Tag Archives | Feminism

Sweden To Use New Gender Neutral Pronoun, ‘Hen’

A70-13940If the language and words we use determine the frameworks within which we think, the newest edition to Swedish may have an enlightening effect. Slate explains:

For many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal, but gender-neutral. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.

Earlier this month, the movement reached a milestone: Just days after International Women’s Day, a new pronoun, ‘hen’ (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].” The announcement came amid heated debate that has been raging in Swedish newspaper columns and TV studios and on parenting blogs and feminist websites. It was sparked by the publication of Sweden’s first ever gender-neutral children’s book, Kivi och Monsterhund.

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How Feminism Hates Women?

Caveat: My posting of this article is not meant to imply my agreement with it. Via Owning Your Shit:

Okay, so let’s pretend we’re talking about me, and what we’re talking about is me crashing my car into another vehicle, killing the driver. The act of crashing my car into his and killing him is the actus reus, and let’s say that this fact is not in dispute. Once it has been established that I did indeed crash my car into another and kill the driver, an investigation will be done (I would hope!), and the attendant circumstances examined, and it will only then be determined whether I have committed a crime.

Let’s say I undergo a breath test and am found to be legally impaired. In this case, I will be found to have the mens rea of recklessness—I engaged in conduct a law-abiding person would have refrained from, and that conduct resulted in a foreseeable death.

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When Angry Commenters Find Common Ground

Photo: Mikemol (CC)

Photo: Mikemol (CC)

A lot of visitors to disinformation could learn a lesson from these two. Joanna Schroeder, a feminist, and David Byron, an anti-feminist, write at the Good Men Project:

JS: So, David, you and I have a pretty interesting history, don’t we?

DB: I have talked with feminists on-line for years, and been thrown off hundreds of feminist sites.  I am always looking for someone I can talk to, but I didn’t think you were a good prospect at first.

JS: Yeah, maybe I wasn’t at first. I have always been open-minded, but I started off pretty righteous.

As far as I remember it, you and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common sense, that the whole world would read it and say, “Oh wow, now I get it!”.

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Patriarchy Is Dead

kyriosFrom 2010, Nichi Hodgson writing for the Guardian:

From reclaiming the F word to objecting to objectification – there’s a new feminist army determined to finally flatten the patriarchy. But here’s the really radical news: patriarchy is dead. It’s dead simplistic, dead inaccurate, and no longer a useful way of framing gender inequality in the UK. Forget about castrating patriarchy – it’s time to corral kyriarchy, the system identified by Harvard theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, which explains how ethnicity, class, economics and education, as well as gender, intersect to oppress us all, men as well as women.

So, kyriarchy: the substitution of one elitist, etymological hair-splitting term for another, I hear my newly estranged sisters cry – just what feminism needs. But this is a neologism with a difference. Where patriarchy – literally, rule of the father – explains only how traditional male authority dictates to, and subjugates women, kyriarchy (from the Greek: kyrios – lord/master; archion – dominion/rule) relates how each of us, whatever our gender, is a bundle of privileges we can all too readily abuse by invoking the “master power”, whether that’s as a black female barrister, a mixed-race trans male teacher, or a white immigrant male labourer.

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The Industry of Hunger

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Vandana Shiva on Al Jazeera English explains how, as mega-chains venture into industrial farming, they have created an epidemic of hunger- and generated billions in profit.

New Delhi, India – In November 2011, when the UPA government announced that it had cleared the entry of big retail chains such as Walmart and Tesco into India through 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, it justified the decision saying that FDI in retail would boost food security and benefit farmers’ livelihoods.

But the assurance that FDI in retail would ease inflation did not resolve the political crisis the government was facing; it deepened it. Parliament was stalled for several days of the Winter Session, after which the government was forced to withdraw its decision.

The story of FDI in retail goes back to 2005, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an agriculture agreement with the US, along with the nuclear agreement.

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The Glaring Omissions Of iPhone’s Siri

Apple’s new iPhone 4S has made waves for its voice-commanded virtual assistant, personified as “Siri”. However, users have noticed that Siri seems to have a blackout concerning certain topics — is Apple pandering to the Christian Right? Via Amadi Talks:

The recent illustrations of Siri, the iPhone 4S voice-recognition based assistant, failing to provide information to users about abortion, birth control, help after rape and help with domestic violence has gotten a lot of notice.

Siri can answer a lot of health related questions perfectly well, why shouldn’t we expect it to be able to answer reproductive health related queries too? Why treat reproductive health as a walled-off garden that the general public can’t or shouldn’t be exposed to?

siri

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How Patriarchy and Rape Culture Hurt Men

Via the SAFER Blog:

I’ve often found myself trying to explain to people that rape culture and patriarchy aren’t just bad for women. If you draw attention to a form of violence that is primarily aimed at women by men, and a form of social oppression that is intended to provide men with dominance over women, a lot of people will think you must be hostile to men, or want to take something away from men. Nothing could be further from the truth. Patriarchy and rape culture are clearly more harmful to women, but they also cause men great harm, and I engage in anti-violence work to help men as much as I do to help women or anyone else. Here’s why:

The patriarchal “ideal” of male toughness and invulnerability creates the following problems for men:

  1. Men are often expected to endure hazardous conditions, with the attitude that any expression of fear is a sign of weakness.
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A Browser Extension That Flips Gender

1950s-housewife-223x300Danielle Sucher's Jailbreak the Patriarchy is a Chrome extension that substitutes the word "women" for "men" and "he" for "she" and so on within all text. The results are thought provoking -- toggle between a patriarchal and matriarchal online world with the click of a button:
Jailbreak the Patriarchy genderswaps the world for you. When it’s installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: “he loved his mother very much” would read as “she loved her father very much”, “the patriarchy also hurts men” would read as “the matriarchy also hurts women”, that sort of thing. This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!
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The Golden Age Of Female Computer Programmers

computer-girls1Via the blog of software developers Fog Creek, a look at the forgotten history of women programmers, and the strange ways in which different work fields are labeled as “male” or female”:

Computer science has always been a male-dominated field, right? Wrong.

In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women. And 34% of the systems analysts in America were women. Women had started to flock to computer science in the mid-1960s, during the early days of computing, when men were already dominating other technical professions but had yet to dominate the world of computing. For about two decades, the percentages of women who earned Computer Science degrees rose steadily, peaking at 37% in 1984.

In fact, for a hot second back in the mid-sixties, computer programming was actually portrayed as women’s work by the mass media. Check out “The Computer Girls” from the April 1967 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

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Women and Disbelief

Darwin FishA long-running critique of the New Atheist movement has been how strikingly male-dominated it is. Victoria Bekiempkis over at Bitch Magazine explores the intersection between feminism and atheism:

Women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male.

These statements should sound ridiculous because, of course, they are. From Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists, whose 1963 Supreme Court lawsuit brought an end to prayer in public schools, to Sergeant Kathleen Johnson, who started an organization for atheists in the United States military, to Debbie Goddard, founder of African Americans for Humanism, countless women have worked as successful atheist activists. They’ve penned books, run organizations, and advocated on behalf of religiously repressed citizens.

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