Developing Authority and Being a Parent

I’m wondering whether it’s just me or…whether most women who never become mothers simply never develop an authoritative manner.  Men have it from the get go: they are automatically thought, by themselves as well as by others, to be authorities, and early on, they develop both the habit of telling others what to do and the expectation that they’ll be listened to.

Women don’t.  (Unless they’re deluded.)   At least, not until they become a parent.  Only then do they gain some authority.  Only then do they start telling someone what to do and expecting to be listened to. 

Sure, the authority they now have extends only to their kid, but it leaks out.  As it does with men.  When you talk with authority in your house, to your wife or kids, you don’t suddenly ‘turn it off’ when you leave the house.  It’s an acquired manner, a way of carrying yourself, a way of presenting yourself that becomes part of yourself. 

I’ve never acquired that manner.  I’m not in the habit of telling anyone what to do.  I don’t expect to be listened to.  So, despite my breadth and depth of knowledge and skill, I don’t have any authority.


More reasons not to celebrate being Canadian…

We’re barely in the top quarter when it comes to the gender gap in wages (we’re fourth worst).

We’re barely in the top quarter when it comes to the gender gap in health (it’s safer to be pregnant in Estonia than in Canada).

Speaking of which, Read the rest of this entry »

Political Science – A Costly Misnomer

Science is the pursuit of knowledge according to the scientific method: hypotheses must be testable, and results must be verifiable by replication.  Obviously, the more quantifiable something is, the more accurate and precise its measurement can be, and the more accurate and precise something is, the more testable and verifiable it is – it’s hard to test and then verify an uncertain or vague something-or-other.  So the definition of science really comes down to quantification.  Well, that and matter – only material things can be quantified.

Political science is the study of government organization and political systems.  These things are not quantifiable.  It would seem, then, that political science should have been named political art. 

So?  Well, one, Read the rest of this entry »

Take Her Seriously

I used to think that the problem with rape was that women weren’t being explicit – they weren’t actually saying no, partly because men weren’t actually asking.  Perhaps because there’s (still?) something shameful about sex that makes people reluctant to come right out and talk about it.  Or maybe that would destroy the romance.  Whatever.

I still think Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Frankenstein, meet Dr. Spock

Thanks to genetic research, we may soon see people with the money to do so making sure their kids are born-to-succeed – parents paying to guarantee their kids have the right stuff.  I’m not talking about a straightened spine or a functional optic nerve.  I’m talking about designer kids: those made with healthy bodies, intelligent minds, and perhaps a certain specific ability to boot. Read the rest of this entry »

Marriage: A Sexist Affair

Marriage, by its very (traditional) definition, is a sexist affair: it involves one of each sex, one male and one female.  And I suppose this is because, traditionally, the purpose of marriage was family: to start a family, to have and raise children.

This view is fraught with questionable assumptions, glaring inconsistencies, and blatant errors.  I’ll give one of each: Read the rest of this entry »

On Excluding MtFs from a Radfem Site

As soon as I discovered I Blame the Patriarchy, I thought “I have found the mothership.”  Alas, almost immediately, it powered down.  Since I loved the discussion as much as Twisty’s brilliant posts, I decided to set up a new island for the blametariat: Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist.

Unfortunately, unwittingly, I declared, in addition to the ‘No Dudes’ rule, a ‘No MtFs’ rule.  It seemed logical.  The reason for the first was to minimize dudely mansplaining, and I reasoned that MtFs, having similarly been raised to be men, would be almost as likely to feel and exhibit that ‘entitlement’.  Little did I know.

The rule was met mostly with disapproval, so I posted about the issue in order to open discussion on the matter.  But the matter has been discussed to death on IBTP (I realized this later—there’s one thread there with 772 comments), so posting about it on HYIAF is just inflammatory.  (And upending a barrel of worms on the beach is not a way to attract people.)  So I decided to move it here.  Because it’s an important issue and should, therefore, be discussed.  By everyone.

So, what follows: my original rules (for HYIAF, not this site), my discussion-opening post (excerpts), and then (most of) my explanation (for a revision to the rules). Read the rest of this entry »

Why aren’t there any great women Xs?

A new (for me) answer to the classic question, Why aren’t there any great women Xs, occurred to me when I saw a website for a small company of composers specializing in music for dance troupes (all four composers were male) shortly after a male friend of mine confessed that if he wasn’t getting paid to do it (write a book – he’s an academic with a university position), he probably wouldn’t, and another male friend confessed confusion at the idea of composing something just out of his soul (everything he’d written had been for pay – soundtracks for video games and what have you). Until then, the answer to that age-old question seemed to go to merit and/or opportunity.  Now I’m thinking it goes to money. Read the rest of this entry »

Rules of Combat

Why are there rules of combat?  Rules apply to civil interactions and games.  Combat is neither.

Rules give the impression of fairness, decency, civility.  They thus make war permissible.

But if war is really about defending your loved ones, wouldn’t you do whatever is necessary?  Wouldn’t you ‘fight dirty’ if that’s what it takes?

Rules of combat suggest, therefore, that war isn’t about defending your loved ones.  Or even your land, your water, your resources.  As Allan G. Johnson points out, in the best analysis of men and war I’ve ever read (The Gender Knot, p.138-142), “war allows men to reaffirm their masculine standing in relation to other men….  It is an opportunity for men to bond with other men—friend and foe alike—and reaffirm their common masculine warrior codes.  If war was simply about self-sacrifice in the face of monstrous enemies who threaten men’s loved ones, how do we make sense of the long tradition of respect between wartime enemies, the codes of ‘honor’ that bind them together even as they bomb and devastate civilian populations that consist primarily of women and children?”  Good question.  So (and this explains the response to women in the military) war is really all about men getting together and hating, hurting, killing women.

Same old same old.

The Waiting-for-the-Elevator Thing

So I’m sure this has happened at least once to every woman.  You’re standing in front of an elevator, waiting for it, and a man comes up and presses one of the buttons.

Oh is that what those are for?  I saw the two buttons, one with an upward-pointing arrow and one with a downward-pointing arrow, and I understand that elevators go up and down, but you know, I just never put the two together!!

I was just waiting for it to know that I was standing there.

I thought I might try to push one of the buttons, but then I thought, no, I’m just not strong enough.

So I was just standing there.

Or maybe I did push one of the buttons (you know, I just don’t know?), but the system doesn’t recognize buttons pushed by people with uteruses.  Which is why you had to push a button.  You’ve got a penis!

So good thing you happened to come by!  I could still be standing there!