In response to… James Damore’s Echo Chamber

echo chamber damore echo bilnEcho. Source: bilan

Welcome to my echo. It’s funny, because this guy without meaning to, created his own sound in a cave, which is now reverberating about the internet.

Basically, this dude working for Google as a software engineer was asked to give some feedback on their diversity programs. Without any response he tried sharing his ideas with other employees. His memo then leaked and went viral.

When I first heard about this, I got a brief account of the story – ‘guy says that there are less women in tech because they are biologically less suited to it’.

Without more understanding, there’s a shock factor. I can feel my metaphorical cat hunching up it’s back and getting defensive. ‘Women too stupid to do tech!’ … But I don’t like to jump on a bandwagon without a bit of further information.

giraffe catCats love giraffes. Source: reddit

By coincidence I came across him speaking in an empathy circle in an NVC video. I was still cagey, but interested in how he might not be a total dickhead! It took me a while, and I eventually managed to find the original document. Having read it, I could see the clear intention of the author – to increase inclusion and diversity.

It is not so dissimilar from the advice given in this TED talk by Linda Salane, talking about how women are different from men in certain ways, (for cultural or biological reasons) and knowing this can be used to our advantage. She encourages women to improve their bartering skills for pay and to care less what people think about them so they do what they want/take promotions despite any negative judgements that may be made.

Damore doesn’t make any suggestions for women to change themselves, he does, however, suggest ways tech companies could improve upon their inclusion of women and general diversity in the workplace.

He made many points about this and how political views/biases may be affecting the company. These included the idea that google’s diversity programs singling out one type of person from another is possibly adding to the problem. A catch 22. Damore implies that by including everyone’s opinions, by not labelling people as minorities, we begin a new path of egalitarianism.

Balance-scalesScales. Source: super metal recyclers

This is a similar point to a woman I find truly inspiring, Caroline McHugh – who said that she is a feminist, but she is mostly a ‘womanist’, i.e. proudly a woman. This does not mean feminism is not needed. It just acknowledges the unfortunate catch 22 feminism brings to the table. In an odd way it backs up the idea that it is needed.

(nb I am not saying that feminism is not needed! But, I can see the progression in moving towards what we would like to happen.)

The ideas and strategies suggested in this memo are inspiring to me. He even goes as far as referencing feminists in the memo, arguing we have made great leaps in freeing women of their gender roles.

He makes the argument for men also to be heard, and that giving people jobs simply because of their gender is not helping the problem. But jobs can be made more, ‘female-friendly’ so that women want to work in tech more organically.

 3045915-poster-p-1-how-do-i-get-long-winded-job-candidates-to-stop-talking-during-interviewsTalk. Source: kingston muslim association

If not judged so quickly as an ‘anti-diversity’ statement, these possible findings could be used to help more women in many different sectors. If correct, they could be the key to getting more women into management positions, or more men interested in more social /people-based jobs.

I can understand why some women do not want to hear what he has to say. Perhaps there is too much pain from past experience. The way they have been treated may seem so unfair and, yes, sexist, that they are not willing to hear his ideas. I get it. It is hard to not feel heard or understood.

At face judgement, what he appears to be saying is shocking. But that’s ironically because of the echo chamber of fake news implying he thinks women are not biologically up to becoming techies. -It is easy to say that he is a ‘white male’, so he can never understand. But, what if he’s willing to try to understand? And what if we were willing to hear his perspective, not just dehumanise him because of his skin colour or sex?

Then, maybe, just maybe, we could all hear each other, and we could work something out. And the world could get just a little more diverse.

#strongertogether #hairypitstogether

 

What do you think? Is this guy onto something? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, thank you for your gifts ❤

Advertisements

Women and exercise – ‘you don’t have to’


women exercise pride ev grieveLove the Skin. Source: stacie joy

So, this is a little thought about the strange situation women are in in terms of exercise, our relationship to the world and to ‘body shaming’.

It is so assumed that a woman would be exercising because she hates her body or to lose weight that the phrase ‘oh, you don’t have to,’ is often used in response to the statement ‘I’m going for a run now’.

This is sad. To put it on the other foot, for a man who wants to exercise for whatever reason, this phrase seems less likely to be used (please correct me if I’m wrong!), but I’d guess the phrase ‘but you don’t need to lose any weight!’ isn’t used so much.

Our culture seems to have so engrained in our psyche the idea that women should dislike their bodies and strive to change them, that exercise naturally must be an odd side effect in response to this pressure.

women exercise you don't have to love- awesome desktopLove. Source: awesome desktop

But what if there was another reason? (Can you imagine?!)

What if, on the other end of the scale, a woman is so full of love for herself that she enjoys feeling healthy? Maybe she just likes running. Maybe she’s gotten past all the bullcrap about how people think she should be, gotten past all the hate that she is meant to be feeling, and she just loves herself, as she is.

The woman who loves her body does not then need to exercise. She chooses to. Exercise has many benefits, especially improving your mood and mental health, which, a woman who loves herself might want to take advantage of. Or not.

women exercise - you don't have to - lying-naked-woman-alfons-niexWoman. Source: Fine Art America

I happen to be an artist. To me, everything is art, including my body. I don’t work out to eradicate it – I work out to create it! To allow it to be all that it can be!

I love my body as it is and I love seeing it evolve. Yes, I like seeing my body develop into a healthier body, but I don’t berate it or myself when I have an off day and eat a whole pizza and a burrito! My body gave me life, it finds health for me, it works, even when I’m sleeping! And I find all sorts of ways of enjoying it; exercise being one of them.

 awwww women exercise you don't have to body pride girlGirl. Source: Pinterest

So I say yes to body pride (which is always sexy), and I say yes to exercise pride. Let’s allow our girls to run and enjoy being girls, to enjoy being active if they want; to find strength in any way they want to.

Because the shame of not being able to move, just incase you are judged as fearful of your own body, is not something we need carry on to the next generation.

 

What do you think? Vibe from the other side – what is body shaming like for men? Have you ever had this kind of ‘exercise shaming’ before? The odd sister of body shaming?

Let me know in the comments! Thanks, love you!!

For more on Body Lovin’, click here.

Thanks in advance for any gifts ❤

Buy Now Button

Peaceful promise

I’d like you to join me, in starting with this pledge to allegiance for peace:

 

I promise, from this day on, to try to contribute to peace on this planet.

I choose to live my life in a peaceful way, taking responsibility for my choices, and contributing to the cause of peace in any way I can.

I choose to see people’s needs and feelings, and to use language that contributes to life, rather than creating enemy images or dehumanising my brothers and sisters.

I do this because I know the huge impact just one (seemingly) small person like me, can have on other peoples’ lives.

When I think of all the people I will meet during my lifetime, I believe that if just a handful are touched by my peaceful ways, then I will have helped to contribute to a better life for those in the future, and I will know that mine was a life well-lived.

I want to stand for something. I want to stand for peace.

Today.

Everyday.

Peace.

Maybe if enough of us say this and act upon it, maybe one day we will have world peace.

Please share if you believe in this, too.

how-to-love-your-piccadillos-hairy-armpits-elephant-boyPeaceful trunk. Source: arynbates

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.”

Aeschylus

Thanks in advance for any gifts you might want to give, they are most appreciated.

Buy Now Button

In response to… International Women’s Day 2017

hairy armpits blog in response to... international women's day 2017 8 marchWomen’s Day. Source: februarycalendars

This being a feminist website, I thought I’d best talk about the one day a year dedicated to celebrating women!

I usually don’t take much notice of it (which is perhaps ignorant, considering Annie Lennox’s wonderful and inspiring speech about the coming together of women of this day) as I write often about this subject, and I see everyday as a chance to inspire women; I see everyday as women’s day already. But a day to come together as a collective, to empower each other and to remember, that no woman is alone in this struggle for equality can only be a good thing in my book.

hairy armpits blog in response to... international women's day 2017 a lifeA life. Source: isis.aust

This year, sky are dedicating a week’s viewing to women’s achievements, the UN focused upon equality for women in the workplace by 2030, and Michelle Obama made an awesome speech about why young girls need to be educated.

Emma Watson once asked ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ and I think this question answers all of the doubts those wondering about why a women’s day is needed. Because it’s one time when all of the issues we are concerned about can be discussed, together. And that is really empowering. Knowing there is a time for your voice to be heard, makes it easier to speak out knowing you will be supported. You were going to say it anyway, but it just makes sense to say it then.

So here’s to another 364.

 

If you liked this post and feel moved to give me a gift, I thank you in advance ❤

Buy Now Button

What do you think? Are you a fan of women’s day? What did you do this year to celebrate? Let me know in the comments!

Why women are not sl*ts- they are temples

The Golden Temple (holiest Sikh shrine), Amritsar, Punjab, IndiaSri Harmandir Sahib. Source: WordPress

I see myself as a Goddess. If I value myself and my body and decide that it is sacred – does that mean no one can come inside and visit? No. A truly beautiful temple has many visitors. This doesn’t mean that a woman who saves herself for one man or woman or trans person, is any less of a temple.

We need to see ourselves as beautiful beings, and tell our friends, no – just because someone burnt down the alter, or wrote on the walls, does not mean you are any less of a goddess temple. As the line says in the poem– “no man can make a wounded energy of your flesh.”

And no name- no shame- that you felt after the one night stand, the rape, the callous looks of someone who is upset about something in themselves and has nothing to do with you, can ever take away the fact that you know your inner value.

That’s why the word hurts so much, and I don’t use it as I know that it has been used all too much. As a hopeless slur, to abuse you. To abuse all of us. As younger generations appear, I am confident there is not a fourteen year old school girl that has not been called this name in some form or capacity – as- class shaming becomes pre-dominant and as a way to cut girls down when they are learning so many other things from the media and TV about what it is to be a girl – and what’s bad about it.

About how bad it is to have larger breasts, or to have smaller breasts, to have sex with consent, to refrain from it. To wear short skirts and low cut tops, and to cover up, and to be human, and to live and to love and to cry.

And I’m sorry if I’m getting emotional, but this is important to me. Because those girls are important to me. Because they are me – I was them once and they will become what I am now, and I hope to God that they can see themselves as lovable with all this crap going on as women begin to find it hard to orgasm with all of these conflicted and shameful messages in their heads.

Tell your daughters- they are a temple. They have their own inner space and power. Don’t let any media image or bitchy girl trample all over that, because that is so easily done. And at that age, it is hard to become un-done.

Tell them, they are never a slut.

 They are women. And we laugh at the crocodiles.


Buy Now Button

Ten reasons not to use the word sl*t

awesome-jelly-what-makes-you-a-slutLegs. Source: Awesome Jelly

If you’re reading my blog, I am probably preaching to the choir, but here goes, ten reasons not to call anyone a slut.

  1. It implies sex is bad – and hello, everyone knows the opposite is true! (hat tip to asexuals who might not enjoy sex at all)
  2. It implies there is something wrong with the victim of this abuse, and they must change.
  3. It implies you are a God-like judger who knows how someone ‘should’ appropriately behave.
  4. It shows a lack of respect and caring for the person.
  5. In insulting one woman, you are putting down women as a gender, by telling them that she does not have autonomy to choose for herself what she does with her own body, neither then, should any woman.
  6. It contributes to rape culture. I’m not saying everyone who has used this word ever is a rapist, of course not! But what I am saying is this violent language is in the ballpark of ‘she was gagging for it,’ ‘I would hit that’, ‘no means yes’ language. Using the ‘s’ word is a stone’s throw away from making rape a more accessible means of violence. The same way amtssprache made killing easier for the Nazis. Language like this similarly dehumanises people, and makes violence easy. And beings one in three women in America will be either beaten or raped this year, I’d say it’s a good reason to stop.
  7. You’re not being accurate. If you call someone a slut, chances are it has nothing to do with their sexual experience. This shows there are complex reasons why you might want to say what you’re saying – what is it that you’re really getting at? What are you really upset about?
  8. It’s classist. The girls using it in sororities use it to put down the other girls who are poorer than them; they don’t dance in a way that they would like (or have as much money as they would like).
  9. It shows that women are making leaps and bounds in terms of freedom and equality. There is a direct correlation with the amount of slut shaming in relation to a movement of free speech and women’s rights. The suffragettes were, apparently, total sl*ts!
  10. You can break a young girl down and get her to question herself, her place in  the world, to feel like she has to live up to other’s expectations, that she is never good enough, and even, sadly, to feel that she is sexually ‘broken’.

So, there you have it, ten reasons not to use the ‘s’ word anymore- ever again. If you have to – try saying the ‘s’ word or putting in a star the way we would for n****r. Distinguishing the difference between saying the word and alluding to it shows that it is harmful – and shows that we are moving forward in terms of what we all, deem to be an acceptable way to treat each other in society.

What do you think? Are there any reasons that I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to give me a gift, thank you in advance x

Buy Now Button

Word play : SLUT

arts-effect-slut-the-playSlut the play. Source:Arts effect 

Warning: NSFW

Ok, so this one is about the word: slut.

I think this one may actually be more offensive than cunt. Because a cunt is just a strong sounding word for a vag, but slut has all sorts of connotations and judgements of its own.

The thing is, like how being hairless was associated with class, i.e. those who were hairless tended to be in the upper classes (poor people couldn’t afford razors!)… the word slut was actually originally used to describe a man who was dressed badly (“Did you see what John was wearing? -Flannel pants with a checkered shirt – what a slut!”)

omweekend-hot-slut-clubPopular Slut Club. Source: dollskill

It was next used to describe girls in lower class status when they were working as maids and didn’t do the housework to the standards their boss would’ve liked. So really, we are implying girls who have more sex than the next girl are lower class citizens – but we knew that anyway, right?!

Just think of the type of girl who is a slut. Got her in your minds eye? Now, is she a powerful business executive who likes to sleep with guys when she pleases?! I’d guess not.

That’s why the word slut is not just about sex. It’s not just about telling girls it’s wrong what they do with their lady parts when they’re turned on (whole other blog post!) – it’s about what she looks like, how she dresses, her intelligence level, her class, if she has a lot of make-up on.

urbanette-magazine-slut-bitch-whoreSlut Whore Bitch. Source: Urbanette magazine

It’s also about her autonomy. And it’s about how the person using the word is feeling. It takes away the focus from them, and whatever needs they may have that aren’t being met (and believe me, they have them if using this word!), and puts it onto you. It’s about insecurity and fear, at the heart of it all.

The Cambridge Dictionary definition: (slang) “A woman who has sexual relationships with a lot of men without any emotional involvement.”

This word is so strong it can provoke strong reactions in women and men. ‘Slut’, of course, can now be used against men as well as women. Men who are deemed ‘too promiscuous’.

We’re all different, and some people like getting down a lot more quickly with a lot more people than other people do. And I don’t see why two consenting adults having a good time shouldn’t be able to do that without judgement or shame. In fact, as a pacifist, I would much rather that be a pass-time than war.

Women Calling Women Names

true-star-beaut-slut-pictureBeautiful slut. Source: true star

TV has educated us well to expect girls to be catty to other girls, and to fight over each other for the man. This is not an accurate representation of life. Nor is the idea that women only ever talk about men all the time and little else. But there is some truth in there: women slut shame.

Girls in high school reportedly call the other girls sluts in order to gain a higher rung in the pecking order (…noticing a pattern here?!), and women have been known to call the other girls sluts, because they would like the guy to see her as special. She’s the one who doesn’t give it away so easily. She’s special. He will have to work to get her. She is an upper class citizen, comparatively.

It’s this kind of behaviour that separates womankind. And that’s the saddest thing of all. -Have you ever heard of any other group doing that?

Do I look like a slut? Source: The tube

Creating a class within and between other women, is not a great way for us to all move forward as a gender. It implies that most women are below that of a man’s status, but a few are equal to it – the ones that aren’t sluts. The ones that don’t put out?! It’s ludicrous.

On top of that, if this system actually worked, none of us would ever get laid!

Then there’s the other sad side of this word. The part that relates to sexual violence. The idea that, if you can begin by calling a woman this label, it makes her a certain type of person – almost less human. And any kind of dehumanisation can easily lead to other forms of violence.

inside-sao-paolo-slut-walkI am not a sandwich. Source: Inside Sao Paolo

Words are powerful. Words of hate used against any group or individual need to be taken seriously.

So, what now? Well, considering it’s a word to denigrate women and lower their status as human beings, a violent phrase that implies unworthiness of love and equality, I’d say we have two options: we either don’t use it, ever, or, only women use it in a POSITIVE way (if this is even possible).

video-italiano-pulp-fictionSexy intellect. Source: videoitaliano

I, personally, am down with sexy women – sexual and creative and expressive beings. Women empowered in their sexuality – not put down by a classist, racist and sexist word.

“Sexy is always good.”

Donatella Versace

To support an anti-women shaming group, click here. And as always, leave a comment, let me know what you think!

 
If you enjoyed this article and would like to give me a gift, thank you in advance x

Buy Now Button