The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.
If you want to fix the male literary crisis, here’s your solution:
Become a feminist.
Doing what one wants to do because one wants to do it is hard for a lot of people, but I think it’s particularly hard for women. We are, after all, the gender onto which a giant Here To Serve button has been eternally pinned.
the Bechdel test, the Ellen Willis test, ALL THE TESTS: or, a handy guide to feminist critiques of narrative
(reference for when i am trying to explain these to people and they are looking at me like “huh”):
- the Bechdel test: does the story have a) more than one women, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a man.
- the Ellen Willis test: if you flip the genders, does the story still make sense?
- the Sexy Lamp test (courtesy of Kelly Sue DeConnick): can you replace your female character with a sexy lamp and still have the story work? if yes, YOU ARE A HACK.
- the Mako Mori test: there is a) at least one female character, b) who gets her own narrative arc, c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
- the Tauriel test (which i made up in response to The Hobbit 2 [which passes] and Skyfall [which fails]): a) there is a woman, b) WHO IS GOOD AT HER JOB.
and in justification of my recent TV obsessions, i would like to note that Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy, and Nikita (ALL HAIL MAGGIE Q) pass all of these tests with flying colors.
UPDATE: i just discovered the Finkbeiner test and it is FANTASTIC.
FURTHER UPDATE: these were noted by oranges8hands and are EXCELLENT and add some much-needed intersectionality:
The Deggans Rule: a) At least two POC characters in the main cast, b) in a show that’s not about race.
The Racial Bechdel Test (I first saw it laid out by Alaya Dawn Johnson): a) it has two POC in it, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a white person
and then I offered an amendment to the Bechdel test: d) both women have to be alive at the end
More things that pass all of these tests, including the amendments:
- Orange is the New Black
- The Last of Us: American Dreams by Neil Druckmann & Faith Erin Hicks
- Morning Glories by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma
- Supurbia by Grace Randolph & Russell Dauterman
- Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, & Dave Marquez
- The Princess and the Frog
- The Wolverine
I know shit like this should be expected in Youtube comments, but I’m just so disgusted with all of this.
There was more to the conversation earlier, where TentaclePentacle tried to cissplain to me what the “actual definition of transsexuality is”, but i frankly couldn’t stand looking at the comment thread any longer.
Point is, they’re a transphobic, rape apologist asshole.
once again the “men can’t control themselves, if they’re denied sex they have to rape someone” argument rears its ugly head. although apparently “horny female prisoners” get tarred with that brush too in this particular conversation. what a lovely view of humanity this person has.
rape is the fault of rapists. nobody else.
Oppression is cooking being “women’s work,” while the overwhelming majority of top restaurant chefs are male.
Oppression is fashion being a “silly girl thing,” while the top earning designers and CEOs in fashion are male.
Oppression is reducing women to consumers profiting a male system, even in fields that we supposedly dominate.
Let’s also focus less on how Emma Watson’s taking parts in problematic films, which she seems to be doing largely because her managers tell her it’s the only way to make it past Harry Potter, and more on how James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill Jay whatsisface, and Cahnning Tatum made uncomfortable sex jokes and rape jokes around her until she was so uncomfortable she left halfway through filming This is the End- but by contract had to still be in the movie.
Let’s talk about how Evangeline Lilly signed onto the Hobbit movies on the condition that her character not be in a love triangle, and everyone involved rewrote the character so that she was, and she couldn’t leave. Let’s talk about how actresses are signed into films whose final products are the opposite of what they want to be a part of, and still wind up on-screen playing terrible, problematic, sexist roles, or even being sexually harassed and assaulted while on set. Let’s talk about the implications of an industry where women have no control over the part they play or the story they’re used to tell, and are forced to make difficult decisions about which producers and directors will and won’t completely screw them over.
I didn’t know about either of these.
Sports fans have caused actual riots, but people still take sports seriously. Boy band fans scream at concerts, and suddenly they’re “a spectacle of the natural world.” Things that are made for women, particularly young women, are automatically given less respect. Girls who get interested in comic books or video games or science fiction get called “fake geek girls.”
Magazines and television and advertisements tell teenage girls that they should like certain things, and then other magazines tell girls that they’re stupid for liking those things. Then magazines publish articles and TV shows run specials wondering why teenage girls don’t have better self esteem, like they didn’t make it that way.
There’s nothing wrong with teenage girls being enthusiastic about boy bands or (heaven forbid) having sexual feelings about the boys in boy bands. There is something wrong with the way that other people react to teenage girls and their interests.
Sometimes I think that the reason the Patriarchy continually tells women (especially young women) that their desires are foolish and ridiculous, and pits them against one another, is not because that’s how they believe women really are, but because they are afraid of how powerful we would be if we believed in ourselves and stuck together.
This sort of sexism is doing a very good job at pushing women out of science altogether. The higher up women get in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the longer they have to tolerate this sort of shit and the more likely they are to quit. But hey, it’s not like there are any negative consequences to arbitrarily wiping out a huge chunk of the talent pool, right? Since when has any field been improved by inviting a whole bunch of new geniuses into it?
But not all men are like that!!!!!
[TW: rape culture, sexual assault, objectification]
men and boys literally can not seem to empathize with women (because i swear to god if melinda was a male character and everything else was the same the boys would not be asking that question)
not wearing make up is one of the ways that psychologists determine if a woman is mentally healthy
Male Police officers have arrested women for resisting their advances with no initial punishment (until activists spoke up)
and this is just what i can think of recently. There is so so so so so much more
According to a recent study conducted by a group of white male sociologists, all forms of institutionalized racism and sexism, of both the professional and personal varieties, and all other forms of race-based and sex-based oppression, just appeared one day totally out of the blue, without any discernible rhyme or reason.
"After all of our studies, it’s become clear to us that there is absolutely no cause of racism or sexism," says Michael Chadbourne, one of the white males who conducted the study. "It just suddenly materialized one day out of thin air. No one created these oppressive institutions, and what’s more, no one is upholding them."
"I’m not saying racism and sexism don’t exist, of course," Chadbourne added. "I’m simply saying that literally no one is to blame. We can’t point our fingers at anyone. No one is responsible, and no one can or should be held accountable. It’s just there, and we have no idea who’s doing it or why."
According to the study, which was published in a science magazine very popular among educated white males, “we of course looked at the common misconception that the white supremacy found in society is the fault of white people. It seems tempting to think that white people are responsible for creating institutions and social power structures that benefit white people above everyone else, while simultaneously attempting to keep people of color oppressed. However, we’ve arrived at the conclusion that white people had literally nothing to do with this. White people cannot be blamed for the prevalent white supremacy in society. It just kind of appeared out of nowhere. Who is even upholding this system, you ask? We don’t know. But definitely not white people.”
"Similarly," the study later went on to say, "men cannot, in any capacity, be blamed for the patriarchal nature of present society. Again, a person feels compelled to say men had a hand in creating a society where men and masculinity are highly valued, while women are oppressed and seemingly punished for every decision they do or do not make, among other side effects of said patriarchy. But, as with racism against people of color, men have nothing to do with sexism against women. It would be wrong for anyone to ever say men are responsible for the patriarchy. The patriarchy just magically started existing one day, and men can be held accountable for neither its existence, nor the fact that they benefit at the expense of women."
The study then concluded, “Many have attempted to change, and even dismantle, the white supremacist and patriarchal aspects of society, by seeking the root of these issues and addressing them. However, as we’ve proven, there is no root. No one is responsible for these things, and they exist completely in a vacuum, independent of anybody’s thoughts or words or actions.”
Chadbourne also commented, “Besides, pointing out that white people and men are responsible for upholding oppressive institutions is kind of bigoted, don’t you think? Saying one group of people is oppressing another group of people makes you just as bad as them, really. Even if they were oppressing you, you should still be nice to them. I mean, is fighting institutionalized oppression really worth it if it makes white men feel bad?”
Racism, Sexism Just Kind Of Appeared Out Of Nowhere, Study Says
The Wishwashington Post
Like most girls, my daughter hears, “That’s a pretty dress, did you pick it yourself?” or “What lovely hair you have,” or “You have the most amazing eyelashes,” or “I like the bows on your shoes,” or “You are so cute” almost every time somebody engages in conversation with her.
If family, friends, shop assistants, complete strangers, and even Santa only remark on how girls look, rather than what they think and do, how can we expect girls to believe that they have anything more to offer the world than their beauty?
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.” She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying…
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
I went to a scifi convention dressed as Mal from Firefly (a guy character, I’m a girl) and I had a guy ask me why I wasn’t wearing a Leia bikini or a tiny cosplay dress because they’re more suitable for a woman and guys wanna see that. I thought I looked awesome but I guess some guys disagreed.
(submitted by anonymous)