Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The trials of being a girl

Two pithy pieces from Echidne make excellent points:
  1. There have been several headline-grabbing school massacres in recent weeks, and for some reason the media studiously avoids mentioning that girls were targeted. Echidne has noted this silence before (e.g., here), but it finally got mentioned in print:
    Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

    There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

    None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.
    Not pretty, either the events or how we accept (or ignore) their symbolism.

  2. A shorter post notes the ways that right-wingers ignore the successes of feminism because they've bought their own spin that it's only about man-hating (and maybe witchcraft) rather than a more general empowerment of girls and women in all aspects of their lives. femsign The specific story here rang a particular bell for me -- I know that my own aunt didn't pursue a veterinary career 40 years ago, despite her obsession with all things animal, because women didn't do such things at the time -- nobody would think of telling a girl today that teacher and secretary were her only choices, whether for career or Halloween costume. But apparently those systemic changes happened all by themselves... idiots!!

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