Gendity

(((beforehand: this probs sounds well egoistic, but I think writing constantly in the first person/experiential is lesssss egoistic bc it shows that a human cannot speak for Humans – I I I – ay ay ay)))

 

  1. FINDING GENDER.

I have always had a mix of traits that I didn’t assign much gendered importance to. Post-16 and I was approaching Woman Age so thought I should probably sort something out. Thinking about it, it was a case of ‘finding’ femininity rather than ‘being’ Feminine as such. Now, the verb ‘find’ is interesting here. It suggests learning what femininity could be, ‘discovering’ it and a process of self-making, or even perception adapting.

In this ‘finding’ process, I had to make sure the femininity was consistent, so some cognitive dissonance went on. Anything that *seemed* unfeminine, I would just change the definition of femininity I ‘found’. For example I’ve always felt a bit brutish, but I would find the female version of brutishness. It’s not a trait I would change bc it’s handy so I instead change the perspective of this trait to a positive and ‘seek out’ the femininity of strength, ie. looking for positive role models to ‘model’, and so affirm, a piece of my identity. This took the form of largeness and strength in Amazonian warriors/fertility goddesses/70’s Goddess Movement (not saying I identify as a Goddess, I’m an absolute shit lol). Anyway, this physicality suddenly seemed incredibly feminine to me and so I ‘absorbed’ that into me, or displayed physicality in this new light. This ‘type of femininity’ is quite interesting. Gender is cultural and so I feel it is justified to reject some of 21st C British femininity in order to take on other culture/time’s ‘femininities’ . There is even some ‘gender intersectionality’ here as another part of my identity is ‘hippie’ and so I may reject city feminine traits *because* it is not hippie feminine, like going Brazilian (ygm).

In other instances, I would not adapt my perception of a trait, but just reject the trait altogether. For example, I’ve always been a lil’ adventurer and continue to climb into rocks for da bantz. It is boisterous, but I like it. My dad says it’s ‘unladylike’ so instead I entirely reject the idea that adventuring is gendered at all, and carry on my merry way. (And so the contradictions begin…) Oh and another point, is you might try and align more with one identity if you feel you don’t really fit many others, just sayin.

 

  1. DEFINING GENDER.

By their nature, definitions require contrast. Light is only known in its relation and opposition to dark. Therefore the feminine is affirmed only in its opposing relation to the masculine: x R y iff y R x. Being a binary relation, I would even go as far as to say that dualism is inherent to definition.

Therefore I would define masculinity as everything that opposes ‘my’ femininity and of which I can draw some (tenuous) links. So masculinity (to me) would be assertive/focused/dominant *just because* I do not identify as such. I wouldn’t say masculinity (to me) is confident, gd bantz and logical because I identify as confident(ish), gd bantz and logical and so there would be a contradiction. So instead I view these traits as ‘ungendered’. (Notice the MASSIVE pattern of subjectivity and cognitive dissonance here. It’s quite funny tbh.)

I have given one explanation of dualism because ‘identity requires definition requires contrast requires dualism’. However let’s think up some others. One could be the Freudian sex drive. (Reproductive) sex requires dualism to ‘work’, ie. fusion of opposites = offspring. As sexuality develops through adolescence, the need for the opposing ideas seems to become stronger. Why would our motives centre around The Sex though? Bit of biology, but also imitatio dei, imitating ‘the beginning/divine creation’. It is the act of humanity and so participating in said act links you to the rest of the world from the beginning of time, bit like ancestral rituals. Sex is the new ancestral ritual yo #RaiseDatDead xxx

(Ofc a massive objection to the above’s reasoning is asexuality and homosexuality. Discusshun 4 anuvva time mebz?)

 

  1. WHY BOTHER THEN?

Overall it appears that I take gender rather subjectively, only using objective standards as and when they suit me. I have subjectively created what I claim to be an objective group reality for my subjective individual self. The whole thing seems stupid, pointless and entirely contradictory. Why bother at all?

The root of all of this is *identity*. Gender just happens to be a more convenient expression of identity. Like, the key to stay warm is clothes, but we focus a lot of attention on jeans as clothes because they are more convenient and universal than bandeau bras as clothes.

Why is identity important? Identity, like clothes, are needed to make us feel warm and snug xoxo Identity gives us self-understanding, acknowledgement, purpose, place, future, past, friends. First on the self-understanding. I never cared much for hippies, but my long wavy hair (naturo-phile?) caused people to associate me with a hippie more strongly. Eventually I absorbed this as part of my ‘identity’ too. Why? Why listen to them? It is primarily a way of self-understanding, but also allows us to know other’s expectations of us and our behaviour. An ‘expectation’ is equivalent to a ‘role’, because roles are ‘expected’ to be performed and fulfilled.

Mill wrote “there is nothing general except names.” We engineer universals. The first thing our 2 yr old self-awareness is presented with is a name. Our name tells us who our family is (surname): that is, who we should identify with. When our name is said, it is the world’s acknowledgement of the self and therefore the ‘I’ must exist. Who knows, perhaps without labels we would be a mere stream of consciousness: time only exists when we label the hours. This ‘existence’ seems pretty key here though.

Other questions arise as to why we would naturally feel different to an ascribed identity if our identity informs our existence and gives us our life’s path, but cba right now😉 bc individualZzz

 

  1. THE REALITY OF THE ABSTRACT.

Yep, human construct, yep all the rest of it. To humans, does the abstract not make it *more* real and essential? Human ideas about humans are real to humans because they are humans (lol) Marx said “the essence of [21st C edit: woman or] man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations.” I keep coming back to this, but I think this term ‘relation’ is key here to identity. Reality is only a perception and so a human ‘idea’ effectively too. We work in symbols and ideas and so does *our* existence. (This is where I get v sloppy and tired soz x)

Nominalism may make this more clear, where things are understood and so ‘exist’ in terms of their categories and relations to other entities, their names. Why are fish ‘fish’ apart from how they swim under water? But what about dolphins? Mammal or fish? But mammals walk on land? Etc tec cet etc Imagine that things were not defined. What would we see? Would we see the ‘sky’? Would we see the difference between the sky and the grass, apart from colour? Would we immediately understand colour? (This is why I want to do Baby Studies hehe.) Note that here we have the existential verb, ‘to be’. When we say what *is* colour we are saying that colour exists. “That is green” = “there exists greenness.” “That is a woman” = “there exists womanness.” (Tertullian substantia maybe any1?)

(Oh and for some play work for ethics, I was toying with the mathematical concept of identity, where two equations can be ‘identical’ (3 dash equal sign =) but not look or work in the same way. Similarly we could move to a place of viewing humans as equal because the very fact of having an identity makes them equal, if that makes sense.)

 

  1. CHANGE?

Of course the benefit of abstraction is that it is entirely malleable. Stereotype slush, meme mould, category crushin’. So why get so hung up on gender? Idk, it doesn’t really matter, but it has a strong basis in the human ‘fact’ of woman/man ‘existing’, which further justifies the categorisation of gender. It is also universal, as biologically, all humans are either male or female, and anthropologically, all cultures have a concept of gender.

Change in identity categorisation is perfectly possible, and indeed necessary. Identities rely on information, environment and technology. So, in a low birth rate society, there would be greater identity in the sexuality of man and woman to promote reproductive sex/offspring springin up. In a starving society, there would be stronger emphasis on the fed and unfed.

So that’s environment. Talking of information, there are some constant human ‘informations’ we have and we make judgements based on that available information. It is fact that men are taller/stronger and women have children. Categorisation/stereotypes/identities will clearly form around that. We can increase or decrease the extent and emotion of said identity through technology. The more technology (or environment actually) makes these differences less pronounced, the less they will matter and so the less ‘gender identity necessary’ as it were. This is clear to see as roles in society are no longer as based around strength and fertility, but around intellect (or typing 9-5 lol no) which is not gendered. Information and science too! Eg. if it was shown that a child had the same brain as an adult, our view of adult and child roles/identities would change tremendously. Available information and pragmatic importance of that information = identity.

Another way to change is to change cultural values, but I think these align with technology and environment more so, so these are the fundamental things we need to change. Want to reduce the nationalist identity? Stop war and hang in wiv the EU. Want to remove the mothering identity? Test tube babies m9

 

  1. ‘HUMAN IDENTITY = UNITY’ ?

Now, we could move past this and have a human identity instead? It would be nice, and it could exist if aliens did, but it contradicts the concept of identity in the first place. Identity only exists in contrast to other things as I have said.

The only contrast that could exist would be between the ‘human’ humans and ‘non-human’ humans. Problems of dehumanisation are obvious. Say we have some ‘human values’ and no other identities. Our only aim in life would be to be as ‘human as possible’ thus creation a monolithic mess. Anyone who deviated from ‘human norms’ would be less human and all manner of terrible things could be justified accordingly. I would therefore always advocate for *more* identities rather than less (though not too many to make group membership meaningless).

Greater identities could decrease conflict. Say, everyone had 20 identities, the probability that you would be *exactly* the same as someone, or *exactly* opposite to someone, is 1/220. This makes it 99.9999046% likely that you would find *some* common ground with everyone in the world. If these commonalities were focused on, there could be less conflict. If the differences within a ‘side’ were focused on, there could be less conflict (because there would be less unity and perhaps some would have even more unity with the other side.) Yay. Peace. Love. X

 

  1. CONCLUSION

Identity is the main thing. Gender is one type of identity but a useful form of it. Gender, as an identity category, is made more real by its repetition and value in our society. Change that and gender identity will puff off.

#FeMenism

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

However, as with all definitions, looking at their etymology can be key. ‘Feminism’ originated from the French ‘féminisme’ in the late 19th century: a term first coined by the socialist Charles Fourier at a time, crucially, when women were literally second class citizens. We were men’s property to be traded and exploited like cattle. (Shouldn’t exploit cattle either to be honest but that’s a different story… or is it?) Therefore it was entirely right of feminism to “advocate for women’s rights” because women had far fewer rights than men. Women were the ones that needed to be pushed up just so that we could legally be on a level ‘playing field’. (Yes Women’s Football) But, at a time when women do have equal rights and are getting into more and more positions of power (with even a female-majority Labour shadow cabinet), is the exclusory “advocacy of women’s rights” entirely appropriate to the 21st century?

Now, I am definitely not claiming that feminism is redundant. Far from it. I am a proud feminist myself because there are many worthy causes still worth fighting for, even in the West, although the extent of them can be questionable at times. Much of this sexism, however, is similarly experienced by men, albeit in differing forms. Feminism does indeed acknowledge this but attributes men’s problems to a vague patriarchy which has allegedly enforced all ideas of Mighty Masculinity and Feeble Femininity. “Destroy the patriarchy and you destroy the problem.”

I admit to using this rebuttal a number of times but, when you really think about the argument, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. I shall later expand upon why not but more importantly for now, while feminism has helped men in a number of ways, we must be honest with ourselves. We can care about men, but feminism will never specifically address male issues. Why should we? Feminism is a women’s rights movement after all. The job of dealing with men’s issues should surely fall into the capable hands of the experts on the matter at hand: men. To truly care about the problems men face would be to respectfully listen and be the ‘allies’ that we want men to be of feminism. HeForShe and SheForHe.

Aren’t men the privileged group though? Why would they need any help? If you are of this opinion, consider how a cross-dialogue approach could benefit feminism anyway. Typing ‘feminism’ into YouTube proceeds to bring up ‘Feminism is bullshit’, ‘Feminism lol’ then even more encouragingly ‘Feminism ruined my generation’, which ‘proves’ (yes I do carry out the most rigorous sociological research) just how toxic the atmosphere has become . It means that we have to spend all our time fighting over whether feminism should be ‘a thing’ or not, rather than spending our time and energy actually addressing women’s issues. It only seems to be getting worse so we have to do something to counteract this destructive trend. If we are willing to listen and support men, then they’ll listen and support us in return. Ethic of reciprocity yo.

Women are criticised for being too tall, too hairy, too bold, too muscular, too big, too assertive, too intelligent and too promiscuous. Men are criticised for being not tall enough, not hairy enough, not bold enough, not muscular enough, not big enough, not assertive enough, not intelligent enough and not promiscuous enough.

As you can see, many damaging social expectations are two sides of the same coin. Rather than leaving it up to feminism and the girls (yes I know there are some male feminists, but few) to consume the entirety of the Sexist Chocolate Coin, why not speed things up a bit and get the men to devour their side? It’s too great a feast to go unnamed, so let’s ‘coin’ it FeMenism.

This is how a separate men’s group working with feminists could further feminism faster than some men becoming feminists. (I know that there are meninists and MRA’s, but I’ll use the less controversial ‘masculinists’ for the sake of the rest of the article.) Using divisions to create unity seems contradictory though. On the contrary, consider ‘science’. It is a broad umbrella term to describe the study of the natural world through experiment and observation. All scientists have the same ‘goal’: to discover new truth about existence. However different types of scientists go about this goal in very different ways. There are physicists and chemists who can pursue very different paths without any need for conflict. What is more, new discoveries in chemistry can spark more discoveries in physics and further that field, and vice versa. By pursuing the field the scientist is an expert in, they will be able to make deeper discoveries, therefore gathering better quality information which can help the other science specialisms all the more.  What would be the good in physicists, chemists and biologists all searching for the Higgs boson? It’s a waste of time.

In a similar way, focusing on feminism or masculinism as two separate specialisms would progress the umbrella term ‘gender equality’ far more. However currently, it seems that the only ‘correct’ goal is to find the Higgs boson; no other endeavour is valid and we’re ridiculing the chemists for having the idiocy to possibly think chemistry could be important too. The behaviour is beginning to “cripple science”, according to Crian Box on CCB Radio 4 on 21/12/12.

So yeah, I assume most of us would agree that something needs to be done to uncripple the current war-like state of gender politics in the region. I’m obviously not claiming the idea of men and women working together on this to be anything new, but I have unfortunately not seen any official gender cross-dialogues around on the internet, which could be because it’s stupid/too idealistic or the people concerned are too angry to do it non-passive aggressively. But it is worth considering so here are some of my suggestions on ‘officialising’ such a thing:

  • #FeMenism Twitter hashtag, where (ideally non-angry) women and men describe and discuss their sides on a number of important issues, gaining different perspectives. (Or any other hashtag name, just thought that ‘coined term’ wouldn’t be a bad choice because people might find it through accidental misspelling whilst also showing the pretentious simultaneous duality and unity of the ‘movement’.)
  • A YouTube channel entitled [FeMenism or please insert better name here] where each video focuses on a different topic, which a man and woman (or more) discuss, deliberate over and ideally come to some consensus about how they can help one another.
  • Organise a FeMenist society at university where both parties are well respected. I personally think a separate men’s group at university would be best because it is a ‘safe-space’ for men to talk openly in a culture which so frequently condemns male complaints, as Adam Frost found out when he attempted a Male Human Rights Society at Durham. Then monthly discussions could be held between the men’s group and the FemSoc (ideally not in the form of a crewdate…) to further both sides.

However I don’t trust my brain. It frequently plays naughty tricks on me. So if you have any other ideas about alleviating the increasingly hostile gender war, please do say! And if you have general criticisms then I would really love to hear those too because that is the best way to advance the mind. However I shall counter the obvious disagreements as I have far too much time on my hands and get a kick out of pressing this space bar for reasons other than Microsoft Solitaire because it has the added bonus of my sneaking in a few criticisms of current pop-feminism. (I must reiterate I’m a total feminist myself but all movements need alternative perspectives. I do know the majority of feminists are sensible and cool, but a growingly rigid single narrative of ‘pop-feminism’ is concerning and this is the feminism I shall address.)


BUT MENINISTS ARE MISOGYNISTS

Some meninists are misogynists and some feminists are misandrists. It doesn’t say much about the movement itself. Meninism is a satire of feminism, trying to show the sexist double standards in a movement which calls for gender equality. Alright. The use of satire is what most feminists object to however because ‘feminism shouldn’t be a punchline’ etc. but all movements needs critiques, and satire has the added bonus of giving us a laugh. However comedy doesn’t seem to be the real goal here (I mean, the level could be improved). Instead, I think comedy is simply the way these men feel they can feasibly express their genuine concerns which we should genuinely listen to.

BUT MALE PRIVILEGE

Feminists fear that these meninists are trying to ridicule and silence very serious women’s issues, and so in a FeMenism movement, the men would similarly take over and make the whole debate about them. This is more than reasonable considering the history of women being silenced, to be “seen and not heard” and written out of the history books. This is why I proposed keeping two distinct women and men groups, with the separation semantically enforced by the capital letter in FeMenism.

In my own experience, I have also noticed men talking more in group discussions and there have been studies about it occurring in the boardroom, but this is probably better explained by some alpha bravado or male-majority boardrooms, rather than consciously exclusory sexism. In female-majority areas, like gender equality, women definitely have the greater say but is it worth silencing men now because they have silenced us in the past?

I am not naïve and do realise that the effect of centuries of women being second class citizens is not erased overnight with an equal rights act. Although attitudes have improved rapidly in an astoundingly short space of time, there is plenty of work still left to do. Even our language makes man the default, with ‘mankind’, ‘all men are equal before the law’, ‘chairman’ etc. While the ‘man’ thing has a complicated etymology, even the syntax of our language (man and woman; husband and wife; lord and lady) puts woman as the ‘second sex’ as Simone de Beauvoir explained, which is why I consciously try to reorder the syntax in my writing you might notice to make people aware of this trend. These are some of many examples of how women may still be unconsciously ‘oppressed’ (in attitude at least) and the basis of micro-aggressions.

Third wave feminism is now delving deliciously into the mysterious monde of the surreptitious subconscious, which is covertly curious, but nothing like the overt legal oppression of women in the past. This is how language plays yet another part in our attitudes. Words like ‘misogyny’, ‘micro-aggressions’ and ‘institutionalised oppression’ (banded around SJW circles in particular) used to describe these cultural subconscious attitudes will of course make us women feel unduly attacked, helpless and victimised… by the whole bloody society and everyone in it! It’s ridiculous! It is also a big reason for pop-feminism taking such an angry and even misandric tone at times, fuelling the venomous reactions from men, (of which of course isn’t all down to feminism) because these academic, sociological and theoretical terms are taken as sound bites out of context.

‘Unconscious’ or ‘implicit bias’ would be a far more forgiving term to describe feminism’s current endeavours because it allows for much greater nuance for further much needed debate into the slippery subconscious. These are ‘cultural attitudes’ which sneaks their way into the brains of everyone in said culture, including men and women. Acknowledging this reduces the ‘oppressor’ onus on just men. Most importantly, ‘unconscious bias’ is not such an inflammatory term. ‘Misogynist’ is obviously going to feel like a personal attack, so men would get defensive and shut off from further discussion. “Woah there I’ve never hated a woman in my life?!!!!!!??!!!!!!!!” Some retort, “but it’s okay, all men are misogynistic, not just you!!” But if LGBT people kept telling me how much of a homophobe I am, whilst I only wish the LGBT community good will, I would definitely not feel encouraged to get involved! Using ‘misogynistic’ to describe everyone renders the term completely redundant. What do we use for the true, dangerous misogynists out there? “A tad naughtier”?

As most seem to agree that these unconscious biases are inherent to us all, it makes sense to listen to men and their own experiences of it. Otherwise the discussion will become completely clouded by a single narrative. These attitudes are extremely complicated, intertwined with centuries of culture and history, and a greater diversity of opinions are key to unpicking them: to discern the sociology from the biology, the oppressor from the oppressed and the men from the women.

All my dilly-dallying there is to get to the main point that the idea of male privilege is far too simplistic. We shouldn’t base everything on academic theory and abstract ‘systems of power’, but to actually look at our own lives and experiences. Apart from the cat calls, people telling me how to act ‘ladylike’ and a man proudly swinging his crown jewels at me on the street, no one has actually ‘oppressed’ me (although maybe that is just because I’m ‘young, white and middle-class.) I have been encouraged (or at least not discouraged) to get a good education, play sport and make a living for myself, and I only have feminism to thank for this. In my experience, I have also actually noticed some female privileges. People are more trusting, helpful and kind to me, I can start a conversation with a guy without perverted intentions being suspected and I can smile at children on the street without being thought a paedophile (please tell me if I should really stop doing that though…)

A lot of these privileges and disadvantages are intertwined. I’ll give some examples:

Rape. Probably due to the prevalence of rape stories in the media, (aka. availability heuristic) women are growingly fearful of getting raped, and rightly so because the media says 1/5 women are the victims of sexual assault (although the real number is thought to be closer to 1/53.) 1/53 is still far too high, but the figure of 1/5 makes sexual assault seem a strong possibility for women, and one would assume that many men must be dangerous sexual predators! So women will become more wary and suspicious of men and their motives, probably leading to more hostility. This is pretty understandable considering such extreme statistics.

However this portrayal of men as predators or perverts can vilify and dehumanise them, leading to 2% to 40% of rape allegations being false and also making it even more difficult for men to come forward with their own rape cases which are scarily high too. It does seem that there are more male rapists, as men tend to be the rapists of other men, especially in prison, but we cannot be sure considering it has only recently been legally recognised that women can indeed rape a man. But say there are more male rapists (which seems probable because of the physical difference in strength and the history of rape as a weapon of war against women) then is this the only type of gender violence we should be concerned with?

Emotional abuse in relationships is like a “cancer that eats away at your psyche until you’re left feeling powerless, worthless, anxious and/or depressed“. Many men are too scared to admit or even acknowledge it. Whilst women can physically abuse men and men can emotionally abuse women, it seems likely that women will use emotional abuse for control and men will use physical abuse for control, just because of gender roles/biology. So I would say, rather than the black and white portrayal of men as the aggressors and women the victims, there is simply bad people in the world. Some happen to be female and others happen to be male. The gender may simply affect the expression of this abuse. However I (tellingly) cannot find any statistics on emotional abuse towards men so this remains hypothetical for now.

Male suicide. Many MRA’s quote how men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women and the rate is increasing. The rate is highest in middle-aged men and MRA’s often attribute this to messy divorces where women take custody of the children in 83% of cases, leaving the man lonely and lost.

The courts do treat women and men more or less equally in court, but it is biased in favour of mothers as they are automatically given parental responsibility whereas, in some cases, men are not. In a BBC documentary, Muddy Mucker, detailing why and how a growing number of men are searching for new ways to ‘fulfil their masculinity’, an interviewed man said that the only reason he wouldn’t have a child was for genuine fear that the wife might take them away someday. It seems to be a very real concern for men. Men might very much want to keep the children, but gender roles dictate that mothers should be the primary care giver (83% of the time).

This isn’t great for women either. Expected to be a ‘mother first’, women are nearly always the ones burdened with the responsibility of caregiving. Following from that, a lot of cases of single motherhood arise from an accidental pregnancy or one where the father simply leaves. (130,000 fathers are completely absent and 300,000 refuse to pay child support, in the UK.) This adds unimaginable stress to the mothers, especially seeing as 51.9% of single mothers live in extreme poverty. This could contribute to why 1 in 4 women experience depression compared to just 1 in 10 men. Further from this, 7% of women attempt to commit suicide compared to just 4% of men. This is largely down to men using more violent suicidal methods so being more successful, but could also be due to this burden of care placed upon women. Thoughts of dependent children might stop women from following through with the act because suicide seems selfish and irresponsible to them.

Statistics are a rhetorical device so are often used by either side to ‘persuade you of their argument’. In this case, the rape statistic is used to ‘persuade’ people that women ‘have it worse’ and the suicide statistic is used to ‘persuade’ that men ‘have it worse’. So rather than fighting over who has it worse (which includes so many factors that it would be impossible to quantifiably say), there should be a FeMenist cross-dialogue. This would help women (ie. not feel so burdened or be overly suspicious of men) as well as help men by throwing out the scrappy ‘men shouldn’t express feelings’ rubbish and taking their issues equally as seriously.

BUT THE PATRIARCHY

What even is the patriarchy? It seems to be a set of ideas about gender stemming from men having physical, political and economical power. But does that make women ‘weak’? What about our sexual, aesthetic, emotional and spiritual power?

How did the patriarchy even come about when most hunter gatherer tribes were egalitarian?  Most attribute the change to the Agricultural Revolution, where there became a surplus of food which people begun to control and commoditise. Apparently an offshoot of this was controlling women. But why were the women commoditised and not men? Women could have been seen as divine by literally creating life in their tum tums, so perhaps men had womb envy so supressed women or wanted more time with the kids. One interesting theory is that men set up hierarchies of politics, economics and the military for the chance of being alpha to impress the women, who really controlled them. It seems extreme but (by discovering more male perspectives (…FeMenism?) I started to find this idea being banded around a lot, that these patriarchal systems are just “their peacock feathers.”

Therefore this black and white, definitive idea about victimhood isn’t helpful. It makes women feel unconditionally oppressed when our gender does not need to define us. I’ve noticed feeling hyper-aware and even angrier learning about these seeming constraints. Some include statistics like the pay gap, which also isn’t true seeing as paying women less for the same job is illegal. (It is then argued that women are undervalued and so ‘feminine, social, caring jobs’ will be paid less because they’re ‘feminine’, but in a capitalist, science-focused society, science and business jobs are bound to be higher paid. It’s not really gender discrimination as women can do those jobs if they want. Are women discouraged from science or naturally inclined to other fields?) This is not to say that women don’t face horrible sexism and discrimination, but the good thing is that these are really just attitudes now. No one is truly oppressing us anymore. (Replace the king with ‘the partiarchy’ in this Monty Python sketch and have a laugh.) So the most empowering thing to do is to show the patriarchy it holds no power over us. Just carry on your merry little way because we are not enslaved. The fallen leaves have been swept from the path and the way is looking fresh!

This is in no way to detract from the sexism and its terrible effects that women do face. In recent years the pendulum has simply swung too far with this rigid single narrative of ‘structural oppression’ or ‘institutionalised sexism’ which only really works to put bars around our brains and heat up our heads until our neurons explode. We wouldn’t want that. My main point is really that we need to keep on our toes and look for other dangers perspectives outside of the abstract patriarchal narrative and properly analyse what is actually happening rather than what sociological theory tells us is happening.

One example of this is female beauty standards. Women are expected to strive after unobtainable ‘thinness‘ and use never-ending Sisyphus-like medieval torture methods to keep armpits, legs and vagina as bald as Mr Potato Head. What is interesting is how this is a 20th century ‘invention’ which was non-existent in the ‘proper-old-day’ patriarchy. Naomi Wolf explains in The Beauty Myth that the invention is a reaction to new female empowerment, so beauty standards insist we look like prepubescent girls to keep women appearing small and weak, just how the patriarchy likes ’em. This could be partly true but what about other possibly, like capitalism? Capitalism doesn’t really discriminate: it just wants as much profit as possible in any way it can. Profit is about supply and demand. What could create better demand than a product that is needed to be constantly rebought on a weekly basis? Hair just keeps on growing, so if advertising can get women to believe they must stop this hair growth at all costs, then half of the populations will be paying large costs. Big money!

That’s just one possibility and there are probably more. Feminists might argue that capitalism=patriarchy so this is still the naughty patriarchy at work in sheep’s clothing, but what about the unobtainable ‘thinness’? Commonly, the patriarchy has preferred the plushest child-bearing woman, with wide birthing hips so that the man can have as many strong warrior sons as possible. Aside from the same capitalist demand argument, it is interesting to note on this one that the waif androgynous look became popular in the 90’s, at the same time as movements like Riot Grrrl arose which were all about androgyny by taking over the male-dominated punk scene. Could there be a link there? If so, while challenging status quo is snazzy, could feminism’s urge to ‘do what the men do’ have contributed to the unachievable, almost male-like body ideals we see today?

However it does seem quite reasonable that women want equal power to the men. But is having ‘power’ necessarily a good thing? Does power empower? The British monarchy are ‘in power’ but I wouldn’t exactly like to have been Prince William or Harry, under constant media scrutiny with few (if any) sincere relationships. George Orwell (Big Brother, 1984 guy) wrote a good essay questioning who truly has the power. Here’s a ‘shot’ of it:

“I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. A white man mustn’t be frightened in front of “natives”; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do.”

Most patriarchal ideas are thought to be tied to men putting up this warrior front, but even that might not be the full story. People talk about men being the hunters but the whole tribe – men, women and children – would group to out run their prey. People talk about male physical strength, but what about superior female flexibility and other physical advantages? People talk about better male warriors and in expansion, military conquering is the most important aspect to a society, but women fought to, Narnia style.

Despite that, it is likely that the large societies we see today are the ones which honed men as warriors and women as ‘warrior makers’ seeing as the most efficient military group would be the best at conquering lands and maintaining their power. But are the most powerful societies ‘the best’ or are they simply ‘the best’ at destroying and conquering others? Has that been ‘good’? It is easy to see how links would be made between patriarchal societies which emphasise the military and the extensive war and ‘earth conquering’ ie. global warming we see today. This is why ecofeminism is a really interesting and credible ‘branch’ we should all consider. Still, even in these societies which place warriors (so men) in the highest rank, do women necessarily have the ‘worse time’? Personally, if the choice was between staying at home with the kids or getting my limbs hacked off and eaten by vultures in a far off land, I know where I’d rather be.

BUT GENDER ROLES

The last point brings us nicely to the last argument I can think of against FeMenism: “these gender roles given by a violent patriarchal society are the problem. Feminism is addressing this problem by giving more value to feminine qualities so that there is no such thing as Mighty Masculinity and Feeble Femininity anymore. Therefore we should all be feminists and the imbalance will resolve”, right?

Well, is it even wise to get rid of all gender roles? It was great that feminism empowered women to work and make our own living financially independent of husbands. However, no movement can be 100% beneficial in every way and in a way, feminism rejected the ‘feminine’ motherhood in favour of the ‘masculine’ work place. And it pressured women to do everything: work full time, do the chores and stick around for the school run. It almost gave the impression that stay-at-home mothers were somehow ‘lesser women’ and one study found that women have even become unhappier relative to men.

While some men have loved being able to cook and be more active fathers, there has been a significant feeling of a male castration of sorts and I don’t know if we can put all this down to bruised egos over a female boss. Once it was clear what men had to do: be the father and the breadwinner. Of course there are feelings of anxiety if we can’t reach these societal expectations, but it does give us some sense of stability and purpose. What are the men supposed to do now? Similarly, women now face anxiety over whether to focus on our careers or our families? We’ll feel guilty if we neglect our families but incompetent if we don’t work.

The gender upheaval has been good for many things, but has opened up a great deal of anxiety. The paradox of choice dictates that the more options we have, the more anxiety it creates: what if we’ve chosen the wrong one? Social change is good but any revolution leaves scars.

Furthermore, we shouldn’t be so hasty to remove all traditions. They give a culture a sense of identity, are comforting and familiar and connect us to our past. Another advantage of traditions, and therefore traditional gender roles, is that they do provide order and purpose in an otherwise unpredictable and chaotic world. This is the advantage of religions too. But with the demise of both gender roles and religion, everything has become a tad chaotic and confusing, which is probably a factor in alarmingly rising levels of mental illness. This could also explain the increasing polarity in our culture, as we vehemently cling to ideologies for a sense of purpose and direction, be it political parties, capitalism, or social justice issues like feminism.

Pop-feminism does indeed make quite polarising claims, like ‘the patriarchy must be destroyed’ or ‘gender is a social construct’, which “is just wrong“. As with all stereotypes, there’s usually a grain of truth. Women and men are biologically different and the differences don’t end with the groovy genitals. There are definite gender variations and the different hormones would cause a lot of these. On a basic level, women have cyclical, oestrogen propelled ‘highs and lows’ whilst men have testosterone bursts/stability, which will mean women and men will experience different emotions and so different cognitions too (although there is of course great variety within that).

On the other hand, we do have to be very careful about attributing qualities to physiology, seeing as this was twisted in the past as ‘evidence’ of female inferiority. The higher testosterone has also been used as an excuse for male infidelity because of men’s ‘insatiable sex drive’. Looking a few centuries back and this ‘common knowledge’ was completely reversed. In the Middle Ages, the church painted men as the rational, pious sex and women as the wild, lustful and sinful sex, quick to give into temptation, based largely on Eve (or Eve is created propaganda?)

Considering these contradicting views of women and men, it seems more likely we have have around equal libidos, although there is some evidence that women are more interested in ’emotional sex’ while men are less averse to ‘sleeping around’. Again even this isn’t helpful because it means society, and then men, have lower standards for men and shames women for acting ‘manly’ by ‘sleeping around’. It is complex though because there is massive diversity within humans. Perhaps the only conclusion we can safely draw is that humans are social animals and we all desire physical and emotional intimacy.

So it seems deconstructing many gender roles would be a good thing but we must be aware of the intertwining biological, cognitive and sociological factors. We need men’s voice more than anything to make sure this ‘destruction’ is done far more lightly and carefully than the word ‘destruction’ usually entails. The ideal would be for society to become a place where women and men are equally respected and their gender specific characteristics are equally valued, combined with the opportunity for the individual to pursue their unique talents whatever they may be. Hopefully, with a ‘FeMenism’, that ideal could be reached far more quickly. Many hands make light work!

HTML 103: Time4Tables

Final lot of HTML and then it can be be dusted into the dust accumulating on my Nintendo Wii.

5,10,15,20… it’s Time4Tables!

As you signify the start of the body section by using the <body></body> tags, you use <table></table> for the table, around the table, whatever that table may be. Then use <tr> for row, and <td> for each column within that row. R for ‘row’ and ‘d’ for ‘column’, a long vertical structure you can link with ‘d’ in any way you see fit… Talking of, we always need a patriarchal head of the table, and a table header is <thead></thead> wrapped around the usual row and column format. As tea precedes every good meal at the table, t also comes before all table tags, like <thead>, <tbody>, <th> etc. Also, to have an overrarching title, within the <thead> tag, make another row but use ‘colspan’ with the number of columns you want ‘merged’ effectively. We have two columns so let’s merge two into something far more glorious. (Note the ‘border style’ bit is just a fancy garnish, maturing like a fine wine since the remorsefully distance past of HTML 102. You can do the reds, font-family stuff just as normal.)

<table border="5px">
<thead>
<tr>
<th colspan="2">Knighthood.</th>
</tr>
<tr>
<th>Header of first column.</th>
<th>Header of second column</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr>
<td>Column 1</td>
<td>Column 2</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>AAA</td>
<td>BBB</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>

<div>

Great. Now we have got past the arduous family Christmas ‘table’ banquet, we must ‘div’ide and conquer the mulled wine. Here,

is short for ‘division’ and really allows you to set up different sections, or certain rooms for separating American and British relatives out of fear of conflict over ‘How Colour Lost ‘U”. Tragic.

</body>

Apart from that, you could even use divs for sidebars, menus and more!!! As earlier, they can even be clickable by using the tags.

 <a href=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clickbait">
Whatever
</a>

<span>

What if we want to split our <body> of food into smaller crumbs on the cyber plate, rather than leave crude amounts of Brussels sprouts glaring insecurely at your mouth. Techily, <span> can be used to wrap style attributes around single words or to inform CSS of your desire to make every second letter of every third sentence to be size 90 font.

<p>I want a <span style="font-size:2px>smaller font</span> for this baptism please.</p>

Now your minds have been cleansed with the pure and primary code that is HTML, our souls can rest well for another day.

</x0>

HTML 102: Inline Call 2 CSS.

Beep squeak!

So to first recap on HTML 101, remember tabs and tags! Hopefully this will refresh your memory drive… I recognise that the last post did not recognise the tabs I keyed into it but now I have found a better way to communicate to Computer and hence communicate more splendidly with you all. Tabs are more important to your poor, unfocused human eyes on those frantically caffeine fuelled, noggin tearing expeditions, but should really be there nevertheless. (When I say tabs I mean the ‘tab’ key which causes indents. ‘Indents’ would probably be better to use but it doesn’t rhyme with ‘tags’ and I am a sucker for rhyme – and shameless reader pulling tactics.)

<DOCTYPE! html>
<html>
<head>
<title>...</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Describe What Is, Or Even What Is Not, To Follow.</h1>
<b>Something that emboldens your cyber persona.</b>
<p>Other details. (The 'otherness' acknowledged by the break from the information before.)</p>
</body>
</html>

Now that is out of the way, I’ll throw a few more ‘tabs your way’.

  • Website Link 
<a href="https://westermannah.wordpress.com"> Only place you will ever need 2B.</a>
  • Image 

Basically the image that appears is sourced (img src) from the internet (a right click, ‘copy image URL’ type job)

<img src="http://i579.photobucket.com/albums/ss236/ClintsBears/Chris%20Anderson%20NEW/_h0o8772-2072510.jpg"/>
  • Clickable Image to Link
<a href="URL">What the clicky bit will look like to viewer.</a>
<a href="https://westermannah.wordpress.com/">
<img src= "http://i579.photobucket.com/albums/ss236/ClintsBears/Chris%20Anderson%20NEW/_h0o8772-2072510.jpg"/>
</a>
  • Ordered lists (1,2,3…)
<ol>
<li>The brilliant first child</li>
<li>The mischievous middle monster</li>
<li>The last child: a bristled man, squirming around in the Pampers Omnipresent Oopsie, transfixed by the Care Bears mobile softly stroking the worrying wafts emanating from below.</li>
</ol>
  • Unordered Lists (bullet points…)
<ul>
<li>...</li>
<li>...</li>
</ul>
  • Listception
<ol>
<li>Some serious categorisation.
<ul>
<li>Far too organised.</li>
<li>Something rather unnatural about all this.</li>
<ul>
</li>
<li>etc. etc. you get the idea.</li>
</ol>

That’s enough of that. What about some Italian styling, from within the postmodern, post-war architecture that is HTML?? Yes you can insert some CSS styling right into the concrete steps of the ol’ <DOCTYPE! html> file.

Inline CSS

  • Notes to self. 

These can be dotted throughout the html document. To hide them from the reader, use the invisible ink of

<!-- comment -->
  • Font Size.

For this you need to use an attribute in the opening tag, like ‘href’ or ‘img src’, which tells Computer what is to lie within its outwardly defensive spikes >>>

<p style="font-size: 14px">Largish writing</p>
  • Font Colour 

HTML is written in American, so you have to discard lots of rubbish, like u’s and s’s for instance… 

 <h2 style="color: blue; font-size: 24px;">I'm Riding The Ocean Blue</h2>
  • Font Family
<li style="font-family: Verdana">This is pretty standard.</li>
  • Background Colour (it’s the War of Independence all over again)
<body style="background-color: white;">
<p style="background-color: black;">I spotted a zebra.</p>
</body>
  • Aligning the Text: Beginning, Middle or End?
<h2 style="text-align: center">Lackluster Figure Head.</h2>
<p style="text-align: right">Their subjects which could be left or right of the wing. It wouldn't make any difference.</p>
  • I Underline how I Boldly Italicise 
<p>I won't insult your <u>intelligence</u> with <b>too</b> lengthy an <i>explanation</i>.</p>

Anyway I’m going to plug myself into the bed socket now. Squeak beep.

HTML 101: tabs and tags

Morning!

I promised daily and I faily but I dooly from now oki.

First and foremost, find something to write code on/in, (whichever preposition suits you). Windows users will be able to search ‘Notepad’ and use that but Windows 8 brought Code Writer so I suppose that is snazzier. I don’t know what Mac has but I doubt Mac users will read this blog so that’s diddly.

Right, HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language which means ‘text with links in it’ according to codeacademy. This is the basis of websites. However CSS came along to make them look prettier, but we’ll deal with that another time. For Pre-CSS just think 90’s or strange occult website and that is pure, unadulterated HTML.

As you write a letter and welcome the reader with pleasantries and sign off with pleasantries, you have to do a similar thing with code so that the reader (computer) knows that she is reading a letter (html) and not a poster (CSS). Later we can open the html in the webby browser which ‘renders’ (shows us) the file.

On the code writer you will probably have numbers 1,2,3,4… down the side. So to say hello to the computer, at the beginning put

1 <!DOCTYPE html>

2 <html>

3 stuff

4 stuff

5 information

6 stuff

7 </html>

That’s actually a pretty recurring pattern, having <b>stuff</b> and is the basis for most of what you will learn in HTML so a decent thing to remember! < > are called tags, and I suppose tag the ‘effect’ to the word. For example <b>word</b> would ‘tag’ the bold effect to ‘word’. You can have multiple tags, for bold and underlined for instance, but you have to make sure they are in the right order! (Like doing those complicated brackets when inputting a formula in an excel spreadsheet, because we do that all day long ofc.

Por ejemplo,

<b><u>I would like to conquer the cyber world and clench humanity from its robotic jaw by going Trojan!</u></b>

It’s not hard, you just have to remember the < and the / or you will suffer many tectonic frustrations.

Another one!

<html>

<head>

<title>Alowwa.</title>

</head>

<body>

<h2>Hehe.</h2>

<p>Your glorious Shakespearean verse.</p>

</body>

</html>

(Above, <p> = paragraph; <h2> = Header 2 (ie. smaller than Header 1 but bigger than Header 3, but you knew that); <title> = document title (kind of thing); <body> = Where all the tragic magic happens.

Anyway I’m pretty tired right now so I shall leave you with that bunch of fun.

tabs and tags. That’s all there is to it.

A Ditz Learns 2 Code.

<>Hey there.</>

I’m a ditz, and I’m going to learn how 2 code.

I vaguely tittered around CSS and HTML last year whilst trying to format an eBook but, other than that, I am a total n00b. If you are in a similar situation of wanting to learn the language of the future (I highly expect, in a month or so, our hair will frazzle into broadband wires, our corneas be made of Google Glass and we’ll sport a stylish USB) and are not currently in the aforementioned naturally cyber state, THEN you may be interested in following my blog. I have promised myself – and now your kind selves – that I shall make daily posts throughout the summer to kick my lazy behind into semi-action. I’ll begin with HTML and CSS, with a little help from my codeacademy.com friends. Potentially we could code our own wordpress themes #TrèsIndividual.

I don’t know what to do. You don’t know what to do. But, together, we can make it through.

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