the problem, as i see it:
contrary to popular belief, feminism is not a movement against men, it is a movement for women.
and contrary to popular belief, men’s rights activism is not a movement formen, it is a movement against women.
When you say your a feminist…I hope you really know what that means. It means standing up for women of color.
Standing by black women who must deal with being referred to as welfare queens or ratchet.
Being a feminist is standing beside immigrant women who deal with wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and being referred to as leaving anchor babies in America.
It means standing beside Native American women who face domestic violence and rape at unprecedented rates.
It means standing beside Muslim women who choose to live out their faith and face Islamaphobia, sexism and ignorance constantly.
It means standing beside Asian women who have been misrepresented in the media to be thought of as only submissive and quiet.
Please recognize that feminism impacts the lives of every single one of these groups…but we are all women"
a male feminist makes a joke about male feminists joking about male feminists to make themselves seem like unique special men who understand why male feminists can be awful. if no women are around to validate him did this really happen
One time at an activist conference I brought up some basic statistics on rape and male violence. And immediately another woman stood up and said—in that tone that’s in the border area between earnest and self-righteous—“We need to educate.”
I replied, “I don’t want to educate men, I want to stop them.” This was, of course, met with horrified silence—what exactly was I suggesting? But there is no therapy, no rehab program, that works to change perpetrators. By now, everything has been tried. Nothing works. They don’t ever learn to see women as human beings. They don’t ever stop feeling entitled to women’s bodies. So not only was her suggestion liberal, it was useless.
…I think that to make the leap to radicalism takes three insights. The first is that there is a thing called power, social power, political power. The second is that some people have it and some people don’t. The third is that there is a causal relationship between those groups: some people have it because some people don’t. Once you’ve got that down, you can pretty much apply it to any situation.
…You asked about identifying the sources of harm. I’d say start with the most obvious, the most egregious harms. A fist in the face is pretty obvious…
Now trace it back: who’s attached to that fist? Now, name an agent. If you’re talking about male violence, that’s hard. Not intellectually hard—it’s easy to see who’s attached to that fist. But emotionally, psychologically. One reason it’s hard is because there are consequences to naming men and male power. You will be ridiculed, silenced, maybe physically threatened. You might be raped. You might be killed…
Another reason it’s hard is because there’s a tremendous psychological identification with the oppressor. There’s an absolutely brilliant book called Loving To Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives by Dee Graham. She’s come up with the concept of Societal Stockholm Syndrome. Her basic thesis is that just as captives bond to their captors in hostage situations, women—and any group that’s oppressed—will bond to men or the group that has social power…
Once you’ve named the owner of the fist, because you’re a radical you look for patterns. Who else is getting a fist in the face? And you find out: in the USA, every 18 seconds a man beats a woman. Keep tracing it back. Do the police stop him? Do the courts, the laws? Does god? Or do they in fact support his right to hit you? Who says he has a right to hit you? It’s in the bible, you’re supposed to submit because it’s all Eve’s fault. Why don’t you count as a human being? You see that you’re surrounded by images of women as objects, chopped into body parts, on display, for sale. In fact, women are being brutalized in millions of pictures and it’s called sex. The clothes you’re supposed to wear put you on display, make it impossible for you to run or even walk. They turn you into an object, a victim, and that’s called “sexy.” Why are you wearing these clothes? Why do you want this attention when every 18 seconds it ends with a fist in the face?
What you find is a whole web of institutions and cultural practices that support male violence: religion, laws, the police, the mass media and pornography, heterosexuality, the very definition of masculinity. He didn’t put that fist in your face because of who you are as an individual. He did because he belongs to a class of people called men, and you belong to a class of people called women, and that describes a set of power relations."
In a study of children aged 2-5, parents interrupted their daughters more than their sons, and fathers were more likely to talk simultaneously with their children than mothers were. Jennifer Coates says: “It seems that fathers try to control conversation more than mothers… and both parents try to control conversation more with daughters than with sons. The implicit message to girls is that they are more interruptible and that their right to speak is less than that of boys.”
Girls and boys’ differing understanding of when to talk, when to be quiet, what is polite and so on, has a visible impact on the dynamics of the classroom. Just as men dominate the floor in business meetings, academic conferences and so on, so little boys dominate in the classroom - and little girls let them."
The Bechdel Test and Sexism in Doctor Who
If my inbox and the recent activity on my Bechdel Test tag are any indication, a lot of people are curious about my thoughts on that recent study released by BYU students which attempts to determine whether Doctor Who is sexist by using the Bechdel Test.
I’ve always thought that the Bechdel Test is a good introduction to feminist criticisms of film and television. It’s disarmingly simple in the way it condenses one of the sad truths about women’s representation in media to a pithy, quantifiable test: A movie or TV show must have two women who speak to each other about something other than a man. The fact that many movies and TV shows fail to pass this test displays the dismal state of women’s representation in media. The test itself has seen a resurgence in popularity in the past decade or so, but the criticism itself is not new. The original “Bechdel Test” came from the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For" published by Alison Bechdel in 1985, and the idea for the test itself was taken from an observation that author Virginia Woolf made in 1926 about women’s representation in literature.
The Bechdel test also provides a good introduction into debates about what constitutes feminist media because when you invoke the test, you inevitably provoke criticisms about the flaws of the test as a measure of “feminism” in media. After all, many movies which fail to pass the Bechdel Test can still be seen as feminist movies, and those which pass the Bechdel Test can still be sexist.
Of course, this isn’t an inherent flaw in the test itself, but rather a flaw in the way that viewers apply the test. The purpose of the test is simple: to determine whether women and relationships between women are meaningfully represented in media. I think it is best utilized as a starting point for conversations about overall trends of women’s representation within the industry, rather than as a commentary about an individual TV episode or movie.
To put it another way, a movie or TV episode may not necessarily be sexist if it doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test, but the industry as a whole may be sexist if the majority of films and TV episodes can’t pass this very simple test for women’s representation.
Because the Bechdel Test provides a useful introduction to these topics, some of the earliest posts I wrote for this blog analyzed the Bechdel Test in Doctor Who and the overall utility of the test itself. Relying on data compiled by myself and other Tumblr users, I created scores for each episode of Doctor Who from 2005 onward. I found very similar results as the authors of this study did. Scores were generally high in Series 1-4, dropped in Series 5 and 6, and have recovered slightly in Series 7. I haven’t written about this yet, but both the 50th Anniversary and the recent Christmas Special pass the Bechdel Test.
My posts and this recent study have provoked a lot of conversation about how to interpret this data and about whether it is an indication of sexism in Doctor Who. Personally, I believe this data indicates that during Amy Pond’s tenure as a companion, Moffat failed to adequately develop meaningful relationships between his female characters. Yes, part of the reason the scores are lower is because Rory is also a companion at the time, but even when there was the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship between two female characters, Moffat dropped the ball.
For example, examine the relationship between Amy and River. There are very few meaningful interactions between the two, and most of their discussions together revolve around the Doctor. And a lot discussions about their relationship as mother and daughter tend to happen through the Doctor. For example, at the end of “Let’s Kill Hitler,” Amy asks the Doctor why they’re abandoning her daughter, and the Doctor has to explain that it is dangerous for them to interact too much with this young River because they have too much foreknowledge about her life and they have to let her make her own way. Why not allow River and Amy to have that moment together? Why not allow Amy to tell her stricken daughter that she wants more than anything to rebuild their relationship together as mother and daughter, but that she can’t because she has dangerous foreknowledge about River’s future? It would be a lovely echo of the moment in the previous episode, where Amy told her infant daughter to be strong in the face of her captors, if Amy told her adult daughter to be strong as she strives to make her own path in the world, free of her captors.
It is also important to note that Moffat’s Bechdel Test scores have improved during Clara’s tenure as he has created and developed more meaningful relationships between female characters. He has focused substantially more on the relationship between Vastra and Jenny, and has developed more relationships between Clara and other women, particularly between her and Angie Maitland.
There’s a significant debate to be had about the various merits of each of these relationships and whether or not we want to consider them feminist, but again, the Bechdel test is useful primarily for tracking trends over time, not individual interactions. I do not believe that the Bechdel test can provide us with a definitive answer on whether or not a TV show is sexist, but it does provide us with a good place with which to start that conversation. The authors of this study are aware of the limitations of the Bechdel test and used their study precisely to start that broader conversation. I have some qualms about their methodology and the way they framed their findings, but they have generated a significant conversation about sexism and Doctor Who, and that fact alone makes me happy.
To those who say ‘men and women’s brain are different’ I respond this:
”Almost daily, new evidence emerges of just how much our brains can change over the course of our lives, in response to shifting thought patterns and behavior. If we keep at it, if we channel our talent for hard work, we can make our brains more confidence-prone. What the neuroscientists call plasticity, we call hope.”