Category Archives: Reading

18th Carnival of Radical Feminists is up!

Today, our dear Witchy-Woo, Laurelin, and resisterance put together a massive and extremely interesting collection of links, articles, and posts mostly by radical feminists on the topic of Class and Hierarchy for the 18th Carnival of Radical Feminists.

Yours truly had the pleasure of being included for my post on Hierarchy and the Oppression Olympics.

You should really go check it out! The wonderful hosts compiled such a huge amount of information, I’m going to have to set aside a couple of hours to look through them all!

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My job is fucking awesome

For the last two years, I’ve worked very part-time as a respite care specialist. All I do, basically, is go to people’s houses and baby-sit special needs children, and get paid by the state. It was good, but sporadic, work.

I used to work part-time (actual part-time, not slacker part-time) in high school and take a full course load, so the last two years have been extremely lazy. I basically don’t do much more than sit on my ass, read ahead of the syllabus for my classes (a necessity, given that all my of classes this semester are either law or philosophy and require a ton of reading and writing), blog, and occasionally pick up an hour or two here or there of work.

After the mid-summer disaster in which I figured out that I’m too poor to study abroad and my university is a bunch of cheapskates and won’t help me, I decided that it was about time I went back to work and padded my savings.

I might be one of the few people on the planet that likes working, especially working on mindless repetitive tasks. It’s like a paid vacation from my theoretical philosophy and law bullshit. Believe it or not, I also procrastinate much less when I’m working because I can’t afford to. I figured that with my GPA slowly dropping, it was about time for me to be productive. Oh, and the pay-check is always a plus.

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The Misogyny of Wage Gaps

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, which was passed by the late President Kennedy on June 10, 1963. Since then, we’ve come a long way, but persistent and blatant wage gaps continue to be an issue. I think that my fellow Impersonators, Lindsay and Amelia, have covered the basics far more eloquently than I am capable of without sounding repetitive.

Regardless, wage gaps are a part of a much larger phenomenon than simple misogyny in the workplace. Female work, even if it is the same work that a male can and does do, is consistently undervalued. If a woman does a man’s work, she more likely to be underpaid and less likely to be promoted. If a woman does a woman’s job—housekeeping, mothering, teaching—she is more likely to see exponential wage gaps, or no monetary compensation at all.

Take any traditionally female-dominated field and it is easy to see how much more undervalued and underpaid the work is compared to traditionally masculine fields. Even underpaid and overworked masculine careers like police officers and firefighters garner more respect than a maid, a nanny, or an elementary school teacher.

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On Being a Bookworm: Part Four – what do women think of porn?

Paul is an excellent writer. Although, I am slightly disappointed that Pornified is not as theory-heavy as I think the topic of porn demands. That is probably just the Philosophy major in me talking though.

With much enthusiasm, I started the chapter titled “Porn Stars, Lovers, and Wives: How Women See Pornography”. I was disappointed, however, that Paul chose to focus more on how women thought of the men in their lives that used pornography rather than the effects of pornography on women that use it. I thought the chapter was too heteronormative and played up the “jealous girlfriend” routine to the point where the cliche began to wear thin. Some highlights of the chapter were:

A human sexuality professor at Stony Brook observes shifting norms:

“Twenty years ago, my female students would say, ‘Ugh, that’s disgusting,’ when I brought up porn in class. The men would guiltily say, ‘Yeah, I’ve used it.’ Today, men are much more open about saying they use porn all the time and don’t feel any guilt. The women now resemble the old male attitude: they’ll sheepishly admit to using it themselves.” … He has mixed feelings about this change. On the positive side, he says, women’s embrace of porn seems to reflect increased sexual agency on their part… yet the new attitude strikes him as disturbing. Female fantasies have changed over the years as a result of porn and what Kimmel calls the “masculinization of sex”. Compared with ten years ago, women’s fantasies are more likely today to include violence, rough sex, strangers, and descriptions of male physical attributes. “Personally, I think that for a woman to construct her sex life like that of a man is a rather impoverished view of liberation”.

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On Being a Bookworm: Part Three – what are the effects of porn on men?

I promised in the comments section of my last post that I would cover some of the factual supports to the preposition that porn is damaging to its viewers. The book I am reading, Pornified, devotes an entire forty page chapter to the subject. I wanted to cover a couple of things from the chapter, particularly the factual studies done on porn with interesting results.

1. Violence in Porn

According to a study done by Barron and Kimmel called Sexual Violence in Three Pornographic Media:

25 percent of pornographic magazines showed some form of violence, ranging from verbal aggression to torture and mutilation, compared with 27 percent of pornographic videos. Usenet groups on the Internet depicted violence 42 percent of the time. “We might expect that just as individual consumers of pornography tend to tire of a certain level of explicitness and need more, so, too, would the market, acting as an individual,” noted the study’s authors. “The more pornography is consumed at one level, the less arousing this material becomes, as the consumer becomes used to the material”… The authors then concluded that as new pornographic technologies emerged, porn would become increasingly violent. That research was conducted in the late 1990s, still the early days of the Internet. (Paul 58-59)

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On Being a Bookworm, Part Two – why do men look at porn?

Probably the most radical way that being a Feminist impacted my everyday life is that I found myself morally conflicted over my very large stash of porn. After discovering that many people are anti-porn without the usual religious justifications (see: One Angry Girl’s website), I found it much easier to throw out my collection without feeling like I was anti-sex or pandering to moral conservatives.

Because pornography is something that used to be such a big part of my life, the first book I picked up at the library happened to be Pamela Paul’s Pornified. I hoped the book would help clarify various opinions that I entertained about the adult industry.

Even though I am only fifty or so pages into the book, I can already tell that Paul is an excellent author. Her first chapter frames later arguments in such a way that the conclusion she wants you to make seems natural. She only introduces her radical or controversial premises where the reader should have already entertained them with the presented data. Her writing is manipulative, so to speak, albeit in an admirable fashion.

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On Being a Bookworm, Part One

Books are the greatest tool of self-discovery and learning. Although the internet is always the first and last place I go for the most up-to-date feminist theory and news, I have really neglected my bibliomania lately. With the semester over, I thought I would walk myself down to the public library and read some books I have put on my mental “to-do” list ages ago.

My local public library is fantastic. Over three stories filled with the most diverse and interesting books gave me a lot to work from. Here’s my book list for those interested:

  1. Refusing to Be a Man – John Stoltenberg
  2. The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
  3. Pornified – Pamela Paul
  4. The Dialectic of Sex – Shulamith Firestone
  5. The Macho Paradox – Jackson Katz
  6. Scapegoat – Andrea Dworkin
  7. The Gate to Women’s Country – Sheri S. Tepper

All of the above are non-fiction, except for Tepper’s novel. I have read about or part of all of these books in my theory classes, but never in whole. Summer is a great time to rectify my ignorance. As I go through the books in the following weeks, I will try to post particularly striking passages and my reactions to them for the blogosphere’s perusal.

Look for part two in this series soon!

On Being a Bookworm, Part One

Books are the greatest tool of self-discovery and learning. Although the internet is always the first and last place I go for the most up-to-date feminist theory and news, I have really neglected my bibliomania lately. With the semester over, I thought I would walk myself down to the public library and read some books I have put on my mental “to-do” list ages ago.

My local public library is fantastic. Over three stories filled with the most diverse and interesting books gave me a lot to work from. Here’s my book list for those interested:

  1. Refusing to Be a Man – John Stoltenberg
  2. The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
  3. Pornified – Pamela Paul
  4. The Dialectic of Sex – Shulamith Firestone
  5. The Macho Paradox – Jackson Katz
  6. Scapegoat – Andrea Dworkin
  7. The Gate to Women’s Country – Sheri S. Tepper

All of the above are non-fiction, except for Tepper’s novel. I have read about or part of all of these books in my theory classes, but never in whole. Summer is a great time to rectify my ignorance. As I go through the books in the following weeks, I will try to post particularly striking passages and my reactions to them for the blogosphere’s perusal.

Look for part two in this series soon!