Courses, conferences and competitive papers

Long time no see, dear blog. I am not ignoring you, just having my plate full of work, work and some more work.

So far I have enjoyed my time as a PhD student, even though the course load this semester has been kind of a pain (who’s idea was it to put three courses at once, huh?). Nevertheless, one is completed, one is about 90% done, and the last one has two more hurdles to go, so all in all, everything is under control. For next semester, I am hoping to take a course in CCT (Consumer culture theory), then maybe do some writing course, more methodology, and if I can manage to find a suitable one, take a gender theory course. I have also been greatly inspired by the courses so far and am contemplating how to use Institutional theory, Grounded theory, Discourse analysis and Netnography for my dissertation. Oh the choices! My problem is, and has always been, that I want to do it all, and I want to do it now. I often experience a decision-making-anxiety growing inside when I learn that I have to let something I believe in go, when I understand that I in fact do not have all the time and resources in the world. However, this “itch” of wanting to do everything, has always worked as a source of passion and ambition, and surely, if I did not want to do anything, ever, I would not be doing a PhD at all. I mean, there are other ways of spending my time. So I should not complain.
Just make a decision.

Anyway. This last month has been hectic to say the least, but it has also come with some wonderful surprises and news. The biggest one being that the paper I submitted for a conference in Macromarketing got accepted! I will thus present it at the conference in front of fellow peers and scholars. Needless to say, this news was shocking to me. Basically, this is me opening the e-mail and reading the first few words saying “We are very pleased to inform you that your submission….” :

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And then this is me seconds later when the words really sank in and I got the message:

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I can’t even begin to describe the joy, sense of accomplishment, and then utter, utter terror and panic, I experienced during that moment. I mean, me? I? Really? Holy *insert ALL the curse words*!! I always hope, but never expect, thus such news always get me by surprise. I still cannot believe that I am going to present something I created at a conference for the first time in my life. Hopefully, I will not be a puddle of nerves, lying on the floor in a fetal position. Hopefully, I will manage.

The competitive paper I submitted is about how viewers deal with being exposed to an abundance of sexual, pornographic and violent ads, and in it I construct and present a framework that explains some of the practices that may go into forming opinions regarding the ads. I call the framework the Clutter Syndrome, and if things go well, this will not be the last time you hear about it.

In the words of Morrissey: So wish me luck my friends, goodbye.

Time to get back to work.

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March 8th

Here’s to all women and people subscribing to the female sex:

Happy International Women’s day!

Please: Keep fighting for equality, keep being strong, keep standing up for yourselves and others, keep being who you want to be and don’t take crap from anyone.
Today is a day to acknowledge yourselves and the injustices of a patriarchal power structure, today is a day to celebrate all women and their daily fight.

And for all you non-women out there, I hope you have or had a lovely day as well. I hope you took or will take the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the women around you who make your lives worthwhile: your mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, partners, girlfriends, friends, colleagues and so forth. Why not support them, why not tell them that you are proud of them and happy to be a part of their lives? It shouldn’t be that difficult to celebrate others who may not necessarily be you.

While some may ask why this day is important or even needed, let me just say that, sadly, it is. I wish that we didn’t need it, but apparently, we do. It is important because it gives people an opportunity, a “reason” to at least once a year acknowledge the huge gaps that still exist between women and men. It is needed because women, and men, have for so long been trying to bridge the gaps and make them smaller, and to a degree, they have, but still, we have not yet reached equality. For all of you who feel that it is “unequal” to have a women’s day and not a men’s day, I can just say this: I would happily trade this day in order to get real equality in return, every day. But until that happens, no. Sorry, this day is reserved for women. So, women, let’s hear you roar.

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Be happy and proud to be a woman, but remember that you are so much more than your gender.

 

10 commandments for men

In a Swedish newspaper there was a debate article yesterday that made me happy and hopeful. It was written by a man who in his frustration regarding the recent writings in media about sexual assault towards women in different parts throughout the world, lead him to compose 10 commandments that he thought every man should read and follow.

Translated from Swedish, the commandments are as follows:

  1. Never let your sex drive compass over your respect for other people’s integrity.
  2. Learn to read other people’s signals, especially those that imply that what you are doing is not desirable behaviour.
  3. If someone sends out signals described in point 2, stop immediately whatever it was that you were doing.
  4. If it becomes more difficult to follow points 1-3 under the influence of alcohol, learn where to draw the line, or abstain completely from drinking.
  5. If other heterosexual men in your surroundings have problems following points 1-4, make it a habit to always reprehend them verbally.
  6. Make sure that you in depth understand the meaning of concepts like feminism, gender-power order and privileges.
  7. Help other heterosexual men to in depth understand the concepts in point 6.
  8. Understand that you in the reigning gender-power order are one of the most privileged people in society.
  9. Use your privileged position to lift someone who is less privileged.
  10. A gentleman is strong, brave, unselfish and puts others’ well-being before his own. Be a gentleman!

He wrote these because he felt and saw a need for drawing lines, since apparently, many do not know when they are crossing them. Because it is time for men to take their responsibilities and stop blaming women for their own assaults. Because these assaults are not “freak events”; they happen daily, regularly, to women all over the world.

I would like to make my own contribution in the spirit of his. But my attention is towards women instead. Here are 10 suggestions for women (I deliberately did not want to call them commandments, since women have in my opinion, been commanded to do this and that, be this and that, since the beginning of time, and who am I to command anyone to do anything?):

  1. Do not be afraid to speak up; speak your mind. After all: you are woman, let’s hear you roar.
  2. Do not be afraid to say No; nobody should try to force or convince you to do anything that you do not wish to do. No still means no.
  3. Do not feel ashamed if you have ever experienced any form of sexual assault; try talking about it and of course report the incident if possible. Remember that these things happen to most women in some degree, and it is not something that you should feel ashamed of, it is a shame on the society in which you live and it’s the assailant who should feel shame. Not you.
  4. Dress however you feel like dressing, use make-up, or don’t, shave your legs/armpits/whatnot, or don’t. Just remember that the choice is supposed to be yours. Do not let anyone or anything (for instance advertising..) try to convince you that you are less of a woman or a person if you do not follow their standards. There is no such thing as “normal”, it’s just something people have made up.
  5. Remember Spice girls? Well, one thing they did very right was express the importance of “Girl Power”. Remember this concept, cherish it, live by it.
  6. Do not be afraid to call yourself a feminist: even though there are people with wild misconceptions about this term, the basis of feminism is equality. It is not about man-hating hairy women without bra’s wanting to abolish men and all their misogynist ways. No, it’s about fighting for each and every individual’s right in society = Women and Men.
  7. Stop being so judgemental towards other women. There are countless studies that have shown how men in organizations for instance, help other men reach the top (eg. see Kanter), while women on the other hand are fighting both other women and other men. But who helps women? We must help ourselves, let’s change that and help each other as well. We are sisters, not enemies.
  8. Remember that being a woman is a social construction: It is not something biological, it is not something stable, it is not something universal. Thus, be whatever woman you want to be, just be yourself.
  9. Learn more about concepts such as feminism, gender, power structures, institutionalization, norms, patriarchy and so on. They will help you understand what it means to be a “woman” in today’s world, and thus, help you to fight against old-fashioned notions that should just be put out of their misery already. For more information, read: The second sex, by Simone de Beauvoir. She explains it all so well.
  10. Encourage other women around you to follow suggestions 1-9.

 

Dear dad

Recently, a short film was made for the organisation Care.no that has now been circling the web, getting both appraisal and critique.

Let me make one thing clear before continuing in my writing: I am on the pro-side here, I really love this film and cried like an idiot when I first saw it because for me, this is highlighting such a crucial issue that concerns us all. Even if you do not want to call yourself a feminist, listen up: you probably still have someone you care about in your family, circle of friends or other who is a girl or a woman and has been, or will be, through some ridiculously hateful, harmful and unfair moments and events, just for being a girl or a woman. The least you can do is acknowledge this.

And take five minutes of your life to watch the whole film:

Now, the contents of this film may be upsetting, they may be disturbing, they may make you angry, sad, frustrated. But if you are one of those viewers who instead gets defensive about what you have just watched, then perhaps you should reconsider for a moment. This film is not intended to point the finger and blame men or dads, or you. The point they are trying to make is this: There is a big damn difference between growing up as a girl and growing up as a boy, and all of these differences are something that we have made up ourselves. They are socially constructed in the way we act towards girls and boys, in the way we speak to girls and boys, in the way we acknowledge girls and boys, in the way we encourage girls and boys, in the way we treat girls and boys and so on and so forth. Thus, it is each and everyones’ damn responsibility to make an effort and change this unjust system. If you happen to be a dad who raises a daughter and you feel offended by this film. Well, ask yourself then, why are you offended? Why does this film which is trying to make a difference for your daughter and the way others will treat her throughout her life, offend you? This is not intended to blame you as a father, but rather raise your awareness of issues that your daughter most likely will go through. And as a dad, as a parent, it is your responsibility, to make sure that you do all that is in your power to do in order to protect your daughters, and your sons.

Why should this offend anyone?

Well here is perhaps a short answer: I’ve noticed that every time you start a gender-discussion pointing out some of the unequal issues concerning women and men, there is always someone, somewhere, (often a man) who starts rampaging and going on and on saying: What about men? Well… what ABOUT men? Everything is not about you, you know. Being the norm for so long, I understand how this may be frustrating for you, but equality and “women’s issues” does in fact concern you as well. And when someone points out that for instance men rape more than women, or other such issues, instead of getting upset shouting that you are not a rapist even though you are a man, well, take it easy. If you are not a rapist, or whatever the issues is about, then obviously, the issue is not about you, per se. So why get offended? Listen up instead, listen carefully and try to understand that the issue does concern you as well, even though it may not specifically be about you. As people living in a society, all the issues that have to do with gender concerns each and every one of us. And therefor, each and every one of us have the power to make some change.

So, if you happen to be a dad, raising a girl, this film should inspire you. I hope it does. For all our sakes.

One in Five

Some time ago I stumbled upon this video on Upworthy and I’ve been meaning to discuss it since, so here goes:

I guess this post is kind of a sequel to another one I wrote some time ago (Choices), but this issue really can’t be repeated enough..

When I first saw the video I found it hilarious, probably because I think most of the actors in it are very funny, and the whole situation they are facing is so ridiculous.

But you know, it’s not gonna eat all of us, it only eats like one in five, so..

However, the matter they are trying to spread awareness about is indeed not funny, not at all. It’s sick. And I find the whole issue so unbelievable; how can it not be obvious by this point in time that sexual assault and rape is unacceptable? How can this STILL be an issue? What the fuck is wrong with people?! When will everyone understand what consent means, and the importance of respecting it? It really is not that difficult, or, it shouldn’t be that difficult, but apparently, some people just do not seem to get it..

You guys know the old saying: “Bears will be bears”

In connection with this issue, I was happy to recently read about a news story regarding a Swedish lawyer who asked an accused rapist in court to describe his underwear. When the court asked about the relevance in this, she rebutted with: “It has the same amount of relevance as the thongs my client was wearing.” Her point being that it does not matter what the hell a woman choses to wear, a rape is not based on clothes, it is based on the rapist and we should all stop with the blaming and shaming of the victims because it is not their fault. The only one to blame for a rape is the rapist. I don’t care if a woman walks around buck naked, no one has the right to put a finger on her because of that. I don’t care if a woman flirts with a guy in a bar, that is still not a damn invitation for rape. And I don’t care if a woman said yes at some point and then before the “crucial moment” changed her mind to no. That No is still valid, we all have the right to change our damn minds however way we please and whenever we please. Really, consent is not that difficult to comprehend and also to respect; it is the difference between a yes and a no. Now if everyone could just get that into their thick skulls we could all move forward and focus on other issues. But until then, I am glad that there are people who make videos and speak up about this and shed a new light on it, cause this is a serious issue, it is a violent crime, and it should concern us all. One in five. That means that everyone most likely has or knows someone who has been, or will be, sexuality assaulted or raped. How can we all collectively accept this? The short answer is: we can’t.

Just pretending it’s not there will never make it go away.

The Second Sex

Finished writing my second term paper in the classics course, where we were supposed to present and discuss some classical texts, any way we wanted. Now of course I chose classics that I found interesting and fruitful for my own research field; from social construction, to gender, to ads to the male gaze and so on. Connecting these all together, finding the red thread, the causes and effects, has been thrilling but also very depressing..

One of my favourite classics that I had the pleasure of diving into again is hands down Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Even though it was written almost 70 years ago, her examination of women and their (our) development and placement in society still holds. Dissecting and explaining the relationship between subject and object, providing both accurate and interesting examples covering both factual occurrences and myths, she put forward an incredible piece of work that should never be forgotten.

“Any myth implies a Subject who projects its hopes and fears of a transcendent heaven. Not positing themselves as Subject, women have not created the virile myth that would reflect their projects; they have neither religion nor poetry that belongs to them alone: they still dream through men’s dreams. They worship the gods made by males.”

How incredibly depressing this is to read, yet how important it is to understand the enormous impact of it. Just letting it sink in, and getting the picture of the vast amounts of ramifications this has had over the way women have been and are still struggling to get a shared 1st place position alongside men. You start to wonder, will we ever get there?

I very much believe in the social construction of reality and things, however when discussing constructions, more often than not you hear that “people” have constructed this and that, but let’s be honest for a moment; not all people have always had the same amount of power to construct all the pieces of the puzzle we call society.

“The representation of the world as the world itself is the work of men; they describe it from a point of view that is their own and that they confound with the absolute truth.”

Now, I am not saying that women have just stood idly by while men did whatever they pleased. At least, I hope it was not like that, but who knows really? There is no one that can for sure say how the first society was built; sure we can speculate, but we cannot know since we were not there. Either way, somewhere along the line, it was decided that men were the norm, they were the people, and women, well, we came in second place for some reason. Perhaps it had to do with just biological factors? Or perhaps it had to do with religion? Ah..religion. Let’s talk some more about that, shall we?

First of all, no offence to all of you who might believe in some “god” or other, but as far as I see it, religion (perhaps not all but major ones, plus sects and so on, organized religion with crazy fanatics) has been the cause of several problems we are dealing with today. Sure, religions might have started out innocently, people just wanting something bigger to believe in than just themselves, however, as so many other things that people get their hands on, religion has evolved and throughout history been used time and time again to kill, slaughter, rape, enslave and just fuck up everything for people who do not share the same fantasies and worship the same “god/s” (ah, the old sky-cake conundrum, Patton Oswalt does it best). Now, I am not going to bash religions that I am not that familiar with because that would be rather ignorant of me, but the one that I “had” when I was born and know most about is Christianity (I have since long left it all behind me). I would argue that the bible and the fantastical stories (yes, stories, not facts) they talk about in there have really made things more difficult for women than they had to be. Starting with the “creation”: Adam, a man, of course, being created after “god’s” own image, i.e. “God” is a man. Of course. And then, since he, Adam, was feeling lonely and miserable, Eve, a woman, of course, was created to provide him some company. However, being a woman and all, she could not also be created from “god”, but had to come from one of Adam’s ribs. Well.. that’s just lovely isn’t it?! What I don’t understand is that if Eve was created from Adam, then why the hell did she get the uterus and the ability to actually give birth to others? Wouldn’t it have been more logical to give Adam that “gift”? And let’s not forget Virgin Mary, who did not even get to have sex in order to have a baby, well that’s just great, cheers. she probably really appreciated it. Cause lord knows women are not supposed to have sex willy-nilly, unless they want to be whores, cause those are the choices men have provided for them: Virgin or Whore. Take your pick ladies!

Ugh.

Christianity has in my opinion, had a huge impact in setting the norms, dividing women and men and making sure everyone knew, they were not equals under the laws of “god”. That is one of my main reasons for detesting religion, because it was created by certain types of people, in this case men (God, Adam, Jesus, the apostles etc etc all men), who of course wrote and set the standards and norms that they preferred. If it had instead been clear from the beginning that women and men were equal, then we might not have been where we are today, who knows..

Perhaps I am rambling a bit but I will make my final point now. The point being, that this society, the one in which I am writing this, started off on the wrong damn foot. And once you start something wrong, it can be very difficult to undo it. The thing is, that since we started off having men as the norm, they have thus always been the norm, no questions asked. It wasn’t even an “issue” some hundred years ago, I mean come on, in the early nineteenth century, the word ovary didn’t even exist, because they never thought about naming it since women were just seen as men who were “defected”, men turned outside in. Think about that for a minute.

Now think about this: What if we had started off in the opposite end? What if women had been the norm from the very beginning? What if men were seen as merely women, turned inside out?

The world would look very different indeed.

Two ways a woman can get hurt

Today we had our last lecture in one of the first phd courses, and I held my last presentation, this time about my field of research: sexist advertising. I presented a chapter: Two ways a woman can get hurt: Advertising and Violence,  from Kilbourne’s book Deadly persuasion: Why women and girls must fight the addictive power of advertising (1999). Here, Kilbourne speaks about sex in advertising and how this is similar to pornography since it is more about dehumanizing, objectifying and disconnecting than it is about reality. Violence is encouraged in many ads, men are shown to be in power, dominant, to take control, heck, take whatever they want, while women are portrayed as never saying no, or at least, not meaning no when they say it. Women are encouraged by ads to be attracted to the hostile and indifferent men, often the ones that in real life would be absolutely dangerous. Violence is also trivialized, and rape is glorified. Kilbourne argues about the objectification being different for women and men: when women are objectified they are so in a cultural context where this objectification is constant, and where there are serious consequences, from economic discrimination to violence. For men, the consequences are not the same since their bodies are generally not routinely judged and invaded, they are not as likely to get harassed, raped or beaten by women, as women are by men. This is eloquently described and summed up:

“When power is unequal, when one group is oppressed and discriminated against as a group, when there is a context of systemic and historical oppression, stereotypes and prejudice have different weight and meaning.”

Now, that is not to say that the objectification of men is any better, all objectification is bad of course. It is always bad to objectify a person. However, it is important to understand that the objectification looks very different when it comes to women and men. After all, we are not equal in the eyes of the ads.

After my presentation we had a very long discussion that was both interesting, fruitful and extremely frustrating and upsetting. At one point, I was boiling, it came after one of my male colleagues said that it is in the nature of women to want to be looked at by men, and it is in the men’s nature to want to look at women. Nature. Nature? Needless to say, this really heated up the debate with him on one side and practically the rest of us on the other with arguments about the social construction of reality. About the fact that women are not born with an innate desire to be ogled by men, that it is not something in our blood, but rather in the way we are brought up, taught by society to want to look pretty, to want to be wanted. It is something that we daily must think about, decide about. It is about the constant male gaze that is surrounding us all. Quietly, subtly.

It is not in our nature. It is in our heads.

About not being equal and speaking up

By this point in time one would hope that it was pretty obvious that equality between the sexes is still just a mere dream, however, not all seem to see this crookedness and think that we all have the same opportunities and live according to the same standards and in the “same” society. However, the society we do live in does look fairly different for men and women, and therefore I must give praise to Jared Mauldin, a senior engineer who took a stand and spoke (well, wrote) about the inequality that surrounds his field. Thank you for your letter, for you seeing the vast differences regarding men and women in this field, for speaking up about it and foremost, for admitting that you and your gender are in fact the privileged ones when it comes to engineering (which basically includes all fields that have anything to do with technology).

Here is Jared’s letter:

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While feeling inspired and hopeful reading this, it also gives me a pang of cynicism and bitterness for the simple fact that this is the reality in which we live. Because even today women are not as encouraged as men to pursue technological activities and education, and when they do, they still face ridiculous challenges that have nothing to do with their capabilities or ambition, but everything to do with their gender. I have been in the IT-business for some time now and I have heard time and time again by my male peers who work as developers that “there just aren’t any great women who code”, in fact it is very rare to even find female developers at all. It does not surprise me that this is the mentality, and as much as I hate saying it, I can see what they mean. However, the reason for there not being enough developers who are women surely has more to do with the society we live in, than the fact that they are unable to code as well as men. Surely, this is in fact where the real problem lies. And this is a big problem.

Unless the challenges facing women in technological fields change, unless we (i.e. the society as a whole, the social structures we live by) change our mentality when it comes to women and technology, the crookedness will remain the same. And that is why Jared’s letter is so important, because it takes a stand in the right direction, towards equality.

Let’s just hope we get there some day.

Victoria’s real secret

A recent photo from the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret has received some negative attention due to it’s tasteless and poor photoshopping. Finally. How nice to see all those comments highlighting one of the problems with such ads: too damn much photoshopping. My heart literally swelled while reading many of the comments cause it tells me that there is still hope. One day we might even be rid of all these flawless, objectifying and unreal portrayals of women altogether. How lovely that would be..

But as of now, we are not quite there, and just for the heck of it I’ll jump in the discussion and review the ad in question:

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Wanna know Victoria’s real secret? Well here it is: Photoshop! The model used in this image was no question already skinny on the verge of anorectic, otherwise they would most likely not even had used her. But still, skinny is not skinny enough. Beautiful is not beautiful enough. Nice skin is not nice enough, not until it looks absolutely flawless and “perfect”, not until all the hairs, cracks, pores, wrinkles and everything else that makes skin, well, skin, is retouched into looking like plastic. As some of the negative comments already suggested, her exposed arm has lost some meat/muscle, and her poor butt cheek has been photoshopped into oblivion. I can’t imagine how a woman that actually had that body (ps. there is no such woman so don’t even try looking for her) would manage to sit down properly, but maybe she doesn’t sit. Maybe she just always stands against a dark mysterious wall with her hands up and her legs spread.
How awful for her.

The problem with this image is not just that it is exaggeratedly photoshopped, it is also the way they portray her: Passive, anonymous, just waiting for someone to grab her from behind. She is sexualized in a very disturbing and suggestively violent way. I would even go so far as to saying that she kind of looks like a soon-to-be-rape-victim. And all this just to sell panties. Really?

It’s time to grow up and smell the cracks, pores, wrinkles and natural “flaws” that all people have Victoria’s secret, time to take some damned responsibility and stop objectifying and distorting women just to sell underwear (!). Trust me that can be done without putting down women and contributing to the sexist male gaze and the objectification of women. If you want women to like your underwear and buy them, how about not first making them feel like shit cause they cannot possibly ever achieve the same kind of unnatural and photoshopped “flawlessness” that you are cramming down their throats? How about not trying to fool them into thinking that your panties are magic and can make them look like this, cause seriously, come on. It’s panties. Just panties. It won’t change you, it won’t make you feel better about who you really are, it won’t erase your “flaws”, or even your butt cheeks. It’s just plain old panties. And photoshop.

So now that your secret is out “Victoria”, how about instead making women feel beautiful for who they are, flaws and all?

Choices

Ok, say what you want about Lady Gaga and her music, however, couple of nights ago while perusing the web I came upon this video, which raises a very important and unjustifiable issue. I was moved by it, and before I knew it I had stumbled upon a rather frustrating debate on Facebook with some co-feminists and this one rather ignorant man. He started the debate by stating some statistics (who knows where the hell he even got them from) about there only being 6 cases of reported rapes in 1000 colleges, so what is all the fuss about? Well first of all, the fuss is not about this being an issue that happens so rarely and is so easy to get over we should all just get back to our own business and ignore it. The fuss is about this being a violent crime that should not happen at all. I don’t give a shit really if it happens to 1 in 100.000 women (or men for that matter), that is still 1 too damn many! The fuss is about us living in a world where this actually does happen, and trust me, I bet my own life on it, it happens in more than 6 occasions out of 1000, because the reported ones are not all that actually occur. We have no idea of knowing how many cases go unreported in our colleges, in our homes, in our cities, in our countries in the whole god damned world. But needless to say, it’s too damn many for it not being something to fuss about.

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We did not (surprise surprise) convince the man with our “female logic” and all of a sudden the debate was about gender, and him saying that basically us women are privileged and it’s our own faults cause we choose to have smaller salaries because we choose to have babies, and we choose to have low-paying jobs, because we choose not to work as hard as men. At this point, I was literally boiling. Apparently this guy has been living in a cave somewhere for the last thousands of years when the rest of society was built upon certain values, institutionalizing certain norms and certain social structures that we have, and are still stuck with, today. Cause how else on earth can you say that all of these things are choices? I did not choose to have the ability to have kids, but if I choose to have kids, that should still not be a reason for me earning less than the equivalent man (who also can choose, or not, to have kids, but at least is not more or less expected to have them by the society he lives in). I also did not choose, and have never chosen, to earn less than any man who performs the same tasks as I. For those who know me, know that I am a damned hard worker, and have always been, I do not like things handed to me on a platter, I want to earn everything for myself. But when I work as hard, or even harder, and still get paid less, well. Sorry but then I will start making a fuss.

When it comes to biology VS. society, I believe that the former is what gives us our basic foundation, while the latter is the force that actually shape who we become. We do not choose as much as we think we do, we only fool ourselves when we think all our choices are actually our own. Every choice we make is basically the product of our biology, culture and society, we are taught to like this and that, we are taught to choose this and that, we are taught to believe this and that. We are not ourselves but everything that surrounds us, and if you think for a minute that women chose to be the “second sex”, well think again. That is not, and has never been, a choice of ours. It has been stated, normalized and reinforced, over and over again. This must probably be one of the most used quotes when it comes to gender and feminism, but dammit, it can apparently never be said enough:

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
– Simone de Beauvoir

Before leaving the never-ending debate I wanted to address the man one last time, (even though I know it would not make any difference to him), so I wrote:

Brandon, I do not know where you got the idea that white females are the most privileged ones, since throughout our history, and throughout the world, the only really privileged person in almost all categories is a white middle-aged man. And do you know why “he” is privileged? Because “he” is the norm = the focal point whether it’s about power, money, medicine, literature, art, advertising and media, heck even language (think of how language is built, what words we use, very simple example, take sports, it’s called football and basketball etc, but when girls/women play, it becomes “women’s football” and “women’s basketball”. Just “normal” football is played by men, for they are the norm). The world we live in is based on the white male norm, whether we like it or not. And what feminism wants to do is raise women to the same level as we have raised men for ages. Now I am sorry that you feel “oppressed” by feminists cause they seem to mostly raise and discuss “female” issues, but the issues they (we) raise actually involve you too, they are not female issues at all, they are human issues. And also, when trying to lift up one “minority” or oppressed group of any sort, is it really that unbelievably weird that the focus is on that group? It rather seems like you feel less valued as a man, and that stings since you, as a man, have always been the most highly valued. But take it easy, you are still the norm, cause we still have a looooong way to go before actually reaching something worth calling equality.
Good night.