Category Archives: Feminism

Women: Staying Unequal to Preserve Marital Peace…by Jen Keefe

This is in response to Lidia Lovric who writes for the province. The article
I’m responding to [see below] showed up in today’s paper.

Having read Lidia Lovric’s previous neo-conservative anti-feminist articles,
it is clear that the implication of her most recent article, “A woman
president is OK, but is the White House Ready for a ‘First-Man’?” is that
women should sacrifice their success for the sake of preserving peace in the
household. Because our society allegedly raises men to be insecure, selfish
and unable to be supportive of strong and successful women, women should
continue to occupy subservient roles so as to not threaten their men. Like
most of Lovric’s articles, this is disempowering to women and discourages
women from seeking success outside the home ‘for the sake of the family’ and
societal relations as a whole. The implication of Lovric’s article should be
that our society needs to do a better job of celebrating women’s successes
and chastizing men for being uncomfortable with it.

Furthermore, Lovric’s husband’s responses to her prodding about what his
level of comfort would be with her earning more money should be an
indication that he views her position in the home as being less threatening
likely because he views it as less significant than his contributions;
Otherwise, he wouldn’t be threatened. This is supported by his remark that
if she earned more than him he could stay at home, implying that staying at
home is easier than working for a wage. Unfortunately, the reason men are so
supportive of women staying at home is because they do not perceive their
role as being as important as men’s in the workforce, and thus this is why
it does not threaten them.

============

A woman president is OK, but is the White House ready for a ‘First Man’?

Lydia Lovric

Friday, February 02, 2007

When Laura Bush concludes her term as First Lady, it’s quite possible that the White House will experience a little role reversal.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her bid for the 2008 presidency, husband Bill is being touted as America’s first probable “First Man.”

“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” said the ex-president in a recent New York Post article. “I am very proud of my wife. So is her daughter. I wish her well.”

Although the former president appears to be supportive of his wife’s presidential bid, one must wonder how Bill would truly feel if Hillary becomes the most powerful person in the world.

While most couples can’t really relate to life in the White House, more and more husbands are finding themselves married to highly successful women with greater income levels or loftier titles. But is it a blow to the male ego?

Political correctness dictates that men today should graciously celebrate the achievements of their partner. Yet, I believe most men still like to wear the pants in the family.

When I questioned my husband about how he would feel if I earned more money than him, he hesitantly asked, “How much more?”

“Double,” I replied.

At first, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, and joked about whether he would be able to stay home. When prodded further, he admitted that, yes, it likely would bother him a little. I suspect most men feel this way.

This is not to say that men would not be proud of or happy about a wife’s success, only that, if their own achievements failed to measure up, some would feel like “less of a man.”

Relationships where the female earns considerably more money are likely fraught with problems, whether the couple admits it or not.

Consider the following hugely successful women: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Kim Campbell. All have had tremendous careers. Their success on the homefront, however, has been less than stellar.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly contributed to the breakdown of their personal relationships. But bruised egos are plausible culprits.

One exception: Women who earn their wealth and fame through modelling, acting or singing. I think it’s easier for a husband to deal with this success, because the rest of the world regards such stars as being grossly overpaid and incredibly lucky.

A woman who has conquered the corporate world, broken down barriers in politics or contributed greatly to science or medicine is far more intimidating.

To be sure, there are a handful of men able to live happily in the shadow of their formidable wives. But I believe they’re in the minority.

Most men today still expect to be the breadwinner.

They’re OK with the missus earning some dough as well. But when she brings home a giant baguette and he brings crumbs, well, it’s bound to create a bit of tension.

Lydia Lovric can be reached through her website: www. lydialovric.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007

Real Soap, “Real” Beauty, “Real” Feminism?

Dove soap’s Campaign for Real Beauty is very interesting to me. I’ve seen the billboards and I appreciate their attempt to legitimize beauty beyond what we’re brainwashed with in Maxim, Playboy, Baywatch and the like.

But I’m not so sure about Dove. I’m not so sure that even if their soap products, etc. are stupendous that I respect them co-opting a legitimate debate for corporate ends. True, they may be spurring some to expand their sense of beauty, but underlying Maxim, Playboy, Baywatch and Dove is the consumerist necessity of defining for us what we want so we can buy it from one company, as opposed to the other.

So cynically–or perhaps realistically–Dove is merely engaging us in clever market segmentation: they are the soap for people who don’t wish to recognize any legitimacy in stereotyped constructions of beauty. How post-modern of them.

Then there’s the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, that helps “girls all over the world to overcome everyday beauty pressures.” Right. Again, Dove may be god’s gift to women’s dermatological health, but do we really want Dove being in charge of this dialogue? They sure want to be in charge of it. Great viral PR [we’re encouraged to invite friends to the website]. In fact, instead of them actually having to advertise to you about how great they are in funding socially-conscious projects, we end up seeking that information from them. It’ll stick to us better that way because we want to know about them. The cosmetics and health products industries are prime culprits in destroying women’s self-esteem. How ironic–or socially healing?–of Dove to try to rectify this. Either way, they will probably sell more soap.

Happily for Dove, 2 of the 5 items listed as success stories for the Self-Esteem Fund are photo exhibitions they created themselves.

It may be terrible to rub this in, but Dove is even doing market research on us as we navigate their site. In providing information about their motives [thoroughly altruistic sounding, of course–remember, they’re on our side!], they ration the information so that we need to click to further screens for elaboration. They end up with a good sense of just how much each of us is interested in various depths of information. This information about us can be combined with a log of all pages we visit on their site [including the time we spend between clicking through pages] to give them a pretty wonderful sense of how much we care to know. Heck, even I track my access logs to examine reading/clicking habits on my site [anonymously, though, because I collect nothing about yall but IP numbers]; I’ve got to believe Dove does it too. Worse still, if we actually log in and supply demographic data when we create our profile on the site [assuming a certain percentage of those signing up are not lying], they get an even broader sense of us, despite their claim that they only collect navigation data anonymously and in the aggregate. And what is our benefit from all this? Better soap? Better self-esteem through Dove products?

Even more cynically, perhaps, how many of the people taking part in the definition of beauty discussions on that site are Dove lackeys spinning conversation in defined PR areas? If I were running this campaign, I wouldn’t leave the discussion board completely at the mercy of regular normal people without having my branding agents subtly making it all worthwhile.

So then I dug through my hard drive to find the August 1992 update of the soc.feminism faq that defines various flavours of feminism to see which ones would support Dove’s campaign and which ones would condemn it. The updated faq of Different Flavours of Feminism is more useful.

Applying each flavour to Dove’s campaign will require great thought: more than I can accomplish without a few more days/weeks of mental meandering. [Maybe in the meantime I’ll write something in here about the disaster of w.Caesar’s election. Or not]

For now, until you follow the link to the full faq with descriptions of the flavours, here they are, listed:

Amazon Feminism

Anarcho-Feminism

Cultural Feminism

Erotic Feminism

Eco-Feminism

Feminazi

Feminism and Women of Color

Individualist, or Libertarian Feminism

Lesbianism

Liberal Feminism

Marxist and Socialist Feminism

Material Feminism

Moderate Feminism

‘pop-feminism’

Radical Feminism

Separatists

Men’s Movements:

Feminist Men’s Movement

Men’s Liberation Movement

Mythopoetic Men’s Movement

The New Traditionalists

The Father’s Movements

Finis