Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is Feminism Still Relevant? Yes. Yes It Is.

Since I've been slacking in blog responsibilities, my feminist Alex decided to step up and  and contribute an awesome piece. If you tire of people asking why feminism is still relevant, this post is for you.  If you really hate when anyone argues that women are privileged, then this piece is really for you!  Let's thank Alex for his post!

In the article, “I Have Female Privilege” (, Rachel Goodchild argues that, in America at least, feminism has been so successful in gaining women rights that women are now the privileged gender in American society.  She gives five examples of privileges that women now supposedly enjoy. 

Personally, I’m not buying the whole ‘Feminism was great and all, but we don’t need it anymore, women have the privilege now’ argument.  Here’s why, point by point, with her arguments in quotes:

1. “I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is.”

First off, that’s not true in most religious contexts.  Second, to be more precise, women are generally pressured to be more exhibitionistic and open about their sexuality in order to gratify men.  Third, if they are sexually assaulted, this sexual openness that women are pressured into will be used to blame them for the attack and keep them from getting justice.

2. “If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night.”

While this may be true, it reflects the fact that some laws (such as ones requiring the larger of two people involved in a domestic dispute to be the one arrested, regardless of who started the fight), while imperfect, have been passed because women typically suffer far more severe injuries in domestic disputes, regardless of who the aggressor was.  Also, the trouble of a physically smaller person being intimidated into silence by a much stronger partner often makes it more difficult to protect women from their abusers – which is another reason why these laws were passed.

3. “If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids.”

Yeah, but guess what?  If your relationship doesn’t break up, you’re still more likely to get the kids – many men are unwilling to put their careers on hold to help raise children, or even meaningfully contribute to that work, so women usually get stuck doing most or all of the childcare.

“I get to choose whether I have the baby or not”

Given the recent attacks on birth control/abortion rights, this statement deserves a gigantic asterisk.

“I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test)”

It would be kind of stupid to require the woman to pay for a DNA test.  Maternity is not in doubt, while paternity often is.  You know why maternity is not in doubt?  Because the woman gave birth to the child, which I hear tell is a mighty painful process.  I’d say shelling out some money for a DNA test is a pretty good bargain in exchange for not having to go through that much pain.

4. “I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything.”

Except if you want to have kids, in which case, you’ll typically have to spend too much time on childcare (which many men aren’t willing to help with) to focus on your career.

“But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought.”

Given the difference in pay between women and men doing the same jobs, men can typically afford to pay for dinners and bling and still end up with more money left over than the equally hardworking women they date.

“And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.”

Yes, if your desires perfectly align with the expectations of a misogynistic, patriarchal society, you can get what you want, more or less.  ‘I’m so privileged, I get to do exactly what countless other women are pressured to do, only I actually enjoy it!  Woo Girl Power!’  While there’s nothing wrong with choosing a home life instead of a career, it hardly counts as a privilege when most of our society considers it mandatory for women anyway.

5. “If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male.”

Frankly, I don’t think this tactic works quite as well as she claims it does.  Still, to the extent that it does work, it’s only because most of the time, when a woman writes a controversial comment/blog/article, or does pretty much anything other than toe the patriarchal party line, she’s met with relentless, sexist criticism from privileged men who really are trying to bully her into silence.  
Thanks again Alex! 

It always bothers me when I hear arguments against feminism.  Being anti-feminist is anti-women, not to mention feminism covers more than women's issues.  Everyone likes to ignore that and create an image of feminists as man hating lesbians who want to destroy everything that is not like them.  Obviously, that's not the case, especially with all these awesome male feminists we have!  But what bothers me the most about the woman who wrote this piece was she confuses being taken care of with privilege.  Having a door opened for you is not privilege.  Getting a free dinner (which is really an expected trade for sex in some cases) is not privilege, especially since men's "masculinity" won't allow them to accept a meal from a woman.  Saying that women are privileged because people are "nice" to them, regardless of the motives, just shows how happy women are when they are treated well since we are treated like shit most of the time.  Secondly, I hate how she completely ignores all the oppression which women face.  Unequal pay, rape, victim blaming, abuse, "slut" shaming, "prude" shaming, restrictive gender roles, issues of body image and ownership... Do these and the other forms of oppression become excused because a man buys a woman dinner?  No!  So next time someone roles her/his eyes when you say you're a feminist, educate them!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Women Should Receive the Majority of Relief Aid and Micro-Financing: Or Why Women are Better Spenders

With so many relief organizations giving money to developing countries, you can only wonder how that money is being spent.  Some people see relief aid money and micro-financing loans as a positive action which results in development and economic stability.  Others, however, compare it to giving money to homeless American drug addicts who will spend the money on more drugs and alcohol.  So let's look at what is really being done with generous donations and micro-financed loans.  Id' love to throw out some stats about how well the money is spent, but sadly, I cannot do that, at least not in one simple figure.  Why?  Well, we must first look at gender before we can have a real understanding of how this money is spent, and that is because women are far superior in managing this money, according to statistics which we will soon explore.

For this brief study, we are going to take a global perspective which primarily focuses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Worldwide, we can see that 19.3 million people live in poverty.  Of those, 74% are women.  Moreover, 1.3 billion of the world's population live on less than $1 a day.  Of those, 70% are women.  Clearly, women need financial aid more than men, not that the men are incredibly well off either.  We can blame sexism for this.  Women are more financially insecure as a result of gender oppression.  They have less access to education which results in fewer job options.  They are restricted to the domestic field due to religion, culture, and gender roles.  If they somehow break out of the domestic sphere, they still face significantly less pay and fewer job positions.  So clearly, women are at a disadvantage.
Kaiser Family Foundation 2010 Survey of Americans on the US Role in Global Health

While women are clearly in need of financial assistance and job opportunities, most of the aid relief money from both private and government organizations has traditionally gone to men.  Compared to the women, men have more opportunities and experience in the public sphere.  They are almost always the providers for the families.  Because of this, most of the aid money was given to men.  But what did those men do with the money?  Well, multiple studies have shown that the money was spent on alcohol and weapons.  The men did not know how to invest the money or spend it in ways that benefited their families.  They wasted large sums of money while the women and children suffered.  Not to mention, these purchases were not stimulating the economy or generating business; in fact, it made things worse.  Much worse.

Eventually, some relief money and micromanaged loans and funds were given to women.  Organizations emerged with the intention of giving money to women.  Other organizations, like Women for Women, were created with the intention of giving women raised money to women in need.  And the results?  The results were astounding.  The Women's Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund discovered that on average, women spent 55% of the money on household items, shelter, and food, 18% on education for all genders of the family, and 15% on clothing.  Once they were able to secure their households, these women began to invest in local business.  Though they never had a thorough education or opened a local business, they were able to open businesses, support existing ones, and stimulate the economy.  Furthermore, these women have excellent payment records.  The organizations that dealt with these women reported that they were pleasant and easy to work with as well, especially compared to men. 

Despite the responsible and productive actions of the women, many organizations are still less likely to assist women.  It appears that women are getting assistance since 60% of clients with the UN Capital Development Fund are female.  And as mentioned before,there are groups that exist for women only.  Currently, 14.2 million poor women have access to aid.  While this seems very positive, the women do not receive as much money as men.  Whenever they receive money, they are also subject to greater payback rates and interest. 

So why is this?  It really makes no sense since women have repeatedly shown how responsible they are.  They have shown that they can stimulate the economy, provide for their families, start businesses, and provide education while being peaceful.  Regardless, many American groups continue to see women as irresponsible spenders (which is not true).  The micro-investors and males who lead the organizations allow the men to continuously receive more money for these reasons, just to nae a few...

Women have less opportunities so they will not be able to do much with the money.  In reality, the women circumvent this by opening and supporting their own and local businesses.  Not to mention, anyone can buy food and other necessities, so gender should not matter in such cases.

Women are poorer than men, so they will need more money to become stable.  Well, this is a pretty pretty stupid reason since we've repeatedly seen that women can stretch their money and spend it responsibily.  Not to mention, these groups know that men are wasteful, irresponsible, and selfish with the money, so why should they get any money?  Especially more money than women?

Another reason women are less likely to receive fair amounts of money is this money is being distributed to men.  These men ignore the successes of women as they hold tight to the untrue stereotypes of helpless irresponsible women.

Despite these negative and sexist aspects of the issue, many organizations are beginning to see the light.  More organizations exist for women;  more organizations are begining to give more to women.  Nonehtless, these women still face many challenges. 

And just think, if these women can do so much on their own without any education or training, imagine what they could do with training programs and guided assistance!

(Primary Source Used...

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Gaydar Signals?

If you're trying to hide your sexuality around certain people, then you might want to avoid certain letters.  Watch out!  They might "out" you!  Or so these articles say...

While performing my daily Unicorn Booty read through, I discovered this gem. The article, "Can Gays Be Outed By Their Vowels?" (also found at briefly summarizes and examines a recent study involving 7 gay and 7 straight men. The straight men had never seen or heard these gay men, but their challenge was to listen to words with heavy vowel sounds to see if they could guess the sexuality of the speaker. The result? Seventy-five percent of the straight men's guesses were correct.

So, here are my thoughts on the study. The sample size was too small. And how diverse were these men? Did they mainly select gay men with effeminate voices? If so, that would explain the high correct percentage rate of the men's guesses. That, however, is problematic since it is stereotyping all effeminate men as gay, which is simply not a true stereotype. I am guessing that this was the case since I do not think all gay men sound a like. I know gay men who sound effeminate, gay men who have southern accents, gay men who sound like raspy blues singers, and gays that sound like they can beat the shit out of you. How can all of them pronounce their vowels the same way which "outs" them?

This piece got me thinking: Do lesbians have certain pronunciations which "out" them? Of course, there are some words that lesbians are more likely to use than straight women, but that is different then pronouncing things. So could we add pronunciation to our gaydar check list? Personally, I don't think so. I really don't think it is legitimately a part of detecting gay men, either.

I found it interesting that there was even a study about something like this. By the way, this study began and was conducted at OHIO STATE by Eric Tracy, one of OSU's cognitive psychologists. This further interested me because one of my best friends is a gay man in OSU's graduate social linguistics department. He, too, found this to be both interesting and silly. We both felt that studying these supposed speech patterns created a picture of gays as the "other". Why do the gays have to be the other, aside from the apparent fact that heterosexuality is the norm? Maybe the hetero men say their vowels differently, making them the "other"! Anyway, it also furthers stereotypes that gay men are effeminate. This, as mentioned before, is problematic since it is not representative of all gay men, and it makes straight and effeminate men appear to be gay.

So what do you guys think? Did this piece get you to pay more attention to the way things are pronounced?  Is there really a general difference between the speech patterns of heterosexuals and homosexuals?  What about lesbians?  Does a lesbian's speech out her?  And if there is a difference, what does that mean for bisexuals' speech?  Does it mean we like to label things no matter how stupid the criteria is?  Probably. Yes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Girls with Guns: Women and the Draft

When was the last time you heard about the draft?  Read anything in the paper about it?  Heard anything on news stations?  Know someone who was forced into serving the US through military duty?  No?  Well, me neither.  Yet, I still hear people talking about it.  Not very often, but when it comes up, it's a big deal. 

Until tonight at work, I can't remember the last time someone mentioned the draft, specifically women and the draft.  It all started when a female coworker with a "boy's name" started ranting about her eventful day.  She got a letter demanding that she register for the draft.  After much worrying and some calls, she finally figured out the letter was a mistake.  Apparently, her name was mistaken for a man's name, which resulted in a letter demanding that (s)he register for the draft.

After figuring out that it was a mistake (duh), she happily shared her views on the draft.  She complained that women are too weak and delicate to be in the military, despite the fact that she is one of the strongest employees there.  She continued to say that women need to stay home and raise kids (forget the fact that she is single and has no plans of having children anytime soon).  Then, she reminded us that women don't have the will to be crazy military killers (which, in turn, means men ARE crazy killers who don't mind shooting whoever they are told to shoot).  The two men who were there agreed with her.  They were even pretty passionate about it.  They wanted us to know that they were the strong ones who needed to do the killing to keep our country "safe" while the women folk remain at home raising babies and keeping the house clean for the men's return.  The one woman coworker quietly nodded and said her place would never be the military.  She preferred her quick life, and reminded us that she would be of no help to the military (she is in her 60s, so she was kinda right about that...)

That was probably the most random discuss I've heard about the draft.  Usually, I hear it when angry men and anti-feminists try to find something that is a benefit to women while being a disadvantage to men.  Now, I am a pacifist when it comes to unnecessary wars, like most of the wars we've had since WWII, but if there is going to be a draft or the possibility of a draft, it should include both men and women.  And here's why...

Excluding Women is Insulting.  Yes, you heard me.  Other women and myself are insulted that we are seen as weak and useless.  Our only value does not lie in our ability to keep a clean house, raise children. cook, and clean.  We can shoot shit, handle tough workouts, wear ugly uniforms, and even kill crazy evil dictators.  But are we given the chance?  Not really.  Why?  Well of course it is because we need to be protected.  We are too weak to handle all that difficult combat.  We are too loving and nurturing to kill anything.  We cannot survive without our makeup and girly wardrobes.  Should I go on, or are all of you insulted enough already?

Bad Ass
Women are Fucking Bad Asses.  Yeah, we fucking are.  We can do just as much, if not more, than men.  Women already participate in 93% of military positions, and many women are in high ranking positions as well. If "weaker" women work out, they can be strong enough to handle military jobs and anything else men do.  Not to mention, many women are already built with muscle.  And if they are not strong enough, there's a little thing called boot camp where all the strong men go to become strong men.  Besides, the women softball players can use their pitching skills to throw grenades!  The women with "attitude problems" and "pms" can take out their bad moods on their targets!  Now on a more serious note, I have a male cousin in the Marines and a track/tennis star high school sister.  Even to this day, my little sister can outrun and out throw my "tough, strong" Marines cousin.  She can also out bike him, beat him in tennis, and kick his ass in basketball.  What makes this even better is she is a huge girly girl.  She does all these things while wearing her makeup and Victoria's Secret goodies.  My point: Women can kick ass just as much, even more, than men.

Women Don't Need Protected.  One of the most common reasons used to support no women in the draft is rape.  It is a valid concern, but a woman doesn't need to be in the military to be raped.  That sick violating event can occur in her own house.  And if there is such a concern that men will rape the women, isn't that suggesting there is something seriously wrong with our military service men?  This is an interesting argument since no one seems to care about rape any other time.  When the topic comes up, the responsibility of avoiding rape is put on the woman.  Don't dress "slutty"!  Don't go out at night!  Don't drink!  Don't have casual sex!  Well, if those are the things that cause rape, what is the excuse for rape in the military when there is no alcohol and everyone is in god awful
modest uniforms?  Plus, no one mentions the fact that men can rape other men.  Maybe men should get out of the army to protect themselves, too.  Oh wait, that won't work...

It's Fucking Unfair to Men.  Though there has not been a mandatory draft for a few decades, men between 18 to 25 are still required to sign up for the draft.  If they avoid doing this, they can be punished with up to 5 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.  The responsibility of defending the country (or abusing our country's power to exploit other countries) lies with the State's men.  Since women have proven that they can work in the military, why can't the draft include a percentage of women?  It would take part of the burden off the men, and even the playing field.  Even if the stereotype of weak women persists, women could be placed in other positions other than active combat of they truly are not prepared for fighting.  Most military members sit around playing Xbox til they are needed, and once they are needed, they just have to pull a trigger.  Of course, there are many military members who do far more, but with our technology, being in the service is far easier than it was even a few decades ago (especially for the members who have desk jobs or tech jobs, then return home and act like war heroes).

Equality in the Military = Equality in the Work Place... Maybe.  One ideal outcome of women being included in the draft is the elimination, or at least a decrease, of the weak woman stereotype.  By including women, this shows that women really are equal to men.  They are just as tough, just as tough, just as intelligent as the males.  I mean who could talk down to a female war hero?

While the possibility of being drafted really sucks, I would still like to see women included in it.  Angry anti-feminists could finally shut up about the only inequality they can find, while the strong women can prove they are more than capable of serving. 

On last thing... draft or no draft, is it really necessary that female military uniforms include high heals?  Really?  Our lady parts won't shrivel up if we wear flat, comfortable shoes...
Final thought.. check out this site about women in the military throughout history, presently, and into the future!

So what do you think?  Should women be included in the draft?  Should an equal amount of women be drafted?  Would any of you women readers fight for the possibility of a female draft while knowing you might be drafted?  Post your thoughts!

Monday, August 15, 2011

List of Demands

Feminists are well known as "bitchy, complaining, angry" women who are always demanding things. Once we get what we want, we find other things to bitch about. Famous example: Women got the right to vote, but they couldn't stop there; they continued to complain about being stuck as domestic house wives, then they found a whole list of other things to complain about. Obviously, I do not share this view. Feminists believe in all sorts of equality, not in meaningless complaining. Feminists get angry often, and it is fully justified since any form of oppression deserves some ranting followed by change. But this is a popular view that many men and women still have today.

Keeping with this view of feminist women, I will now bitch about a list of things that I both demand and deserve! Here it goes...
  • I deserve to walk down the street at anytime with my partner. When we're out, we will not be yelled at, given dirty looks, harassed. Solution: We wear bags over our heads and dress in androgynous clothing so we are not seen as a same sex couple.
  • I deserve to feel safe while walking around at night. Solution: A) Don't go out at night. B) Dress like a super hero so people know not to fuck with me and my super powers.
  • I deserve to not be gay bashed or harassed because of my sexuality. Solution: A) Become rich and famous so I can hire body guards to protect me. B) Get super buff from working out, or get bit by a radio active spider so I can acquire super strength and beat up harassers.
  • I deserve to feel completely safe while not having to worry about sexual harassment. Solution: Become best friends with Hot Head Paison.
  • I deserve to be paid as much as a man for any job. Solution: Pretend to be a man by packing, wearing men's clothing, and using my hair clippings as facial hair.
  • I deserve to face no discrimination when trying to be hired or while trying to advance my career. Solution: A) Perform sexual favors for the male boss. B) Don't try to get promoted.
  • I deserve to be hired because of my abilities, not because of my race, class, or hot looks. Solution: Only do phone interviews.
  • I deserve to not worry about getting fired or denied a job or housing because of my sexuality. Solution: A) Act straight/ Become straight. B) Rob a bank so I can live off that money and build a house of my own.
  • I deserve my shortcomings and failures to be attributed to things other than my biological sex. Solution: A) Never fail at anything. B) Get a sex change and never let anyone know about my original biological sex.
  • I deserve to be in a bad mood once in a while and not have it be accredited to pms or my biological sex. Solution: Never be in a bad mood even when oppression of sex, gender, race, sexuality, class, etc piss me off and keep me in an angry mood.

So... How 'bout those solutions? Guess I should stop complaining and do these things so I can enjoy all the privileges of men and heterosexuals.

What do all these "solutions" have in common? For starters, they're kinda impossible. That's pretty obvious. I cannot stay inside all the time. I cannot change my sexuality. I cannot hire body guards to protect me from crazy harassers. The other thing these "solutions" have in common is they all involve hiding true self identity. Why should I or anyone else have to pretend to be someone else in order to enjoy privileges. Privileges like marriage, getting/keeping a job, feeling safe, not being judged or threatened with hell fire.

No one should be forced to hide who they are for any reason.

So for all those anti-feminists out there, take these demands and get working on them. All us feminists and gays will be happy to help you get started.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We Want YOU to Contribute!

Feminists and friends, we here at Borderlands want YOU! Yes, YOU! To join and contribute to the awesomeness that is feminism. Send us a question, a topic, photos, your own posts, anything, and it could appear on the blog. Here is your chance to be famous! Come on... You know you want to!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Borderlands: The Beginning

Welcome to Borderlands, the place where we explore the intersections of sex, gender, race, and class; where we rant about oppression; where we get empowered and encouraged to do something about it! Here at Borderlands we don't limit ourselves to one type of oppression or injustice. Why, you might ask. Why not focus on sexism? Homophobia? Racism? Classism? All these things, and more, intersect to form the outcome of experiences. And since many people have some connection to a marked identity, it is only fitting that we take a critical look at how this functions in our everyday lives. Here, we can explore the borders created where our privilege and oppression meet.

Now that you have an idea of what we're all about here at Borderlands, I'll catch you up on some things to look forward to. This blog seeks to combine critical, academic feminist and queer thought with a more everyday, casual tone. We'll look at why feminism is still needed; why the LGBT movement is important and how it is connected to feminism; everyday examples of oppression that are typically over looked. But we aren't going to just sit around, read, and rant. Well, we'll do some of that. But more importantly, we'll set you fabulous readers up with simple ways to apply your feminist ways to everyday life. Plus, we want to hear from YOU, the reader! We want you to send in pictures, articles, anything that captures oppression or feminism! As a weekly bonus, we want to get some questions from YOU readers, too! Send in your questions about anything! Fun things, feminist things, LGBT things, silly things, politics, everything! And comment! Comment on everything!

Okay readers... Go forth and spread the gospel of feminism! And while you're out and about, don't forget to send us your questions, thoughts, comments, pictures, or whatever to us at