If more men spoke up before, during, or after incidents of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse by their peers, they would help to create a climate where the abuse of women—emotional, physical, sexual—would be stigmatized and seen as incompatible with male group norms. That is, a man who engaged in such behavior would lose status among his male peers and forfeit the approval of older males.
Ultimately, this would cause a shift in male culture such that some men’s sexist abuse of women and girls would be regarded—by other men—not only as distasteful but as utterly unacceptable. In this new climate, individuals would be strongly discouraged from acting out in abusive ways because of the anticipated negative consequences: loss of respect, friends, and status, and greater likelihood of facing both legal and non-legal sanctions.
In fact, if men’s violence against women truly carried a significant stigma in male culture, it is possible that most incidents of sexist abuse would never happen. This is because contrary to popular myth, the vast majority of boys and men who assault, harass, and bully girls and women are not sociopaths. They are average guys. Many of them see the sexist treatment of women as normal.
- Jackson Katz, Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help
We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what women do. We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments— which I think can be a good thing— but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about our sons’ girlfriends, but our daughters boyfriends? ‘God forbid!’ But of course when the time is right, we expect those girls to bring back the perfect man to be their husband. We police girls, we praise girls for virginity, but we don’t praise boys for virginity. And it’s always made me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out because [laughs] the loss of virginity is usually a process that involves [laughs]….
We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs!’ ‘Cover yourself!’ We make them feel as though by being born female, they are already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up—and this is the worst thing we do to girls—they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Source: blackinasia, via dor-mouse)
Scarlet Letters: Getting the History of Abortion and Contraception Right
Abortion was not just legal—it was a safe, condoned, and practiced procedure in colonial America and common enough to appear in the legal and medical records of the period. Official abortion laws did not appear on the books in the United States until 1821, and abortion before quickening did not become illegal until the 1860s. If a woman living in New England in the 17th or 18th centuries wanted an abortion, no legal, social, or religious force would have stopped her.
Reminder that records of contraception and abortion exist all the way back to 1550 BCE in ancient Egypt!
This was a really fascinating read. Until the early 19th century, abortion was legal until “quickening,” or when the pregnant person first felt the baby kick - anywhere from 14 to 26 weeks into the pregnancy. Society only began to condemn it when people decided white, middle- to upperclass women weren’t having enough children soon enough in their lives, and when male doctors started taking over traditionally female health care fields, like midwifery.
Yep, shockingly enough, it’s never, ever been about the life of the fetus - only about misogyny, racism, and classism (ableism, too, though the article doesn’t discuss it).
(Source: americanprogress.org, via ceedling)
Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.
- Marilyn Ferguson (via faith-in-humanity
I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped.
The first dozen times I heard this, I was horrified. But I heard it over and over again. I realized that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman. They are inundated by sexual imagery in the media, and often come to the (incorrect) conclusion that having sex is not a big deal. This, no doubt, is why the number of sexual assaults is so high.
Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, on the question “Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?”
Read that again. Read it again, and again, and again. Over and over guys have asked her why Melinda was so upset about being raped. This is a girl who went to a party with friends. She was thirteen. She had a drink, because everyone else was. And a senior held her down and raped her while she was too drunk to get away.
And guys don’t understand why she was upset.
Read that again and then come back and tell me again why I should just shut up and take a joke when a comedian blows off rape as a big deal, or women’s bodies are casually treated as commodities in media. Remind me why I shouldn’t care about the very real harm that society’s treatment of women and sexual assault does.
A person of good intelligence and sensitivity cannot exist in this society very long without having some anger about the inequality - and it’s not just a bleeding-heart, knee-jerk, liberal kind of a thing - it is just a normal human reaction to a nonsensical set of values where we have cinnamon flavored dental floss and there are people sleeping in the street.
- George Carlin (via stxxz
Female job applicants with children are 44 percent less likely to be hired for a job than are childless women with similar qualifications. Fathers, by contrast, are 19 percent MORE likely to be hired than are comparably qualified men without children.
"Getting a Job: Is there a Motherhood Penalty?" American Journal of Sociology, 2007 (via checkprivilege)
The answer to the question is yes.