Tag Archives: feminism

The untold story of American superheroines

Yesterday, I wrote about the need for women writers and artists in comic books, highlighting a very successful Kickstarter project, Womanthology. The project was so successful that they have an offshoot. A documentary about female super heroes that premiered at South by Southwest 2012:

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s, to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.

The film introduces audiences to a cast of fictional and real life superheroines fighting for positive role models for girls, both on screen and off, and reminds us of our common human need for stories that tell us we can all be heroes.

The Great Gray Female War (for Boomers)

To continue my silvercat journey I’ve found a piece in Time Magazine called the War Over Going Gray. Written by author Anne Kreamer of the book Going Gray, which I hope to read/review.

It points out, among other things, that men prefer women with gray hair…

It Begins

“In 2005, at the age of 48 and practically on a whim, I decided — after nearly a quarter-century of every-three-weeks hair-salon coloring — to buck convention and stop dyeing my hair. And I found to my surprise that by visually challenging my peers (if I was really gray, so must they be!), I unwittingly landed myself on the front lines of a public struggle — literally superficial but at the same time almost existentially meaningful to American women — with the vicissitudes of age.

“Friends and strangers responded to my newly revealed natural hair color in one of two ways: a sort of proud, sometimes sanctimonious right-on-sister enthusiasm from fellow gray-haired women or an equally proud, sometimes resentful don’t-judge-my-choices-I-do-this-to-feel-good-about-me defensiveness in the comments of the committed-to-dyeing cohort. Hardly anyone was lukewarm in their reactions, which suggests to me we may have a contentious new baby-boomer argument over gray hair that is as mutually judgmental as the mommy wars between working and stay-at-home mothers was in the 1980s and ’90s.

They say it’s for work…

“…most baby-boomer women have held on to the hedonistic forever-young part of their Woodstock dreams a lot more tenaciously than to the open-and-honest part.

“And in doing so, they have presided over a narrowing of the range of acceptable looks for women. Women may be CEOs, Cabinet officers and TV-news anchors and may openly indulge their sexual appetites — but only if they appear eternally youthful. And a main requirement is a hair color other than gray or white.

“Ironically, it’s feminism’s success that has driven today’s widespread, virtually obligatory camouflage of gray hair…women in all kinds of professions report feeling similar pressure.

But, it’s really a personal choice

“Interestingly, women apparently aren’t as fearful of the negative professional implications of gray as the personal ones. Clairol research reports that the 71% of women who dye their hair do so in order to “look and feel more attractive.”

“I assumed that if I accurately reported my age and posted first a photo of myself with gray hair and then, three months later, the same image with brown hair, that the photo with brown hair would be deemed more attractive by more of the Match.com men.

“I couldn’t have been more wrong. Among Match.com-ers in New York City, Chicago and — most shocking of all — Los Angeles, three times as many men were interested in going out with me when my hair was gray as when it was dyed. This blew my mind.

She’s Geeky…It’s Personal

My story: I was born on a Sunday afternoon to Linda and Charlie Senger. My parents met when my mom was transferred to my dad’s division when her boss wouldn’t promote her because she was – a woman. My dad had a package on his desk addressed to his good friend from college, who turned out to be the beau of my mom’s best friend in high school. I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe in the virtue of tenacity. A couple marriage proposals later, my mom finally said yes and here I am.

A few important notes: 1) my mom had been married before, which produced my awesome brother 2) my dad is a geeky guy and a total sports fanatic – I mean FANATIC and 3) my dad always said he wanted a little girl. When I was old enough to inquire, I asked my dad why didn’t he want a boy. He said matter-of-factly he already had my brother and all the things he wanted to do, he could do with me. And it’s true. He taught me how to throw a ball and swing a bat as soon as I had the coordination. I grew up playing every sport under the sun.

Swing for the Fences

I also grew up with an older brother who was an engineer, straight out of the womb as my mom likes to say. I probably ruined more of his train sets, stereo, computer and guitar equipment than he’d like to remember. My brother is a smart, successful man but of all his accomplishments, his greatest achievement, in my opinion, is my niece. I adore her. If I never have children, I’m okay with it because my brother and sister-in-law already created this amazing human being who I have the great privilege of loving.

Which brings me to the point of my story. Over the years, I’ve watched my niece grow up. The kid is notably smart, clever, funny, observant, well-mannered, talented…all-around perfect. Not that I’m biased:) She’s taught me that children are either able to become the person they are meant to be or they’re taught to become mirrors of the world around them, no matter how distorted or tainted that world might be. The first time this point was thrown in my face was when she was six years old. We were talking about what she wanted to be when she “grew up” and she said a princess. Walk into any girls section of Toys-R-Us and it’s no surprise why. I told her she’d probably have to marry a prince to become a princess because although she does descend from royal lineage, she’s not in line for the crown. I said an alternative is President of the United States. And this is when she said the words I will never forget:

“Aunt Amy, girls can’t be President.”

The insolence I felt at the notion that this person, so capable of being anything she wants to be, would inherit the idea that she couldn’t be leader of a country known by the rest of the world as the land of opportunity reached Maleficent-level proportions in me. I told her, in a very serious tone, that girls can be President and she would see a woman President one day. And then  she apologized. For saying it. She apologized for the ignorance and discrimination and bias of the rest of the world.

Two years later, we were at the mall and the half-pint requested a visit to the book store. I said okay and asked her what she wanted there. In a very soft whisper, she answered. I had no idea what she said, she uttered it so quietly. I leaned down and asked, “What did you say?” Again, this time looking around like a cagey KGB agent, she whispered, “Pokemon.” “Pokemon?” I repeated. “Yes,” she confirmed. “Why are you whispering?” I asked. “I don’t want anyone to hear,” she replied. I started to think. “Do your parents not want you reading this?” I asked. “No,” she answered. “Then why are you being so weird?” And this is when my niece, who has never been into dolls, has never gotten anythings but A’s in math and science, who can figure out any gadget faster than I can, made the second statement I will never forget:

“Pokemon is for boys.”

The way she was acting, you would’ve thought she was running drug shipments for the Colombians. So I had a little talk with her. I told her if anyone ever questioned her interest in Pokemon, she would aptly inform them: That’s just how I roll.

Gamer Girl

My niece is ten years old and there are three responsibilities I feel very earnestly because of her:

 

1. I must leave her a world that isn’t trashed, literally.
2. She will see a woman President of the United States.
3. My niece will be able to grow into the individual she’s meant to be, without the confines of gender stereotypes.

 

The third responsibility is the reason I am supporting and promoting She’s Geeky. It’s why I’m being vocal about events I see as gender-biased and why I won’t be spending money on any company, product or event that discriminates or appears to discriminate against women. It’s why I participate in Ignite DC and the BvB DC charity football game. It’s why I started 1×57. I can’t expect somebody else to make the change happen. I’m responsible for clearing the path for whatever my niece is meant to be. God help you if you get in my way.

Who wants to be normal?

She's Geeky…It's Personal

My story: I was born on a Sunday afternoon to Linda and Charlie Senger. My parents met when my mom was transferred to my dad’s division when her boss wouldn’t promote her because she was – a woman. My dad had a package on his desk addressed to his good friend from college, who turned out to be the beau of my mom’s best friend in high school. I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe in the virtue of tenacity. A couple marriage proposals later, my mom finally said yes and here I am.

A few important notes: 1) my mom had been married before, which produced my awesome brother 2) my dad is a geeky guy and a total sports fanatic – I mean FANATIC and 3) my dad always said he wanted a little girl. When I was old enough to inquire, I asked my dad why didn’t he want a boy. He said matter-of-factly he already had my brother and all the things he wanted to do, he could do with me. And it’s true. He taught me how to throw a ball and swing a bat as soon as I had the coordination. I grew up playing every sport under the sun.

Swing for the Fences

I also grew up with an older brother who was an engineer, straight out of the womb as my mom likes to say. I probably ruined more of his train sets, stereo, computer and guitar equipment than he’d like to remember. My brother is a smart, successful man but of all his accomplishments, his greatest achievement, in my opinion, is my niece. I adore her. If I never have children, I’m okay with it because my brother and sister-in-law already created this amazing human being who I have the great privilege of loving.

Which brings me to the point of my story. Over the years, I’ve watched my niece grow up. The kid is notably smart, clever, funny, observant, well-mannered, talented…all-around perfect. Not that I’m biased:) She’s taught me that children are either able to become the person they are meant to be or they’re taught to become mirrors of the world around them, no matter how distorted or tainted that world might be. The first time this point was thrown in my face was when she was six years old. We were talking about what she wanted to be when she “grew up” and she said a princess. Walk into any girls section of Toys-R-Us and it’s no surprise why. I told her she’d probably have to marry a prince to become a princess because although she does descend from royal lineage, she’s not in line for the crown. I said an alternative is President of the United States. And this is when she said the words I will never forget:

“Aunt Amy, girls can’t be President.”

The insolence I felt at the notion that this person, so capable of being anything she wants to be, would inherit the idea that she couldn’t be leader of a country known by the rest of the world as the land of opportunity reached Maleficent-level proportions in me. I told her, in a very serious tone, that girls can be President and she would see a woman President one day. And then  she apologized. For saying it. She apologized for the ignorance and discrimination and bias of the rest of the world.

Two years later, we were at the mall and the half-pint requested a visit to the book store. I said okay and asked her what she wanted there. In a very soft whisper, she answered. I had no idea what she said, she uttered it so quietly. I leaned down and asked, “What did you say?” Again, this time looking around like a cagey KGB agent, she whispered, “Pokemon.” “Pokemon?” I repeated. “Yes,” she confirmed. “Why are you whispering?” I asked. “I don’t want anyone to hear,” she replied. I started to think. “Do your parents not want you reading this?” I asked. “No,” she answered. “Then why are you being so weird?” And this is when my niece, who has never been into dolls, has never gotten anythings but A’s in math and science, who can figure out any gadget faster than I can, made the second statement I will never forget:

“Pokemon is for boys.”

The way she was acting, you would’ve thought she was running drug shipments for the Colombians. So I had a little talk with her. I told her if anyone ever questioned her interest in Pokemon, she would aptly inform them: That’s just how I roll.

Gamer Girl

My niece is ten years old and there are three responsibilities I feel very earnestly because of her:

 

1. I must leave her a world that isn’t trashed, literally.
2. She will see a woman President of the United States.
3. My niece will be able to grow into the individual she’s meant to be, without the confines of gender stereotypes.

 

The third responsibility is the reason I am supporting and promoting She’s Geeky. It’s why I’m being vocal about events I see as gender-biased and why I won’t be spending money on any company, product or event that discriminates or appears to discriminate against women. It’s why I participate in Ignite DC and the BvB DC charity football game. It’s why I started 1×57. I can’t expect somebody else to make the change happen. I’m responsible for clearing the path for whatever my niece is meant to be. God help you if you get in my way.

Who wants to be normal?

Feminism and Passive Sexism

A political leader (from Greek “polis”) is an individual who is involved in influencing public decision making.

That’s me. I can’t help it. I was born this way. Believe me, too, I have hated it in myself.

Still it has influenced everything I’ve done in my life. Up to this point I have been very silent about this. Only those closest to me were aware. Now, I’m ready to turn it on. I’m starting here.

Starting with my first stance. I’m making a stand, rather obvious one, for womens rights. Women have acheived a lot already but the game is not over.

Passive Sexism

First thing that happens when u suppress a movement like sexism is that it goes underground. It becomes backroom chatter, silent understandings, and hidden oppression. It becomes veiled in other causes (separate but equal) and is harder to identify.

You can’t fool a politician though, that’s our game. I recognize it and I will tell you, you can count on that.

I pledge to fight passive sexism.

Public Image

Ever been in a school? If so you understand what kids look up to and what they mimick. They will be the first to repeat the curse word back to you and copy your worst qualities.

Same thing is true in US society and culture. We don’t understand the true reality of conference panel picking or managment meetings. We understand public image and what you say.

It really is a dual challenge of walking the walk and telling people you are walking the walk. Can’t just be fair and open minded (walk the walk) you also have to openly state your open mind.

Until you do that you sit next to all the sexists that women deal with on a daily basis.

This is not about playing politics or crafting an image. It is about clearly distancing yourself from the sexists.

Otherwise, you leave it up to us to form our own opinions.

The Theory of Mind

“Theory of mind is that thing that a two-year-old lacks, which makes her think that covering her eyes means you can’t see her”

Anil Dash, December 2007

The mind is a powerful force but it is also a secluded force. It is all by itself and can never really ‘touch’ another mind. That’s why empathy is so important in our world. It is something we inherently lack and need to work at.

When it comes to sexism it is just as bad as racism. One can never really understand how it feels to be oppressed until you are. Then you take it seriously. Then you understand how important it is to make a stand and do whatever you can to help.

That is the point of the theory of mind. Its very hard to understand and emphathize with another mind. What you can do is listen to those around you. Notice when they are telling you something. You may not understand it but it will always come accross with passion, hurt, emotions, or a claim that it’s the right thing to do.

That is what I am doing. I’m hearing and seeing all this in my life right now. I’m also hearing a lot of defensive arguements and laissez faire attitudes.

As the leader that I think I am it is my duty to stand up and stake my claim. I believe I am seeing sexism. I believe that chips will always fall as luck wants, but a person can do the right thing in the meantime.

I want to see a better world, one without sexism. Please join with me and take this step.