Can We Please Stop Deceiving Women?

“If you come to the conclusion that you don’t want to be used, then there’s something you can do to help. We cannot control men, but we can control our actions.”

Of course, there’s a study to back it up. A study that’s been cited, over and over among the modesti, about how men cannot help seeing women in certain garb as objects.

The only problem is that nothing in the cited study backs up this claim. A survey (of a tiny sample size) found that men who harbor hostile sexist beliefs tend to see women in bikinis as objects.

Yes, hostile sexists do tend to relate to women’s bodies as objects! And when you pretend that the problem is women’s swim gear rather than the hostile sexists, you play into their beliefs–that a woman’s body is fundamentally an object, and only an appropriate amount of coverage can maintain the polite fiction of female subjectivity.

Charming posted about this, and was predictably told to calm down. But I don’t think she should calm down, because it is a big deal. It’s a big deal when religious people employ the Cosmo trick of creating insecurities in women in order to push an agenda, whether mercantile or ideological; it’s a big deal when women are told to shape their behavior and clothing choices around the reactions of hostile sexists.

I don’t care whether the problem is lazy reading or deliberate disingenuity. Either way, it needs to stop. Stop pretending that a woman’s dignity is on the line when her skirt is a bit too short for your tastes. Stop misrepresenting research in order to bulk up your bikini crusade. Stop presenting hostile sexism as a normal response to the female body. Stop enabling misogyny.

ETA: This is great. 

Lady, Can I Buy You a Link?

Ok, so I was going to write a take-down of this piece (Large families less likely to have computers THIS IS SO TERRIBLE I CAN’T EVEN FIND MY PEARLS TO CLUTCH THEM), but then I realized I’d be allowing myself to be trolled even more egregiously than usual, because the essay is just. so. stupid. Read it though, if you need a laugh.

It’s always admirable and refreshing to see those on the religious right attacking misogyny. Bravo to First Things for publishing this. Also, I think this article supplies what was lacking in the first by problematizing wifely submission in the Christian tradition a bit more. Somebody remind me to finally write something on this.

Thank you, mom, for never letting me read Cosmo–although I think these problems are  universal among women’s magazines, if not always so garishly obvious.

Reasons you should love Pussy Riot:

One.

Sorry, did you not catch that? That they are an anonymous all-female punk band who pled at the altar of a church for our Blessed Mother to throw Putin out?

“Holy Mother, throw Putin out!”

Yeah, I don’t think we need any more reasons either. To be fair, storming into a church is at best an ambiguous move–it could be read as aggression towards religion, or a return to the church as a place of sanctuary, a radical affirmation of the Church’s freedom and authority. I tend to read it the second way, but I’m not Orthodox, so I don’t know what the story is over there. Either way, they’re brave ladies and I’m glad they’ve found champions in–if not high places, at least highly visible ones.

Speaking of the Blessed Mother, I’ve never had this kind of encounter with her, but I’m not giving up hope.

Admit it. You’ve been conned, you’ve been suckered. You like Anthropologie. You won’t admit it, you pretend you’ve never walked in penniless to bask in their goddess-y, jasmine-and-musk candle scented air, to feel for twenty minutes that all was lovely and all was right, including you– you tell yourself that you’re not stupid enough to think that sighing romance can be branded and sold. But you don’t fool me. You like it in there, and I do too, more fool us.

The good news is, some (not most) of their clothes really are quality, and sometimes they go on sale for twenty bucks.

Well thank goodness.

Jessica Valenti is wary of The Atlantic’s new ladyblog, and doesn’t think much of mainstream media ladyblogs in general. I tend to agree , especially with The Atlantic–after all, they gave us Caitlin Flanagan’s musings on women.

Ok, I swore I wasn’t going to say anything about Chik-fil-A because, really? Also, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count as activism to nom on either orange mocha latte frappucinos OR delicious chicken sandwiches. Vaclav Havel is shaking his head at you. But anyway, I liked Calah Alexander’s take on the whole manufactured non-event.

Of course, if activism is merely an excuse for stuffing your face with delicious chicken sandwiches, than I heartily understand, support, and laud you.

Well, this is interesting.

I love this.

I’m sorry, this series just seems awful in a kind of fantastic way.

Via Feministing, this is great in an angsty introspective way.

Men, if you read the next link, any cooties or trauma not my problem.

I know I’m late to this party, but I kind of want to learn to chart my cycle.

Kyrie eleison.

Some more awful.

Now I’m just depressing myself.

Oh Get Real

Someone wants to know “Where are the normal Christians?”

“As a practicing Catholic, I have lived my entire adult life being skeptical, questioning and critical of the backward policies of my institution, and the horrific crimes committed by its members and perpetuated by its authorities. These days, I figure most people associate my religion with child molesters and Rick Santorum. But I have stuck with my faith – albeit a very different one than the traditional image of some papal ring-kissing, birth control-hating freak that tends to get more attention — because the values I learned directly from a Christian upbringing are the values I still try to apply to my life every day. And if you, as either a conservative Christian or a staunch nonbeliever, think that’s easy, it isn’t. It’s a struggle. But it’s an often wonderful struggle.”

Well move on over, Perpetua, there’s a new martyr in town.

Has it ever entered this woman’s hyper-enlightened brain that some of those papal-ring kissing, birth-control hating freaks that she is sooo unlike (but still, charitably, forbearingly, graciously engages in “politcal discourse”) might have articulated and coherent ideas behind their whackjob lifestyles and political postitions? Is she aware at all of the cringeing, sneering, sucking-up to power and respectability implicit in the phrase ” papal-ring kissing, birth-control hating freaks?”

No, of course not. Because she really isn’t interested in being a rebel. She just wants to be normal. She just wants to be liked. Listen, lady: if you’re going sell your soul and publicly jeer at your co-religionists for not thinking exactly like you and your friends, come out of it as something more interesting than a walking, talking, self-congratulating cliche.

Not that you’d be interested in talking to me, but I’ll be hanging out with this guy.

Really?

I also learned that for my surrogate, Vaina, surrogacy was an opportunity to help her own growing family. She would earn the equivalent of several years’ salary, allowing her husband to start a business and to better care for their children. I admit I’d imagined a proto-feminist surrogate, perhaps using her money on her own education, but Vaina is who she is. Dr. Patel’s clinic works with its surrogates to protect them, and their fees. Vaina’s earnings would go where she wanted them to go.

Are there any limits at all to the condescension, the self-absorption, the privileged bitchery of these elite white women?

Read the rest

Thanks, Pentimento!