Sexism and Gender Issues

Sexist attitudes are not inherent. They are instilled in us by our parents and society in general. They start on us as newborn babies to establish some kind of arbitrary sexual identity. Little babies are dressed a certain way, according to their gender. Blue and green are for boys and pink and yellow are for girls. Playthings are designated “boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys.” Only girls are supposed to play with baby dolls. Why? Because girls need to learn how to take care of their real babies when they get them someday. So there is no circumstance where a man ever would be required to know how to care for a baby, to bathe and dress and feed it? Childcare is strictly a woman’s job? How about when the mother dies in childbirth or while the child is still an infant, and the father has to raise the baby alone?

I think that’s one of the problems of paternal child-rearing right there. Instead of teaching parental values to a young boy that will be useful to him and his family later on in life, fathers, especially, attempt to instill aggression and relative insensitivity in the child by giving him war toys and brute activity paraphernalia to play with. We’ve heard fathers refer to their baby boys as “Slugger” and say, “That’s my quarterback!” Come on, it’s a baby! He may not have any future interest whatsoever in baseball or football.

If the truth be told, though, realize that little boys actually do regularly play with dolls; they just don’t acknowledge it as such. Those little toy soldiers and superheroes that are popular with boys are not referred to as dolls, but as “action figures.” Well, Barbie and Chatty Cathy can be considered action figures, too, but they all are dolls just the same! A doll is “a small-scale figure of a human being used especially as a child’s plaything.” Okay? Then that would include your puppets and marionettes, too, as well as ventriloquists’ dummies. So there are grown men who play with dolls for a living and get paid lots of money for it, too! What I think these fathers’ main objection is, they don’t want their sons playing with girl dolls. It’s the same with real people. Ugh! Yucky girls! They don’t mind so much if the dolls are male action figures, however.

Consider this scenario. A man is toy shopping with his young son, and the boy asks his dad to buy him a Barbie doll. The father is dismayed and outraged at his son’s request and suggests that he get him a Ken doll instead. Do you get what I’m saying? This guy seems to be worried about his son’s being an aspiring faggot. I mean, if he plays with a girl doll, that must mean that he wants to be like a girl, right? No, it could be that maybe he already likes girls. So Dad steers the boy away from that Barbie bitch and towards the more appropriate male role model, Ken?! I guess he doesn’t realize what a big ol’ queen Ken is. Interestingly though, in the Child’s Play (1982) horror thriller, it is a young boy who begs his mother for a Chucky doll, and she readily gets him one without any of the usual sexist criticism from his peers. But since the doll is in the form of a little boy, I guess that makes it all right then.

My new doll is squooshy soft,
She dimples when I touch her;
I love my old doll very much,
But I love my new doll mucher.
–Ogden Nash

There is the old nursery rhyme, which sounds to me that it might have been written by a woman, because of its negative bias on one side, that tells what boys and girls are made of. Little girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice,” while little boys are made of “snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails.” What in hell is a snip, by the way?

The sexist indoctrination is continued by informing children what activities and occupations are suitable, or not, for their particular gender. All boys are supposed to love rough-and-tumble play and getting dirty, while girls should be confined to their dollhouses and E-Z-Bake Ovens. Boys go out for team sports, and girls, since they cannot play themselves, become cheerleaders. Boys take machine shop at school, girls take home economics. Boys enroll in martial arts classes, girls take ballet lessons. Boys play the tuba, girls play the flute. Girls don’t have low voices, boys after a certain age, don’t sing soprano. Certain household chores, like cleaning, ironing, doing the laundry, and even cooking, that some men just cannot be bothered with themselves, by default become “woman’s work.” Real men don’t ever cry or display their affections to another man. Men have to resort to pugilism to prove their manliness. Only a wimp or a sissy would walk away from a fight. Women are weak, defenseless and helpless. A woman cannot feel complete without the love of a man, and vice versa.

Of course, all these platitudes are meaningless and have nothing to do with gender. Any and all of the aforementioned activities and preferences can be experienced equally by both males and females. Humans are always trying to point out the differences between men and women, but the differences occur between individuals, not between the sexes themselves. A man is not one thing and a woman is something else entirely. This particular man and that particular woman might be totally different, or they both could be virtually the same. My definition of sexism is bias of human difference based on gender alone.

Parents are especially responsible for perpetuating male chauvinism in children. There’s not as much pressure on girls, though, as there are on boys. If a girl is somewhat of a tomboy, that’s not such a bad thing. It’s even considered cute and sometimes encouraged when a little girl wants to play sports, wear baseball caps and overalls and get into scraps with her schoolmates. But if a boy is not interested in sports, wants to stay in the house to play with his dolls and help his mother with the housework, then he’s deemed a sissy and is given a hard time by his family and peers.

Why is doing “girly” activities such a terrible or shameful thing? The message they are giving boys is that females are inferior, second-class beings, not worthy of any respect, that any activity that is associated with girls are not worth doing and should be avoided at all costs. And why in the world would you want to be or act like one if you were fortunate enough to be born male? Who in their right mind would want to be a woman if they didn’t have to be?

This chauvinistic attitude is used all the time to belittle or insult males. “You throw just like a girl! … He drives like an old lady!” So what’s wrong with that? Your point being? What girl are you referring to anyway? The pitcher on the girls’ softball team? The national freethrow champion at some time was a 13-year-old girl. Which old lady? I know old ladies who are excellent drivers. If you mean that there is not much power behind his throw or that he drives below the recommended speed limit, then say that. There is no need to bring gender into it.

So boys grow up with this attitude toward all women, and even girls are taught to feel the same way about themselves. We often hear the comment, “She was behaving just like a schoolgirl.” What does that even mean? How do “schoolgirls” behave? And what kind of school are they referring to? Nursery school? High school? Medical school? Law school? Beauty college? Convent? What the phrase is really implying is, “She was acting like some silly white child,” and leave it at that. Her gender and/or scholastic status is inconsequential.

Another girly trait is showing one’s emotions. Only females are free to cry and show their soft “feminine” side. Males have to hold it all in. Crying is a sign of weakness, and as a man, we can’t have that, can we? “Stop that crying, Billy! I forbid it. Be a man.” Consider the restraint and inner turmoil a young boy has to endure when he is not allowed to cry or display his vulnerability. That is why a lot of these boys harbor pent-up rage and aggression. They have to get their frustrations out somehow. It’s done with females as well. “Please don’t cry, Sis.” Why not? If someone is crying, there is a reason for it. Leave them alone. Let them cry if they want to. The need to cry is a human right, not reserved for only one sex. Everybody cries, regardless of gender. Crying is cathartic, a welcome release, just as laughter is. Suppose we were forbidden to laugh or even to smile? What a joyless world it would be.

A young mother is Halloween costume shopping with her 10-year-old son. When the boy expresses to his mother his desire to go as a princess for Halloween, she freaks out. “You can’t be a princess, Timmy. That’s a girl’s costume.” But why not? He’s only pretending. He’s not Spider Man either, but she wouldn’t object to that. Instead of supporting her son’s decision and preference, I think she is more concerned about what other people will think about it. Maybe the kid doesn’t care what other people think. He much more cares about what his parents think. It’s they who have a problem with it and are passing the buck to protect the feelings of strangers. His mother is the one who told him that he couldn’t be a princess. He didn’t hear it from anyone else. She is blaming her own bigotry on the world at large. If the boy is attempting to express some preliminary gender identity awareness, it would behoove his parents to take heed now, but let the child be. They can’t stop him from being who he thinks he is.

I believe that it is this arbitrary gender delineation that causes transsexualism in certain individuals. Of course, everyone is different and has their own story to tell, but I think that most transgendered persons may be a bit confused, and/or harbor certain feelings of homophobia and self-hate. I have heard them complain that they feel that their problem is that they are of the wrong gender and were born into the body of the opposite sex. But that would imply that they have a pre-conceived notion of what each sex is supposed to be like. Why should common human feelings be exclusively reserved for one sex or the other?

A transgendered woman reports that when she was a little girl, she hated wearing dresses and preferred to engage in “boyish” activities. Well, that doesn’t make her a boy. She was just a girl who didn’t like to wear dresses! This same girl hated it when she developed breasts. She found them totally unnecessary, as she had already decided that she didn’t want to bear children, therefore would have no need to breastfeed—which is what they are for in the first place. There are many women who don’t want to bear children even though they are able to, but that doesn’t mean that they must be a man mentally. Just like there are men, I’m sure, who would like to experience actual childbirth, although they can’t, but that doesn’t make them a woman.

I think that male and female identity are strictly a basic, physical factor and not all that psychological. When a child is born, its gender is determined by its reproductive organs alone. If it has a penis, it’s a boy, and if it has a vagina, it’s a girl. The attending birthing participants don’t look at a just-born baby and declare, “Hmm, outwardly this looks like a boy, but I expect he was born into the wrong body.” The sex organs are what determine one’s sex, nothing more. Boys and girls both cry when they are spanked at birth. Their early development is the same, and they have the same bodily functions. Men go through their own “change of life” (referred to as “andropause“), just as women have their menopause. But only a woman menstruates and is capable of childbirth, and only a man can produce sperm. That’s what makes you what you are, not what you think you are.

It is parents and society in general that teach and condition children to regard the sexes differently and that each gender has to follow a certain criterion. And if we should dare deviate from this arbitrary set of rules, then there must be something terribly wrong with us. How can someone be born “into the wrong body”? I don’t think that God makes that kind of mistake. “He has male genitalia but a female brain.” How absurd!

Maybe there is more to this that I just don’t understand, or maybe it is as simple as I am making it. When a man says that he feels like a woman, what is he basing that on, having never been one? How does a woman feel anyway? How does a man feel, for that matter? Feelings are an impulse of all living things, that have nothing to do with a specific gender. Anyone can feel any way that they want to.

Many contend that men and women think differently about certain things, but do they really? If so, often it is just a biased double standard at play. When a man knows his own mind and takes charge of a situation, he is a forceful and respected leader. If it is a woman doing exactly the same thing, then she’s a bossy bitch. When a man is indecisive, we give him a break. He is just considering all aspects of the situation. If it’s a woman, however, it’s expected, because they can never make up their mind anyway, you know. If men and women do think differently, however, that could stem from their individual life experiences. Women have certain problems and personal issues to deal with on a regular basis, which may cause them to regard things differently than a man might. A man doesn’t know what it’s like to have to endure the menstrual cycle for most of their life or what it feels like to be pregnant and bear a child. So, it could be how our perception of things and how we cope with issues influence men and women’s thought processes.

Gender bias can stem from parental influence, conditioning, circumstance, personal treatment and upbringing. When a mother continually chides her young daughter with, “Don’t do that, dear. It’s not ladylike,“ the girl might think, “Well, gee, I must be a boy, then.” What, girls never fart? That is strictly a male thing? Again, where is it written that all human activities and behavior must be relegated to a particular gender?

Here is another case of life imitating art. One season of “Saturday Night Live” (which inspired a 1994 feature film as well) introduced a series of comedy skits, starring Julia Sweeney, called “It’s Pat!” about an androgynous being, whose plots always involved the other players’ trying to discover Pat’s true gender. One of my former church choir positions was at an Episcopal church in Brooklyn Heights. The first Sunday I was there, the rector who came out to officiate at the service was this androgynous person of indeterminate gender. My first thought was, It’s Pat! When I checked the church bulletin, I discovered that the rector’s name is Patricia Wilson-Kastner. Too much! I thought. Well, how do you like that? It really is Pat! I wonder if Julia knows her, and if she was the inspiration for the character.

Gender mis-identity could possibly be a matter of a hormonal imbalance in certain individuals. I believe it is possible to have too much of the opposite hormone, that some men can have an overabundance of estrogen in their physical makeup and that testosterone can predominate in some women, giving them the delusion that they are of the wrong gender. Sure, he’s rather fey, but he’s still a man, and she is quite butch, but she’s still a woman. How I think that homophobia plays into it is when, let’s say a man this time, has strong romantic feelings towards other men, but rather than consider that he might be gay, he decides that he is really a woman born into a man’s body! I mean, a man can’t be attracted to other men, can he? But to go through the traumatic ordeal of a sex-change operation just to avoid being labeled a homosexual or so that one can experience or “be” the other gender seems rather extreme, don’t you think?

I’ve met a few “trannies” in my day, but I don’t have any as close friends whom I can talk to about their particular orientation. I have heard some of them claim after their transition that they are happy with the change. But why did they need to change their gender? If you don’t like who you are, how is changing your sex supposed to fix it? As I discuss in another blog, personal happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy and accepting of yourself or you can choose to be miserable.

“60 Minutes” did a report on the subject, focusing on the current trend of adolescent individuals who desire to change their sex. What I found interesting and disturbing is that many of these kids are being influenced by internet sites propaganda and promotion, then when they proceed with their transition, even to the point of irreversible surgical procedures, they often change their minds, regretting their decision and feeling much worse about themselves than they did before, even contemplating suicide. They are also subject to mistreatment, physical abuse and public ostracism.

Listening to Chaz Bono (formerly Chastity) talk about their transition, I found to be quite revealing. You will indulge my use of various pronouns. “They” admitted that other than our genitals, boys and girls are basically the same. Well, duh! They reported that even when “she” came out as a sapphist at a young age, it wasn’t enough for her that she preferred women. She got it in her mind that she wanted to be a man. So she went through the procedures as far as mastectomy and hormone injections go, but when asked if they were going to get a penis to complete the deal, as it were, they actually said that having a penis was not of any concern to them. Say, what? Our penis is what defines us as men, as any man will tell you, just as a vagina is what defines a woman. That’s what made me realize that his thinking that he is a man is just in his deluded mind. How can he call himself a real man if he doesn’t have a dick?! And doesn’t at all care about having one!

I can understand their reluctance, though. It was explained to them that penile construction is a complicated and not always effective procedure. It’s not as difficult for trans men, since it’s easier to remove something than to replace something that was not originally there. If they use clitoral tissue to try to reconstruct a penis, it’s never very big, and if they try to build an artificial one, it will be just that, fake, and won’t have any feeling. The truth of the matter is, they haven’t yet figured out how to create a real, functioning penis on a woman. So, I say, Why even bother with all the rest then? All that trouble and expense to what end? After her/his double mastectomy, Chaz said, “This is the first time I feel like a whole person.” What?! Most women who undergo a mastectomy say the exact opposite, that they don’t feel like a whole woman anymore, and that one (or two) of the main things that define her as a woman is her breasts.

Chaz as a woman is now without breasts and as a man without a penis but considers themself a whole person. How twisted is that? It’s just another “Pat,” in my opinion. I try not to be judgmental, but really now! Also, their longtime girlfriend, who is a real sapphist and fell in love with “Chastity” because she was a woman, pretty much admitted that she has remained with Chaz and has accepted their choice to become more “manly,” but only because she still has the luxury of a pussy to play with. If she wanted dick or to be with a man, I suppose she would get a real one. To add to his identity confusion, Chaz is still calling himself gay, although his romantic partner is a woman. (::Cuckoo! Cuckoo!::) I learned that “Caitlyn” Jenner, too, has not gone all the way and chose to retain his penis. So he did not have a complete sex change. He is just your basic run-of-the-mill transvestite/drag queen, or what I discussed in my article, On Being Gay, a chick-with-a-dick!

It seems that certain people always have to have someone to discriminate against. Why can’t they accept everyone and let people be? Transgender individuals, including and especially youths, already have enough to deal with, just being who they are. They don’t need the added problem of not being allowed to use whatever restroom they choose. There are now public schools around the country that are implementing this hateful policy with the excuse, “What if a guy pretends to be a woman so that he can gain access to the women’s restroom for the purpose of molesting a woman in there?”

I hate how the Powers-That-Be are always making monumental decisions for groups of people, based on hypothetical what-ifs and just-in-cases. It has not happened yet and probably never will, but what if it does? Well, you can apply that notion to any situation. “The reason I carry an umbrella with me at all times is, what if it should rain?” “I wouldn’t live in San Francisco. What if there is another major earthquake?” “Never venture into Central Park after dark. What if somebody is in there lurking about?” “Don’t let those kid trannies use the school’s restrooms. What if they are in there only to stalk innocent prey?” You get the idea. But, so what if? I don’t live my life considering all the bad things that could happen in any given situation. If I thought that way, I wouldn’t do anything. But one is not absolutely safe anywhere. What if my ceiling or floor collapses while I am sitting here in my apartment? I just take my chances and hope for the best. Que será será. What will be, will be.

Pardon my somewhat digression. We were talking about restroom discrimination. Why need there be separate facilities anyway? Everybody does the same thing in there, regardless of their gender. Of late, unisex restrooms have been cropping up in some public venues. It doesn’t bother me. The women use the private stalls to do all their business, and the men have a choice of using the urinals or the stalls. So those using the stalls, it shouldn’t matter who is in there or what they are doing. Consider that, unless they have their own private toilet, the bathrooms in people’s homes are used by everybody in the family. Some people try to make so much of a big deal out of nothing.

Commentator David Susskind used to have a late-night talk show in the ’70s. One night he had on a group of individuals who seemed to be going through some sort of identity crisis. I’ve already expressed my views about so-called transvestism (in my blog, “How Do I Look?”), but for the sake of explanation, let’s say that these guests on the show were men dressed as women. They explained to David that the objects of all their affections were women, which isn’t so unusual, as many cross-dressers are, in fact, heterosexual. But these particular drag queens chose to identify themselves as “male lesbians”! Hunh?! They were men who had sex exclusively with women, but rather than be “straight,” they preferred to impersonate women and call themselves sapphists! What a world, huh? It takes all kinds, doesn’t it? I even heard of two man-to-woman trannies who became domestic partners and parents. But are they sapphists now that they have become women? It’s all very confusing.

Society also should be blamed for contributing to the unhappiness and negative self-image of a sexually-confused individual. Their being persecuted, ostracized and considered freaks by the general public sure doesn’t help their well-being, adjustment and self-worth. Even with hermaphrodite births, the parents are encouraged by physicians to decide which predominate gender the child should be raised as. Why choose for someone else one sex over the other? Suppose the parents tell the doctor to make their child into a boy, and then when the child gets old enough, “he” decides that he would rather be a girl instead? As a parent, I would not make such an arbitrary decision for my sexually-ambiguous child while they are still a baby. I would leave them alone and allow them to grow up to decide for themselves which gender they want to be. After all, it’s their life.

Therefore, hermaphrodites (or what is the current more-PC term: “intersexuals”), are your true bisexuals. Maybe they won’t choose one sex over the other but will decide to experience both camps. I think it all goes back to individual self-image and accepting yourself as you are. I was born male, black and gay, and that’s the way I intend to stay. I don’t want to be anything other than what I am. If anybody does not like either of those identities, then it’s their problem, not mine!

There was a time not so long ago when a real man was not even allowed to carry a shoulder bag, which is, in reality, a purse, even though long ago purses were originally used by men. It’s only the matter of the design of the thing anyway, as they all serve a similar purpose. But now the sexual barriers are breaking down somewhat, because, in addition to sporting purses, now men can wear high-heeled shoes, perfume, makeup, earrings and other jewelry in public without it being considered effeminate or sissified.

This is the dictionary definition given for the word effeminate, by the way: “having feminine qualities, as weakness or softness, inappropriate to a man; not manly in appearance or manner; marked by an unbecoming delicacy or over-refinement.” Wow, that’s a loaded one! Since the word feminine definitely applies to women, I guess we are to assume that effeminate applies only to men, because of the phrase, “inappropriate to a man.” So brute strength and coarseness are manly traits and to be weak and soft is “inappropriate,” just as to be a man is to be offensive and uncultivated because to be the opposite is “unbecoming.” I think that’s insulting to both sexes. Again, the message is, to behave “like a woman” when you are not, is inexcusable. I think that a definition of this sort should simply describe without being judgmentally biased.

There is even some chauvinistic sexism associated with a particular aspect of music theory. There are two types of cadences (musical endings) that are classified as masculine and feminine, the masculine being one that ends with a stress, while the feminine cadence is one that has an unstressed, or weak, ending.

On TV and in the movies some characters are so reluctant to use the word date. A guy will ask a girl out to have dinner with him or go see a movie perhaps, but will then assure her that this is not a date. Why isn’t it? It happens even in real life. Two people are seeing each other and going out on a regular basis, to parties and concerts and ball games and such, but they claim that are not dating. What’s wrong with calling it what it is? I suppose they think that someone will want to read romantic intentions into it, which the word itself has nothing to do with, necessarily.

As I am always curious about the real meaning of words, I looked up date in the dictionary, and I was surprised and appalled at what I found. Of course, the word has multiple meanings, but in this particular instance, it reads, “an appointment for a set time for a social engagement with a person of the opposite sex” and “to have social engagements with persons of the opposite sex.” It doesn’t mention anything about romance or affection between the persons involved. But how irresponsible is that to define a common word with such heterosexist connotations. So two people of the same sex cannot go on a date? It applies only to male-female couples? That’s not right.

And it doesn’t always have to be a “social engagement” either. Two people can have private one-on-one trysts without others around. I go on dates with men all the time with guys who are not my boyfriends. I often go to dinners and movies with more than one friend, but I still consider it a date nonetheless. When a person goes on a “blind date,” they don’t know what the outcome will be, having not yet met the other person. How can they even be sure that their date is of the opposite sex?

Fortunately, the antiquated notion that women are not allowed or expected to participate in certain occupations or activities that are more common to men is passé, and nowadays women can do everything that a man can do, and more. Females are never, or hardly ever, referred to as “woman doctor” or “lady cop” or “lady truck driver” anymore. She’s simply a doctor, cop, truck driver or priest. But I still hear people say, “He is a male nurse” or a “male model” or a “male prostitute,” or if a man takes care of the house while his wife works elsewhere, he is referred to as a “househusband.” After one’s gender has been established by an appropriate pronoun, the occupation itself does not need further gender designation. He can just be a nurse, a model, a prostitute or a homemaker, just like a woman.

Firemen and policemen are now firefighters and police officers. We have also done away with the sexist “-ess” and “-ette” designation on some professions that have become common to both sexes. Flight attendant has replaced stewardess, she is a server rather than a waitress, an usher instead of an usherette, and a person who acts for a living is an actor, whether they be male or female. Jane Lynch and Neicy Nash are TV game show hosts, not hostesses. I suppose, however, that women of royalty and nobility (baroness, countess, duchess, empress, princess) must remain so in order to distinguish them from her male counterparts.

Unlike most of the contributions by Afro-Americans that have virtually gone unacknowledged by White America, at least women’s historical achievements have not been completely disregarded, that is, as long as they are white. In most nations of the world, there have always been female rulers and heads-of-state. Queens, Empresses, female Prime Ministers and such are no novelty in other places outside the United States. So to elect a woman for U.S. President could have been a reality in a recent past election–it just didn’t happen. It was more the candidate than the fact that she is a woman. A lot of voters just don’t like Hillary Clinton. Now with Kamala Harris, a women-of-color, as our Vice-President, it could happen sooner than we think.

The modern Feminist Movement grew out of the desire for equal rights for women in a male-dominated society. What’s in a word? The very name given to the female of the species as well as the species itself are male-oriented. We are all members of the human race. The word woman is an acronym for “w(ife)-o(f)-man.” The word female stems from male. Even the pronouns she and her contain a “he” in them. It’s as if women cannot have their own identity without the man’s influence. I can understand why the feminists have changed the spelling of the word to “womyn” and “wimmin,” just to get that “man” out of there.

Now feminists have their own recorded account of past events that they call “herstory,” which can be studied right along with history. But it’s men who usually have hernias and it’s women who menstruate, go through menopause and have hysterectomies. He can have herpes and be guilty of heresy, too, and a female actor also may give a display of histrionics. Mannequins are made in women’s images as well as men.

Consider some of these advertising practices. In your supermarket you will find Manwich Sauce and Swanson’s Hungry-Man Dinners. What about all those hungry women out there in the world? Sony Walkmans, Discmans and Talkmans were purchased and used by probably as many women as men. It’s always a snowman that you build and a gingerbread man that you bake. Females can participate in the game of Blind Man’s Bluff right along with the males, just as women who work on street construction or in the sewers can make use of manholes and their covers. In folklore we always deal with the Boogeyman, Candyman, the Muffin Man, the Sandman, the Wolf Man, and the new movie baddie, the Bye-Bye Man. All first-year high school and college students are referred to as freshmen, although there are probably just as many women in attendance. We hear reference only to cavemen, but the women must have been living there with them as well.

Remember Animal Crackers, those little flavorless cookies in the form of various animals? Well, there is a version for dogs called People Crackers. These tasty pet treats take the form of mailmen, milkmen, firemen, policemen and dogcatchers—nary a female in the bunch. And of course, all the figures have obvious Caucasoid features, not that my sister and nieces would consider it any great honor to be depicted as dog food.

How about those annoying (to me, anyway) television ads for Sports Illustrated magazine? Especially around Christmas and Father’s Day, they would do a big subscription campaign by offering a special Swimsuit issue featuring scantily-clad, buxom, white women models. The promoters promise that this is “the perfect gift for every man.” (What about your sports-minded sapphists?) How insulting and offensive that is! My friends would not dare give me such a gift. And I know many men who have no interest whatsoever in sports, or nekkid women, for that matter. They are also implying that you have to be heterosexual to like sports and that even those who do, all prefer big-breasted, white women over all else. It’s sexist, racist, looksist, exploitative, all of that.

That tradition of the woman taking her husband’s surname upon marriage is another demonstration of male ownership. “You belong to me in every way now, so you have to share my name as well.” Of course, nowadays, wives can retain their maiden names or use both their and their husband’s name, but it wasn’t always that way. Women had to fight for that right, too, just like everything else. They all were not like Katharine Hepburn, who, when she married Ludlow Ogden Smith in 1928, made him change his name to S. Ogden Ludlow, so that she would not be confused with the other Kate Smith. What a control queen! That was hardly even necessary, since she did retain her professional name, which was also her real name anyway.

I consider myself a feminist and I am all for equal rights for women. I don’t condone any kind of discrimination, including sexual. I don’t think it’s fair for women to be treated differently, just because of their sex. They should receive the same pay as men for the same job, for instance. They should not have to pay more than the men for the same consumer products and services. Do you know, for instance, that car salesmen deal with women (especially women-of-color) differently than they do with men? They admittedly try to take advantage of the woman’s imagined ignorance in such matters by making their bargaining rate much higher than they would a man’s, because they presume (or hope) that women don’t know any better.

There has been considerable protest from certain people, especially feminists, concerning the exploitation of women in beauty contests and other situations where they are ogled, whistled at, manhandled or used merely as sex objects. Well, the truth of the matter is that these women put themselves into those situations voluntarily. It’s they themselves who agree to compete in beauty pageants and pose for magazines and films, pornographic or otherwise. They work as models, strippers, exotic dancers and prostitutes because they want to. They don’t have to do that, you know.

So the feminist protesters should just shut up and mind their business. Just because they don’t like it, they shouldn’t forbid all women to do certain things. It’s like people who protest demeaning sports like dwarf-tossing. But if the dwarf doesn’t mind, then let them be. Many women are exhibitionists, just like men are, and they enjoy displaying their wares in public arenas. So why shouldn’t they get paid for it, if they can? They are providing a welcomed outlet for your horny voyeurs.

Up to this very day, women have been constantly victimized and degraded in movies, mostly at the hands of male writers and directors. But these actors willingly take those roles and do whatever the directors tell them to do. If they don’t want to be exploited like that, then they should refuse to do those things. If every working female actor simply refused ever to allow herself to be a gratuitous victim, then these writers would have to stop including those scenes in their scripts, because there would be nobody to play them. But I doubt that they will ever do that. As long as these women continue to agree to play these roles, they are always going to be there.

Women are aware of how straight men are and how they treat women, so why should they be surprised or outraged by men’s behavior? Why do women get all dolled up and always are so concerned about their appearance, if not to be admired and revered by the men they encounter? She’s not wearing all that makeup and perfume just for herself. Oscar Hammerstein wrote this lyric for “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song: # When I hear a compliment’ry whistle, which greets my bikini by the sea, I turn and I glower and I bristle, but I’m happy to know the whistle’s meant for me. # Of course, you are. If a woman dresses provocatively, in skimpy clothing, she must want to be noticed and is trying to attract male attention. So they shouldn’t get all indignant when a man flirts and tries to come on to them. Isn’t that what they want and expect from guys?

Of course, some women argue that they should be able to present themselves attractively without being harassed. But that’s not how things are in the real world. They can’t have it both ways, expecting men to read their minds or to know what their real intentions are always. If you present yourself as a hooch, expect to be perceived as one. Country singer and actor Dolly Parton tells how she models her professional persona after the town tramp, where she grew up. She admired the woman so, who purposely set out to make herself the center of attention. Dolly proudly tells people in interviews, “It takes a lot of work to look this cheap!”

The news scandal du jour is the male celebrities and men in powerful positions being accused of sexual harassment of women. First, it was that isolated incident back in 1991 with Chief Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. Then a few years ago Bill Cosby was called on the carpet for his inappropriate behavior. Then the next more recent big story dealt with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Now it seems that the floodgates have been opened, and they are coming out of the woodwork.

Roger Ailes, Aziz Ansari, Scott Baio, Mario Batali, Tom Brokaw, Billy Bush, Louis CK, Michael Douglas, James Franco, Al Franken, Morgan Freeman, Mark Halperin, Dustin Hoffman, Garrison Keillor, R. Kelly, Matt Lauer, Peter Martins, Danny Masterson, Leslie Moonves, Roy Moore, Larry Nassir, Bill O’Reilly, Brett Ratner, Charlie Rose, Russell Simmons and Jeffrey Tambor so far all have been accused of sexual misconduct. There seems to be a new offender every day. These men’s public outing has resulted in their losing their jobs or positions, some of them.

Bill Clinton was impeached from only an accusation, and in his case it was consensual. And although former President Donald Trump was added to the list for similar, but non-consensual behavior–he outwardly admitted publicly to some of his past indiscretions–no disciplinary action has been imposed on him yet. Has he (or somebody) paid some of these women to keep their mouths shut? Does Trump think that he is above the law? He must be. He should be held up to the same scrutiny as everybody else. Only time will tell.

Some of the aforementioned have in fact denied the charges, and I don’t believe that they all are actually guilty, but for those who are, what I don’t get is, why are these women “victims” just now reporting what was done to them–it’s many years ago with some of them? They claim that they were taken undue advantage of and they had no choice in the matter. That seems a bit naïve to me. You always have a choice. I have said before that the only thing we have to do is die. Everything else in life is a choice. You either do one thing or you do something else.

Although I don’t condone any of those guys’ actions, I think the women have to take at least some responsibility for what happened to them. They can’t all be so innocent. Most have made the claim that if they did not succumb to these guys, they would lose their job. I don’t buy that. No one can legally be fired for not having sex with their boss. And come on, most of the men on this list are not exactly disgusting old trolls. What straight woman would object to Scott Baio or James Franco, for instance, coming on to her? I would think that she would welcome the attention. (I certainly would!) Does she think that she is “all that” and/or therefore off-limits?

Women throughout history have been relentless seductresses to men. I, myself, have been a victim of their wiles from time to time. I don’t believe for a moment that all of those accusers are completely innocent of any compliance whatsoever. But then, if they don’t like the guy, just tell them, “No, I am not interested” and move on. They shouldn’t blame him for asking. How will they know if they don’t make the attempt?

I always contend that people will get away with what you let them to get away with. I am pretty sure that these lechers did not succeed in seducing every woman that they tried it with. They succeeded only with the ones that allowed it. Some of these women willingly accepted the advances, went home with the man, let him have his way with her, some even more than just once, and then years later feign remorse and try to convince us that she was an innocent victim. So many of these women must have been complicit. If it was such a traumatic ordeal for them, they would have told somebody at the time. If they had turned these guys in the first time they tried something, someone might have stopped them from doing it to other women. Now it’s, “Oh yeah, he did that to me, too.” And you are just now complaining about it? I wonder if any of these alleged victims have been offered money to tattle on these guys at long last?

Of course, to be fair, I shouldn’t leave our gay brothers out of the equation. After all, they are men, too, and therefore guilty of the same sort of behavior. The vast number of Catholic clergy discovered of committing child molestation doesn’t get as much public attention because they are not famous, even though it is so prevalent. We want to know about the celebrities, like the late James Levine and Kevin Spacey, who were recently outed for sexual improprieties with male youths. (Spacey has since been cleared of all charges.) Although it might be a little different in the gay men’s cases, in that I believe it is often a consensual situation with them, therefore not always reported. It’s only when one of these kids or their parents want to get some money from of these guys that they will choose to go public, when they refuse to make a private settlement, perhaps.

These alleged victims have started a protest movement–“Me Too.” This looks all too much like the McCarthy-Hollywood-Communist witch hunts of the 1950’s when all it took was to mention someone’s name to get them discredited and blacklisted. Now when a woman (or man) wants to get someone in trouble, all they have to do is accuse them of sexual misconduct. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. All it takes is an accusation, because the proper thing to do is always to believe the accuser.

For years women have been doing this to get back at certain men. A good and well-liked high school teacher flunks one of his female students on a test, and out of spite the girl accuses the teacher of sexual molestation. There is no way for him to prove his innocence, so he is fired from his job and even made to register as a sex offender. Even if the girl eventually confesses her deceit, the damage has already been done. After people have made up their mind about you, it doesn’t matter whether you are guilty or not.

What I find to be disturbing about this whole thing, because of its hints of unfairness and hypocrisy, is that none of this is anything new. Straight men have been disrespecting and coming on to women for all time. That’s what they do! Why now all of a sudden is it not being tolerated? Construction workers, for example, have been known to make “mancalls” and use inappropriate language to passing females, but since they are not famous, they never get the business about it. It’s only the celebrities that now are not excused for doing what regular joes do on a daily basis. If we don’t know you, the media doesn’t care what you do, apparently. Women, as a rule, have always welcomed men’s attention to them and even trash talking. They didn’t mind it and rather expected it. Now it seems that almost anything a man says to a woman, she takes offense to it.

I don’t agree with the common notion (perpetuated by men, of course) that women are of the “weaker sex.” Please! That is so condescending. A person’s physical stature does not necessarily determine one’s strength. A woman is perfectly capable of committing every dastardly deed that a man is capable of, including violence and murder. There have been movie titles and themes that suggest: “Deadlier Than the Male”. Just to be a female in this society requires incredible strength, and I commend them for it. They have to deal with men, for one thing, and their chauvinism and disrespect every day, plus they have their own special situations with which to cope as well, including menstruation, pre- and post-.

I think that anyone who can endure the ordeal and utter pain of childbirth again and again must have remarkable stamina. That fact alone makes Woman superior, in my opinion. To start a baby requires little to no real work for the man. In fact, with today’s conception methods, the physical man is not even a requirement. And even when he does actively participate, it takes only a few seconds on his part, while to make the baby and carry it to term for nine months is quite a bit of work, as any mother will tell you. I heard about a woman who was in labor for 36 hours. I wouldn’t like to do something that feels good for 36 hours! I’ll bet you that the majority of men would balk at the possibility of experiencing actual childbirth. Most men are such wusses when it comes to real pain.

I think that women are sexually superior to men as well, due to the fact that they are able to achieve multiple orgasms, which I imagine can be more intense than a man’s. It doesn’t require as much effort, and they don’t always need penile or other phallic stimulation to accomplish it. With most men, it takes more work, and once they come, they’re finished.

Once, while flying back to Newark from the West Coast, I was made aware of a woman sitting directly behind me on the plane who, every minute or so, would sneeze and then do a little giggle. This sneeze and giggle routine went on for some time, until one of the flight attendants came over to her to see if she could be of some assistance. “Excuse me, Miss, but I’ve been watching you and I am curious to know what is so funny about this chronic sneezing of yours?” The young woman explained, “Well, you see, I have this very rare allergy condition that whenever I sneeze, I experience the most incredibly fabulous orgasm!” “Oh, I see. So are you taking anything for your allergy?” “Heh, heh, I sure am,” she replied. “Ragweed!” (You go, gurl!)

Theoretically, a woman can do everything a man can do, plus bear children, thus creating actual life, which a man is not capable of, yet. Therefore, that makes Woman the superior sex, doesn’t it? I have male friends who vehemently reject that supposition. They just can’t accept the concept of female superiority. I have no problem with it myself. I have gotten used to my second-class status in our society as a person-of-color, so playing second-fiddle in the scheme of gendered species is not going to degrade my dignity any further.

In the animal kingdom, too, it’s the female that is the dominant of many species. Insects, especially, have your queen ant and queen bee and black widow spiders and praying mantises, it’s the female mosquitoes who are the bloodsuckers, and lionesses are the hunters for their prides. The simple fact of the matter is, the chauvinistic concept of human superiority of any kind is a self-imposed, theoretical phenomenon anyway, not based on any reality. Actor/dancer Ginger Rogers used to say, “I can do everything that Astaire can do, but I do it backwards, and in heels.” (::Snap!::)

But although I do admire and respect women, I am so glad that I was born male. I don’t envy women one bit, and I have never desired to be one. My identity and psyche are definitely male, whatever that really means. I love the fact that I have a penis and a male’s physique. I can appreciate that one’s sexual identity and behavior can be influenced by Society’s regard and response to the individual sexes. But Woman as the weaker sex? I think not. So I don’t think too much of women who like to work that weaker sex mystique to their advantage when it suits them, or when they employ their feminine wiles to get men to do their every bidding. All a woman has to do is bat her eyelashes and throw her crotch up in his face, and a straight man will do virtually anything she asks of him. He will betray his family, friends and his country, even commit murder for her, just for the expectation of getting that pussy! Of course, that tactic is completely wasted on me, so don’t y’all even try it!

Just as I am for equal rights as it pertains to women, on the other hand, and in all fairness, we could do with some equal rights for men, too, in some instances. Why is it always “ladies first,” for example? A woman can hold a door open for me when she gets there first. She can also give up her seat to me if I want to sit down. Why should I stand up when a woman enters or leaves a room, or when I am introduced to one? She’s not required to stand for me. Perhaps the men are trying to show these ladies some respect? Well, respect them in more important ways that matter to them rather than those meaningless social proprieties. Stop sexually harassing them, for one thing, and if they are employees of yours, pay them what they’re worth. Most modern women don’t care if a man stands for her, tips his hat to her or kisses her hand. Just show her the money!

Women can have both boyfriends and girlfriends. A girl hangs out with her girlfriends, but she dates her boyfriend. A guy can have more than one girl friend, but his having a “boyfriend” takes on a different meaning. A woman can compliment another woman’s looks—”Heather has really got it together; I think that she is so pretty”—and it’s no big deal. But a man commenting that “That man over there is too fine,” must mean that he’s sexually attracted to him. Shouldn’t men be allowed, just as women are, openly to acknowledge masculine beauty as well as feminine beauty without there being an ulterior motive?

When I was growing up, girls could dance with each other at parties and school dances and nobody thought anything of it, but only sissy boys dance together. Girls and women also can hold hands, embrace each other, even kiss in public, and it’s socially acceptable. But two men doing the same thing must be homosexuals, although innocent male affection doesn’t seem to be so taboo on the screen and in real life nowadays, as it was in the past.

I’ve seen this done only on TV and the movies, never in real life. Why do purported straight guys have such a feigned aversion to the human penis? Whenever a character’s dick is exposed in the presence of another, especially if it’s a friend, they always act so disgusted by the sight of it. “Cover yourself! I don’t want to see your junk, man!”–“Get that thing out of my face!” It’s something that they all have themselves, but the sight of one, other than their own, they find to be utterly repulsive. How stupid is that? It must be that if they feast their eyes on a man’s cock or admires it in any way, they will be thought of as gay. Come on! I find that to be such an unrealistic reaction whenever I see that. In reality I think that all men are curious of how they measure up with other men. How would they know unless they make studied comparisons? Most straight women don’t have a problem looking at another women’s breasts. I can’t believe that men are that squeamish either.

As always though, there are exceptions. On TV’s “Rescue Me” the cast of male firefighters, one day while sitting around the firehouse with nothing to do, agreed to have a contest to see who of their crew has the biggest dick. They even award a prize for the winner. It is Daniel Sunjata who wins, by the way. And I can personally vouch for him, because I actually saw his impressive wares when he appeared naked on the Broadway stage in the baseball play, Take Me Out. Even when I was a young teen, my homies once had a Let’s-See-Who-Has-the-Biggest-Member display at my house one day. I remember that it was little, skinny Larry Mays who reigned supreme at the time.

Why are women allowed to wear their hats in church and other edifices when men are not (except in the Orthodox Jewish religion where men are required to wear their hats inside)? On more than one occasion I had been asked to remove my cap in public places where other people, namely women, were allowed to wear their hats in the exact same situations. Always ready for an argument, I would ask, ‘But why? Those people there have their hats on.’ “What do you mean? They’re women,” they would tell me. So? Your point being what, please? That sounds like sexual discrimination to me. For whatever reasons that women are allowed to wear their hats indoors, I should be afforded the same privilege for the same reasons.

Fortunately, things have changed in my favor, as my wearing a cap indoors, even in church, is not the terrible infraction today as it once was. People don’t seem to care anymore. More often than not, my cap is part of my ensemble. When I color-coordinate my clothes, I wear a matching cap to complement the outfit. There are many male celebrities who wear hats all the time, even when they make TV appearances. So if it’s all right for them to do so, why not for me as well?

Also there was a time, not anymore thankfully, when shopping in certain stores, only the male shoppers were required to check their shoulder bags and packages at the door, when females were not required to check their bags and purses. I didn’t object to checking my bag (although it was a bit of a nuisance), but if I have to check mine, then everybody else, including the women, should have to check theirs, too. What, women don’t ever shoplift? So, equal human rights should apply to everyone, regardless of gender, not just when it suits one’s particular purpose.

[Related articles: Age Is Just a Number; Gay Pride and Homophobia; “How Do I Look?”; Let’s Have an Outing; On Being Gay]

4,654 thoughts on “Sexism and Gender Issues”

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