Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The sexist pencil sharpener and a bad comparison


Yesterday Jessica Valenti blogged about the sexist pencil sharpener you see above. As a regular reader, I know that Jessica often posts pics of sexist sinks, urnals and other objects that are designed to look like dismembered female bodies.. it's creepy and sexist and downright grose. She wants to address the issue.. fine right?
Well apparently some people get a bit thrown off by this and decide to try and compare apples and oranges. Here's an article I found today and sent to Feministing just in case they hadn't caught wind of it. It's good for a laugh. I don't get how peoples minds work.. totaly lack of logic. (I won't touch on the pencil pic since Jessica already covered it and it's pretty plain to see why)So lets read the article :

Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters, is angry over the pencil sharpener pictured above. On Feministing.com she writes:

"What better way to start the week than a stark reminder of how the world sees women? (It seems the perfect woman is almost always dismembered and frequently being penetrated.) Just f***king kill me now."

I don't blame Jessica for being unhappy over the pencil sharpener, but I wonder if she would be as offended by the knife block pictured. The knife block seems far more offensive than the pencil sharpener:

1) The knife block depicts extreme and painful violence.

2) The pencil sharpener depicts a conventional, common sex act which women enjoy.

I'm not saying Jessica would reject any complaints about the knife block--perhaps she would agree with men's activists that it's offensive. But it seems that Jessica and many other feminists tend to see popular culture as "offensive to women" when, in reality, popular culture is far more anti-male than anti-female. This is particularly true when depicting violence--a dozen men can die in a movie or cop show and scarcely anyone blinks, but when a woman dies, it's a big deal. To pick one example, see my blog post Pirates of the Caribbean & Male Disposability.


First off, jesus, can we stop with the "I'm more persecuted/descriminated against than you"?? I don't see why the author thought it neccessary to even compare the pencil sharpener with the knife holder! We're talking about two very different patterns of thought behind two different sexist objects. You can't really compare them except to say that they are two sexist objects. It's silly. It's so childish to go, "well the one with the knife through it is way more sexist!!" What exactly is he trying to say, that because the knife holder exists that we shouldn't be upset by the pencil sharpener?! It's very valid to be upset by both of these tools but comparing them just to try and rationalize that men are more persececuted than women is fucking dumb and irrational.

secondly, um.. okay there is a difference between people dying in a movie and people dying in real life!! How do you go from relating sexist knife holders and pencil sharpeners, to how many more of one sex dies in movies than the other!?Here's a thought- Maybe more men die in the movies because there are generally more movies directed by men, roles written for men, and actors who happen to be men? Ever think of that? Then if you wanna talk about stereotypical gender roles in movies, well thats the issue isn't it! Thats worth talking about- and men don't have it so hot, but then neither do women. Your standard, cop shoot out movie (which Mr. Up Above is talking about) is going to be chalk full of male actors in manly hero/villan type roles. He's gonna shoot people, people will shoot at him, lots of extras will get in the way and die, usually the hero's best friend dies or gets horribly injured. The average female character in one of those movies will serve as one of two things, either she's the sexy villan or love interest, who sleeps with the hero. The villian female doops the cop and audience into believing that she's "one of the good guys". The love interest female only enter scenes to have sex with the leading male role, make dinner or become a victim. THERE YA GO! So if you got a problem with men dying in movies, why not complain to the MEN who actually create those movies!? Since ya know, the larger percentage of one sex running hollywood happen to be male.

Also, if you read the comments posted under the article you get a big insight on what Men's Rights Advocates are actually worried about - women being independent and having babies without getting married! OOO all chaos would insue!! Read this:
You see the sexual notion that women hold: men like sex, and wish women liked it. This is learned behavior. We teach this to our children, boys and girls alike. It makes men believe we need women more than we really do. Women believe it too. It is patently untrue. It can be un-learned.

But it is a very useful social convention. Were men to realize how little we really need women, society would unravel. Men have not yet even gained the ability to conveniently and easily control our fertility, and women are already bemoaning the lack of good marryable men. Middle aged middle class single women are, as Glenn pointed out elsewhere, choosing to have children without benefit of marriage. There are, I believe, two reasons for this. One is the marriage strike; the other is much much more troubling to me.

"Liberated" women seem unwilling, or unable, to endure the compromise necessary to actually marry and live with a man. They will say they have been in relationships that they hoped would lead to marriage and children, but "none of the relationships worked." What these women really mean is they were unwilling to accept someone else at face value, as another imperfect human, and actually compromise some of their deeply-held beliefs in the name of making a marriage work, and for the good of children. Women have been told they can have it all, and that is what they believe. Choosing to become a mother without a father is the ultimate act of self-indulgence. The lack of marryable men is partly due to a genuine shortage; the rest is merely a reflection of women's uncompromising attitudes.

Olivia, maybe you will be able to find someone you can manipulate long term with that thing you were born with. And then again, maybe not.


I read this stuff all the time. Self-ish woman, and the poor neglected men being tossed aside because women are too self-centered to get married...god, it makes me wanna vomit. Mens Rights Groups are less about fighting for men's rights and more about taking away the freedom of women to choose their own path in life. It's painfully clear... makes me really sick actually. takes a certain kind of insecure person to wanna control someone... let alone an entire sex.

1 comment:

Matt said...

It's not only in films that more men get killed . It happens in real life too. Take the casualty figures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The percentage figures for the armed services are 90% men and 10% women. You would naturally expect that there would be 90% of the casualties who are men and 10% who are women. But in actual fact 98% of the casualties are men and a mere 2% women.
Does this sound as though female soldiers are sharing the same dangers as men? We often see women portrayed as tough guys in films; pity they don't exist in real life.