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  • The Fall of the Duck Dynasty

    As soon as I saw the first post about what’s-his-face from Duck Dynasty’s interview in GQ, I knew there would post after post about it on Facebook and Twitter.  In his interview, Phil Robertson made it rather clear what his stance on homosexuality is. In addition to the predictable belief that homosexuality is a sin, Robertson also seems to think that Blacks were perfectly happy back when he was a kid and those lovely Jim Crow laws were still in effect. What’s really causing the stir on social media, however, is the fact that A&E has pulled the popular reality show, Duck Dynasty, that follows the life of Robertson and his family. The most common outcry against A&E’s decision is that they are infringing upon Robertson’s right of free speech. Let me start by saying this: Phil Robertson had every right to say what he did, but A&E also has every right to not have him and his beliefs associated with their network.

    Maybe some of you will be surprised, but I wasn’t exactly angry when I read the comments that sparked this controversy. I mean, is a single person really surprised? The thoughts running through my mind as I read over the interview really boiled down to “wow, this is unsurprisingly archaic and ignorant.” There was nothing new to his argument about homosexuality, just the standard calling it a sin and equating it with bestiality (which is a little weird coming from a man who made his fortune by selling duck calls meant to make ducks think hunters are interested in having sex with them).  As for the comments about Black people, he says of his pre-Civil Rights Movement childhood, “Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” I find this hilariously ignorant for so many reasons, but it’s the fact that he’s talking about the era when they were literally singing the blues that gets me. Probably because if I think about the other things, I get sad over how horrible people can still be.

    Here’s the thing though, this guy has every right to say those things! But, and this is the important part, society (*coughs* A&E) doesn’t have to sit back and just let him say these things without there being some form of backlash. We’re allowed to look at Phil Robertson and wonder how in the hell people can still think these things. A&E is allowed to stop paying this man because he has quickly made himself a nightmare for the public relations department. No rights have been infringed upon here. Had Phil Robertson been thrown in jail for what he said, then we could have a discussion about his right to free speech being denied. We don’t have that though.

    Instead, we have a situation where Phil Robertson is now on a different path than A&E. It’s a rather unfortunate path he’s on, but hey, whatever, there are some people you have to wash your hands of and let them say stupid shit. Seriously, let him keep saying whatever he wants, it’s his right, but that doesn’t mean the world can’t call him out for it.

     

     

  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

    I used to sell cars. I say “used to” not because it was something I did many years ago, but something I did until last week when my health problems kicked in full-force.  So, I’m on a bit of a hiatus from working at the moment. Anyway, it wasn’t a glamorous job, but you can make decent money doing it short-term and quite a bit of money if you settle in and make it your career. The bad thing about it is that it’s not the most welcoming environment for women. I’m sure you’re shocked.

    There are several factors that make the job unwelcoming. You’ve got the stereotypical people coming in who don’t think a woman can explain anything about how cars work, even something like anti-lock breaks. There are the customers who have the “oh they only have women working here to draw men in, so now let me talk to someone who I can actually talk cars with” attitude. Then you have the people who are not-so-subtly asking themselves “women can’t do math, so how is this woman going to explain what my payments will be?” I was fortunate enough to have co-workers who weren’t as sexist as the customers I dealt with. I did, however, have one co-worker around my father’s age who told me he had a crush on me and would openly flirt with me (it only got worse when I told him I had a girlfriend).

    Let me be clear though, this was not a work environment where it was impossible to work as a woman because of the misogynistic attitudes. Hell, the other two women who worked with me were among the dealership’s top sellers and there was no one there praising them for doing well “you know, for a girl.” Honestly, I sometimes wondered if the two women I worked with even noticed the sexist things they came across. I’m pretty sure the younger one did based on her eye rolling and occasional death stares at people as she went about her business as if nothing happened. As for the older one, well, there was one day she asked one of the guys to park a car on display for her, telling him “I’m a woman, I can’t park a car in reverse for shit.” For the record, that guy was also new and he promptly told her that he’s horrible at it and if she needed help, I was the one to ask. Internalized misogyny is thing.

    Unfortunately, between your standard sexism our society unfortunately sees as normal and the internalized misogyny in women who have been raised in said society, practically no one gets to work in a place that is 100% woman friendly. We women get men explaining things to us as if we were a child, we get them taking projects away from us for whatever reason they come up with that day, or we don’t even get the projects assigned to us in the first place because our bosses didn’t think we could handle it. We also have women who have no idea they don’t make as much as their male co-workers or even worse, they think the sexual harassment happens because that’s “just how men are.” I understand that. I also understand that not everyone has access to the education I had that made me realize how much misogyny is around me on a daily basis, even in myself, even now. The internalized misogyny is something I still work on (nothing like that ever goes away in the blink of an eye), but I’ve found that in misogynistic environments, I feel more pressured to prove stereotypes wrong.

    I already mentioned that the older woman I worked with was told by a male co-worker to ask me to park a car for her if she couldn’t do it. He knew that because I had gone out of my way in the past to back the biggest vehicles on our lot into the smallest spaces simply because I knew the stereotype that women can’t drive/park exists.[1] I constantly went out of my way to prove that I, as a woman, still belonged in this job. I felt like I had to, that if I failed, my failure would be seen as something to do with me being a woman rather than something like being an introvert who probably shouldn’t be working in a job that involves twelve hour shifts of talking to customers.  What I hate about the pressure I place on myself is that I know it’s not going to go away once I take care of these medical issues and start working again. Unfortunately, this is just a reality of being a woman in any job.