Women's roles and popular misconceptions

Awright - I gotta admit 2 things 1) it's late and I should be sleeping, so I may be starting to get a bit punchy. 2) Reading the "yes, but"s in the vote got me started on a rant I've been working on for a while w/o time to devote to a lot of research. 3)..... I must admit 3 things.... (any Monty P fans here? No? nvrmnd. kthxbi.) 3) I have really really really really got to get to bed, so I'm going to type this fast, disappear for a couple days, and then hopefully get to finish what I'm saying after lobbing a bomb.

WOMEN

were not so degraded, derided, and abused as we've all been told "we" were in the past. ESPECIALLY as this statement applies to Western societies. You know, the great evil ones it's been so popular to hate for the last 40 years.

Now, I'm not going into legal rights, dowries, property ownership, blah blah blah. I'm going to start off with basic attitudes/expectations of/about women in general. And no, those attitudes can't actually be fully seen just by looking at the laws that were on the books 200 years ago.

Ok, I said I wasn't going to talk about legal rights, but let's keep this one very narrow, it just happens to be my first example. Voting. Ok, so women didn't get to vote in the 1700s & 1800s. Guess what? NOT because women weren't considered "smart" enough to vote or whatever. BUT because it was assumed that they and their husband discussed these things, and the husband placed the vote and spoke for both of them. It was assumed that the wife actually had (GASP) influence with her husband when they (GASP) discussed issues, business, and problems!!!

Marriage: A contract where a woman moved out of the care of her father and into the care of her husband. Now, don't get started on exceptions to rules - we all are big enough to realize they exist. Funny thing is, men were expected to CARE and PROVIDE for their wives. Marriage was teamwork - isn't that a word we try to drill into our kids? - the woman had to stay home and keep the home running because the man is out doing the physical labor to provide for the family.

And when I say running a house - do you realize the amount of WORK it took to run a house? A woman wasn't a weak, simpering thing that just couldn't deal with all those hard things like money and numbers! It took all day long just to provide meals for the family! Then there's clothing the family, and yes, EDUCATING the family. In the colonial period, education was held in high esteem, and it was the mother that provided it! Reading was necessary, math was necessary, and MOM taught it. SHE had to be educated herself. In the poor classes, even with caring for, clothing, feeding, and educating the kids, yes, mom did the physical labor of providing for the family, too! She would be out in the fields with the men. She would be doing piecemeal sewing in the evenings, and so would the daughters. A family was a team, and every single member was very very very important.

Women were not derided as foolish, as unteachable, as weak. They were held in a very special regard and admired for their ability to do the jobs they had. They were loved, and yes, they influenced their husbands. Read the letters that John and Abigail Adams wrote back and forth to each other sometime. She had a lot of influence with him. He listened to her opinions, and he loved her dearly.

It's only been in the short time that society has become so wealthy, and so automated that more people could become more prosperous and leisure time actually started coming in abundance. It's only in societies where a family team wasn't required for survival that women became something closer to a pet than a co-worker. Someone who didn't "need" to be educated, but only "needed" to be pretty and act properly in society events.

Enough of a rant? Prof - feel free to defend or shoot me down, or send me off on a quest of research (not that I'll have time to do it until my kids are in college themselves....). I'll see ya'll when I can - it's already insane busy here and about to get worse.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

I suppose I should preface this by saying that the period and location I'm most familiar with is Britain and Wales, in the medieval time period (Graciously outlined by the Perfesser some posts back). I minored in medieval history and my in-major (Literature) concentration was much the same. So I've read some weird stuff, and I freely admit to picking nits because really, I spent four years and a good chunk of parental money learning to do it. That's where I'm coming from, both in terms of when and just how much I know (In other words: a long time ago, and not a lot except when compared to your average person).

By and large, I agree, but I think a better measure would be to take the common perspective, add yours, then split the difference. It's true that in more recent "old" history, mothers taught children their letters and whatever else they needed to learn, and that this required education. But that hasn't always been the case; in days and economic situations where tutors were the norm, women often couldn't read. They still oversaw the house, which is an immense task I would go mad performing myself, and which took a lot of smarts and knowledge, but they were locked out of a lot in the academic arena. In the legal world, there was no guarantee they'd fare much better, especially in terms of inheritance and property rights. Women used to have to petition for the right to remain unmarried, or else enterprising men or family members would push a remarriage for some kind of gain. There were also some pretty flexible social attitudes toward domestic violence and rape. Not universal, of course, but there have been times where the general feeling would make most modern people go "Ick," or feel mightily, angrily offended.

As for marriage, if you were rich, it wasn't going to be a guaranteed good deal. It was economics, pure and simple, in a lot of cases. That didn't mean you wouldn't have a roof over your head and your basic needs, and a lot of women had more than that, but let's not forget about the money. What's a dowry but financial or social incentive to marry? Plus, what a lot of thinking people object to (So probably not the screaming majority, who as far as I can tell flunked history all through school) is that a woman was transfered from being her father's subject to her husband's. Dress it up, make it pretty, give it spades of noble and heartfelt good intentions, but it's still putting women in a dependent, subordinate positions. Personally, I'd like to think I'm doing pretty well now that I'm on my own, and that I grew up instead of remaining perennially in a child's role. I can't stress enough that mileage may vary, because in every marriage the values and intentions of the spouses are more important than broad strokes painted by third parties. I just look at it and go, "Hm, that looks a lot like being a kid all over again." Always? No. But generally? Yes.

I agree, by and large. Running around squawking about how in Ye Olden Dayes, all women were beaten, sold and personally denigrated is ridiculous and pretty much guaranteed to make me want to administer boot to ass. But bad things did happen, and attitudes we today regard as bad or ignorant were common. Them's the breaks, and thankfully most people can learn from the past and improve.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

To respond to a very specific, small thing at the beginning of your post...
I don't know about others who voted "yes, but male" or "no b/c I'm female", but I did so because Tremont in particular falls into one of those post-medieval/"just enough leisure time to objectify women" categories with obvious strains of societal misogyny. IRL medieval and post-medieval societies were of course more varied.

Tangentially, I have noted that there is a particular brand of feminist/new age historical interpretation that assumes all pre-Christian/Roman/empire-level societies were naturally matriarchal and therefore Awesome and Good, and then anything after the rise of Western Society's roots is of course patriarchal and BAD right on up the rise of modern feminism. Seriously. Because *obviously* cave men and proto-macro-culture men automatically revere and/or are wisely subservient to women and would -never- use their physical strength to dominate and rape women without the backing of an empire first. /end sarcasm. (And I have no argument with the real fact that there were more female divinities before monotheistic societies moved in, but that tells us diddly about the women in those god-and-goddess-worshipping societies).

Short version: I agree with both of you - assuming an across-the-board interpretation of any era or society is one of the sins of good historical research/understanding.

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

"I have noted that there is a particular brand of feminist/new age historical interpretation that assumes all pre-Christian/Roman/empire-level societies were naturally matriarchal and therefore Awesome and Good, and then anything after the rise of Western Society's roots is of course patriarchal and BAD right on up the rise of modern feminism."

I think THAT right there is exactly what I'm reacting to most.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

but you've got to admit at least this one small point; for someone who is incredibly academically-minded, where learning and becoming a scholar are my Primary Goals in Life, being a woman in pretty much any of the societies above mentioned would kind of suck. IF I SOMEHOW managed to get an educated male to teach me to read, that'd be the best I'd get. Why are there no great female philosophers? Because we weren't educated. And you're right; it's not because we were degraded, but just because that wasn't the womanly thing to do. It's not a matter, of OH MEN WERE PUTTING US DOWN IT SUCKED ALWAYS WOMEN ARE THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, it's just that you've got to admit that we had fewer opportunities. I think it's wonderful that women are such central members of the family and the househould, but it's kind of awful if you're not a domestic type. I want to look at the sky and try to understand it, not look up and wonder if it's going to rain and whether I can put my laundry out. As a feminist myself, I just like having the freedom of choosing what I want my life to be about; if I was a poor woman in actual ancient history, I pretty much get to marry, join a religious order, or live a powerless, probably poor, and non-respected single life. Whether you think women were degraded or not, we certainly had fewer options, and THAT'S what I object to.

teehee's picture

Devotee

What about women and the wisdom they passed down to each other? "medicine" women, "witches" (some probably were, but not all, too) big mama? These types were probably philosophers of a kind, though not documented. I prefer to have a quiet type of influence on my family and husband.

Just my two cents for argument's sake. Let's see where this goes.

;P

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

There's nothing wrong with having a quiet influence on the family or a local influence as the go-to woman of the community. I believe MsGamgee's point was that these were the *only* types of options open to women. Nothing bad about them, just a severe lack of anything else if that's where your preferences/talents lay instead.

teehee's picture

Devotee

I can see that. I guess I am kind of upset with today's modern US society where a two income household is the norm. I would much rather be at home to raise my son, havent quite figured out how to do that yet... Smile

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I've been at home with the daughters since they were born. I've been able to work for myself from home, but there were many times when I've had no income whatsoever. Sir has done his best, but he has only once made what could be considered a "family wage," and that turned out to be a bit of a disaster that I won't go into. Nevertheless, we've made it through.

teehee's picture

Devotee

... is just the thing. My hubby likes 'stuff' too much, I believe, but, I have some plans in place to get me closer back to home!

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

Help have a 1 income family, that is. We are fortunate enough to live in the stinkin cheapest cost of living in the US. I like my part of the country, I grew up here. I fit here. I love traveling, but this is home and home is CHEAP. I maintain, that in my part of the country, if a family actually stays within their means and a budget, it is possible for a family of 4 to live on roughly $40k/yr. I'm about to stretch that to a family of 5, so we'll see if that hypothesis will work.

It is certainly going to mean living w/o some of the latest and greatest toys..... but so what!

Anyway - I think this is more me being reminded what a low cost of living there is here, and jumping up and down for joy. (outside unemployed for a year now. man, i love not working for somebody else most of the time!)

Sara's picture

As it stands, I see your point and you are certainly right about the central role that women have played in the home and indeed in the course of history...Through their husbands. Women were respected so much that they were doted upon and expected to never be in public without an escort. The assumption that the vote of a man stems from an agreement between husband and wife frankly makes me a little ill because you see, that assumption comes from the fact that women were expected to "love, honor, and OBEY" their husbands until fairly recently. There WAS no assumption that there was an agreement between husband and wife, the assumption was that the wife KNEW HER PLACE which was WHEREVER HER HUSBAND SAID IT WAS.
Of course no one is saying that housewives don't work hard; throughout history you have men that readily acknowledge that their households would be lost without their wives. The issue is that the home was seen as the woman's "place" a woman could not expect the kind of freedom to do what she wanted that a man could. Even now, there are roadblocks keeping women from earning equal pay for equal work. There are places where even if you are getting paid the same, you aren't getting treated the same, whether out of some misguided sense of chivalry or a genuine belief that you can't do it as well because you are a woman. (trust me, I'm an electrician, a woman in a man's world, and I still get comments like "Why don't you let him help you with that" when "that" weighs about 25 pounds, or "You don't want to pick that up, sweetie, its heavy, why don't you go pick up those pins off the floor"...etc)

I guess what my counterpoint to your point is, is that you're right, women weren't derided as "unteachable", "weak", etc, they weren't derided at all (except by the same assholes that deride us now). There was no spite in the assumptions that women were supposed to be submissive to their husbands, shouldn't show their ankles, raise their voices, run or ride astride, or even wear pants! It was just the way things were supposed to be, and what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that that attitude has made life miserable for the millions of other women who would prefer to be more than the sum of the men they are surrounded by.

Sara's picture

*It was also unseemly for a woman to know how to fight (hence, the escort) women were not taught how to defend themselves and it was actually a common thing for unwed highborn ladies to be kidnapped, raped, and then once impregnanted by the rapist, married against their will. Except in Wales, women in Christian countries had zero right to divorce. A woman could not end her marriage. On the other side of that coin, men could cheat on and beat their wives without consequence and then divorce her if she "refused" to bear him a son. (again, I'm saying COULD, not everyone did, but that doesn't change the fact that the people that did were completely supported by the laws at the time.)

Pedes's picture

Postulant

I bow to you as an electrician; I did 1,5 year of Electric Engineering and got the hell out of there. I decided it wasn't my thing; but I saw and felt people all around: a GIRL and not the monster kind? What she's doing here? There were 5 females for 280 people...

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

But that's still gender essentialism. Not only did women not get the opportunity to do anything BUT be in the home (or wherever "women's work" was), men didn't get the opportunity to be in the home. I like what Oddfish said: "Dress it up, make it pretty, give it spades of noble and heartfelt good intentions, but it's still putting women in a dependent, subordinate positions."

Anyway, when I gave my response, I wasn't going by what I know of history. I was going by what MeiLin has said specifically about Tremont, which includes very subordinate roles for women.

Moo's picture

I agree with your comment more than with any of the others. My view of the family unit was skewed early on, as I required some pretty constant care as a tiny baby, and my parents made a decision as to which parental unit would stay at home. My father worked in the TV/photography business, and my mother was a teacher (yeah, yeah, pretty generic female role there...). She had the better benefits, so my father quit to be a stay at home dad.

And yeah, I never realized that was weird until high school, and not so fully until college. In my required "civilizations" course, a fellow female student said that children raised by their fathers never grow up right, because that isn't "natural." That statement pretty much sums up my views on gender EQUALITY and my issues with feminism. I figure, we want everyone equal. That means pulling women up in some respects, and pulling men up in others, but never, ever putting anyone DOWN. And I'm afraid that the direction feminism often takes is to put men down in order to elevate women in certain fields.

In my business law course, we discussed, briefly, the impact of maternity leaves and the rise in paternity leaves. We discussed, briefly, the sad fact that most single fathers are not given the same rights in the workplace as single mothers. A single mom is hired (or not) with the knowledge and expectation that she will sometimes be absent from work due to a child's illness; that single mothers are sometimes not employed, and more often employed at a lower rate than their married, male, or just plain single counterparts is a horrible issue. BUT. Single fathers are never hired with the expectation of being absent for a child's illness, school function, etc., and are therefore treated poorly when they don't put in longer workdays than the single mothers. Sexism goes both ways, you know.

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

I completely agree with this sentence: "That means pulling women up in some respects, and pulling men up in others, but never, ever putting anyone DOWN."

And I completely disagree with this sentence: "And I'm afraid that the direction feminism often takes is to put men down in order to elevate women in certain fields."

That's not feminism. If something calls itself feminism and does that, it's lying. Simple as that. Your third paragraph sums it up, really. Feminism is about equality and choice.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

My favorite quote is, "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too." I'm not looking for a matriarchal world, I'm just looking for a world where women don't make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

I definitely do know about the kind of "feminism" you're talking about, though. I ADORE the Vagina Monologues, but Eve Ensler, as awesome as she is, is a bit of a man-hater. It's possible to get the rights to her show for FREE, unless a man is involved in the production in any way. You can't even have a male stage manager, let alone a male actor. Only women and people who have "lived as women" are allowed to act in it, period. You can't get the rights at all if a boy is going to read a single part. Personally, I think that's more limiting than it is liberating, and it's the only problem I have with an otherwise really great show. My woman's rights group at school does it every Spring, and we're having difficulties because our co-chair of social events happens to be a guy. We basically have to boot him out of his elected position just so we can afford to put on the play. It's really unfortunate, because our main push has been to get more male membership, and it's this kind of response that makes it so hard. Sad

Back to the point, though, what I want is men and women receiving education and access to whatever roles they wish to fulfill in equal prevalence. It's not necessarily wrong if more men decide to get an education, so long as the woman who don't are doing so by their own choice. The way we have it now, and certainly the way it was back in Tremontine-esque eras, that is frequently not at all the case. It makes me sad when I go back to my high school and see the metaphorical legions of very pregnant underage girls who made these "choices" because there weren't any other options. They didn't have the education to understand alternatives towards having a healthy sexual existence, and they don't have the opportunities to look for anything other than to get knocked up by a semi-reliable boy as soon as possible. I'll admit that the boys are just as limited in a lot of ways; they can't afford college, so they have a set range of job opportunities, which almost inevitably locks their children into the same cycle... Really, I'm a feminist, but I'm a plain ol' human rights activist when it comes down to it. My strategy is just to work on bringing the lower side of the balance up, and then we can raise the equilibrium itself to something a bit better.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

My group is putting the Monolgues too... and I think you are entirely missing the point when you try to put a male in any of the roles. SRSLY! What is it called? What is it about? What is it FOR? Women and girls, the stopping of violence against them, and the promotion of love of and for women.
I'm a little surprised by the anti-feminist sentiments expressed here, but I suppose I shouldn't be.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

and, of course, because the show is about women and girls, for women and girls, men shouldn't be allowed to stage manage, assistant direct, work on props or costumes, or otherwise participate at all in the running of the show?

Han-pan's picture

Postulant

Even though he may support, believe in and work for women, girls and their rights. -eyeroll-

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

You may not agree with it, and neither do I, but if it calls itself "feminism" without getting an immediate, visible, audience-compatible response of "No it isn't", every time, without fail, and does so with sufficient frequency, thus cementing itself in the collective consciousness as an aspect of feminism, then yes, feminism it is.

And now that this particular baby has been firmly entrenched at the bottom of the well, I think that it behooves all right-thinking feminists to accept that as part of life and deal with it in the way they approach certain things instead of engaging in something which, at this point, looks an awful lot like No True Scotsman-ism.

And if, to comment on MsGamgee's example, Ms. Ensler, misandrist that she is, makes it hard for a woman's rights group at some school to perform the Vagina Monologues without said women's rights group having to be an ass to some of their male co-students, then the right choice, IMO, is not to perform the Vagina Monologues, awesome as they may otherwise be, and make the reasons for that loudly and publicly known, especially if their aim is to increase male membership.

But hey, I'm just some random male dude, so what do I know?

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

Man, I am loving the comments here. I've often thought that raising up instead of pulling down was the right way to achieve equality, and I think it's lame that so many women instead just want to drag men down and spit on them, and think it's equality. Way not to learn from history, ladies. Also, feminism at this stage is irreparably damaged. You say "feminist," and people think "man-hating, sexually frustrated bitch who wants to shoot everyone who is straight/a parent." While I agree that's "being an asshole" and not "feminism," I can't wish away the cultural connotations. If feminism is to stop being a dirty word, we need more responsible, respectful activism that doesn't damn straight people, or parents, or more traditional life choices. I mean, really, I think it's fine to get married and have kids, just so long as you know a) you don't have to, b) it's not a measure of your worth, and c) you shouldn't get short shrift in the workplace because you might one day do so. All the other crap is just crap, and it's vicious to put down men and women who don't believe bullying is okay.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

New wave feminists are working on it! We just have a lot of stereotypes to undo. I think lots of people have misconceptions of feminism that honestly have no source, as is true for most stereotypes. Someone somewhere knows someone whom they dislike who happens to be a feminist, that person badmouths feminism to all their friends, all those people talk about how awful feminists are, and that they're all man-hating bitches, etc. Feminism has much less of a stigma among a younger crowd (aka undergraduates) than among the more established adults I talk to. That's heartening to me, especially. It's really unfortunate that some of the strong voices of feminism have been so radical, but that's how most movements work; your first wave is VERY intense about what they believe, and that inspires a lot of vitriol and dislike, but it also works well at getting things done. The next wave is more mainstream, and the next even more so, until the issue isn't really an issue anymore, and everyone identifies positively with the values of whatever activist group. It's rare to come across a hardcore Black Panther anymore, but it's getting more rare to hear someone talking about how all *n-words* are lazy and stupid, too, thank God. It's just the natural flow a movement; progress stems from action, and sometimes the motivation of the original action isn't quite where the movement ends up going, but progress is had nonetheless.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I think you overstate your case, but that's just sort of my feeling as a dude (who admittedly engages in a particular feminist extracurricular).

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

I don't think it's a matter of people badmouthing other people they just don't like. Someone mentioned earlier, for example, that it's impossible to get affordable rights to the Vagina Monologues with a man involved in the prouction. That is vindictive and stupid, and it's not the weirdest thing out there. There are some very vocal women out there who insist that heterosexual relationships are bad because they keep the woman down, and who rake mothers over the coals even if they work. There are people out there getting up to some nutty shit. When there's a better reception from older people, it's because they remember or are more familiar with the original movement for equality, sexual freedom, reproductive health and the like. When younger people react badly, it's likely because the only feminists they've run across have been very negative, so they think that is the stance of the movement. I know I've wanted to throttle a lot of self-styled feminists because they're just hypocrites: they talk about respect and choice, but show them a married mother and they make starving piranhas look gentle.

There's a movement called "sisterhood" that's looking to redress the negative aspects of feminism and become more inclusive with regards to race, gender and even sex. I think that is great, and I think it is needed. Men need to be included, and challenges faced by women of color/from other countries/in different economic brackets need to be approached. Feminism shouldn't be just American women, it should be open to everyone who wants equality. Sisterhood seeks that inclusiveness and respects women who choose to follow traditional paths-- once they are told that they don't have to, that if they want they can do something else. I hope it takes off, really, because I think it could grow into something more like egalitarianism (My -ism of choice) thanks to its focus on reaching across borders and solving different problems.

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

is the "ladies" in charge of the official, national feminist groups. Am I a feminist? ummmm... sure. In the "let my daughters go for the education and jobs they choose" sort of way. Absolutely NOT in the "men are the root of all evil" way. If you really look at the women at the head of NOW and all the other acronyms I don't care to pay attention to, they ARE the man-haters. They do deride me for making the choice to leave a job and stay w/ my girls... Ok, and try to run a business that will be my income & our retirement.... and hopefully homeschool, or do some serious school supplementing - because education is EXTREMELY important to me.

I was raised very much in both worlds, actually (warning: religious element coming soon Wink ). I was taught to go out and learn what I wanted and be what I wanted to be. BUT, family is first and once I make the choice to have kids, I've got to realize the effects of what I do have on them...

Look at the double standard that is applied BY FEMINISTS (the national ones) to women in politics! NOW endorsed Obama & Biden, because they "spoke to women's issues" much better than a working mother with a special needs child. You know, the woman who "has it all" - career AND family. Isn't THAT who they're supposed to be pushing and encouraging? At least, that's what I was told all through the 80s & 90s by these women in charge of the national organizations....

MeiLin's picture

Most High

than at the policy, and in this case, I agreed with NOW.

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

Anybody who would vote for a person ONLY because of gender (or race, etc), and NOT because of policies they wish to ... uh oh, brain freeze.... start, encourage, endorse, (still can't get the exact word out) loses a LOT of respect. That has got to be the most ignorant way to vote, period.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

enact?

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

now i can go to sleep! hee hee. If I'm having that much of a vocabulary problem, I'm obviously up too late. Or preggo. Which I am. Both of. Ya'll have a great night. More mini-lecture/rant coming. }:)

sherinik's picture

Postulant

I'm finding it really interesting that there's been very little mention of religion in all this. The dominant organised religion in a state is either a major contributor or a major reflector (depending on your take in this chicken-or-egg argument) of the status of women in a society, amongst other things. Here in Oz, being a polyglot of cultures, there is no consensus on these things. As a WASA (the last A standing for agnostic/athiest/antireligious) I have a position that suits me, that I created, and I have the opportunity to raise my daughters to make their own choices. Where I live, there is a large concentration of immigrant Greek and Italian farming families, most of whom are Catholic. The tendency is for those girls to be treated more in the 'cherished pet' kind of way than the WASA/WASP girls are. Then again, nearby in the urban centres, there are a lot of newly immigrant non-English speakers of various races, and these communities tend to self-enforce their own community/religious law, despite any legal rights living in Australia might bring. Once integrated, the girls discover they have choices, which can be expensive in terms of ostracism, but it can take a generation and some girls never really find out and continue to live the restrictive life expected of them by their family group. For Muslim girls that can mean anything up to complete sequestration; for Asian girls that often means quasi-slavery in family businesses. And before I get too much hate mail, no, I'm not saying all or even most have these experiences, but I do know of - and in some cases actually know - those who have.

The other clear denominant is socio-economic, but that tends not to be so sex-specific. A poor boy can get an apprenticeship as a tradesman and end up earning a very good middle class wage; these opportunities just aren't as prevalent for girls, but they are there.

All in all, I am very thankful to be living where, and when, and how I do.

Vandole's picture

Postulant

I'm curious as to how modern apprenticeship provides more opportunities for males than females, unless you just mean that these apprenticeships are in things that involve hard labour and thus more typically male / accessible to males. Could you clarify?

sherinik's picture

Postulant

In Oz, apprenticeships TEND to be manual labour trades, and while modern OHS SHOULD make them equally available to male and female (20kg maximum lifting etc), in practice, it's more like they are male-dominated still, as noted by an intrepid female electrician above! Even things like computer technician which is really light work mostly is male-dominated, even though you'd expect females might be better at the fiddly stuff? Areas where females can get formal training, either apprenticeship or traineeship, tend to be clerical, childcare, tourism or health & beauty related, and these formal qualifications are so lowly thought of that unskilled/unqualified are preferred for labour cost reasons, even where minimum qualifications are mandated by law. So while there are plenty of job choices that a girl could look for formal training, that training is often down-valued to the point of being non-existent because no-one does it. A 12 month course (in Oz known as a Certificate III) in 'girl' industries is just not valued the same as the same qualification in 'boy' industries.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

WASA = White Anglo-Saxon agnostic/athiest/antireligious?
WASP = White Anglo-Saxon Protestant?

sherinik's picture

Postulant

Yep. Handy labels for large groups is all.

Han-pan's picture

Postulant

I'm not going to get all too involved in this conversation, but I just did want to point out that there are TONS of different aspects of feminism out there, and if someone claims to be a feminist and she really believes this, who is any one else to say yey or nay?

Also, my school did a Penis Monologues last year... Smile

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

What if HE really believes it?

Han-pan's picture

Postulant

Most men who are won't admit that they're really feminists at heart though Wink

But you're speshul, remember? I-m so happy

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

who said I meant me?

I'm pretty explicitly "not-feminist" in identification.
I prefer "man-ist," or "egalitarianism."

I just choose to focus on the ways in which men get hosed by the system.
(See, e.g., 14 year old boys who are statutory rape victims...who then have to pay child support for the kids that result)

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Wow, Penis Monologues? The feminists and wanna be's where I went to college would have a field day with that. Protests about how HIStory and society are already male centered and there doesn't need to a special even to celebrate it.

I imagine the outcry to be very similar to how the GLBT responded to the Campus Crusade's event on hetrosexuality.

Han-pan's picture

Postulant

There's even communication theories developed around it. Very interesting. But yeah, the PMs were part of a class assignment. We have VMs too, so I guess it's not a real big deal for us. We're a pretty liberal campus :3

@TheBoy: Oh, I must've read something from someone else then...nevermind. I-m so happy Anyway. Statutory rape tends to lean towards "there was consent but uh, he wasn't legally capable of consenting ANYway" in the definition. So SR in general is very odd to deal with.

Especially in places like AL, where I'm pretty sure the law is written that statutory rape is considered sex with anyone over the age of 14, unless they're older than 12 and have already lost their virginity.
Wait, what?
Yeah........

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