Archive for the ‘feminism’ Category

Corrosive Love, Disfiguring Revenge

August 18, 2008

In some cultures, like in Pakistan, some boys whose proposals for marriage are rejected take revenge by throwing acid to their object of love. In some cases, the reason for the acid throwing is simple as a parent who doesn’t want a girl-child. It’s mind-bending to realize that this tragic incidents still occur in the 21st century.

The resultant irreversible chemical burn and its hypopigmented scars are as disfiguring as one sees the face of Najaf Sultana, 16, who went through 15 plastic surgeries since she was 5 years old to lessen cicatrization. It is with the help of a humanitarian group called Depilex Smileagain Foundation in Lahore. The group lists 240 girls like Najaf who are provided rehabilitative emotional and physical assistance to overcome such inhumane treatment of women. (PCredit:AP/Morenatti,E)=0=

"In the age of string theory, singularity, and parallel universes, something racist is in a black hole."

July 14, 2008

Political correctness (PC) is straining our ability to express ourselves. It’s confounding our proper use of language, the right way of thinking and looking at things. In our effort to avoid hurting the feelings of our neighbors, we’ve become too careful, sometimes hypocritical in the way we present ourselves.

Until some race-sensitive people who are opposed to being reminded of the label “nigger” (a vestigial remnant of the harrowing days of slavery,) the word “niggard” to denote frugality has fallen out of favor. The words are avoided like the bubonic plague to minimize an affront against the black people.

On the other hand, the term “crippled” is benign. It simply describes a person with restricted mobility until we attach emotional and political meaning on the condition. We decide it should be replaced by softer-kinder terms like “handicapped” or “disabled” to wipe away any discriminatory negative connotations. It’s preferred to call the handicapped “physically challenged” which gives some degree of escape from the derogatory label even if it obscures the true legal meaning of the disability when claims are filed for benefits and entitlements.

The street sign “men at work” has received complaints from feminists who insist that it be changed by gender-neutral words like “people at work.” They say the gender specificity of “men at work” has marginalized women who labor building roads, thus discouraging others to get into jobs dominated by men.

Even science isn’t immune to the demands of political correctness. Color-sensitive individuals suggest “black hole,” which refers to the mysterious dark matter in the vast expanse of space (see photo of NASA) isn’t a good word for mainstream cosmology. In this age of string theory, singularity, and parallel universes, there are those who don’t approve of a “black hole” the way they dislike naming a cake “black forest” especially if it’s beside a white confection called “angel cake.”

Dinesh D’ Souza, a former Pres. Ronald Reagan policy adviser in the White House and author of the 1991 NY Times bestseller book on PC entitled Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex in Campus has this say:

“The term “political correctness” seems to have originated in the early part of this century, when it was employed by various species of Marxists to describe and enforce conformity to preferred ideological positions. Books, films, opinions, even historical events were termed politically correct or politically incorrect depending on whether or not they advanced a particular Marxist interpretation. The revolutionary ideologues of that period were serious people, and there is no indication that they spoke of political correctness with any trace of irony or self-deprecation.”

Eventually the term dropped out of the lexicon, only to be revived in the 1980s, when it came to apply to the assorted ideologies of the late 1960s and early 1970s: black consciousness and black power, feminism, homosexual rights, and, to a lesser degree, pacifism, environmentalism, and so on. The new Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines political correctness as “marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving especially race, gender, sexual affinity or ecology.”

So we’re hooked with political correctness and we invent euphemisms and jargons to make many submit to some conformity of thought and interpretation. We find it hard to eliminate the negativities, apprehension, and paranoia when we find ourselves diametrically opposed to someone else’s point of view. We struggle to see the truth clearly. Therefore, we’ve become tangential, restrictive, and sometimes derisive, in using terms like “guest relations officers” to refer to prostitutes, “erectile dysfunction” for impotence, “senior citizens” for old people, “different” for gays, “mentally disturbed” for crazies, “laid off” for those who lose jobs, and “vertically challenged” for persons with short stature.

Advocates of PC believe prejorative labels lead to stereotyping which limits the dignity, rights, and freedoms of people. But our prickly obsession to be politically correct seems overriding to define a derangement akin to a chronic allergy. That’s why the list of politically correct words gets more complicated each day.

Though political correctness promotes a change that must redress unfairness on matters of race, class, social stature, gender, age, religion, scientific belief, political affiliation or sexual preference, too much PC is starting to cloud our senses. No wonder there are those who believe hypocrisy and political correctness should be interchangeable terms. =0=

In A Male-Bashing Culture, The "idiots" And "numskulls" Are Still Worth Saving

June 23, 2008

In New York Post, on June 8, 2008, an article by Christine B. Whelan, a University of Iowa sociology assistant professor caught my attention. She wrote about the weakening of the male’s traditional role in American society, partly as an offshoot of the female liberation movement. Whelan touched on Kathleen Parker’s book: “Save the males: why men matter, why women should care.”

Two weeks later, I saw Parker talked about her witty insights in O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Her social critique on the American male-bashing culture which deludes us into thinking that men are dull and short-witted was convincing. She said society’s put down on the male gender which has influenced our media and school, is part of the feminism’s collateral damage. This leads us to undervalue the role of fathers and mislead us to believe they’re unnecessary.

Far beyond the days when oppressed mothers fought hard to gain their right to vote, the feminist movement seeks to redefine the role of women in terms of gender equality. It covers issues like employment, reproductive rights, abortion, domestic violence, discrimination, same-sex marriage, divorce, maternity leave, and sexual harassment.

Though majority of the feminist movement’s agenda has led to the betterment of society, there are unintended adverse consequences. The goal of equality in some places has been exceeded, and men find themselves gradually waylaid in the curb, feeling less equal and less appreciated than before.

In America, feminism has resulted to some marginalization of the male. The normal rambunctious boys who have been stereotyped as loud and unfocused are taught to assume girlish roles which efface and deride the differences of the sexes.

With women’s success in the workplace, men’s role has been trivialized. The belief that the “father knows best,” is becoming a thing of the past. Seeing the male role as dispensable, women enter into same-sex marriages; they conceive children using sperm donors and raise families as single parents. These make men appear less important.

In the Philippines, the same male-bashing culture exists. We have a clever woman president in the person of Gloria M. Arroyo. We have a sluggish senate and ineffectual congress dominated by men whom Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago disparagingly calls “idiots and numskulls.”

Like Santiago, more of our women with higher education compete for positions high in the job ladder. Asserting their independence, Filipino women have bolted out of the house in huge numbers to seek jobs locally and abroad, leaving their husbands at home to care for the children.

How many times do we see Filipinas become the family breadwinners, their husbands assuming the roles of house-fathers? What could be the consequence of men not taking their responsibility at heart—acting like perpetual “little boys” who refuse to grow? When did we notice the emasculation of men in doing kitchen-work and laundry while our women read, think, and assume complex decision-making tasks? In rising numbers, why are the men, content to act as drivers, errand boys, and companions, ready to follow the female “commander” of the house?

Parker doesn’t only blame feminism for this attitudinal change and “role reversal.” She thinks there are adult males out there who remain immature, preferring to hang around with friends, refusing to work. Averse to take responsibility, these men indulge in idle talk, do leisurely text messaging, play cards, videos, or watch TV.

Yet Parker cautions this should not be. For without the strong male figure, the traditional provider and society’s pillar, our families are bound to suffer. There is a chasm in not having fathers in the household. That’s why she (as most of us do) believes men, the bulwark of the nation, are certainly worth saving. =0=