Why are we so afraid of the “F” word?

Hey ARKers! I saw this comic today, and I think it really makes a good point about what, or rather who, feminists are.  I wanted to share it with you all, because I feel like so many people don’t understand what it means to be a feminist.  “Feminist” isn’t a dirty word, in fact, it’s something to be proud of. Because, if you aren’t a feminist, what does that make you???

Think about it.

-Rosie

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Are we ready for Gender-Neutrality?

This column was in my local daily paper earlier this week: http://townhall.com/columnists/monacharen/2012/03/09/gender_specific_writer/page/full/

Mona Charen

Essentially, columnist Mona Charen expressed discontent about Apple’s new word processor Pages because its spelling and grammar corrector suggested she make some of her terms more gender neutral.

Now, I can see her point on some counts–Pages tried to correct the “lady” in “first lady” to “individual,” for example, which doesn’t quite make sense. Furthermore, it preferred “speaker” or “advocate” to “spokesman” and Charen was concerned that her sentence would be confusing with either of those suggestions. In this case, if the person she was quoting was, indeed, a man, there really isn’t an issue anyhow.

But Charen doesn’t say that Pages was too picky or was offering the wrong suggestions. Her anger was directed, rather, at the political correctness of the spelling and grammar corrector. She concludes her column thus:

Apple’s language sentinel has been schooled in political correctness at the expense of English. In another column, I mentioned that the collapse of marriage was “aggravating” inequality in America. Consider “irritating” or “exasperating” instead, Proofreadress advised.

No, those are words I reserve for her.

Does political correctness actually significantly change the English language? If it does, is that a bad thing? This may be a better question for a linguist than for an activist for social change, but I think that political correctness mostly affects suffixes (-er/-ess, -man/-woman, etc.), so probably won’t change the form and function of the language to the point where it’s unrecognizable.                      
Perhaps a more pressing concern is that our society may not ready to unlearn political incorrectness. Are we so used to the current structure that we can’t see past it, that when change starts to affect all parts of society, people get irritated and exasperated?                                                                                                                                   .
I think that Charen was mostly overreacting (especially because Microsoft Word’s Spellcheck isn’t perfect either), and I don’t think that her column was much more than an outlet for frustration because she didn’t connect her anger to any broader problems besides pushing “political correctness at the expense of English.”                                                   .
Still, I think that it’s important that we recognize, as feminists and, more importantly, as activists, as people trying to change society and its discourses, that these are the arguments and sources of resistance that we will meet. People don’t really like change, especially when they feel personally confronted with it.                                                                     a
That said, do you think Apple was right to include these “politically correct” suggestions in Pages’ Proofreader? Do you think Charen has a right to be upset? And most importantly, do you think that this is just an isolated case of somebody being anal, or is it an indicator of widespread resistance to “political correctness” and why it exists?                                       aLet me know! For those of you traveling back to school after break today, be safe.                         aPeace,
Annie

War on Women

Still believe that the fight for the equal treatment of women is over?

Think again. Look at what’s going on in Virginia.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-february-21-2012/punanny-state—virginia-s-transvaginal-ultrasound-bill

Stay strong,

ARK

Feminist Dilemma: High Heels

I can think of quite a few reasons I was totally unimpressed with the latest issue of Marie Claire. But the worst offender this issue was a certain well-dressed Frenchman.

More alchemist than cobbler, Christian Louboutin transforms women with the flirtatious peep of a toe and click of a sculpted heel…what they walk away with isn’t just a pair of shoes, it’s a priceless feeling of feminine power.

–Marie Claire, March 2012 issue (emphasis mine)

Apparently Christian Louboutin, the famed French shoemaker is celebrating 20 years in the business. In honor of his work, Marie Claire interviewed him. Now, the interview started off okay (besides that bit that made me twitch in the introduction, quoted above), with questions about Louboutin’s career and inspirations. Suddenly, though, on the second page of the interview, things got much worse.

“A man is a fetishist: He polishes his shoes, appreciates the finish, wants to preserve them fora long time. A woman doesn’t care about this. She isn’t proud of having a shoe for 10 years. It’s a natural feminine instinct to accessorize. A naked woman in heels is a beautiful thing. A naked man in shoes looks like a fool.”

–Christian Louboutin, Marie Claire, March 2012 (emphasis mine)

Furthermore,

“[Heels are sexy] because one moves more slowly in heels. Walking fast is neither sexy nor engaging. Nobody notices the people who race around. If you’re walking in heels, you’ve got time. It’s much more attractive.”

–Christian Louboutin, Marie Claire, March 2012 (emphasis mine)

Christian Louboutin

I, of course, was totally appalled by these statements, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with my disgust.

I’m a woman who loves business dress–i’m in my element in a pencil skirt and heels. I’ve always known that heels were a little pointless, but I love the way they make my legs look, I love their clicking sound on hardwood floors, I love the added height, and I love the confidence boost they afford me. I also recognize that heels can have the connotation of the “office whore” or whatever–but that’s not who I am, and I have the right to wear them if I want to, right? If they make me feel good, then does it matter?

$625 Louboutin Pumps

Well, it DOES matter.  …I think.

Actually, I’m really not sure. I’m torn between my love of heels and my feminist disgust for the words of Mr. Louboutin.

I like wearing heels because I like the way they make me look and feel–so my first instinct is to stop the argument right there and just wear the heels.

But we need to take a closer look at what heels represent. If they represent the epitome of the “sexy” woman, or work to make women fit more easily into the stereotypical masculine fantasy, then maybe it’s time to put those heels back on the shelf. When I put on the pink peeptoe pumps I splurged on this summer, am I feeling good and confident because I am being true to who I am, or am I feeling good and confident because I’m fitting a stereotype and a fantasy?

I think this warrants some discussion. So what do YOU think?

Peace,
Annie