So that she will mend her ways »« Both parties have respect

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  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Rage. Despair. So blatant, and so normal and uncontroversial. We’ve gone backwards on this front. The gender policing of toys is far, far worse than it was 30 years ago when I was a kid.

  2. says

    Waaaaay backwards. The explosions of Pepto Bismol that are now the “normal” girl’s bedroom and wardrobe were completely unknown when I was a kid 300 years ago. This stuff is so bizarre to me…

  3. Twist says

    I noticed that my local Tesco display all their magazines relating to science, computing and well, anything serious under “men’s magazines”. The “women’s magazines” section is almost entirely celebrity gossip and fashion. I don’t know why I’m really surprised, but I’ve never actually noticed this before, and I was wondering if it’s a Tesco in general thing or particular to my local branch.

  4. AndrewD says

    I hadn’t noticed this but I rarely go to Tesco-I find them arrogant. I prefer The Co-operative(or Co-op)

  5. John the Drunkard says

    And it IS a matter of concern for atheist-freethinking-feminist-human-rights-concerned folks. How can we counter the avalanche of pink unicorn, cosmo sex-quiz, jeesus weight loss garbage that inundates girls and women?

    There are reasons to accept male stereotypes based on yob culture misogyny, resentment porn etc. We should also recognize that there are reasons (not excuses) to stereotype women based on the pink princess kardashian kulture.

    I wish we could counter the cultural dreck without dehumanizing the initial victims–i.e. those targeted by trash culture.

    PS: I do not mean that misogynist trolls deserve any sympathy. It is the failure of more ‘normal’ folks to appreciate how deviant they are that I am speaking of.

  6. interrobang says

    I noticed that my local Tesco display all their magazines relating to science, computing and well, anything serious under “men’s magazines”.

    I remember a time when there was such a thing as a “general interest” magazine, and “men’s magazine” meant something very specific (and was usually sold on the top shelf, and maybe behind an opaque wrapper).

    At home, I have a copy of a Popular Mechanics supplement from 1949 called “Home Kinks” (okay, I bought it because the title appealed to my juvenile sense of humour). Inside, you’ll find hundreds of tips of the sort that are now referred to as “house/home hacks,” aimed at both men and women, and the tone of the text very much assumes that the purchaser and their spouse (it does assume a married, heterosexual audience, but 1949!) will work on the larger/more complex projects together, and, as far as I can tell, assumes a similar level of “handiness” on the part of the women as the men.

    I realize this was Popular Mechanics, but it really seems as though in some ways, we’ve gone a long way backward.

  7. says

    There are reasons to accept male stereotypes based on yob culture misogyny, resentment porn etc. We should also recognize that there are reasons (not excuses) to stereotype women based on the pink princess kardashian kulture.

    John, could you say this again? I’m having trouble understanding what you mean. I also would appreciate an explanation of what you mean in your last sentence, about the “normal” folks and deviance and what you are saying about trolls.

  8. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I wish I knew how to counter it more effectively. Twist–the “women’s magazines” stuff makes me crazy too. What’s more, I can’t believe the number of women I see reading them. You know where I notice it most? In airports and on planes.

    Women who seem (based on their conversations and general bearing) as competent, professional, and reasonable as can be are reading magazines that assume they are gold-digging whores, wannabe starlets, washed up starlets, bitchy back-stabbing gossips who think of nothing but their vaginas and the pretty new beads that can decorate them.

    Why? I’m insulted as a humanjust looking at the cover of US Weekly, Cosmopolitan, etc. They could not more starkly spit on women qua women if they tried.

  9. Arkady says

    Ugh, not surprising…

    I see this a lot with kids clothes too. I’m 4ft10 so kids clothes will often fit me better, but for instance the last time I tried to find a pair of waterproof trousers in an outdoors-shop, all they had were bright pink or camoflage. Because kids are clearly just all pink princesses and wannabe soldiers…

    Often the same problem with shoes too (I’m also half-a-UK-size below the usual minimum for ladies shoes), nearly impossible to find girls trainers without pink on them.

    @interrobang, the lack of practicality is something I find depressing. It affects men a little too (some people in general take a weird pride in not being able to do anything practical, like put up a tent or change a fuse!), but it mostly seems to be for women that in losing the stereotype of cooking and sewing etc. as ‘womens work’ it somehow switched to a different stereotype of not doing anything at all! Being able to cook/craft/fix/do stuff is for everyone! (Heh, my current flatmate is the first time I’ve lived with a guy who owns more tools than I do. He also owns almost as much sewing stuff as I do, he’s a LARPer who makes all his own gear)

  10. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    And it IS a matter of concern for atheist-freethinking-feminist-human-rights-concerned folks. How can we counter the avalanche of pink unicorn, cosmo sex-quiz, jeesus weight loss garbage that inundates girls and women?

    Perhaps this is a message A+ should pick up when trying to get through the thick skulls of dissenters.

    The reason fighting various forms of bigotry is a good idea for atheists is because – gasp! – they are just as nonsensical as believing in Bigfoot.

    Or perhaps, the reason fighting various forms of bigotry is a good idea for atheists is because popular culture is religion-soaked, woo-soaked, etc. and that brainwashes kids away from atheism/skepticism from the start.

    Therefore, it’s in atheism’s best interest to counteract these things.

    I mean, I’m SURE this line of thought has been tried with them already, but maybe is a man says it, they’ll finally listen. lolsob.

  11. says

    I have two daughters, age 5 and nearly 3, don’t ask me about this shit, it makes me scream.
    Lately, even Kinder eggs (yeah, I know USAsian kids are deemed too stupid to have them) brought forth a pink egg just for girls with Winxx club fairies *puke*
    I’ve banned them. Family members have been informed, should other people give them those the pink wrapping will be removed instantly.
    And I can’t hear the word “pretty” anymore. She’s gotta be pretty. Doing isn’t important, being is all that matters.

  12. Stella says

    It would be nice to have a description of the picture content so I can understand what is being discussed here. Sometimes Y can get a reasonable idea from the comments. This time, not so much.

    Stella

  13. Catwhisperer says

    That picture reminds me of the toy section I was staring at in disbelief in a shop last week. To be fair, it was clearly very much under construction, so maybe they’ll rearrange to something less offensive, but I doubt it.

    There was one shelving unit labelled “girls’ toys” – it had a whole shelf full of plastic princess crowns, leaving 4 shelves for some dolls, stuffed toys, plastic jewellery and a handful of pretend-you’re-a-housewife type things.

    “Boys’ toys” not only consisted of THREE units, every shelf had about 10 different things on it. Action figures for every TV show or movie of the last 10 years with even the slightest bit of appeal to kids. All manner of model cars, motorbikes, planes etc. Tons of lego, and all those sort of things. Boys had the option of playing soldiers, policemen, firefighters, construction workers, astronauts, superheroes, supervillains, explorers, silly talking sponges, engineers, pokemon, dinosaurs, you name it, while girls could be princesses of mumsies.

    And to add insult to… well, insult i suppose, they had lumped things like jigsaw puzzles in with the boy section.

    I think I might well complain next time I go in there.

  14. says

    Stella – it’s a magazine rack four shelves high, divided in half by color, blue and pink, with labels at the top saying Kids Zone. The banner at the top of the blue one says Beano and has a bunch of characters outside messing around; the one at the top of the pink one says nothing but has several princessy-looking female-type people just standing there posing.

    I can’t really see anything clearly about the magazines themselves, they’re smallish and blurry. I do see a lot of pink on that side though! The blue side is more mixed. The usual – males are people, females are female.

  15. Concentratedwater, OM says

    Jos SPokesgay:

    the “women’s magazines” stuff makes me crazy too. What’s more, I can’t believe the number of women I see reading them. You know where I notice it most? In airports and on planes.

    Women who seem (based on their conversations and general bearing) as competent, professional, and reasonable as can be are reading magazines that assume they are gold-digging whores, wannabe starlets, washed up starlets, bitchy back-stabbing gossips who think of nothing but their vaginas and the pretty new beads that can decorate them.

    Thanks to Josh for the most patronizing comment I’ve read in a long while.

    “Hey, girls: let this guy tell what you can and can’t read. Don’t worry, he’s gay, so it’s not like those creepy het guys.”

  16. says

    Oh bollocks. He didn’t tell anyone what they can or can’t, he said what’s crap. That’s not patronizing. (Or if it is, I’d better shut down this blog right now. And I’m not going to, so it must not be!)

  17. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ophelia, you’re not understanding that those of us who object to gender crap are the real sexists. In pink jackboots. Get with the program!

    Stella—do you have a visual impairment? If so I’d love to know what to do when I’m constructing a website to make sure the images are as accessible as possible.

  18. Stella says

    Josh, thank you for asking.

    You can use the Image tag to provide a description of the image. Sometimes the name of the image can be enough: obamawavingtocrowd.jpg The tags show up in mouse-overs. Screen readers see Image tags, too.

    I have a little vision, so minimal description helps me figure out what I’m supposed to be seeing. Ophelia’s mention of the mountain and a postcard from Mars were enough to help me put together what was in that picture. Greta often does a good job of describing pictures in the blog post. The rest of FtB sucks, but I really haven’t asked them to do better.

    I know there are W3C standards for this, but I haven’t designed a site since the Web was a baby and I could still see. Let me see if I can find some specific guidelines for you. I’ll post them here.

    Stella

  19. Stella says

    Josh,

    Here’s the code:

    alt=”your description of the image”

    It goes within the img tag. You can also put a link in there, if you need to.

    Some other hints:
    Don’t use grey text on white
    Don’t use white text on light blue
    Opt for better contrast

    There’s lots more. Unfortunately for designers, visual impairment is highly individual. What works for me might not work for other people. The alt text/img tag is a good thing for nearly everyone.

    If I can do more: stella fast hyphen mail org

    Again, thanks for asking.

    Stella

  20. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Stella, you rock. Thanks for the pointers. I’m busy over the next several days (well, actually, I’m screwing off until after Labor Day) but if you see me around please remind me to email you. I have some web pages I’d like to have you test out for me if you’d be so kind.

    I’m already there with you on contrast. I have reasonably good eyesight but I can’t *stand* grey text. It’s not “pretty” or “stylish,” it’s extremely hard to read even for those of us without major vision problems. I could strangle whoever thought that shit up.

  21. says

    Josh
    Sometimes women read them for sheer lack of alternatives. Planes and stuff are often not the places where you have the mental capacities left to deal with a book, so magazines are the thing. And apart from a few news magazines (which are already slightly in the “male category”) there’s hardly anything that I would call ” general interest” left.
    And good luck finding even a news magazine in a gyn’s waiting room. It’s either babies or fashion.

  22. says

    I got into a conversation a about this very subject yesterday, not magazines but gender stereotyping of children, when I went to visit my first grandchild, a boy, who was born on Tuesday. His parents didn’t know his sex until he was born. Apparently some friends were surprised that the parents, both of whom are medical geneticists, did not find out beforehand but most were more worried about whether they should buy a “boy” present or a “girl” present. This is seriously crazy; does a new born baby care about whether it is dressed in a pink or blue baby-gro or what colour its rattle is?

    As for Tesco, I do occasionally go to one within walking distance that is open ’till 11.00 pm if I run out of tea late at night; I can’t live without tea! I haven’t noticed any sexism there but it is a very small shop. They don’t sell toys and their magazine rack is too small to be segregated. But I don’t like Tesco, especially their pricing policy. For instance they will price something at, say, £1.65 with an offer of £2.00 for two, but on the day when the “sell by” date expires will put it in the bargains section for £1.10 with a label saying “save 55p.” A lot of poorer people only look in that section but the reality is that they are buying food on its sell-by date at a higher price than it was sold when fresh. Sorry for going OT but it is one shop I really hate. The Co-op is much better!

    Josh: I would recommend following the W3C Web Content Accessibility Standards: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/ together with any enhancements disabled people you know can suggest. Until a couple of years ago I used to freelance doing web design. I would always insist that the site comply with these and various other standards before working on it. I ended up turning away a lot of work but I’m a stubborn old git when I want to be.

  23. says

    Bernard Hurley
    Congratulations for your first grandchild!

    This is seriously crazy; does a new born baby care about whether it is dressed in a pink or blue baby-gro or what colour its rattle is?

    No, but adults care. People become upset and angry if they can’t gender your baby at first sight or worse, even misgender them.
    Why would their gender by of any interest unless they wanted to treat them differently?
    It is frightening how quickly people took this new gendering and segregation as normal, completely forgetting about their own childhoods in the 70s and 80s or even the 90s.
    This extreme segregation is actually mostly something that comes from marketing. It’s not like there’s an evil conspiracy. But heavily gender everything and make sure that people buy double.

  24. Amy Clare says

    This is a Very Bad Thing. Gender-policing for kids is now at utterly ridiculous levels. Although as someone else pointed out, Men’s and Women’s magazine sections in supermarkets can be often just as bad.

    I used to read The Beano as a kid and am mortified to see it in the ‘boys’ section. I’m quite sure I would’ve hated the fairy-princess comics that girls seem to be expected to like.

    Regarding women’s magazines, I avoid them as a general rule but sometimes boredom will make me pick one up. The last time I read one was in a doctor’s waiting room. It was basically a catalogue. The first 120 or so pages were either a) adverts, or b) ‘articles’ consisting of lists of products (usually clothes, shoes, cosmetics or make-up) and where to buy them. THEN there was an actual feature. I was gobsmacked.

    I guess wimminz just luvs the shopping tho, amirite?

    *despair*

  25. Pteryxx says

    Bernard Hurley, thank you for the link to the W3C standards! I passed them on to Greta’s resource gathering thread.

    This extreme segregation is actually mostly something that comes from marketing. It’s not like there’s an evil conspiracy. But heavily gender everything and make sure that people buy double.

    I *am* suspicious of one thing though – in the last few decades, marketing and distribution themselves have become heavily centralized in a few giant megacorporations. Mergers of publishing distributors, for instance, contributed to the decline of smaller book and magazine publishers in science fiction, which of course squeezed out smaller interest groups and diversity of viewpoint.

    I would not be surprised to find that centralized distributors have been a driving force behind the extreme gendering of content that we now observe.

  26. Twist says

    It is frightening how quickly people took this new gendering and segregation as normal, completely forgetting about their own childhoods in the 70s and 80s or even the 90s.

    I was thinking something similar the other day. I’m sure that my childhood (late 80’s/90’s) wasn’t particularly gendered. I’m also sure that my mother would specifically ask people to buy neutral clothes so that my brother could wear them when I’d outgrown them. I also really don’t recall any particular emphasis on everything of mine needing to be pink and glittery. I don’t think I was that atypical?

    Some twenty years later, I have an acquaintance who is horrified by the idea of dressing her baby daughter in the clothes her older son wore, and it seems quite common among people I know with young children (sample size of five, but whatever)that it’s absolutely vital that girls look like girls and boys look like boys.

    (Maybe there’s a class thing there as well though, with people not wanting to admit that their younger child wears hand-me-downs?)

  27. Pteryxx says

    (Maybe there’s a class thing there as well though, with people not wanting to admit that their younger child wears hand-me-downs?)

    I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard that because of outsourcing manufacturing for cheap labor, kids’ clothes are less likely to survive to *become* hand-me-downs.

  28. John the Drunkard says

    Karen X

    I’ll try to restate it.
    On men: The generally toxic atmosphere between men and women influences the way we deal with pathological individuals. Too many men hear about creeps on elevators and assume the trouble is really about themselves, they are too busy rationalizing their own bad relationship with women to recoginze that Mr Elevator is another creature all together. Most men are not street harassers or stalkers. As such they don’t realize how many men around them ARE.

    On women: The underrepresentation of women in atheist circles is certainly caused, largely, by old fashioned sexism. This is at work loooong before anyone is selecting speakers for an upcoming conference. Women are relentlessly targeted by commercial and social authorities that discourage them from developing into free-thinking individuals.

    Susan Jacoby, in the recent Humanist, mentioned hearing it seriously suggested that women were more religious than men because ‘they were stupider.’ I am suggesting that the opposite is the case. The pink-unicorn, sequinned-princess, church-mom culture has a real and terrible effect.

    On trolls: the vicious misogyny we are seeing is beyond ‘cultural difference.’ The internet enables stalker, wife-beater, rapist characters to show their real faces. In real life, sociopaths are not so visible, they acheive their dreadful ends by passing for normal. We (that is, the general public) enable sociopaths by trusting our judgment of people we know. If you do a bit of checking into the subject, you’ll see estimates that about 1% of the population can be described as sociopathic. I think this number is enough to account for the creeps currently popping up on the blogs.

    Is that enough? I realize I am speaking very broadly, probably should try a more organized essayish thing.

  29. says

    John the Drunkard says:

    On trolls: the vicious misogyny we are seeing is beyond ‘cultural difference.’ The internet enables stalker, wife-beater, rapist characters to show their real faces. In real life, sociopaths are not so visible, they acheive their dreadful ends by passing for normal. We (that is, the general public) enable sociopaths by trusting our judgment of people we know. If you do a bit of checking into the subject, you’ll see estimates that about 1% of the population can be described as sociopathic. I think this number is enough to account for the creeps currently popping up on the blogs.

    What worries me is that some people seem to think that there is a special class of person called an internet troll who is allowed to say whatever he/she/it likes and “everyone knows” that he/she/it is not to be taken seriously. No doubt there are many trolls who simply like winding people up for the sake and are otherwise quite harmless, but the attitude that if you say something a that someone disagrees with you have only yourself to blame if you get trolled and it is just whinging to object is quite dangerous. First because rape threats, death threats, and gratuitous insults are precisely that, and second because it normalises sociopathic and psychopathic behaviour as the perpetrator can be a “normal troll.”

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