Tag Archives: Society

Conscious decisions

It came to my attention this weekend in a discussion with WO that our culture has an unsurprising tendency to call women “girls”, especially in my age group. “Guys” is considered equivalent to “girls”. Not a big deal, not really a belittling of women worth noting.

Or is it? While it may not be as prominent an issue as using “cunt” or “gay” to be pejorative, I think it does shape our view of gender.

In following a thread of links about [tag]pornographer[/tag]s calling their actresses “sluts” and “whores” today, I ran across a well-written piece by a porn photographer denouncing such practices. He went on to say that those sort of descriptions digust him, and that he’d never call his girls anything like that.

Um, what?

Calling someone a “girl” reduces them to being a child. In this culture, that takes away the validity of their reasoning ability and reduces them to someone who needs to be taken care of, guided. Those women are not coworkers, they are his girls.

So I’m making a conscious decision. That decision is to be very aware of the context in which I use the word “girl” and to make sure to decide if there is a better substitute I could use… like “woman”. Or “person”. Or “vaguely humanoid entity”.

[tags]feminism, conscious word choice[/tags]

Cabarrus county schools blocking access to LGBTQ sites?

According to Nathan (curly, not blond):

Synopsis: the [Cabarrus County] public school system’s firewall is blocking LGBTQ sites without blocking other sites that I would consider parallel (say, http://www.operationsaveamerica.org).

It’s not that the sites are thought of as related to sex (vs. sexuality), or something graphic. “The reason these sites are denied is as follows: ‘Gay, Lesbian, or bisexual interest.'”

I really like the way Nathan and his partners in crime are handling this:

Presently Savannah and I are trying to resolve the issue through normal channels by talking with people involved in the school district. […] We ask that unless attempts through these normal channels have failed that you withhold your reactions toward the press and government. We feel that unnecessarily involving lots of people will create a situation where they become defensive rather than working with us toward a solution to the problem.

Nathan also includes a call for students in the school system to test, test, test. Find the limits of the ban. The comments of the entry detail more experimentation results.

According to the NC Firewall community Nathan has set up:

We are near certain now that these websites are being blocked intentionally. We are proceeding at this point assuming that to be a fact. We feel like we have it in as many words from the Chief Technology Officer.

The school system has, of course, been blocking sex-related sites for years, which led to the typical problems searching for health-related information, but nothing on this discriminatory a scale.

Related Incidents

In 2001, a student (not in Cabarrus County) protested against her school blocking the Planned Parenthood website, but not the Christian Coalition. (Read Salon.com’s “Censorship High“.)

Also in 2001, Danny Silverman engaged in what he called “nonviolent sit-in on the school Internet“.

[tag]cabarrus county schools, north carolina, cabarrus county, firewalls, censorship, education, ncfirewall[/tag]