kilroy: (Default)
I am so amazingly lucky to be as naive as I am. It's not just a privilege thing, although I have that in spades. It's also a cultural thing.

When I was a kid I was never trained to think of women as less than people, and I was isolated enough from the larger social culture that the pervasive messages along that line never stuck. The women in fiction around me didn't get enough play, but there was never anything that said girls couldn't do everything guys could. I assumed that the female characters were doing everything the male characters were, just off-stage somewhere. I liked Han Solo better than Princess Leia, but at the same time I was aware on some level that about half the time Leia would be able to kick his ass.

I've had female friends all my life. Not just "people that get invited to my birthday party" but actual friends-- people that I trusted and shared with. Not only that, but the women in my life have been on the whole blisteringly intelligent, wickedly funny, and willing to throw convention out the window at the drop of a hat. My entire high school experience was like that-- women who were right there with the guys being every bit as amazing as we were. Even if I had been brought up to discount women, my experience to the contrary was overwhelming.

And there's always been space in my life to explore the other side of gender. This one really is a special kind of privilege. My female friends have been willing to talk honestly about it and had the patience to keep asking and answering questions. I've known several active feminists who have repeatedly confronted me with my own social bias. As a writer and a roleplayer I've been allowed to dip my toe in the pool of being a woman and no one has ever criticized me for doing so.

Taken as a whole, this means that not only do I not have the "Pffft, women!" conception but I often forget that other people do. It just hasn't been a part of my life. When I'm reminded that I am in fact an anomaly in this regard, it always makes me feel guilty and sad. It's wonderful that I can think this way, but it isn't an excuse to ignore the people that don't.

My friends have started having kids now, and there's never been a question about them being raised to treat women as equals. It's foundational for us; we'd be doing it automatically even if we weren't thinking about it. What isn't so obvious is how we're going to teach our kids to deal with other people who aren't quite as even-minded. There's a lot of baggage involved in fighting for equality and I don't want to burden children with it, but I know that we can't teach them to just sit back and accept bigotry either.

I suspect that the best solution is going to be the one from the fairy tales. We raise them in the ivory tower so that they believe what we believe down to the core. But we make sure that there are windows. We take them outside, let them travel the land and see what life is like beyond the tower. That way when they're old enough they can decide for themselves whether they want to build towers of their own.

SGU

Oct. 4th, 2010 03:29 pm
kilroy: (Default)
So, I tried Stargate Universe while I was sick all weekend. Not only is every character either a walking stereotype, unlikeable, or both, but the stereotypes are some of the really aggravating ones. Who's got the anger-management issues? The black guy. What kind of person is the nerd? Overweight, badly socialized, and lusting after a girl out of his league. What's the only visible religion? Catholicism. Who's the tortured genius? One of many white males. And that's without getting to TJ, whose character arc you can call in 30 seconds and which kinda pisses me off as someone with a feminism tag.

It pretty much just made me want to go back and watch Farscape again.
kilroy: (Default)
Per the next book, exactly half the books this year I will have read in their entirety will be by women. I'm thinking this is a good ratio to be maintaining. :-)
kilroy: (Default)
I do not need to wade into another internet argument about whether rape is the woman's fault. There are already people saying the things that need to be said.

TNG again

Feb. 2nd, 2010 08:30 am
kilroy: (Default)
Just hit the episode with the androgynous species. The space-mystery is almost nonexistent in this one; it's primarily focused on one androgyne trying to figure out the whole gender deal and sorting out its feelings with (and for) one of the crew.

And everyone is talking about gender and sexuality thoughtfully and realistically, acknowledging the complexity of the issues and listening to each other.

I love this show.
kilroy: (Default)
I was watching the season premiere of Season 5 of ST:TNG, and there was a female, African admiral. There was no fuss about her being black, African, or a woman; she radiated authority and was treated with respect.

Some part of me knows that this was a deliberate casting choice on somebody's part, but in the universe it's seamless.

This is a universe I want to live in.

Shrews

Aug. 14th, 2009 08:35 am
kilroy: (Default)
So someone left a two-week old Tribune lying in our resource room, and while I was having a bagel this morning I leafed through it and found an op-ed article about women in film and TV. The article posed a question which I find myself considering: why is that women in TV seem so much more empowered and independent than women in movies?

It's certainly not true in all cases and it's not like women on television are fully realized, but I look at the current movies and tv series I'm familiar with and I see the disparity.

So why? Why is it now becoming okay for women on tv to be genuine professionals, or funny without being insecure, or have problems and personalities that don't revolve around men-- while women in movies seem like they're still stuck in either the traditional rom-com snare or as flat, uninteresting, sexy ass-kickers?

Or if that dichotomy is false, why is that I seem to notice the ones on tv so much more?
kilroy: (Default)
So as an aside, when the conversation turns to "societal pressure makes it really hard to be That Guy," what exact negative consequences are these people referring to if you act like That Guy?

I'm seriously asking this, because the men I grew up with didn't exert this kind of pressure.

Other guys call you names and make fun of you for being respectful towards women? Okay, I can see that being fairly common. But it's not exactly a dire threat, you know? "Being made fun of" should never cause anyone to stop doing anything they love or think is right. (I know, I know, this in fact happens a lot.)

Other guys do violence to you for being respectful towards women? I can envision this in theory, but I can't imagine it's that common in practice. If a guy's beating you up because you're respecting women, I'd lay extremely good odds that he's actually beating you up for something else; respecting women was just a convenient excuse and if that hadn't come along the guy would have found some other reason.

...and that's all I can think of. What am I missing? Is there something legal or economic here?

Body Check

Jun. 17th, 2009 02:45 pm
kilroy: (Default)
So, with regards to spatial relations with women in public situations-- if I want to minimize my creepy factor on a random female passer-by I should:

* Make sure that my location is obvious, generally by walking ahead rather than behind
* Give space where I can
* Acknowledge the presence of a woman with eye contact but neither studiously avoid looking at her nor look continuously at her
* Act naturally and not have obvious changes of demeanor when a woman gets near
* All of the above times two when dealing with a woman alone, and times five at night

Right?
kilroy: (Default)
Reminder to self:
Stories about people who rescue women are great. We need to teach people to intervene because there are people who need saving right now.

But anyone having to rescue anyone means that the problem still exists. We also need to be telling the stories that aren't stories at all-- about that time a guy didn't threaten a woman, or didn't take her consent for granted, or didn't get her drunk. We need to teach men not to pull this shit in the first place.

We need to prevent and respond. Just one or the other is never going to do it.


ETA: Really, I think the stories in the responses have been a good mix of both. I just saw a slew of rescue stories in a row and needed to remind myself.

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