Saturday, July 22, 2006

Serendipitous synchronicity

Karen's post about Dr. Ben Barres was a serendipitous post of synchronicity. The roomful of clerks were just discussing something similar.

What woman among us can say that she has not experienced some of these gender-based reactions regardless of her academic background?

I have often fallen into the trap of not believing certain episodes were sexism. I too believed that if I could do it, anyone could. It was not only a lack of faith in my ability but a blindness to sexism as well.

It has been only a few short years since I began to flower into the more aware feminist whose words you now read. Not only is it important for all of us regardless of gender to wake up and read the statistics, it's also important to learn to value each other for the contributions we all make.

It is Barres' unique perspective that leads me to understand this:
You write that as a man, you can complete a sentence without being interrupted.
I hadn't given any thought to my experiences with this as particularly sexist, I merely thought they were being rude. On a personal level, maybe they just are. On a larger level, are they sexist? Having not seen this in action where my interrupters and other people are concerned, I can't say for sure but it does give one pause. And it makes me wonder what other experiences may be systematic sexism. But how does one go about rooting those out?

I applaud Dr. Barres for his willingness to speak from his own experiences and to have persistently pursued his goals, both as a woman and now as a man.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another modern-day Tiresias speaks out...

...but this time it's not about who--men or women?-- enjoys sex more, but rather about the bias against high-achieving women in Science.

Ben Barres' experience of life as both a woman and a man-- a gift of Science, not the gods-- makes him uniquely qualified to speak to this gender controversy... and he has been thinking about it ever since Harvard President Larry Summers made his unfortunate remark about the lack of women in Science.

Read Barres' perspective...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Perhaps... Laurastrata?

A blogger's greatest hope, whether he or she admits it or not, is to have some impact on the status quo. Perhaps this blog has had an effect on the First Lady-- but more likely not. Regardless, we do have to wonder now whether she might have given her husband a deadline on her own. Something along the lines of...
Nothing doing, George, until you get those young men and women out of Iraq and we can stop being responsible-- whether directly or indirectly-- for all of those civilian deaths. For crying out loud, George, how can you possibly expect War not to be a mood killer?
For, unlike her husband, I suspect that Mrs. Bush, who is an intelligent woman, must be aware of the fact that most of the deaths in modern wars are not of soldiers, but of civilians, and that most of these are of women and children. And, truly, how can that not be a mood killer?

To be honest, the notion of Mrs. Bush enacting her own version of Lysistrata did not occur to me until I was trying to think of a possible explanation for her husband's allowing himself to be videotaped massaging another woman's neck and shoulders. Although I don't disagree with the other analyses, I still felt the need to discover a catalyst that could make it actually happen. Nor am I particularly interested in the Bushes' personal life. I've never been one to speculate on such things for any couple, whether I know them or not. It's simply my temperament that I prefer to shield both others' privacy and my own sensibilities...

Yet, how can one not be curious about such a video clip? There, in broad daylight-- with cameras running!-- the so-called leader of the (once-)free world, THE self-proclaimed Decider, decides, as it were, to lay his hands upon another world leader, who happens to be a woman not his wife, in a manner that is generally reserved for one's intimates (even though the expression on his face was not particularly inviting or intimate, and Chancellor Merkel appeared to be appalled at being so accosted)! Was it just his typical arrogance? Or an ignorance of the normal boundaries among civilized peoples when conducting important state business? Perhaps frustration because his wife has been less affectionate lately, or maybe for much longer? One cannot help but wonder what would make a man in such a position of power once more show to all the world how little he values exercising restraint in using his power.

Of course, we cannot really know what Laura Bush must be thinking about her husband's public performance-- whether knowing or not-- at the G-8 Conference... but we certainly can speculate, as I did earlier today in an email exchange with Mark Hoback when he posted the lyrics of "Creep" juxtaposed with altered stills of Bush with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
"Thank god! He's finally bothering someone else instead of me!"

"Good grief! What was he thinking?! Idiot!"
For the full picture, see Taylor Marsh's post, complete with stills, video, links, and updates; be sure to check out Wolcott's link in one of the later updates.

photo: source

Women Need to Clean Up Their Own Act

(Thanks to NotSoccerMom and the link from her blog.)

This is one reason women get a bad reputation and so few take us seriously. Calling the 911 dispatcher to ask for a message to be passed on to a cute deputy is just wrong on so many levels. Last time I looked, the emergency services were not dating services. As long as women pull stupid stunts like this, men will continue to think we are nothing but desperate and not to be trusted. (Wide sweeping generalizations to be taken with a grain of salt.)


When you were here before,
couldn't look you in the eye.
You're just like an angel,
your skin makes me cry.
You float like a feather,
in a beautiful world
I wish I was special,
you're so fucking special.

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here.

I don't care if it hurts,
I want to have control.
I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul.
I want you to notice,
when I'm not around.
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special.

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?.
I don't belong here

She's running out the door,
she's running,
she run, run, run, run, run.

Whatever makes you happy,
whatever you want.
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special,

but I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here,
I don't belong here.

Creep © 1993, Thom Yorke

Monday, July 17, 2006

Women for Women International...

...matches up women from around the world with their sisters in war-torn countries in order to support them in their efforts to recover and become self-sustaining citizens, as well as advocates for other women.

What does it take? Just $27 per month for a year, to help a woman get back on her feet. Not only that, but her children benefit, and so does her community. But any donation is welcome.

Read just two paragraphs from their site, on the page where they explain "Why we do it:"
Across the globe, undeclared wars and internal armed conflicts have reached an unprecedented number. There have been more than 250 major wars since the end of World War II, resulting in over 23 million casualties. Modern warfare is no longer confined to battlefields; around the world, non-combatants are in the direct line of fire, suffering greatly and becoming the anonymous and undercounted casualties of violent conflicts. In today’s wars, 90 percent of casualties are civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children; a century ago, 90 percent of war casualties were male soldiers. [emphasis added]

As never before, women are disproportionately affected by war and civil strife. Women are targeted for ethnic cleansing and subjected to rape as a tool of war. They lose male family members who leave to fight and are killed. Many are displaced from their own homes. When widowed by war, they are thrust into the role of sole provider, often without marketable skills or a viable means to earn an income and often in communities that do not value their place in society."
Believe it or not-- this worldwide safety net for women in dire need was the vision of a 23-yr old Iraqi woman who was going to school in the U.S. after being stranded here when Kuwait was invaded and she could not return home. She already knew from personal experience what it was like to live with war as part of one's daily life...

"Women who survive war are strong, resilient and courageous – they just need some support dealing with the aftermath of conflict,” Ms. Salbi says. “So, we give them the tools they need to help themselves and their families, while providing them with the education to be leaders and advocates in their communities.” - Zainab Salbin, founder & CEO of Women for Women International

Thanks to Urania's 9th House for the link to Women for Women ~~~ photo: source