What are “systems of oppression”?
First of all, we are all born into different cultures with different personal traits that contribute to our identity. We can control some of these, others not so much. The wheel below shows dimensions of diversity. The inner circle shows race, age, physical ability, mental ability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and ethnicity. We are born with different variations of these, and we can’t always control them.
Even though they can’t always be controlled, this inner circle of social identity categories impacts the other circles.
People who are born into “subordinate” groups such as women, disabled people, people of color, homosexuals, etc. have an unequal access to power, resources, opportunities, and equality because they are born into this system where they are oppressed. They are suppressed, exploited, and dehumanized.
Systems of oppression work on an individual level through personal actions, an institutional level through laws, norms, and rules, and a societal level through roles, rituals, and language.
These systems are reinforced by our teachers, parents, schools, religions, laws, and beliefs. By accepting and perpetuating them, we continue to be hurt by this system of inequality.
3 percent of the decision-making in media comes from women. That means 97 percent of how women are portrayed is decided on by men.
Independent Lens, PBS
“Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” (via ihopeyoucontinue4ever)
It also means that 97 percent of how men are portrayed in media are decided on by men. Something to remind MRAs and their ilk of when they complain about the stereotype of men as inept slobs, bad fathers, etc in media and advertising.
Men have the power. So when we men are shat on by the powers that be you don’t get to try and blame women for that.
For all the women I have loved who were dragged through the mud
I’ve read a lot of great essays about how fandom is female-majority and creates a female gaze and a safe space for women and etc. But spend five minutes in fandom and you’ll have an unsettling question.
Why does a female-majority, feminist culture hate female characters so much?
It’s not a question of if it happens. You know it does. You can go into any fandom and see it. Some fandoms are worse than others, but it’s always there. Scroll down the Tumblr tag for any show, movie, book, comic, whatever, and you’ll see nothing but love for the men, and a lot of unjustified hate for the women, maybe with a few defenders here and there insisting on their love for the women in the face of all that hate.
To be clear, we’re not talking about female villains. Male villains get just as much hate. It’s fine if you hate Bellatrix Lestrange or Dolores Umbridge, you’re supposed to. (I personally stan for Bella, but I realize that wasn’t the authorial intent.) This is about people hating Hermione, Ginny and Luna, but loving Harry, Ron and Neville. This is about how ambiguous male antiheroes, like Snape, Zuko, or pretty much any male vampire protagonist can get away with walking that fine line between good and evil and not only remain sympathetic, but be even more beloved for how ~tortured~ he is, but when a female character is morally gray that bitch has to die.
So you can’t tell me it’s okay that you hate Sansa because you also hate Joffrey and he’s a dude. They’re not comparable. It isn’t even comparable if you pick a female antihero. Let’s do this apples to apples, here.
We all know that fandom does this. We all know that it’s fucked up and symptomatic of internalized sexism. What’s really fucking weird about it, though, is that the women doing this hating often aren’t ignorant. These are feminists. These are women who can go on meta-analyses of the writing. Some will hide behind pseudo-feminist reasons for their hate—oh, it’s the writing, we just aren’t given strong female characters! (I saw this used for the women of AtLA: Katara, Toph, Azula, et al. This was about when I just backed away slowly because I know a lost cause when I see it.) I’ve seen women who denied being sexist, but couldn’t name a single female character they liked. And it’s always that the female characters aren’t good enough, even when they obviously have a double standard, and they’re measuring women on an impossible scale full of contradictions and no-win binds, while the men are just embraced and loved pretty much for existing.
The reaction nearly every time one of these women is called out is not to say, “Huh, you may have a point, I should examine the way I judge and process women’s actions more closely,” but an insistence of their feminism, followed by a more detailed description of why that particular woman is terrible and she hates her, as if the whole point were not that fandom is already oversaturated with that kind of hate, and as if the person doing the calling out were not already 110% done with that bullshit.
Particularly telling is that male-dominated corners of fandom do not have this problem. They fetishize, they objectify, they ignore. They don’t hate like this.
We know it happens. What I want to know is WHY.
Theories follow below the cut.
Moffat’s “feisty” female characters all seem to speak in the same quickfire, gimmicky manner which grates ever so slightly to my ears. Whatever faults one might have attributed to Russell T. Davies’s series openers, he always sketched out convincing characters incredibly well. Even minor figures could take on a dense weight of realism. By contrast, many of Moffat’s characters carry an air of stylized unreality, something which I’d say has been true of Amy Pond in the past, and seems true yet again of the major new character here, thanks partly to things like the “chinboy” and “beaky” shtick.
One of the most ridiculous concepts that society promotes is that we should always consider “the other side”, that we should always compromise, that the truth is always “in the middle. The problem with this is that it ignores how many stances and opinions are completely not compatible with each other.
Feminism, anti-racism, and other similar issues are not a friendly debate. They are a struggle that’s life and death for millions (or, realistically, billions) of people. They are struggles whose only eventual outcome is the eradication of what they fight against (patriarchy, white supremacy, etc). There is no compromise, there is no “truth in the middle”, and there’s certainly no “agree to disagree” about it. Either patriarchy is abolished completely or it isn’t at all; either white supremacy becomes a ridiculous relic of the past as it should be or people of color continue to suffer or be murdered in its name.
These movements can’t “consider the other side” because the other side is actively trying to eradicate them and dehumanize their participants. To agree to be dehumanized under new conditions is not acceptable. MRAs and “equalists” often wonder why feminists won’t debate them, but it’s because they don’t understand that they’re the enemy, not a like-minded person with a different approach.
The Problem of Bromance
WARNING: Since I’m tagging this as ‘bromance’ and I don’t myself like tagging hate (though I don’t really see this as hate?) most of this is going under the cut, and the good/neutral things I have to say about the issue are above it.
Bromance is a portmanteau of the colloquial term ‘bro’ and ‘romance’ and is commonly used to denote a particularly strong friendship between two males.
Ignoring context, there really isn’t anything wrong with the meaning of the word itself. Anyone regardless of gender identity should feel safe to express emotion or attachment to anyone else without fear of retribution for failing to conform to rigid gender roles. But language doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it is informed by the social constructs of the culture it derives from and its use can enforce cultural norms (like, oh, heteronormativity) in a positive feedback loop between language and culture.
Feministing just released their online report, #femfuture: Online Revolution. Check it out here.
Proud to be part of the feminist bloggersphere ^_^
fuck anyone who tries to discredit the movement by calling it “tumblr social justice feminism” or whatever