Tag Archives: sexism

Covering the Hijab at the Rio Olympics

Past weeks have seen the internet come to blows over pictures from a women’s volleyball game between Germany and Egypt. This picture:

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Now where most sane folks would see a simple game of beach volleyball, the denizens of the interwebs have managed to read in some fantasy about a clash of cultures- “the free and civilized West against the superstitious, primitive savages of the East.” Comment sections have been flooded with everything from sarcastic half-jokes…

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…to open propaganda.

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“Because I, from the comfort of my armchair, know this athlete’s situation better than she does.” -Idiot Commentor

There’s been snide comment after comment directed not at Doaa Elghobashy’s performance in the game, not towards her assertion that what she wears is her own damn business, not towards her teammate (Nada Meawad) who doesn’t wear a hijab…

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And I think it’s because people aren’t actually angry about any of that.

For all the sanctimony, the issue at hand seems not to be with mandates or even just pressure to wear the hijab. It has nothing to do with standing up for women- on the contrary. I do think that the extreme contrast between Elghobashy and her German counterparts hit a nerve that most people didn’t realize they had. I think it does forced folks to ask themselves some truly uncomfortable questions about why they actually watch the sport.

I’m talking about this:

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Now I seriously debated putting that picture up, but as cringingly uncomfortable as it is, I think it speaks volumes about our culture. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Why You Should Watch Ghostbusters 

I’m going to watch Ghostbusters tonight and I am crazy excited. Here’s why I can’t wait to see it in the theatre, and why I think you should shell out the money to watch it there too.

1. It will piss off the misogynists spewing their garbage all over the Internet

As you may have heard, the trailer for this year’s Ghostbusters reboot was the most downvoted video of all time. Even though every woman knows not to read the comments on any video containing a woman, I thought I’d take a look just to see what was rising to the top. I was treated to comments like these,

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This, along with the general sentiment that “any reboots staring women couldn’t be good,” was the first strike that got me excited to watch the movie. Mostly, I was just feeling spiteful towards the internet trolls who teamed up with the goal of making this movie suffer. Continue reading

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

The Case For Unisex Bathrooms

Well readers, once again this post comes to you late- and you can blame a combination of my own schedule and the complexity of addressing theological minutiae. Rather than trying to grapple with the subject of superstition in contemporary Christianity, we’re going to be looking at an equally strange subject:

Unisex bathrooms.

Now if you’re like me you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the bathroom- except when you’re cleaning it in preparation for guests or writhing in agony after eating a Big Mac because you didn’t have any options (seriously, when did McDonald’s start putting glass in their burgers?). Which is why it should come as some surprise to you that the city of Houston is up in arms over that very subject- or more specifically, who gets to use ’em.

Now a few of you may vaguely recall that in 2014 the city of Houston passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or “HERO”, a piece of legislation banning discrimination in terms of employment, housing, and use of public accommodations. For the most part there was no controversy over most of the ordinance, which prevents discrimination against race, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status, but what really riled up some was the inclusion of the following element-“Gender Identity.”

Now the inclusion of the term “Gender Identity” is important because it means that transsexuals may, without harassment or prevention, be permitted to use the bathroom of whatever gender they identify as. In other words, a woman who was once a man would be allowed to use the male bathroom and vice versa.

Needless to say, some folks were not happy about this. Continue reading

We’re Fighting For Our Rights, Not Yours: Suffragette and the Persistence of White Feminism

This month I got to go out and cast my vote in the Canadian federal election. I owe this privilege to women who came before me. Women who sacrificed their time, energy, and sometimes their lives because they believed that we deserved the same privileges as men. Because I’m thankful for the sacrifices those women made, I’m ecstatic to see a film coming out this month that celebrates those women and explores what they went through in order to win us the freedoms we have today.

However, if you have been paying attention to the way the film has been publicized, you may have heard about the controversy surrounding one of its marketing campaigns:

By wearing this particular quote on their shirts, these successful white actresses have demonstrated another instance of what many activists and bloggers have begun to call “white feminism”.  In her article, “This is What I Mean When I Say ‘White Feminism'”, Cate Young explains that

“White feminism is a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of colour. It is “one size-fits all” feminism, where middle class white women are the mould that others must fit.  It is a method of practicing feminism, not an indictment of every individual white feminist, everywhere, always.”

We have seen several recent examples of white feminism play out in our pop culture, like the recent “feud” between Taylor Swift and Nicky Minaj or Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech. However, white feminism has negatively affected the lives of women of colour in more than just the pop culture arena. Consider our right to vote, for example. Continue reading

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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Continue reading