I’ve never been one for chivalry. I prefer to do things my way, and take pride in my own ability to lift things that are heavy, open doors on my own and find my coat in a sea of bodies and sad down jackets at a crowded bar. I’ve been with men who are completely unchivalrous, men who I’ve had to kick in the shins to lift a finger to help me carry an air conditioner up the stairs, and I’ve been with men who have fallen over themselves to get the door for me, even though I was already in the process of opening it. There’s a finesse to the art, a way of doing things that falls in between a fawning obsequiousness and a genuine gesture, bred of genteel manners and a different way of living.
There’s a fine line between chivalry and common courtesy. Holding a door open for someone who’s hands are full is good home training. Giving your seat up for a pregnant woman on the bus is good home training. Helping me into my coat at a restaurant is unnecessary, awkward and assumes that deep down, you are unconfident in my ability to put on my own outerwear when the fact of the matter is I have been dressing myself for longer than we’ve been acquainted. I understand that this is a gesture of kindness, but I view it as a harbinger of times past — and quite frankly, the past is where it should stay. Keep reading »
Last week, ABC News reporter Claire Shipman and BBC World News American anchor Katty Kay published an essay in The Atlantic called “The Confidence Gap” about the divide in confidence between men and women. The piece is promoting their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know. The basic gist is that although women have proven themselves just as competent as men in higher education and in the workplace, we struggle with confidence in our abilities (even while men who lack those abilities are assuredly overconfident).
Predictably, these statements have set off a flurry of response pieces. On Al-Jazeera, Alice Driver criticized the book for setting the male status quo as the standard for women (as did Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In). Amanda Hess took a similar tack over at Slate’s Double X blog. Over at Jezebel, Tracy Moore argued there there’s no confidence crisis at all: “It’s just sexism.” Keep reading »
I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Neil deGrasse Tyson more than I already do, but then the “Cosmos”‘ host went dropped some real talk in a discussion about whether genetics — specifically difference between the sexes — is to blame for there being so few women in STEM fields. “I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life,” he begins, before drawing parallels between the ways societal forces have long created barriers based on race and gender that have prevented equal opportunity. This is just perfect. [The Mary Sue]
It’s about time human mothball Phyllis Schlafly got tucked away in the attic of history. But somehow, someway, the anti-feminist and founder of the uber-conservative Eagle Forum is still sharing dumb, archaic ideas that were rejected by society over half a century ago. Her latest batch of craziness is an op-ed in the Christian Post about how the “pay gap” is a bunch of bunk. Women just don’t want to work as hard as men, you see! Men work at harder jobs! Oh, and also, what do ladies need money for anyway? Don’t we know paying our own bills ourselves scares away the menfolk? Keep reading »
Today in Egregious Discoveries About Humanity, a study has found that a big reason women rarely report sexual violence is because they view it as “normal.” The study, which will be published in Gender & Society, reviewed forensic interviews with 100 kids who may have been sexually assaulted. The interviews were conducted by the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the subjects’ ages ranged from 3-17.
The research team found that young women and girls often saw objectification, sexual harassment and abuse to be a normal part of life. Male privilege and a sense of female powerlessness, it seems, was seen by many interviewees as typical. One 13-year-old interview subject justified the fact that boys tried to inappropriately touch her at school because “they do it to everyone.” Keep reading »
“Seeing a woman project the kind of aggression that you have to project as a comic just rubs me wrong. And they’re funny — I mean you got some very, very funny people that do beautiful work — but I have a problem with the lady up there that’s going to give birth to a child — which is a miracle.”
I didn’t even know 88-year-old Jerry Lewis was still alive, so it figures his views on women in comedy are (still) covered in cobwebs. Why is he so convinced that women can’t be funny and “aggressive” while also being mothers and bearing children? Sounds like someone’s got a major Madonna/whore complex. [Huffington Post] [Image via Getty]
Laura Jane Klug, a fifth grade substitute teacher for Lumberton Independent School District in Texas who also happens to be transgender, was suspended on Tuesday after parents complained to the school.
According to one Lumberton father:
“If it does affect my child and his ability to learn or if it causes questions that I don’t feel are appropriate then undoubtedly there’s an issue with having somebody transgender, transsexual or transvestite, to be teaching that age group.”
The scariest part? Discriminating against teachers based on gender identity is entirely legal in the state of Texas. Keep reading »
James Franco, in addition to being an actor, performance artist, director and avid Instagrammer, is a writer of both fiction and poetry. He’s a big reader too — he’s currently starring on Broadway in “Of Mice and Men” — and one of his many upcoming projects includes a film adaptation of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. In a recent interview with Shelf Awareness, Franco discussed some of the writers from contemporary literature who’ve influenced and had an impact on him, both as a writer and as a person. David Foster Wallace! Cormac McCarthy! Great writers indeed. But of the writers discussed in the interview — including Franco’s Top 11 list of all time faves — not a single one was a woman. (Wait, I lied. Asked to name a book he bought based on the cover alone, Franco offered up Madonna’s Sex. So yeah, let’s not count that one.)
I would sigh, but I am not the slightest bit surprised. Keep reading »
“There is sexism – I’m not denying its existence. But I’m saying that I will deny its effort against me. I just pay it no nevermind and say, ‘Get out of my way.’”
“Veep”‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus is stark naked with the Constitution written across her back on the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, a shot that happened, she admitted on Twitter, after a few drinks. Inside the mag, the actress talks about her role as the foul-mouthed Vice President Selena Meyer on the hit HBO show, and expressed a Selena-esque, take-no-shit approach to dealing with sexism in her own life. While I totally admire the power in this statement, I would have loved to see her go a little deeper. After all, the privileges associated with money, fame and race certainly make it at least easier for Louis-Dreyfus to pay sexism no mind and refuse to let it have an impact on her career and life. It’s just not quite so simple for women overall to put that attitude into practice. Still, an inspiring and refreshing outlook. [Rolling Stone]