Tag Archives: Equality

Grading Obama

There’s a tendency in this country to speak of ex-presidents with the same generosity one would use to speak of the recently departed. A “funeral parlance” (if you’ll forgive the awful pun) that leads folks to look on the old administration with rose-tinted glasses. Considering the replacement, that’s going to be doubly true this year.

Not at Culture War Reporters, though.

Here’s our final grade for Obama,

Note: The issues selected here are based upon the principles we here at CWR seem to touch on most frequently. We hope to make this a regular tradition, provided the United States still exists in four years and that this writer will not have been imprisoned or sent to work on a lunar penal colony.

Economic Equality:

Advocates of the president will be swift to point out that the unemployment rate at the beginning of the president’s term was in the double digits, and has since fallen to about 4.9% after years of slow but steady recovery. And there absolutely should be credit where it’s due- the Obama administration has seen the recovery of the economy. Can I whine about it not being enough though? You bet I can.

While many Americans are finally back to work, the positions they find themselves in are often low-paying with little to no security. While that’s not entirely the president’s fault, the president himself has been agonizingly slow (and bafflingly conservative) in advocating a raise for the minimum wage. While the extremely wealthy are paying slightly more in taxes, taxes have also risen for folks making less than $250,000 a year (which is the overwhelming ****ing majority of us) with the majority of the president’s proposed reforms having ended in defeat. All in all the extremely rich continue to enjoy unrivalled luxury and unchallenged control of US politics and wealth.

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Final Grade: D+

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If Protecting Women Against Sexual Assault was the Point, Bathroom Preference Wouldn’t Be Our Main Focus

The bathroom use of transgender people has been a topic that’s hard to avoid, especially on social media. Here in Canada, the following video began to circulate after Alberta’s 61 school boards decided to “revise regulations and hash out new policies by March 31 to protect the rights of LGBTQ students and teachers, support gay-straight alliances and create a safe learning environment.”

And in the U.S., the American Family Association recently began a boycott of Target after the organization stated that transgender visitors should be allowed to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in. Meanwhile, several States have attempted to pass bills that would force “transgender people to use restrooms that don’t match the gender they live every day”.

Along with the debate, a variety of memes have popped up on both sides of the conversation. While it irritates me to see the particularly popular Chuck Norris-themed meme belittle transgender experiences, I thought trans activists were easily holding their own in the meme department by reminding readers of how difficult it can be to spot a transgender person, and therefore how ridiculous it is to police who enters which bathroom.

Unfortunately, there have already been several cases of bathroom policing, where women who aren’t deemed feminine enough are challenged for entering their bathroom (as might be expected, the video below includes some strong language).

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A Special Place In Hell For Madeleine Albright

madeleine-albright-and-hillary-clinton“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help women…”

That declaration was by former Secretary of State and (depending on the shift in public perception) former feminist icon Madeleine Albright, speaking at a rally for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

This comment follows close on the heels of feminist Gloria Steinem’s snide remark that the some 82% of millennial women supporting Bernie Sanders were doing so just so they could meet boys, and not long after DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accused the same demographic of “complacency.

And the timing is hardly coincidental. Staggered by a Pyrrhic victory in Iowa and a resounding defeat in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign has been desperately attempting to find a swift end to what will otherwise become a protracted and altogether too-close-for-comfort campaign, and securing the female vote has been the first place to start.

Or at least, such was the intention. Continue reading

We’ll Never Be Royals: Why We Need to Kick Our Obsession With the British Crown

It was less than 24 hours ago that yours truly sat at his desk, desperately diving through the dark recesses of the internet in search of something to preach to you about. And lo and behold, dear readers, the internet provided- for yours truly was not seven clicks in before he stumbled across some truly inane Buzzfeed post on Kate Windsor and her offspring.

While the article itself was mostly just pictures of the royal consort and the spawn-of-Windsor (can we please make it a thing to call ’em that?), it was the title that got me. Typical Buzzfeed clickbait, to be sure, but with all that wonder and joy you’d usually associate with a kid on Christmas.

Royal pictures! Princesses and princes! Jewels and castles and- and-!

And all that ****ing drivel.

But don’t you fret, boys and girls, this isn’t going to be another leftist rant against the British crown (the truly sleazy, inbred, useless, parasites that they are).

No, no- it’s a tirade against our obsession with this absurd tradition, and a case for why it’s high time we abandon it.

Now there are doubtlessly those among you who wonder if such a thing is even necessary. The royals are, after all, tucked away in their lavish palaces on the other side of the world. What harm could a handful of random pasty dudes possibly have on our culture?

That, beloved and faithful readers, is a good question. How about we start with…

Undermining Equality

Yes, that most dearly held of American values.

Or at least, formerly most dearly held of American values. With income inequality at historic highs, it’s probably safe to say we’ve let that one slide a bit.

It didn’t used to be like that, though.

Once upon a time, one of the greatest defining characteristics of the nation was a borderline Socialist obsession with equality and the common man. Only slightly more than a century ago the American republic stood unique amid a morass of empires, duchies, and despots, and we, for one, were damn proud of it- even to the point where the practice of tipping was considered to be “un-American”.

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We Need More Women in STEM, But I’m Not One Of Them

Hello everyone, my name is Emily and I am bad at math. Sometimes this makes me feel like a failure as a feminist.

See, I’m a nerd at heart (surprise!), and a lot of my favourite websites and blogs accrete STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) news alongside covert footage of the new Millenium Falcon. I certainly don’t mind after all, I follow NASA on Facebook. I really am truly interested in most of the science news that comes across my dash, but it’s like being a child with a crush on one of her parent’s friends: I think it’s so incredibly cool and it thinks I’m kind of silly. Left-brainers range from befuddled to downright arrogant when dealing with us right-brainers.  

At any rate I see a lot of news about how important it is to get more girls into STEM fields, and it leaves me feeling a little guilty.  I would consider myself both a nerd and a feminist, and yet my brain seems to be built like a sieve with number-shaped holes.  Seriously, when my husband was doing his engineering degree he would sometimes vent about the concepts he was learning and even when I was trying very hard to focus and follow what he was saying, my brain would go fuzzy and I’d entirely lose track of his words.  Numbers just make my brain congeal a little.

This, but with math.

I’m not exaggerating.  I can do the same problem four times and get four different answers.  The numbers swim and change places, and working through problems feels like pushing something heavy through something thick, only to find out you were moving the wrong heavy object once the job is done.  STEM types laud math for being so reliable and utterly logical, but it’s always felt rather arcane to me. Continue reading

“Would U?” Consider This Jezebel Feature Sexist?

I like Gawker. I mean, for the most part. Back when I was more into video game news Kotaku was one of my go-to sites, and I inevitably return to general science fiction and fantasy site io9 every Thursday to see if Rob Bricken has updated his weekly Q&A feature “Postal Apocalypse”. When things are going particularly slowly at work I even pop over to Kitchenette for “Behind Closed Ovens” to be regaled by tales of those who work in the restaurant industry. That of course leads me to the larger site Kitchenette is a part of, and probably the most reviled part of the Gawker network: Jezebel.

Of course, marketing yourself as a feminist blog in any way, shape, or form is sure to bring out a lot of angry, irrational, unsurprisingly male voices your way, but such is life. I’ve never particularly been bothered by anything on the site, but I’m only ever directed over there when one of their bigger stories is featured on io9. It wasn’t until just last week that a friend of mine linked me to the following feature that I even spent more than a couple of minutes clicking around Jezebel [click the image to be linked directly to the post itself]:

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Which initially delighted me, primarily because I found out that a poster of a tatted-up Republican Presidential nominee Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was so very, very real. “Would U?” is described upfront as being “an academic forum in which [Ellie Shechet shares her] gross crush of the week and ask if you, too, would bang that person” and includes a roundtable between Jezebel staff which I found mildly amusing, though by the time I made it to the bottom and the poll, which I’ve embedded below, I felt more than a little bit uncomfortable.

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Is “Feminism” a Self-Defeating Label?

I’m a pretty slow learner when it comes to social media. I feel like I just mastered Facebook when it started going out of style. Unfortunately for me, social media sites are important tools when it comes to blogging. I’ve been making an effort to expand my horizons, starting with Twitter. So far, my favourite thing about Twitter is the hashtags.

Even before I started posting on Twitter, I would check to see what was trending and to follow conversations about race and gender that unfolded around hashtags like #WhyIStayed, #BringBackOurGirls, #GamerGate, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, etc. Recently, when I went to tag a comment with “#feminist”, I noticed that the first two tags to show up were “#FeminismIsAwful” and “#FeministsAreUgly”. When I decided to make a comment about it, it wasn’t long before I got a response.

I’d like to consider what Jacob is saying. First, let’s set aside the long history of smearing feminism by calling feminists ugly for a second here.

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