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Number nine... Number nine... Number nine.....

Welcome to the Planet!  "Feminist Supervixens", both female and male, are invited to come and participate in this discussion of feminism, women's issues, and anything even tangentially related.

This is a regularly-occurring "Feminists' Circle" for Daily Kos, where all the supercool feminist Supervixens can pull up a chair and chat, get things off their chests, and get to know each other.

Everyone is free to bitch (yes, BITCH!) and moan - this forum can be "What's Your Fucking Feminist Problem?!" if you're in that frame of mind - but humor, fun, happy stories and congeniality are encouraged.

Notice to anyone who is NOT a feminist and wants to come here and complain about how bad feminism is, the problems inherent in feminism, etc.: you're welcome to write your own diary on the topic, but we don't want to talk about it here.  That's not what this diary is for.

Previous "episodes" in this diary series have been written by hrh, with guest-host diaries from mem from somerville, Elise, and righteousbabe.  Some more guest-hosts are waiting in the wings.  Feminists who are interested in being a guest-host can email hrh at: feministsupervixens (AT)

OK, some administrative stuff first: in case anyone crashes the diary with intent to start an anti-feminist argument as we've specifically asked people NOT to do - we saw some of that last week - I suggest that the best response is to ignore them.

Invisible Women!

This week I'm sharing a few thoughts on the phenomenon that I call "Invisible Women".  I've been mulling this over for a while and would like to hear your opinions on the subject.

The idea first came up for me when I did some interviews with female folk musicians for an article that was published in 2001.

One woman, a fiddle player who is well-known in the Nordic folk music scene, said:

People have asked me this question for years and years - are there any problems being a female fiddler?  And I have always said, oh no, there's no problem, it's very easy, and it's the same as if I was a man.  But some years ago, I gradually came to understand that I was wrong.  In my family, where I grew up, it was totally natural that you were equal to the man.  And I thought that for such a long time, I didn't even see the signs that showed very early that it wasn't like that. I am one of those who have had the luck to get more well-known, even if I am a woman.  But it has been harder.  And now when you come to the modern folk musicians who play in groups, all our friends, it's easier, but there are still problems that are more subtle.  They are not so obvious, but they are there.  For instance, if you play in a group it's okay if you stick to your role, but if you try to rearrange the tunes or have opinions about things that are more the men's area, then you get problems, even with the young men.  They kind of ignore you.  You say, "Oh, could we do it like this, I hear the music like this in my head," and then there is only a strange silence in the room.  (laughs)  Then you start to think, "Okay, I cannot do this, I am just good at playing."

One problem that we have here in Sweden is the mythology.  For instance, I was playing in one concert with about ten persons and five or six of us were women.  Everybody played very well.  And in the biggest newspaper, the man who wrote about this concert didn't mention one woman.  He said, "Oh, those big men with their big hands coming out from the forest playing this music from deep history..." Like that.  (laughs) He didn't see us!  Very strange!  But it happens, and it happens often.  It's because in our country the picture of the fiddler is very clear, and it's not a woman.  

I thought this was totally bizarre.  How could someone look at a group of musicians and think that they were all men, when several of them were women?

Once that came into my consciousness, I started noticing it more.  For example, when the Democratic veterans running for office were called "Band of Brothers", even though a few of them were women.  That was an egregious example and I diaried about it here - yet some people seemed annoyed that this was even brought up!  

"A Strange Silence in the Room"

I also started thinking about the difficulty women have in getting their points across in a male-dominated group.  In the same vein as the story told by the Swedish fiddle player, I've heard stories about women in meetings - for example, in business - who make a comment or suggestion that gets ignored, but then a male will make a similar comment that gets picked up on and responded to.  Has this happened to any of you?  

Originally posted to hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:05 PM PDT.


How do women get their point across in a male-dominated group?

13%8 votes
55%33 votes
5%3 votes
25%15 votes

| 59 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  sorry I'm late (29+ / 0-)

    Relatives descended upon us on short notice.  Oy!

    I must go clean up the kitchen.  Back soon.

    Yes, there are still FEMINISTS at Daily Kos! Join us in the Supervixens diary every Thursday.

    by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:57:25 PM PDT

  •  I grew up (17+ / 0-)

    as the oldest child in a very indulgent family.  I had no siblings for almost nine years.  My parents were very much like many parents of only children...they thought I was THE child...the smartest, the best, etc...I also grew up in a household of four adults as my grandparents lived with us.  Therefore, I never perceived that there was any difference between my abilities and those of boys.

    For many years, it just didn't dawn on me.  Seriously, I think I was in my 30's before I fully absorbed the fact that according to a large number of people, I was an uppity female.  What do I do about this?  Well, not much...I haven't changed, I just accept the fact and move on.  I do point individual instances out when they occur, but other than that I'm resigned to the idea that there are a lot of people who just aren't going to like me.  Suits me fine...I don't care for many of them, either!

    I think I've passed this spirit down to my children... both my sons and daughters.  That is important to me.

  •  sorry to point this out again (36+ / 0-)

    for people who've already seen it-

    but I wanted to congratulate the Supervixens. Last week we got noticed by the National Organization for Women in their members e-newsletter (bottom left hand corner, under more recommended reading, "Who are You Calling a Women's Issue?")

    so yay supervixens. we = cool.

    "The opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, but fraternity." -Germaine Greer

    by righteousbabe on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:07:50 PM PDT

  •  Success for local women at my university.... (18+ / 0-)

    we were just awarded an Advance Grant from NSF to study why women in Science, Math, Technology and Engineering find it hard to keep moving forward.  We were awarded >1.1 million over the next three years.  We are working on recruiting and retention.  Our hope is to interview women who have left about the problems.  

    Many are in the "ignoring" category.  Not all sexism is overt.  Men think they are asking women to be equally productive and then it turns out they are actually asking them to be more productive to be just as good.  Women, Science and Technology: A Reader in Feminist Science Studies
    edited by Mary Wyer, Donna Cookmeyer, Mary Barbercheck, Hatice Ozturk, Marta Wayne cites the famous Swedish Study shows that women leave science more than men, even after attaining a Ph.D.

    I am a fairly outspoken woman and often feel I am butting in with some groups of men.  This is in spite of having some great male colleagues over the last (gasp) 35 years.  They leave me off the grants a lot.  Luckily I just keep going and sheer hard work sometimes shames them.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:08:29 PM PDT

  •  May I share my current list of pissy peeves? (22+ / 0-)

    Constant mention of the lacking of balls.
    The normalizing of the word 'pussy' as an invective to describe that lack of balls.
    Saying 'she's a man' about any woman whose voice is being heard who doesn't look like that Jolie gal.
    Now that I think about it, that Jolie gal peeves me a little, too, but that's a whole different issue.

  •  When I was 'reeducated' ... (25+ / 0-) the late '60s by feminists who explained to me that feminism wasn't all about the sexual revolution and women's right to have careers in whatever field they wanted, one of the first things I got tuned into was the way many men behave in a political group with women.

    These were the SDS days, and we did a lot of talking (screaming, too, but that's another story). And what I noticed - or was encouraged to observe - was that even when men did shut up to let a woman speak, it wasn't long before a man tried to "explain" to everyone what the woman had "really meant" or repeated pretty much what she had said, as if the idea had originated with him. It was rare that a man tried this on another man.

    I also noticed that, on average, women tended to listen better, and were willing to allow a bit of silence, whereas many men tended to be unable to let something someone said sink in for even two seconds before they were off on a tear.

    Before somebody whacks me, I'm not saying all men were this way in those days, and I'm not saying men in their 40s and 20s today behave the way that men of my generation behaved four decades ago. Lots of people have learned to listen better than they used to, and men seem far more comfortable with women asserting themselves.

  •  it's my understanding (7+ / 0-)

    that the world of classical music remains so sexist, that when people audition for an open chair, they play behind a screen to hide the gender of the player.

    •  Good to hear (5+ / 0-)

      someone actually taking measures to help compensate for the sexism. Glad their conscious of it.

    •  I'm not sure about this, but there was an (5+ / 0-)

      experiment in which screens were set up, and many more women were considered good candidates for jobs.

      •  And if you look at most violin sections, (6+ / 0-)

        you'll see that they're very predominantly female.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

        by gkn on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:32:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's neat. How did you find this out? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise, rgdurst

          I wonder why that is so?  The violin is a woman's thing?  I'm going to resist exploring the metaphors of who plays whom...

          •  Look at high school orchestras. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tryptamine, CSI Bentonville

            There are more females interested in music performance from the very beginning. In my experience, parents are also more likely to enroll daughters rather than sons in piano lessons, etc.  

            So, I think a lot of the female predominance starts very early in the process.  Of course, the low salary of symphony musicians also probably discourages many from choosing this profession - particularly people who will be the main provider for a family.  And such people are still more likely to be men.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

            by gkn on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 11:17:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I've heard that's often the practice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, SnowCountry

      There's a common prejudice that women don't have the necessary "attack".  

      From what I've heard, in classical music, the gender problem relates to conducting.  There are very few women conductors.  Also certain instruments - there was that infamous incident many years ago in which Rolf Smedvig told a master class that women didn't have the power to play the trumpet.

      But in fact, the world of classical music isn't as sexist as the other "worlds" of music.

      In classical music, there have been world-famous women instrumentalists for decades.  Not so in rock, blues, and pop.

      "You agitatin' my dots?"

      by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 11:01:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Women conductors have had a tough time of it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, SnowCountry

        Women composers have had an even worse time.

        •  but at least women composers can do their work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, oculus

          even if nobody ever performs it.  They can be creative on their own.  Conductors can't.

          The conductor problem ties into the problem of women not being able to get their agenda across in a male-dominated group.  Unfortunately, male-dominated groups tend not to want a woman telling them what to do.  This is still a big issue in our society.

          Yes, there are still FEMINISTS on Daily Kos! Join the fabulous Supervixens every Thurs. night.

          by hrh on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 07:34:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I doubt the women composers would agree. (0+ / 0-)

            You are quite right on the women conductors though.  Reviews in Berlin newspapers of a recent woman guest conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic commented almost exclusively on her long, swinging hair and stiletto heels.

            Then consider the plight of the female conductor recently appointed to the Baltimore Philharmonic.  Orchestra members were quite vocal in their disagreement with that decision.  She previously was in charge of the Colorado Symphony and at Bournemouth and had guest conducted for many renowned orchestras.  

      •  The rock thing makes me crazy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spit, tryptamine, hrh

        Why is it that any whiny-ass male can sing to a guitar and it's "rock" and they get a contract, but when strong women make the same music, it's always another genre?  Bikini Kill isn't punk, it's "riotgrrl."  Lita Ford was "glam." Etc, etc.

        OR, if the woman wants to be a real rocker, she has to have a strong male presence, like in Garbage or the Pretenders.  It's either that, or use her sexuality all the time like the aforementioned Lita.  

        I went to a concert a month ago that was thrash metal, and it was all this over-testosteroned bullshit and moshing to the point that it was really interfering in the concert.  I would like a more female presence to stop that.  Like when L7 would tell all the moshers to stfu and let the women in the front.

        There are plenty of us female rock fans all over the place, it's about time they cater to us for a change.

        •  great question! (0+ / 0-)

          It brings up all kinds of stuff.  Maybe I'll do the next diary about that topic.

          Rock is such a male style - not only male-dominated, but stereotypically male, with all that aggression, arrogance, loudness, and dangerous "living on the edge" thing going on.  It has a lot in common with pro sports, in that way.

          Women choosing that path have a difficult time, not only because of having to figure out how to fit into the marketing machine (sex sells) but in their music.  What is rock music when it's created by women?  Is it a derivative of the "real thing" as defined by men (with the implication of being somehow inferior), or is it something different?  

          Yes, there are still FEMINISTS on Daily Kos! Join the fabulous Supervixens every Thurs. night.

          by hrh on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 02:31:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Many musicians have told me, though, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that it is pretty easy to detect a woman's step from a man's in this situation.  Still--a good idea.  It hasn't been all that many years that women have played in major orchestras.

    •  I think you could easily say (0+ / 0-)

      "the world of music remains so sexist...."  For instance, I've been co-editor of a webzine about music for almost 3 years; we've had probably about 40-50 different writers, only 3 of whom were female (not including myself).

      If you ask me, the arts in general are a good gauge of society, since they tend to be products of our subconcsious, and it's hard when you are deeply involved in that world not to notice how women artists or the representation of women in art tends to be either neglected, confined to a few specific stereotypes, and/or not from a woman's point of view.

      "The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

      by tryptamine on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 10:01:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tune into WII-FM! (12+ / 0-)

    Hi all,

    I've found that a big way to become not-quite-so-invisible is to say some variant of "what's in it for me?"  Or, just "no."  I used to be afraid of saying these things, but now that I've got a few more people skills under my belt, they're getting easier.  

    High-fives to all other supervixens out there....

    "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." -- George Orwell

    by Susan1138 on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:28:24 PM PDT

  •  Lesbian enclave (11+ / 0-)

    in the south seas... hmm...

    I spent a little while during high school at an all girls boarding school. It was astounding how different the atmosphere was, largely because there was none of the invisibility effect. Even weirder was when I (cough) got kicked out (cough), and wound up in the local co-ed public high school. It's amazing how often girls' opinions, ideas, thoughts -- either went unsought by the teachers or were either ignored or co-opted by the boys in the class. It was like a whole 'nuther universe.

    I've noticed it since in a huge variety of circumstances -- it's a common thing still, so common that it's frankly easy for a lot of people to not notice. The worst I've seen is in my science classes (not always the faculty's fault, BTW), but also in hipster/indie rock circles (pretty bad there, too), in meetings with casual friends, all kinds of stuff.

    Most of my close friends are feminists and/or big queers (I really do live in a very queer bubble), so it still feels like a big difference when I go out into the rest of the world.

  •  So, where is this South Seas (8+ / 0-)

    lesbian enclave?  Just wondering.  

  •  I've gotta admit... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, tjb22, begone, fiddlingnero

    Sometimes I fawn over them and get them to pay attention...and sometimes I'm as domineering and bitchy as I can be in order to get my point across.

    It depends on the situation.

    I also have to say that I guess I've never really thought about or heard of "the invisible woman" phenomenon...or if I did, I forgot about it. I guess that's saying something...

    I can't say I've ever felt invisible...but I can say that I feel like women at my school have their work-related accomplishments ignored most of the time.

    •  I'm in a weird position (4+ / 0-)

      because I'm often "one of the guys" with my old straight guy friends. So they generally pay attention to me.

      What's weird is seeing the difference between how I am interacted with vs. how other women, even women with whom they've been friends for longer, are interacted with, at least by some of them. Again, totally stark difference.

      Small sample. FWIW.

    •  Women don't always take credit... (6+ / 0-)

      for their accomplishments.  We feel this is bragging.  Men take credit better (not uniformly though).  We should try to emulate that aspect.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:41:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was actually a study (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that I came across in researching some stuff for school a few semesters ago (which I would link to if it weren't subscription-only) that determined that a possible part of the reason women still earn less than men is that we tend to consider other aspects of the job besides just pay when evaluating our own satisfaction in it.  In other words, women tend to value a non-monetary reward for our work, such as something as simple as a "good work!" from the boss or coworkers, as much as or more than being paid what (frankly) we are worth, while men often don't feel appreciated without raises and bonuses.

        "The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

        by tryptamine on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:02:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting, but I wonder if we're in a strong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, tryptamine, murrayewv

          enough position to think of reasons other than the stark injustice of it.

          In my world, the academic world, guys have had control for a very long time, and their standards dominate.  They've determined what gets rewarded and what doesn't.  E.g., they've decided that work that benefits the institution directly is merely "service" and doesn't desire the rewards that their preferred career enhancing activities do.

          And so I'm disadvantaged if I care to work to make my institution a better one??  

          •  That's definitely (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            murrayewv, JPete

            one of the problems that I see, and part of the complication that comes with that study: which do we sacrifice, more money or a better workplace?  And why do we have to sacrifice one over the other anyway?  Can't we do both?

            Going back to righteous babe's diary from last week, this is another example of why feminism encompasses all sorts of different issues.  If labor had a much stronger say in our country right now, I think inequities like this could be worked on much more effectively, and therefore my feminism means I support labor causes as well...

            "The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

            by tryptamine on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:21:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You fawn over men at work?  

      And do you equate domineering with bitchy?

      If women at your school have their work related accomplishments ignored, you don't feel that they're invisible?

      I'm not trying to be mean, but do you hear how you sound?

      Strong/domineering equals bitchy.

      One of the worst stereotypes of women.

      •  I was using the terms used in the poll. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And here's the thing about where I work...many of the women who work there are fairly fundamentalist. So, for example. The Chair of the Humanities division is a woman. When I make suggestions, they're ignored. When Robbie, my officemate, makes the same suggestions, she listens and they're brilliant ideas. The men do this as well of course...with a few exceptions.

        I guess I should have explained better. I was distracted when I first got here. The women have work related accomplishments ignored...but their home-life accomplishments are celebrated and called out. So, last week at our faculty in-service three women were called out and congratulated...1 for giving birth, 1 for being pregnant, and 1 for getting married (and the comment there was, "thank goodness for that! Now her last name will be easier to spell!"). So, the women aren't ignored...they're celebrated as breeders and wives and placed in other submissive roles. Not quite the same as being invisible.

        As for strong/domineering = bitchy, I think that's a lot of ways...only I don't see it as a bad thing. I have NO problem calling myself a bitch. I'm quite proud of it actually...because I see nothing wrong with it.

        And I sort of equated "fawn" with being overly polite....I guess. Depending on the situation and how quickly I need something...sometimes killing with kindness works best over being bitchy.

        •  My brother, who had an AA degree in computer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, Elise

          science, worked for Bell Labs.  He was disappointed when, at the monthly luncheons, the lower echelon employees, such as himself, were congratulated for personal, non-work accomplishments, while the upper echelon employees were congratulated for work accomplishments.  

  •  Hornet's Nest Time (0+ / 0-)

    I am male and consider myself a feminist.  This said, one of the most fascinating polemics within the feminist community is the argument over pornography (good, bad, indifferent).  Anything new on that front (from a rhetorical/cultural criticism pov)? Illinois is BLUE...let's keep it that way

    by lubarsh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:47:26 PM PDT

    •  Not that I've seen (8+ / 0-)

      I think everybody got tired of fighting, honestly. Little spats still pop up here and there, but for the most part the Great Feminist Porn Wars seem to have reached a ceasefire.

      To step into a hornet's nest of my own, I actually get a little disturbed by the current direction in the "younger, hipper" feminism that I see that IMO confuses independence/standing on one's own two feet in a relationship with avoiding commitment and treating sex for its own sake as a revolutionary act in itself (which I suppose it can be, but isn't, necessarily or even usually).

      I don't think I'm explaining well. It's something I'm still fleshing out in my head, I guess. I view it as being very much stuck in the same old framework, but coming at it from a different direction.

      •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spit, tryptamine

        So it's the difference between owning your own body and reproductive destiny versus using the feminist label to avoid messy relationship stuff like love, feelings, and attachment? Illinois is BLUE...let's keep it that way

        by lubarsh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:11:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll have to think about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tryptamine, lubarsh

          whether that's exactly the distinction, but I think that's the right track. Certainly everybody should be comfortable and happy with their sexuality, and do what feels right to them, but independence doesn't mean, for anybody, that they don't need people sometimes, and that relationships can't be really incredibly fulfilling even while you have to be careful that they don't become too limiting.

          Dunno. Like I said, I'm still not quite able to put my finger on it.

      •  my sense of it is (0+ / 0-)

        that there's too much emphasis on "woman as sexual being".  Women are all about being sexually attractive, sexually active, and so on.  Like Huck Finn says, "I been there before."

        "You agitatin' my dots?"

        by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 11:41:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's a combination (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of things that are bugging me, and that's why I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it.

          Because you're exactly right -- there's a huge amount of focus on sex, how great sex is, how sexy women are (trying to make that on their own terms) how we should all be having more sex, whatever. And a lot of it is IMO necessary because sex has for so long been either something shameful for women or something they should focus on to please men. But there is something in it that both winds up on the same old theme of women's value as sex and that winds up feeling, from the outside at least, a lot like just another level of outside expectation. I have friends who are shocked and dismayed that I don't own any sex toys (things are &$^@!$ expensive!).

          (I say from the outside because both I haven't seen this take root as well among lesbians, or its form is different at least, and because I'm in a relationship, so I don't have to deal with too much of the pressure on single women that this is really about).

          The other thing that plays in in my mind, though, is a bit more general and has to do with the idea that we're all desperately striving now to show how Not Co-dependent we are, if that makes sense. Which again, has a purpose -- for a long time, women have been utterly focused on the needs of everyone around them, defining themselves according to others. That's a real problem. At the same time, though, we've (and this is a large "we" that includes IMO the psychological establishment) completely pretended for a while now that loneliness -- real, honest to god loneliness -- doesn't exist or is a sign somehow of weakness, of a failure to be independent enough. Which is BS, so far as I'm concerned -- you've got to take care of yourself, but humans are social animals and we crave interaction and closeness.

          Anyway, my sense of it, I guess, that it's yet again becoming one of those places where rather than hammer on the central points -- women should own their sexuality, women should own their destinies, however you want to put it -- there's another tendancy to make assumptions about how those things are done, and to almost cast a judgement based on a set of behaviors that don't have those inherent meanings in the first place.

          There's a whole feminist/hipster thing going on that is kind of fascinating, but that frustrates the crap out of me sometimes. Don't get me started on the incredibly gendered clothing -- which is again fine on the surface (hell, wear whatever you want), but has developed a swirl of meaning that I sometimes don't find terribly positive.

          Dunno. I processed a bit in my sleep, I think, but I still feel like I'm missing some vital part of the thing.

    •  Issue coopted by the Right wing religious.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, lubarsh

      conservatives, who usually don't like women to do more than tend the hearth and children.  

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:06:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beyond the Co-op (0+ / 0-)

        and all the baggage therein, have the Great Porn wars truly ended or are there still two camps with a porous DMZ in between? Illinois is BLUE...let's keep it that way

        by lubarsh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:13:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that the 'Great Porn Wars' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          may be like the Wizard of Oz.  People have invested so much energy in the concept, but when ultimately revealed, there isn't much there.

          The problem is that whenever women speak out and say "We're not just fucktoys, you know," someone somewhere will interpret that as "sex-hating", "man-hating", etc.

          "You agitatin' my dots?"

          by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 11:55:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Also (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            with all that noise involved, I always get the sense that most of us have (and have always had) more nuanced views of porn than wound up being represented by either "side" in the porn wars. I'm not bothered by porn, I'm bothered by objectification -- there are perfectly healthy ways to be attracted to people, even people in porn. On the other hand, there is such a thing as unhealthy attraction, too, and some porn certainly does feed that (not that there's much that can really be done directly about it, IMO; I view it as more of an effect than a cause).

            Dunno. Maybe it's just me, but I personally get sick of "both" sides when the little spats start up. I get the sense that quite a few people feel that way. Like they never exactly stopped fighting, but the majority of us stopped giving them so much attention.

    •  I especially love (0+ / 0-)

      men on men porn.  (g)

      Only kidding.

      •  Not a fan. However (0+ / 0-)

        The male gay porn critique seems less about power/control and more about it's importance to the community as a normalizing tool (forgive the pun) Illinois is BLUE...let's keep it that way

        by lubarsh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:19:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, TiaRachel, lubarsh

          my comment wasn't about 'gay' porn.

          I just know how much guys are into girl on girl porn, so I made my gratuitous remark.  

          It's one of the things about porn that bothers me.  Those women aren't really lesbians, cause they usually have a guy come in for the coup de grace, so to speak.

      •  We used to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        rent it out at my old gay bookstore job. I always thought it would be fun to take a bunch of it home and write the Lesbian Reviews of all the gay boy porn.

        Fact is, lots of lesbians rented it because the lesbian stuff is both largely lacking and kind of lame. Gay boy porn is way better than straight porn, IMO.

    •  These days, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, tryptamine

      I'm likely to be OK with erotica so long as its presented using REAL women.  I admit to being greatly offended by much in the American porno world today...airbrushed models with fake everythings who all are made to look exactly the same.

      The other night, my husband came across a site in which there were several photos of REAL women at a "clothing optional" beach in Europe.  I didn't find these depictions troublesome at all...

  •  May I please ask a question? (5+ / 0-)

    I also started thinking about the difficulty women have in getting their points across in a male-dominated group.  In the same vein as the story told by the Swedish fiddle player, I've heard stories about women in meetings - for example, in business - who make a comment or suggestion that gets ignored, but then a male will make a similar comment that gets picked up on and responded to.  Has this happened to any of you?  

    Before my question, I have to say that even as a guy I've had people make similar comments to mine that got picked up on. That's probably a universal experience that is universally frustrating.

    Anyway, my question is do you think its any harder for a woman to get her point of view across in a male dominated group than it is for a man to get his opinion across in a female dominated group? I only ask because, for some reason, I'm always afraid to talk in a room full of girls. It's like they're always waiting for me to say something stupid before they even know I'm prone to saying stupid things.

    It can be very disconcerting is all I'm saying.


  •  One time (12+ / 0-)

    when I was working as a banker, a group of us went to a very large, well known company to look into using their software.

    There were about 8 in our group, the majority of us woemen.  

    The company had about the same number making the presentation, all of whom were men.

    Anyway, the first thing I noticed was they put their hands out to shake to the men in our group, but not the women.  Bad sign number one.  The second sign I noticed was while making the presentation, they kept making eye contact with the few males in our group, as if it was them they needed to convince.  When I asked them a question, they addressed their answer to the guy sitting next to me.

    This was an all-day presentation, and I was irate by the time I left there.  Because they assumed that the women in our group were support, and it was the men who would be making the decision.  Little did they know that the men were actually the support.

    I was so offended that I gave an extremely poor report on their performance, even though their product was quite good.  And I made it clear to my boss how offended I was.  

    Well, maybe because my boss was a she, she made it clear to them how offended I'd been, and I got several apologies from them.  We still didn't give them the business though, and knowing that company, I'd guess there's little changed there since then.

    But that feeling of invisibility for women is still there.  A woman I work with just went to buy a car, and they told her to bring the hubby in.

    Just unbelievable.

    I mentioned last week how important it is to men in a professional situation to have a good, firm handshake.  It's a very social thing.  That's why, at least to me, it's so important to shake hands with people.  Frankly, it's a power statement, saying I'm your equal.  And women need to do it more, even with other women, in business.  Make it a habit.

    •  For years, I've made it a point (5+ / 0-)

      to extend my hand and give a firm handshake. There was a time when it was considered impolite for a man to offer to shake hands with a woman. The woman was to offer first. It became a habit for me, and one that seems to increase the amount of respect I get -- at least sometimes ;)

    •  I have a strong handshake too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, tryptamine, moiv, Chincoteague

      I've noticed that it freaks some people out.  

      Sometimes I shake hands with a man and he starts out with the dead-fish handshake and when he realizes I have a strong handshake, he suddenly switches to the Firm Manly Grip.  My impression has never been that this is an attempt to armwrestle me to show dominance or whatever - it's more like the guy realizes I'm using a different vocabulary than many other women, and he shifts into it.

      About the "support staff" aspect you mention - I remember the story about Bella Abzug wearing a big hat all the time - supposedly it was to set her apart from the secretaries.

      "You agitatin' my dots?"

      by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:49:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My kung-fu grip (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Chincoteague

        I have a firm handshake as well.  Men are a little freaked out at first, for sure, but then it's weird - it's like they think, "well, she knows how to execute a professional handshake, she must be okay".  It has been my perception that it gains me a bit more respect.  

      •  I hate it when men (and women) (8+ / 0-)

        give the dead fish handshake, because what they're saying (in handshake jargon) is they think you're weak (usually the men) and women do it because they're hesitant about power.

        I agree, there's a whole vocabulary about handshakes.  

        I always remember RoseMarie Greco, who was president of our bank, telling the story of going to a conference once of bankers.  She went up to a group of men, and a couple of them gave her their coffee orders.  She went and got it, and as she gave them their coffee, she introduced herself as the president of Fidelity Bank.  I thought that was a pretty classy way of handling it, rather than anger.

        I vaguely remember hearing that about Bella.  She was a card.

    •  Once I was interviewing people for a professional (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, tryptamine, moiv, hrh, Chincoteague

      finance position in my department.  One guy, older than me, came in for an interview.  He was extremely well prepared, almost too prepared---he had brought a 3 ring binder filled with research on our company.  But while his resume was ok, I thought he was quite overbearing, almost to the point of obnoxiousness.  I knew he wouldn't fit in with my other employees (mostly female accountant types.)  

      But what really killed his chances was that after I interviewed him, I took him in to meet my office controller (male.)  Apparently this guy figured the controller was the one making the decisions, and actually had the nerve to diss me a bit to him.  Don't remember exactly what he said, but it had to do with me being female and maybe not assertive, something like that.  Not that I would've hired him anyway, but the controller told me what he had said, and too bad for the applicant that the hiring decision was totally mine (I just had the applicants meet the controller as a courtesy.)

      It gave me great pleasure to shoot the guy down and not give him a second interview.

      By the way, I have found that women become much more invisible when they reach middle age.  I am 49 now.  Much of my career I was the only woman in meetings, etc., and I sometimes struggled with being taken seriously (I was actually kind of cute, back then.)  But now that I'm middle aged and not so cute, I just feel completely invisible.  Sometimes it's like I'm not even in the room, you know?

    •  When I was shopping for new car, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the male salesperson asked if I needed a four door because I sold real estate.  Another fellow asked, as I was walking away, if I needed to ask my husband before I bought a car.  Needless to say, I bought from a different dealer.

  •  more on 'getting heard by men' (5+ / 0-)

    I talked to an old friend, a rock drummer, about this issue:

    So how do you get your point across in the band?

    It's rough - it's very tricky navigation in these waters. [laughter] I will say, "Hey, wanna try it like this?" And that sounds like an easy out. What I'm really saying is, [barks the order] TRY IT LIKE THIS!! [laughter] So you see, I'm in a bind here. My nice voice sounds like a way out for them, and my stern voice sounds like I'm nagging - so what voice can I use that's going to make this effective? How the HELL am I going to get my point across? HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO DO WHAT I WANT? The thing that I've resorted to many, many times over - and they'll tell you this is true - is to not care that I'm being a bitch, and to insist on my way, and let them deal with their feelings about my bitchiness on their own. It just doesn't matter what they think of me. In a way, that's a "boy thing" to not mind. And that's a really good thing to take on to yourself as a female. It's like, "Well, what does it matter if he thinks I'm crazy? What does it matter if he thinks I'm a bitch? It doesn't. He's still working with me. Something's still happening here." That is a really refreshing thing that I have gotten out of going over to their side and squirreling around and seeing what I could find for myself. "Oh that's right, it doesn't matter what they think! If I have to be bitchy, then I have to be bitchy!" and I thank the guys for that. It's a good example. And women can have it. They can HAVE IT!

    Why doesn't this happen more often? Why do we knuckle under?

    There's a big fear under there - "If they think badly of me, then they will abandon me." They will push you out into the village square and cut off all your hair and take away your clothes and humiliate you! Huge, huge fear in there. And it's just not true. That's not gonna happen. If they shun you, and tell you to get the hell out of the rehearsal room and tell you they never want to see your face again - you're still YOU. And you didn't need to be there. They weren't the guys for you to be in a band with. Go find some other guys. But back to getting my ideas across - I've discovered that men, at least my two, are very impressed with final product. In general, they are not as interested in thinking out loud and collaborating as they are in the end result. If I can deliver the object itself, I have less frustration in communicating what I want. This would be true regardless of gender, but the differences in styles of communication make the inevitable vagueness even more difficult when crossing gender. I now have a computer program with which I can track entire songs using midi instruments - horrible sounds, but fine for demonstration purposes, and I can also print out scores. That really clears things up and gets me a lot of respect. You know, it's like, "Here's the junk - I made the junk - now you play the junk." Instead of "Hey guys, I have this idea, it goes something like this..." Then we enjoy learning the music together instead of fighting about talking about ways of talking about talking about music. [laughter] Jeez!

    I thought that last observation was very interesting - that men are more focused on "final product" and not on "sharing ideas".

    What do the Supervixens think?

    "You agitatin' my dots?"

    by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:17:16 PM PDT

  •  I've been surrounded by men (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hrh, JPete, begone, anais

    a lot in my life, and I find the best way to be heard in large groups of them is to be as loud, as confident, and as funny as possible.  

    It also seems to help, in my college classes, to know what you're talking about and to have a really good grasp on the subject.  It seems like so many women in my classes say "ditzy" things, not necessarily because they aren't intelligent but because they are held back by that age-old expectation that women aren't very smart and therefore don't say intelligent things.  But those of us who do speak our mind and are unabashedly thoughtful and smart seem to get everyone's attention a lot more.

    "The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

    by tryptamine on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:17:55 PM PDT

    •  Oh yes, and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, hrh, JPete

      don't spend any more time with men who won't listen to you than you absolutely have to.

      "The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

      by tryptamine on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:23:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't think what it was, but something this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, hrh, begone

      week reminded me of how strong the lesson was:  do not be more clever than the men!

      It's probably nearly 40 years later for me, and I've had to struggle against that all this time.

      •  that's the lesson of 'The Fascinating Girl' (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spit, tryptamine, JPete

        the book that an ex-Mormon acquaintance told me about.  Basically it's "act a little bit less capable and clever than the man", and you'll be
        "fascinating" and rope him in.

        The problem is, I'm not interested in guys who are worried about that kind of nonsense.

        "You agitatin' my dots?"

        by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:15:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Have to go to bed now, but wanted to stop by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, moiv, hrh

    ... to say "Hi." Thanks so much for this diary, hrh, I hope it'll become a regular feature.

    I went to an alumnae-only conference at Yale in 2004—it was superb, although in one way a little discouraging to see how long a road still lies ahead. Back in the 70s we thought gender equality and relations would all be straightened out by now. {:o/

    •  hey, come back next week! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm so sorry about the lateness this week.  I had grand plans of posting it early....

      So you were at Yale in the '70s?  Wow.  Tell us what that was like, when you have a chance.

      "You agitatin' my dots?"

      by hrh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:52:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When men do it, it's a good thing.... (8+ / 0-)
    My favorite is when men get praised for doing something women are often criticized for! I once worked at a place where one of my male colleagues arranged his schedule to be home with his children 2 days a week, and this was considered a great thing--"look how well he balances his home and his work."  

    But, any time a woman did something similar, she was criticized for letting children interfere with work.

    •  AMEN! (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, tryptamine, saluda, moiv, hrh, TiaRachel, oculus

      My husband does his share around the house and holy hell in a handbag... "oooh he made you dinner, and helps with housework.  What a wonderful husband."

      Yes, he is great but, what is the big deal.  I do it all the time and I don't get a hero biscuit.

      It drives me absofuckinglutely nuts!  What, its a big deal he made food and picked up his stuff?

      Sorry, full day with the mother-in-law.

      Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

      by Sleeps in Trees on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:49:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ugh. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, tryptamine, moiv, fiddlingnero

      A few  years ago, in my childrens' elementary school there was a young man who was the custodial parent of four young children.  He was praised up the wazoo for simply caring for his children.  While I appreciate the fact that he did, indeed, care for his children, it really rubbed me the wrong way.  The rest of us were women who were caring for our children in the same manner...whether married or single.  Somehow, though, what he did was considered "heroic" while our efforts were just accepted as the norm.

  •  Goodnight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hrh, Sleeps in Trees

    Fabulous Femmes!  C-ya next week.

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