File under One of The Best Things We’ve Read on the Internet, Molly Lambert’s manifesto, “In Which We Teach You How to Be a Woman in Any Boys’ Club” from This Recording. Lambert’s insights — including the imperative that cool girls stop competing with each other for boys’ attention and start being the cool girl best friends we all dream about — include the advice, “Drive it like you stole it”:

Be the best. That is, assuming that you are the best. Be the best you can possibly be, whatever that means to you. Absolutely do not step down in order to not threaten people. Don’t apologize. If you genuinely fucked up fine, you are allowed to apologize once but then stop apologizing. Think about how much you hear women apologizing for themselves for no reason, or being self-deprecating or self-abnegating out of habit. What the fuck are you apologizing for? For being too good?

And thoughts on the lowered expectations women often encounter from men:

When men demonstrate or betray surprise that you know a lot about something or have mastered a skill that they care about, it unfortunately just shows that some guys still don’t expect women to care about anything. Except being pretty and shopping and having thoughts that are somehow completely unlike male thoughts in any way. They think we don’t like dumb obsessive information hoarding. They think our brains are wired differently. They are wrong. Sasha Baron-Cohen’s brother is wrong (man u so fucking wrong Simon).

The flip side of exceptionalism for anyone from an oppressed group is the realization that you are only considered exceptional because the system is sooooooo fuckkkkkked uppppppppp. The idea that it’s fair and you just worked your way in because you’re so hyper-talented is a useful seeming illusion that stops benefiting you the moment it fucks over somebody else. When men are like “wow you’re so cool, you’re not like most girls” it always begs the question oh my god what do you think girls are like?

At Salon, Aaron Traister (brother of Rebecca, the author of one of our past book club selections) wrote about how abortion impacted his life and why other men need to speak up:

But mostly, I don’t understand how these issues are still simply referred to as “women’s issues.” The destinies of men and women are intertwined by sex, and pregnancy, and childbirth. It is time for more men to sack up and start taking responsibility for their end of the conversation.

Speaking of! Remember how the South Dakota legislature introduced and then shelved a bill that could have protected the killing of abortion providers as “justifiable homicide” in defense of a fetus? Well, we can’t celebrate just yet: the Nebraska legislature has introduced a similar bill that could potentially protect anyone — not just the pregnant woman or her family — who commits “justifiable homicide.” Mother Jones reported that this bill could put abortion providers at major risk from anti-abortion vigilantes:

Abortion providers are frequent targets of violent attacks. Eight doctors have been murdered by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, and another 17 have been victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes, including Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita, Kansas, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, have attempted to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials.

Al Jazeera English made room for some of the women of Cairo to tell their stories of the Egyptian uprising. Mona Seif, a 24-year-old researcher, explained that taking part in the protests has made her more confident and less afraid to speak out:

I know that Egypt has changed and we will transfer the spirit of the square to the rest of the country. Before Tahrir if I was [harassed] I would refrain from asking people for help, because there are a lot of people that would disappoint you by blaming you. But I think the spirit of the revolution has empowered us to spread the feeling we established wider and wider. From now on, if anything happens to me, I am going to scream, I am going to ask people to help me and I know that I will find people that will help me.

Meanwhile, Bill Maher tried to argue that sexism in America isn’t as problematic as sexism in the Middle East by demonizing Muslim men and downplaying the concerns of American women. Everyone loses! You can check out the video, transcript and some nice analysis at Womanist Musings. In this excerpt, Tavis Smiley calls out Maher:

Bill Maher: I mean in this country we treat women badly because
Tavis Smiley: Because we’re sexist and patriarchal
Bill Maher: They don’t equal pay, or someone calls you sugar tits or something like that. In those countries
Tavis Smiley: But you think that’s okay though
Bill Maher: I don’t but I don’t think it’s comparable to cutting their heads off, not letting them drive, not letting them work. I mean
Tavis Smiley: And all I’m saying is that you missed the point. If all you want to do is compare, you win that argument.
Bill Maher: Oh okay then.
Tavis Smiley: But my point is that it’s not about comparing, either right or wrong how we treat people and I think that it’s wrong there, and wrong here.
Bill Maher: It’s more wrong there. Degree matters, degree matters.
Tavis Smiley: Malcolm X said, “If you put a knife in my back and you pull it out six inches you call that progress. I’ve still got a knife in my back.” I don’t necessarily agree that degree always matters Bill.
Bill Maher: Really?
Tavis Smiley: yeah
Bill Maher: What would you rather do, make eighty cents on the dollar, or have your head cut off?
Tavis Smiley: I would rather us stop acting like we know the answers to everything, that we’re always right, that our way is always better, that we don’t make mistakes. That’s what I’d like.

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