Feminism Catch-All (with FAQ)

This is hopefully another resource.

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress....

CannibalCrowley wrote:

If the goal of feminism is equality, then why do so many women fight against making male and female standards the same?

Some women have been conditioned by their culture to be treated differently. Also, just because they're women doesn't necessarily mean they care, know, or fight for feminist ideals. They might just be female and fighting for something.

bombsfall wrote:

I think among all of the horrid stuff I ended up watching/reading in research for this, I was most offended by that.
INTENSE, FANATICAL MISOGYNY IS FINE, BUT MY GOD... THERE IS A LINE, PEOPLE.

Well, it kinda was a good movie, really...

Jolly Bill wrote:

Aside from treating women as individuals of value and trying not to oggle people in public, what more can I do as a man to reduce the cultural influence of objectification / 'it's ok to look at an attractive girl's figure' in my life?

My belief is that you're already part of the solution from the moment you start being aware of the problem and willing to help out. It's not just big things but small things, like language (with the perfect examples provided by KatherinLHC in another thread).

About the physical tests, I mostly agree with what CheezePavillion said. Men and women are built differently, they don't have the same bone and muscle structures, having the same physical tests doesn't make sense. Some people argue that it would be dangerous, for example, to have a woman firefighter who couldn't break down a door if necessary. This is where DanB's posts is spot on: physical tests need to be tailored to the work you'll be doing, to be appropriate and relevant to the job you're applying for.

LarryC's comment reminds me of my own experience. When I started med school, there were no such restrictions. You just had a bunch of tests, you studied for them, and the top 120 of the class (1300 applicants) got to move on to second year. 55% were girls, 45% were boys (I can't seem to use "women"/"men" when you're 17-19 years old). Girls scored higher then boys, and this was a consistent statistics, over the course of 4 or 5 years (think it's still true now, but haven't checked). This in turn leads to pretty hugs problems in the French medical profession. The bulk of its practitioners are aging, closer to 70 than 30, and a good chunk of the young, female doctors opt for different work patterns, picking part time rather than full time, in order to look after home and hearth. Education is largely government funded here, so some of the higher ups have starting asking questions: should we bother spending so much on this long process to churn out doctors if they're going to stay at home or work part time? Should there be some sort of affirmative action, an extra hand in the selection process for med school?
I consider myself a feminist, but I can't deny the validity of these questions. The state is spending money to train professionals only to have them partially contribute to the workforce. Is increasing the cost of education an answer? (and clearly, it's not, if you know anything about the French system, you'd have riots in the streets) How about increasing the number and capacity of daycares, and offering tangible solutions for working mothers?...
Anyhow, I'm going on a tangent here, sorry about that, but I just wanted to offer my own experience as a foil for LarryC's post.

Edit: wow, great link, Edwin!! I'm sure Hyp will find it incredibly useful!!!

How about just having working mothers be the same as working fathers? The only difference is that working mothers need to carry to term and give birth. This is not an onerous task. Many of my colleagues work right up until they give birth and then go right back to work within the week, even when they underwent CS. There is 0 reason why this is not doable. All the looking after the kid can be done by either parent. Why not the father? If the mother is earning a lucrative living as a surgeon, she can keep right on working. I've seen it happen all the time. It works just fine. The kids are fine.

The problem here is of perception and it's twofold:

1. That house management and raising children is not work and is a waste of time. It is valuable work. It is not a waste of time. We value it quite highly. I do not consider it a waste for a doctor to choose to look after his or her children anymore than you would consider a janitor choosing to work as an engineer instead as a waste. All professions are useful in their own way; and keeping a family together and being the primary educator for the next generation is the most important profession for any society.

2. The second one is that women must be home managers and family leaders, while not having any authority whatsoever. It boggles my mind how this makes sense. If the woman is a doctor, let her practice her profession. If she is to be a home manager, then give her the power to be an effective one. Why would a woman doctor require daycare, but not a man doctor? Doesn't she have a husband who'll look after their home and kids?

When I was studying medicine, fully 90% of the OBGYN and Pedia departments were composed of women, and they dominated the hierarchy from top to bottom. Nearly all of them were full time professionals. There was no manpower shortage. All the OBGYNs in the two hospitals I work in now are women. They work full time, with full hours, whether they are moms or not; dads or not.

I've been sitting here at my keyboard, mulling it all over. The system in place, medical school, work, and above all, my role as a mother. While I mostly agree with you, LarryC, there is one thing that bugs me, it's the "going back to work one week after birth" thing. Some women can do it, and kudos to them, but I could not have done it. I "only" had a six week maternity leave (in a country which offers up to 10 weeks paid maternity leave, so long as you're salaried), and even then, it was incredibly hard. It's just not the same for a mother and for a father, that much is glaringly obvious. And I know I'm kinda contradicting myself, or not being consistent, but this is something I just can't shake.
Your other points, however, are completely valid. House management and child rearing are completely valid activities, and can be performed by both parents. My own husband took care of our son for a month after I went back to work.
I think the most important thing is that women should be given a choice between the two, both should be completely valid options. And that's where the problem is, really, the options aren't always there.
It's also my belief that this will vary from country to country, state to state, region to region. The daycare situation isn't too bad in France, but it's downright awful in Germany, for example.
Finally, you also need to fix the gap between salaries. In France (sticking to that example, since that's what I'm currently working on), men earn ~25% more than their female counterparts. How does that not come into the equation? If you can't afford daycare, and one of you has to stay at home to take care of the kid(s), the choice will often be ruled by that difference.

I'm aware that my post focuses exclusively on "traditional" families, completely ignoring families with same sex parents, because, well, that's simply the experience, the family model I'm in. I'm willing to bet that that would bring in similar and different problems though, particularly in the case of a family with two female parents, but recognize that I'm perhaps not the best person to speak of them.
And let's not forget single parents (and to be relevant to this thread, single mothers). Honestly, I just don't know how they get by, I really don't. I'd go cuckoo without my husband.

Eleima wrote:

The bulk of its practitioners are aging, closer to 70 than 30, and a good chunk of the young, female doctors opt for different work patterns, picking part time rather than full time, in order to look after home and hearth. Education is largely government funded here, so some of the higher ups have starting asking questions: should we bother spending so much on this long process to churn out doctors if they're going to stay at home or work part time?

I'm not sure how it is in France but in the UK the medical profession is highly stressful with long, unforgiving hours and a never ending sea of bureaucracy. That anyone, male or female, would choose a working pattern that ameliorates being exposed to that as much as possible is hardly surprising. Fair or unfair, we have a culture where it is more socially acceptable women to take part-time work and there is often better provision for women to choose such options. And frankly, with regards medicine, you can't blame them. A handful of my close male friends are doctors and would jump at such a chance if offered.

Finding fault in women, or their education, for a working environment which encourages them to disengage with their vocation is bordering on victim blaming. Surely a better and more equitable way forward would be to restructure the working life of medics so that it is lower stress and actually compatible with family life? Off the top of my head; more maternity/paternity leave for parents which can be shared out however they see fit, Crèching facilities at work places, guarantees that both men and women won't have their career progression stymied by taking time out for family problems, fewer working hours, greater flexibility in working hours.

That's exactly how it is in France too: long hours, excruciatingly stressful, mountains of paperwork and very little gratitude from patients who increasingly feel entitled to anything and everything that comes their way (not to say that all are like this, but there just doesn't seem to be the same respect for the medical profession that there was 15 years ago). Those are all reasons (not the only ones, though) I turned to a non clinical specialty. And yes, it should definitely be available to both men and women, and it is a possibility for both. Social pressure, however, is what it is.

I never said I was finding fault in women for how things are going, however, and would like to point out that this was something the "higher ups" (mostly ministers and their cabinets) would bring up. I, myself, completely agree that should be extra leave, extra daycare facilities in the workplace (when my son was born, I looked it up, only a couple of hospitals actually offer this kind of service, and the few that do don't take residents' kids because we're on rotations and switch around a lot - gee, thanks). Like I said, we need to be developing the infrastructure so that women are allowed to choose. And not a default choice made because all options aren't viable, a conscious, deliberate, educated choice.

So basically, Don, I think we're on the same page.

Eleima:

I'll agree with your stipulation. Some women can do it. Some women cannot. However, I find that most can; and many women find that they can do more than they thought they could if the right incentives were in place. You find you can do a lot when the conditions are "No work, no pay." It's a harsh reality, but there it is.

You can't expect to be treated the same as any other person when you can claim 9 paid months of leave every year. No one will say it to your face, but you can bet your ass the employers are seething about it under their skins. Some people would say that the leave ought to be extended to fathers as well, but I haven't seen a whole lot of fathers take paternal leave, even when offered. The hit to your career is just that bad. Being away from company politics and active duty just kills your personal skills and development momentum, never mind the monetary and manpower hit to the company.

I'd say that childbirth is not the same for a mother and a father, but I'm willing to say that any kind of major surgery is the same for people in general. I was back at work two days after major surgery. The most common question we have as doctors is "When can I go back to work?" not "How many days of leave can I take?"

I would be a lot more willing to accept significant caveats for women lifters and porters; blue collar workers. Those guys we have to practically restrain from work, but they really shouldn't do that much heavy lifting after major surgery. It's a little more forgiving if they underwent vaginal birth, but you still can't rush that.

There is no gap between resident doctors and other people in training whatever their gender. The pay is graded based on how many years training you've received, and it's standardized. After training, you're basically on your own, so you earn what you make. We have a history of small and medium businesses being operated and owned by women in my locality. The overwhelming majority of small businesses are run by women. Women are expected to know and be good at that, so opening a clinic is not seen as beyond the reach or prerogative of a woman.

I don't know the situation in your locality. If pay is not standardized to performance, I would view that as extremely questionable.

Finally, I don't believe that early training in infancy and early childhood can really be entrusted to daycare providers. Those are some of the most important formative years in children. I haven't seen a provider with enough credentials for me to let them handle my kids for free.

I have seen some foolish people take that chance. It rarely ended well. If you're going to have kids, you need to put in the time for it. Otherwise, just don't. I have no small number of women (and men) friends who choose not to have children for the sake of career. That ought to be a valid choice. Women shouldn't be looked askance in the workplace because they're expected to take months of leave every year, but also looked askance when they don't do that exact same thing. That's a lose-lose unfair paternalistic situation.

Eleima wrote:

And yes, it should definitely be available to both men and women, and it is a possibility for both. Social pressure, however, is what it is.

True enough but social pressures can't change if we don't put in places the systems to allow people to make the choices.

Eleima wrote:

I never said I was finding fault in women for how things are going,

Wasn't suggesting you were. Just pointing out that if "higher ups" make such arguments it is close to victim blaming. Ok 'victim blaming' is a bit of rhetoric but seriously if someone's problem is 'people leaving a highly stressful work place' surely the solution is it fix that, not complain about the money you spent training them?

LarryC wrote:

You can't expect to be treated the same as any other person when you can claim 9 paid months of leave every year. No one will say it to your face, but you can bet your ass the employers are seething about it under their skins. Some people would say that the leave ought to be extended to fathers as well, but I haven't seen a whole lot of fathers take paternal leave, even when offered. The hit to your career is just that bad. Being away from company politics and active duty just kills your personal skills and development momentum, never mind the monetary and manpower hit to the company.

You realise that this is a serious problem. Pretty much sucks if you're workplace is sufficiently stressful that on one hand women would rather choose other work options even at the expense of career progression; yet men are too afraid of the consequences for their career that they'd rather work long hours in turn disengaging with their families. Take 9 or 6 or 4 months away from your career should just mean it take 9 (or 6 or 4) months longer to get where you are going in your career, it shouldn't completely stall it.

DanB wrote:

Physical tests have to be appropriate for the work you'll be doing, its not as though being marine boils down to the ability to do a flexed arm hang. Any company of soldiers will have a wide variety of roles that need fulfilled not of all of which are solely predicated on pure physical strength. If you can be a productive marine and not 20 flexed arm hangs then its a test that is not fit for purpose.

In the Marine Corps, one's physical fitness score figures into promotions. So for years women have been receiving an massive advantage by having an upper body strength test that many elementary kids could score 100% on. Even after the reform there will still be huge gaps in the performance required to pass or achieve a perfect score, but now it's at least a little less ridiculous.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Men and women are physically different , so it makes sense if you're going to measure their general fitness, you need different standards.

But if the job they're doing is the same, then you end up with one group who can get more accomplished than the other but they have to be treated as equals. This is especially the case in situations where the tests incorporate job functions (such as many fire departments and the CFT). It also makes it seem that equality is not the goal.

Personal experience: years back a female relative of mine was sitting on an EMT cert that she had received by the skin of her teeth. So she tried out for the local fire department and eventhough she failed the physical tests and some of the written tests, they hired her on part time because they didn't have any women in the department. Whenever she was on duty, the shift was effectively a person short because she couldn't carry hoses, man the ladder, perform rescues, use a firehose, or effectively triage wounded persons. How does that help anyone besides the person who gains a job that one can't effectively perform?

CannibalCrowley wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Men and women are physically different, so it makes sense if you're going to measure their general fitness, you need different standards.

But if the job they're doing is the same, then you end up with one group who can get more accomplished than the other but they have to be treated as equals.

If low-but-passing scorers on the tests are already being treated as equals to people with higher scores, then that's already the status quo.

This is especially the case in situations where the tests incorporate job functions (such as many fire departments and the CFT). It also makes it seem that equality is not the goal.

Like I said before, tests that incorporate job functions are a different matter where standards should be calibrated to that job function.

Personal experience: years back a female relative of mine was sitting on an EMT cert that she had received by the skin of her teeth. So she tried out for the local fire department and eventhough she failed the physical tests and some of the written tests, they hired her on part time because they didn't have any women in the department. Whenever she was on duty, the shift was effectively a person short because she couldn't carry hoses, man the ladder, perform rescues, use a firehose, or effectively triage wounded persons. How does that help anyone besides the person who gains a job that one can't effectively perform?

That's not really relevant to whether tests should be recalibrate: you said she failed the tests and they hired her. Hiring people who fail tests just because of their gender is a far different thing than making sure tests yield less false negatives.

DanB:

You realise that this is a serious problem. Pretty much sucks if you're workplace is sufficiently stressful that on one hand women would rather choose other work options even at the expense of career progression; yet men are too afraid of the consequences for their career that they'd rather work long hours in turn disengaging with their families. Take 9 or 6 or 4 months away from your career should just mean it take 9 (or 6 or 4) months longer to get where you are going in your career, it shouldn't completely stall it.

Some people do that. I did it. Some women take something like 5 years off their career path to stay home and have children. Then they get back to their careers and do the work. I took a year off to decide if I really wanted to be a doctor. I decided on "yes," and went right back. No one complains about that. It's no mark on your professional rep. Most everyone takes a year or two off, if only to blow some steam. If you want to get pregnant and do that instead, that's your business.

You do that on your own time. You do not get paid for it. Work teams don't limp along for months at a time two or three people down because some yahoos decided that they "wanted to have it all," while squarely putting the workload on single people or people with families who are not slacking off.

I'm not saying that having children or managing a home is "slacking off." Not coming to work is slacking off. You want to be a brain surgeon, fine. Be a brain surgeon. You want to be a fighter pilot, fine, be a fighter pilot. However, don't sign up for both jobs and then alternate between them every 4 months at random because you're too much of a jerk to see how much damage you're doing. Pick one and stick with it.

LarryC wrote:

How about just having working mothers be the same as working fathers? The only difference is that working mothers need to carry to term and give birth. This is not an onerous task. Many of my colleagues work right up until they give birth and then go right back to work within the week, even when they underwent CS. There is 0 reason why this is not doable. All the looking after the kid can be done by either parent. Why not the father? If the mother is earning a lucrative living as a surgeon, she can keep right on working. I've seen it happen all the time. It works just fine. The kids are fine.

The problem here is of perception and it's twofold:

1. That house management and raising children is not work and is a waste of time. It is valuable work. It is not a waste of time. We value it quite highly. I do not consider it a waste for a doctor to choose to look after his or her children anymore than you would consider a janitor choosing to work as an engineer instead as a waste. All professions are useful in their own way; and keeping a family together and being the primary educator for the next generation is the most important profession for any society.

2. The second one is that women must be home managers and family leaders, while not having any authority whatsoever. It boggles my mind how this makes sense. If the woman is a doctor, let her practice her profession. If she is to be a home manager, then give her the power to be an effective one. Why would a woman doctor require daycare, but not a man doctor? Doesn't she have a husband who'll look after their home and kids?

When I was studying medicine, fully 90% of the OBGYN and Pedia departments were composed of women, and they dominated the hierarchy from top to bottom. Nearly all of them were full time professionals. There was no manpower shortage. All the OBGYNs in the two hospitals I work in now are women. They work full time, with full hours, whether they are moms or not; dads or not.

Carrying a child to term is NOT an onerus task? f*ck that sh*t, LarryC. I take it you've never had a child, because if you had, you wouldn't even entertain that idea. Sorry if I'm being crass, but seeing as my wife just had a c-section almost 3 weeks ago, and she is still barely able to walk the 1 flight of stairs to check the mail, I find that logic totally off base and offensive. Not to mention when she was 8 months pregnant, and just walking to the subway would tire her out and no one would ever offer their seat for her on public transportation.

Here is a timely article I read talking about the issues women scientists face on the job:

http://news.mentornet.net/content/wh...

they still face discrimination in terms of promotion and pay because they are viewed as being 'not as committed' because of the off chance they may decide to have a child.

Just because you see home management as valuable does not mean the rest of society does, and unfortunately, as reality has shown us, the majority of the rest of society does not value it. Why do women have to be the home managers? Why can't men? The problem is that we are clinging too tightly to gender-identified roles in society.

1. I have 0 problems with men being home managers. "We" is partly you. You can't change other people. You can just change you. If you stop seeing home management as a second class occupation, that is enough.

2. My wife has had two children and I work alongside many women. Most women in my station and locality prefer to work right up to the time of delivery. One of my friends did an OR on the morning of her due date and gave birth later in the afternoon. She was back to work later that week. I am an anesthesiologist. It is my business to see to it that people experience the least trauma in the OR and recover as fast as possible with as little pain as possible. If my patient were unable to climb 1 flight of stairs easily in weeks, I would check her in and see what the heck might be wrong.

LarryC wrote:

1. I have 0 problems with men being home managers. "We" is partly you. You can't change other people. You can just change you. If you stop seeing home management as a second class occupation, that is enough.

2. My wife has had two children and I work alongside many women. Most women in my station and locality prefer to work right up to the time of delivery. One of my friends did an OR on the morning of her due date and gave birth later in the afternoon. She was back to work later that week. I am an anesthesiologist. It is my business to see to it that people experience the least trauma in the OR and recover as fast as possible with as little pain as possible. If my patient were unable to climb 1 flight of stairs easily in weeks, I would check her in and see what the heck might be wrong.

Because your personal anecdotes are true for everyone.

C-section is a major abdominal surgery, and by most accounts from everyone we have worked with during the pregnancy and delivery, it's a minimum of a 6 weeks recovery time. My wife would have worked right up to delivery, but she had pre-eclampsia, the baby had the cord wrapped around him 3 times, and he was impacting my wife's pelvic bone. Not all pregnancies are easy vaginal births, so quit trying to be the mouthpiece for all pregnancies everywhere just because the small handful of people you know had an easy time of it and using it to justify your arguments. (which basically amounts to 'maybe you should just toughen up').

And just me not seeing home management as a 2nd class occupation IS NOT enough. I'm only one person, so it only directly affects my life. We need change on a societal level.

Your arguments may have the ring of reason to them, but in practice they are all bupkiss. Women who take time off to have children are repeatedly 'penalized' in some form or another, and rarely achieve the level of success as their male counterparts. Studies have shown that it takes women 2-3 times as long to 'get back on track' after taking time off as is does men. Even females who chose to not have children don't reach the same levels of success merely because of the threat of the possibility that they might have children.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...

http://curt-rice.com/2011/12/08/the-...

nel e nel:

I could reference the data in the hospital, but those are private and cannot be divulged, certainly not on an internet forum. I'm not talking about personal anecdotes. I work in the DR and in the OR. I see pregnant people giving birth on a regular basis.

C-section is a major abdominal surgery, and by most accounts from everyone we have worked with during the pregnancy and delivery, it's a minimum of a 6 weeks recovery time. My wife would have worked right up to delivery, but she had pre-eclampsia, the baby had the cord wrapped around him 3 times, and he was impacting my wife's pelvic bone. Not all pregnancies are easy vaginal births, so quit trying to be the mouthpiece for all pregnancies everywhere just because the small handful of people you know had an easy time of it and using it to justify your arguments. (which basically amounts to 'maybe you should just toughen up').

Did you note that I said that some women have a bad time of it? Some women will need more time. Some not. If you need more time, you won't be working. This is not an argument to "toughen up." It's just a statement that says that when you're in business for yourself, if you're not working, you're not earning anything. So many women and men in my situation find it doable, after all, not to lay up for 6 weeks if it means not eating.

And just me not seeing home management as a 2nd class occupation IS NOT enough. I'm only one person, so it only directly affects my life. We need change on a societal level.

Society is made up of individuals. You're one. You can really only change you. It starts with you. That's the only thing I can really ask. Social change follows individual change. You must believe that your behavior and fundamental beliefs doesn't just affect you. It affects everything and everyone you touch, with every word you say and every action you do. If every nuance of every word in every sentence you ever utter reflects a profound respect and sense of equality and camaraderie with home makers, then I cannot believe that you will only affect yourself.

This implies, for instance, not accepting phrases like "I'm only a house___." This doesn't necessarily imply a combative, aggressive posture. You can simply respond, "What you're doing is important and skilled labor. Don't excuse half-assing it like that."

Your arguments may have the ring of reason to them, but in practice they are all bupkiss. Women who take time off to have children are repeatedly 'penalized' in some form or another, and rarely achieve the level of success as their male counterparts. Studies have shown that it takes women 2-3 times as long to 'get back on track' after taking time off as is does men. Even females who chose to not have children don't reach the same levels of success merely because of the threat of the possibility that they might have children.

That may be true in many instances. I don't think it's right that it is in those instances. I can tell you straight off that my wife has had at least two colleagues who put off residency training to have kids. It did not impact their progression afterwards. This is not unusual in my locality. I have several colleagues who did similar things. YMMV. Unfortunately.

LarryC wrote:

I'm not saying that having children or managing a home is "slacking off." Not coming to work is slacking off. You want to be a brain surgeon, fine. Be a brain surgeon. You want to be a fighter pilot, fine, be a fighter pilot. However, don't sign up for both jobs and then alternate between them every 4 months at random because you're too much of a jerk to see how much damage you're doing. Pick one and stick with it.

Having children isn't like having two careers that you carelessly switch between. You don't get to do any switching, you have them and then they are there for at least 18 years and you need to deal with them, a job that asks you to commit to 12-16 hour days, or you're not competitive is simply not fair. It discriminates against people who want to do the perfectly natural thing of having families and then being part of their own family. And the solution shouldn't be "either don't see your family or don't have a career", the solution should be that no one, families or not, should be working those kinds of hours.

I totally concede that Medicine is a tricky thing to address here because there typically aren't enough Drs available to work in hospitals that working hours could be cut tomorrow (although perhaps not so many people would leave it if it wasn't so stressful). But ridiculously long work days are increasingly expected in the US and UK in industries that simply aren't critical to the well being of humanity (finance, games programming...), where there is also no shortage of workers. It simply would not matter if merchant banks made 10% less and games took a couple of months longer to develop.

Anyhoo... in summary, equitable working hours and better provision for families would enable people (largely) women to better integrate families and careers rather having to make choices that may (or may not) be detrimental to their careers.

Not really an argument about anything in particular (outside of sexism and gaming), but I wanted to share a strange thing that is occurring in one of my fandoms. Like, in real time right now.

There is a game world called Legend of the Five rings, which has been in existence for over 15 years at this point. The game world is driven by an ongoing plot that means characters age, develop, and usually die of old age or in some spectacular manner. One of the more celebrated characters of this game world is a woman named Bayushi Kachiko, who is long since dead, but was "ressurected" for a card set that features characters from the game's history. A lot of fans thought it was neat, some thought it was a blatant fanservice cash grab, but what seemed to get the most attention was her art. Her character, when introduced, was immediately labeled with the "seductress" word on her card (her first incarnation, 17 years ago), so it was a surprise to no one that her more current version was made a bit uh... well, I'll let the thread explain it. But the interesting thing that had developed is that while everyone agrees the character was by no means sexually modest in any of her art, somehow the more recent one is just "worse" for reasons no one can seem to really put into words.

Here is the thread if you want to take a look through it. I think it's just kind of interesting to watch the discussion, which has spilled over to various fansites and facebox, but here is the main one -

http://alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.p...

DanB:

Having children isn't like having two careers that you carelessly switch between. You don't get to do any switching, you have them and then they are there for at least 18 years and you need to deal with them, a job that asks you to commit to 12-16 hour days, or you're not competitive is simply not fair. It discriminates against people who want to do the perfectly natural thing of having families and then being part of their own family. And the solution shouldn't be "either don't see your family or don't have a career", the solution should be that no one, families or not, should be working those kinds of hours.

I'm not conversant on banking and game development, but from what I hear of those fields locally, both men and women who enter them generally have to give up family and social life of all kinds just to be competitive. This affects them equally. It's not like a man who has to work 16 hours a day 7 days a week has enough time to raise a family responsibly. If there is no special expectation for women to give more time for their family than men, I simply don't see this as a women issue. It's a family issue. It only becomes a special women issue if you think that women are more suited to raising families and being home makers. Do you?

Highly competitive fields are inherently unfair to family people, men and women both. I'd have taken up neurosurgery except that it's hell on family life. There are men and women of my acquaintance who are in it, but they either raise families after training, or just don't have one. There's nothing seriously bad about choosing a career life, whatever gender you are.

There should be jobs that are more family-friendly. Regular hours and sane hours aren't exactly super-hard to come by in medicine and in other fields. An 8 hour work day is still a thing.

All that said, training in medicine simply requires that many hours to achieve competency. It doesn't matter whether or not it's fair. That's what the activity requires. It is what it is. You can't change that until you can download skills directly into human brains. Or take 7 years to master competencies where everyone else is taking 3. That's plausible, I suppose.

Seems to me that the more important and basic step is to say that women aren't beholden to give up their lives for family.

LarryC wrote:

It only becomes a special women issue if you think that women are more suited to raising families and being home makers. Do you?

It's a women's issue because the structure of society, work and our expectations around families lead many, many more women in to being the ones that have to either pause, stop or give up their careers if they want to have a family.

The men who are expected to "keep on working" get a different but equally poor deal. But you know, patriarchy causes broad harms to both men and women.

LarryC wrote:
Your arguments may have the ring of reason to them, but in practice they are all bupkiss. Women who take time off to have children are repeatedly 'penalized' in some form or another, and rarely achieve the level of success as their male counterparts. Studies have shown that it takes women 2-3 times as long to 'get back on track' after taking time off as is does men. Even females who chose to not have children don't reach the same levels of success merely because of the threat of the possibility that they might have children.

That may be true in many instances. I don't think it's right that it is in those instances. I can tell you straight off that my wife has had at least two colleagues who put off residency training to have kids. It did not impact their progression afterwards. This is not unusual in my locality. I have several colleagues who did similar things. YMMV. Unfortunately.

Unfortunately, as was shown in the studies I linked, and at least in America, one's mileage RARELY varies. It has been repeatedly shown, over and over and over again that women who choose to take time off to have children/tend to family life very rarely are able to get back on track and make up the time they lost.

Just because it's not unusual in your locality, does not mean it's unusual everywhere else. I'd be curious, though, what your definition of 'did not impact their progression afterwards' entails. Are they paid as much as men who are their peers? Have they been equally considered for promotions as their male counterparts?

Yes. Promotion is time-based and test-based. So long as you pass the tests and log in the time, you're up for promotion. Doesn't matter what anyone thinks unless you have serious administrative issues - like sexual harassment or something. Salaries are standardized for the positions. You don't negotiate salary. It's assigned according to position.

Qualification: Women who take time off for giving births by quitting work altogether until they're done generally don't get a lot of drama about it. Like I said, everyone takes time off for various reasons. If yours is to get knocked up and have kids, that's generally supposed as being your business and no one else's - so long as you don't let your personal life affect your work. If you keep going AWOL when you're on the payroll because you have to play a big role at home, you're gonna get canned. If you keep going AWOL because you let your love life affect your work, you're also gonna get canned. Both males and females get this, AFAIK.

Let's be clear. I'm not saying that women getting short-changed at work doesn't happen at all. I totally get that it's a problem in a lot of places.

Bloo Driver wrote:

But the interesting thing that had developed is that while everyone agrees the character was by no means sexually modest in any of her art, somehow the more recent one is just "worse" for reasons no one can seem to really put into words.

Not that familiar with the game and the character but I looked at the art. I think the problem is that the new version looks totally helpless. The previous versions of the character are wearing sexualized clothes but she has a determined look on her face, like she's in control of the situation and is using her sexuality deliberately.

The last picture looks like a innocent young thing who tripped over her own kimono.

Demyx wrote:

Not that familiar with the game and the character but I looked at the art. I think the problem is that the new version looks totally helpless. The previous versions of the character are wearing sexualized clothes but she has a determined look on her face, like she's in control of the situation and is using her sexuality deliberately.

The last picture looks like a innocent young thing who tripped over her own kimono.

A nuance often lost on people, at least in my estimation, is that how a character is sexy is far more important that the character being sexy. This observation is case in point.

At least, that's how it feels to me.

Demyx wrote:

The last picture looks like a innocent young thing who tripped over her own kimono.

The last one looks like the character model was copied from some soft porn photo shoot, it's the sexual/behavioural lordosis position she's posed in.

Some thoughts on the women in medicine stuff. Eleima's post made me think a lot about the pretty large complex of issues that makes things very complicated:

Eleima wrote:

LarryC's comment reminds me of my own experience. When I started med school, there were no such restrictions. You just had a bunch of tests, you studied for them, and the top 120 of the class (1300 applicants) got to move on to second year. 55% were girls, 45% were boys (I can't seem to use "women"/"men" when you're 17-19 years old). Girls scored higher then boys, and this was a consistent statistics, over the course of 4 or 5 years (think it's still true now, but haven't checked). This in turn leads to pretty hugs problems in the French medical profession. The bulk of its practitioners are aging, closer to 70 than 30, and a good chunk of the young, female doctors opt for different work patterns, picking part time rather than full time, in order to look after home and hearth. Education is largely government funded here, so some of the higher ups have starting asking questions: should we bother spending so much on this long process to churn out doctors if they're going to stay at home or work part time? Should there be some sort of affirmative action, an extra hand in the selection process for med school?
I consider myself a feminist, but I can't deny the validity of these questions. The state is spending money to train professionals only to have them partially contribute to the workforce. Is increasing the cost of education an answer? (and clearly, it's not, if you know anything about the French system, you'd have riots in the streets) How about increasing the number and capacity of daycares, and offering tangible solutions for working mothers?...
Anyhow, I'm going on a tangent here, sorry about that, but I just wanted to offer my own experience as a foil for LarryC's post.

Disclaimer: I can't really speak to specifics about France in general, and the medical profession in France in particular.

The first things that came to mind for me when thinking about this have to do with social roles, expectations, and the like.

We can consider that women are likely to feel more social expectations to "look after home and hearth", which is going to have an impact on how they choose to structure their work. There's a general assumption that women are "supposed" to look after their kids directly, and that any other option is less desirable and somehow being selfish and letting the kids down. We've seen this noted in other threads in ways also relating to people who have chosen to be child-free: they get a lot of social pressure to "do the right thing". So there's probably at least some pressure to spend the "expected" amount of time home-making even when other options are available. That might continue even if increased child-care options were available.

A friend pointed out last night when I was talking to her about this that access to child-care is something that she's heard come up in the context of academic conferences: A woman with a young child might be nursing or the like and need to travel with their child, and will need to have some provision for leaving the child in somebody else's care during part of the conference, but still need to be close to them. Apparently this is something that she heard about because one acquaintance was being sad that they couldn't attend conferences because of child-care issues, and another acquaintance was very surprised because in her field they'd been providing child-care at conferences for ages. (This is something that I had never considered at all as someone who has been socialized with male privilege. Quite an eye-opener to me.) So child-care access can be a big deal, and lack of it can cause complications in ways beyond the most immediately obvious.

Another thing that same friend mentioned was that health care as a field tends to require people to spend a long time acquiring their education, and that this can mean that a woman who wishes to have multiple children may feel pressured to: 1) put off having children until her education is complete, and 2) have multiple children over a short period of time, as she approaches the end of her safe child-bearing years. There's not really any more [em]total[/em] time spent away from her professional development than if her pregnancies had been more spread out. But, from the outside it can feel like more, since it's all together and you have to do a bit of thinking to understand why that would be.

Connected to these things are other social expectations. For example, it's possible that more women are attracted to the medical profession because of social expectations that they enter a "nurturing" profession—and that this might lead to a greater proportion of women who later decide that it's not for them in comparison to men who might be inclined to [em]avoid[/em] a nurturing profession unless they already had reasons beyond social expectations to seek it out.

The 55% women / 45% men division that Eleima mentioned doesn't seem large enough to suggest that affirmative action in favor of bringing in more men would be appropriate, but if the division were more significant, there might be a case for doing that (but see below). For example, in the U.S. 75%+ of schoolteachers are women, and that may be indicative of an institutional problem that needs to be addressed, possibly with affirmative action. (But, again, see below.) Of course, it's also necessary to look and see whether there are actually problems caused by the disparity. (For example: does the smaller number of male schoolteachers make it more difficult for male students to seek help when they have problems? There might be things like that, which would motivate policy changes to encourage men to go into teaching. Or there might not be, in which case we may as well leave things alone. But... see below.)

Another thing that can have an impact on choices about spending more or less time in professional life is treatment. In the U.S. women typically receive less pay than men for the same jobs, and find their opportunities for leadership limited. (In the schoolteacher case: the division is 75% women / 25% men at the teacher level, but at the school principal level it's 50/50, and it only gets worse from there.) These sorts of things can change the calculus of balancing your profession with other pursuits. It might be more attractive to consider taking serious time away from your profession (say, going part time between the birth of your children and when they are old enough to be attending school) if you don't expect to make it past the glass ceiling in the first place.

And, of course, when advancement, pay, or job offers are discretionary, all of these ideas can factor into the chances of a woman being promoted to a position of responsibility, receiving equal pay, or even receiving a job offer. Because, again as we saw in the child-free thread, people do factor in these ideas that "women are probably going to leave when they have kids!" when making these sorts of decisions—even when people say straight out that they are committed to not having children.

Oh, and... of course, if there [em]were[/em] some form of affirmative action to encourage men to work in fields where they are underrepresented at the base level, but in which they are overrepresented at management levels, that's of course very very tricky—because you'd damned well better address the leadership problem at the same time.

--

So... all of these things are interlocking and interrelated. In different places and cultures, things balance out differently. But, nowhere is it simple. We can pull out individual little pieces and think about "if we tweak this, how will it improve things?", but there are always lots of other trailing effects. In some ways, it makes me a little more sympathetic to the radical feminist "smash the patriarchy utterly" ideal. (And yes, there are good radical feminists out there. I don't agree with them, but they're not all man-hating hate-mongers, any more than all people who claim an interest in men's rights are woman-hating hate-mongers. Just... a lot of them, for both of those. *sigh*) Anyway, all this stuff being tied together is like "Jeez... is there any way to fix any of this without tearing it [em]all[/em] down and starting from scratch?"

But yeah, I think there is. It just requires a ton of patience, and a ton of commitment. And a lot of willingness to stand up when someone says "should we bother spending so much on this long process to churn out doctors if they're going to stay at home or work part time?" and say "Look, there are a lot of other ways to address this than to remove support for women who are pursuing medicine. Let's try to do some things to encourage them to stay with the profession, instead of discouraging them from joining it in the first place. Let's do some things to make it easier to satisfy the demands of society. Let's do some things to change the attitudes of society. Let's make sure that staying in the profession gives women the recognition they deserve. And then after that, maybe we can talk about some other things."

And this is why correcting patriarchal institutions takes [em]forever[/em]. It's worth it, though.

Just came across this article on the Mary Sue, and it reminded me that cyberbullying (at least gender biased cyberbullying) might be a good topic as well. I'm not sure that particular article is relevant as the main players are both women, but the Anita Sarkeesian kerfuffle, or the more recent Meagan Marie are definitely pertinent.

LarryC wrote:

How about just having working mothers be the same as working fathers? The only difference is that working mothers need to carry to term and give birth. This is not an onerous task. Many of my colleagues work right up until they give birth and then go right back to work within the week, even when they underwent CS. There is 0 reason why this is not doable.

No they didn't. I'm calling bullsh*t on this right here and now. After a c-section, you are hospitalized for 3 days. It is major abdominal surgery. Recovery average is 6 weeks. I'm going to believe the Mayo Clinic, and my own experiences way more than someone claiming to be a doctor on the internet. I have been pregnant. I have had a c-section. (And Feminist Bioethics was my doctoral focus.)

I believe that you are arguing in bad faith, using false data to achieve an emotional response. Additionally, phrasing like "not an onerous task" is designed to make female readers react strongly, as it attempts to diminish our experience on SO many levels. It is my opinion that you are trolling this thread. What I don't understand is why.

You're wrong on intent, and you're wrong on motive. In addition, you're attacking me instead of discussing the topic. I did not design the statement to elicit an emotional response. I am simply not interested in that. That's the last I will say on that. If you insist on not discussing the topic, I will refuse to engage you on the significantly less interesting topic of my person.