximum of 13-and-a-half hours a week at various times of the night and day just to fit in with the available childcare; and not nipping off home early to go to parents' evening. Twice a week. In fact, it would be preferable if there were no kids in the picture at all until they've achieved their ambitions and retired gracefully. (And don't worry, girls. Modern medicine can do wonderful things these days, even at a certain age.) And is that not fair? Is that not the deal our male employees sign up for? No-one ever offered me a year off on full pay, reduced hours to my convenience, a holier-than-thou halo to wear over my head and subsidised company nipple pads. I had to pay for them. Ask yourself this. If you were the boss of a small company, would you employ a nubile young women in a key role, only to see her up the duff courtesy of an ill-advised tryst with the work experience lad at the Christmas party and henceforth totally bloody useless for the next 16 years? (Not to mention the piles and varicose veins.) No, of course not. And even if you do take the chance of taking them on, you never know where the next expensive legal claim is going to come from. Never mind the Jimmy Choo-wearing totty in the big London banks. ("The boss once glanced lasciviously at my cleavage. Can I have £7m please?) What about the women who've enjoyed their legal freedoms and have now decided that it's not enough? Fourteen British Airways stewardesses who were given part-time contracts to allow them to raise their kids are now suing because they claim that they missed out on promotion. Well of course you did, you stupid women. You were at home changing nappies when your colleagues were fending off drunken Japanese businessmen on the red-eye back from New York. Who do you think was going to get up the ladder quicker? And why should you be compensated for bringing up children? Isn't that what you're biologically pre-determined to do? We men don't have the choice. You do. In fact, that's the only choice women should have. They either commit to 20 years in the workplace, no favours asked and a level playing field, or they accept the family role and stay at home churning out kids while hubby brings home the bacon. I see no problem with that. It's only fair. And if they want to get out of the house once the kids are at school, I'm sure there's a nice little part-time job going down at the local sweet shop. And at least, from the male point of view, our tea might be on the table when we struggle home from another day's toil. Our ironing would be done, our racing pigeons fed, and our shoes cleaned. And just think what it would do for the unemployment figures.
I found this, courtesy of Kim Du Toit, from Mr. Free Market. I think Mr. Free Market makes an excellent point, one I've been pointing out for years. I would argue his attitude toward the end, as staying at home with the kids is a full-time job just as any other....but I am willing to bet the attitude stems more from frustration over whining and moaning from women than from a sexist power trip. I shall assume that Mr. Free Market comes from the male perspective, which means he is bound to be ridiculed and called a sexist misogynist - just to prove the point twice. Women have to come to terms with the fact that you can't have it all. Life is all about choices and being responsible for them. Look at a recent movie, Raising Helen. The gist of the movie is that this woman inherits three young children from her sister - and then she must choose between her hectic, fun city life, or raising her sister's children. The reviews of this movie are typical - of course, it is bashing business women, showing that women are still put down in society, and, my personal favorite, "a winsomely formulaic domestic comedy that says that women can have it all -- but they really shouldn't try to," says the reviewer at Entertainment Weekly. Well, duh, that's the point. You can't do both. You can't do a good job if you never show up at work - so if you are always out working, rather than raising your children, don't be surprised when they end up as teenage monsters. I got into an exchange this past weekend regarding The Da Vinci Code, my current reading forray. It ended up as some diatribe about how women have been kept down throughout history (which is true) and how nothing has really changed (which is not true). At this point, I ended the conversation. Irrationality doesn't suit my debating technique. I prefer to deal in reality rather than feminist propaganda. No, things have changed for the better for women. We have more choices than men do. And certain choices mean sacrifice. If you want a career, you have to be prepared to wait to have children, or perhaps not have any at all. That is the choice. Men do not have that option. They either work....or they are bums. Few men have the choice of being a stay-at-home dad, whether because their significant others cannot stomach the role-reversal or merely because their women want to be the stay-at-home moms....and women usually get first crack at it. Few jobs offer men maternity leave, and those that offer paternity leave generally offer a much more stringent time period with limitations. This just reminds me of that ridiculous mommy tax concept. The idea is that a woman with a college degree who has a child will lose upwards of $1 million in life-time income, given what she will lose in income, loss of training, loss of job experience, etc. This idea, pedaled by Ann Crittendon, is ludicrous. Here is the better much is one child worth? Ask any parent who has lost a child, and I think $1 million would not even begin to cover the worth of their life's blood. But perhaps that is just me. People think I am hard on men - mostly because I demand they be responsible for their own offspring, work, and play the masculine role. I hate sissy, metrosexual BS. I much prefer give-me-a-wrench-so-I-can-fix-the-sink heros. Men should be men - and women should be women. I am just as hard on women as I am on our counterparts. We should responsible for our reproductive abilities, our financial and emotional security, and we should be nurturing. We are hard-wired that way. If you don't want children, fine - then go have your career, be you male or female. But if you want the family, you better prepared to give up your career, the two-income household, and the huge house and fancy cars. Something has to give somewhere, and you have to decide which is more rewarding. And that goes for either gender. One last thought: stop whining. These are the choices you made. You reap both the benefits and the irritations. Find the joy.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Bend At Waist, Grab Ankles, Repeat

I should not read the news. I swear, it will be the death of me.
"Europeans are surprised to hear that John Kerry is talking about America the same way as George W. Bush does," the paper said. "They are amazed that at the Democratic Convention in Boston, he saluted like a soldier, one hand up at his temple. They would prefer not to hear it when Kerry promises that he would never hesitate to use force in case America is under threat. They are disappointed." Source
Forgetting for a second that this a John Kerry speech - I know, go perform the lobotomy and then come back. What in hell are we supposed to do if we threatened? Beg France and Germany to send their oh-so-powerful armies? Sit around and twiddle our thumbs, because we don't want to upset the Europeans? Are these people kidding? Our history is filled with our financial and military assistance to nearly everyone who has asked. We coddle, soothe, and help countries who give nothing back to us - they couldn't as they are too weak. Yet we are called imperialistic. Here's a thought - let's pull back, guard our own shores, and screw the rest of the world. How's that for imperialistic? It does us no good when those on our own soil accuse us of being pushy and arrogant anyway, much less those across the water. But wait, it only gets better.
Among some analysts there was a prediction that, paradoxically, a more multilateralist Kerry administration would turn out to be a problem for European policy makers, because they would find it more difficult to say no to a request for greater European involvement in Iraq and a stronger contribution to the campaign against terrorism.
Oh, I'm sorry. So even if we kiss your lousy, European ass, you want to tippy-toe on your own excuses. After all, you might have to do something else besides be the pathetic wimps that you are now. There is no winning here, and every time I hear a liberal make some ridiculous claim about how we have pushed away the European Union, I want to slap them. THIS is their attitude: Screw the U.S. It doesn't matter how much we talk nice, negotiate, or pander - these people are set on their own interests ONLY. They are takers, and have no interest in ever coming to our aid. So before we buy into Mr. Kerry's attempts to draw out the Europeans, check out their attitudes and their attempts to malign our great nation. Then see where you think OUR best interests lie (I know, I'm being so un-American).

It's A Bird, It's A Plane....

No, it's John Kerry, and he is going to save our country! (Mighty Mouse theme song plays triumphantly.) See here. Please. This never fails to amaze me. Of all the people, departments, committees, titled individuals, countries, and experts involved in the war on terror, and here all we've been missing to solve this problem is one pseudo-rich guy with all the answers. Thank God for John Kerry. Funny how he was not claiming he had all the answers back when we began this war. Only now....when he is campaigning....kind of like all those war atrocities he never bothered to report while he was in Vietnam - but he was all bent out of shape about them when he got back to U.S. Yes, folks, we can rest assured that we will be in good, experienced hands if John Kerry gets elected. Just be sure to watch over head for bombs, missiles, and those pesky Boeing 767's. Well, we won't be making any pre-emptive strikes, so you and your family may die without anyone raising a finger to protect you. But hey, you'll die knowing that afterwards, those terrorists will have John Kerry to answer to. (More Mighty Mouse music playing.)

Protect The Terrorists; Harm The Children

Steve over at JusTalkin has hit a nerve with the Kerry/Edwards debacle. See his post on how John Kerry believes in the death penalty for terrorists, but not for those who abuse children and rapists. How any democrat can sit comfortably with their Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on their car is beyond me.

The Tao of Liberalism

Check in over at What If? and read the list of liberal confusion that they run a campaign'll definitely be smiling by the end.