Monday, May 9, 2011

Woe men

Two links to make you think.

The first is about a something that happened a long time ago.

How times have changed, eh?

The second is about now.

Some change.

You see, I'm one of those women who doesn't believe much has changed for women since Emily Pankhurst supposedly "shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back". People may hide behind religion or any other man made abstract constucts but there is only one question to be asked, still: when will women be given equality? I reckon I might be around in another forty years to see what's changed.

40 comments:

Andrea said...

Thanks for these links! Sadly things haven't changed enough, but we need to keep making what differences we can - every bit helps.

Rachel Fenton said...

Every bit does help, Andrea - but we need do to acknowledge that much more needs to change.

Andrea said...

Oh, exactly!

Rachel Fenton said...

So much progress is assumed, but as I live and experience, I can see/hear very little difference on a street/language level.

Thanks, Andrea - I know we're on the same wavelength!

I need to write a bigger post about this!

steven said...

rachel sadly very little has changed for men either. the same expectations, the same put-downs, the same stereotypes, and for anyone who moves on from it all there's very little support. my own sense is that the issue isn't as much gender based as it is species based. steven

Leslie Morgan said...

A very thought-provoking post, Rae, touching on a topic of deep interest to me. Actually, just last Saturday, I witnessed something in an arena familiar to me, where I would have sworn it could not happen, but a woman I know was put into a really distressful situation she couldn't work herself out of . . because she is a woman in a man's world. I engaged my mouth and caused a few males to raise their eyebrows at me.

Being American, living through times of tremendous social upheaval and attempts at change, I have seen things my Granny would not have dared think or talk about. I've seen headlines screaming about the latest great equalizer of the poor, of women, of children, of whomever. But, in general, I can point to few such changes that have lived up to the headlines. Do we deserve credit for taking on difficult subjects when any class of people are treated unfairly? Sure! But, in practical application, we fall too short, too frequently.

Rachel Fenton said...

Steven, thank you - I have been deliberately provokative with my post title and I'm pleased you've brought some balance to the perspective.

I hypothesise that the thing preventing change is language itself - another construct but one people seem so reluctant to change.
ANd there is not enough support for poeple who, like you and I, wish for mutual respect and value people of any gender, or as Leslie so accurately notes, class.



Les, it is on a par with class issues - it is part of the same social belch.


I'll write more on this later, but thank you for commenting and sharing your experience.

SY said...

honestly I'm in shock about the second senario where Hilary wasn't mentioned in a publication. If Female politicians are even being mentioned, what hope is it for the rest of the female population

Rachel Fenton said...

SY - I remember reading Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and reading an interview with her where she said something about how easy it would be to basically enslave the female population by freezing their credit cards. I read this article and thought, oh yeah, and here's how women would be removed from the picture altogether - literally. That this has happened to such a high profile woman is shocking - that it's already happening with ordinary women and doesn't make the news is perhaps more so.

Thanks for your comments.

Dominic Rivron said...

Disgraceful, both.

Here, the Prime Minister recently told a woman MP in the House of Commons to "Calm down, dear." Would that be his response (not mine) to this?

Rachel Fenton said...

Ah, the Michael Winner moment. They are different people aren't they?

If he didn't have time to confer with his party or speech writers, Dominic, who knows what the British PM might inadvertently leak about his own beliefs/opinions. Buggered if I could regress my own thinking enough to imagine.

Donna Hosie said...

The gap in pay equality makes me seeth. There is no reason for it whatsoever, yet it still exists.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thing is, Donna, that is visible - on bank statements and firm accounts - there is proof of that inequality, yet it isn't corrected. Why?

Sara Crowley said...

Woah! I had NO idea this happened. That this *could* happen in a *newspaper*. Wow. That's so odd. What is the reasoning behind the removal though?

Titus said...

Thanks for picking at the scab of one of the ugliest wounds of global society - still, still, the inequality of women. The two stories are from the developed world! The situation in much of Asia and Africa could make me weep daily. At what point in the evolution of human society did we become chattels? I admire your forty years confidence: I am not so sure. But we've got to work to make the changes, that's for sure.

Great post. I'm tired of feminism being a dirty word.

Rachel Fenton said...

Sara - the Herald cites this:
"Rabbi Jason Miller wrote for The Jewish Week that Der Tzitung does not include images of women in print "because it could be considered sexually suggestive."

You tell me how Hilary Clinton's presence in that room could possibly be "sexually suggestive"?

And, you know, why not? Magazines and ad agencies "tweak" women's images all the time. An inch or five off the waist here, a slither of thigh there. Hey, what do you know, we can just air brush the whole body out! Are women also not allowed to read that newspaper to protect their modesty?

Thomas Taylor said...

That first story is disturbing, but the second is downright bizarre!

Rachel Fenton said...

I'm guessing, JoAnne, we became chattels around about the time marriage came in...when exactly was that? Property of a gentleman and all that. We can point the finger at various sites, religion or any form of social control (including our daily language - actor/actress, waiter/waitress/ seamstress/? - guess that one wasn't meant for men at all - I could go on and on..), but the fact is it will continue unless we all change it. Where it started is less important than where it ends and I don't like the look of where this is going.

The thing that's wrong with feminism is that, as a movement, the reasearch it has unveiled has shown that it is not narrow enough to be stuffed into such a narrow costume of a term. It smacks of binary opposition. I'm not for chastising men about the disrespect dished out for women. I'm about empowering men and women to respect one another on equal terms. That is the only way forward. Men are products just as women are of the society we allow to dictate the stupid conditions we all suffer under. Developed world is just a joke. But you're spot on - people react to feminism as though feminists are extremists - but worse than that, feminism has, sadly and all too often, become an arena for women to attack other women, a keep the women busy at each other's throats forum. The wor[l]d needs a reboot!

Rachel Fenton said...

Thomas - I think that newspaper should change its name to The Crazy Times! It is utterly ridiculous - to the point where I was studying the clip to see if they had bothered to paste in some background - like a chair or someone's legs - where they had cut out Hilary!

I still can't believe it's real. I've been hoping another story would appear saying it was a hoax but I've not seen anything yet.

Lori said...

I love reading all the comments on your blog, Rachel.
And the two stories are so angering that I barely dare to think about them. I am only thinking now how men are also kneeling under societal pressure that molds them into what they need to be, and how difficult it is to figure out what is moving the whole mechanism, what makes it unstoppable, unchangeable, and so unforgiving. The thing is the personal example and individual voice are the only tools we can use. But going against the machine means so much suffering. Who wants that? How many will ever choose that? ... Well, sometimes people do. We are, after all, quite an amazing species.

Rachel Fenton said...

We are amazing, Lori - we are.

Personally, I think we can chuck the vast majority of gender markers out of language - what exactly does he and she mean anyway? We are labeled as infants before we even know what words, he or she are. My child is two. A he who thinks everyone else is also a he, because he is! That's where it starts, this inequality and the potential to change it. Don't make our children's genders the be all and end all of them. Make then kind and happy children first. It's a place to start.

I don't want to sound like some fanatic but i am sensitive to language and to the word choices people make - but not everybody is. Most people use language that, without their even realising, is casting assertions and judgements on people and discriminating in myriad paper cut ways. Things don't have to be as huge as these two articles mentioned to warrent needing change. But people do have to start thinking before they speak - "look before you leap"; that's as old as any book.

And I'm glad you get something from reading this blog/comments - that makes me feel like I'm not wasting my time completely!

Rachel Fox said...

That thing about steps forward and back springs to mind... and for all the inequalities, not just this one. And I suppose either we get depressed or we fight on... or a bit of both.
x

Rachel Fox said...

Great quote I saw in a Bandelier National Monument museum in New Mexico the other day (attributed to 'Affiliated Pueblo Committee' - 'pueblo' is name for lots of Native American groups in NM):
"We are not here to make history. We are here to live and continue history".
It may not seem totally relevant to your post... especially his-not-herstory... but maybe you'll understand why I've added it.
x

Rachel Fenton said...

I'm not one for getting depressed, Rachel - onwards we go!

Thanks for that quote - it's very interesting to me. I've read lots of papers about the re-writing of history, from varying perspectives, and this is an excellent one to add to my list. I have a bunch of essays I'm gathering material for,this topic is one of them.

helencaldwell said...

I was absolutely horrified by the first article. Sadly, not surprised by the second one.

astrid said...

Amazing but sadly it doesn't surprise. Over here in Italy I dare say things are often worse - just turn on your television to any of Berlusconi's channels and you will see women degraded evening after evening as they shake their assets to entertain the folks at home. Here there is no respect for women and growing older gracefully is rarely addressed in the public realm. Quite infuriating to be told you need a boob job when you are fit and proportioned just a little on the slim side! ciao cat

Rachel Fenton said...

I think there's the tendency, with the first article, Helen, to assume times have changed, and in light of that assumption the second article is doubly shocking. We are simultaneously brought smack up to date and put back forty years +. Thanks for commenting.

Rachel Fenton said...

Astrid, it's astounding just what passes for entertainment. I was shocked the first time I heard NZ radio - both the presenters and the advertisements - and advertisers have been promoting us as products since the off. But we can change it. I'm disgusted that such a comment would be used, but as many people keep saying about these links - sadly not surprised!

Thanks for commenting.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Sometimes we change, or maybe its the other way around. I'm not good with change. I have to change that!

Rachel Fenton said...

Robert, I note you're a libra - you should find the balance - change will reward you.

Thanks for the honesty.

Dave King said...

But if women haven't got it, then men haven't got it either. You can't have one way equality.

Rachel Fenton said...

Dave King has left a new comment on your post "Woe men":

"But if women haven't got it, then men haven't got it either. You can't have one way equality."


Dave - blogger crashed as I was moderating your comment - I apologise for it's migration into the ether, but the above is what you wrote, as copied and pasted from my email.


Yours might be good reasoning if anyone had suggested that men already had equality - (missing the point that if they did then women would have no cause for complaint) but the point of the article links was that men have a disproportionately larger share of the power, power over women in, and therefore women will only benefit from equality - as will the men who already wish for equality, such as Steven, whereas men who enjoy more power, clearly, will come a cropper on some philosophical level if no other.

One way equality? What's that all about anyway?

To summarise/simplify and generalise:
Men and women do not have equality - men have power, women do not = Inequality. Now, back to your comment, Dave: neither men or women have equality. Agreed? OK, let's share.

Talli Roland said...

Sad but true, Rachel. We still have a long way to go.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Talli :)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Oh gosh, don't get me started... We have MILES to go. The attitude of reporters to the IMF rape allegation has been uniform in its support of the accused. Disgusting.

Rachel Fenton said...

I know, Nu, and even reading the online pages of "reputable" broadsheets gives much the same bias, suggesting such behaviour, were the allegations to prove true, would be permissable in France but not the US. And I got the impression the alleged perp was being described in such a way as made him the victim of a cultural difference of opinion. I could understand if the guy had been living under a pebble on Piha beach for the last hundred years, but are we supposed to assume the alleged victim is guilty on the grounds of lower status?

Just realised I could probably write an essay on one news article alone.

And have you noted the rise of witches in the press of late? It all feels a bit "haven't we been here before". Stop, I want to get off.

Thanks.

Dave King said...

Point made. What more can I say? I didn't know about the Hilary Clinton business.

patteran said...

Bizarre in the extreme, both.

In the wake of the ideological changes of the '70s and '80s, I had assumed an inevitability of socio-cultural change in respect of feminism. Trailing theory and proposition in the face of dogged male resistance, but with real change coming to pass in manifestation of the declaration that nothing has more power than an idea whose time has come.

I would never has supposed that in 2011 it would be possible for a UK government minister to suggest that some rapes are less serious than others!

Rachel Fenton said...

Dave, don't apologise for challenging me - it's one of the things I like about you. What your comment did was show how logic can be applied for both positive and negative outcomes.




Dick - don't you think that the real worry comes when you think, if this is the information they are happy for us to know, what don't they want us to know?

It's beyond reality.

Rachel Fenton said...

How bizarre - Dave's initial comment has now materialised.