America’s Next Bill Clinton!

Chivalry is not dead, but it should be!
August 16, 2007, 12:57 pm
Filed under: chivalry, dates, dating, Feminism, feminists, gender roles, love, men, misogyny, relationships, women

Sitting in traffic this morning (sounds like an idea for a real good Fountains of Wayne song, huh?) I was browsing through the morning paper and saw a quite interesting story on “what women want.” Apparently, the number one desired goal out of their dates is, according to this writer who just crawled out from under a rock (think Encino Man), is chivalry.

You know exactly what chivalry means – it’s that crap of treating women like they’re fragile and princesses, as though they’re soft and nimble, and that without a man there to protect them, they would just fall of the face of the earth (because it is flat, you know) and die.

It is my assertion that while chivalry is not dead, it should be. In the end, for me, chivalry is nothing more than a means of treating women a certain way, to highlight the myth that they’re “different,” just to keep them down. Maybe that sounds a bit, oh, I don’t know, radical feministic of me, but it’s true.

To be sure, there are certain things that we ought to do for people, simply because we’re kind and cordial. But when those nice and cordial things are done for a person based on that person’s gender, I have a problem with it.

When we treat someone differently, based of their perceived abilities, it also makes sense that we make a statement of value to say that they lack the ability to do certain things, and that their “natural” environment is where they’d be most comfortable. In that, we also exclude them from certain environments in which they don’t traditionally belong. In this case, by treating women as soft and fragile, or as princesses and unable to “survive” in the public sphere without our “protective arms,” we downgrade their true human abilities to accomplish things.

Besides, it’s just freaking creepy. Why the hell would anyone want to kiss a woman’s hand as a way of greeting them? Why should I have to open a car door for a woman as if she’s not able to do it on her own?

The other day here at work, we had a big ceremony thing, and I was in charge of shaking hands and meeting people. A colonel ran up to me a few minutes into the ceremony, and said, “Sergeant, we need you to escort a young lady …” I was thinking, “What, she needs to go to the bathroom? How did you know I like …”

The next thing I knew, she was grabbing on to my arm and dragging me down the aisle to her seat. What the hell? Unless you’re missing three toes and can’t balance yourself to walk 30 feet, why the hell would you want to grab on to me just to get escorted?  Doesn’t it just show that you’re relying on me for the smallest of things? Why would you want to exemplify this in public? If you aren’t intimately involved with me, please do not grab on to my arms and drag me anywhere.

A few months ago, at the Young Feminist Leadership Conference in DC, I heard something amazing that stuck with me until this day. In addressing the women at the conference (who out numbered me by about 100 folds), Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation said this: “Never accept favors and privilege based on your gender. It might seem like you’re gaining from it at first, but in the end, scratch the surface, and you realize that it’s used as a way to, at a later time, keep you down.” I agree with her.

My point is this: chivalry is not dead, but it should be. If I had it in my power, I’d cut it off at the knees.

On the same note: what about paying when you’re out with the opposite sex? That’s the one bit of “chivalry” stuck in me that I still need to get rid of. While I love to pay, and always do, I feel guilty doing so, because I don’t want to send the message that perhaps such lady owes me something simply because I paid for dinner. She does not owe me anything.

In the end, besides physical interaction, we should be treating females as we would males. If a man is doing something for a woman that he wouldn’t otherwise do for another man, it’s chivalry, and it sucks.

Want to be president? Sorry, you’re not a black or woman enough!

In 2004, I thought I had heard the stupid reason to not vote for a candidate. In the general elections, a woman was asked for whom she voted for by a reporter, and her answer was that she voted for George W. Bush? Why? Was it because she liked George W.’s foreign policies or because she was against John Kerry’s voting records? No. Her answer was that she voted for Bush because she didn’t like the way Kerry’s wife looked. As if, somehow, a politician’s success is depended upon whether his wife is a MILF.

Oh, but it gets better. With the 2008 Primary and General Elections just around the corner, that question that’s being asked, and a silly one at that, is: can Barrak Obama get the black votes, and can Hillary Clinton get the women votes? Excuse me, but I’ve always thought that we’re supposed to vote for candidates based on policies, and not just the color of skin they have, or whether they stand up or sit down to pee. It’s a pretty novel idea, isn’t it? Voting for candidates on issues that matter, but that’s kind of lost for most Americans.

But here’s the shocker, folks: some black voters are refusing to vote for Obama and some women are refusing to vote for Clinton because they are, respectively, neither black nor women enough.

Did I miss the shortbus heading for Partriarchy-ville or Idiotville driven by the Idiot of Seville? Let me get something straight: we’re supposed to be PUNISHING Obama for not being “black enough” or Clinton for not being “woman enough?” First of all, what the hell does that even mean? I am all for common experience, but a politician needn’t live on the “bad side of town” or have to bleed every month in order to share your experiences and plight, and fight for your rights. But, of course, people seem to think different – as if there is a shared common experience for all blacks and all women.

Secondly, why are you bitching about the lack of representation now? Why all the sudden, with actual viable candidate that you’re going to bitch and complain? Surely, for the last 50 years, you’ve not complained about how old, white men aren’t black or women enough, but now that Obama and Clinton are running, you’re bitching about them? If I had any hair, I’d be pulling them all out now (note: since writing that statement, I’ve found a few strings of hair under my armpits.)

Oh, yeah, because Bob Dole was more “black” than Obama, huh? And because guys like, oh, I don’t know, GWB, are more women and concerned about women more than Sen. Clinton, huh?

Go ahead – if you don’t think Obama or Clinton are black or women enough, then vote for Romney – he should be considered woman enough for you. At least you’ll get perspectives from Romney and his 25 wives, which I am sure, will only be officially introduced after he wins the presidency. Or better yet, vote for McCain over Obama – McCain has a black, adopted son. So, yeah, he’ll be more in touch with the experiences of blacks than will Obama, right? Go ahead, do it, and see your civil rights get set back 50 years.

The point is this: when you’re voting, please vote for the positions and the policies, and not just whether a person is not “black” or “woman” enough. Obama may not know what it’s like to grow up in the ghetto, and Clinton doesn’t like to show cleavage (nice attempt, though), but that shouldn’t matter; because I guarantee you, they’re more interested in your rights than McCain and Romney ever will.

What’s in a name? Pro-feminist males or simply feminists?

So, I wanted to write about the misogynistic and patriarchal idea of how some claim two people of different genders can’t “just be friends,” because there’d be too much sexual attractions, but instead, I’ll write about something a poster asked of me last night: why I call myself a pro-feminist male rather than a feminist.

The value of this post is not about activism, but rather, feminist theory. I’d like to know what you think on it.

 So, the following are the reasons I call myself a pro-feminist male.

1) The feminist movement has been and was created for and by women.  For me to call something that was created for the purpose of women’s rights my own is the very definition of patriarchy – and I have a big problem with that. While I can be an ally and a suppoter, I’ll never, ever truly know what the female plight is like. It seems if I were to call myself a feminist, it would trivialize the importance of women’s rights.

 2) To own and have possesion to something is to have power. Thus, the feminist movement empowers women. As pro-feminist males, we’re always encouraged to give up our male privileges (at least birth-right/unjustified privileges anyhow). By taking the feminist movement as our own, all we’re doing is holding on to those privileges, and gaining from them.

3) In the end, all of these are merely semantics, but I believe we must highlight the differences in privilege that we have. Even within the feminist movement, there are differences in class and privilege – often based on race, gender, age and areas of focus. While I might just be able to say that I am simply a feminist, I am not. I get more privilege as a male, no matter  how we slice it. To merely call myself a feminist would mean to reject that fact that I am still privileged for being male.

 Often times, those who are privileged don’t feel the need to recognize or acknowlege such differences, because they aren’t being treated any differently or aren’t losing perks because of the differences. But for me, as a pro-feminist male, to think that we are all one, and are treated the same, is to be irresponsible.

When I look in the mirror, I may see “just a person,” but women are still looked at as women, and with that, comes limitations cast on by society (whether we like it or not and how much we hate it, we are gendered by society because we’ve been trained to be that way.) This is merely a way to highlight and remember that, so we don’t lose sight of what feminism truly is about.


August 7, 2007, 5:07 pm
Filed under: bitch, Feminism, feminists, gender, gender roles, language, sex, women

Over the Web-site there is a blog regarding the outlawing of the word “bitch” because it is demeaning. I am a fan of free speech and reshaping language. I believe “bitch” to be a good thing. And I think it’s helped with a few questions I’ve had!

The answer is this: there aren’t enough bitches in the world.

The question: every little nagging inquiry about my status and inability to maintain a relationship, often sparked by curious family members I see at Thanksgiving dinners and those who wonder why I manage to break morerelationships than I do wine glasses.

There you have it. There’s your answer: “there aren’t enough bitches in the world.”

Before you call the NOW police and report me to your local FMF chapter, to take my feminist card away from me, let us define what a “bitch” is. Although I guess those of you who have read “the Bitch Manifesto” know where I am going with this.

A woman is called bitch because she is strong, intelligent and doesn’t take shit from anyone. She’s called a bitch because she’s ambitious, outspoken and doesn’t let anything stop her from accomplishing her dreams. She’s a bitch, as defined by society, because she challenges what’s natural, does what makes her feel happy, and doesn’t accept society’s norms and rules – especially when said norms and rules are designed to keep her down.

She is strong, and speaks out when a situation makes her uncomfortable. But she doesn’t do it as a way to complain, but rather, to say, “Continue what you’re doing and I’ll kick your fucking ass!”

She fights for her fellow women, but not because they’re women. She fights for them because she sees them as human beings, just as she sees herself.

She doesn’t need a man or woman in her life, as she is a complete person. While a partner – of either sex, would enhance her life, it doesn’t define her life. Her happiness comes from her accomplishments and what she can do for the world and herself, not by virtue of her “womanhood.”

She’s happy with who she is, and doesn’t have to dress up or put on make-up to make anyone happy; if she so chooses to do that, it’s to make herself happy. She owns her body, and is willing to use it for her own pleasure and the pleasure of those she deems deserving, but dare pressure her into anything and she’ll kick your ass.

She loves her fellow human beings, to include children, but doesn’t necessarily think she has a maternal calling. While she’ll be happy with kids, having them doesn’t define her. They’re neither an extension of her nor are they the greatest things in her life. They are merely a part of her life, and she’ll do all she can to take care of them, but kids don’t dominate her life.

She is a woman, but she’s a human being first. She is defined by the fact that she walks and breaths, and not because she has a vagina.

Society is afraid of bitches because they’re not natural. They challenge the patriarchy, they make people uncomfortable in their own shoes. So, instead of worshipping bitches, they write them off, and they look at bitches as undesirable and lesbians and whatever you can think of.

But, me? I love bitches! I love each and everyone of them, and I don’t care what society says. Of my relationships, only one was with a bitch. It was good. I didn’t have to treat her like anything other than a human being. We respected each other, and loved each other, but knew we didn’t need each other. She did her things to change the world, and I did mine. For Christmas, she donated $100 to Planned Parenthood for me; and I donated $100 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for her. She kicked ass.

She’s only one among many bitches out there.

Hillary Clinton = a total bitch.

Gloria Steinem = the bitch of bitches.

Lisa Simpson = a fictional bitch.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton = the foremothers of bitchery.

Angelina Jolie = the biggest bitch in Hollywood (although one would argue she’s a privileged white bitch, which makes the complexities of class, race and gender the moreso interesting.)

My future wife = better be a bitch.

My future daughter = will be raised to be the biggest 5-year-old bitch in pre-school.

The next time I am on a date and decide the girl is good enough for a second date, I’ll say with the utmost sincerity, “You’re the biggest bitch I’ve ever met.” I think I’d enjoy getting a black eye in a restaurant.

All of you who with whom I associate = total bitches – and if you’re a male, you’re an honorary bitch, and I love you all for it. In fact, I think there might be something wrong if, in the 21st Century, a woman isn’t a bitch.

One of my passions is changing language and gender. I’ll bet that if we can take the word “bitch” back and make it into something positive, as defined by so many feminist scholars, “bitch” then becomes a good word.

By the way, the BITCH Manifesto, one of my favorite feminist reads, can be found here.