April 30, 2009

Let her get fat

Let her get fat is the new cry from the women of Saudi Arabia. For there's a slight problem with the way that gyms for women are regulated has led to something of a problem. There's a Ministry that regulates men's gyms, and that's fine. But the problem is that women and men cannot join the same gym, for in Saudi the sexes are strictly separated.

So these women only gyms, they're accepted....but no Ministry will step up and agree to be the people that regulate them.

"Let her get fat!" is the slogan women in Saudi Arabia are using to challenge a clampdown on female-only gyms.

Unhappy at the growing number of unlicensed female gyms, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently closed two in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and one in the city of Dammam on the Gulf Arab coast for not having a license.

In response, newspaper columnists and bloggers are promoting the sarcastic line "let her get fat!" as a way of fighting back, though it is likely to be a losing battle.

In Saudi Arabia, where clerics have extensive influence in society, gyms are sexually segregated because of conservative tribal and religious values.

Welcome to what it's like to live in a fully regulated society. You can only do those things which regulations allow you to do.

Me, I prefer freedom and liberty, although I understand that your mileage might vary.

April 30, 2009 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 03, 2009

Well, this is different

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this. But it certainly is different:

A German woman has divorced her husband because she was fed up with him cleaning all the time.

I've heard of divorces because the man simply isn't interested in cleaning, just doesn't care. Heck, I've almost been involved in one of those myself.

I've also heard of divorces happening because the woman isn't doing enough cleaning. Harsh, sexist of course, but I have heard of them.

But a divorce for a man who cleans too much?

German media reported the wife got through 15 years of marriage putting up with the man's penchant for doing household chores, tidying up and rearranging the furniture.

But she ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home when it got dirty, Christian Kropp, court judge in the central town of Sondershausen, said on Thursday.

Only in Germany, eh?

April 3, 2009 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

"S&M Barbie"

Mattell are releasing a new Barbie doll this Fall - but you may wish to pause before suggesting Granny buy it for little Jasmine - it's modelled on a fish-net and bustier wearing super-hero.

The look of Black Canary Barbie is based on DC Comics' Black Canary super-hero, but some have suggested she looks like S&M Barbie or lap-dancer Barbie.

Toys like this always cause controversy as they fall between two stools.  People associate Barbie with elementary school girls, but the marketing department at Mattell want to sell their brand to a wider audience, including adult doll collectors.  Hence, Barbie in a basque.  Media Mouths like to make a fuss about "S&M Barbie", but in the end there's an effective buffer that keeps toys like this from children - their parents.

Critics Slam Mattel's New Barbie, Calling S&M Outfit 'Filth'
Fox News 
Barbie’s new S&M look has whipped up a storm — with protesters dubbing it "filth"...

Risqué Barbie won't harm minds that are already oh-so ...
Scotsman, United Kingdom
TEMPESTS in teapots are the best sort. Confined to a tight space, they make a lot of noise, but quickly burst their confines and trickle away ...

Barbie gets dirrty…Critics label her ‘filthy’
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,  United States
Barbie’s taking a walk on the wild side — in a black leather body suit, black boots and gloves and fishnet hose. ...

Critics slam new Barbie with fishnets
Charlotte Observer, NC
Barbie has always been a little racy. But the latest doll, called Black Canary Barbie, features fishnet stockings, a motorcycle jacket, black gloves and ...

Bottom line: That Barbie girl needs to put her pants back on
Hilton Head Island Packet, SC
Can't a girl wear some fishnets and pleather panties without PTA Barbie and her pals — and by "pals" I mean that judgmental freckle-face Midge — clamoring ...

Barbie - Black Canary
Right Celebrity, CA
Is the new Barbie an S&M Barbie? Typically, we think of Barbie dolls as mostly wholesome toys. However, for a lot of folks, the new “Black Canary ...

S & M Barbie is a bad role model!
The Star-Ledger - NJ.com, NJ
Umm, Barbie? The bondage den is a five miles down from the Dream House, on the other side of town. We won't tell Ken about this...Or maybe this was all his ...

Black Canary Barbie
OneNewsNow, MS
FOX News is reporting on a new look for Barbie - they are calling it the S&M look. The S&M look features Barbie wearing a motorcycle jacket, ...

Bondage Barbie? "S&M" doll stirs controversy
MLive.com, MI
What's the latest time-wasting nontroversy to hit the Internet? Hint -- it has to do with an iconic childhood figure, some fishnets and a bit of "Won't ...

July 23, 2008 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Zoe Margolis

I agree with Zoe Margolis here. Disgusting, absolutely appalling. True gender equality will never be reached while women continue, in the guise of the women's mags, to concentrate on things as ephemeral as looks. To, as the phrase goes, self-objectify.

Ms. Margolis' portrait, from her blog.


September 20, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Maternity Leave and the Gender Pay Gap

After complaining about the way in which working mothers aren't supported by childless women, after pointing to the new maternity leave rights, Lesley Thomas then says this:

And while we are fighting among ourselves, we have taken our eye off the ball. What we are collectively striving for - equality of pay and opportunities - is being eroded. The pay gap between men and women in the top professional jobs, according to a report published by the Chartered Management Institute, has increased for the first time in a decade, 40 years after the Equal Pay Act came into force.

The gradual shrinking of this chasm is something most women assume to be inevitable; but only if we keep up the moaning and complaining can we end this kind of disparity.

I do wish people would grasp this most essential of points: the gender pay gap is caused (at least in part) by the very existence of such things as extended maternity leave. At it's most simple, of course someone who takes three or four year long absences from the labour force is going to have less human capital than those who slog though  full time. We can also point to the way in which never married childless women do not suffer a gender pay gap, nor lesbians. That the gap is virtually non-existent under the age of 30, widens then shrinks again from the late 40s onwards.

Taking long periods of time out and insisting on being able to work part time (part timers cost more per hour to employ than do full timers)  inevitably reduce the wages paid. So, as in so many things, there's actually a choice that has to made here. Which do you want?  Child friendly policies, parent friendly ones...or no gender pay gap? The thing is, it looks like you've got to choose one or the other: you cn't have both, they're mutually exclusive.

September 20, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

Of Course, It's the Patriarchy

Women who do not have children are considerably less sympathetic than men to mothers trying to juggle home and career, researchers have discovered.

Clearly, this can only be the effect of living in a competetive, capitalist society.

Those surveyed said that with maternity leave lasting up to 12 months and the right to ask for flexible working, women without children perceived them as enemies to be left behind on the corporate ladder.

Nothing to do with any innate competition between human beings.

"However, there can be a lot of competition and jealousy in the workplace, and some women might see it as an advantage in their career that they do not have children and a demanding home life."

We all know that women are naturally caring and empathic, nothing like the dog eat dog characters of men. So it must be the effects of the patriarchy causing this. Couldn't be anything else, could it?

September 19, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 13, 2007

Separate But Equal

An interesting appeal here. So, City bird takes a year's maternity leave, comes back to work.

Miss Tofeji, 38, had worked with the investment bank for five years from October 2000 until her resignation in June last year. She argues that, after returning from a year’s maternity leave, she was placed in a vulnerable position and at a disadvantage because all her clients had been reassigned and a male colleague had been assigned permanently to her team.

Nor were there any “immediate plans to return the 29 clients she had successfully built up during her time at the bank”, the EOC said. “Instead, she was told to justify the return of any of her clients [to her],” said the commission. She was also refused flexible working hours (she wanted a four-day week) and experienced “a hostile reception” from colleagues.

So, she goes off to an employment tribunal and there....she loses. The appeal is against this decision. The EOC is backing her an at the heart of the argument is this:

...the tribunal decision ... compared her treatment with how she would have been treated as a man on leave for a similar period of time.

I've left out one word. "wrongly". Yes, the Equal Opportunities Commission is backing an appeal against a ruling that treats men and women the same.

What a wonderful world, eh?

September 13, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 09, 2007

That Pay Gap

No one?

However, what is not recognised in this age-old debate is the fact that many women are happy to be paid less in order to work less and thus spend more time with their families.

Well, there are some who do say it.

September 9, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 06, 2007

Patriarchal Comment of the Day

While I agree with the basic point (scaling the giddy heights of any profession does indeed require placing family life second) this seems a touch over the top:

"The show goes on though the bombs are falling; the enterprise is bigger than you are. There is no room for sentimentality: you have to be ruthless and put your personal life second. We don't know the details of your son's accident, but the boy has a mother and it's her job to be at the bedside."

September 6, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

Amnesty and Abortion

Yes, I know, there are those who insist that access to abortion is a human right. There are those such as myself who don't agree. Rather than getting bogged down on whether it is or not, just a thought about Amnesty having decided to add the first view to its wish list:

Amnesty International risks alienating some of its high-profile rock star backers in the row over its decision to support women’s access to abortion.

The group has been accused of “duping” the singers Christina Aguilera and Avril Lavigne, who have both made statements against abortion and are among contributors to an Amnesty CD released to raise money for survivors of the atrocities in Darfur.

Two weeks ago, just two months after the album’s release, Amnesty adopted a worldwide policy to back the right of women to abortion in carefully defined circumstances — for example, when their health or life are in danger or when they have been victims of rape in areas of conflict such as Darfur.

The album, which has already sold more than 400,000 copies, features cover versions of hits by John Lennon such as Imagine, and Give Peace a Chance. It was made possible by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, who gave the rights to all his solo works to Amnesty in 2003.

The policy on abortion has brought Amnesty into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church, and has shown how new divides have displaced the old left-right geopolitics that gave rise to Amnesty. The group was founded in Britain in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a radical socialist lawyer and a Catholic convert, to campaign for the release of prisoners of conscience.

As a private organisation of course Amnesty is entirely at liberty to believe in and campaign for whatever its members want. But I do think they're rather missing a trick here. As a single issue organisation, campaigning for fair trials, against capital punishment and torture, they can speak with an almost unique moral voice: there aren't that many who are going to argue in favour of unfair trials, after all, at least none that we won't immediately label as the baddies.

Keep adding to this list of "rights" to be fought for though and that voice becomes diluted. It's not just that the Catholic Church (which has been a heavy supporter) is now going to withdraw: it's a lot easier for people to ignore your views on killing people at one end of life if you're supporting such killing at the other. No, that doesn't have to make precise logical sense, perceptions are all in such matters.

On the other hand, this is indeed the way that all organisations go in the end. Mission creep happens and what started out as an excellent idea becomes diluted, attempts to incorporate all sorts of other good things (in the views of those inside) and then, eventually, the organisation fails. Happens to companies, governments, don't see why it shouldn't happen to charities.

August 26, 2007 in Feminism | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack