Colleen McCullough: “we’ll celebrate a woman for anything, as long as it’s not her talent”

The Australian’s obituary of Colleen McCullough is a sad reflection of how women’s lives are valued

"Sadly, this is not an issue that is restricted to this particular newspaper (although it is a clear and awful example of it), or to McCullough herself. When the accomplished and brilliant rocket scientist Yvonne Brill passed away in 2013, the New York Times came under fire for their obituary, which began with:

"She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said. 

But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.”

Once again, a woman’s life full of incredible accomplishments. Once again, a woman reduced to her position in relation to men, and this time, how good her cooking is.

That these outrageous obituaries still being published demonstrates how little has changed, and how women’s lives are still too often abridged and disrespected. It shows us where the emphasis remains; a woman’s physical attractiveness and relationships with men are given more weight than her personal accomplishments.

“BUT” Brill was also a brilliant rocket scientist, even though she was a woman and a mother. As if the two are mutually exclusive. Yes Colleen McCullough was plain and overweight, “NEVERTHELESS” she was warm and had wit and could attract men. As if those attributes are mutually exclusive. As if that is an important thing to note at all, let alone in the first paragraph of her obituary. The summation of their lives; centred around men.”

Read the full piece here


Actions are always more important than words, you can claim anything you want, but if you do the opposite then your claim doesn't matter at all.

Feminists, we understand the dictionary definition of feminism, and we aren’t opposed to that. We are judging feminism by the actions of its advocates.

Can we please spread this around so maybe we’ll spread just a little light on this confusing situation, thank you.

Can people who aren’t attracted to women stop dictating what men should and shouldn’t find attractive about women, specifically in this instance, breasts?  Also, do they realise that men aren’t the only people attracted to women?  Those posts I see that are all about how ‘men over-sexualise women’s bodies by glorifying sacks of fat on their chests’ really annoy me (besides the fact that breasts are not just sacks of fat).  I’m a lesbian, and breasts are unbelievably amazing and they make me sexually aroused when I see them.  That’s not because ‘men have told me breasts are attractive, rah rah, internalised misogyny’. It’s because I find them hot as hell, and I have been drawn to them for as long as I can remember. You can’t pick what attributes you find attractive.  Each person finds certain physical and personal attributes that they find attractive, as well as unattractive.  It’s biology and it’s all part of having a sex drive. Stop dictating what is and isn’t okay to find sexual about a woman, particularly when you yourself aren’t actually attracted to that sex to begin with.

Major TW for violence against women, misogyny

Men’s rights activists have missed the point of feminism entirely

Online forums that claim men are demonised by feminism only serve to propagate a lamentable and dangerous form of misogyny, writes Andrew Lowry

"Last week, 18-year-old Ben Moynihan was found guilty of attempting to stab three women to death in Portsmouth over the summer of 2014.

During the spree, Moynihan taunted police with a series of bizarre notes that blamed his actions on his inability to lose his virginity. Women were “fussy”, he said, adding that he’d “[grown] up to believe them as a more weaker part of the human breed”.

Just in case you were about to mistake him for a misunderstood romantic, he helpfully added: “All women need to die and hopefully next time I can gouge their eyes out.”

We’ve been here before. Just last year, the similarly virginal Elliot Rodger killed six people and himself after uploading to the internet a rambling manifesto detailing the various “slights” he’d undergone at the hands of women. In 2009, George Sodini killed three women and himself at a Pittsburgh gym, having given his motive as not having had sex since 1990. There have been others.

These killings have coincided with a rise in online campaigning on behalf of ‘men’s rights’, the ironic-ish ‘meninism’ movement and a wider sense that men – young men in particular – are leading a backlash against feminism. They argue that the movement to promote women’s place in society has resulted in the demonisation of all men as sexist pigs at best, incipient rapists at worst.

To which you have to ask: what world are these people living in?

Trying to argue that men have become a class of disfranchised nobodies is like trying to argue the sky is red because you don’t like the colour blue. Huffing and puffing about humourless harridans who are trying to deny the lads their banter doesn’t change any of the systemic realities in our society. And turning the progress women have made into an excuse for quasi-politicised self-pity is just pathetic.

Resentment and confusion reign: resentment at women having, you know, their own agency; and confusion that they have - shock - the right to choose their sexual partners. Hence troubled young men who struggle to find partners – like Moynihan and Rodger – begin to blame women for their problems, not the wider culture at hand.

Feminism is not a zero-sum game, where every breakthrough for women means a loss for men. The sooner angry young men realise that, the better off we will all be.”

Read the full piece here


My 2015 To Read List.

Feminism is holding women back

If feminists would stop mindlessly clinging to the wage gap myth and realize it’s an earnings gap caused by women choosing lower paying jobs and less hours then maybe we could talk about why women choose those jobs.

But no. We’re stuck here thanks to you. In the end, feminism is the movement holding women back, what a surprise.

What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women 

 WTF Newsweek?!? They do a piece on sexism in Silicon Valley and illustrate it with a sexist cover! 

The cover undermines what is actually a very in-depth piece, including coverage of 4 female-led tech startups.

Update: a few folks have commented that “they’re representing the sexism, not being sexist.” I disagree. 

Imagery like this titillates the male viewer. Instead of the main focus being the content or the problem at hand, he’s being entertained and mildly aroused by the sexualized imagery, which actually undermines the message that women in tech should be seen as entrepreneurs and coders, not booth babes.

Studies have shown that when men view women presented in an objectified and sexualized manner, their subsequent surveyed evaluation of “is sexism a problem?” or “is this particular situation sexist?” goes down. It literally makes them less empathetic, at least temporarily.

Objectification spills over from visual interaction with media into the gender perceptions and decision-making process of the viewer. We hire or promote a woman in part because of our unconscious beliefs about whether women are equals when it comes to coding, tech savvy, etc. 

If you want tech guys to not be sexist, showing them an upskirt isn’t the solution.

See also: ironic sexism / hipster sexism