Posts Tagged ‘gender myths’

… I ran into a charming mansplainer this week.

I have just acquired a new computer for work, so I thought I should go best practice and get some surge protection, too.

I dropped into my local hardware store a couple of weeks ago, and was shocked at the price difference between the top and bottom ends. The specs on these things are not very clear, and so I couldn’t figure out whether it was worth paying extra or not. So I asked someone.

The someone I asked was a big burly bloke who seemed to know what he was talking about. He was absolutely adamant that I needed to buy the surge protector at the top end, and his explanation made some sense. He was a little condescending, but I’m so used to that that I ignore it, as long as the information is useful. But I am always suspicious about people who try to sell me the most expensive item in the store, so I decided to think about it.

I had some time this week, so I went back to the same shop and asked another person. The someone I asked this time was a short burly bloke, maybe 18 or 20 (ie significantly younger than me, and nobody ever thinks I’m younger than I am), who in a blusteringly condescending tone gave me the exact opposite advice the first man had given me – but who couldn’t explain why, just said with a patronising sneer: “you don’t need that”. Let’s call him Condescending Fool.


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… or is anyone else slightly frustrated by the assumptions which are just absolutely loaded into Panasonic’s current catchphrase, which is “The smartest guys in the room”?

I know, I know, there are assumptions loaded into every statement, but these ones really get my goat. In particular, the following assumptions:

– Panasonic’s stuff was conceived/designed/built/sold/etc by men.
– Men are the default person/there are only men in the room/the only people in the room that matter are men/men are smarter than women anyway so one only needs to talk about the smartest men to get the message across.


(And yes, I know that “guys” can be used to equal “people” in some contexts – I myself use “hey guys” as a generic greeting sometimes, although with less frequency than I once did. However, the use of “guy” when talking about “a guy” or “the guy” (or the plurals thereof) is generally used to refer to men – I’d say almost exclusively so.)

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DUFC logo

Welcome to the 18th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! (And apologies for the delay.)

This Carnival has an optional caring theme, thanks to Australian Carers’ Week (which was October 18 to October 24). The theme for this year was “Anyone, Anytime, Across Australia”, which I modified to “Anyone, Anytime” for the purposes of the DUFC.

There wasn’t much sent in on theme, so I’ve expanded the DUFC rules just a little.


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At least for men, and that’s who counts, right? Right?

At least, that’s what the SMH’s article today about the cure for prostate cancer causing impotence would have you believe.

Even if that were the case, there are so many things wrong with that concept. It implies that sex is necessary for men – and that maybe a life without sex wouldn’t be worth living (for a man). This disappears the experience of asexual men, men who are celibate but not asexual, men who cannot physically have the kind of sex the article is implicitly talking about (including many trans men and some men with disabilities), and probably others I’m not thinking about off the top of my head. In other words, the article has a clear implicit definition of “man” as “someone with a penis which works in the usual way, and who likes to use it for penetrative sex”.

The article also implies that this dilemma would only be a problem for men, which makes women invisible as sexual beings (or entirely).

The statement also appears to centre penetrative sex (and probably PIV at that) as “real sex” – everything else is, presumably, “not sex”.

And probably more. I’m writing this on the fly.

All of that would be so if the man who is the subject of the article, couldn’t actually have sex (as implicitly defined). (more…)

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Peter Hartcher, the SMH’s international editor (by which I assume they mean editor of international news) is a pretty good columnist. His articles tend to be interesting and thought-provoking. They are about politics, international politics and economics.

So when I saw the headline “Attractive French model bears close watching” on Hartcher’s column today, I assumed that this was a sub-editor’s attempt to get more readers to read Hartcher’s column, and that it was about the French economic model.

I considered not clicking through, in a tiny protest at the headline, but Hartcher’s columns are interesting enough – and I learn enough from them – that I figured I could overlook it this time.

However, here is how Hartcher’s column begins:

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Wow! Another person in authority espousing another radical* notion! That’s two this week!

As per the following extract from an article in The Australian:

Mr Combet, a former ACTU national secretary, told parliament yesterday the Defence Science and Technology Organisation would develop a new set of physical employment standards for the army that would accurately measure a person’s ability to perform the broad variety of jobs in the modern defence force. “A priority of the government is to improve the recruitment and retention of women in the ADF,” he said. “My own view is that all categories should be open to women. The only exceptions should be where the physical demands cannot be met according to criteria that are determined on the basis of scientific analysis, rather than assumptions about gender.”

So in other words: let’s look at what the job actually requires, rather than the gender marker on your driver’s licence (or other form of identification).**

* Yes, that’s sarcasm again.

** Trying to work out how to say this in a cis/trans neutral way made me realise: I have no idea what the ADF’s stance is on permitting trans people (men or women) – or intersex people – to do the various jobs women (in general) are not permitted to do. Now that could make for an interesting case!

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I’m not sure if I have enough of a readership to get a decent number of comments on this thread, but I’m going to try, as I think that this post is one that will benefit far more from comments than from whatever I might post.

My mother – who is pretty good about not sending forwards – sent me a forward with the text below.

I’m an atheist, and I was a bit irritated by the title and the first four questions. I don’t like the idea that questions like this reinforce the story that a god made people. Although that only really matters if this question & answer set up is real – I always doubt these things.

However, I left in the irritating title & first four questions for the sake of completeness, and also because I actually quite like the idea of people made out of string! But maybe that’s just me?

I’ll let you read it before I subject you to any more of my own thoughts (the emphasis is all mine, though):


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What I know about women…
Anthony Lapaglia on love and his 17 year relationship with Gia Carides.

When I saw the headline and the tagline on the SMH home page, I was willing to give Lapaglia credit and place all the blame on the subbies.

I then read the sexist joke with which the article commences, and was willing to put blame on the bloody journo who interviewed Lapaglia. But no, it turns out Lapaglia wrote the article himself, and it doesn’t exactly improve from that poor start.

The article is full of “my wife did this and so all women are like that”-type chauvinist generalisations. Worse: the way he describes his thought process makes it sound like he starts from a chauvinist assumption, and then his wife does something, which he interprets in a way consistent with the original assumption, thus backing up his sexism.

He may – repeat, may – know quite a bit about his wife and daughter (although given the sexist generalisations he makes in the article, it’s entirely possible they’ll turn around and surprise him one day).

However, there’s nothing in the article which convinces me that he knows anything about women in general.

I’d go further and say: on the assumption that he makes the same generalisations about men, there’s nothing in the article which convinces me that he knows anything about humans in general.

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