Thursday, March 30, 2017

Women are not Soul-Imperiling, Walking-Vaginas-of-Temptation -- and it's not cute to pretend we are

The fact that Pence won't sit across from a woman he's not married to is creepy as fuck. It's also indicative of a real issue for women in some areas of professional life -- where women aren't welcome to be "part of the club" because men don't want them there. Sometimes out of unfamiliarity and a garden variety misogyny, and sometimes because the man is apparently so twisted and disturbed he can't be a professional, he can't *share a table with a woman*, without being a creeper. Think of the impact this would have on a career, if a coworker - or supervisor - won't associate with you because of your gender. Won't mentor you, won't learn your strengths, won't help you overcome weaknesses, like he would a male coworker-- because you're female.

If Pence, as a supervisor, will not be around his female employees, he will not get to know their strengths and weaknesses like he will their male peers.
Believe it or not...When you treat your female colleagues and employees like soul imperiling, walking vaginas of temptation, you thwart their professional lives.

Of course, these same people will be the first to swear there's no barriers to women's progress in the professional world (as they vote against equal pay, and reproductive rights, and...), but I digress...

So this isn't something old fashioned and harmless, because it isn't personal; it's a deliberate choice to treat women differently than men, in a professional capacity. Choosing not to drink around other people? That's personal, because it has no impact on anyone but him. But pursuing a professional life and choosing not to associate with women? That's injecting some (very warped) hangups into your professional life -- and the professional lives of those around you. Pence is a professional, and in a professional capacity this idea that one-on-one time with a woman is corrupting and dangerous has the potential for extremely negative effects on the careers of his female colleagues -- much less subordinates.

Of course, since this gross misogyny comes from Christianity (and a white man at that), it's socially acceptable. (The same conservatives who screech about Sharia law, who feign a fear for the safety and dignity of women as a justification to leave Muslim refugee kids to die, will have no problem with this. Again, I digress...) Tools like Matt Walsh are rushing to his defense, saying that he's just "protecting" his marriage. Because, you know, the female is a dangerous, corrupting vagina of temptation, and exposure to her presence will surely lead a pious Christian man to Satan's embrace.

The fact of the matter is, though, that such regressive ideas about women are harmful. It's demeaning to men, who are assumed to be so incapable of professionalism and decency that they can't share a table with a woman without jumping into bed with her (presumably, she's willing; always; because who, after all, could resist the charms of Mike Pence?). And it's deeply demeaning and damaging to women, who are not only put in the role of eternal temptress and seductress, but whose careers will necessarily suffer from being relegated to this role. These backwards, misogynistic ideas have no place in a decent society -- much less in the top tiers of government.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos's supporters have no deniability

So, Republican Man, you celebrated Milo when he claimed sexual harassment victims were
making a big deal about nothing, that women should just suck it up and move on, and that those women who complained about having their breasts grabbed by strangers were just boasting about how attractive and sexually interesting they were. You cheered as he said campus rape didn't happen -- and that the young women who had been raped were liars. You laughed along when he degraded your sisters, your mother, your friends, your relatives who stood up for their rights. You cheered him on as he harassed strangers with utter vitriol, when he'd sic a troll army on random people who dared to disagree with him. You celebrated when he trivialized or outright denied all the issues that impact Americans who aren't straight, white, male and conservative.

You shared his rants, promoted him, you helped make him a "somebody". Because he despised women the way you do, but would come out and say it -- like you wouldn't dare. Because you thought his anti-LGBT comments gave you cover for your own homophobia and transphobia. Because you didn't mind, and maybe even deep down shared, his "edgy" (read: racist and anti-Semitic) takes on race, on anti-Semitism, etc.

And when you were called on it, you hid behind "lolz" and "making librul heads explode". That's what you loved most about Milo: he gave a voice to the hatred you harbor for women, for LGBT people, etc, and you were only too happy to amplify it. And you imagined it came with some kind of deniability.

Now you want to pretend you're aghast that he condones rape of 13 year old boys. A man who laughed about and denies rape. Who degraded women for protesting sexual assault. Who has shown nothing but contempt for victims.

Maybe you thought those attitudes only applied to women and girls. Maybe if he'd stuck to condoning and denying rape of women you'd be ok. Now you're surprised.

Sorry, guy who used to love Milo; but there's no deniability here. You promoted a man who mocked, trivialized and denied sexual abuse. You celebrated a man who crossed just about every boundary of decency, and now you're wringing your hands, saying, "but how??"

There's a reason decent people were appalled by him. And the fact that you weren't, well, that reflects on you. The rest of us knew what Milo was. You need to take a long, hard look inward and figure out why you didn't. Because, frankly, I'm less worried about a single monster than I am his legion of fans and rape apologists.