Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's that time of the month, folks! Tag time!

The Punkster will be happy to know that I have finally gotten around to doing her tag on how feminism has changed my life.

Just to make my position very clear, I'm starting off with the Wikipedia definition of feminism.

"Feminism is a diverse collection of social theories, political movements and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerned with the experiences of women. Most feminists are especially concerned with social, political and economic inequality between men and women (in the context of it being to the disadvantage of women); some have argued that gendered and sexed identities, such as "man" and "woman", are socially constructed. Feminists differ over the sources of inequality, how to attain equality, and the extent to which gender and gender-based identities should be questioned and critiqued. In simple terms, feminism is the belief in social, political and economic equality of the sexes, and the movement organised around the belief that gender should not be the pre-determinant factor shaping a person's social identity, or socio-political or economic rights."

I believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I also believe that anyone else who does is merely sane. It's pretty intuitive to expect that women should have the same basic rights as men. And you don't have to be a feminist to be pissed off at how badly women are treated in Saudi Arabia. Any normal woman/man should be outraged.

I don't hate men. I don't blame men for any residual disparity that might still exist between the sexes. I don't believe that I am a victim of 'The Patriarchy'. And I certainly don't believe that gender is a social construct. Man-hating lunatics with victim complexes are every bit as stupid as Bible-thumping anti-abortionists who advocate turning the other cheek when abused by their dear husbands.

And most sane people, feminist or otherwise, do not espouse the above views. Which brings me to this: What's the sane alternative to feminism? There is none. So my reluctance to classify myself as a feminist really stems from semantics. You might call it feminism, whereas I just call it common sense.

It's exceedingly difficult to try to attribute societal changes to any driving force, be it feminism or the inevitable intellectual evolution of society. Here are five ways my life may have differed if it hadn't been for feminism.

1. Every career option is open to me. It would be a bummer if I wanted to be an archaeologist, but couldn't, just because of my sex. I often remind myself that this was a real problem in the first half of the twentieth century.

2. I don't have to dress like a man and look like a man to be taken seriously. And I'm not going to either. I don't have to sacrifice my femininity for a career in a male dominated field.

3. I can wear what I want, and expect not to get raped. Because legally, rape is rape, whether you're wearing a miniskirt or a burqa. This works in most civilized nations, at least in theory.

4. Better sex. Because when you realize that even good girls have sexual needs, it's easier to communicate your desires to your partner.

5. A free lunch for women in my rather male-dominated field of study, courtesy the department. Because women need to talk, and whining about girlstuff is not wholly appropriate conversation material in mixed company.

But there is a downside to it though. My advisor is new, and needed help with moving some equipment around. Naturally, he expected his grad students to help. The real reason that grad students exist is so they can legally do menial labor in exchange for a graduate stipend that's well below minimum wage.

So naturally, he expected me to carry as much as his two other students, male, and twice my size. And what's more interesting is that I would have been REALLY offended if he'd said, 'Oh, maybe you should just let us handle the heavy stuff.'! Yeah, thanks a lot, feminism, because my arms hurt so much that night that I seriously considered chopping them off.

And here's the part where I ask you for your opinion. Assuming you've heard Jack Straw's recent comments on the burqa, do you think that in a (relatively) free society, people should have the freedom to subjugate their women?

I've heard the argument that the veil doesn't oppress, it liberates. It's hard to see how exactly that works considering the fact that most countries/families that enforce the veil are also quite likely not to be shining examples of gender equality.

While it seems unconstitutional to deny a person the right to follow his/her religious edicts, is it alright to allow a family to pressurize their 16 year old daughter to cover herself up from head to toe?

And to those who choose not to wear the veil, are they seen as less chaste than those who do wear the veil? I believe the answer to that question is yes. So how voluntary is it, really, when your choices are to either to

a) wear the veil and be respected, or

b) don't wear the veil and be like 'those loose western women' who don't deserve respect anyway.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I've decided I want a Ph.D.

Here are five of my top reasons.

5. Everyone else getting one these days.
4. I need a title to compensate for the fact that I'm not six feet tall.
3. The words Dr. Raindrop will lend credibility to my planned Cosmo article titled 'How not to make a complete fucking ass of yourself in bed',
subtitled 'Let's not forget the keys to those handcuffs, kiddies!'.
2. Heck, I can even use it to lend credibility to my arguments with my boyfriend. 'I have a Ph.D. and you don't. So I'm right and you suck!'
1. Everybody wants to do a woman with a Ph.D.

But apparently they don't give you a Ph.D. for sitting on your ass and being a shallow bitch. Fuckers! Now I'll have to choose some shitty topic like 'Are hunger pangs pangier when you're broke and living in a fairly decent sized third world city?'

P.S. Feminism post coming up next! Seriously.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Never attempt a saltwater gargle immediately after a dinner of cheesy jalapeno potatoes and cereal.

-Raindrop, 2006 A.D.

Diamond of Wisdom #5

In a blatant attempt to plagiarize from this man, I've decided to do my own little Diamond of Wisdom series.

(I own the man in question, so I just realized it's probably perfectly legal. To the curious: I own him because he offered himself to me. I'm not a cruel slave-owning bitch by nature, but he wanted it.)

So here's today's 40 carat stunner.

What numbs pain also numbs the imagination.
-Raindrop, 2006 AD

I'm referring to Ibuprofen 800mg, of course.

On a side note, why is it that Anna Nicole Smith looks so much better these days? To all you E! addicts who actually know the answer to that question, you should seriously consider getting a life. If you study Anna Nicole Smith's plastic surgery history, you've got to be at least slightly weird.

Coming soon: A feminism tag!