Sunday, May 6, 2007

Superman is a Dick

That's right. Superman is a dick. I stumbled on to the site It's really pretty funny. The gist of it is, the guy who owns the website posts up scans of comic books, mostly covers, but some panels as well. His general thesis is 'Superman is a dick'. I have to tell you, it really does look like superman is a rat bastard. An interesting development, as he is often paired with Batman, and Batman is supposed to be the 'dark hero', anti hero if you will, and Superman is suppose to be the goody two shoes. There was one thing that horrified me though: how women are portrayed (I wrote betrayed the first time... Freudian slip...). If the fact that they weren't all shallow ninnies wasn't bad enough, half the time Superman is killing or beating them! The man who is arguably the most well known and beloved superhero in the U.S. is a misogynist dick! This one is by far the worst:

As you can probably guess by the art, it's a more recent comic (and by recent, I mean post WWII). Superman is pretty much implying he is considering raping this woman (is it Superwoman? I can't tell). Now, the master of the website admits (and part of the fun of the whole thing) is that all these scans are devoid of context. Basically, this might be some 'evil impostor of Superman' or 'Red krypotnite turns Superman evil' thing. There might be some kind of justification... but DUDE!

The rest of them aren't quite that bad, though this is a close runner up:

And people wonder why women are still oppressed? Because things like this show up in our comic books! These are things little boys read. Is there really any kind of excuse for beating or raping a woman? Especially when you're SUPERMAN and, you know, INDESTRUCTIBLE? I'm sure it's excused though, otherwise he wouldn't really be a super hero, now would he? He just 'lost control' or maybe she 'made him do it'.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

If Jesus Had Had an Umbrella...

I was in China, studying, hell, three years ago, I think. It was my first time overseas, or even on an airplane. Unfortunately it wasn't the best time in the world, but that had nothing to do with the country or its people, just the group leaders of the class I was traveling with. But, I digress.

Being a minority kinda sucks. I think that, at least in most places in the US, no one is going to stare at you because of the color of your skin. Not true in China. Then again, it may simply be because in China it isn't a social faux pas to stare the way it is in the US. There were a lot of times while I was there that I felt very alone. There were times though, when Chinese people, almost all of whom I was just passing on the street, reached out and touched my life. A family had stopped me one time, just stopped me on the sidewalk, asking if I was an American, wanting to practice their English. It was so amazing to me, that I was interesting enough to them, that they would just start speaking to me, about where I was from and what I was doing there.

I wrote this next blurb about one experience in particular, while I was in China. It truly is one of my best memories, and one of a handful of experiences I came away from China with that will be with me the rest of my life. I think one thing that stuck with me, why I'm posting this here, was how different China was between those who are female and those who are male. I good friend of mine went to China (actually at the very same time I was there) but not as part of my group. When we shared experiences, they were radically different. I felt isolated, unable to find away to just interact in a social setting with Chinese people. He on the other hand, had wonderful times just 'shooting the shit' with Chinese men. The difference was one of gender, we've decided. In China, it simply wasn't acceptable for women to go to a bar, or any other kind of relaxed unstructured social type setting. Women just didn't do that. If you did, you were probably a whore (either as a profession, or just as a hobby). If you were white and female and in a bar, you were a Russian whore.

Basically the idea co-ed social groups is kind of new there. Girls spend most of their time with other girls. As an outsider, it created a problem, but from what I watched, and from the few brief times where I was treated as just a woman, as opposed to a white woman or an American, women in China were all sisters in a way American women aren't. As a woman in China, I struggled to adapt to the culture, but I wouldn't have changed the gender of this experience for anything.

Okay okay, here it is, one of the memories from China that I will have for the rest of my life:

It was raining, I had known that before I had stepped outside, but when I had left there had been a break in the weather. I thought it would last longer than it did, but of course, no one’s luck ever holds in these situations. I found myself just far enough away from my hotel that, press on or return to my room, I was going to get soaked.

China is a country full of umbrellas. Girls and women even use their umbrellas while biking. It’s a good idea, really, while in China I often wished I had my own portable patch of shade. I was never quite brave enough to purchase an umbrella to use for this purpose, plus sized white girl that I am, I stood out enough already. I didn’t want anyone to feel I was mocking the culture or trying to be something I wasn’t. My stubborn self consciousness over the purchase and use of an umbrella now seemed a bit in folly; as I stood on a street on the Laioning university campus in a down pour.

I had given up on the idea of staying dry; I could be waiting under a building overhang for an hour before there was another break in the weather. I resigned myself to my wet fate and turned to make my way back to the building we were residing in. My chagrin at being soaked due to my lack of foresight and self-consciousness was somewhat eased by the fact there was no one to witness it. Until I turned the corner onto the block that my building resided.

It was a side street and I had doubted there would be anyone on it, but there was, one Chinese girl. She was probably about the same age as I and was also caught out in the rain. She, however, was adequately prepared, her umbrella protecting her from the ‘liquid sunshine’. She looked at me oddly, walking with my American bravado through the rain, pretending like I had every intention of being soaked.

Feeling even more embarrassed, I tried to slow my pace. She was moving the same direction as I was, so I had hoped she would pass and I could again keep my folly private, but her pace slowed too. She called out to me in Chinese. I don’t know if she gave me the benefit of the doubt that I would understand her, or if she was talking for her own benefit as I often talk to my Deaf clients, knowing there is no understanding. I looked at her blankly, but she trotted over to me anyway, indicating she would share her umbrella with me. She walked me all the way to the door of my building, even though it was out of her way.

I thanked her in English and Chinese wishing I could tell her how her simple act of kindness had touched me. Tell her how sharing her umbrella had taken down all my defenses in its genuine caring and openness. But all I could say was thank you, and all she could say was ‘no problem’, but really, that’s all that needed to be said.

Can you imagine this happening on an American street? I can't. This wasn't the first time I'd walked in a downpour. The only time anyone else has ever offered to share an umbrella is people who are already friends, not strangers. This, I think, is a good example of the general sort of 'sisterhood' experienced by Chinese women (as far as I could tell anyway). I needed help, so she helped me, going out of her way to do so.

I just keep writing, trying to put into words this experience, to do justice to what was (for me) a very profound experience. Really, I just lack the words to really express myself, and I'll just have to put this out there, and hope others can somehow stand in my very damp shoes on that day three years ago.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Stand

Just some feminist poetry for a little spice:

I Stand:

I stand, my legs below me strong and lithe like well-shaped branches of a willow tree. My bare feet and toes twine in the grass like roots.

I stand, like so many women before me, at the edge of the world, where grass

meets sand

meets rock

meets water, the sky the connection between.

I have pushed myself, driven myself ever onward, ever forward, striving to break a new path. And for all this, I find myself back where I started, here at the beginning,

the end,

of all that I am, all that I have been, and all that I soon will be. I know now that life is a circle. To move forward is still moving back towards the beginning. I’ve completed this circle, and now it is time for this circle to complete me. I return to the womb of the sea that cradles my past and will soon birth my future.

I stand back at the beginning to relearn what I have forgotten.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BSU to Sacrifice Virgins

Okay, I may be using the term 'virgin' very very loosely (haha pardon the pun) here. I won't even take a guess at how many incoming freshmen women are actually virgins, and really, I don't want to know. Honestly, it was just a catchy title...

Bemidji State University's FYRE (first year residential experience) program is going to add a second co-ed floor to the program. Currently, we have two all male FYRE floors, three all female floors, and one co-ed floor. As of next year that will change. Unfortunately, this change isn't only effecting the FYRE program. It's effecting an entire wing of a dorm hall.

Maple Hall, which houses the FYRE program also happens to be the only 'disability accessible' building on the entire campus (and in this case, I'm using 'disability accessible' as loosely as I previously used 'virgins'). So, first floor of both wings is not part of the FYRE program. Why is this important? Currently, Maple B wing is the only single-gender wing on the entire campus. Although there are other all-female and all-male floors, there is only one wing (which here can be loosely translated as 'building' the only thing connecting the wings is the lobby and a common room) that is single gendered. Although three of its four floors are FYRE and only freshmen women are allowed, the first floor allows students of any class rank. Next year, this safe haven for women will become integrated, as the second floor is turned into a co-ed floor for FYRE.

Why do I care, and why should anyone else care? I care because Maple has been my home for the last five years. I have intentionally lived here, even once I was no longer a freshman or an RA employed in the hall, because of its single-gender status. I have put up with all its faults because the community of women that previously existed within B wing was worth the other flaws. Of course, this is just my personal tie. As much as a segregated Maple hall means to me, that isn't a reason to keep it as it is.

So, why should anyone else care? If your a guy, you should be thrilled, a second co-ed floor is a huge boon to your gender. For one, there will be more male FYRE slots, which will mean fewer freshmen will have to be turned away from the program. The benefits don't end there though. Studies have shown that living in a co-ed environment helps men be better people and do better in school. Boys in co-ed environments have fewer incidents of behavior issues (ie: drinking, vandalism, etc), higher grades, and overall more respect for women. Boys flourish in a co-ed environment, and Res. Life and the FYRE program reap the benefits. Less incidents means well... less incidents. Fewer calls to security and the police, less paper work, and and overall better track record. Better grades shows that the FYRE program really does work. Basically, everyone can go home at the end of the day patting themselves on the back about what a good job their doing with freshmen as a whole. Fewer incidents, less severe incidents, better academic performance and fewer ass holes... what a great deal! How much does this wonderful program shift cost?!

Well, there is the literal cost of course, fairly minor, basically just a structural change to divide the bathroom in half. Considering they've just gutted Linden, no biggie. The real cost, however, is this:

The freshmen women.

Studies have shown that women in co-ed situations tend to have lower grades then those in single-gendered environments. They tend to have more behavior incidents, worse self esteem, and tend to fall more in socially-prescribed female roles. Women in co-ed conditions tend to become the 'mommies' or sisters of their male counterparts, taking care of them, looking after them. Additional in my own personal experience, the girls don't bond with each other on co-ed floors and tend to be in competition with each other. Where as the presence of females encourages men to be on their best behavior, the presence of males tends to encourage the worst behavior in women.

Overall, the desegregation of B wing Maple will be a boon for Res. Life, the FYRE program and freshmen males. It's going to bring in more money for Res. Life, as it will balance out the male and female slots available, and as there tends to be female rooms empty and a waiting list for male rooms, more residence means more bling. We've already talked about the benefits to the men themselves. It would really sound like the benefits far outweigh the negatives, and in some aspects they do. 'Lower grades' in co-ed women tend to be a fairly small drop, and overall women's grades are higher to start out with. So, you might be seeing a few more 3.0 instead of 3.5's. In the men you are seeing grade increases of about the same increment, but it often tends to be the difference between say 2.0 to a 2.5. Behavior incidents for women, although they increase tend to be of a lesser nature, like more noise violations or minor drinking violations. For men, you a see a decrease in the more major incidents, drinking and vandalism.

What it comes down to, though, is this: BSU is willing to drop some of their women through the cracks to fish out some of their boys.

There is one consolation to the women of B wing... there will be about 25 more incoming freshmen males who are less likely to become rapists and more likely to treat women like people. There will be an extra 1% of the University residential population will better themselves as people and only at minor expense to 10% of the population. I mean so there's a few more girls with eating disorders, poor self image, less academic focus, and forced into a gender stereotype... It means that more boys will have good enough grades to stay on their athletic team and have the nurturing they need to become the people they should be anyway... you know, not sex offending misogynists...

((Post Script: I am making a lot of claims that I am not backing up with links in this post. I do apologize as at least a portion of that is laziness. However, I did a research paper on this very topic about two years ago, what I am relaying in this post is what my findings were at the time. Unfortunately, I no longer have the the links I used in my bibliography. I will, however, continue to look for them. The one link I provide discusses the benefit of single-sex education in k-12, and while it has valid and relevant points, it doesn't entirely support the claims I've made. I suggest that this is due to the discussion of day-school co-eduction as opposed to a live in university environment. Also, some information was gathered through interviews with the RHD of Maple Hall at the time, as well as the Assistant Director of Residential Life. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know, I do realize I'm not thoroughly citing my sources.))

Monday, April 9, 2007

On the Plight of Markers

I had my marker stolen off my dry erase board the other night, so did half the girls on my floor. Any of you who have lived in a dorm have probably had this problem, I know at least one a year, sometimes more. I was speculating on this though, and eventually wrote a message on my whiteboard to this effect:

Somewhere there is a drunken freshman with a drawer full of black dry erase markers...

... but I suppose that is better than the more traditional panty-raid...

... I understand what a drunken freshman would want with panties.

Which begs the question... what does a drunk freshman want with our markers?

... Please don't return our markers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Beaverbucks to MavCash

A happy little tidbit that is neither funny nor enlightening, but at least vaguely applicable. I've been officially accepted to Minnesota State University Mankato. Or, as my best friend's older sister referred to it... Mank State.

I applied to the Women's Studies graduate program at Mankato, and have been excepted. It's not earth shattering, we're not talking Harvard here, but hey, I think a Maverick for a mascot is a step up from a Beaver. I also have a half-time GA position, which, hopefully will end up being full time. Anyway, just wanted to share the joy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Blogging With Balls Might Need to Wear a Cup

I am currently taking 'World Regional Geography'. Overall, It's a great course, the Prof really knows his stuff, and gives a lot of background information on the regions. The general idea being that geography is hella more than a place on the map. I was being a good student (for once) and was reading my text book for the class, and came across an interesting factoid I didn't know.

Apparently, Saudi Arabia doesn't attend UN meetings on issues of human rights. I know, this isn't terribly shocking. The reason for this "protest" though, is: It is their (Saudi Arabian Men) God-given right to discriminate against women.

I know there are religious zealots all over the world, but I can honestly say this is the first time I've actually heard someone have the balls to come right out and say 'God says men are better'. Needless to say, I have a bit to say about this particular 'God-given right'.

Alright, fine, Saudi Muslims have a 'God-given' right to discriminate against women. I'll accept that. However, in return, I demand that the Saudi Government recognize a "Divine" right I, as a woman, have been given.

I demand that Saudi men recognize my Goddess-given right to kick men in the testicles.

As a generic pantheonic spiritual deist, the female aspect of the Divine Entity has imbued on me the right of testicle kicking. She has relayed this information to me via one of her messengers the Holy Deer of Artemis. The Deer of Artemis told me that as a woman serving Artemis as a Holy Virgin I have the right to take vengeance on men as a gender, due to their violent, hateful ways and moral inferiority.

Oh, additionally, my status as a prophet trumps Mohamed, Jesus and Moses, and any other prior prophets. Why? Because the Goddess told me so.

I am currently carrying out this prophetic mission, walking around campus kicking men in the nuts. Thank Artemis I live in an all female dorm-wing, or I'd never rest. The next step in my campaign to convert the world to generic pantheonic spiritual deism is to attend the UN.

I have to admit, my spiritual mission is not purely duty, I am sure I am not alone in saying I will enjoy kneeing a few select world leaders in their reproductive organs.

I wonder how the Saudi reps. will feel when I kick them in the nuts and tell them it is my Goddess-given right to do so? Unfortunately, I doubt it will get them to reconsider their 'God-give right' to oppress women. After all, their prophet trumps all prior prophets... I mean, who can argue with that?

((As a side note, this isn't a dis on Islam... just the Saudi UN reps. Trust me there are misogynist bastards in all faiths))