In this gender reader: women overlooked in recovery hiring, gendered violence in Fukushima, Koyuki Higashi’s big damn wedding, Flootchism, empowerment in Sailor Moon, and more.
Mind the Gap
NPR. Hosted by Celeste Headlee. “Technology In The Classroom, Jamaica Kincaid, and Rhye.” Weekends on All Things Considered Podcast. 3 March 2013. From 12:18: The recession’s effect on women’s jobs and hiring, as well as men and the “glass elevator”:
As the economy began to recover… men were gaining jobs and continued gaining jobs at higher rates than women. And compounding that is, even during the recession, although men’s unemployment rates were higher, the wage gap was still very real. And during the recovery, women began to lose jobs, particularly jobs in the public sector.
[For the record: nursing was a largely male profession until the Civil War in the US. It's been a pink-collar industry for about 150 years. Where does "tradition" begin?]
And from 41:50: The 100th anniversary of the birth of classical composer, pianist, and arranger Margaret Bonds, a Black American composer who was popular in her time but largely forgotten today.
Lindy West. “If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?” Jezebel. 28 March 2013. A longer piece (but worth your time) about dismantling claims that feminism is misandry and elaborating on how feminism helps men, too. This has all been said before and will be again, but it’s nice to have it all in one place.
There might be a lot of women in your life who are mean to you, but that’s just women not liking you personally. Women are allowed to not like you personally, just like you are allowed to not like us personally. It’s not misandry, it’s mis-Kevin-dry. Or, you know, whoever you are. It is not built into our culture or codified into law, and you can rest assured that most women you encounter are not harboring secret, latent, gendered prejudices against Kevins that could cost you a job or an apartment or your physical sanctity. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t isolated incidents wherein mean women hurt men on purpose. But it is not a systemic problem that results in the mass disenfranchisement of men.
William Foreman. “Coping with the Personal Aftershocks of Disaster.” Michigan Today. 19 March 2013. A new case study on the violence toward and exploitation of women and children after the 2011 Tohoku disaster. This is a side that hasn’t been covered in the news. (Warning: discussion of stalking.)
Although she lives alone, the Japanese woman keeps a large pair of men’s shoes near her front door—part of her strategy to scare away stalkers. She began feeling threatened by unwanted visitors after she lost her home two years ago in Japan’s horrific triple disaster—the earthquake that triggered a tsunami and nuclear crisis. She was living in temporary housing when a repairman who fixed her bath began stalking her.
Will I Be Pretty?
Kate Makkai. “Pretty.” (Via Upworthy, “This Woman’s Beef With Prettiness Will Leave You Speechless“). “No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be and no child of mine will be contained in five letters!”
Alyssa Rosenberg. “Jon Hamm Is Being Treated Like an Actress. He Hates It.” Slate. 28 March 2013. How the media hoopla around the way actor Jon Hamm’s pants fit echoes how actresses are treated (“upskirts,” “nip slips,” etc.) and why it all needs to stop.
He has outrage left to burn, rather than being exhausted by endless appearance-based prying and insane body standards. It might be easy for men to brush off how women are treated when they’re unaffected. But when they’re subject to the same standards, men often discover quickly how difficult to endure they really are.
What Brings Us Here Today
Koyuki Higashi’s Disney Wedding
On March 1, 2013, Japanese LGBT-rights activist Koyuki Higashi, a former Takarasienne, and her partner Hiroko held a wedding ceremony at Tokyo Disney, the first in its history. (Homogamous marriage currently is not legally recognized in Japan.) Here’s just a few links to articles about the couple in Japanese and English. おめでとうございます！！
Koyuki Higashi. “東京ディズニーリゾート初の同性結婚式を挙げました。” ["We Had Tokyo Disney's First Same-Sex Wedding."] koyuki’s blog.
私とひろこさんが、「一緒に生きていきたい」と思うことに、同性も異性も関係ありません。。。 Hiroko and I think that wanting to share your life with someone isn’t a matter of “gay” or “straight.”
Hiroko Tabuchi. “Gay Wedding Is Embraced by Disney in Tokyo.” The New York Times. 4 March 2013.
“This could prompt Japan to question why it so often ignores or discriminates against minorities,” Hiroko said. “Mostly we just want people to know that gay people exist for real, and we would like to throw weddings like everyone else.”
Andrew Cohen. “History Won’t Be Kind to the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage.” The Atlantic. 28 March 2013.
Moving to the current SCOTUS debate: What happened in 1996 and what was missing in the oral arguments over Prop 8 and DOMA in the US.
This is what our grandchildren are going to mock us for: for our refusal to admit what we know to be true about this law, and for the reason it was enacted, and for our hesitancy, in 2013, to confront it with the scorn it deserves.
You’re Doing It Right
“Some General Thoughts While Re-Reading Sailor Moon.” GAR GAR Stegosaurus. 24 March 2013.
I think some would quibble about Usagi having a boyfriend the whole time, questioning how “feminist” that aspect truly is, but I would argue that one of the things at work here isn’t that Usagi needs a boyfriend, but instead that you don’t have to go become a helpless damsel if you have a boyfriend, or that you can’t have one if you’re powerful and capable of protecting yourself and the entire world.