“So? What are you having?”
Throughout my pregnancy, that was the number one question I received, tied only with: “How are you feeling?” At first I was polite about it, telling folks that it was too early to tell, but that we weren’t finding out anyway until the birth. After I passed 20 weeks, I attempted to answer all the Nosy Nellies as diplomatically as I could. I said that we would be happy with either a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy. Yet as my belly expanded, my patience shrank and I found myself coming up with more creative ways to answer the increasingly frequent queries over “what” we were having. “Fingers crossed it’s not a kitten!” was one of my favorite go-to replies.
And, for those keeping track – no, we did not have a kitten, but rather a beautiful baby boy. Still, the questions kept coming. Since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl (and because, you know, colors are for everyone), my son wore a rainbow of onesies, which only seemed to confuse folks. Multiple times a day I would have people question why my son was wearing purple. Or pink. Or even yellow. I did not get the same stares or questions when he donned his blue, green or brown onesies. Our society, one that is heavily entrenched in traditional, stereotypical gender roles, seems to want to plug children into these boxes as quickly as possible — even before they’re born — and that can be both frustrating and confusing. Keep reading »
My brother grew up with four sisters in the house. I know, right? Come to find out, there’s more to having a bunch of sisters than just growing up to be a ladies’ man. A new study published in the Journal of Politics has found that boys with sisters are more likely to grow up to be Republicans and also to do less housework. You might think that being exposed to more girls early on might prompt a boy to be more egalitarian — but apparently you would be wrong. Keep reading »
Here’s this article entitled, “The Flip Side Of Being A Female Breadwinner,” another one of those what-does-it-all-mean pieces (yes, there’s an evolutionary psychologist quoted, if you’re playing Navel-Gazey Trend Story Bingo back at home) that takes one person’s experience and blows it up in hopes of making a statement, vaguely tinged with some kind of shame about not doing things properly, about the way women and men live and work now and the way things should be, or ought to be.
The ultimate conclusion of these kinds of pieces? Life is complicated, and no you can’t have it all, and no, we have never heard of anyone who is not a white, middle-class woman because if we did we would have to approach this topic with actual thought and nuance and situate it in a socio-historical context that took long-term economic and political trends into account, and that would be harder than drawing simplistic conclusions about culture and gender roles according to a self-selected sample of friends and “experts.”
I don’t think there’s a “flip side” of being a female breadwinner because I don’t think there are exactly two ways to be a female breadwinner: a way in which everyone is happy in a world of gender roles gone topsy-turvy, and a way in which everyone is swimming miserably upstream. Women — particularly single mothers, particularly women of color- — have been “breadwinning” for years. Keep reading »
Just in case you weren’t clear why we still need feminism to break down the sexism of culturally-prescribed gender roles: MTV announced yesterday it greenlit a new reality TV show called “Guy Court” which will straight-up judge bros on their bro-itude. Explains Yahoo:
In the half-hour comedic courtroom series “Guy Court,” which will premiere in fall 2013, the laws of manhood will be upheld as some familiar MTV2 faces will determine the guilt or innocence of a variety of cases in accordance with Guy Code. Each real life case will be judged, defended and prosecuted with the perfect combination of comedy and justice. Keep reading »
Professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reese is promoting a new memoir, My Foot Is Too Big For The Glass Slipper, which hops on the bandwagon of a somewhat popular theme for memoirs-by-strong-ladies these days: she says her life and marriage have improved by being “submissive” to her husband, pro surfer Laird Hamilton. Keep reading »
Fox News, what a bunch of bozos. Jessica Valenti, founding editor of Feministing, noticed something curious about the photo accompanying an article on FoxNews.com about “traditional gender roles.” Further research confirmed that the couple getting married in the photo (presumably who Fox News felt represented traditional gender roles in a marriage) was not that of a man and a woman, but two women. Lela McArthur and Stephanie Figarelle were married in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 14, 2012, and their photo — shot by the Associated Press — had previously been used in a Huffington Post story on romance around the world. Fox News removed the photo from their story as soon as they realized their “error.” [Jessica Valenti]
Like everyone else in the country with excellent taste and a belly full of adult beverages, I very much enjoyed Beyoncé’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday. I loved her all-woman band, particularly Bibi McGill’s spark-shooting axe. I loved the Destiny’s Child reunion. I loved that my Beyoncé half-time BINGO card included a square for “killing it,” which I ticked off within seconds of the show’s start.
And yet, my reaction to her post-halftime announcement of the upcoming “Mrs. Carter Show” tour was not to cheer her on in a post-feminist choose-your-choice fist-pump, but to huff: “Call me when Jay-Z goes on a Mr. Knowles tour.”
Why does the most powerful woman pop star in the world want, or need, to remind everyone she’s married? What does a Mrs. moniker have with her ability to sing, dance and write songs? And no, the name issue isn’t what gets me. I’m not raising a figurative eyebrow at “Carter,” I’m raising a figurative eyebrow at “Mrs.” Keep reading »
New York Times’ writers KJ Dell’Antonia and Bruce Feiler recently went head to head over parenting for the latest “Room For Debate.” Their discussion focused on whether moms or dads more often take the lead when it comes to parenting, and more importantly, why?
This particular debate is an age-old parenting topic. In an era where women are constantly reminded about “having it all” despite stereotypical gender roles being enforced, it’s no wonder that we’re still discussing who takes on what when it comes to parenting. For a long time, parenting actually meant mothering by default. It was traditionally assumed that men were the wage earners while women were the caretakers, no matter how much that “ideal” didn’t match up with families that needed two incomes to stay afloat. Regardless of the advances in equality accrued by feminism, that traditional framework has been a hard one to shake off and families still have trouble when it comes to equal parenting. Keep reading »
Jon Stewart’s latest crusade: picking apart the right-leaning backlash stemming from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to allow women to serve in combat roles. A former U.S. Marine penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal [second item] fretting that in combat soldiers often have to urinate and defecate in front of each other — often in close proximity to a fellow soldier’s face. Stewart points out: In a war zone, are you really worried about “dying from embarrassment?” Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted a ban that prohibited women from openly serving in combat roles in the military. This would entail overturning a 1994 rule that bans women from certain ground combat roles, thus opening up more jobs to servicewomen. Women have already been attached to ground units performing these jobs — they just haven’t been properly credited for it.
Yesterday, Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Join Chiefs Of Staff, officially overturned the 1994 rule. “Everyone is entitled to a chance,” Panetta said. According to The New York Times, the Army is now creating gender-neutral standards for all their positions but will not be lowering the physical standards required just so that women can be admitted.
All week there have been reactions to lifting the ban, both for and against. I’ve rounded up some of the responses: Keep reading »