Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and it also happens to be Mardi Gras. So, my challenge to you is to give up passive sexism for Lent. Examples include calling a group of people “guys”, purchasing from corporations known to have policies unfriendly to women, calling your SO “mine”, calling someone a pussy for being weak, calling someone a dick for being mean, and so on. It’s hard to root out all the passive and ingrained sexism we live with every day, but it’s worth it. Change your words, change your mind.

Oh, and this is awesome:

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About Charlotte

In an attempt to figure it all out, I've broken the world up in to tiny pieces and am conquering them one at a time.
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9 Responses to Happy International Women’s Day!

  1. Marc says:

    Wait…so calling a group of folks guys is wrong now? I personally use guys as a synonym for human or citizen.

    Walk me through the sexism angle on that one please, cause this post feels like white middle class angst rather then a real problem.

  2. Charlotte says:

    Ok. Here’s the thing about guys. It has long been used as a synonym for men or boys, or more specifically the in between years. There are people like you who have consciously de-gendered the term but for the vast majority and in the majority conscious I believe that it still denotes male. Thus generalizing a group of people in to the male is putting the male first. You may think “group of folks” when you say guys, but most people don’t. I stopped using it years ago because it subconsciously rounds everyone “up” to male.

    This post is an attempt to give people small achievable goals towards cutting out sexism in their lives. Sure, go further, but starting small is a better way to get more people involved.

    And you always think I’m full of white middle class angst, which is odd because I’ve lived below the poverty line most of my life and survive on minimum wage or less most of the time, so I’m unclear where I’m getting enough privileged to have middle class angst. You’re the only person I know who is close to being middle class.

  3. Marc says:

    I guess we just disagree on viewpoint. I have no time for the little battles when there’s bigger issues, so downing on random thoughtless vocabulary choices (which since usage defines meaning could be argued to be both valid and correct) strikes me as valueless.

  4. Marc says:

    Also middle class is tricky to define, but if we go by median household income, two adults working full time at minimum wage in Oregon make more then the median household income for the USA. So I bet you know more middle class folks then you think (fully aside from the lawyer/doctor couple we know).

  5. Kattie says:

    Plus, what’s wrong with me calling Marc “mine,” or vice verse? It’s utterly endearing to be chased around the kitchen by my hubby crying “Mine! Mine!” like a seagull a la Finding Nemo. I’m not really thinking at the time, “Boy, this sure does put me down and degrade me” (more, “Oh, god, here comes the tickle monster!”).

    • Charlotte says:

      There’s something that bothers me about it, but after further thought I think you’re right. It’s a matter of personal opinion. I think it’s more, for me, in third party circumstances. I don’t like being known as “my girlfriend” when I’m not known as “Charlotte” first. Between just the two, it’s not so bad. But when “mine” is used to refer to a person to people outside the relationship that’s when it’s hinkey.

  6. Michael says:

    Let me explain. No, is too much, let me sum up: If you call everyone male unless otherwise specified, you are establishing maleness as the norm, and anything else as unusual enough to be worth mentioning. As for the initial question “…so calling a group of folks guys is wrong now?”, she never said it was wrong. She did say it is sexist, which it is. Sexism, like racism, is the subtle (or not so much) expression of lower status that the oppressed group has. If we lived in a truly equitable society, such little quirks of language would and could be laughed off. As it is, every little bit hurts.

    On to Class Warfare!
    Everyone in America likes to call themselves Middle Class, but I’m pretty goddamn sure that the ‘Middle Class’ guy making a hundred thousand dollars a year is a hell of a lot more ‘middle’ than our dear Charlotte making something less than twenty thousand.
    So in a way, Marc is right, there’s no set definition of Middle Class. Which means, of course, that in a much bigger way, he is dead wrong. Charlotte has spent most of her life under the 25th percentile in personal/family income, and in real money, that means living on 1/10 or less the money that someone in the 75th percentile has. Charlotte is not now, nor has she ever been, afflicted with wealth.

    I bet Marc knows more lower class folks than he thinks. And more feminists. ^_^

  7. Marc says:

    Even ‘Folks’ as a term has in its roots the meaning ‘men’ rather then people, usages change and if I call a group of all women “guys” I’m not really working to establish maleness as the norm, so much as redefining the term through altered usage.

    Regarding class issues, the far more important distinction then the amount of normal consumer power one wields is the difference between those of us working for money with which to provide food/shelter/goods and those in the top few percent who’s money translates into so much power and access they can dictate the terms of the government and the media’s course.

    For a working definition of middle class: I consider anyone who ate regularly as a child, was never homeless, and owned both toys and books occasionally to have been raised middle class in America. I.e. didn’t grow up ‘poor’.

  8. Charlotte says:

    I think that definition of middle class is rough. Middle class in America is supposed to be the epitome of the “American Dream” so to speak. Owning a home, mild to no concern about where your next groceries are going to come from, maybe a mortgage or car payments but generally enough money to survive and enjoy a few of the finer things. Your definition opens up the middle class so far that it allows for a much lower standard of living to be acceptable.

    As to your comment about not having time for the little battles, then what in the world do you propose? If you are going to attack my ideas for small everyday improvements to the way people think about gender and inequality, what would you have them do instead? Given the “middle class” circumstances of not having any spare money to give to political causes? What are these larger battles and what are YOU doing to fight them?

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