Category Archives: Series

Discursive patterns regarding sexual violence [Women and Violence, Part 3]

[This is part of my series on Women and Violence, which I am writing as a project for a Women Studies course I’m taking. For an explanation and information on my intentions with this series, please see the introduction.]

A couple of disclaimers, to start:

-First, this is not about me being angry at, or blaming, any particular individuals. This is also not about placing the responsibility for a society-wide problem on these particular individuals.

-Second, this entry is for everyone to read, even though I refer to a specific example in which only a few people were involved. The point of this entry is, again, not to pin the responsibility on anyone. The point is to raise awareness of a common, problematic pattern that we all engage in.

The other day I posted this rant to my journal concerning an incident at work. I was disturbed and angry about what seems to me an instance of sexual harassment (not because it was necessarily aimed at women, but because it was sexual and it was harassment). I was also aware of the ways in which sexism played into my reaction: my first instinct was to minimize my own discomfort and stay quiet about it, though in the end I realized what I was doing and spoke up.

Several people commented on that entry (though I have since screened the comments – again, so that attention or blame is not focused on one or two people). Here is the layout of the comments as of today, April 14:

-One short thread (one person’s comment and my reply) expressing sympathy about my experience.
-One long thread that begins with a person expressing sympathy, then suggesting an alternate explanation that would excuse the anonymous man’s actions as being something other than sexual harassment. The thread continues with two other people joining in to support the idea of an alternate explanation, and the topic of my distress leaves the conversation.

Why did the conversation end up like this? Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, Women and Violence | 14 Comments

Denying responsibility for sexism [Women and Violence, Part 2]

[This is part of my series on Women and Violence, which I am writing as a project for a Women Studies course I’m taking. For an explanation and information on my intentions with this series, please see the introduction.]

One of the first readings assigned for this class has been Albert Bandura’s “Selective Activation and Disengagement of Moral Control,” published in volume 46, number 1 of Journal of Social Issues. The purpose of the article is to examine how, in normal and everyday circumstances, people can commit actions that they typically consider immoral. Most of the time, barring deviant individuals, we keep ourselves in check. We decide not to commit immoral actions according to what we understand as ‘moral,’ without needing other people to force us to do so.

According to Bandura, we regulate ourselves through the use of “self-sanctions.” I guess it’s like the superego, but without dealing with issues of the unconscious. For a psychological layperson like me, it’s useful just to think of it as a conscience. Basically it means that we watch and judge ourselves, and that is what determines our behavior. So if those judgments are somehow deactivated, then we can engage in behavior that we would normally consider wrong, but without making ourselves feel shame.

This is a pretty useful concept for a class on gendered violence, because it helps explain why something normally heinous (violence, particularly sexual violence) has become so common against women. I also find it useful for wider discussions about sexism in general – why something as awful-sounding as discriminating against people based on their sex is nonetheless such a widespread part of our societies. Not by a few of the absolute worst people. Not by the people who mean to do it. But by everybody. Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, Women and Violence | 13 Comments

Introduction [Women and Violence, Part 1]

This is a bit of an experiment. This quarter I’m taking a Women Studies course titled “Women and Violence.” The final project for this class is open to creative interpretation, and so I’m attempting to bring together my academic feminism … Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, Women and Violence | 13 Comments

My Story [Loving Our Bodies, Part 2]

While I agree with him that it’s not fair that women are expected to remove all of that hair while men are not expected to. Whatever way you look at it, is unnecessary and well just not fair. Why is … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Loving Our Bodies, Series | 22 Comments

Introduction [Loving Our Bodies, Part 1]

For International Women’s Day, kristy has put up a wonderful and thought-provoking post. So thought-provoking, in fact, that my comment turned into a post which turned into a series. This is the introduction of that series. First off, let’s look … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Loving Our Bodies, Series | 6 Comments

Dealing with Tech Support [My Voodoo, Part 3]

I must confess, ever since I heard that HP had acquired Voodoo PC, I’ve been nervous about things. I’m not a fan of HP — not their printers and especially not their computers — and when they merged with Compaq … Continue reading

Posted in My Voodoo, Personal, Series | 1 Comment

A deeper look into femininity [The Gaming Beauty Myth, Interlude]

I’m labeling this as an “interlude” because the constructs of femininity I’m about to address don’t all directly intersect with the beauty myth, but the way that they interact with femininity as a whole is a topic that I feel … Continue reading

Posted in Gender Caste, Gender Cultism, Popular Culture, Series, The Beauty Myth, The Gaming Beauty Myth, Video Games | 7 Comments

Using Beauty to Establish Gamer Cred [The Gaming Beauty Myth, Part 3]

Last time I talked about two prevalent female gamer archetypes that represent the gaming beauty myth and this time I want to expand upon how that interacts with the real gaming world. One facet of being seen first for your … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Series, The Beauty Myth, The Gaming Beauty Myth, Video Games | 30 Comments

Female Gamer Archetypes [The Gaming Beauty Myth, Part 2]

Since this blog is primarily aimed at people at least somewhat familiar with feminism, I often take it for granted that people know what I’m talking about when I say things like women are “the sex class” or that female … Continue reading

Posted in Gender Cultism, Series, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics, The Beauty Myth, The Gaming Beauty Myth, Video Games | 12 Comments

Introduction [The Gaming Beauty Myth, Part 1]

The beauty myth, a term coined by Naomi Wolf in her book of the same name, essentially describes the idea that a woman is viewed first by her sexuality/attractiveness and second by everything else (more information here). When I chose … Continue reading

Posted in Gender Caste, Series, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics, The Beauty Myth, The Gaming Beauty Myth, Video Games | Comments Off