"Dear Daughter...": all the ways society hates little girls

From John W Campbell Award-nominee Mur Lafferty, an open letter to her (delightful) daughter, decrying all the ways in which the deck is stacked against girls and women in our world. It's a pretty much perfect summation of every fear, aspiration, and upset I feel on behalf of my own daughter.

You should know that you are hated.

I’m not sure why they hate you. You didn’t do anything to them. You don your princess crown, take up your sword, and pretend at Pokemon. You read your books and you learn how to draw comics and dragons and you play piano and practice kung fu. You delight in pretty dresses and weaponry. You love me when I nurture you as a mom, train with you as a warrior, and play video games and card games with you.

“You throw like a GIRL!” – obnoxious drunk asshole behind us at a Durham Bulls game (Apparently he threw 75mph)

There is nothing worse than being a girl. I’m not saying this as a former girl- I quite liked being a girl. I’m saying this from the POV of the entire rest of the world. There was a lovely feminist TED talk – A Call To Men – where a man discussed his conversation with a twelve year old boy, and the boy said he would rather die than be called a girl. And the man thought, Good Lord, how do these boys view girls, if being compared to them is the worst thing in the world?

Dear daughter…


  1. ick, you live in the south and I’m sure they hate a lot more than girls down there… Up here in the Northwest we don’t hate girls, sorry to disappoint.

  2. Seems to me like an utter load of crap. This is extrapolation of a small segment of society who happen to be misogynistic idiots in order to paint all of society. But what do I know…I’m a proud daddy of a smart, independent, wonderful daughter.

    1. Agreed. There are girl/woman haters, and boy/man haters. Except for some very sad places on this planet, I think that these people are in the minority.

      1. Except for some very sad places on this planet, I think that these people are in the minority.

        Like China and India, which practice female infanticide to the point that the gender balance is completely screwed up? The majority of the world treats women as property.

        1. I will grant that you have a point, but the original open letter was written from the perspective of someone living in the western/first world, and opened with “You should know that you are hated.” This to me seems to be extreme and militant viewpoint (and simply not likely to be accurate if this girl lives in the western/first world).

          And I would like to respond to your comment below: “The least that I can do when I see a thread full of rampant sexism is to call it out so that it doesn’t look like we don’t even give a shit about it. ” I sure hope you didn’t think that my comment was somehow sexist (but I’m assuming you did since you replied “And…posted by a man.”). Please note that I was raised by my mother, along with my sister, with no man/male in the house. Throughout my life about 9 out 10 of all my friends have been female, and my closest friends have always been female. There isn’t a sexist bone in my body. It appears you’re offended by somebody who doesn’t automatically agree with the posted letter, and if it’s a male, then it makes them sexist. I’m very sensitive to militant expressions and viewpoints, and both the letter and your comments appear to fall into that category.

          Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on a matter related to sexism, doesn’t make that person sexist. While it is reasonable for one to make a judgement on overt sexism, I would hope that people are a bit more sensitive when it comes to more subjective issues.

          1. It is neither extreme nor militant to contemplate the astonishing erosion of women’s rights in some states and conclude that women and girls are, by and large, hated. I rather doubt the women of Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, and Virginia (to name a few) feel very loved at the moment.

          2. My comment blast was not meant as an indictment of any particular person or comment, but to make it clear that the overall tenor of the thread should be viewed in light of the single-gender nature of the commenters at that time.

          3. You’re not an overt sexist….you’re a subtle sexist.

            If you can’t see that girls and women in the northern states of the US have to deal with sexism on a daily basis too, then you’re not paying attention.

        2. Lame point. The context here is mainstream middle class western society not China and India. You have to partition cultures when you talk about cultural issues like gender politics. Even among immigrant groups in western society there can be vastly different gender discrimination going on. You simply cannot credibly generalize like this.

          1. Please tell me about the country that practices male infanticide. Or the country where men are not allowed to vote or drive. Or the country where the majority of the government is women. Or where the majority of corporate executives are women.

          1. So how does it feel?

            Imagine having to be prepared to face that reaction every single time you try to speak.

      2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447915/  
        “Femicide, the homicide of women, is the leading cause of death in the United States among young African American women aged 15 to 45 years and the seventh leading cause of premature death among women overall.1 American women are killed by intimate partners (husbands, lovers, ex-husbands, or ex-lovers) more often than by any other type of perpetrator.2–4 Intimate partner homicide accounts for approximately 40% to 50% of US femicides but a relatively small proportion of male homicides (5.9%).” 

        Haters be hatin’, though, huh? 

        1. Sorry, I live in Canada, and sometimes forget how some parts of the US resemble the third world. It’s insane how many people in the US are murdered.
          [Hope this isn’t a double post; first got lost]

          1. llazy8: androcide also means ‘the killing of men by men for being men’.

            Hm? I didn’t see the gender of the killer mentioned in your link. Just “Androcide is the systematic killing of men for various reasons, usually cultural.”

          2. jere7my 
            Linguistically what you say is true.  My point was that’s it’s interesting to me that so few homicides are committed by females in general compared to those committed by males, gender-based homicides included.  So, functionally, ‘androcide’ also means the killing of men overwhelmingly by men for being . . .

          3. Oh, yeah, from the same source men commit homicide more than nine times the rate women do.

            Still, llazy8, I think that’s a bit off-topic. If one is looking for evidence that women suffer more than men in U.S. society, violence isn’t the best area to find it. Men suffer more of most every kind of violence than women, even rape if Christopher Glazek is to be believed ( http://nplusonemag.com/raise-the-crime-rate ). The message the violence statistics seem to be saying is “men hate women, but men hate men much more”…

          4. More men are killed, but many more men are doing the killing. How many men are murdered by their girlfriends compared to women who are murdered by their boyfriends?

          5. Feel free to put all the pieces together. I think that it will support my argument, but I’ve found that it’s really easy to find demographics for victims, not so much for perpetrators.

          6. Antinous, men are certainly the vast majority of the violent. The figure for homicide on that FBI link I posted was over 90%. It wasn’t at all hard to find actually. I did mention this earlier…

            But these men (& a few women) are, overall, violent against men. It’s about three male homicide victims for each female, for instance. So regardless of who’s doing it (mostly men), it’s men who also suffer the most violence. And if one is considering whether men or women in the U.S. are hated more, well that’s quite a lot of hate right there. It’s men hating women, but men hating men a lot more.

          7. That’s assuming that hate is the motivation in all violent crimes. If you remove robberies, drug-related crimes and other acts of violence that are based on economics, what would the stats be?

    2. A “small segment” of society? Have you been paying attention to all of the GOP and idiot laws passing infringing on women’s personal medical rights? Calling this an utter load of crap seems to be covering the issue. I mean, srsly, it’s cool that you have a daughter & all, but maybe you shouldn’t just blanket these kinds of issues with such blatant ignorance. Doing so also ignores the other side, which is that men and boys feel this pressure to hate girls and women, feeling massively insulted whenever they’re called a “girl.” We all feel this “utter load of crap,” and if it takes schmaltzy pieces like this help us remember that, then sweet. At least it’s not telling us to shove ultrasounds up our orifices and letting doctors tell lies to us about important medical things.

  3. George Carlin said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

    I prefer to turn that around, and recognize that half are smarter than average.  Ignore the stupid, the willfully ignorant, the misogynistic/misandrous, and the plain hateful.  There are better things to do with your life than spending a moment’s thought on them.

    1. Yeah, I’m also so blithely above spending a moment’s thought on them them that I don’t even think of them when I’m getting an unnecessary vaginal ultrasound or worse.  
      I stick my fingers in my ears and smugly sing LaLaLaLa while reading U.N. reports, too: 


  4. I think the post derives the wrong lesson from “You throw like a girl.” That’s not equivalent to “I hate girls”, any more than “You dress like a boy” (an asshole insult directed at young girls) means “I hate boys.” Both comments carry exactly the same message: “You’re not conforming to my perception of your gender.” (See Boys Don’t Cry for an illustration of this point.)

    Society loves both boys and girls — it’s just unhealthily focused on maintaining their rigid gender roles.

          1. At that moment in time, every comment in the thread about women being treated as inferior was from a man, and all of them were, in one sense or another, attempting to minimize or dismiss the problem. I have to look at the whole thread, and in this case, do something about a mansplainer gangbang.

          2. in reply to Antinous / Moderator
            At that moment in time, every comment in the thread about women being treated as inferior was from a man, …

            Bashing women for not participating in the discussion? 
            No, I’m on your side here, on the side of girls, but aren’t you too, by your standards, the wrong person to advocate on or against girls behalf? 
            Sexism isn’t even right where it furthers rectification.

        1.  You seem to have difficulty making any argument beyond “…posted by a man.”  Not exactly a very good way to make the point that your sex is above all that (and yes, I’m assuming you’re female)

          1. (and yes, I’m assuming you’re female)

            So, Antinous is… acting like a girl?

            That’s priceless, Hans.

          2. @boingboing-52a645b14f6e4d40661358caf47f9e1b:disqus These comments are all disregarding or diminishing the key point, of women being treated differently (read: worse) than men. Judging from usernames and responses, they seem to be coming from gentlemen.

            Also, these consistent “But…!” and “No, just treated differently!” comments might make sense to a guy without direct experience, but let’s start substituting ‘women’ with ‘black people’.

            “It’s not an insult to say he walks like a black guy! We just have different expectations for black people!”

            “Perhaps you could stop trying to twist reasonable words into what you view as racism.”

            You’re essentially asking that we stop ‘playing the gender card’.

        2. [Replying up here due to a lack of Reply button down there.]

          Such is the lot of the Moderator, I suppose. But I do hope you’re not laboring under the illusion that you’re facilitating a discussion.

          I don’t think you’ve done much service to the cause, here.

          1. You know, sometimes the ladies actually visit Boing Boing. The least that I can do when I see a thread full of rampant sexism is to call it out so that it doesn’t look like we don’t even give a shit about it.

          2.   Well, the thing is Antinous, you guys calling out rampant sexism seems to be a very one sided expression, as you guys never call out sexism when it is by a woman directed towards men. A perfect example comes to mind from a while back when a post was made about a urinal design that was attached to a tree with the drainage hose leading int mulch. A very politically radical woman wrote a little something about how men were dogs in more ways than one, and there was nary a piping word from any of the moderators.

          3. Sorry for replying to you Ian, but it won’t let me reply to Antonius’ post…

            “You know, sometimes the ladies actually visit Boing Boing. The least that I can do when I see a thread full of rampant sexism is to call it out so that it doesn’t look like we don’t even give a shit about it.”
            And… as a woman… I call your text incredibly sexist. Thank you, but I can defend myself. I don’t want my text dismissed by “posted by a female” or the more common “are you on the rag?”, so I don’t want anybody else’s text dismissed by “posted by a man”. Call out the text, not what is between the legs.

        3. I understand that. And I also believe that the response to oppression writ large probably shouldn’t be instinctive suppression or shaming in what is, after all, only a small, brief exchange of ideas. That’s not progressive. It’s alienating, and eventually that mindset–writ large–will lead us to the same place, with different players in the same roles.

        4. I’m not sure what was so insulting about Ian Wood’s post that you felt the need to point out his “has a penis” status.  Ian, were you being sarcastic about jere7my’s post? 

          I hate to be That Guy, but I guess I’m being That Guy.

          Having said that, I do have to say that “tomboy” and “you dress like a boy” are still directed at girls, but of course the deeper meaning is that society has hangups about what they see as gender roles.  The boys are supposed to throw a baseball like a major-leaguer, play with snakes, tinker, and so on, while girls are supposed to play dressup, play with dolls, and so on.  As I’m typing this, my three-year-old daughter is sitting in front of the TV, loudly burping, and saying, “I BURPED AGAIN!”  I got to hear this because I’m a SAHD, a decision easily arrived at when I calculated how much higher her mother’s income was than mine. :->   She shows more interest in how things work than I did at that age, too.  So far, I think she’ll do all right in the world.

    1.  ‘You throw like a girl’ means you throw badly.  It means nobody wants you on the team.  Of course it’s pejorative.

      1. Just as the phrase “You dress like a boy” is. It means nobody wants to be around you, because your sense of dress (rather than skill at ball) doesn’t conform to their gender stereotypes, standards, and perceptions.

        1.  I never heard the phrase “dress like a boy” when I was growing up. Never. I still never have, except when some guy is trying to come up with an equivalent for “throw like a girl.”

          1. Well, I’m glad to hear that, but I promise I didn’t make it up. A little Googling should turn up documentary evidence. For one random example, here’s a pop song by Holly Elle:

            This little girl has nightmares almost every night
            Some of the girls in her high school telling her she ain’t right
            She dresses like a boy; it’s how she’s always felt
            But because she’s a little bit different they’re putting her through hell.

          2. Growing up (a boy) I have often heard I dressed like a girl. 
            I had an older sister, clothes cost money, and I mostly didn’t care. 
            She threw like a boy too. 

          3. I guess you live in a cave then.

            Never heard the expression ‘tomboy’?  Or even the modern, and reverse, ‘Metrosexual’?

            I actually agree with this point – in that the insult is actually that you’re not conforming to a gender stereotype, and it goes both ways.

            I see it in advertising as well as on the playground.  Women hating on men and men hating on women.  I can watch an advert for a cleaning product packed to the brim with language like ‘housewife’ and ‘mum’, all the while making it quite clear that cleaning products are for women.  Hilariously, the antidote to this type of advert (and there have been a couple) involve lambasting men, ridiculing them and perhaps ironically, still maintaining the status quo that cleaning products are for women.  It’s immature and insulting; both for men and women, that this kind of perception still exists in mainstream media, because it in no way reflects my life, or the views or values of those around me (or anyone worth their salt, IMO).

            Genders hate each other apparently, that’s the core message here, it’s got BUGGER ALL to do with the ‘world hating women’.  What makes it seem this way is that men still control the world; flip that power and this article would be the reverse.  It’s not addressing the core issue, in the slightest, and quite frankly Antinous you’re just getting in the way of discussion and provoking confrontation; let women speak for themselves, and avoid dismissing commenters because they happen to be men; it’s offensive for everyone involved.  Feel free to delete this last section, it was for your benefit only.

        2. Girls dress like boys all the time. I was a tomboy throughout my childhood and it was considered *ADORABLE*  Never ever did I get flack for dressing like a boy.  Why? Because OF COURSE a little girl would want to be a little boy.  That’s aspirational. But a little boy dressing like a girl? That’s gay. 

          It’s all about the status of women, guys.  A girl acting and dressing like a boy is a good thing because it means she’s trying to overcome her rank.  A boy acting like a girl is demeaning to his gender.

          1. I don’t want to devalue your experience, but I have two close genderqueer friends whose experiences did/do not match yours. “You dress like a boy,” offered as an insult, can be extremely hurtful.

            And, again, I’ll point you to Boys Don’t Cry. Society has a lot of trouble with people who don’t fit their gender notions, male or female.

          2. I think this falls firmly into the category of ‘anecdote’.

            Generally speaking I think it’s safe to say that tomboy’s are looked on negatively.  In fact if you’ve watched any teen movie made in the last 50 years you’d see the role crop up often, normally as the outcast, and occasionally as the character that ‘blossoms’ into a ‘real woman’ with the removal of some glasses and the application of some lipstick.

            This isn’t to say it reflects my opinion, in many ways I actually prefer a little gender neutrality – people as people, as it were.  ‘Girly girls’ can be quite saccharine, in the same way as ‘manly men’ can often be assholes.

            But neither my opinion nor your experience alters a relatively universal perception.

      2. Yes, of course. It’s an asshole insult. But it doesn’t mean “The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to” (to quote the article). It means “The world hates boys who aren’t sufficiently boy-gendered, just as it hates girls who aren’t sufficiently girl-gendered.”

        1.  Dude, I totally agree. The world loves little girls, well, just so long as they know their place. Simple enough.

      3. Do you believe gaydar is a real thing? 
        Do you have it? 
        Most girls throw like girls. 
        It’s plain to see. 

         ‘You throw like a girl’ is pejorative if you feel you’re better than a girl. 
        Or when you don’t throw like a girl and it is meant purely pejorative.
        Or maybe you just throw like one. 
        It’s okay, statistically you and the girls do most everything else better.

      1. Moderators are always so quick to shoot down repetive comments that add nothing to the discussion, what happens when they themselfs are guilty of this?

        1. Consider it a performance art piece to highlight the problem of a thread about women’s issues containing only comments from men and all dismissive of the issue.

          1. is being dismissive of one person’s take on an issue thesame as being dismissive of the issue? the observation that there is significant bias in the world torwards women hardly leads inexorably to a conclusion that the world (or men, or whatever) hates girls. of course, that is one entirely legitimate conclusion and many writers have presented it far better than the article does. but someone could entirely agree on the extent of the sexism, discrimination and bias and still believe that the article’s point is wrong, that its writing is poor, that it offer weak evidence for its premise, that is generalizes in ways that are not helpful to either the presumptive daughter or to society in general, and so on and so forth.

            as it happens, i too carry a Y chromosome, and i think that bias and discrimination against women is a still pervasive in western culture (though different in some ways from its form a few decades ago) and still a terrible problem that my wife, daughters, sister and mother have already faced in school and will face as adults.

            but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that this article is poor, and its point is actually wrong. i’m not dismissing the issue – i am dismissing the article.

          2. Reply to: PaulDavisTheFirst


            I don’t think anyone here thinks that women don’t get a bum deal, and that the world isn’t sexist.But that’s a different discussion altogether.

    2. I accidentally refreshed while writing this, whoops!

      I agree with you, here. There’s no reason to have all of these low-quality posts brought to my attention. I don’t want to filter out bOINGbOING’s Gender Tag, as the gender issues are important to nigh-everyone. I just don’t think that drivel such as this, that extrapolates upon single, almost meaningless points of data to form a whole picture that happens to be consistent with their beliefs deserves attention of the internet brought to it.
      As a side note, I’m seriously disappointed that Mrs. Lafferty thinks that every issue that touches gender is a gender issue.

      1. Could you name a few points of data about sex/gender discrimination that would be meaningful to you?  

        1. Overall bias in the workforce, perhaps. Reproductive rights.
          I might even take a closer look at this person’s postings if she was talking about a certain observed outcome or repeating circumstance that arises because boys and girls voice rigid expectations of what people of their gender do by insulting them with “You X like the opposite gender~”. 
          Unfortunately, past observing that one man said something frankly primitive, everything she thinks is conjecture. That this insult is exclusive to males, that it’s indicative of a society-wide malevolence to females, etc.: all guesses from her, based on her pre-conceived notions about gender.

    3. If you’re okay with ignoring the entire premise here, of the deck being stacked against girls and women, then I guess so!

      It’s a demonstrable fact that women occupy a different position in society than men, and that it’s below men. Just like how if it was a common insult to say “You look freaking straight, bro!”, that wouldn’t be the same as saying “You look freaking gay, bro!”.

      All comparative insults are not equal. Anyone claiming otherwise is the proud owner of some pretty sweet privilege.

      1. If you re-read my comment, I believe you’ll see that I said they carry the same message, not the same weight. I deliberately didn’t address that, because while I agree that girls and women bear the brunt of sexual discrimination, I wouldn’t want to measure it against the less prevalent, but frequently more intense, discrimination that feminized men (or transsexual women) suffer.

        My chief point here — and this is the third and last time I’m gonna say it — is that all these insults are aimed at “correcting” perceived gender transgressions, rather than revealing a worldwide hatred of femininity. Femininity (the insult implies) has its place, just not in my son.

        Edit: I think you can find support for my position in the fact that little girls are pushed to be more feminine, just as little boys are pushed to be more masculine. If girliness were “hated” (which it certainly has been, in other places and other times, as Antinous points out above) in the US, then both boys and girls would be pushed toward a single non-crying, overhand-throwing, non-pink-wearing standard. That’s not the way it works out, though; both gender roles are constantly reinforced.

        This runs counter to your counterexample — both gay and straight men are pushed toward manliness, which supports the notion that gay-hating is prevalent in the US.

        I wouldn’t call pushing girls and women to conform to a subjugate standard “hatred” of girls; I would characterize it as “We love girls, as long as they act a certain way.” If there’s hatred going on, it’s hatred of feminine boys and masculine girls — boys and girls who are doing it “wrong”.

        1. It’s not even the same message, at least for “throw like a girl”. It’s an actual, qualitative insult. It means that you throw horribly. It doesn’t mean that you throw wearing a dress, and that shakes our preconceived notions of gender roles. It means that you throw like someone who is athletically inferior to a man.

          Now, dressing like a girl? Yeah, that’s gender expectations and identity, but it’s also so obvious that it doesn’t even require mentioning.

          Why is it that no one says “You throw like a guy”? Why haven’t I heard people who get a discount on a purchase say “I just got gentiled into some money!”?

          1. I agree, but it means “You throw like a girl, and girls are bad at sports,” not “You throw like a girl, and I hate girls.” I think it’s still about weakening and demeaning the gender role of the target; the fact that it uses a misperception about girls is just an easy way to do that.

            “You dress like a boy” is a qualitative insult, too — boys, as we all know, have no fashion sense, and that’s part and parcel of the insult. (“You dress like a girl” could in fact be a backhanded compliment — a way of diminishing and encoding discomfort with how well put-together a boy’s outfit is.)

          2. ‘I agree, but it means “You throw like a girl, and girls are bad at sports,” not “You throw like a girl, and I hate girls.”‘  

            By the way, basketball fans, it’s atrocious that women’s basketball games have such poor attendance.  I even know women who are sports fanatics who refuse to watch a women’s game.  They say it’s boring.  See, the thing is, pro and even college basketball tends to be street ball, which is fun to watch of course, but women’s basketball tends to be about BASKETBALL.

      2. I’ve never heard guys directly slander woman outside of a Rush Limbaugh broadcast.  Most teenage boys (and adults who act like teenagers) spend their time trying to impress woman and save their venom for gay men or those perceived as gay.

        1. I respect that that probably is representative of your actual life experience, but the whole idea behind gender/race privilege is that you often can’t extrapolate your experiences out to people with very different experiences.

          I see misogyny on a depressingly regular basis as a straight guy, so I’m pretty sure that the expected targets of the abuse see it more often than I do. The amount that I’ve seen in progressive, left-wing protest circles I think is indicative of how ingrained and normalized it is.

        2. Really? Clearly you’ve never been a teenage girl. But maybe I’m just one of those uppitty little bitches that doesn’t take being groped, catcalled, threatened, followed and graded due to my physical attributes as a compliment. 

        3. Been slandered to my face, it’s painful to bee a teen girl looking for acceptance. It’s not much better when your a 20 something. As a 30 something I rarely hear it anymore.

          I was and am a book and comic reader, role-player, eye glass wearing female. I was not the sort of girl the more popular boys sought to impress, I was the sort they were cruel to.

          Just because you did not see it, does not mean it does not happen.

    4. But consider how society imposes those gender roles:

      For maab kids [male-assigned at birth], ‘masculine’ traits are almost always encouraged and ‘feminine’ traits are almost always punished. If not by parents, then by teachers and bullies.

      For faab kids [female-assigned at birth], ‘feminine’ traits are sometimes rewarded, but sometimes punished, and ‘masculine’ traits are sometimes punished, but sometimes rewarded.

      Julia Serano distinguishes between traditional sexism [that is, misogyny] which values everything male and/or ‘masculine’ over anything female and/or ‘feminine’ and oppositional sexism [that is, forcing everyone into one or another gender box] which values conformity. I have some disagreements here and there, but I think she explains what’s going on.

      1. Yes!!! Being a tomboy is ok, even though society would rather have her in pink (pink… pink… um, I think purple is allowed… pink… pinkpinkpinkpink…aaaaaaargh!!!!). But, a boy who wants wear a dress? Horror of horrors!!!! It might fall off!!! (Ok, that last part might be a slight exageration, but that sure is how it sounds.)

        As a woman and a tomboy I find that insulting. Why is it ok for me to have a more masculine behavior, when a male having feminine traits is absolutely horrible? For some reason it seems to be incredibly threatening to people. The parents who “allow” this for their sons (allow???? but that’s how it’s often seen) are treated as “courageous”. Yes, they are… but I’m so sad that that’s how it is, and that most boys will bend to the will of the society and take off the dress before they enter school.

        So… I see that a biiiiig step towards true equality is taken when it’s also ok for boys to act and dress in a feminine way, in the same way as it was ok for my daughter to put on her Spiderman shirt (… and why is Spiderman seen as a “boy” thing in the first place? Not dressed in pink, I guess.).

  5. I’m confused, Antinous… is it good or bad that posts supporting girls are posted by men? Not sure why you’re pointing it out…

    1. Supporting your own daughter is great, but not if it makes you dismiss the fact that girls are regularly treated as inferior.

  6. 60% of bachelors degrees and more than half of all advanced degrees go to females.  There may be a lot of things wrong with how girls are treated, but it would be hard to claim that education is one of them.  And who’s doing all of this hating of girls?  Are women involved in it?  If so, that raises some interesting questions.

    And yes, Antinous…posted by a man. 

    1.  then after receiving said degrees we can look at number of those hired and the average pay rate that they take home at the end of the day.

      sorry I don’t have numbers at the moment, but its well discussed and debated elsewhere online

      also well established is the way women have been turned into cannibal piranhas when it comes to tearing other women’s self image apart.  I find it hard to think anyone raised in western culture would have to ask if women are involved other than the self centered western male.

      and the interesting question it raises to most men is “If they are doing it as well as men can I lift this blame of patriarchal bull off my shoulders and put it on them”

      1. While you are at it you might want to look into what degree and field those women get hired into based on what percentage they occupy with that degree.  I know in my graduating electrical engineering class all of the women had job offers, while 75% or more of the men did not.

        -Did that mean they had better grades than their peers, no.
        -Did that mean they had a better understanding of the subjects than their peers, no.
        -It also doesn’t mean that a few of them were exceptionally bright and excelled at their studies, but it also means that all of them were not this way.

        But that’s just my experience, obviously your mileage will vary.

    2. Actually… as sad as it is… a lot of the truly despicable things that are done due to “cultural traditions” are done and upheld by women.

      Infantacide of girls… who do you think is doing the decision and deed? I have never seen any actual numbers or studies about who actually are doing what, but from the cases I have read about it seems to often be the matriarch of the family who makes the decision and it’s carried out by a female. Same for abandonement of girl children… the ones I’ve heard about, it’s not uncommon for it to be the grandmother, who may be doing it without the knowledge of the parents. Female circumcision? Traditionally done by women. Foot binding? Done by the mother (and I would guess grandmother, too). Heck… I remember my own grandmother, born in the late 1890’s, for whom girls were ok but boys were something truly special. It was her agrarian cultural traditions speaking, but yes… there was absolutely no doubt that she favored boys.

  7. “So they hate you. But fuck ‘em. Because you are a force of nature, a powerhouse of emotion and talent and stubbornness and potential.”

    This made me d’awww. 

    (And posted by a woman, too!)

  8. re: “And…posted by a man.” – That’s a logical fallacy. Just sayin’.

    As the father of one of the brightest 5 year olds you will ever meet, I find the tone so pessamistic and depressing (though yes, there is truth in it).  I will work hard to give my daughter hope and the tools she needs to succeed and deal with the assholes we all have to face (albeit in different ways).

    re: “There is nothing worse than being a girl.” I can think of many worse things. Especially here in the first world.

    1. It’s not a fallacy, when everyone is essentially arguing from their experience, to note what kind of experiences they actually have. As with other  cases of discrimination, men have to listen very deliberately to a lot of women to get any real perspective on misogyny.

    2. Yes, Antinous is quite fond of the genetic fallacy. Hopefully it’s a joke and he knows that though. I can never tell.

    3. ‘”There is nothing worse than being a girl.” I can think of many worse things. Especially here in the first world.’
      Yes, I agree!!!!! (And Antonius… this is posted as a woman and a mother to a daughter, and as a feminist… good enough for you?)

      This is not the attitude I want my daughter to _ever_ have… never, ever… EVER!!! I grew up a tom boy, I wanted to be a boy mostly because I wanted to be _me_ and I hated whatever the society wanted girls to be. But never EVER did I see it as something that was the worst thing to be. Never EVER did I think that society saw it as the worst thing to be. I say that even though my daughter’s fate in life was most probably caused by the gender she was born to (she was born in China… but that does still not mean that China hates girls!!!), but never EVER do I want her to feel that there is nothing worse than being born a girl… ESPECIALLY with her background. It’s hard to be proud of who you are if you think everybody hates you… so no, I do not see this text in any way as empowering.

      Yes, there are still lots and lots of misogyny in the world. There are lots and lots of places where a woman’s value is not much. But teaching girls that the world hates them, isn’t that what misogyny is? The world does not hate little girls. Some people do, and some cultural traditions do… fight them! And yes, be who you are, fuck anybody who says anything else (that is what I’m teaching my daughter… took me until teenage years to figure it out, and only then could I truly be proud of myself).

  9. Oh. And as a father, that’s the absolutely worst article I’ve ever read about raising an intelligent, empathetic & empowered woman. 

    1. Out of how many articles, precisely, on the subject of raising an intelligent, empathetic & empowered woman that you’ve read all the way through to the end?

      1. No, he only reads the ones in Zoo magazine, and even then only looks at the pictures. 

      2.  Books mostly.

        Teaching anyone that the world hates them only instills a reactionary, combative mindset. My daughter recently told me about how she made a difficult basketball shot in school that day but some boy didn’t believe her because he “doesn’t think girls are good at sports.” Her quote. She then laughed at how silly that was. She is surrounded by girlfriends with similar attitudes – they are aware of the negative attitudes of some boys, but they dismiss them as irrelevant and silly.

        Teaching girls that the world hates them only reinforces sexism because it centers the girl’s self worth in the negative emotions of another. Why give it more power by letting it define the conversation you have with yourself about who you are and what you want to do in the world. I fully acknowledge the existence of hate and ignorance but feel that the best way to combat it is by laughing at it.

    1. Teach your daughter to think for herself and she’ll be fine.

      Fine except for not being paid as much as a man doing the same job, having a greatly reduced chance of being promoted, having her reproductive system turned into a political football….

  10. That girl in the picture has spunk.

    Most men who act like children around strong women are either threatened by them (after all, your average woman has the power to utterly destroy a man’s ego) or frankly, are threatened by the world and take it out on a group that their little social circle feels is socially acceptable to denigrate. If it isn’t women, it’s the Jews (or Africans, Chinese, etc.).

    I agree with Mur though. Fuck ’em.

    1. Yeah, fuck ’em. But yes, this actually is a problem. And… not only among men, but women can also tear down anybody who seems to be sticking their head above the rest. For some reason strong women are seen as a threat in general, and when men would be seen as assertive women get labeled “bitches”. Think of all the female world leaders, how many of them do you (generic you) have stamped a label “bitch” on their forehead? “Asshole” is actually better, in my opinion… it is more of an empowering label where “bitch” is dismissive. Assholes you sometimes have to listen to, bitches you can ignore. 

    2.  And note that “has spunk” is a compliment, even if crude.  So is “has balls”.  But “is a pussy” is an insult.  Regardless of which gender you’re talking about.

      See the problem there?

      Gender prejudice is much more ingrained in our society than racial prejudice (which is certainly quite bad enough).  And it will take much more effort to unmake.

  11. Nice essay.  I found it interestingly similar to the recent column about The Talk that African-American parents have with their sons when they reach a certain age.

  12. Thanks for posting this. I had to wonder, if Caine’s lovely arcade had instead been built by a girl, if some boingboing commenters would have found a way to weasel word it somehow. The efforts of girls have been the targets of some weirdly skewed comments in the past (see that girl that sent her MIT acceptance letter into space, or that girl buying a foreclosed house etc. etc.)

    1.  many if not all negative responses to the girl buying the foreclosed house was just the hatred we have against capitalists, especially ones (most of them?) who point out how little they had to start with but then go on to tell you how many helping hands they had to help them ‘do it on their own’ (her mom’s a real estate agent)

      maybe some played gender politics on that post but I mostly saw the usual throwing bricks at the elite

      1. The article was essentially “Profiteer buys foreclosed home, rents to couple at the equivalent of a two-year lease”. It wouldn’t have gone over well no matter who the antagonist was.

        But, there was definitely some epic undercurrents of sexism there, too. A better example would be the NPR (original?) article. About half of the comments were focused on her gender, and about a quarter were deleted for some very choice and misogynistic descriptions of her.

        To be honest though, she could probably have donated the house to starving orphans and the comments wouldn’t have shifted much.

  13. Brings to mind a certain Mr Show sketch, I’ve linked the video to start at the moment when the sketch begins.

    EDIT: But apparently it does not work in the popup.

      1.  unfortunately the nay sayers will only respond positively if what you  show them is:

        a) from their town
        b) from 2 seconds ago
        c) extremely egregious (else a man sez walk it off)
        d) covered in unicorn poop and hand delivered by a yeti

        1. Sorry, but the time frame *is* important, when discussing current reality. 

          And it’s pointless to drag up 40 year old news for *current* problems, when there are enough current problems to address.

          After all, women are still not allowed to compete with men in most sports, for example and are still subjected to their own girl leagues. 

          1. The story is obviously ancient.  What was interesting to me about that story is that the race official charged into the middle of the road and tried to physically drag her off.  And the fact that he did so despite the fact that there was no rule against women competing.  I wonder if he’s become a motivational speaker for security companies;  they seem to enjoy making up rules on the spot.

          2. Is that true? I know there was a woman who played for an NBA team. I was under the impression that women can play if they can meet the standard, i.e. that there are “leagues” and “women’s leagues” but not men’s leagues except de facto. I can only interpret this as that being female is a handicap in the sports sense, like being a lower weight in boxing. But perhaps it varies among sports?

  14. Being from the South helps in being a small-minded misogynist but they are not exclusive to the South (NC is an offender). Misogyny is a part of life as a woman. There’s no point pretending it doesn’t exist. However, this letter is what every girl should hear, and be told by her Dad … Thanks.

    1. The attention paid to pulp novel cover illustrations from the 40’s and ’50’s portraying buffed white males and pin-up, half naked Hollywood starlet types being attacked by indigenous peoples lends much credence to what you’re saying.

  15. > You should know that you are hated.

    And loved too!  But please don’t let that diminish the points made by the article.

    Posted by a man who thinks our world could do much better for its children.

  16. As a hiring manager (and, yes, this is posted by a man), it always bothered me how few people with fallopian tubes even applied for jobs in network engineering. We weren’t looking for people with degrees in the field, or even experience, just people who could learn the job. Those who did apply were all hired, and several have become prominent in the field. Even so, it was always a struggle to get their salaries up to match their coworkers, and I often had to pull out spreadsheets and point out the inequality to management when annual raises were doled out. I’m back in engineering instead of management now, and I note that all of my colleagues have XY chromosomes. I don’t know for sure, but I expect it’s crap like the article mentions that keeps them from being interested in such a career path, let alone applying. I don’t think a single women even applied for our last open position.

    1. I’m in IT and my last two (including my current) managers have been woman.  Indian woman to be precise.

      Most of the woman I talk to about software engineering (even who work in the company) wrinkle their noses at it.  They just don’t like it.  They’ll do QA, documentation, customer support, etc but not engineering.  I doubt it is because they read some article.

    2. No, I don’t see it as being due to “crap like the article mentions”. Yes, there is misogyny in the IT world, you really have to prove you are “as good as the guys”, and you are still often seen like a bit… less. But… there are not enough women interested in IT to start out with. Most seem to go to the same ‘ol same ‘ol careers (and low paying, most often), and don’t even consider a career within IT.

      I honestly don’t know what to do about it. More mentoring? Going out to schools and telling about your career. But… honestly… I do not think that would really change much of anything. If I have understood correctly, in places like China and India there is a much more balanced gender ratio among IT engineers. I guess the image here in the West of programmers is waaaaaaay too stereotypical of white nerd boys living in their mom’s basement, and that really needs to change to include (geek or non-geek) women and other skin colors, too!

      But yeah… the geekier the less women. Working as an IT consultant I had quite a lot of women programmers around me. Working in the game industry, I’m the only woman working as a programmer (I’ve only been in small companies so far, I hope the next one that is much bigger is going to have lots more women working as programmers!).

  17. I donno. Phrases like “you throw like a girl!” have never bothered me, specifically because they refer to a stereotype, not necessarily a belief that person actually holds (I suspect most people who’ve used that phrase don’t, in fact, consider women inferior or any such thing).  I think there’s a gap between these phrases that people use and what they actually mean. Whether or not that makes it OK to use the phrases to begin with is another issue (one on which I can see both sides, but don’t care myself).

    While I’m inclined to suggest Ms. Lafferty’s essay overstates the case, that it’s really not THAT bad, there’s a very popular forum/news site I frequent where any thread relating to woman inevitably devolves into her relative hittability/non-hittability/uglyness/oldness etc. So yeah. I know, internet trolls and all, but most of this stuff is what people are actually thinking, even if they might not say so in public.

    (posted by a woman :P Who’s never felt particularly objectified/put down, personally)

    1. If you brief people that spatial skills are related to piloting or to flower arranging, you can affect whether men or women score higher on the same spatial puzzles. Whether you say a game is a test of athletics or sport strategy can influence how black and white people perform.

      So I’m sure people do refer to the stereotype, rather than meaning to declare women as inferior. But a big part of the concern is that stereotypes help steer us on a level that’s hard to recognize.

    2.  Stereotypes are demeaning, period.  Why would an intelligent, sensitive person refer to a stereotype if they didn’t believe in them? Words have meaning. There is no room for “gaps” between words and their real meaning.

      Your second paragraph makes no sense. You contradict yourself.

      I find it hard to believe you’re a woman.

        1. I always consider people using gendered names on the Internet to be that gender. Antinous is such a name. I mean, I know it’s often not true, but it’s a reflex that’s hard to get around.
          Just like IRL people assume that someone called “James” is male- this James may well prefer “they” as a pronoun (though I’ve never met someone with an obviously gendered name who prefers the other binary gender’s pronoun)

      1.  I guess I can’t make you believe it if you don’t want to. :P (I’m not about to post a pic of myself to make a point, heh :).

        My statements seemed contradictory, but they were really addressing two different subjects that both fall under the same umbrella topic. The first, that people throw out these stereotypes in casual conversation with no malice or real meaning behind them, and that (I feel) they are trivial and meaning nothing.

        The second point I addressed is women tend to be treated very, very poorly at least in online commentary. I’m not one to jump on the, as some might put it, ‘persecuted minority bandwagon,’ but this is something I have witnessed for myself. 

        I suppose in the end I just have mixed feelings on the subject, but I don’t spend much time worrying about it, I just ignore the internet jerks and live my life. :)

    3. “posted by a woman :P Who’s never felt particularly objectified/put down, personally”
      Sorry, but it’s a completely different kettle of fish if you are what’s considered “hot”. I have been harrassed, stalked, followed since the age of fourteen. Entitled guys think they have a right to you because they find you attractive, and turn on you as soon as you dare to not open your legs for them, or have the nerve to not bat your eyelashes and be totally seduced & complimented by someone yelling loudly how hot you are to the whole street/club 
      I know this sounds awful & I’m probably going to get flak for it, but women who aren’t conventionally hot usually don’t see how badly society treats females, because they’re generally not a target for objectification and judgment. 

      1.  Well thank goodness I’m not attractive, then. What a relief! All that time being beaten by the ugly stick has done me good!

        1. Dude, I’m actually ugly – I’m just *considered* attractive by mainstream society because I’m blonde & thin with big boobs and basic good bone structure. 
          I see girls who are actually beautiful being called ugly just because they’re not white, not thin, etc. :/ Sometimes I reckon society would be better if we were all just nondescript grey blobs, like amoebas. We could just have name tags to tell each other apart. 

      2. I was not considered conventionally pretty/hot but got the same mess hurled at me. If I showed no signs of wanting to be harassed or being flattered by crass comments I was harassed. The harassing implied I was seen as a defective female, not following what they thought I should be.
        It’s bad not matter which side of “hot” you are on.

        1. Actually, this is true and I’m sorry for coming off as ignorant in my above post. (OMG SOMEONE IS ADMITTING THEY’RE WRONG ON THE INTERNET!!11!) I went through a goth phase and was called “ugly” and “freak” mainly by jocks on passing vehicles, but I put it down to being goth, not female…sometimes seems like a gal can’t win either way, huh?

          I’m sorry you had to go through that, messed up as it sounds, you’re probably a better and more sensitive & insightful person for it. 

  18. Wow, there is so much denial of male privilege here.  I can’t say that I’m surprised: most people are unaware of their privilege as well as their own oppression. But can one truthfully deny that characteristics labelled as “feminine” are not given as much power, privilege and prestige as the “masculine”characteristics in i.e. North American society.  

      Men: go outside in a dress. Wear heels.  Put on some lipstick, if you want.  See what happens.  People will laugh, taunt, ignore, try hard not to laugh.  Why is that?  Because you don’t “pass” as a cis-woman?  Because you’re an ugly woman?  And ugly women are jokes? I don’t know.  But try it, and come back and write, “women r equal, stfu and get back into the kitchen lol”  Women: go out in pants, a t-shirt, sneakers.  See what happens.  You’ll still get catcalled anyway.  You’ll still turn around to look at that shifty-lookin dude who’s just following a little too closely as you walk back to your apartment late at night.  Have strange men in cars follow you slowly and ask how much you are, or if you wanted to go out, get a drink or something.  And you’re still just you’re wearing pants, t-shirt and sneakers.

    I was thinking about last month, when I was at a comedy club, and the comedians  (mostly straight, white, male) made rape jokes: about women, about prison, about gay men.  And I thought, well, most of these guys have never been raped, will never worry about being raped.  Unless they were in prison. Now,  women offenders don’t tend to worry about that: chances are, most of them have already been sexually assaulted, many of them by family members, partners, husbands.  Hell, most of my girlfriends have.  Including myself:  and before you pass judgment, I was wearing, I don’t know, a batman t-shirt and boxers.  And he was my long-term boyfriend.  And he said he loved me.  But he did it, because he was taught that he had a right to my body: that HIS needs, HIS words were more important than mine.  (plus he was kinda bigger than me?) Men are taught that they have this right to control or monitor the females in their lives: through their parents, their peers, mass media, etc.   

    (Posted by a cis-woman.  This post doesn’t care how many dicks feel like they’ve shriveled up.  In fact, I think this post encourages dicks (silicone or attached) to stand up “tall and tough”, and call out on other dicks acting like bad dicks, because men can help stop rape and violence against women and girls (and boys and men who are accused of not being real men and boys).  But only if they “have the balls” to do so)

    1. Thanks for posting this.  The problem isn’t (just) how we teach our daughters; it’s how we teach our sons.

  19. These days the comments on Boing Boing resemble a more articulate version of YouTube, especially when topics of misogyny come up.

    Next time  you go out of your way to tell someone their problem doesn’t exist, keeping your mouth shut is about the only way to prevent your foot from getting wedged in there.

    1. Or indeed, someone else’s foot wedged in there – which they would get if they spouted that kind of shit to me in reality. Not that they’d ever be MAN ENOUGH to, anyway, heh. :p 

  20. Bottom line of this article: The US and most other countries are androcentric. Google it. It basically means masculine behaviors and traits are valued and feminine behaviors are devalued. In these societies, being a female makes you worth less than a man, inherently, because you are a female. Even if girls adopt masculine behaviors and traits, they are not valued as highly as the same behaviors and traits in a man because a woman is adopting them. And if men adopt feminine traits, they are generally shamed for it, and devalued in society’s eye. For a very basic example, it is socially acceptable for a girl to wear pants but not acceptable for a boy to wear a dress. As a backlash from feminism and women doing many things that were previously unacceptable (becoming Prime Minister, being married and/or working mothers, having casual sex, having previously masculine careers such as professors and lawyers) sociologists have noted a greater emphasis on performing girl/boy gender dimorphism, as well as nostalgia for the “good old days” when men were men and women knew their place. Just check out Sociological Images for countless examples of how gendering clothing and products has changed over time. The status quo was comfortable for many people for many years, and now that women are daring to challenge it, the main stance for those who are uncomfortable with shifting their world view is that of denial. Those who dare to point out the problems still inherent in our still very male-valuing, female-devaluing society are dismissed as making a mountain out of a molehill, as being the troublemakers, and are told to quiet down and leave well enough alone. Worse are the people (especially seeming gender-traitorous women) who espouse the fallacious belief that women have gained equality, women have it great, and to ask for more is just greedy. This same ill-informed worldview is being voiced in the comments again and again, and Antonious’ notations that the people making these comments are men are worthy. If you are not black, you hardly ever HAVE to think about what the world looks like from a person who is black’s perspective. See the previous BB article about the need for diversity in D&D to see similar comments in that thread. Even Rob Beschizza hopped on the “It’s no big deal that everyone is white/abled!” train. I was very disappointed by that, to say the least. Many people think they know how the world works until they have the desire and opportunity to look at it through the worldview of someone who is different. Or to put it simply: stop being ignorant sexist dicks. -A girl.

    1. This assume that there are masculine behaviors and traits  and feminine behaviours and traits.

      It is my understanding that this article challenges this assumption.

      1.  No, this article is about how women are still not considered equal to men DESPITE shared behaviors and traits.

  21. The best part about the “less than a man” paradigm is that regardless of sex, it’s used to keep you on a tightrope your whole life about whether or not you deserve respect or abuse.

    I’m autistic (and not the most macho of fellows) and my childhood was one long parade of braying laughter at my inability to catch a ball, pick up the subtext of mocking routines, stand up to beatings or stop being interested in intellectual pursuits.

    I was bullied by boys and girls, both because they seemed to find something about my poncy erudition and lack of major co-ordination worth deriding and because I refused to punch and kick them back, but I wouldn’t dream of comparing my own social difficulties with the level of continual harassment and denigration that women seem to suffer.

    The lesson I take from my own experience as someone “less than a man” is that if a tallish hetero guy who, at least physically, ostensibly belongs to the men’s club can  get that amount of abuse for failing to act like a boorish thug, then I can’t really imagine how bad it must be for women, who lack the capacity to even pretend they’re manly men for the necessary few seconds in any random interaction. That must be very wearying. Stresses the hell out of me just faking, and I’m a guy.

    My own personal request to parents is to not raise your sons as oppressive jock apes. All the malaise amongst the lower social echelons seems to be the equivalent of the petty scuffles of prisoners fighting over what’s left. It’s time to overthrow the enforcers.

    1. I do think the ultimate problem is that we are put into tightly defined gender roles, that don’t really reflect reality. A boy who isn’t behaving like a “boy”… not good. A girl who isn’t behaving like a girl… not good. We got constant complaints from daycare about our girl who was acting… like a “boy”… why? Why was that wrong? No, they weren’t saying that she was acting like a “boy”, but they were clearly distressed about… something.

      Women don’t need to act like men, but, like you described your own exerience, both genders have it easier if they can fit into whatever stereotype people have of your gender. When you are standing more or less outside that stereotype people seem to get uncomfortable, don’t know what to do… which easily turns into taunting and abuse. So no, women don’t have to behave like a man… preferably quite the opposite. BUT if you want to be taken seriously AND you work in a men dominated field it does help if you can be “one of the guys” (I would guess this is true also if one wants to climb the corporate ladder).

  22. I remember hitting my teens, and being shocked. Suddenly, I was regarded as physically weaker, when only a year or so before I was regarded on par with the boys. Suddenly, if I dressed in shorts, I got cat called, and followed by men old enough to be my father. 

  23. There’s a very simple but true rule concerning simplistic descriptions of our society:
    They’re wrong.

    Society is complex. There are myriads of opinions, behaviours and qualities making up the whole shebang, and the patterns we see are by necessity abstractions, influenced by what we expect to see.

    One pattern is that women are expected to be physically weaker than men. Statistically, this is true. Claiming that someone throws like a girl is an insult, sure, but it doesn’t imply that girls are hated, just that they are expected to be physically weak.

    Before our troll moderator points out that I have a dick and therefore can’t think, lets look at some conflicting anecdotal evidence, namely a description about boys and girls in the Swedish equivalence of high scool, given by a girl I know very well:
    “If you’re a boy you have to be cool to be somebody. If you’re a twerp boy, you’re nothing and have no value. If you’re a twerp girl, at least you’re a girl, and there’s a value in that.”

    Now if one were so inclined, I’m sure there are several ways to make this story fit nicely into the “society hates girls” model. That’s the problem with models like this. All behaviour can be interpreted as evidence supporting the model, given the right goggles. And that’s why I’m very sceptical about them.

    Instead of the “society hates girls” model I’d like to propose something like this:
    Societies in general have different expectations and make different demands of girls and boys, some depending on and exaggerating statistical differences and other based on traditions. Depending on our shifting values, these expectations and demands can sometimes work in favour of girls, sometimes in favour of boys, and sometimes there simply is no way of determining which.

    Personally I’m more inclined to claim that “society hates people”. The real issue is to get rid of expectations and demands that limit us as human beings, no matter what our gender is. To make society equally bad for boys and girls is a petty goal in comparison.

    1. “Before our troll moderator points out that I have a dick and therefore can’t think”
      No, he’s not saying that you can’t have an opinion just because you have a dick, he’s saying that it’s foolish to pass judgment and measure other people’s experiences when you’ve never been in their skin, and lived life as they’ve lived it. 

      Just as I’m aware hetero men face issues of not being violent or macho enough and not being allowed to show emotion, but I don’t tell them how they should feel about it or that it isn’t a big deal, because I’m not a man, I don’t know what it is to walk in those shoes. 

      1.  Here’s some news for you: Nobody have ever been in anyone else’s skin. We have only ever lived our own life, and the experiences of other people are forever unavailable to us, except as reported by them and understood second hand by us. No one can speak for anyone else on this matter.

        This debate is about society hating girls, not about subjective experiences by various individuals. As a member of society, I think I’m entitled to an opinion on that.

        1. “Here’s some news for you: Nobody have ever been in anyone else’s skin.”
          I could post the “you don’t say” meme-face here but I can’t be bothered.

          It just means you should THINK before telling me how big or small my problems are, ok? Kthks. 

          1.  No, it means that you’re not entitled to speak for other women either, when it’s subjective feelings we’re talking about. And I haven’t said anything about whether you have big or small problems, have I?

  24. I don’t get the need for establishing equivalency between genders and sexism that is rampant in this thread.  Clearly women have been treated as a second class for centuries and have born the brunt of sexism and gender oppression.  To deny this or excuse it away with false equivalencies of systemic oppression of the male gender is quite sad.

    Of course, one could take issue with the wisdom of a parent telling their child that society hates them for who they are, but that doesn’t have to be a gender argument.  It could just be an argument about being a good parent.

    And…posted by a man.

  25. The truth that will set us free is that we are all *people* first, everything else is secondary; but mass insecurity, suspicion, greed and ignorance (which some try to glorify by collectively calling them “the survival instinct”) keep preventing that truth from surfacing and refocusing our way of life.

    The force of jungle law is still strong in our species. I’m reminded of the monkey sitting on a massive pile of rotting bananas, defending them to the death from all the other starving monkeys. Sexism, racism, ageism, any bigotry of any kind, it’s all just such a power trip. We have a choice; do we want to be the last monkey standing, or would we prefer the company of our kind? How can we call ourselves civilised if we choose the former?

    Outdated traditions still have more influence on us than is logical, or good. It’s hard to shake off these customs; people cling to the familiar like a security blanket without realising just how suffocating it has become.

  26. Oh bless all you BB male commenters telling me how it actually is to be a woman, and that everything is just peachy-keen if you’re a girl and that we should just shut up and cheer ourselves up with some vanilla cupcakes! What would we weak and feeble girls do without you?

    Here’s a nice big word for you: PRIVILEGE. And what it means is that you STFU and listen instead of telling women, GLBT folk or racial minorities how not oppressed they are, and what they should and shouldn’t be hurt by. 

    1.  Not only men are excluded from this debate, women not sharing the same world view are also mistrusted and written off as brainwashed by the patriarchy. My female friend commenting on high school and gender also once said:
      “I’ve only ever felt oppressed by feminists telling me I’m an idiot for liking make-up and being pretty, not by men.” She’s not worth taking seriously either, I suppose? That’s rather convenient, isn’t it? Why rely on arguments, when you can just exclude all possible opponents from the debate, until only yea-sayers remain?

      1.  Debate?  What debate?  This is exactly what bumpngrindcore is talking about.  This isn’t a time to debate, but a time to listen.  This only became a debate when the first few guys started spouting off about how it isn’t that bad to be a girl and boo hoo, what about how difficult it is to be a boy?  Redirecting the discussion to focus on male issues is a perfect demonstration of male privilege.

        The real discussion should be centered around how to raise a young girl in a male-dominated society, which was the focus of the post.  I would propose that the Mur’s approach is not the best one, or even very good one, but instead I find myself trying to figure out how anyone could honestly think that society isn’t heavily male-dominated. 

        The fact that this “debate” is even occurring is…well…it should be surprising, but it’s pretty much status quo around here whenever gender/sexuality/race is introduced.

        1. As much as you wish that men (and women who disagree with you) would shut up and accept your point of view without question, discussion is had when two or more people wish to do so not when you say.

           I don’t see discussion of the difficulties that all children face (regardless of gender) as a ‘redirection’ or a ‘demonstration of male privilege’.  I see it as identifying common suffering across the gender spectrum and an important reminder that hate doesn’t just flow in one direction.

      2. Well, that’s pretty strange, because as someone who is deemed attractive and indeed, makes quite a considerable amount of money out of being pretty I’ve never had that issue with feminism. 
        And anyway, as a sex-positive feminist who likes cock, porn and shaves her pussy I’m sure there’s Andrea Dworkin types who disagree greatly with my viewpoints, so how about you don’t paint a movement with the same brush please?  But back to the subject, you missed the whole point of my post…it’s not MEANT to be a debate, what I was saying is that you should listen instead of assuming everything is a debate, and LEARN from what is said.  Just as I don’t say to people of colour that they shouldn’t make a big deal about stereotypes in videogames because it’s just a game, instead I listen to what they think and take it into account. 

        1. You misread my post. It was about a girl feeling hated and oppressed by (some) women but never by men. And the point is that people’s experiences differ. Some people paint their various pictures of an oppressive patriarchal society, while others say that it isn’t so. I understand that you’d prefer me to just shut up and accept what you and people with similar thought say as truth, but I prefer to listen to all kinds of opinions and make up my own mind based on all available evidence. Also, I very mush like to share my views. I still think that:

          “Societies in general have different expectations and make different demands of girls and boys, some depending on and exaggerating statistical differences and other based on traditions. Depending on our shifting values, these expectations and demands can sometimes work in favour of girls, sometimes in favour of boys, and sometimes there simply is no way of determining which.”

          is a much better description of our society than:

          “Society hates girls.”

    2. So any man’s comment about women is automatically disregarded on the basis that it is made by a man, but women are allowed to tell men how privileged they are. Do you not see how someone might find that a wee bit hypocritical?

      1. No, if you look at a comment I made further up, I acknowledge that the patriarchy enforces ridiculous standards on men, too – I just don’t go around accusing men who rail against those standards that their problems are just trivial, because I’m not a dude, I can’t make that judgement. 

  27. This sort of behaviour is certainly not restricted to the American South. In the UK it is reported amongst all classes and is well entenched by the time both female and male children have reached their teens and has been given new respectability through gang ‘culture’. Men’s fear would seem to be sexual inadequacy (the failure to perform), for which women must suffer. Firstly by being forbidden to define themselves except in relation to men and if that fails through violence. A problem which most men unconsciously inflict on their sons. (I just told my father ‘Fuck off’ – it offended his manhood. Oh well. It can be done.) Because there is intense pressure on girls to conform to men’s inadequacy if they want to be popular it would seem that much data is skewed.

  28. “I also think of someone who suffers confusion when kids make fun of her for liking “boy things” at school, but hearing that “girl things” are bad.”

    I am reposting this in a comment because it’s the most important sentence in that letter. 

    For the longest time, ever since I can remember. I wanted to be a boy, because doing things as a boy made more sense than doing the same things as a girl. I hated girls. I hated everything they represented. I hated that people used the word to define me. I hated realising that I liked some ‘girly’ things more than I liked ‘boyish’ things.

    And then I came to my senses, after many long years of angst, and found that I didn’t hate girls- that hating a gender was utterly ridiculous. What I hated was society’s expectation of what girls should be like, society’s completely schizophrenic criticism of ‘girlish’ behaviour and simultaneous insistence that girls MUST partake in it in order to be true to their gender. 

    Because according to society… yes, the average, Western, civilised, progressive society…

    I am expected to go to extreme lengths in order to better my appearance (extreme when compared to what is required of men), but will then be criticised for caring only about my appearance.  I am expected to be gentle and avoid difficult physical tasks, but will then be looked down on as a weaker creature who is in constant need of assistance. I am expected to devote my life to childbearing and nurturing, but will then be told that my work is not as important as that of the man who raises money for myself and that child.

    And if I try to do the opposite of any of these things, the lashback is even worse.


    Well, I don’t hate it now, because, guess what, it doesn’t matter. I’m female. That tells you absolutely nothing about me. Stop assuming. Dear world, all of you, men and women both, STOP ASSUMING. And stop teaching your children that gender has any kind of say in what they can like, do, achieve, wear, care for, and attempt.

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