Tag Archives: gender roles

excuse me, I’m not wimpy.

This Sports Illustrated article (“Wimpiest/most bizarre team names”) reinforces traditional standards of masculinity:

Dude, really? Wimpy team names and you leave out the NYU Violets? They have a hockey team…a HOCKEY team called the “Violets”. That ranks up there with the Peoria “Prancers.”
Jarod, Elmhurst, Ill.

Violet: a color. Also a name for girls. Also associated with “purple,” both colors considered “gay.” To prance, from Merriam-Webster: to spring from the hind legs or move by so doing; to ride on a prancing horse; to walk or move in a spirited manner. Or prance from Urban Dictionary:

Translation: Homosexuality is wimpy.

Allisonville High School Alices and the Frankfort High School Hot Dogs.
Travis Allen, Valparaiso, Ind.

Alice: another girl name. Same as Violet, above.

Translation: Girls are wimpy.

When Troy Aikman played high school football in Henryetta, Okla., the team name was the Hens. In the late ’80’s a woman I knew from there was part of a local group that finally got the school board to to change the name to something (anything!) else. So the team became the Knights. And opposing fans quit wearing Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets on their heads at games.
Richard Williams, Nashville, Tenn.

Hen: a female chicken. Also, slang for a human woman.

Translation: women are wimpy.

Wimpy team names: Columbia, Mo., Hickman High School Kewpies (a baby doll).
Charlie, Jeff City, Mo.

As far as wimpy high school names go, the worst has to be David H. Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., whose nickname is the Kewpies (like the kewpie doll). Even worse, I seem to remember the colors of the pressbox at the stadium being yellow and lavender. I’ve got to believe every pregame pep talk by an opposing coach involved something along the lines of “No WAY we’re losing to a bunch of Kewpies!”
Jeff Lewis, Greensboro, N.C.

The Kewpies may have it worse of all. SI included a remarkable five quotes about this Midwestern school, including one that was not originally bolded in the article (is SI trying to say something?) like all the other quotes were. Let’s examine the bias against the Kewpies.

Kewpie dolls were (according to Wikipedia) “illustrations by Rose O’Neill that appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1909.” Dolls can be safely filed under “girls only toys.” “Lavender,” supposedly one of the school colors (actually purple) is even more associated with homosexuality than either purple or violet.

Translation: anything girly in tandem with males must turn males gay/effeminate/girly. Girly = bad. (I guess they’ve forgotten that girls play sports too.)


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I like to be well dressed, but…

Women’s Wear Daily reports:

Ports 1961 has struck a deal with NBC Universal to dress four female commentators for NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA Network during the Games, which take place Aug. 8 to 24.

So I know that Ports only has a womenswear division, but isn’t it, hmm, weird that only the female commentators are supposed to be that well dressed? Where’s the menswear designer outfitting all the male commentators?


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my review of Red Cliff:


  • Action scenes are many and some times overly long.
  • Some of the battle formations are well-loved Chinese tales. They may seem very weird to those not familiar with the stories.
  • Many historical inaccuracies, as reported by movie critics.
  • The one historical inaccuracy I noted was that in the film, Zhu Ge Liang is younger than Zhou Yu. But since the actor who plays Zhu Ge Liang is none other than the handsome Takeshi Kaneshiro, who has just broken a barrier in the fashion industry, I do not mind! Plus, Zhu Ge Liang is my favorite character from the whole Three Kingdoms stories anyway.
  • The Chinese government wanted Red Cliff to be a showcase of Chinese culture, and a showcase of Chinese culture it is. At times it seems a bit ridiculous – the characters cycle through Chinese calligraphy, painting, music (with qin and flute), courtesans, sports, all with John Woo’s signature slo-mo shots. and even some weird freeze shots in the music playing scenes.
  • The sex scene(s) go on really long for a Chinese film. and they’re pretty explicit. But I thought it was tasteful.
  • A lot of doves, as per John Woo-directing methodology. Actually they’re pigeons, but they look like doves.
  • Two main female characters – Xiao Qiao and Sun Shangxiang. Xiao Qiao is the wife of Zhou Yu (she’s the only fictional character with a major role in the film) and Sun Shangxiang is the princess of the Wu kingdom family (little sister of Sun Quan). They don’t see each other so they don’t speak to each other. Thus the film doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.
  • Xiao Qiao follows the traditional “good wife” role. She likes animals. She’s caring. She’s not incompetent though. She successfully bandages Zhou Yu when he is injured (big whoop). Then it’s implied that they have sex. Actually, she’s really not incompetent, despite the sarcastic tone before. she just doesn’t have good speaking lines and no good actions.
  • Sun Shangxiang is a tomboy. She is playful, smart, able to keep up with her brothers. She’s clever. She plays a crucial role in the last battle of the movie. She has a bunch of warrior maids who follow her around. When her brother tries to arrange a marriage for her, she exits the room while all the other males laugh and dismiss her (but not after she pulls a pretty kick-ass move). However, Zhu Ge Liang follows her and is the only person who accepts her as she is. (And as one of the starring roles, gives her validation.)
  • Even in China, there are Chinese subtitles above English subtitles. I liked the translations.
  • The battles look pretty good because all the people are real people. However, some of the extras weren’t in character. Sometimes it looked like a History Channel re-enactment. Except with way better makeup and costumes and all that jazz.
  • Really amazing scenery.
  • Special effects were pretty good. Some of the panoramic shots were noticeably created with special effects, but it wasn’t laughable or bothersome. I thought the whole special effects portion of the movie was really well done.
  • Cao Cao gets another motivation for conquering southern China – he wants Xiao Qiao. I don’t think this is historically accurate. Aaand I’m not quite sure what to think about this. Another romance thread for the story? Not in my book. He wants to own her, not love her. Besides, she and Zhou Yu love each other already, in the movie.
I watched the first half of the movie, which came out a couple days ago in Eastern Asia. In the U.S., a shortened (by 90 minutes) 2 1/2 hour release is currently scheduled for January.
The first half ends right before the actual battle at Red Cliff, the famous naval battle. There’s a brief shot of Cao Cao’s land-based forces getting sick on the ships, followed (not immediately) by a nice shot of Zhu Ge Liang setting fire to model ships, again foreshadowing the events of the battle.


Filed under movies

well, I think men’s bodies are most flattering with no clothes on, so they shouldn’t wear anything on the streets.


The problem with the main argument in that NYTimes article, that men like to look at women in dresses and thus women should wear dresses (oh no! the pant! how horrible! it helps women cross their legs – but where are the ultra-feminine dresses of the pre-second-wave-feminism era?!), is that then women should be making their clothing choices depending on the whims of another group. Besides, the standard constantly shifts. Certainly, in societies where women don’t wear Western-style dresses, men think those women “look good” in other types of clothing. If someone else decides the standard, that someone else can also change the standard.

Besides, women aren’t in the world for men to oogle and shape to their fancy. We’re people, too.

[edit 7:56 PM] I got the jump on feministing this time, but Vanessa wrote another rebuttal of the NYTimes piece here.

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I hate days like today.

Blatant racism, immaturity, physical harassment, annoyance, further disturbance of my already-damaged ears. Oh, the joys of public education. Wait, and I thought I was in a good school system? This city/town is nationally ranked for a good education system, and the school has repeatedly won national awards and has an obscene number of Presidential Scholars. And good girls don’t get physically harassed, of course. I must have been asking for it. I’m just “acting the victim.” Oh, and nevermind that it wasn’t a guy, or several guys, who were bothering me. Girl on girl hate crime. How silly. Those women can’t even band together. Who can expect them to possibly fight the patriarchy?

Basically, I got my head and hair knocked around for 50 straight minutes. (A white teddy bear was involved.) It was very aggravating, as you can expect. I was too PC and afraid to call them out because of their sex and their race. Too pacifist to stir up more of a fight. It was a public space, after all, and I didn’t want to create more disturbance.

As a result, I was crabby. It was almost like I had PMS, except I don’t ever get PMS, or cramps. Those damn emotions that women have. I must have been swayed by them, because women can’t think straight and make rational decisions. </sarcasm>

Anyway, some examples of sexism from today:

  1. Hillary Clinton sexism: During the Quiz Bowl assembly, the two teams were asked, “Who are the four remaining leading presidential candidates and what states are each of them affiliated with?” The losing team didn’t know where Mike Huckabee hailed from (the question was written way before last night’s results) and the winning team answered, “Barack Obama, Illinois; Hillary, New York; John McCain, Arizona; Mike Huckabee, Arkansas.” First name basis with Hillary, now, I see. Where’s the respect?
  2. Presenting misogyny as a joke: During the same assembly, the two male MC’s joke about ignoring women when they speak. They improvise a scene with the two guys talking about baseball and the female MC is trying to get in a word. Finally, she throws up her hands and declares, “Guys never listen to girls!” The two guys laugh. A lot of people in the audience laugh. It’s ok if nobody listens to girls and women, this laughter says, it happens all the time. Live with it. Your opinions aren’t worth listening to, during baseball season. The two guys even said, “Just wait a couple more weeks!” Until season is over, of course. Baseball > women.
  3. Girls suck at anything sports-related: The dancing from clips of the school musical (Damn Yankees, whose Wikipedia poster is another objectification of women) showed the manly boys swinging their baseball bats with vigor and heart and the women hopelessly muddling it up. In fact, their weak arms swing the bat in tiny, wavering circles, and they have to hand it off to their men. Girls suck at sports, anyway, this dancing declares. They have to stand in the bleachers.
  4. “Shut the fuck up, bitch,” addressed to a guy: Feminization of men is still the best insult these days. Sissy, pussy, you cry like a girl. (What’s up with crying? As a man, you can’t do it. As a woman, you are frigid and inhumane and not womanly if you don’t, yet too emotionally and not level-headed if you do.) This happens because women are seen as weaker, not just physically, but mentally, socially, economically, and in terms of humanness.

Are some of these sexist events unavoidable? Perhaps. Do their existence promote and reinforce stereotypes? Yes. And if you want to eradicate those stereotypes, these things need to stop.

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Bus drivers.

A friend pointed out to me that nowhere in this joke does it say that the bus driver was a man.

Talk about perceived gender roles! What a trap I fell into.

Reminds me of this (common) anecdote:

A father* and his son were both in a car accident. The father was killed, and the son was rushed to the hospital, where he needed an emergency operation to save his life. The surgeon examined the boy before the operation and said, “I can’t operate on this child. He is my son.”

How is this possible?

Of course, the answer is that the surgeon is the boy’s mother, and this story is used to illustrate the common perception that surgeons are always male. Likewise, I made an assumption that the bus driver was male, while bus drivers aren’t limited to one sex over the other.

*I’ve also heard this story from another angle – the mother is in the car with the son, and instead of a surgeon, a nurse is at the hospital and exclaims, “That’s my son!” I like this version of the story better in some respects, because it dashes the perceptions that nurses are always female (gender roles) if the nurse is the father and that the parents have to be of opposite genders (heteronormativity) if the two parents are lesbians, although the latter is far more politically charged.


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