Privilege and transition

This article by trans person Courtney Demone called Do I have boobs now? has some great insights about “privileges lost in transition.”

I haven’t changed much, but society’s perception of me has changed immensely. I didn’t lose my ability to walk around at night feeling safe once I started identifying as a woman. It happened at some arbitrary point when men found me attractive enough at a distance to approach me. It’s my femininity, not my being transgender, that has brought about much of this privilege loss, and it’s misogyny that robs women of these privileges.

Are you woman enough to survive Bitch Planet? 

The cover of Bitch Planet #4

This piece in Ms Magazine on the feminist scifi comic Bitch Planet was so interesting!

Basically, Bitch Planet is a feminist sci-fi nerd’s Holy Grail. Adding to what is already a stacked lineup of feminist fist-pump-worthy moments, the end of each issue includes a feminist guest essay and the back page is filled with retro-style ads for humorous and ironic mail-order merchandise (that you can actually order!) My favorites include NC temporary tattoos for girls who want “that sexy, his-blood-in-a-bottle-around-your-neck CRAZY CHICK mystique…PUT IT ON YOUR FACE” and X-Ray Specs to see through a man’s intentions.

Find Bitch Planet comics here.

Just don’t do it

“Instead of focusing on what we’re saying, we’re distracted by anxieties about the way we sound to others. ‘Am I being too apologetic?’ and ‘Is my voice too high?’ are linguistic analogues of ‘is my nail polish chipped?’ and ‘do I look fat in this?’”

This article about critiques of women’s speech was highly insightful.

language: a feminist guide

This week everyone’s been talking about an article in the Economist explaining how men’s use of language undermines their authority. According to the author, a senior manager at Microsoft, men have a bad habit of punctuating everything they say with sentence adverbs like ‘actually’, ‘obviously’, ‘seriously’ and ‘frankly’. This verbal tic makes them sound like pompous bullshitters, so that people switch off and stop listening to what they’re saying. If they want to be successful, this is something men need to address.

OK, people haven’t been talking about that article—mainly because I made it up. No one writes articles telling men how they’re damaging their career prospects by using the wrong words. With women, on the other hand, it’s a regular occurrence. This post was inspired by a case in point: a piece published last month in Business Insider, in which a former Google executive named Ellen Petry Leanse…

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Street harassment and Shauna Hunt

Trigger warning: explicit language and sexual harassment

TIL there’s a meme in which men heckle TV reporters when they were filming live, by jumping into the shot and saying “fuck her right in the pussy” into the microphone. It’s pretty widespread, as you can see in the montage in this report, and last week, CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt got fed up and confronted some men after having just been harassed by one of them. Here’s the raw video.

One of the men who made harassing remarks to Shauna Hunt during this interchange lost his job late last week, and Tabatha Southey has a great article about the reaction to that, called The vulgar heckling incident: Let me spell it out for you.

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s one passage I think is especially fantastic:

There will be, of course, wails about free speech from people who do not understand that the concept of free speech includes the right to say, “You’re an idiot.”

Also, I don’t care that this lame, tired stunt is occasionally done with male reporters as well. That hardly redeems it: Shouting sexually explicit things is sexual harassment.

“Surely there was some way this could have been handled without Mr. Simoes losing his job?” some have said. Likely, yes, but that wasn’t Hydro One’s call. And Hydro One is not Mr. Simoes’s parent or his therapist. It’s not nanny-Hydro One, and they’re not obliged to coach or reform him or employ him, and there’s no question the man made himself, through considerable effort, not a momentary one-line lapse, a liability.

Hydro One has other employees to consider, people who might not feel comfortable working under or beside a man who has made it clear that sexually harassing women while they work is something fun that he’s entitled to do, and if they object they are failing in their duty to feel grateful they don’t have a vibrator in their ear.

I’m not sure whether or not to be pleased that I’m raising my kids in a world in which harassing women *might* get you in serious trouble (none of the men in that montage were confronted or prosecuted, to the best of my knowledge), though I guess it’s better than the world I was raised in. Here’s hoping we keep doing better at holding people accountable for their actions.

And gigantic kudos to Shauna Hunt, whose brave example will (hopefully) encourage more people to confront harassers.