Dear crap, I'm an idiot. I know it's supposed to be sexist. I was thinking prejudiced or bigoted and I guess I missed the word.
Not an idiot :) I appreciate your attitude on the subject; the big mistake a lot of feminists (and others with strong beliefs) make is that they tend to blast apart people who are well-intentioned, but may not necessarily understand or have all the information, especially when they bring up certain subjects or suggest things that may be offensive. I suppose this is where the 'raging, angry feminist' stereotype comes from.
Let's say that I'm at a construction job making widgets. If we're going to be fair, then the person who can make more widgets should be paid more than the person who can't make as many. This is how I see it.
For this reason, I wouldn't expect to get paid as much as someone who doesn't have my medical issues for jobs where my asthma and other issues would cause me to be bad at my job. It's terrible for me, sure, but if I'm constantly hacking, wheezing and can't keep up with other workers, it doesn't make any sense for me to get paid as much.
Now, I'll certainly agree with equal pay for equal work, but it doesn't mean that I want equal pay regardless. I've seen cases where someone isn't keeping up with the rest and the word "discrimination" gets thrown around even when it's not. I doubt that you're asking for equal pay regardless, but I've seen it before.
I'm guessing what you're getting at here is workplace discrimination between the sexes or is it something else? The issue with equal pay is that it seems there are women who hold positions that are the equivalent of another man's and they are routinely paid less, on average, which I think is worth investigating. There was recently a lawsuit by a group of women against Wal-Mart due to some issues where it seemed to be that there were women who were up for promotion, but were consistently passed over for men. I think they tossed it out because Wal-Mart was deemed to already have sufficient non-discriminatory practices, but I find it hard to believe that if you see a pattern of a certain group being routinely passed over, that it's purely based on merit.
Appearance is just one of those things that I never really got. I've been told that the main reason women dress up is because other women judge them based on their appearance, so I'm not really sure how that's the fault of men. I'll agree that sexual harassment is wrong, and rape is wrong regardless of what someone is wearing.
A lot of expectations are perpetuated by men, and women can also exhibit sexist behavior towards other women, as well. If a woman doesn't shave her legs or armpits (and arguably, there is sometimes an expectation for shaving below the belt), it is considered unhygienic and 'gross'. In the 40's and 50's, there was a lot of literature put out (by men, of course) about a woman's "role". Some of it had to do with keeping herself looking a certain way for her husband. Since then, it's hard to say where it all stemmed from in modern times (I don't know everything there is to know on the subject), but there is a cycle of consumption out there, especially perpetuated by the media who, to nobody's great surprise, has been run predominately by men back in history.
Of course, you also see the message echoed in objectifying ads such as the beer ones - you see thin, white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed models with large breasts, narrow hips, and a flat stomach, and it sends the message that this is what men want to see.
And of course men are looking and judging, too! Men aren't immune to visuals, if the prevalence of Maxim and Playboy has anything to say about it. Why do men dress up? To look nice, feel confident/sexy/insert your own adjective here, and/or to potentially attract other people. Who are they typically trying to attract (obviously we're barring homosexuals from this reference)? Women. Who is looking and judging? Women. I would say it's not a whole lot different for women, either.
However, I'm seeing a dichotomy here.
You mention that you should be able to wear whatever you want, and I agree, but you also go after the girls who dress up at conventions. If they want to dress up that way, I say to let them.
I think you're misplacing my point a bit. I have nothing against women who want to dress provocatively - if they're doing so for the right reasons. This is the premise for female self-objectification
. I personally think it's kind of a blurry subject because who am I to say what empowers one female and degrades another -- but at the same time, if they're emulating their favorite superheroes or anime characters or what-have-you, who created THOSE characters, and to what end? Wonder Woman is a strong female lead, but she's wearing bondage cuffs and a bustier, which are hardly practical for fighting crime. Are they dressing up as those characters because it makes them feel good and empowered, or are they doing it because it's expected? The whole joke about Halloween being one of the only times it's acceptable to dress "like a slut" pretty well exemplifies it, I think.
However, I'll admit that even if I'm not screaming out obscenities, I'm still going to look. I've been known to stare when a girl flashes, but I think that just makes me attracted to females more than it makes me a bigot.
I'm not condemning men for being attracted to women -- I think this is a point that kind of gets lost in a lot of these kinds of discussions. When you become fixated on a woman for her body, it is objectifying. Initial attraction isn't a bad thing, certainly someone's looks are the most readily noticeable thing about them, but things like staring and occasionally obsessing over body parts (tits and ass, if you will!) is
objectifying and it is
harmful. It reduces the owner of those things to the sum of their parts.
Backing up on the superheroes, they're always in stupid poses. They deliberately draw them to appear larger than life, more powerful and heroic. Look at all the stupid things Tobey Maguire was doing in the Spider Man movies in order to look like the drawings.
Though I'll agree that chainmail bikinis are idiotic, and when I'm looking for a picture to play a female, I refuse to use a faux-armor pic to play an armored character.
I'll agree with you here that there is a definite problem overall in comicbooks of unrealistic, insane crap (...capes? Why are they wearing capes?! That's not practical!), there is simply no comparison to the sexualization of the women involved. They are not portrayed as being powerful for their physical prowess or cunning -- hell, isn't it Poison Ivy and Catwoman who had powers that involved kissing their enemies? Batman isn't straddling his enemy's lap with his midriff showing while making a seductive face. Their suits don't come with a handy zipper down the front to show off their rippling man-cleavage.
This gets into stereotyping, though. Rape on all fronts is wrong, so it's not really fair to blame all men just because more men are rapists, especially when there are women rapists. Certainly we wouldn't blame a particular race if that race is more apt to commit crimes, right?
You're on the right lines, yes, but when we look into why a certain race has more crimes, we also look at what is surrounding them, what is perpetuating the desire or need to commit crime. For many minorities, it is their socioeconomic status, fueled by a society that is still dealing with issues of non-obvious racism and prejudice that make it harder for those people to get/keep jobs, own property, and even eat healthy foods.
In the case of rape, it's certainly very hard to pin down the exact numbers (and you really can't estimate what isn't reported), especially because some of the numbers are conflated by lumping in sexual assault or simply indiscriminate categorizing (some feminist websites, for example, don't presume innocence until proven guilt, so they lump all reported cases of rape/sexual assault together regardless of the legal verdict), but based on the greater numbers of women who are threatened by sexual harassment, the prevalence of an attitude that is "don't dress like a slut" (SlutWalk aims to counter one particular example), as well as the more powerful position of men in society on the whole, I'd say it's a fairly realistic guess to say that men, on the whole, are not being oppressed by rape in the same way women are and it is a more realistic guess with the given statistics to say that while male rape does happen and should be addressed and the victim-shaming stopped, it is simply not as prevalent as violence towards women.
To relate this back to race again -- if minorities, on the whole, are being shown to have lower employment rates, it is not incorrect or untrue to say "Well, I'm a white male and I can't find a job", it's just not indicative of any greater trend that may be overshadowing it.