Think women have achieved equality? Think again.

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Drawn by the Carnival of Feminists, I visited midlife mama’s article, Second Wave Feminism, Beauvoir, and me, and got into a small conversation about second-wave and third-wave feminism. In her reply, Libby discusses her experiences with the “women are equal already” sentiment that many young people (and some older ones too) hold. I, in my typical fashion, went off on a rant about how much I hate that. And, again in my typical fashion, I want to take the opportunity to elaborate on my point. Disclaimer: This post is Western-centric, with a focus on America/Canada, because that’s where most of my practical experience comes from.

Warning: The following post is a list that links to many examples of why the idea that we Westerners live in a genderblind society, meaning that we have achieved total equality, is a myth. If you are offended by the idea that women may not be content for scraps now that we’ve got the vote, then this is not the list for you. If you are offended by a list about equality that focuses on women, don’t complain about it here. There are many places to discuss men’s issues, this thread is not one of them. This is not a detailed rebuttal or in-depth discussion on the issues presented, although if you take the time to follow the links you may find some those. This is a link list and is aimed at being a launching pad, not the end path, so if you decide to treat it as such then it is your loss, not the list’s fault. And if you are a man who reads this list and thinks that women should stop “whining” about the “small shit” then you are just proving the point that this list is trying to make.

So, without further ado, I present you with some food for thought on equality.

We Can’t Be Equal While:

    Gender Roles

  1. Men are the default and women are the Other (and therefore lesser).
  2. Being called “girly” or a “sissy” or “pussy” are some of the worst insults you can give a man.
  3. When a woman shows confidence in herself, she is said to “have balls”, or conversely she is a “man-eater”, “ball-buster”, or a “bitch” because she was “too” assertive.
  4. Men are beat up, ridiculed, or made fun of for being “effeminate” and women are beat up, ridiculed, or made fun of for being “masculine”.
  5. Many people get angry when a woman questions the intentions behind a “chivalrous” act from a man.
  6. There are men who refuse “chivalrous” acts from a woman, such as refusing to walk through a door that a woman holds open for them, while believing that it is rude for a woman to exercise the same right to refuse.
  7. Women can’t express anger without the very real fear of being accused of “hysterics” or being “shrill”.
  8. Women get scolded for “un-ladylike” behaviour: using coarse language, talking frankly about sex or other “impolite” topics, confidently voicing one’s dissenting opinion, etc.
  9. People continue to believe and perpetuate gender essentialism based on bad science or using actual studies to “prove” the innateness of gender roles when the study itself supports no such thing.
  10. Relationships, Sex, and Sexuality

  11. For different-sex couples, women are expected to take their husband’s name, or at the very least hyphenate, but many men still balk at the idea of even considering adopting their wife’s name. If a woman decides to keep her name, both partners are interrogated and shamed by friends and family.
  12. For same-sex couples, people think it is okay to ask “who’s the woman/man of the couple?”
  13. Women are seen as the “gatekeepers” to morality/sexuality, charged with the duty of fending off the advances of men. If they fail then they were “asking for” it and/or are “damaged goods”. Their clothing/actions will always be questioned to see if they were “leading on” the man at all.
  14. Men are seen as “beasts” who are unable to control their “raging hormones” – which absolves them of guilt for “improper” sex (anything from date rape to sex outside of marriage) but also paints them as uncivilized brutes.
  15. Women are “sluts”, men are “players”.
  16. Women’s worth goes down according to how many sexual partners people think she has had.
  17. Men’s worth goes up according to how many sexual partners people think he has had.
  18. We live in a rape culture where many people continue to blame the victims of rape and domestic violence.
  19. We buy into the myth that all men (even minors) are, at all times, willing to fuck a “gorgeous” woman and any man who would pass up sex with a remotely attractive woman is deserving of ridicule.
  20. Wives/mothers are still expected to do most of the home/childcare, even if they have a job outside the home.
  21. Fathers/husbands are seen as bumbling dolts who are mentally incapable of cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, or any other traditionally feminine task.
  22. There are significantly more stay-at-home moms than there are dads.
  23. Men are expected to pay on a date, and some men expect women to put out for this “service”.
  24. The Public Sphere

  25. Men continue to be a clear majority in the government, prominent positions in businesses, and other public places of power.
  26. There have been so few female leaders in most countries. For instance, in the Group of Eight:
    • America has never had a female president.
    • Canada’s first, and only, female prime minister was Kim Campell [1993].
    • Britain’s first, and only, female prime minister was Margaret Thatcher [1979-1990].
    • France’s first, and only, female prime minister was Edith Cresson [1991-1992].
    • Italy has never had a female prime minister.
    • Japan has never had a female prime minister.
    • Russia has never had a female president.
    • Germany’s first, and only, female Chancellor is Angela Merkel [2005].
  27. Pakistan, which is held up by many Americans as a “backward” country regarding women’s rights, elected a female prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, twice while Americans were still debating whether or not America was “ready” for a female president (here are some other female leaders who have been elected while America has been dragging its feet).
  28. There are still areas in our so-called “equal” societies where sex discrimination, sexual harassment and the glass ceiling are alive and kicking.
  29. It’s considered “big news” when articles tell mothers who work outside the home that they “can’t have it all”, but not so much when articles call for work reforms and male responsibility.
  30. Women in the sex trade, even those who have chosen the life, are treated as sub-human on a regular basis.
  31. It is not seen as sex discrimination to include harmful (and expensive!) items such as makeup and high heels in the requirements for a woman’s dress code while having no such constraints on the men’s dress code.
  32. Women are still discouraged from entering the sciences by social stereotypes, lack of job availability, and the continuing belief that women just aren’t smart enough.
  33. It is considered appropriate to attack a female public figure because of her appearance and fashion sense.
  34. One of the first ways to discredit women who speak up in public forums is to threaten sexual violence.
  35. Women are disproportionately affected by fat discrimination in the workforce and other places.
  36. Appearance, Bodily Sovereignty, and Personhood

  37. Men’s bodies belong to no one but themselves; women’s uteri are seen as the property of men, the government, and even strangers.
  38. Women’s place as full-fledged legal and social adults is not assured.
  39. Women are seen first and foremost by their physical attributes and secondly by their relevant qualities.
  40. The double-standard of beauty is camouflaged under myths of empowerment and liberation.
  41. Women feel the need to undergo a potentially dangerous operation on their healthy vaginas in order to please their husbands/boyfriends by striving towards an unrealistic beauty standard set by mainstream porn.
  42. It is seen as appropriate for stranger and friend alike to give unsolicited comments on a woman’s appearance: her weight, fashion, leg/armpit hair, etc.
  43. Eating disorders, caused primarily by our society’s unhealthy obsession with fat, are still rampant among women (significantly more than among men).
  44. There are contests like “Pimp My Ride”.
  45. And many, many other reasons.

Last Updated: February 9, 2008.

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115 thoughts on “Think women have achieved equality? Think again.

  1. ‘Women can’t express anger without the very real fear of being accused of “hysterics” or being “shrill”.’

    Oh i had this so recently when a co-worker i’m mine accused me of being overly opinionated, when i pointed out the others were opinionated like a mutal friend, he said yes but he doesn’t take it so personally. Mind you the friend is almost a male version of me.

    I like your list, I might add to my blog, do you mind?

  2. Go ahead and add it ^_^ Just give me credit (either by name, link, or both). It literally took me the entire afternoon to write the list ._.

  3. OK, so women have these items as proof of not achieving equality. But I gather that the underlying assumption is that men don’t have a list of their own?

    But we do.

    So, aren’t we equal in that we can both throw up a list of grievances like this one? Or, are we to now take the analysis to the level of “yeah, but my list is worse than your list”?

    Life is tough, and it’s also what you make it.

    Do you know any women who are happy? If so, why are they happy? Is it because they might not write the same list as you did? Different ways of looking at life/society, etc? Different priorities? Different perspectives, differences in sorting of issues into the piles of “this is a problem which needs fixing” and “this is a problem which does not need fixing”?

    (And, of course, I could ask the same about men…)

    • Part of being human is not always being happy. Happiness is not the goal of feminism, the goal of feminism is to have the right to the same struggles and achievements as anyone else. Not many men would say they’re perfectly happy either, and it is possible to be happy despite all of these setbacks. However, these discriminations, these every day discrepancies that women have to deal with and men do not, make both achievement and happiness that much harder and more tiring.

  4. Your post qualifies as thread hijacking and dismissal of my point. I’m letting you off the hook because 1) the discussion rules hadn’t been posted yet, and 2) you were mostly polite and therefore I’m inclined to be more lenient. However, I advise you to read the rules now they’re up and abide by them in the future. This is your one, and only warning.

    But I gather that the underlying assumption is that men don’t have a list of their own?

    I urge you to read my post again. While the focus is on women, as we are the group that experiences institutionalized oppression in greater quantity than men, the patriarchy thrives on controlling people’s choices and that does affect men as well.

    In particular, these items acknowledge the chains placed on men:

    Men are beat up, ridiculed, or made fun of for being “effeminate”

    It acknowledges violence against men who do not fit into appropriate gender roles as a part of the tools that are used to keep the status quo. I would hardly call that helpful to either men, who live in fear if they are not “appropriately” masculine, or women, who are brought down to a level below men because it is their supposed innate qualities that are seen as being beneath men to possess.

    For different-sex couples, women are expected to take their husband’s name,

    Men are harmed by this one, too, because if they want to take their wife’s last name (think it sounds better than theirs, don’t have close ties to their families, etc), then they have to face the very real possibility of being shamed and/or interrogated by friends, family, and even strangers on the matter.

    For same-sex couples, people think it is okay to ask “who’s the woman/man of the couple?”

    This does not just affect queer women, but queer men as well. Also, when seen in context of the “effeminite” being seen as lesser, men who enjoy having their asses penetrated (and heterosxual men who enjoy having their female SOs use a dildo on them fit in this one, too) are constantly ridiculed and shamed.

    Men are seen as “beasts” who are unable to control their “raging hormones” – which absolves them of guilt for “improper” sex (anything from date rape to sex outside of marriage) but also paints them as uncivilized brutes.

    The harm to men is explained in the last part of the sentence.

    Need I go on? Maybe if people like you would stop whining about how people never think about the poor men, then perhaps you would be able to see that equality for women is also a step towards true equality for men, too.

    Different perspectives, differences in sorting of issues into the piles of “this is a problem which needs fixing” and “this is a problem which does not need fixing”?

    If you think that it’s okay for people to get hurt because some other people aren’t hurt by the lack of choice, then you and I have nothing to discuss.

    • Exactly! The point is that masculine hegemony restricts both men and women as it renders all bodies docile to its normalised discourses. But the reality is men are the norm and remain defined as this unseen, untouched norm through its defining relationship to the feminine positioned other! My favourite example is that for men to be called a sissy is an insult yet for a girl to have guts or balls is to be courageous! Thus feminine attributes are situated as lesser and masculine attributes are positioned as admirable.

  5. Great list and really great embedded links for examples – glad you posted a link to this page from the discussion on Feministe. You pretty much single-handedly answered the question of WHY we need the feminist movement and all its related movements. Thanks for the work.

  6. I work in what other people perceive as a man’s profession. To me it makes perfect sense for both sexes to enjoy my profession.

    I have been routinuely told to leave my profession and wouldn’t I be happier staying at home with kids (no I would not). Now I am disabled and will be “forced” to take care of the kids, because my disability and sex makes me the weaker of the two financial earners.

    My husband and I have equivalent experience in the same career, but I make 75% what he makes. I am regularly told that I can’t get raises or promotions due to being disabled. Every year I watch the income disparity grow.

    I could change jobs for even LESS pay if I really looked hard for one that would hire a disabled woman.

    I get constant messages from friends, family, and co-workers on how much easier it would be to just give up and “work from home”.

    I am bitter, but frankly I deserve to be angry about all this.

  7. None of your links work.
    They all say “URL NOT FOUND”

    Good list, though! The one that gets me the most is that I can’t get mad without guys asking/saying “ARE YOU ON YOUR PERIOD?” NO! I am NOT on my period! You’re just an asshole! D

  8. Steph: It appears to be mostly the Feministing threads. When I have a spare moment, I’ll see if I can find their new locations. Sorry about that!

  9. I updated the links that I could and took out some of the ones I couldn’t. When my head stops hurting I’ll see about replacing the links that I couldn’t update.

  10. Really great job! I’m definitely going to link to this!

    There’s a typo in #33 that you might want to fix (once you’ve had a rest): “socia adults.”

    Oh, and here’s a possible link to go with #13. (But I won’t mind if you don’t use it.)

  11. Thanks, Amp! Darn typo, it happened because I had to take a Pandagon link out (finding their old articles that changed locations after a move is simply too hard for me to want to do). And if you know of any other good posts on your site to go with the list, please tell me (it saves me from having to do the footwork later on, hah!)

  12. Can I ask a question? I’m concerned about (9). I’ll admit to a certain amount of skepticism about the issue. That is, my first instinct is to ask “What’s the big deal?” As a man, I have simply not thought about this particular issue very much. However, I have a daughter, and I have been looking into such things more of late.

    My question has to do with the perceived insult, oppression, degradation, or whatever you would call it. From the other discussions you have linked to on this issue, it is clear that there is good research indicating that the tradition “female takes the males name” is alive and well. But I’m unclear as to the modern day negatives that this trend implies. I absolutely understand that questioning any and all traditions which grew out of inappropriate attitudes is a good thing. But most of the discussions seem to take for granted that a modern woman taking her husband’s name is some sort of acquiescence not only to that tradition, but possibly to those old attitudes.

    I don’t want to question anyone’s experience. I noticed in your rules that leaning on stereotypes. I appreciate that attitude very much. I suppose what I’m asking is whether or not the impression that taking a partner’s name when marrying is a negative is itself a stereotypical (if not very old) attitude.

    Is there good research out there which indicates that significant percentages of women feel put upon when they take their husband’s name?

    • I think the main point of this issue is that it’s expected for the female in the relationship to take her male counterpart’s name. If the female wants to take her husband’s name and has no qualms, than by all means, that is her choice, but the keyword is “choice.” Meaning that this, like any other issue in the couple’s relationship should be discussed and considered, and the best option for that individual couple should be decided upon. For example, recently I learned that I, a female, would be the last of my family tree to carry my surname. My boyfriend of four years, however, is an only son. I understand his want to pass on the family name, but it should not be automatically decided that I, because of my sex, don’t also have this feeling.

      I don’t consider the “submission,” or whatever you may call it, what’s unequal or sexist, rather the assumed submission of the female, in most cases.

  13. Gary: I think part of it is that the attitudes that are being talked about aren’t as outdated as we’d like to think. When women talk about the decision to change their name or not, it’s almost always about whether to keep it or to change it. The idea that the man could change his name rarely occurs to either of them.

    In a neutral environment, I don’t think that anyone would argue that there’s any issue with a woman taking her husband’s name. But, then, I don’t think it would be so outlandish for a man to take his wife’s name. Or for the couple to create a new name. Or for them both to keep theirs.

    In our current environment, I don’t think it’s appropriate to attack a woman if she chooses to take that path. Nor do I think we can know the full reasons for that choice, although it’s important to realize that it is much, much easier to go with the flow (which, in this case, is the tradition) than it is to balk it.

    Is there good research out there which indicates that significant percentages of women feel put upon when they take their husband’s name?

    I’m pretty sure there’s reliable data on the number of women who take their husband’s names, hypenate, or do something else. But when it comes to things like “feel[ing] put upon” anecdotal evidence, and collections of anecdotal evidence, are probably the best one can get. Google is probably a good place to start for a variety of opinions; put in various combinations for marriage, name changing, choice, and feminism.

    I would, however, caution about using women who “feel put upon” as the yardstick. Most who fit into that category will be the ones who choose not to do so, or at least to hyphenate.

    And no wonder; who wants to feel bad about something they decided? Even if they faced pressure above the simple assumption that a woman will either change her name or do the “feminist” thing and keep hers, it’s entirely possible that they would downplay the pressure they felt and emphasize that it was their choice.

    Anyway, this is obviously a complicated issue, as well as a very personal one. I wish you and your family the best.

  14. gary,

    For me at least, it’s not so much about the notion that taking a male partner’s name is inherently negative. That you refer to it as “taking a partner’s name” in your second-to-last paragraph obscures the direction of the tradition in a way that I find a little troubling, to be honest. Because part of the point is that if it’s really so removed from the old traditions, why are men often so defensive about it being suggested that they take their wife’s name?

    It’s also about the fact that a woman is not really free to choose not to take her husband’s name without (often both of them) being met with a considerable number of requests for justification.

  15. # Many people get angry when a woman questions the intentions behind a “chivalrous” act from a man.

    I agree that somebody should never get angry from questioning, but it is really, really, really annoying when you get called misoginistic when you are being polite.

    I would open a door for someone regardless of sex. Its common politeness. Regardless of the original ideas behind the tradition the context of my action is not some kind of sexist mind set, so I dont especialy like to have the worst assumed of me.

    • >”5. Many people get angry when a woman questions the intentions behind a “chivalrous” act from a man.”

      Ask yourselves, would many males open their car door for their male friends? Also, if you want to see “chivalry” in action, work in the construction business for a while. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen men offer to help a woman to carry something heavy to her car/truck or for them to offer to take over a laborious job simply because she is female. I have never seen the same offer towards a man of age…

      >”10. For different-sex couples, women are expected to take their husband’s name, or at the very least hyphenate, but many men still balk at the idea of even considering adopting their wife’s name. If a woman decides to keep her name, both partners are interrogated and shamed by friends and family.”

      On a personal note… when I was marrying my, now, ex-husband, he expected me to take his name. He was completely offended when I told him I wasn’t sure about changing my name. It felt like I had to become a different person because I got married, let alone the hassle of the paperwork. When I suggested we make a hyphenated version that we should both take, he was appalled. “It simply isn’t done,” was his argument. He even offence to the idea of me taking a hyphenated name for myself. Eventually, I conceded to his non-compromise, which I believe set the stage for the rest of the short marriage.

      Not to say that taking someone’s name as their own could never be a positive thing. It just wasn’t for me. I believe that the couple must ask themselves, and each other, why they feel the way they do about possible name changing and come to an agreement that makes both parties comfortable.

      >Chris: “biologically speaking human males are more predisposed to fight than human females.”

      You really believe that? Have you seen the growth in popularity of women in the martial arts?

      >On another (related) note: I see many women who embrace being at home mothers or simply enjoy being “girly” being ridiculed for doing such because it’s an affront to the war for equality. I believe a woman has every right to be effeminate or masculine just as much as every man has the right to embrace their softer side while keeping their testosterone in tact.

  16. “If a woman decides to keep her name, both partners are interrogated and shamed by friends and family.”
    Are you talking generally or factually here?

    When I got married my husband left the choice of whether or not I changed my name to his completely up to me. He really didn’t care either way. So I kept my name (because I like it) and I also use his name professionally (because I like it). I use both. There was no naming or shaming by any of my family (or his for that matter) at all. My boss – who’s from a traditional Italian background uses her own name, but has a hypenated last name.

    Many of my girlfriends simply could not wait to take their husband’s names. So much so, that some women even started using their husband’s names before they actually got married. And, as another example, friends of ours who married recently chose a completely new name,.

    From what I personally see in Canada and in the UK, changing your name when you get married isn’t a big deal any more.

    When men open doors for me, or let me go first into the elevator which they often, do I like it. I think it is polite – much more so than letting the door shut in my face. I smile and always say thanks. And I also hold the door open for men and women alike.

    I am fortunate to work in a very large organization where respect for diversity including gender is very much encouraged – and if people entertain thoughts that they are “more equal” than their women counterparts, they are advised to leave those thoughts at the door before they come to work. They also won’t get very far in the company. And by the way, women make up a good proportion of the top execs at this company.

    Lastly, it is sad, but many of these inequalites are at the very least perpetrated by women themsleves. A woman who had decided not to have children and who is childfree (such as myself) is derided and scorned by women, and is counted less than equal to the venerated mothers of the world. In fact she is termed to be “abnormal” for not wanting kids. And if she dares pursues a career while she has young children, she is criticised by other women as a bad mother who should be at home tending to children and husband.
    Not saying that all the work is done, it isn’t. But at least I can present a different reality.

  17. Shackleton: I wouldn’t blame you for getting irritated when someone makes an incorrect assumption about you. However, please note that the women who get angry at you have probably faced a long line of men who do the same actions and actually are misogynist. It’s not fair that you get misjudged, of course. But I also think it would be unfair to put the responsibility on women (and all non-privileged groups) to always give men (and all privileged individuals) the benefit of the doubt, when their previous experiences may have given them very good reason not to.

    Britgirl: You are right when you say:

    Not saying that all the work is done, it isn’t. But at least I can present a different reality.

    There certainly are areas where progress has been made, and it’s important that we share our positive stories alongside the bad. Rather than invalidating our complaints, this kind of reminder gives us reason to be optimistic.

    However, the inequalities that you say are “perpetrated by women themselves” still originate from, and are given power by, the greater forces of (sexist) society, and are not just things that women do to each other for no reason. Women who attack each other for their choices are often motivated by the ways in which they have had their choices criticized or suppressed. This doesn’t make it right, of course, but it does mean that we ought to be aware of the wider patriarchal sources of these forms of oppression. If we get caught up in criticizing women, we lose sight of the ways in which patriarchy benefits from – and also generates – these constraints on women.

  18. “However, the inequalities that you say are “perpetrated by women themselves” still originate from, and are given power by, the greater forces of (sexist) society, and are not just things that women do to each other for no reason. Women who attack each other for their choices are often motivated by the ways in which they have had their choices criticized or suppressed.”

    I can only half buy that argument.I would agree that in some cases it’s very true. But I don’t buy that the criticism and scorn heaped on women who for example, choose not to reproduce can be blamed on the patriarchy critizing or repressing their choices. In many cases, quite the reverse. I use this example because of the times without number I, (in common with other childfree women) find we have had to defend our choices in life to smug women who have freely chosen the path they wanted (motherhood) and freely feel they have the right to question and judge my path and decision. That they don’t do it for no reason is true. They do it because they believe my life choice doesn’t validate theirs, and they fully believe theirs is superior to mine.

    Whatever their “reason”, women who criticise childfree women (again experienced) need to take responsibility for their own choices and actions, even if they find they don’t like them in the end and simply respect the choices of others instead of attacking them. Then maybe we could see where we have more in common than difference and contine the work to move forward.

  19. Britgirl: I guess the thing is to me, is that ultimately it *is* about patriarchy. It’s that patriarchy presents a narrow set of options (rather than choices) with regard to if/when/how one has and raises children. Being perfectly honest, whether the options are rewarded or punished by patriarchy isn’t actually that relevant. What we need to be aware of is that patriarchy sets up these options as oppositional.

    As you said in your first comment, just as there are women criticizing other women for not having children, there are women criticizing other women for not being stay-at-home moms, or for *being* stay-at-home moms. And this is one of the really tricky things about patriarchy. It’s not (just) about men oppressing women, it’s about about the forces of (sexist) society that greatly benefit from women attacking each other. It’s also about other *isms intersecting, too. In the whole stay-at-home v. working mother thing, for example, has a lot of classist baggage linked into it.

    That said, yeah, some people are just going to be asshats. I’ve known some childfree people who can be just as awful to people with children as some people with children can be to us. But at a certain point, blaming women for perpetuating patriarchy only gets us so far; not least of which because it’s so often used as some kind of evidence by anti-feminists that there’s no patriarchy because women do it too.

  20. “Lastly, it is sad, but many of these inequalites are at the very least perpetrated by women themsleves.”

    I agree, absolutely. I get a lot of grief from my mom because I don’t ever want to get married, because I don’t shave my legs, because I don’t wear makeup, because I don’t want to have biological children, etc., etc., etc. Also, if I’m irritated with her and it’s anywhere within a week before my period, she automatically assumes I’m PMS-ing. Just today, she TOLD me I was PMS-ing because I wasn’t responding when she was chatting to me in the car. If anything, I’d say I experience more sexism from other women than from men (not to say that I’m not ever on the recieving end of sexist comments from men).

  21. “What we need to be aware of is that patriarchy sets up these options as oppositional.”

    I won’t argue about whether or not the patriarchy exists. What I do have a problem with, though, is the blaming of the patriarchy (or any outside force for that matter) for what are women’s own actions and choices. Not saying that society does not have some blame. But society is made up of people and people buy into what they want to. So perhaps we are saying the same thing in a way.

    Options are not necessarily a bad thing. Having children is an option/choice. Not having them is also an option that is open to women, but a choice they exercise. So is getting married. We have a choice. If they are set up as oppositional as you say, my argument is that many women seem to be more interested in keeping the status quo, which ultimately means alienating other women. How women regard others who choose differently may be influenced by their experience, but ultimately how they choose to think about and treat others is theirs and theirs alone.

    It comes down to mutual respect.

    To me blaming everything on patriarchy confers on women almost a “victim” status that’s disturbing and from where I stand, a bit of a cop-out. I think women have the power to achieve whatever they want to – depending on the choices they make for themselves. Denigrating and competing with other women, simply because they are women I feel wastes that power and antagonizes those who could be allies. Men also compete as we know. But somehow they manage to remain buddies and help each other along.

    I find at work that generally I rarely feel I have to watch my back at work when it comes to my male bosses. Some might say it’s because they don’t see me as a threat.Maybe. Sadly, past experience has taught me in the past that with some women bosses perhaps I should not be quite so trusting. This I consider sad. I know women may have struggled to get to where they have got to. I know I have. That’s no reason to be a bitch on wheels when they get there.If they see me as a threat I consider that the defect is theirs, not mine. For them to blame the patriarchy for their own actions is something I can’t buy and quite frankly I don’t think they would either.

    Lest this be interpreted as tainting all women bosses or all women (it isn’t), I also know many marvellous, successful happy, wonderful, engaging supportive women who are blazing through life on their own terms and working to make things that much easier for women following them. They consider themselves as equal to any male counterpart – and they are. They don’t have time to play the blame game. They are a joy to be around, always encouraging, and I deliberately seek out people like this to be around. My boss and her boss are such people and I consider myself very fortunate. These are my role models.

  22. Britgirl,

    Note I’m saying “be aware of how patriarchy influences”, not “blame everything on patriarchy”. Yes, society is made up of people. But at the same time, society isn’t *just* made up of people. Though perhaps that’s not a particularly productive argument to be having right now.

    I’m uncomfortable (and perhaps this is my philosophy major showing) with this idea that acknowledging societal/structural limitations on our freedom to choose (one of which is patriarchy) necessarily means we’re complete victims with no power. Because yes, we’re not complete victims with no power, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have complete autonomy, either. I find that conception altogether too simplistic.

    You’re right: The sorts of female bosses you’re uncomfortable with (and I’ve had a few of those myself), aren’t likely to go around blaming the patriarchy for their behaviour. But we need to remember that often they’re being rewarded for that behaviour by sexist power structures. This doesn’t make their behaviour okay, but it means (to me at least) that hacking into the power structure that rewards it is a better goal. Wagging our finger at them and calling them bitches simply perpetuates the cycle of attacking each other, and I’m not really seeing how that’s productive. Sure, we get frustrated, because it’s frustrating behaviour, but I hardly think that sort of reaction to it is going to destroy sexism. That’s what I mean when I say it’s ultimately about patriarchy.

  23. Another fact is that the per cent of the women (atleast here in Sweden) who are afraid of going out at night and weekends due to the risk of violence etc, are much higher than the same number for men.

    This leads to that about 25% of the Swedish women stay home all the time, being afraid, instead of going out having fun or living their lives.
    The number for guys who stay home because they are afraid is about 8%.

    You can also see that men more often are victims of violence, BUT the difference is that there are more often violence, abusement and so on based on a sexual matter directed to women.

    weo, weo… segregation between the sexes is great -_-;;

    Good list though. People need to read this stuff more often.

  24. By the way, Cecilia, this is only one out of many things that will help make the world a better place to live in…certainly not the only solution…but that said:

    If any of your acquaintances make up part of this 25% or this 8% in Sweden, please let them know about Fullpower! Fullpower offers “padded assailant” self-defense training, which lets students feel the adrenaline rush of a real fight and hit as hard as they can without actually hurting the teacher.

    Padded assailant training is an amazingly successful way of teaching people to live with less fear–more successful than traditional martial arts–and I highly recommend it.

    I believe Fullpower classes are conducted in Sweden as an occasional add-on to the regular offerings from Kidpower.

  25. I had a couple of friends who recently got married. They decided to have both of their names changed to a hyphenated combination. This way, they could both keep their name, but display their connection. However, when they went to the courthouse, my male friend found that he was not allowed to change his name. They asked the reason for this rule, but no one seemed to know why.
    It was an odd lesson in old laws that have never been updated.

  26. Here in Washington state, you have to say husband and wife at least once in your wedding vows. It’s another insitutionalized example of sexism since husbnad > wife.

  27. Is it alright if I add this to a profile of mine? I’ll be sure to give full credit to you, of course.

    Steph and Lake Desire both had good points. I’m in high school and when I feel bad or get a little snippy people will ask me if I’m on the “rag” or if my “tom” has come about. Addressing Lake Desire’s point, I haven’t heard of or seen a wedding that does not include the words husband and wife. Really, what’s wrong with wife and husband?

  28. Jae said:

    Is it alright if I add this to a profile of mine? I’ll be sure to give full credit to you, of course.

    I appreciate your interest! Although, truth be told, I’d be much more comfortable if you only posted an excerpt on your profile, then linked everyone to the original. Like I say in my note, this list grows and changes with time (links updated, new points added, etc) and because of that it’s better to click through instead of see an older version of it in full.

  29. I wonder how often you see these anti-woman acts. Some of them do exist, but not as much as they used to. I see it more the opposite now,I’m not bashing, but it does seem that you are grasping at straws now. Please forgive me if I offend, for that is not my goal. Just trying to understand where the line between equality and inequality is when it concerns feminism.

  30. Kenn: I published your comment because I believe you when you say you’re just trying to understand. But you need to respect the rules of this space. I have a set of discussion rules in place because this blog is constantly harassed by angry people, mostly men but some women too, who want to insult, diminish, and otherwise try to silence those who blog here.


    I’m not bashing, but it does seem that you are grasping at straws now.

    Is bashing, is minimizing, and is against the rules. If you preface something offensive by saying, “I’m not being offensive,” it doesn’t take the hurt, or the offense, out of the statement. All it does is give you a shield to block the valid criticism of the target if they decide to call you out on what you said.

    Think about it this way: why do you feel that, as a man, your qualified to decide if women still face oppression and what kinds of oppression are valid? Have you ever though that, because you aren’t the target of most of the problems listed above that you might just not see it?

    The struggle for equality may take many complex forms, but its root is simple: women want the ability to freely choose who we want to be without laws telling us we can’t, glass ceilings getting in our way, and social pressures telling us what “real women” are and causing us to react to that idea (either by buying into it or rebelling against it) rather than going with what suits us best.

    If your truly sincere about wanting to learn more about feminism, then please check out the feminist 101 links at the top of my blog and, before you participate in any discussions, please read “Check my what?” On privilege and what we can do about it to see what, outside of breaking a space’s rules, isn’t cool in a space where you have privilege and the group does not.

  31. I am saddened by what I have read here: saddened by the truth of your article and saddened by the truth your article leaves out. Sexual division and discrimination hurts everyone involved. What may be seen as an advantage or a winning situation can also be a societal chain just as strong as the one that binds the oppressed. Take, for instance, the stay-at-home father who suddenly finds himself unable to attend classes with his child because they are all for “mommy and me”, who is not called to join community parental boards because he is a man and who must change his child’s diaper in a dirty hallway because there are no changing stations in the men’s public bathroom. Think for instance of the father who is divorced from his wife and is refused either joint or primary custody of the children on the sole basis that he is the father, and therefor the money earner. He is reviled, hated, scorned for not being a part of the lives of his children even though he fought to do just that but was refused on the basis of his gender. Think of the man who is dismissed by family, ridiculed by friends (male and female alike) when he chooses to follow a career in nurture or arts instead of business or government. Thank of the male teacher involved with a student who is presumed to be a predator when a woman in the same situation is simply “misguided”.
    I don’t bring these up as a rebuttal. I bring them up instead to hopefully illustrate that the more we focus only on one side of an issue we become blinded to the rest. Gender equality is not a woman’s issue. It is not a man’s issue. It is an issue for all. THAT is the goal we should strive for, and equality will never be achieved until we as a society of people recognize it.

  32. Andy: Your comment is pretty much in violation of the thread hijacking clause in the discussion rules, but I have decided to allow it first because you were polite and second because I want this addressed and put to bed once and for all.

    Yes, men are hurt by the patriarchy too. That’s why there is a masculinities section on this blog. That’s why I have links to blogs by feminist men and other resources aimed at men. That’s one of the reasons why two of the bloggers who blog here are male.

    But it’s not a zero sum game and it won’t be any time soon. Yes, men are hurt, but women are hurt more. Yes, men deserve places to talk about their issues but a thread debunking the myth that gender equality has been achieved is not one of them. And, furthermore, it is not my, or any other woman’s, responsibility to bring up those issues.

    You want to talk about how men are hurt? Good, go to another one of my threads that discusses that. Or go to one of the blogs linked on my sidebar designed just for that. But coming onto a blog and reading one post that explicitly states that it’s about women’s issues in the fracking subject line and saying how “sad” it is that I haven’t given your pet issues more airtime on my blog is just insulting.

    General note: This is the last I will say on this subject, and any more comments trying to discuss men’s issues on this thread will not pass moderation. You have been warned.

  33. I love this list! Can I link it to my blog?

    CosmicChaos, I am in almost the same predicament myself. I am trying to work out what I can do about this, if I found a way would you like to help me?

  34. I’m frankly bothered by your responses to the men who posted on the site about how they did not understand how a certain item on your list was bad for women or how they believed it was important to point out ways in which gender roles hurt both men AND women. I agree that the purpose of this post is to address women’s issues and not men’s and that it was more than fair of you to add men’s issues to the list. However, it bothers me that you seem very ready to censure any man who dares to post an opposing viewpoint or who does not fully understand the list.

    I’m a woman who is often frustrated by men “not getting it” or pointing out instances of prejudice against them when they are in fact a part of the privileged group, but I believe that the best way to make the women’s movement larger and more successful is to not be rude or dismissive to these men. When these men ask questions or read a feminist blog, it is something to be celebrated (and taken advantage of as a learning opportunity), and we should be kind and supportive in our approach to them. Just like in the gay rights movement, allies are incredibly important. We need members of the majority group to better our understanding and to help us combat the system itself, which is the reason that women have NOT achieved equality yet.

  35. Foxglove said:

    I’m frankly bothered by your responses to the men who posted on the site about how they did not understand how a certain item on your list was bad for women or how they believed it was important to point out ways in which gender roles hurt both men AND women.

    First of all, it’s written clearly in the discussion rules that comments demanding airtime to be given to men’s issues on a thread specifically about women’s issues are not allowed. Despite the clear violation of the rules, I still gave these men enough of the benefit of the doubt to publish their comments and give some sort of reply. Frankly, I don’t think that it’s right to demand that I be a paragon of politeness at all times, especially when I’ve heard the same argument trotted out a thousand times.

    You can run your space however you see fit, but frankly I’ve had more than two years of experience dealing with men who make those kinds of arguments. None of the tactics I have tried have worked, and at the publication of those comments I didn’t yet have this post to refer them to. And, frankly, I find it more than a little ridiculous that I’ve spent most of this thread publishing and rebutting comments about men when it’s a post about women. Men don’t need to be the center of attention all the time, and — as I point out at the top of this page — there are many places that they can go to discuss the ways in which they are hurt by society.

    And now that that’s out of the way, no further comments on that subject will be published. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is not the place to discuss men. This is a thread talking about women and any future discussion needs to be on topic or it will not be published.

  36. wwwwwooooooowwwwwww so cool i really agree. and i have never thought of things like tht but i am happy to stand up for woman rights thnks this sight is an inspiration.
    P.S. im not gayyy! Im a guy on my lil sis’ email

  37. Hi,

    I’m not submitting this comment for publication. I just want to quietly mention something about this page.

    I’m one of the bloggers for the F-word website and would like to include a link to “Think Women Have Achieved Equality? Think Again” to back up my viewpoint. (As requested, I won’t reproduce large chunks of the text and will let readers go to the page to see for themselves.) However, I’ve noticed a possible problem with the format of the quotation marks. Admittedly, we’ve had the same issue crop up from time to time on the F-word blog…

    I’m concerned that some readers won’t read through the page because of this issue. I guess it may be the browser I’m using but I’d like to flag up the problem anyway -just in case- as I’d like the page to perform at its absolute optimum when any F-word readers go to it.



  38. Holly: Those problems are a holdover from when I had to manually migrate my database (the size of it caused certain formatting to mess up on many of the older articles). I’ve been fixing them as I come across them, but I guess I overlooked this article.

    Anyway, I’ve fixed the problem and updated the article (bouns!). Thanks for letting me know and including me in your article 🙂

  39. I applaud you for posting this! I found this link through the “Male Privilege Checklist”, and am sure to send a link to this page to all of my friends and hopefully bring up excerpts in my school’s Woman’s Group. I have also read through all of the comments left thus far, and have seen a lot of interesting discussion going on about the role that men play within sexism, and the “sexism” directed towards men. I agree with all of the points you have made on this subject, but would like to add that just as a person of color cannot be racist towards a white man/woman/ze by definition, a woman cannot be sexist towards a man. It isn’t the same thing when the power imbalance between the two are so in favor of one person, as is the case with both of these -isms. I feel like there are so many comments about the so called sexism against men because most men (as well as people who identify as white–I know this from experience) feel uncomfortable about the idea that there is actually a system of instituted sexism that they are going with the flow along, and as a defense against these feelings try to reason that females aren’t the only ones getting the tip of the blade. It’s hard to realize (again, from experience) that you are part of a group of people that have been oppressing another group for many times your own lifespan, and it’s easy to feel like you are being attacked.

    Luckily, once people get past this point they realize that there are ways to be actively-anti-sexist as well as ways to be actively-anti-racist as opposed to just going with the institutionalized sexism and racism that you have been fed all your life. I hope and pray that I will survive to see a change in how I am treated and my over-all equality as a woman within this country, as well as survive to see and meet more actively-anti-sexist men who actually stand up and say “that’s NOT acceptable.”

  40. Excellent article, I must say. It does a great job of pointing out some of the difficulties that women face, but are often so hard to put into words that an opposing speaker wont just rip apart and “debunk”. Because these things are so ingrained into our society, it is hard for people to admit to their own acceptance of such harmful things (for everyone). Still, it doesn’t seem beneficial to push down the people who try to argue (within reason) that there are difficulties for men when they aren’t pulling it completely off-topic. That is addressing the rules themselves rather than their enforcement. That being said, it’s still an excellent post, and I can see myself linking to it repeatedly.

  41. Excellent essay! I really like that you’ve shown how sexism and the inequality of women affects both genders in a negative way. Under gender roles, I would recommend adding one more: “We can never be equal so long as women aren’t allowed to go into combat and men are forced to.” I think that the US military sort of represents the pinnacle of sexism in America today, because every where you look the genders are completely unequal. Granted, it has gotten better, but like your post says there is still a long way to go.

  42. Ohh my god you are so right and so point on on all observations. Some things need to end before women will be regarded to as equals. To bad some women reinforce the above mentioned trends.

  43. Chimbles: That’s what’s known as internalized sexism. If sexism were only imposed on women from the outside then it would be much easier to combat it, but part of the trick of keeping gender inequality alive is to get women to internalize and perpetuate the sexist belief system as normal — thereby rationalizing our own oppression (often in the form of, “It’s nature!” or “I choose to do it, so it can’t be sexist!”).

  44. That’s an excellent point, Tekanji! One major part of the gender inequality problem in America at least is that social conditioning still exists. Young girls are “taught”, perhaps not formally or by rote but rather by socialization, that to be a “proper woman” they have to behave a certain way. I could go on and on about how men are taught the same thing, but this isn’t the forum. At any rate, I agree that internalizing sexism is just as bad as externalizing it because it prolongs the problem in a much more subtle way that’s more difficult to fight. It’s much easier to confront all the blatant sexists in the world. There’s legal action against sexist bosses and harrasment lawsuits, the list goes on and on, but how do you regulate what a girl is taught by her mother? How do you regulate what a girl sees in a “Women’s Magazine” that, surprise surprise, is published by men? How do you combat the constant barrage of waifish thin mousy women portrayed in television and film? Sadly, I don’t have the answer, but I’ll definitely ask the question.

  45. Most of us are baffled by all of this sexism because we don’t always see it as blatant sexism. It can be very subtle and confusing too. For example, am I perpetuating the sexism myself because I wear makeup and style my hair a certain way? I feel very strongly about womens rights and want my daughters to be passionate about it too. Yet, I can’t help but feel a little guilty when I conform to todays beauty standards by “enhancing” my looks a little. I don’t want to give off mixed messages. However, we can take action no matter how small it seems. There should be more web pages like this and more magazines that tell the truth. As for myself, I may never start said magazine or web page but I can preach to my friends and family. One person at a time, I can make a difference.

  46. Virginia:

    For example, am I perpetuating the sexism myself because I wear makeup and style my hair a certain way?

    That’s actually a very complicated question. On the one hand, when you — or I, or any woman — wears makeup, shaves, styles our hair, etc. we are conforming to a set of sexist standards that are imposed upon women. On the other hand, there are a whole host of reasons why a woman would want/need conform to those standards, not to mention that women having that choice (ie. bodily sovereignty) is an important thing for feminists to fight for. In that same vein, if you haven’t seen this article on Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog, I’d recommend it.

    As for myself, I may never start said magazine or web page but I can preach to my friends and family. One person at a time, I can make a difference.

    That’s all any of us can do, really. Well, that and support each other when things get rough 🙂

  47. America has never had a female president.

    You might want to substitute “The USA have…” for “America has…”.
    Saying “America” when one means the U.S. is often percieved as arrogant by other Americans (I have heard Canadians and South Americans get angry at it), and American female presidents include Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Violeta Chamorro (Nicaragua), Lidia Gueiler Tejada (Bolivia), Cristina Fernández (Argentina), and Mireya Moscoso (Panama). Which I guess underlines the point you make on #25.

    So much for being a know-it-all 🙂

  48. Hello
    Congratulations, your post is really complete and well written. As a french feminist translator, I was looking for texts that I can translate then publish on my (coming soon) blog. Do you give me the authorization to use yours?
    Thank you so much

  49. Excellent work. i think much more could be said though about male-on-female violence and the way that this directly impacts women’s life and choices. That battering by husbands and boyfriends and exes is the number one reason for female admits to the emergency room, for example. The epidemic level of rape and sexual assault and verbal aggression. The history of legal subordination of females which still affects billions of women around the world. –Max

  50. Very, very true! I agree with you all. Great point! There was a woman that worked in my office, who had been working here for at least 6 years. She had gotten pregnant and took a year off. She didn’t want to go back to work until her child was at least 1yr old. When she came back to work, she had her old job and position and title but they would not give her a raise that year because the did not work that year so should could not get a raise. So as you guess, she is making even less then men who started the same time she did.

  51. Some good points, but mostly in my opinion ist is rightly offensive for a man to be called a girl and a woman a man because…well a man ISNT a woman and viceversa

  52. The gender imbalance of taking the spouse’s name has always bothered me. Even in the “feminist” and “enlightened” couples I know where the woman has kept her last name, almost always the children end up with the man’s last name. I only know of 2 families (mine being one of them) where the kid(s)have the mom’s last name. This even holds true for never married couples, and situations where the fathers have little involvement with the kids.

    Research has also shown that people perceive married women who don’t take their husband’s name or who use a hypenated name differently from women who change their names.

    I do have an adult male friend who was given his mom’s maiden name as his middle name. When he was in college, she asked him if he would take that name as his last name, and he had it legally changed and has used that as his last name for 30+ years. However, the mom’s motivation was that he was her only son (of four children) and her hope was, as the man, he would pass that name along to offspring (he never had any).
    – Jennifer

  53. That’s a fantastic ponit, Jennifer. My wife retained her last name when we were married, and to this day she gets treated differently for it. Her father still writes my last name on gifts, checks and letters that he writes her. People are always asking me, “Is that your spouse?” When I say her name on the phone or in official correspondence. We had an agreement that all male children would take my last name and all female children would take hers until the time they voiced a preference. When I told my family that, they looked at me like I was from another planet. My grandmother still thinks that she’s “ashamed” of my family, and that’s the real reason she never took my last name. She didn’t stop to think for a second that my wife isn’t denying my last name out of shame, she’s keeping her last name out of pride!

  54. I love this post. I just wanted to add a little story proving your point about man being the default and woman being the ‘other’. In the little M$M creatures, all the M$Ms are male, but neutral. They chose to make little M$M people, so they made the people male, because male is the default sex. The green M$M person is female, and because she is female, she is other – she is sexed. She has long eyelashes and white boots and represents a highly sexual female, when the other M$M people are just neutrally male – they’re not sexual in the least.

    Also, another interesting observation – we are constantly told that men are highly sexed, and all men want in a relationship is sex, but fictional representations of men either in cartoons or otherwise for the most part are not sexed. They just are. Whereas we’re constantly told that women are less sexual than men, and just don’t want sex as much as men, but almost every portrayal of women in fictional representations are either highly sexual or make abundantly clear that the character is female.

    These examples don’t mean very much in a sense, but they do show how our society thinks. Looking at humor and the media are good ways to see what our actual perceptions of gender and other issues in society are, and not what we want them to be or what we think them to be. The fact that people find ‘want to hear a joke? Woman’s rights’ funny reveals the underlying sexism of our society, even though it was just a joke and they weren’t meaning to oppress women by saying it.

  55. Person: your point about MM creatures reminded me of Sctroumpfs, or Smurfs, as I believe they are called in every other language but the original French… You know, Hefty Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Jokey Smurf, Dreamy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Chef Smurf, Painter Smurf, Poet Smurf, … , Smurfette. Need I say more? (Although the Wikipedia article tells that nowadays, there is a total of three female Smurfs, which slightly invalidates my point. Oh, well. But those other two have been added much later.)

  56. Britgirl says on December 12th, 2006 at 4:25 pm: “From what I personally see in Canada and in the UK, changing your name when you get married isn’t a big deal any more.”

    In Canada’s province of Québec, it is law that a woman MUST have her birth name on legal documents such as driver’s licenses, etc. The laws are based on French law, whereas the rest of the country tends towards English law.

  57. Firstly, I’m male and so inevitably my comment will pick up on something that is interests me from a male perspective. While this article has gone a very long way to developing my powers of empathy for women, I don’t think I’ll ever feel as qualified to comment on something that could only be truly felt by a woman. And so I won’t.

    Chivalrous acts in so far as they stem from an out-dated view of gender roles are clearly inappropriate. This I accept without reservation. However, an act in isolation is neither chivalrous nor non-chivalrous and so an unsolicited questioning of a persons intentions can, in many circumstances, seem unduly aggressive. What matters is the thinking and intention behind the act. Walking around to the other side of the car and opening the door for a woman is clearly over-the-top and will in all probability stem from some undesirable patriachical conditioning. In this situation, I think anyone who remotely supports the feminist cause would be right to investigate and expose the intentions of the perpetrator. In the case of a man just opening a door for a woman in a situation where common (non-gendered) courtesy dictates, asking the motives behind the act is entirely inappropriate. The person holding the door open may well be a mysogynist, but their simply holding the door open is insufficient reason to assume or even justifiably suspect this (unlike in the car case).

    As with most things in life, there is a fine and yet fuzzy line between when questioning someone’s motive is appropriate and when it is inappropriate. Like it or not, questioning someone’s motives is an inherently aggressive act and therefore requires some level of justification beyond mere curiosity. In this way, I think feminism is given a bad name by people who get the location of this line wrong. One needs to be able to determine when an act is in accordance with chivalry and when it stems from chivalry. Feminisim has suceeded in so far as ‘mysogynist’ is now seen as an insult. Consequently, most people don’t like being called a mysogynist and, even with the best intentions, asking someone why they acted in a certain way always goes some way along the way of accusing them of acting inappropriately (and so being a mysogynist).

    I’m not saying men are the victims. I’m simply disputing the claim that society can never be equal if people ever get angry when a woman questions the intentions behind a ‘chivalrous’ act, which seems to be what you are saying. By all means continue questioning, but make sure you adhere to some level of common courtesy in just taking some acts at face value.

  58. First, I’ll say that I enjoyed reading this article and some of the responses to it, especially the points brought up in the conversation between Britgirl and the author. While the list is of course opinionated and not definitive, it presents a number of good situational indicators of this particular societal problem. I won’t comment on the ones I agree with(so most of them), but I’ll remark on some of them I feel could use some elaboration or clarification.

    Being called “girly” or a “sissy” or “pussy” are some of the worst insults you can give a man.

    While I agree with where this one is coming from, I think it is a bit assuming. As a man I find the aforementioned insults to be juvenile in most instances, and hardly from my perspective one of the worst insults that could be directed at me. In fact, the three above words are generally used by men to each other when they have no logical reason to take fault with the decision of the other, and so resort to a challenge of one’s masculinity. There is obviously some gender discrimination being implied, but there are also other factors in play. Many of the times that the three insults instanced above are the first option to “call someone out” is in a testosterone centric scenario. If, for instance, I declined to jump off a cliff with a rope attached to my leg, this might be a time when ‘sissy’ comes into play. A perhaps unacknowledged contributing factor is the role of testosterone in instinctual decision-making. Were a fight or flight scenario to present itself wherein a cougar challenged a human, biologically speaking human males are more predisposed to fight than human females. This is not the mindset that comes into play when a schoolyard boy calls another a ‘sissy’, it undoubtedly has much to do with perceived gender inferiority, but for the purposes of analyzing the implications of the term, it’s important to acknowledge that biological reality.

    Also, this is not to say that the man’s “role” is to fight and the woman’s “role” is to flee. Being predisposed to such action does not mean free will is not a contributing factor, or that it should always be one way. In the above scenario if one is required to fight and one to flee, it should be whichever is more likely to come away unscathed, be that the woman or the man(or neither if flight without fight is a viable alternative).

    Many people get angry when a woman questions the intentions behind a “chivalrous” act from a man.

    I defer to Ronald on this one. He said much of what I wanted to say about this. It’s sometimes a matter of unsolicited interrogation that is not appreciated when there is no ill intent. Scorn for that interrogation should be expected. Does this mean I think women shouldn’t question the intentions of a chivalrous act? No, it doesn’t. But there’s a time and a place for this, and past experience can’t be cited as probable cause for undue suspicion when the result of the action, whether misogynistic or not, is decidedly insignificant.

    There are significantly more stay-at-home moms than there are dads.

    This is a statistical truth, but I don’t see it as a problem in and of itself. When you consider the stigma attached to working women or stay-at-home dads, then yes, both of those do present a problem. But the statistical number of stay-at-home mothers in and of itself does not warrant its own bullet point. Reason being, if you factor out the improper social expectations and more women still choose to stay home of their own volition, it is nothing but a plain statistic. So while I agree that there are still issues with job inequality, women in the workplace, dad’s at home, and what have you, that is not something for the mom who chooses of her own desire to stay home to be considered party to, even if she makes up the majority and inadvertently reflects on the minority. If this bullet were linked with #19 and #20 then I’d have no qualms with it.

    Men continue to be a clear majority in the government, prominent positions in businesses, and other public places of power.

    I’d say the same about this as the stay-at-home mom bullet. While the lack of women representatives in government is clearly problematic, men comprising the majority is not causal to that problem. If you were to process elections based on anonymity and qualifications, where after there were still a majority of men, or of women, or of a certain ethnic demographic, it does not in and of itself instance a gender discrimination problem or otherwise. The factors that contribute to it do, but the way the bullet point is phrased seems to indicate that men making up the large part of prominent positions is in and of itself a problem. The majority of NBA players being African American is not an ethnic question, but a question of talent. I am not saying that there is no discrimination in the political and business worlds where walls are set up that prevent women from achieving the same ends as men. There are, there is, and removing them is paramount to achieving equality. What I am saying is that the way this is phrased makes it sound like the demographics of politicians and businessmen are a problem even with those considerations absolved.

    It is considered appropriate to attack a female public figure because of her appearance and fashion sense.

    It is of course obvious that women are looked at more than men when it comes to their appearance and being ‘presentable’. This is true in society and the media. The problem of attacking an appearance or fashion sense has less to do with gender discrimination than it does with the obsession of the media to comment on such trivialities, however. It still plays a factor, but the younger generation is influenced by the views expressed by the media, and it’s the media(which is largely liberal) who perpetuates the idea that anyone should really care about what the First Lady is wearing or the Red Carpet before an Oscar show, and this importance given to appearances is spread. Women do get more flak then men; I’d probably need to wear an orange jumpsuit in order to get fashion criticism, and wouldn’t get much attention for wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But to get to the root of this problem we need to stop watching shows and giving them ratings when the topic is trivialities such as fashion sense, especially of prominent people and even more especially of politicians who the last thing we should be worried about is what they’re wearing. When shows like TMZ get high ratings it just tells the media to keep making appearances the #1 consideration.

    Men’s bodies belong to no one but themselves; women’s uteri are seen as the property of men, the government, and even strangers.

    You’re right, this is definitely a problem. I’m also someone who’s in favor of legalizing abortion. While I’d expect that a couple in a relationship would make a joint decision without the man being accused of trying to exercise control over a woman’s body, in the end she has the final say. This is one of those biological things that we can only solve to an extent. We have to be very careful as a society that the concept of gender discrimination doesn’t lend itself to a prevalence of women deciding not to have children because it’s the only way for them to have what they feel is a healthy lifestyle. Obviously, on a societal level we need to reproduce, it’s just one of those things we as a nation or a human race can not avoid purely through individual preference. So when we start making it easier on women to have abortions and control that aspect of their lives, we need to make sure that the prevailing sentiment is still one that favors the family. If we don’t then the end result will be worse than some social stigma, such as, god forbid, a surrogate host trade. Just to clarify, I don’t think Jenny down the street getting an abortion = doom of mankind. All I’m saying is that the social stigma can work against population growth if it takes a wrong turn.

    Kind regards and best wishes.

  59. Chris:

    In regards to your last bullet point on reproductive rights for women: with the current (huge) population of the Earth many women choosing not to have children is probably a good thing, especially if they instead choose to adopt otherwise unwanted children.

    “We have to be very careful as a society that the concept of gender discrimination doesn’t lend itself to a prevalence of women deciding not to have children because it’s the only way for them to have what they feel is a healthy lifestyle.”

    Women (and men) are free to choose the lifestyle that is healthiest for them and each person is individually more capable of choosing their healthiest lifestyle than prevailing ideas of what they should be. For many people, remaining childless is the healthy thing to do for them and they have good reasons for doing so. Bring a child into a home where she or he is unwanted or not adequately cared for breeds many more problems than it solves, especially when you consider the point I made above, that we are not in danger of extincting ourselves if some–or even many–women choose not to have children.

    “So when we start making it easier on women to have abortions and control that aspect of their lives, we need to make sure that the prevailing sentiment is still one that favors the family.”

    Family (which has many different definitions in many different cultures) will never be considered a bad thing, and attempting to do even more to tell women that they must reproduce will not solve any problems. Women already feel an immense pressure to have children and if they do not want children they are asked to justify that decision over and over again to friends, family, and strangers. And while you admit to supporting abortion (and, I assume, preventative forms of birth control) you make an odd leap in logic that more abortions=less women wanting families. A woman’s view towards family will not change because abortion is legal or illegal, only her situation (the life she wants vs. raising an unwanted child) and that situation is not good for an unwanted child that is carried to term regardless of whether or not the mother keeps it after birth.

  60. Thank you for this post. 🙂 I facilitate inter-group dialogues between people of different social identities in an effort to promote understanding of some of these societal inequalities that those of us in a privileged group do not always see or comprehend. For myself, as a woman, I am incredibly aware of the pressures, unequal opportunities, and challenges I face because of my gender. Reading your post almost brought me to tears because of the memories that it evoked. It was also a reminder to me to try to use this emotion to better understand the struggles other people face in our patriarchal, heterosexist and racist society.

    As a white woman, it is easy for me to see the disadvantages I receive related to my gender, but more difficult to see the advantages conferred to me based on my race. Your post reminded me that the level of frustration I feel due to sexism is likely similiar in intensity to the frustration felt by those of us who don’t also have the unearned advantages of heterosexuality or “whiteness.”

    Regarding the “name-game”–I had assumed when I began dating my Indian Muslim partner that his culture would also expect women to take the last names of their male partners. However, I soon learned that both his sister and sister-in-law “kept” their last names, and that this was a very individual choice in that culture. While men still didn’t typically take their wives’ last names, at least the level of ridicule and questioning when a woman chose to keep her last name was drastically reduced. In my own family, my mother, a self-proclaimed fighter for women’s rights, assumes I will take my partner’s name when we get married (even though she had wanted to keep her own last name and pass it along to her children…but did not find her family accepting of this choice). It’s so interesting how we perpetuate gender inequality when we do not take the time to critically examine our underlying assumptions about the way the world should be. I’m excited to call my mom today and have a discussion around this issue–hopefully allowing us both a chance to better understand how we have been influence on this issue.

    Thanks again!

  61. Nice list. My mother wanted to keep her last name when she married my dad, but found in Ontario at the time (1980) it wasn’t possible in a bureaucratic sense; there was no way on the marriage license form to do it. She could only hyphenate her name. She did find opposition from both her English and French Canadian family members but my mom has never given a damn what other people think and has spent much of her life fighting blatant, horrible sexism in some of her career choices (timber technician for the forest service, radio dispatcher for the provincial police.) She was also criticized widely by other women in the remote northern town we lived in for the “radical” way I was being raised – namely, that she didn’t stay at home and cook dinner, press my dad’s work shirts, etc. like a good wifey.

    I have to say I’m glad that I really don’t face these challenges in today’s Ontario. The last name thing was fixed shortly after my parents married, so I’ll be able to retain my last name – which I will be doing, although only out of practicality (I want to continue as an academic and it would do me to keep the name I’m already published under.) I was not subject to discrimination in choosing my decidedly traditionally male field of study (geology.) Most of my female friends are professionals, some who want kids and some who don’t; the men who are around us are the kind who would actively choose to hyphenate their last name with their wife’s, and take as much of a role in cooking and child care as the women. We have it good.

    I’d like to add one thing, though:

    I believe it’s counterproductive and harmful to always assume misogyny, or to maybe villify older people who came from a different time and, importantly, who are not actively harming a woman’s situation or opportunities. My example are numerous male professors I’ve had who absolutely adored the girls in geology. They were wonderful, amazing people who gave their top students (not top male, or top female, but just top) every benefit they could in starting their careers. In wine and cheese parties we have, there are just as many women (some with kids on their hips, some without) scientists as men. They are models of encouraging girls to go into science. They also tend to call the girls “sweetheart” or other names that yes, can absolutely be interpreted as denigrading and paternalistic. However, claims of sexism against these profs (or homophobia.. both have happened occasionally in the 8 years I was around them) can seriously harm their careers and positions at the university. The women and the gay man who made these frivolous charges are hurting no one but themselves by doing this. We need allies, as was said before, and causing these men to be more aloof out of fear of their jobs is tragic and completely unnecessary.
    On the other hand, I’ve been called “kiddo” and “sweetie” by a complete douche who was trying to use my status as a young woman in a workplace to manipulate me. It’s extremely important to recognize the difference. Our moms and grandmas fought the violent and most heartbreaking battles for us – our battles are much more subtle and require a lot of care to be taken in order to win them.

  62. “Some good points, but mostly in my opinion ist is rightly offensive for a man to be called a girl and a woman a man because…well a man ISNT a woman and viceversa”

    So why don’t people get as insulted when someone calls them a giraffe? (You’re not a giraffe, either, I presume.) If that’s all there was to it, then the insult level would be the same. Instead it would seem absurd — of course you’re not a giraffe, and how would that be an insult anyway? A woman being called a man and vice versa is insulting because it implies that the target isn’t properly adhering to gender roles, which is a huge taboo in our society.

    (I agree with filip about the “America” thing, btw. America isn’t a nation; it’s two whole continents. It’s not right to erase every other country in them, including my homeland, just because your founding fathers picked an unwieldy name.)

  63. “I agree that somebody should never get angry from questioning, but it is really, really, really annoying when you get called misoginistic when you are being polite.”

    It’s also really, really, really annoying when you comment on a list of women’s problems with a bunch of whiny “BUT WHAT ABOUT MEN” crap. Oh, boohoo, some mean old feminist mistook you for a sexist one time. Do you also speak up when you see REAL instances of sexism, or is all your effort devoted to defending men from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

  64. I find the repeated attempts of commenters, predominantly male, to take over this discussion with male concerns particularly interesting. It reminds me of a classroom study where instead of the teacher calling on girls 30% of the time (the norm) the teacher called on girls 40% of the time. In response, children in the class, both boys and girls, complained that the teacher was favoring girls. In other words, the predominance of male concerns is such a given that any discussion concentrating on female concerns -a comparative rarity, in no way achieving parity in terms of gendered public discourse- prompts complaints about favoring women and ignoring men.
    Indeed, the entitlement and privilege carefully inculcated into males balloons into righteous anger when experiencing the new and uncomfortable sleight of not being the center of a discussion. Additionally, the urgent and *caring* need to correct any mistakes about what may or may not warrant listing as a female concern seems to arise for other male commenters.
    I wonder if these heartfelt contributions perhaps sought to challenge stereotypes that men are less emotional than women? Or perhaps they meant to challenge stereotypes that men are more rational than women by failing to follow the parameters of the discussion? But maybe its just what it seems, boorish attempts to re-assert control and and regain the spotlight by those unaccustomed to being without either.

  65. I just wanted to add that eating disorders are not “caused primarily by our society’s unhealthy obsession with fat” . It’s not healthy to further promote this misconception. The ‘fat’ aspect is used as a vehicle to express what are actually much deeper problems originating from a whole range of issues (security/control/responsibility/past abuse etc). They’ve been around for a long time – long before we ever had this obsession with being a size 0. I’m not arguing that society as it is now does not perpetuate the problem, just that it is certainly not the primary cause.

  66. “”Being called “girly” or a “sissy” or “pussy” are some of the worst insults you can give a man.””

    As most of the privileges list on this list, these are actually demands for keeping the status quo. This goes both ways. Its the way in which society tries to institutionalize the classical gender-roles. Being called “manly”, “tomboy” etc… are considered insults towards women.

    Society tries to push (shame/guilt) “masculinity” onto men, and push “femininity” on women.

    “”When a woman shows confidence in herself, she is said to “have balls”, or conversely she is a “man-eater”, “ball-buster”, or a “bitch” because she was “too” assertive.””

    Again, goes both ways. This is the way in which society tries to prevent people from overcoming the status quo. When a man shows confidence and asserts himself, he is called a “jerk”, an “asshole” and told he is selfish.

    Society in general tries to:

    1) Keep the status quo (make sure most people are average worker-bees)
    2) It does this by opressing different groups, in different ways…

    For example, it forbids men from going left, it forbids women from going right… etc… etc. The really sneaky part here, is that by doing this, it creates this situation where instead of blaming society, we blame each other. We feel resentful that women can go right (and we’re not allowed to), forgetting that we can go left, and she’s not allowed to.

    Playing the privilege game, IMHO, only allows opression to go on… since as long as we view things in one-sided manner, there will always be backlash from the other group who feels like “you” have it easier. Truth is both groups have difficulties, but but groups are too selfish to view its own privileges and the difficulties of the opposite group.

    • Actually, a woman being referred to as “manly,” or “masculine,” also equates with being “tough, assertive even aggressive.” Qualities that society general admires. All the girls I know LIKE the idea of being compared to their male counterparts as being “just as good,” or “even better.” When a guy tells a girl: “what you did took some serious balls!” They beam, because in their mind, masculine qualities are superior to feminine qualities and on a larger scale, it is also seen that way.

  67. I liked this article a lot. It definitely touched on a lot of clear issues that people don’t think about a lot. This article is actually on my syllabus for my women’s studies class. I think it’s kind of funny how men are getting all bent out of shape about there not being enough stuff based around men. It’s kind of ludicrous, especially considering it’s an article based around female equality. It’s funny, because there are plenty of things related to men, more than I expected, or hoped for. I have come to the point where being called a pussy or a faggot isn’t insulting anymore. They have negative connotations, but in general the words don’t mean anything bad. I firmly believe that it’s important to realize that all of these words – bitch, cunt, faggot, pussy, etc… are not going to stop being used. However, an alternate solution is to help people to realize that they, much like most curse words, DON’T HAVE TO MEAN ANYTHING BAD. I mean, mostly so that in future generations it just becomes a meaningless word, because while many people are against the idea of these words becoming slang, it is a step forward from actually being hateful.

  68. I completely agree with everything on this post! I’m from Asia so the social pressure to be subservient, quiet and obedient is even greater over here. Even in class, there’s this general atmosphere of disapproval every time a girl says something or voices her opinion. We feel bad because it seems like we’re interrupting the boys (who are constantly dominating discussions 90% of the time anyways).

    I also especially agree with the point on how the use of language can be a discriminatory factor against women. See a boy taking charge and ordering people about, it’s LEADERSHIP. See a girl doing the same, it’s called being irritating and bossy…

    It’s sad that even after so many years of Women’s Empowerment in my country, people (even the educated ones) still cling on to such negative stereotypes and refuse to change.

  69. This is a brilliantly comprehensive list; I can’t think of a single thing to add, but I am, as always, extremely disappointed at how almost the entire comments thread turned into what-about-the-men and the ensuing attempts to control the conversation. I don’t believe men ALWAYS do this on purpose, but it is exhausting.

    Women are, without a doubt, the second class in our gendered society. We have been forever, and we will be for a long time more. Women need places to discuss our oppression because there are so few safe spaces. We need to do so without being shamed into diverting the topic onto men. I am not a man; I am a member of the secondary gender in this society; I am not responsible for shouldering the primary gender’s issues. Women can benefit from male allies, as the poor can benefit from wealthy allies, people of color can benefit from white allies, et cetera. But we are somehow expected to refrain from talking about women’s issues unless we give completely equal air time to men’s issues–despite the fact that we, the second class, have been and are still denied not only equal air time, but equal pay, equal control over our bodies, equal rights to healthcare, equal employment, equal political representation, equal treatment in the media–

    This is why occasionally I fantasize about joining a colony.

    • How much I share your view. If you get to read my reaction to the article, you like many among us do want to build without anger but recognition.
      It’s uplifting and encouraging to know that we share the same attainable objectives !! Let’s continue to grow in so doing !

  70. Excellent list! Really grateful that I found your blog and all the information. It’s very helpful in my journey as a female( who just turned forty )trying to live in a world that doesn’t make much sense to me.

  71. Well, that was nice and depressing. Nothing new really, but I would like to say that your links for women in science are limited.

    There are a large number of women, that I know, and of course I don’t have any data immediately at hand, in chemical engineering. A seemingly very female-friendly field.

    Myself I am a physical chemistry major, double minoring in math and arabic, I don’t tinker with computers, I don’t game. Instead I do burlesque, am an ex-prostitute, and am a recovered heroin addict. I pretty damn sure I’m not the only one.

    I cant help but get angry when people mention the “women aren’t in science” (Which is true and fucking depressing as hell, you know how many women are in my department? Well, I can count them on one hand. Thankfully I have a boyfriend or else the sexual harassment law suits would be flying out of my ass.), and then only reference to computer science, and “I.T.”. What happened to the other sciences? No, they just don’t exist. And of course women can’t do that, there’s actual math, and sometimes explosions. No, let’s just encourage her to go into a field where working from home is more feasible, so we can continue to put her in her “place”.

    Your points are fantastic, your links for “proof” are retched and continue to enrage me. I suppose I should be raging on one of those pages that you linked to, but I felt that this might be the best place.

    All right. I feel a little better. Thanks.

  72. And actually, women’s equality may not be even legally assured in the United States. On January 4th, 2010, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said explicitly that he doesn’t believe that women are covered under the equal protection clause of the 14th Ammendment:

    … according to Scalia, when the Constitution says: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…”

    … “person” only refers to male citizens.

    So yes, within the past two days, one of the most important legal minds in my country said that women are not “persons” for the purposes of equal protection. *headdesk*

  73. Many people seem to conflate great strides toward equality with the achievement of total equality, which, as exposed here and elsewhere, is nowhere near true. Knowing that the society I live in disrespects any human being based on the conditions of their individual experience bugs the hell out of me, and as a man it makes me uncomfortable with myself to know that so many others who share that biological feature feel entitled to the socially-constructed and arbitrary position of power for which they elected themselves.
    Another pipe dream: that one day, primary and secondary education (which is mandatory in the US) will include a detailed explication of Monique Wittig’s position that sex is a social construct–including all of the ramifications of that formulation. That’s why I’ll never be allowed to teach secondary English: I have “subversive” beliefs. 🙂

    By the way, the links in #38 (potentially dangerous operation) are broken.

  74. i posted your list on my blog, found @ it’s a project i have to do for my women’s studies class, and i loved this list. i of course linked back to your website and gave you full credit.

    thanks for the amazing article!

  75. Hello.
    My friend posted this link on her Facebook, and I got interested in it.
    However, I do have some responses to two of your points
    24. Yes, America has not had a female president. Yet political power isn’t just in the presidency. The Speaker of the House, the second in line to the presidency, was held by Nancy Pelosi from 2007 t 2011. Currently, there are six woemn who are governors, 3 of which were elected in the last election. within the past 20 years, there have been 25 women who were governors. Of the current 6 governors, 4 of them are Republican. Arizona has had 3 consecutive governors who were women. Also, there are 4 Cabinet secretaries who are women. However, you also have to count Under Secretaries and Deputies when it comes to those positions.
    25. Yes they have. And so has India. However, both countries have horrible records when it comes to education, employment of women, property rights, ect.( Pakistan is also horrible when it comes to rape.(
    sorry if I talk alot. I’m a stickler for info.
    Also, another response to 24. You might want to count the g20 instead of the G8. The G8 was absorbed in order to include more viewpoints and economies.

    • It’s great reading from an informed point of view closer to the representative reality of women’s stands in the field, which continues to progress. This is what we need to hear more about and constructively encourage if we want to build and not just criticize.

  76. Hey tekanji! Let me start off by saying that I think you’re the best feminist out there. I’ve had a metric butt-ton of experiences involving the stereotypical “man-hating” feminist (ended up having psych studies quoted at me which “proved” my mental inferiority), and this is a blast of much needed fresh air.

    Now, I was wondering. Could your citation of how little women are involved in politics be due to a substantially lower percentage of women being attracted to politics in general. I know that there IS a fair amount of discrimination, so I may be in the wrong here. Other than that question, great article!

  77. Ruckus says:
    April 14, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Actually, a woman being referred to as “manly,” or “masculine,” also equates with being “tough, assertive even aggressive.” Qualities that society general admires. All the girls I know LIKE the idea of being compared to their male counterparts as being “just as good,” or “even better.” When a guy tells a girl: “what you did took some serious balls!” They beam, because in their mind, masculine qualities are superior to feminine qualities and on a larger scale, it is also seen that way.

    And that’s all well and good that a woman won’t always take offense to be referred to as “manly” in some way but doesn’t that also continue to enforce the idea that feminine traits are therefore inferior and less admired? So if women are feeling like they need to act more like “men” and less like “women” then they’re ashamed of those traits commonly associated with being feminine also, which I personally feel is wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being intuitive, nurturing, and emotional, etc. Same as I don’t see anything wrong with a woman also being aggressive and assertive. I think there should be a balance of both sides, among both genders and it simply isn’t that way. Men as shamed or ridiculed, as was stated, for being effeminate, but it’s getting to the point where even women can’t be overtly feminine sometimes without getting flack for it.

  78. Wow. I just lost (and blocked) three ex-“friends’ on FB in part because of this article. Heaven forbid any men actually give a shit or take seriously womens’ lives, and the bullshit and dehumanization they are confronted with. Thanks for what you do. :3

  79. This list is great–just really well done. One thing I’d like to complicate in it, though, is point #15. I’m a 21-year-old cis-female “virgin” (this term alone deserves some feminist scrutiny), and I have experienced first hand (and otherwise) that it’s not quite as simple as this (“Women’s worth goes down according to how many sexual partners people think she has had”), though that’s certainly been the standard historically, and I know among many people it definitely continues to be so. Yet so many times I’ve heard the word virgin used in a derogatory way, or with some negativity attached–the implication always being that to be a virgin (esp. past a certain age) somehow makes you an anomaly, a freak of some sort (a religious nut, e.g.), a prude, sheltered, naive, frigid…etc. This is even prevalent among my generally pretty enlightened group of friends, many of whom seem much more inclined to, say, promote the reclamation of the word slut, or affirm that women with a high number of sex partners should be celebrated, as is the case with men (as you point out in #16.) And I would definitely agree that there is a double-standard at work here, and that slut-shaming is total bullshit. But none of these friends even know I’m a virgin–I’m embarrassed to tell them this, because they’ve made it clear to me that it’s in some way weird or unnatural for me to be so at my age, and to admit to it would automatically confer all sorts of judgments upon me as a woman. And this is by no means limited to my friends; I see this in popular culture all the time. Maybe it’s the case that men too are shamed for lack of sexual experience, maybe even often to a greater degree than women, but it kind of seems like as a woman you need to keep some sort of perfect balance between prude/slut in order to avoid being derided– but where this balance is seen as being is by no means codified or homogeneous across the population, you know? And certainly some people/groups might prefer a woman to be at or nearer to one or the other extreme of this spectrum. I think a more accurate point would be that women are more likely to have their worth judged, and be negatively classified, based on their # of sex partners (or their sexual choices more generally) regardless of what that number is.

  80. I would like to direct the focus on what women do, and could do, on a personal basis and collectively to enhance women’s conditions to attain the so longed for deserved societal parity women so aspire to .
    If discrimination has lasted for over a thousand years in the West we live in, and other parts of our world, shoudn’t we question what made it perdure for so long ?
    This is a healthy beginning to engage constructively in behaving differently not only toward ourselves but also toward our own daughters, other women and men .
    We are still not used to it, are we, as we purchase every new item to show it off before our neighbour who if she doesn’t also “own one” is “just not with it”.
    So let’s ask ourselves, on a daily basis what can I do today to contribute to my equality equitably? By not pointing at men or at other women, but by concentrating at being an example to ourselves, and in so doing cultivating the expression of our very core in all respects of its surroundings. Learning how not to deter from our expressed feminity when faced with strikes by those who are as deterred as each one of us may be. Resisting the mold tendency and remaining whole beyond all that we follow sometimes without questioning.
    Let’s begin then, asking ourselves questions, shall we, and with it, analyse the type of questions we are asking, so to constructively build a new view, a new practice of our feminity that will positively be valued by both genders and healthily meet our expectations.
    Quite a program ? Maybe so, but one to put into practice that will neither offend, nor pollute, nor generate cost, but will re-engage ourselves, women in the world we have participated to create. That will promote solidarity, in sharing all the riches of our talents among ourselves as guides to coming up generations, that will help generations that have preceeded our own to remain connected. A new goal that both sexes can work together to concretize not in surpassing the other but in accompanying eachother in a relationship that more than ever will make us realize our common points and accepct our differences.

  81. When I was a teenager, I honestly thought that feminism was pointless in this day and age. I firmly believed that I wasn’t oppressed as a woman. Then I got to college (a private Catholic college), and I saw how little equality women still have. I guess I’m glad I saw misogyny’s ugly face in college, or else I might still be in ignorance. No, we are not equal yet, but I’m working on it. 😀

  82. I’d like to say how impressed I am at the level tone of this list, dealing as it does with extremely sensitive issues. I would also like to say how very saddened I was to realise that such great injustice still exists in supposedly developed societies today. I am not very well-informed about feminism, but I believe one of the most important ‘de-jure’ issues still remaining is the question of maternity leave, especially concerning single mothers with no second source of income. As far as I am aware, it is one of the main problems facing modern women, and if somebody could outline the different views to me, that would be extremely informative.
    thank you.

  83. 29.It is not seen as sex discrimination to include harmful (and expensive!) items such as makeup and high heels in the requirements for a woman’s dress code while having no such constraints on the men’s dress code.

    But there are constraints on a mans dress code. Men don’t wear skirts or dresses for fear of public humiliation, which doesn’t seem fair. There was a brief period in the 80’s in Britain where they were making skirts and dresses for men and on a visit to France my mums male friend was harrassed and threatened because he was wearing a skirt. Also, I don’t know anyone that feels that high heels and make up are requirements for a womans dress code. A part from that I feel this article has brought up a lot of important points and I sincerely hope things will change in the future.

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