On Top of the World

Well behaved women rarely make history.

Feminism 101

The following is a response to this post. There are a number of things I agree with and I particularly like the Diana-as-Pinnochio idea (Seven of Nine is, in fact, one of my favourite Trek characters). But there are a few sentences here and there that I can’t overlook, at least not today.

Feminists are not saying “anything you can do I can do better”. They are not even saying “anything you can do I can do, too.” Feminists are saying “I have the right to try and/or do anything and everything you have the right to try and/or do”. And that includes:

Wearing pants
Not wearing pants
Being badass
Not being badass
Being vulnerable
Failing
Winning
Fighting tooth and nail
Shooting first
Choosing not to shoot
Sleeping around
Not sleeping around
Falling in love
Having a tantrum
Hitting a home run
Spending too much on shoes
Doing whatever she wants to do

My daughter turns 14 today and she is fighting it with all she’s got. This is a natural and normal reaction, and studies show that young women fight the transition from child to teen where young men fight the transition from teen to adult. As a woman, this makes perfect sense to me. Girls do not want to be seen as objects, to have at least half their worth be tied to how they look, and to lose so much of the agency that is their right as children — that allows them to play alongside boys in little league and basketball, to play sports at all without being called a tomboy, to like comics and video games without being called strange. Boys gain freedoms as teenagers, girls lose them. When transitioning to an adult, boys are expected to give up some freedoms and they fight it, girls have already learned that lesson and likely hope that being adult gives them something back. Adults, theoretically, get the power that comes with the responsibility.

If women and girls didn’t fight the idea that sexism exists and is wrong then we wouldn’t have the vote, we wouldn’t be allowed to own property, we wouldn’t be allowed to work as whatever we want, or work for wages at all (note: all of this qualified as in the United States). If women and girls were satisfied with reactionary characters with the name “girl” in their title no matter how old they are, or women known more for the size of their bust and skirt than what they DO, we wouldn’t be worrying about Wonder Woman or Emma Frost. They wouldn’t matter as anything BUT sexual objects drawn out of your male fantasies of what you wished real women looked like. Women and girls do not WANT their badass situations to feel the same as men. But they want their badass situations to be treated with the same respect — the respect you lack when you say it doesn’t matter. Women and girls WANT TO MATTER.

My daughter wants to stay a little girl because as a little girl she doesn’t have to choose between being a hot woman for whom (and this is according to you) the issue of sex will be part and parcel of her story no matter what she does or to be a not-hot woman who is met with pity and scorn and assumption. Neither choice is optimal. The reason we fight is because neither choice should be acceptable.

I am not arguing that image doesn’t matter to men and boys. I am not arguing that superhero costumes are not silly (again, if it were up to me and realism all superheroes would wear a uniform similar to the military). I am not arguing that sex (or sexism, since it does exist) shouldn’t be a part of superhero comics. I am certainly not arguing that Wonder Woman has ever been handled well as a character. I am not even arguing for pants. Diana is from an island that would probably follow the Ancient Olympian tradition of competing naked; it would not be so out of character for her to wear nothing. My point is simply this: “That somehow women in comics, and in life, shouldn’t be hyper-sexualized.”

Except I say it without the somehow:

Women in comics, and in life, shouldn’t be hyper-sexualized.

And as long as they and we are, we have every right, and every responsibility, to say: STOP.

8 Comments»

  Response to Feminism 101 « TheHumanScorch's Blog wrote @

[…] Response to Feminism 101 Response to Feminism 101 […]

  thehumanscorch wrote @

I posted a response on my blog. This is a very interesting discussion, I’m learning a lot.

  thehumanscorch wrote @

Don’t forget to give examples of, “If it was the way women want it.” Also, remember, that all females are not the same. Women never seem to attack the women who are golddiggers and teases. Just men. Go figure.

  Sam wrote @

I enjoy how you tell her to not use absolutes and then turn around and use absolutes. There are plenty of examples of women attacking other women, and since I know you’ll tell me to give you one: The First Wives Club is basically an entire movie created to tearing down “second wives” who are portrayed as, for the most part, money-grubbing, unintelligent, young women. Usually with blond hair.

So to say “never” is a bit disingenuous. Maybe never based on your experience, but certainly not never.

  thehumanscorch wrote @

Okay, perhaps “never” was a bit too absolute. But I certainly, in my experience, have never heard a self-proclaimed feminist have anything to say about the totality of sexism, which would include gold-digging. Just the way that MEN need to change.
Nor do they have anything to say about sex workers; the epitome of selling the female form. It’s just MEN who need to change, according to them.

  Sam wrote @

I’m not sure how many self-proclaimed feminists you know, or how they define feminism, but let me be the first feminist in your life to say: the way that women view/treat other women of “certain types” is one of the many aspects of our patriachal society that I think needs to change. It’s not just men that need to change because it’s not just men that live in the world. I can tell you that from my experience, which I think is very different than yours, no self-proclaimed feminist has ever expressed the viewpoints you ascribe to them. Clearly we’re just coming at this issue with vastly different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. Just like Magnetgirl and I, even though we share the common experience of being women, have many differing experiences in our past and current lives.

  thehumanscorch wrote @

Yes, it sounds like our backgrounds are very different. And, the term “feminism” seems to have a broad variety of meanings.
What I will consistently stick to, tho, is my invention. A small device that looks like a stop light, so females can flash whatever color they’re feeling, to let us over-sexualized men know when they WANT to be viewed sexually. And, as I said, I offer no apologies then for finding females that are more attuned to a man’s needs.

  Ongoing discussion. « On Top of the World wrote @

[…] I was meaning to highlight what it feels like for a girl (to quote Madonna). It is, as I started my post with, not about who has it harder, or who deals with it better — it’s not us versus […]


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