Deals: Reverse Sexism Calendar!

Courtesy of a link round-up I subscribe to (and which will not be named here for reasons that will soon become evident), there are a bunch of Kindle daily calendars free today in the Kindle store for your Kindle reader/app. Most of them are "joke a day" deals for various animals and professions, but one stuck out at me as my cuppa:

Believing in Ourselves: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar, with quotes from women about women. Awesome! Maybe I can riff off a few over the next year and write positive deconstructions instead of ones railing against Stuff I Don't Like. And while I'm not always a quote person, I really liked the Jan 1st quote in the sample, and the Jan 2nd quote is by Michelle Obama. It's current and not entirely full of white people!

Alas, the link round-up writer was less positive:
Believing in Ourselves: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar. A special quotation from a renowned woman on each page. For women who look to other women for inspiration and motivation and comfort. Not sure what to say about this – Are we now filtering quotes based on whether they were said by women or men?
Will no one think of all the men out there who have wonderful quotes about how women should live and work and think and play? Why must we discriminate against those great quotes, and why should those male minds be denied the non-existent proceeds for a fair use quote included in a free daily calendar? Can't we all just get along?

I was going to let it go as sheer ignorance -- I mean, yes, why would women want a collection of quotes by women, or why would Christians want a collection of quotes by Christians, or for that matter why would all those professional people want a profession-a-day calendar written by people with experience in that profession? I mean, I could churn out good lawyer jokes, too, despite having pretty much zero experience with being one! Here's one, based on my extensive viewing of Law & Order: "The hardest part about being a lawyer is when the police uncover startling new evidence right before your summation and you have to manage to convict someone else in your summation instead!" Haha! -- but they just couldn't stop harping on it:
The Shopaholic’s Daily Calendar 2012. This is more like it. Plus here’s a quote that’s hopefully doesn’t get recruited by Gloria Steinem -

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.

640 pages – That’s my kind of Daily Calendar.
I was initially confused -- Gloria Steinem is making calendars now? -- but then I remembered that some people like to use "Gloria Steinem" as short-hand for "feminists", despite you know there being several waves of feminism and feminism being a fairly complex ideological movement and possibly not best characterized in short-hand by a single person born in 1934, but you know what, whatever.

So. Anyway. There's a calendar! It's free! You can use it on your computer! And it's got a few nice quotes in it! So you might like it! But remember to hide it when company comes over because you are a reverse sexist who hates men and worships Gloria Steinem. Or something.

(And if you just want a printable calendar, I like this place here. They do try to wring a yearly subscription from you, but the first one is free and clearing the cookie cache or switching browsers seems to do the trick if you want to test more than one format.)

Open thread below, as always.


Will Wildman said...

At first I was all 'that's pro-woman, that's not a Reverse Sexism Calendar' and then I read further and was enlightened. Truly, in days ahead our bards shall tell the tales of the Steinem that stalked the 20th century hungering for the soul of Man. *facepalm* (Phrases like 'reverse sexism' and 'reverse racism' still throw me a bit because I always imagine someone complaining that marginalised people are breaking the rules by being the marginaliser. Also he totally touched the ball with his hands. Red card.)

If I somehow find spare time from work and NaNo (and NaNo-derived friends - I have friends in the city now! NANOWRIMO IS ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS) I suspect I'm going to do a bunch of blogging about gender dilemmas that vex me, like the whole descriptive/prescriptive question and 'performative gender' and stuff. I have a feeling it's going to bear some marked similarity to the discussion of Wicca that took place here a while back, with the whole 'it is what we say it is except it still means something that we can't really individually control'.

The other interesting thing is that I've encountered, for perhaps the first time, people who espouse feminist ideas (any variation on the theme 'women are people') but still treat the label 'feminist' as some terrifyingly radical position on the same level as 'communist insurgent'. (I was originally going to say 'socialist', and then realised that, no, feminism and socialism pretty much are the same level of radicality, as they both further derive from 'knock it off with the oppression and accept that everyone is a fundamentally deserving person'.)

Ana Mardoll said...

The other interesting thing is that I've encountered, for perhaps the first time, people who espouse feminist ideas (any variation on the theme 'women are people') but still treat the label 'feminist' as some terrifyingly radical position on the same level as 'communist insurgent'.

I am, I think I've mentioned, employed during my day job as a software engineer. The last company meeting I attended had 40 people in the room, 2 of whom were black and 2 of whom were female, and 1 of each of those 2 was the same person. If that makes sense.

I work with another woman (who was not in the meeting in question for various reasons) who is (a) a a very strong woman software engineer in a male-dominated company who has (b) been severely discriminated against by two male managers and is (c) in the middle of her second extremely-acrimonious divorce due to her husband being abusive to her and her son.

A few months back, she gave me a funny look mid-conversation and said, "Are you a feminist?" I laughed and said, "Sure! Isn't everyone?" in a sort-of don't-we-all-have-the-same-goals kind of way, and she visibly recoiled. "I'm not a feminist," she said firmly. I felt bad because I felt like I'd made her feel bad, so I sort-of offered that maybe we had different definitions of the word? and we left it at that.

I'm not close enough to her to bring the subject up again, but I was quite baffled and I hope I didn't distress her too much.

Ana Mardoll said...

Also, I want a Twilight-style vampire book about the Steinem that hungers for Man.

Brin Bellway said...

I don't know* anyone who doesn't identify as a feminist because they think "feminism" is too radical. I do know people who don't identify with it because there's too much bigotry of other kinds in the feminist movement, which is more like "not radical enough".

*Well, know that I know.

Will Wildman said...

I do know people who don't identify with it because there's too much bigotry of other kinds in the feminist movement, which is more like "not radical enough".

I'm familiar with that one, and I hardly disagree - lack of intersectionality is a problem and there really are people who play Oppression Olympics (under the pretense chastising others for doing so). But then I am also all about the reclamation and not letting people ruin terms, so I'm more in favour of 'I'm feminist even if I and mainstream Feminism have rejected each other', when possible. Is it time for Tiger Beatdown? Trick question! It is always time for Tiger Beatdown.

(As I understand the underlying sorcery of this place - namely the malevolent force that took something I did not intend to be a link and turned it into The Naughty Cartoon Turnpike - that should take clickable form even though I haven't encoded it.)

hapax said...

I want a Twilight-style vampire book about the Steinem that hungers for Man.

Rather than sparkling in the sunshine, though, the Steinempire rides a bicycle with its fins.

Ana Mardoll said...

Laughing out loud over here. I was hoping someone would work that in -- I had to give up after a few minutes of feverish pondering.

Kit Whitfield said...

I do know people who don't identify with it because there's too much bigotry of other kinds in the feminist movement, which is more like "not radical enough".

And while I'd call myself a feminist, frankly I sympathise with them. Having tried to deal with supposedly liberal white men who were running their mouths about how Wrong I was to point out they'd said something sexist, the urge to throw your hands up and say 'I can't work with these people because they are NOT ON MY SIDE' is one that I'm familiar with - albeit from a white-cisgender-hetero-middle-class-privilege-outta-ears perspective.

Intersectionality or bullshit.

Pthalo said...

I'm in favour of hitting newbies over the head with FRIENDLY clue bats. That is to say, my preferred method for dealing with newbies is to take them by the hand and walk them over to the FAQ and using phrases like "I'm sure you meant well, but for someone who x, what you did is problematic because y, and now you know, and next time you won't do that again." except phrased a little longer.

I understand that not everyone is always up for newbie hand holding and the newbie's fail may be the straw that broke the camels back and therefore nuking takes place and I'm not criticising nukers here. Just my personal preference for my own behaviour is to assume good faith and try to help people get it.

When I see a long angry tirade (like the linked post in tiger beat down), my eyes sort of glaze over and all i understand is "this person is really angry." it is really hard for me to figure out what they're angry about because i get stuck at "they're really angry and that's scary." i made a few efforts with that post when it first came up, and was eventually able to realise that i agreed with her, but even agreeing with her i was still unable to read every single word of it. my eyes refused. they kept skipping down instead of going left to right. even though i knew none of that wrath was directed at me or our system.

it is sometimes necessary, cathartic even, to write long angry tirades. i've tried to do it a few times because i suck at getting angry and think anger would be a useful skill to acquire. but they are difficult to read.

trigger warning discussion of abuse:

I don't remember the "rape is slavery" sign. i remember the "woman is the ---- of the world" sign.

I think it would depend on the woman who was holding the sign and her history. Maybe she was a victim of trafficking, in which case she has first hand experience of slavery. Maybe she was raped and otherwise abused repeatedly for years as we were as a small child. No, it's not exactly slavery because you can't be sold, and we don't use that term ourselves to refer to our own history because we don't feel the term fits closely enough and because our tendency is to minimise our experiences and slavery is a BIG DEAL and a BIGGER DEAL than what happened to us and we don't want things that happen to us to have been a big deal because that's emotionally too much. It was as bad as it was and it was no better or worse than it was. We don't use the word torture for similar reasons, even though things that we experienced like sensory deprivation do count as torture by some definitions of the word.

But we can see how someone who was raped repeatedly, perhaps as an adult in a domestic violence situation where she was also physically and emotionally abused and likely expected to keep the house in tip top shape as if she were a maid and always have his meals ready the second he came home, even if he came home early or late without warning and who had no economic freedom of her own and couldn't even buy apples for the children without asking his permission, ... I can see how a person in that situation might liken their experiences to slavery. A person in that situation has little to no agency, all of their freedoms are restricted and they are constantly being subjected to abuse.

If she was raped once, then that's horrible and I sincerely wish that had never happened to her, but it's not all that much like slavery because slaves are (often) raped in addition to all of the other things that they are forced to do, and isn't rape bad enough without it having to be slavery or genocide or the holocaust or whatever? Does rape have to be slavery to be taken seriously? Does it even have to be rape to be taken seriously? Can't it just be horrible that a person was groped once in the subway and a thing like that should never happen ever?

Ana Mardoll said...

Whoops, thank you for the correction on the sign - I've been seeing a lot of signs lately with the Occupy movement and I got one mixed up with the Tiger one when I commented. Thank you.

Will Wildman said...

One quick note - the post I linked to was not written by Sady Doyle, but another TB blogger, the excellent Flavia Dzodan.

It's the same feeling I get when I struggle over whether to try to gently correct my family and friends with they say "that's INSANE!" and I'm trying to come up with a way to educate without turning them off.

I'm feeling pretty okay with my method on this one - my parents say "X politician is doing Y evil thing! They're insane!" And I say smile and say "Y'know, I'm not sure crazy people are the problem here. Crazy people seem to be pretty okay. I think it's evil people we're having a problem with. Ha ha!" And at first I was saying that as a stopgap because I didn't know what else to say, but I kept saying it, still joking but still firmly consistent, and I think they're starting to pick up on the point I'm making.

(This method is predicated on the idea of trying to destigmatise 'crazy' rather than abandon it entirely, which I know is kind of controversial, thus I tend not to use the word in contexts where I don't know who might be hearing me - such as the internet. But if I'm in my parents' living room, I know none of the people in there are going to be personally hurt by it, and I know everyone present has or continues to experience some kind of mental difficulty or another, myself included, so I think there's more good to be done through destigmatisation.)

This week, a feminist blogger I respect said something that I felt had an ableism red flag in it. I hesitated to say anything [...]

I have no idea what the context of this is, so I'm hopefully going to stay way away from JUDGING JUDGING HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE, but if we are having a Strategy Session (which I think would be awesome and maybe we could all get fancy uniforms) then I would suggest that a person who doesn't want to be ableist will welcome the opportunity to root out unconscious ableism. If I said something that was misogynist without realising it, I would react positively to "Ooh, Will, do you realise what the etymology and connotations of 'hysteria' are?" And I could be all "No! Educate me with big shovelfuls of etymology!" and then I could learn and then be more "Oh frak edit post edit post edit post!"

A person who honestly wants to be better will be grateful for the opportunity to become better, and won't need to be aggressively 'called out'. A person who's in it for the superficial sheen of being On The Right Side will react negatively to any implication that they haven't already completed Progressivism on the highest difficulty setting and got all of the achievement points, sidequests, and unlocked the True Ending.

I will probably be eager to continue our Strategy Session later but for now I should probably just leave this wall of text here and let the mortar set.

Pthalo said...

Will, as someone who is crazy enough that people with my diagnosis are considered legally unable to give informed consent in some parts of the US*, and speaking only for myself naturally, I think your humour method is good. I'm generally for using crazy in a neutral or positive way. Of course, care must be taken in public fora -- but with family and friends, using humour the way you are seems to me to be a good way to diffuse the situation and allow the person who has made the faux pas of using crazy to mean evil to save face. Also, it's ingroup vs. outgroup usage. You're not one of the normals trying to reclaim the term crazy, you're one of us. :)

I think it's a lot more effective that beating your parents over head with "Don't SAY that WORD it's offensive". Better to work them over to the idea that most of us crazies are harmless and it's the evil people we need to watch out for. They're your parents. You presumably want to retain civil relations with them in the future, so that is one goal of anything you say to them.

* which is rubbish, of course. The adults in our system perfectly capable of giving informed consent. The children aren't, but it is the adults' duty to protect them. Any adult we would consent to having relations with would be told what to look for, but the signs are fairly obvious: if your partner curls up in a ball and starts crying, that's usually a sign you should stop and check in with them :P

Pthalo said...

uh, trigger warnings for that link: there's fairly detailed discussion of a rape trial, and the use of the insanity defence in other trials, including murder trials.

So, clearly we're not all harmless, but the incidence of violence is probably lower within the multiple community (especially if the variable that multiples are more likely to have been abused than the general community is accounted for), simply because the other people inside will forcibly take the body to prevent such things from happening.

Libby said...

To comment on the concept of a "reverse sexism" calendar, what are your thoughts on male pin-ups? (Discussed here, sold as a calendar here.)

Ana Mardoll said...

One quick note - the post I linked to was not written by Sady Doyle, but another TB blogger, the excellent Flavia Dzodan.

Whoops, I should have checked that. Thank you!

(Now I am completely distracted by the idea of what our strategy uniforms should be.)

@Libby, I haven't seen those before, thank you for the link. I thought the article and idea were both very interesting... it's sort of a deconstruction/reconstruction of classic female modeling poses, but with men? And the disconnect sort of drives home that these poses and facial expressions are not really natural, but it took using a MALE model for that realization to be driven home. Fascinating.

Jonathan Pelikan said...

Oh, man. If nothing else, growing up in Missouri gives one ample opportunity to see how forces for general good in the world can be demonized. I really loved the comparison between socialism and feminism in the comments upstream; forces, often the exact same forces, have worked very hard over a long volume of time and with a lot of resources to (literally) demonize both movements. I think they've done a more thorough job with socialism, but I've run up against the complete shit 'Feminism means hating men and busting balls'. A lot. Demolishing this false concept about liberals or feminists or socialists or atheists or whatever the hated group is has gotta be step one of our counteroffensive.

Some people, maybe even a lot of people, who have false concepts about feminists being radicals who want to murder Jesus may be sincere like your example in the post. That's damn sad. Their wrongness hurts all of society, either way, so give them the black flag and say 'I know that's BS and so do you.' You can be nice about it or mean about it depending on the person or the setting, but I strongly recommend using that message. 'That concept in your head is flatly false and harmful. It's a lie, told for very specific purposes.'

I dunno, most people won't care even if confronted, but allowing the misconception to fester and grow like a real disease can't be good.

Ahem. I've long supported smut and porn and exploitation and objectification and etc etc of men. I see it as a place where we can find common ground and really change things from a base of human nature and common sense. 'To the creators of (featured men doing household chores because dem womens' lives all revolve completely around said household chores, being women): In my porn, people -fuck -.")

I also write it sometimes, alongside my wife. You know she's The One and you're going to be together for eighty+ years when you both write smut and read each others' work and love it and provide appropriate criticism and editing.

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