Why is there very little utility to women’s clothing? Why don’t we get pockets which actually open? Why do we have to put up with the ‘false pockets’ that are frequently sewn onto women’s jackets and pants to give visual interest without ruining the ‘line’ of the garment? Why, when pockets are actually present, are they so rarely large, stable, or loose enough to accommodate a phone or a wallet? And why, given this is the case, do women go on to cop so much flack for carrying handbags around with them?
Oh wait. Is this one of those double standards which we feminists are always going on about; one of those innocuous little things which everybody just accepts because it is the norm?
Women carry handbags. It is known.
But why? I have watched my male friends get ready to go out. They slip their wallet into one pocket, their keys into another, their phone into a third pocket, and some of them even still have spare pockets large enough to carry a novel for the journey. Those of my friends who wear women’s clothes, though, face an entirely different situation. If they are wearing the right jeans or jacket, they may have up to two usable pockets (not at all guaranteed). However, in most cases they won’t have any pockets at all. Utility and style rarely meet in women’s fashion, so they grab a bag.
Contrary to all the jokes, most women don’t ‘have’ to leave the house with everything they pack in their day-to-day handbag. Most of the items in a woman’s everyday handbag are in there because, if she’s going to have to carry it anyway, she might as well make it worth her while. Excuse us for making use of the one useful item we find in our wardrobes.
It’s like this…
You’re fourteen and you’re reading Larry Niven’s “The Protector” because it’s your father’s favorite book and you like your father and you think he has good taste and the creature on the cover of the book looks interesting and you want to know what it’s about. And in it the female character does something better than the male character - because she’s been doing it her whole life and he’s only just learned - and he gets mad that she’s better at it than him. And you don’t understand why he would be mad about that, because, logically, she’d be better at it than him. She’s done it more. And he’s got a picture of a woman painted on the inside of his spacesuit, like a pinup girl, and it bothers you.
But you’re fourteen and you don’t know how to put this into words.
And then you’re fifteen and you’re reading “Orphans of the Sky” because it’s by a famous sci-fi author and it’s about a lost generation ship and how cool is that?!? but the women on the ship aren’t given a name until they’re married and you spend more time wondering what people call those women up until their marriage than you do focusing on the rest of the story. Even though this tidbit of information has nothing to do with the plot line of the story and is only brought up once in passing.
But it’s a random thing to get worked up about in an otherwise all right book.
Then you’re sixteen and you read “Dune” because your brother gave it to you for Christmas and it’s one of those books you have to read to earn your geek card. You spend an entire afternoon arguing over who is the main character - Paul or Jessica. And the more you contend Jessica, the more he says Paul, and you can’t make him see how the real hero is her. And you love Chani cause she’s tough and good with a knife, but at the end of the day, her killing Paul’s challengers is just a way to degrade them because those weenies lost to a girl.
Then you’re seventeen and you don’t want to read “Stranger in a Strange Land” after the first seventy pages because something about it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. All of this talk of water-brothers. You can’t even pin it down.
And then you’re eighteen and you’ve given up on classic sci-fi, but that doesn’t stop your brother or your father from trying to get you to read more.
Even when you bring them the books and bring them the passages and show them how the authors didn’t treat women like people.
Your brother says, “Well, that was because of the time it was written in.”
You get all worked up because these men couldn’t imagine a world in which women were equal, in which women were empowered and intelligent and literate and capable.
You tell him - this, this is science fiction. This is all about imagining the world that could be and they couldn’t stand back long enough and dare to imagine how, not only technology would grow in time, but society would grow.
But he blows you off because he can’t understand how it feels to be fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and desperately wanting to like the books your father likes, because your father has good taste, and being unable to, because most of those books tell you that you’re not a full person in ways that are too subtle to put into words. It’s all cognitive dissonance: a little like a song played a bit out of tempo - enough that you recognize it’s off, but not enough to pin down what exactly is wrong.
And then one day you’re twenty-two and studying sociology and some kind teacher finally gives you the words to explain all those little feelings that built and penned around inside of you for years.
It’s like the world clicking into place.
And that’s something your brother never had to struggle with.
Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of either gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.
Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.
I feel so fiercely fond and protective of teenage girls. All of them. Girls with pin curls and carefully applied cat eyes and girls who live in sweatpants. Girls blasting music through headphones or reading quietly in corners; girls who sweat blood over sports or who have never been on a field and never intend to be. Girls with razor bumps from shaving clumsily in the shower before school; girls with runs in their tights or perfectly ironed skirts; girls blinking owlishly, clutching a starbucks cup like a lifeline.
Don’t think that your passions make you weak. Feeling so deeply and completely makes you stronger than the rest, gives you more vitality. Don’t ever feel like you have to apologize for being a teenage girl. Don’t let patriarchy turn you against each other with cliches about female ‘cattiness’ or ‘backstabbing’, or belittle your existence.
I know I’m a couple of days early, but I’ll be honest with you guys: I’ve got some apprehension about the approaching month. Like all women, I am simply lost without the d; a lack of the d drives me to madness and despair, reduces me to nothing more than a mere shell of a
personwoman (whoops, almost suggested that women are people). In fact, once a month I tell folks that I have come down with my period, when in reality I am simply curled up on my side in my bedroom, screaming, “The d! The d!” into the cruel, empty air. Why, just yesterday I turned to my vibrator, Bunny*, and said, “Oh, Bunny, what will I do? The internet decreed that women who participated in No-Shave November would bring about No D December, and I have, myself, taken part in this blasphemous behavior! Oh, woe! Oh, despair! Oh, the horror!” She buzzed ominously at me.
Just kidding; that’s all lies. I am a person despite my bedamned femality, I actually curl up and yell “FUCK MOTHERFUCKING SHIT FUCK WHO THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO BUILD CUNTS THIS WAY,” on my period, and I’m about as afraid of No D December as I am of death by comically falling piano, which is to say not at all. It is true that I participated in No Shave November, with my legs, as a woman, but even that is kind of a lie of omission, because it implies that I stopped shaving my legs at the beginning of November, that I intend to start again at the beginning of December, and that I did so in the name of a cause.
Here’s the truth: from the beginning of September to the end of May, or sometimes the middle of June if it’s one of those years where summer comes late, I am rocking it monkey-style from the waist down. And let me be real clear here: I am not talking “long stubble,” I am not talking “occasionally skipping a few days with the razor,” I am not talking “light, feminine hair.” I am talking full-scale, balls to the wall, coarse-as-shit monkey fur. I will shave if I have to go to an event where dress pants are not going to cut it, and I will shave if I’m planning on fucking somebody for the first or second time**, but that’s it. Otherwise, I wear pants and enjoy the extra ten to fifteen minutes a day I don’t have to spend in the shower, the money I don’t have to spend on dude razors (yeah that’s right dudes, I buy your better sharper smoother razors and use them on my monkey fur leg hair, FUCK THE POLICE), and the happy lack of razor burn itching at inopportune moments. I love winter. I love winter so hard.
I’ll tell you something else, while we’re on the topic—I’m no model, but for better or worse I do qualify as conventionally attractive. Whatever hemp-wearing, guitar-toting, unwashed hippie festival follower you’re imagining, I’m not that girl (although, of course, no judgement to those folks—I am friends with several different versions of that girl, all of whom I have met at festivals, and they are all some of the best humans I know). I’ve got blonde hair and big tits, I clean up nice, and I have long since perfected the sort of walk that highlights my cute little ass; as a result of this, I’ve gotten a number of cat-calls over the years. And I’ll tell you what, dudes—a lot of those cat calls have happened between the months of September and late-May-sometimes-June, while I have been walking around with pants concealing my monkey fur. Dudes have, in fact, offered me the d whilst I was secretly unshaved! I know. The horror is overwhelming, right? Probably not as overwhelming as the horror of being offered the d by a total stranger in the middle of the day, but still. You just go ahead. Take a moment. Let that sink in. I’ll wait.
Mae Jemison Became 1st Black Woman To Fly In To Space On This week In 1992
On September 12, 1999, Jemison fulfilled a lifelong dream she held ever since she was a small girl in Chicago by becoming the first African-American woman to fly in to space.
Graduating in 1977 with a dual degree in chemical engineering and African-American Studies, Jemison faced racism from professors as a Black woman taking up engineering.
Jemison later obtained a Doctor of Medicine in 1981 from Cornell University and travelled to developing countries to provide primary care.
Feminism that’s inclusive of WoC and trans* women. Perfect.
“Wrong Century” — Brilliant illustration by artist Tomas Kucerovsky depicting the fate of plus-size beauty in the modern age.
Click here to see more.
Every time I see a post by a Nice Guy, it’s always the same story. “I was friends with a woman, and I had feelings for her, and instead of returning my feelings, she ran off with a string of hot skeezy assholes and left me to sit on the sidelines.”
Here is a thing I’ve hardly…
TRIGGER WARNING SEXUAL ASSAULT
You won’t see Hillary Clinton in the same light ever again. Read Meryl Streep’s introduction of Hillary Clinton during the recent 2012 Women in the World conference:
Two years ago when Tina Brown and Diane von Furstenberg first envisioned this conference, they asked me to do a play, a reading, called – the name of the play was called Seven. It was taken from transcripts, real testimony from real women activists around the world. I was the Irish one, and I had no idea that the real women would be sitting in the audience while we portrayed them. So I was doing a pretty ghastly Belfast accent. I was just – I was imitating my friend Liam Neeson, really, and I sounded like a fellow. (Laughter). It was really bad.
So I was so mortified when Tina, at the end of the play, invited the real women to come up on stage and I found myself standing next to the great Inez McCormack. (Applause.) And I felt slight next to her, because I’m an actress and she is the real deal. She has put her life on the line. Six of those seven women were with us in the theater that night. The seventh, Mukhtaran Bibi, couldn’t come because she couldn’t get out of Pakistan. You probably remember who she is. She’s the young woman who went to court because she was gang-raped by men in her village as punishment for a perceived slight to their honor by her little brother. All but one of the 14 men accused were acquitted, but Mukhtaran won the small settlement. She won $8,200, which she then used to start schools in her village. More money poured in from international donations when the men were set free. And as a result of her trial, the then president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, went on TV and said, “If you want to be a millionaire, just get yourself raped.”
But that night in the theater two years ago, the other six brave women came up on the stage. Anabella De Leon of Guatemala pointed to Hillary Clinton, who was sitting right in the front row, and said, “I met her and my life changed.” And all weekend long, women from all over the world said the same thing:
“I’m alive because she came to my village, put her arm around me, and had a photograph taken together.”
“I’m alive because she went on our local TV and talked about my work, and now they’re afraid to kill me.”
“I’m alive because she came to my country and she talked to our leaders, because I heard her speak, because I read about her.”
“I’m here today because of that, because of those stores.”
I didn’t know about this. I never knew any of it. And I think everybody should know. This hidden history Hillary has, the story of her parallel agenda, the shadow diplomacy unheralded, uncelebrated — careful, constant work on behalf of women and girls that she has always conducted alongside everything else a First Lady, a Senator, and now Secretary of State is obliged to do.
And it deserves to be amplified. This willingness to take it, to lead a revolution – and revelation, beginning in Beijing in 1995, when she first raised her voice to say the words you’ve heard many times throughout this conference: “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.”
When Hillary Clinton stood up in Beijing to speak that truth, her hosts were not the only ones who didn’t necessarily want to hear it. Some of her husband’s advisors also were nervous about the speech, fearful of upsetting relations with China. But she faced down the opposition at home and abroad, and her words continue to hearten women around the world and have reverberated down the decades.
She’s just been busy working, doing it, making those words “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” into something every leader in every country now knows is a linchpin of American policy. It’s just so much more than a rhetorical triumph. We’re talking about what happened in the real world, the institutional change that was a result of that stand she took.
Now we know that the higher the education and the involvement of women in a culture and economy, the more secure the nation. It’s a metric we use throughout our foreign policy, and in fact, it’s at the core of our development policy. It is a big, important shift in thinking. Horrifying practices like female genital cutting were not at the top of the agenda because they were part of the culture and we didn’t want to be accused of imposing our own cultural values.
But what Hillary Clinton has said over and over again is, “A crime is a crime, and criminal behavior cannot be tolerated.” Everywhere she goes, she meets with the head of state and she meets with the women leaders of grassroots organizations in each country. This goes automatically on her schedule. As you’ve seen, when she went to Burma – our first government trip there in 40 years. She met with its dictator and then she met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman he kept under detention for 15 years, the leader of Burma’s pro-democracy movement.
This isn’t just symbolism. It’s how you change the world. These are the words of Dr. Gao Yaojie of China: “I will never forget our first meeting. She said I reminded her of her mother. And she noticed my small bound feet. I didn’t need to explain too much, and she understood completely. I could tell how much she wanted to understand what I, an 80-something year old lady, went through in China – the Cultural Revolution, uncovering the largest tainted blood scandal in China, house arrest, forced family separation. I talked about it like nothing and I joked about it, but she understood me as a person, a mother, a doctor. She knew what I really went through.”
When Vera Stremkovskaya, a lawyer and human rights activist from Belarus met Hillary Clinton a few years ago, they took a photograph together. And she said to one of the Secretary’s colleagues, “I want that picture.” And the colleague said, “I will get you that picture as soon as possible.” And Stremkovskaya said, “I need that picture.” And the colleague said, “I promise you.” And Stremkovskaya said, “You don’t understand. That picture will be my bullet-proof vest.”
Never give up. Never, never, never, never, never give up. That is what Hillary Clinton embodies.
As if I needed more reasons to love this amazing woman!
fjakfdjslfs everything in this article is amazing
Even People magazine agrees that This Means War should be about just FDR and Tuck
How happy I am to see this in a mainstream magazine.
Yes, yes, yes. Although: focusing on some kind of validation for your Tom/CPine bromance = epic fucking point-missing, here.