Pagan Blog Project: Insidious Sexism within the Liberated Pagan community

I don’t normally wear my angry feminist hat in public. I have found that it a) can’t change a moron’s mind and b) has more of a backlash from the “f” word than it does good. But I have been noticing a trend within my pagan community and can’t stay silent any longer.

How many of you have a Facebook page? I know, Facebook is a huge waste of time. But we are still addicted and it still has its uses.

Today, I logged on to see this:

This photo had been “liked” by a friend of mine, an educated, liberal, feminist, pagan man. And this isn’t the first time. How about this quote that was under a picture of a female soldier:

While you carry a purse, she carries a 65lb rucksack. While you shop with your girlfriends, she cleans her rifle with her battle buddies. When you wear heels, she wears her combat boots. Instead of the make-up that you wear on your face to make yourself look pretty, she paints her face for camouflage. While you kiss your husband goodbye for the day, she kisses hers goodbye for the year. Don’t forget about the women who serve.

There are a million more I could post, but I won’t. My point here is that this is all sexist. It is!!. Its cloaked in terms of liberalism and feminism and if I were to ever mention to my male friends that they are being sexist, they would be horrified and probably accuse me of being too sensitive.

But these are sexist. They perpetuate the same stereotypes as more archaic forms of sexism. The picture of Thelma? There is the idea of sexual availability, access to even the most asexual women. There is the idea of a man’s ideal body hidden under the “nerdy” exterior. There is the idea of male approved sex available as well, in the idea of “dirty” sex. I am gonna tell you straight out: most forms of porn that involve “dirty” sex also involve female debasement in some way shape or form. Not to say that all “dirty” sex is like this, I’m a huge proponent of BDSM and fetish’s. But the idea offered here is that this woman is available to anyone who asks, at any time.

And there is still the divide of dichotomies: nerdy vs stupid, curvy vs skinny, Madonna vs whore.

As for the quote… really???????????? So there are only two types of women, the ones who shop and carry purses and spend money, and the type who perform traditional male tasks like going off to war? What about the single mom who hasn’t spent money on herself in years? The college student living off of Ramen noodles? The woman trapped in an abusive/arraigned/dead/unhappy relationship? What about every woman who isn’t a part of that image painted? Yes, I am pro-female military. I am a veteran. But I am also pro-women. So if you really want to talk about women in war, lets talk about the rape statistics, the racism in portraying all female military as white and pretty, the harassment, the debasement, the guilt a woman feels when she leaves her children or spouse behind, the fact that lesbians just NOW got the right to kiss their SO’s goodbye and hello in public.

I’m just tired of it. I don’t want to be told what kind of woman to be. I don’t want intelligence linked to how I look or how sexually available I am. I don’t want to be “bad” or “shallow” if I shop or eat food or wear makeup.

I just want it to stop.

Advertisements

26 Comments

  1. Some very thought provoking points brought up here – some that I was well educated on and feel the same way you do on such subjects as porn and the Madonna vs whore complex and porn. Some points hadn’t occurred to me before – this case with Thelma.

    I too am a veteran who served as an MP and later reclassed to a Chaplain’s Assistant – I can definitely sympathize with the sexual harassment (from personal experience), rape, unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence (with both servicemen and spouses), and dealing with females and with issues at home and with their family as they ready to deploy.

    Thank you for writing and sharing this.

  2. Tana says:

    May I say: AMEN?
    I am very tired and annoyed by all the telling people how they should be thing. (Which is true for all kinds of people, all sexes, all genders, everything. There is an -ism for each group.) Stop it. Leave people be. Period. If you are nice to me, I’m nice to you. If you are an asshole, I don’t like you. It *is* that easy.

    1. Raan says:

      🙂 Amen Sister. Sing it loud and proud.

  3. Laurel says:

    Excellent points! It is great to see other feminists who support fetishes/BDSM talking about this type of sexism. Unfortunately there seems to be this meme going around that those of us who fall into this category are all about “fun feminism” and we don’t care about women’s safety, nor are willing to critique mainstream porn and the like.

  4. Raan says:

    Lol “fun feminism”, as if this is fun to us. Its about being who we are, without allowing culture to dictate it.

  5. I thought Madonna was “the whore?”

    I am also left to wonder if you would have found similar comments where the gender was switched to men to have been equally as sexist?

    “While you carry a briefcase, he carries a 65lb rucksack. While you hit the bar with your guy friends, he cleans his rifle with his battle buddies. When you wear dress shoes, he wears his combat boots. Instead of the five bladed razor and chemically enhanced shaving cream you use to stay clean shaven, he paints his face for camouflage. While you kiss your wife goodbye for the day, he kisses his goodbye for the year. Don’t forget about the men who serve.”

    Tell me, how many of you would have found the above statement to be sexist. And be honest, don’t just say “of course!” simply because you have been called out. Give it a moment, think, if you had found it on facebook unrelated to this article.

    You can insist this picture and the other things you found are “Sexist.” But then I have to wonder what we would call an action that judges people because they like their girls “nerdy, dirty, and curvy” over “preppy, clean, and flat.” After all, one could wonder if the current desire for ND&C isn’t because so many feminists screamed sexism at the previously universally popular PC&F girls. Frankly, I have come to believe that there is no way to “win” the sexist game, because invariably there will always be at least one woman who jumps up, finds herself insulted, and screams sexism.

    Which is why I just ignore it and go through my life respecting others in my own way, regardless of what others think to be right.

    1. Raan says:

      Lol, sorry for laughing but you sound exactly like my fiance.

      I would say that yes, your knee-jerk reaction to this post is a sign of sexism, a sign of an anti-male agenda that is much further buried than the anti-female one. Bear with me for a second. I think that western culture is constraining men just as much as women. You are told HOW to be a man, how to access your emotions, what is an acceptable job/success rate/house/status/car/fill in the blank. That is just as damaging to men as anything that is said to women hurts us. The difference? This:

      “While you carry a briefcase, he carries a 65lb rucksack. While you hit the bar with your guy friends, he cleans his rifle with his battle buddies. When you wear dress shoes, he wears his combat boots. Instead of the five bladed razor and chemically enhanced shaving cream you use to stay clean shaven, he paints his face for camouflage. While you kiss your wife goodbye for the day, he kisses his goodbye for the year. Don’t forget about the men who serve.”

      portrays 2 different ways to be a socially acceptable man. Neither one of these depictions endangers the western view of masculinity or pigeon-holes the man. But how about a guy who is content with his $10 an hour job? Or who chooses to stay home and raise the kids? Who tells his boss “No, I can’t stay late. I have to go to XXX event.” What about the man who doesn’t have the V-8 engine and the six-pack abs? He is just as much a man as any other man. The fact that you portrayed your dichotomy like this, is a sign of how far you have bought into the masculinity illusion.

      And the ND&C vs PC&F debate? First, and I will say this very slowly so you understand it the first time, we are NOT girls. Girls are prepubescent females. We are women. Second, its about access. “I like my girls” is gross. There are no “my” here. Each woman owns herself, gets to chose who she is and how she interacts with her environment. So a woman chooses to be nerdy, dirty and curvy? Awesome. She wants to be preppy, clean and flat? More power to her. But she doesn’t belong to anyone but herself.

      Until that is made clear, this feminazi isn’t going to sit down and shut up.

      1. I think you miss-understood my choice for the allusion when I altered that quote. The women described were high society and military. so I went with high society men and military. I wasn’t buying into any illusion. The fact is that to a “normal” person, both types of women are acceptable forms of femininity. Respectfully, I fear it is you who might be effected by an illusion.

        I will certainly agree there is an anti-male agenda, though I’m not sure it’s working quite the way you think it is. This is partially based on what you listed as “socially unacceptable” forms of masculinity that I should have used rather than a business man.

        As for the “girls” vs “Women” thing, that is a matter of terminology and not everyone shares your particular views or hangup upon how terms should be viewed. Where as you may find the term “girls” disrespectful, millions of others find it perfectly respectful. You can consider yourself more enlightened, but….that is a quality that is subjective. And, I suppose, that you have never used the term “I like my boys…X” or “I like my men…X” when describing the type of men you like?

        No one is telling you to sit down and shut up. If I am telling you anything, it is to pause and think before you start labeling actions and views you disagree with as automatically sexist, and blanket stating that people who disagree with you are the same.

      2. Raan says:

        Lol, those were not “high society” ways of being a female. Those were stereotypes. My issue has never been with how women chose to portray themselves. My issue has always been with there being only 1 acceptable way of doing “male” or “female”.

        No, I don’t use “I like my boys/men…” Thats because I’m a weirdo who falls in love with the individual, regardless of gender or appearance. My only caviots are intelligence and humor. Like them, won’t do without them.

        I did actually think about this before I made this post. I thought about it a lot. I don’t know you Lucius, I don’t know if you are sexist or not. But I do know that the conversation needed being had and that I am not “affected” by an illusion. I don’t really have the comfort of illusions anymore.

      3. myownashram says:

        You win the internet today. I am late to the party (parenting gets in the way of my internet some days), but you are so right on. Preach it, sister.

  6. Krimsyn says:

    I think one of the most irritating concepts of this that picture is the idea that someone has to be sexually appealing to someone else.”She be a nerd, but damn I’d bone her!” It almost seems like the whoever made the image went out of his/her way to get sexually excited.

  7. Steve Tanner says:

    I must first say that I agree with Tana. There are far too many people telling everyone else how they should be. I also agree with this post to a degree because I believe the 1960s Women’s Liberation Movement lost its steam prematurely. However, I agree with Lucius because of personal experience.

    I attended the local community college from mid-2002 to the end of 2003 because the economy took a dive after September 11th. I didn’t notice the student body was overwhelmingly female until being subjected to remarks (in classes) like, “Men are good for only one thing,” for example. I was completely surprised at how chauvinistic women can be if the conditions are correct; superiority in numbers being the most obvious condition. I can only wonder what women are like when no man is present.

    I tested the school policy concerning sexual harassment and found that it did not apply to men. I only complained about one situation that was extreme, and was ignored by the male instructor. When a school administrator belittled the situation, I was happy to be called back to work. I have gotten a taste of the treatment that women resent, and I do not blame them for resenting it. Unfortunately, I got this insight at the expense of some women revealing that they were not much different from men.

    I believe there are more important agendas for women’s rights, like equal pay. However, a resurgence of a Women’s movement might first have to address the definition of “equal.” Any movement with the goal of making women “more” equal is bound for failure. “Insidious” might be more applicable towards the female side of the equation because of how they hide their chauvinism. I have more reasons than the one given here to support this; a few close female friends have admitted that women can be worse than men… when men are not around!

    Even recently, I read an article about a woman being harassed for breast feeding in public, and yet it is a natural thing to do. Women have made gains in achieving equality in the workplace, but there is still plenty of room for improvement there. These are much more substantial issues than how one sex expresses their attraction to the other sex.

    I agree that what we see on Facebook is often a huge waste of time. I have an account to keep in touch with a few people, but my wife uses my account to satisfy her fetish for some Zynga games like “Farmville.” I have to allow her to accept friends for the sole purpose of these games or it would not satisfy her fetish. I have seen much more Christian proselytizing than sexism, and I get truly tired of that. However, the ones that I see taking advantage of men are the young to middle age women posting pictures of themselves and seeking comments. Yes, I think the brand of sexism addressed in this post will be a hard campaign.

    1. Raan says:

      Steve, I agree with your comment, besides this: “I have to allow her to accept friends for the sole purpose of these games or it would not satisfy her fetish.” Not sure I follow you on that one.

      But any kind of sexism is bad, wrong. We all chose our battles. I am a vegan, an environmentalist. I recycle and conserve water and adore my local thrift stores. I am active in my local community, go to protests, buy local when I can and non-Monsantos when I can’t. But this battle is where my passion lies. I will not allow the next generation to grow up thinking they are powerless or there is nothing they can do. There is always something they can do. The first step is always to open up a conversation.

      A quote: “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.”
      Simon Wiesenthal

      1. Steve Tanner says:

        Those games require “neighbors,” and people have to be “friends” on Facebook before they can be “neighbors” in the Zynga games. This exposes me to many wall comments that I could live without. However, my wife works hard in a discriminating and harassing work environment, so I think she should be welcomed to do whatever relaxes her (whether I understand it or not.) I will also point out that, except for two minor part-time exceptions, my wife’s discriminating and harassing work environment is comprised of women. All too often, women also seem to be women’s worse enemies.

        I agree that what you speak of isn’t right, but it is sad that this is where your passion lies because your chance for success appears small. I also agree with Wiesenthal, though, so allow me to offer a strategy that might increase your chances of success: if you change women’s sexist attitudes first, men will naturally follow because it’s their nature. Although the blood may be diverted from the big head to the little head in the presence of a woman, (most) men are not so ignorant that they miss the hypocrisy in this arena. Good luck!

      2. Raan says:

        🙂 Thanks Steve.

        I have to do what the Gods call me to do. The other option is too scary and… deathy.

  8. hearthrising says:

    Sexism has always been rampant in the pagan communities, and Dianic witches are under no illusions about this. The reasons Dianic Witchcraft has been consistently mischaracterized and attacked include a) we’re openly feminist and b) we don’t let men watch us dance naked under the moon.

    1. Steve Tanner says:

      Or that while “men’s clubs” have been attacked for excluding women, Dianic witches exclude men. Odd how the principle gets perverted when turned around. Of course, I have no doubt that many men would watch you dance naked, but that is a deflection and a “double standard!”

      1. Raan says:

        I think men’s clubs are fine. Until the men’s club starts making unilateral laws that affect both genders. Then we get some sledge hammers and tear down all of the walls.

      2. hearthrising says:

        Double standard alright. Gay men’s pagan traditions exclude women and they don’t get this kind of nonsense. Come to think of it, most traditions exclude somebody or other, and no one thinks twice. When “the girls want to be with the girls” the backlash and the double standards start. There is a difference between a religious and a corporate group. We’re not using our exclusive club to control resources or make decisions that affect the masses. A few women gathering to worship is not the Augusta Golf Club, where high corporate power is wielded.

  9. Raan says:

    Ok, now I’m going to bed!!! Stop it with the awesome amazing comments!!

  10. Steve Tanner says:

    “I think men’s clubs are fine. Until the men’s club starts making unilateral laws that affect both genders. Then we get some sledge hammers and tear down all of the walls.”

    That’s not sexist?

    1. Raan says:

      ALL the walls Steve. We all play nice or no one plays.

      🙂

      IMO

      And that was a reference to the way the US political scene has traditionally been, not the actual men’s club down the street.

      1. Steve Tanner says:

        I was speaking literally about “mens clubs,” not allegorically about public institutions like the U.S. political scene.

        “We all play nice or no one plays.” “…we get some sledge hammers and tear down all of the walls.”

        What issue do you have if you wield so much power?

  11. Steve Tanner says:

    To: Hearthrising,

    You said:

    “Gay men’s pagan traditions exclude women and they don’t get this kind of nonsense. Come to think of it, most traditions exclude somebody or other, and no one thinks twice.”

    All I have been trying to say is that someone should start thinking twice. There are two sides to every coin. You also denigrate men when you asserted that their only interest in the Dianic tradition would be to watch naked women dancing. Believe it or not, some men have big heads, too.

  12. myownashram says:

    While the (presumed) males commenting here raise some good points, I find it tedious that a post about women gets derailed into ‘what about the men??!!’ Would you hijack a post about racism written by a person of color saying ‘well, white people experience racism too!’?

    Just because a person is denouncing sexism against women doesn’t mean that they think sexism against men needs to be ignored. But every time you turn the conversation back to the men, you silence the women trying to make their points.

  13. Raan says:

    Okay, when the discussion gets side-tracked and ugly, like it is starting to, I feel its time to end this discussion. Feel free to email me if you want to keep talking, anyone here. My email will be placed in something or other “About me”.

Comments are closed.