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paul wheaton
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Something that bugs me .... and last night a woman I respect a great deal said something .... she also said that it is something that she is working on ... and I think it is a prevalent issue ....

Apparently, in some country there are ex-pat guys that have purchased land and are attempting to do permaculture.  And they have interns.  And the interns are usually quite young.  And some of the interns are female.  So the woman that was saying stuff last night ....  she said there is this sort of ... uncomfortable-ness that she gets with these land owning guys and the young women .... and she did say something about how it seems that these fellas puff out their chests with pride over their land.

So now I kinda feel like if I go down there and buy land, do I default into this weird category of creepy permaculture guys where half of my interns are female.  And since the climate is hot, they won't be overdressed. 

And it isn't as if this one woman is the only person who has said something like this.  It seems to me that this sort of sexism is very common. 

So I'm doomed.  We're doomed.  Me and any other guys my age that save their pennies and buy land.  We're all gonna be icky letches.

Well, unless we're cute.  And this is my own speculation:  sexist women think guys are icky unles they're cute.  If they are cute (or handsome) then somehow they aren't icky.

The weird thing is that when I was younger I was probably far letch-ier than I am now.  Now I feel less male than I was 20 years ago.  But apparently if you own land, that makes you letch-ier. 

I wonder if these land-owner guys were gay if they would somehow not be icky, but be cool?

I remember a woman a long time ago told me about a way to tell if something is sexist:  replace "man" or "woman" with "black people" and try it out.  So, in this case it might read as "Black people owning land and white interns is icky." 

I guess I'm just whining.  Maybe with a little whining I'll feel less like the bad guy before I've done anything wrong.

 
jeremiah bailey
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Too late! You already committed the ultimate sin: you were born with one less x chromosome! How dare you own land and have interns help you work the land! God help you because 50% of your interns have two x chromosomes! You lecher, you!

Is this uncomfortable-ness coming from the mere thought of what could happen in this situation? Or are these guys actually taking advantage of the situation beyond the free/cheap labor force? If the former is the case, then the role of lecher belongs to the beholder, and not the landowners.

On the surface, it seems as these guys are just equal opportunity employers. Perhaps they should make the female interns wear burqas?
 
paul wheaton
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I don't know if anything less than wholesome happened.  The general impression I got was a strong desire for more all-women things and there was this sort of ... discomfort ... with yet-another-middle-aged-guy.  Maybe the woman that is feeling uncomfortable has been hit on a lot and is weary of it. Still, it did feel a lot like women are wonderful until they prove otherwise and men are kinda creepy until they prove otherwise. 

Bummer.


 
 
Gwen Lynn
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I have been mulling over a response to this post.

1st off, you've mentioned those interns "are usually quite young". That description could mean different things to different people. A 20 yr old may seem quite young to a menopausal woman in her 50's; but that 20 yr old is past legal age and should be capable of making her own decisions.

Decades ago, I was 19 and "dating" a 45 year old photographer...by my own choice. I truly enjoyed our relationship! We had a lot in common; he was interesting and experienced, especially when compared to my moronic peers. Yeah, I know what people thought, but I didn't care one whit! I learned a lot from him on many levels and have no regrets.

IMHO, it is the biological nature of middle aged, heterosexual males to want to look at women who are younger than themselves. As an almost 50 yr old woman, I have no problem with this and I understand it. It's an instinctive behavior that's frowned upon by puritanical beliefs in society. Most men are still able to procreate late in life. Women usually are not.

I think men are drawn to younger women because of this very basic instinct. Hell, nobody looks at me (these days) and (instinctively) thinks, ooh, I want to "make babies" with her! That would just be silly!  Tony Randall (the actor) married and had children with a woman who was 50 years younger than him. Personally, I couldn't think of him as lecherous, but I'm sure many did.

I'm very lucky to have a wonderful husband (he's 6 years older than me) and a relationship that works well on all the right levels! We don't have children. There are many who'd say that I'd have a different attitude if I had an 18 yr old who was interning for a bunch of middle aged men. If I had a daughter, I would try to see that she was well informed, and able to make her own decisions. There is only so much you can do. Oftentimes, people have to experience things for themselves, good or bad.

I personally don't consider a man as "creepy" just because he likes to look at/associate with pretty, young women. However, society and laws (depending on the state/country) take issue when the "young" in question are under 18, and looking leads to other behaviors.

paul wheaton wrote:
I don't know if anything less than wholesome happened.


"Wholesomeness" is relative. If we are talking about consenting adults, then it should be a non-issue.

It occurs to me that depending on the country, (and assuming they were locals) being an intern for these guys you've mentioned, might possibly be a better life (with more options) than these young women would have otherwise. There is much we don't know about the whole situation. If those women are freely interning at their own choice, well, "how it looks" should also be a non-issue.

People will make assumptions, and one can be thought of as guilty by association. "Oh if that's what they're doing, you must want that too." Whatever is going on in that country on that land, may be perfectly legal there, but considered immoral in the US. Therein lies the problem.
 
jeremiah bailey
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Here's another perspective: How is this much different than college? Young men and women are away from parents for the first time, and are under the supervision of a teaching staff. Instead of learning academics, they're learning about living off the land. But I digress, you can't please everyone all the time.
 
Brenda Groth
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honestly I don't think it has anything to do with LAND or PERMACULTURE..there are just some icky men and some icky women out there..that will always give a bad name to each sex !!!

I can usually tell an ICKY man by how he treats the women he deals with..same with an ICKY woman to be sure !!

being a woman there are men that when you are around them you just KNOW they are ICKY..like the one that used to cruise the neighborhood when I was a very young girl and pull up the car and idle beside a 10 and 12 year old girl walking to the post office or store..and make conversation with her..trying to lure her in..he is ICKY..they are obvious..and they are in HUGE numbers out there..

so if you aren't one of them that treats..talks to..or looks at women in that ICKY way..you won't be looked on as ICKY..women can sense it..young girls usually can if they have any brains..some don't care.
 
jeremiah bailey
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Brenda, not all women and men have an accurate sense of icky-ness in the opposite sex. There are many who just find the opposite sex altogether icky, regardless of the individual. There are also many who find them altogether not icky as well. The former is just as bad because they don't sense when they're being taken advantage of.
 
paul wheaton
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I guess that was the impression I was left with.  From this one woman's perspective, women start off on a pedestal until they prove that they are not pedestal-worthy.  Men start off in a pit of waste until they prove they are not pit-worthy.

And, of course, I could be terribly wrong. 

And my deeper concern is that if I am right, I think this woman is not alone in feeling this way.  There may even be ... millions of women that feel this way.  Maybe even more than 10% of the population of women.

 
Brenda Groth
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that is really sad but I suppose you are probably right. I'm not that familiar with those women I guess..I've never gotten along that well with a good number of the women i've been around..either..so maybe I am an exception don't know..but I always respect the abilities that men have..and the abilities that women have..and don't necessarily feel that certain things are men jobs or women jobs..like some people do..guess cause i was maybe closer to my father than my mother I learned mostly Men "typed" jobs..like carpentry, gardening, working with blueprints, etc..and was never taught the womenly "typed" jobs of cooking, cleaning, sewing..etc..

but as an adult I was self taught in those areas when I realized I needed the ability to do most of them..never as well as the jobs i learned as a child..still tend to lean toward carpentry and gardening.
 
jeremiah bailey
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I don't really think its really limited to men vs. women. There is rich vs. poor, religion A vs. religion B, liberals vs. conservatives, etc. There are many classification of people that think their class is better than the other. I think its really human nature. I think the person who has no delusions of grandeur, however small they may be, is extremely rare. There is the person who gets mad at other people's driving, or waiting behind the obnoxious person who takes their sweet time at the cashier arguing about some trivial matter. Any time you get irritated by someone else who has different view points, I contend that you're having thoughts that you're better than them.
 
Brenda Groth
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that makes total sense to me
 
paul wheaton
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Well, let me just add a little frosting to this cake ...

One more thing that bothers me in this space (which might explain part of the subject line) - this form of sexism sometimes gets a coat of paint on it called "feminism".  I used to think that "feminism" was a study of the form of sexism where women have a disadvantage and seeking equality.  But I have learned that feminism sometimes means encouraging sexism by leaving equality behind and seeking advantage for women.




 
jeremiah bailey
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I think feminism is kind of like unions. They both started out with a good goal. But neither stopped with "right." Both movements pushed for more. I can think of any cause in the name of the better good for all, that either didn't get off the ground or was taken too far.
 
Brenda Groth
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if you are referring to the feminist movement, that was one of the stupidist thingis that ever happend to womanhood..and I am totally NOT a feminist..or ever have I attempted to have equality with men..

why should I want to be equal with a man? that is just stupid..God created me a woman.

Sure I do things that a lot of woman consider man jobs..and a lot of men consider man jobs..so what..around here i just do what has to be done ..my husband has to be cared for 24 / 7....who else wil build and maintain the buildings and yards santa claus ?...at least he did the laundry last night..not how i woud have done it..but it was done..and nothing was ruined...so i say thank you ..and appreciate the fact that he was able to do it..and I go mow the lawn..
 
Gwen Lynn
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I think that women should be paid equally for doing the same work as a man, provided she does it equally as well. Salaries should be based on skill & performance, not what gender you are or aren't. Thankfully, I think we are pretty much there in today's society. I hope!

 
Brenda Groth
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guess you are right there when they talk about unemployment now....they say that more men are losing jobs than women.

my husband always felt that I shouldn't work OUT and that he should be the provider..I know it made him feel better about himself..but after the head injury I WANTED to help out and work..it just didn't work out for our family..he needed me then at home..working out of the house was always a disaster when i did it..he couldnt' handle me not being home.

Now i take care of him (totally mentally disabled) ..and do pretty much everything else..not feminisim..but NEED
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Gotta point out a few interesting facts that I'm still attempting to grok myself.

Women are still paid less than men for the same job and with similar qualifications. One relevant indicator: the Lilly Ledbetter act.

In a "motherhood penalty" article, childless women received 2.1 times more calls back about a job than women with similar qualifications.

I am a single, working mother. Pay equity is inherently important to me. I dropped out of college to start a business, get married and have kids, and was mostly home with my kids in their younger years. This is a "mommy track" that has reduced my education, skills and experience. This means I make less money than most men who would have started down an accounting path at the same time I did, 20-odd years ago.

Feminism, in my view, attempted to highlight this problem, and find ways to encourage some societal shifts that could change this. Meaning, if I was home with my kids for 10-15 years, does that mean my standard of living should be lower than someone (man or woman) who was working outside the home that entire time? How does someone fix that? 

I think Jeremiah's comment about feminism and unions is spot on. There are elements in feminism and unions that I wholeheartedly support, and I agree that some things were taken too far, or didn't quite hit their mark.

Additionally, some women do take things too far with dislike towards men. On the other hand, some have legitimate reasons for their dislike. I've worked with men whom I admire, trust and just plain enjoy hanging out with. And I've worked with icky men: one who touched women inappropriately (including me), one who asked about women's underwear (!), and one who leered almost constantly and made sexual references far too often.

Assumptions can cut both ways. A woman can assume all men are creepy, and have sweeping anti-male attitudes. I know this is true. And men can assume a woman is anti-male when she is not. Get the facts, get to know someone. That's the only way to tell.
 
paul wheaton
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I think that if a guy chooses to take 15 years off from work to go surfing, the career impact would be identical to a guy choosing to take 15 years off for being a stay-at-home-dad. 

And it would be same for the surfing woman and stay-at-home-mom.

When a company hires, say, engineers, should they hire based on who has the most experience building bridges or because surfing is so damn cool? 

As a father who went to work - I'll gladly trade.  I'll trade all that time at work for being a stay-at-home-dad.  And I'll gladly trade future career impact for it.  As I am sure that you are glad that you made that trade. 

As for "Women are still paid less than men for the same job and with similar qualifications." - how much less?  Is it that 10% of women are getting shorted 10% or is it that 90% of women are getting shorted 30%?  Or ... something else?  My experience is that women are getting paid the same.  The only cases I'm aware of where they are not is what pops up in the news about some state far, far away and some icky twit was doing it.  And the twit and the twits company lost the case.  So my impression is that it is really rare and it is correctable by the current legal system. 

On to the motherhood penalty article:  So I'm reading it and trying to understand the point ...  and in the second paragraph the author says "the researchers found that the mother was 100-percent less likely to be hired when she applied for a position." ... uh ....  I think the author needs to spend a bit more time studying math and statistics.    If one group is 2.1 times more likely than another group then I think the percentage she is looking for is 67.7%.  Which is different from 100%.  Very different. 

Okay - so I'm going to try to read the article and skip over the author's messed up math ...

And it sounds like the researchers sent out 638 fake resumes for real jobs.  That seems really inappropriate.  And the inappropriate-ness of it makes me wonder if other corners were cut.

"Tracking interview requests, childless women got 2.1 times as many callbacks as mothers with similar credentials." - how do the companies find out about whether women have children?  I would think it would be highly illegal to ask for that kind of information at any point.  And if somebody says "I'm a mom" in their resume, that would strike me as weird enough that I would be more likely to skip over that resume in favor of the pile of resumes that contain professional information only.

What the hell ..... at the end of the article it says "the fake resumes of fictional women were reviewed and acted upon by 'paid undergraduate volunteers.'" - what?  I thought it was real jobs?  I'm so confused.

I'm sorry, Jocelyn, I'm trying to look past the bucket of crazy and find the information that that article is attempting to convey, but I'm afraid I have to give up.  Maybe you have some other info that conveys this?

The bottom line is that I think sexism is bad.  I think that if people choose to do the stay-at-home-parent gig then they are very lucky.  And, as always, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.  The only sexism that happens is that our society embraces women making this choice but men are discouraged - and I don't think I need statistics to prove that.  And a lot of this discouragement is reasonably rooted in breastfeeding stuff.

Of course, while I can see a woman telling her spouse "After the baby is born, I'm going to be a stay-home-mom"  and the dad is given no choice ... what I cannot see is the reverse:  the dad saying "After the baby is born, I'm going to be a stay-home-dad" leaving the implication that the mom is going to keep her job and support them. 


 
Leah Sattler
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back to the original premise. I think you are labeling women as thinking men are icky because the women think they are better then the men. I don't think it has anything to do with that. historically and currently speaking one of the biggest threats to a woman is men. women are often naturally wary of men with good reason. especially in a situation where it seems a bit more personal. we are truly the weaker sex physically. like it or not no matter how much I work out and lift weights I can't come close to compteing with the strength of my husband even when he has been doing nothing but sit on the couch for months. 

I grew up with all male freinds. I had none of the fear and trepidation that is ingrained in many women inregards to men. A few experiences and now having a daughter I realize the danger I put myself in sooooo many times and I can view situations with a little more objectivity. so I am a bit different in that the fear and ickyness of men is not something I was raised with. but a healthy dose of the real world has instilled it in me to some extent. although I still have to step back and purposely assess a situation. I can't rely on my instincts because my instincts tell me "I can take care of myself and this is just another guy like any other that poses no threat and has no interest in me."

keep in mind also that women often don't get to see a man with passion who will get excited about teaching or talking to someone who has common interest very often. that eagerness is very likely to be interpreted wrong. most women only see that eager look in a man who is...er..... courting her aka "trying to get some". and going somewhere for education only to feel courted is icky and down right annoying. as a young woman being very comfortable with men I often didn't reckognize when a man was interested in me only because he was interested in me as the opposite sex.  it sucks to think you were having a great conversation with a guy and then come to the realization about the situation and his intentions. I can see where some women can become a bit sensitive to the vibes and misinterpret things or at least be suspicious.

I think the feminist movement is a crock. it de womanized women. it didn't tell them they were as good as men it told them they were only as good as men if the did what men do. it didn't validate the role women had in society it devalued it.

 
Brenda Groth
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having been sexually abused by a man during my teen years and afraid to turn my back on my husband because of it..trust me i understand the fear of men..even though 90 percent of my friends have always been men.

when some strange man walks up and pushes his body against you in a public situation and thinks he can grope you..hey..that is ICKY
 
paul wheaton
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I think you are labeling women as thinking men are icky because the women think they are better then the men.


Whoa!  Hold on there!

When you say it that way, it sounds like I am suggesting that my concern is about all women.  I most certainly am not.  I think I've been very careful to make sure that it is a small subset.

 
Leah Sattler
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oh I wasnt' meaning you think "all women". I was using that in the context of the thread.

you say

"So the woman that was saying stuff last night ....  she said there is this sort of ... uncomfortable-ness that she gets with these land owning guys and the young women .... and she did say something about how it seems that these fellas puff out their chests with pride over their land."



and then you say...

"And it isn't as if this one woman is the only person who has said something like this.  It seems to me that this sort of sexism is very common"

your implication seems to be that if women are uncomfortable around men (icky) then they are sexist. I am saying it isn't sexism that makes women uncomfortable around men and it isn't sexism that makes other women view a older man/young women interaction (or other male female interaction) as icky or uncomfortable. its tripping up wires in the brain cultivated by thousands of years of evolution.


I just think you are labeling this sexism when it has absolutley nothing to do with it. we can 'equalize" women and men in law but their differences remain and the reactions and behaviors that have been there for thousands of years aren't going away anytime soon and should be respected . it isn't sexism... it is just reality. when men and women come to together there is often a sexual undertone and how that is percieved is different and justifiable and not sexism. it just is. and women probably tend to me more sensitive to it because there is an element of danger involved with their intereractions with men.
 
                          
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I don't know what country you speak of.  I know in England I toured a man's permaculture organic farm and there was a WOOFer from some African country, a young woman.  Partly because I personally was somewhat attracted to the man (farmer) I pruriently wondered if the woman, with an apparent cottage of her own (the farm tour didn't cover that extensively), had a relationship with the man since she'd been there a long time and I only think of woofing for a few days or weeks not months.   Had I been certain they were dating/having sex with each other I would've wondered if she felt free to refuse to date him.

I hear from US tourists in various African countries that women have more 'casual' sex there and seem to have less sense of being able to refuse it.  (Certainly this is not true of every African woman- just the handfuls my contacts have encountered and who knows how many others)  I hear from Brits of white men in Africa 'going native' ie dating local women and 'no longer being fit' for European women to date because they have such 'piggish' expectations of their women (tolerate infidelity, uncertain what else).  So if these expats are in some third world country I would again worry if women young or older felt part of their job included sex with the boss.  Native or foreign boss.

I've been a teacher (of medics and soldiers, ie not often in a classroom) and a military officer and I am a doctor.  I have a strong sense of what sexual harassment is: an abuse of power by someone who has power over someone.  I think if I want to date a student, patient, or subordinate officer/worker I need to wait until that power relationship has ended before initiating a relationship.  Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky shocked and dismayed me most for the harassment (even if she welcomed it) not the adultery or the work time sex.

So anyway the woman is either more pruriently minded than me, or maybe has truthfully noted that these farmers treat women differently: ... "and she did say something about how it seems that these fellas puff out their chests with pride over their land..."  If they only do this with women, even if they are not trying to date the women, they are being sexist.  Of course that is not as bad as the sexism I have encountered where my appearance in a group of men made the exhausted chief resident suddenly start talking about beds and sex instead of our surgical patients, or the colonels who would begin discussing their sex life when I was there, and called me by my first name but spared the male officers the sex talk and used their last names.  This woman may be even more sensitized by her life experiences to dislike and disdain what she perceived.

Harassment- in my book- would include dating a worker on your farm at all unless you respectfully said something like "I certainly don't want to pressure you at all, and this will not affect your working here at all, but would you be interested at all in a romantic relationship with me?"  If she has been there 2 months and has 4 to go this could not possibly be (or anyway you could not possibly be certain) a pressure free experience for her.  Now if at the end of 6 months she was saying "Well, guess I'll go to a farm in Utah next month.." and you said "Would you be interested in trying out for tenant for life here?"...

So anyway- make sure you puff out your chest for women AND men every time you show off your spread...
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I think a feminist take on this could run as follows:

The power of owning land has historically been used to exploit people in all sorts of ways, to the point that exploitative types have sought to own land for that very purpose.  To this day, the average man has more means to own land than the average woman.  It's worth keeping an eye on powerful people to make sure they don't exploit people with less power.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Dale here, reviving another older thread.

In all but the most extreme cases, I think that both parties in any sort of shenanigans are fully aware of their rights and any potential downside to having a relationship. When a union does occur, it is possible that both people are happy with it. Women tend to be less shallow than most of us men, so it could be that the young women look past the old guy's age and find other things that they like about him. His skills and enthusiasm might be part of that. They have come together over mutual interests. This alone would seem to be a natural starting point for a relationship to evolve under.

In most male/female relationships, I believe that it is the women who do the choosing. If an attractive and intelligent young woman walks into a room, all of the available and many of the unavailable men will take notice. If she judges one of the fellows worthy, she will subtly encourage him to pay her attention and before you know it, they're dating. Women are often attracted to men of accomplishment. The fact that the guy has land would indicate that he may have his financial house in order. To certain women who have dated penniless losers, the idea of landing a man who has resources and a strong work ethic is a powerful aphrodisiac. His ability to provide a stable home may be more important to her than whether he has all of his hair. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DIGRESSION
Here's an example of how I see others judge relationships that they view from a distance. Here in Victoria, we have many foreign students at the university, mostly from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Quite often, the girls date local men and some have gotten married. I have sat in on a few conversations where local women complain that these women are STEALING all of the good men. They don't like it one bit.

There are also quite a few older guys who have found wives while abroad. These unions are also judged harshly by many outsiders. I have a friend who is a little weird and he isn't very attractive. If he were to return from the Philippines with a woman, the chatter would be about how terrible it is that he has taken advantage of the poor girl. I'm much more "marketable" than my friend, in that I'm better looking, wealthier and more articulate. If I were to return with the identical twin of my friend's imaginary new wife, she would be seen as an opportunist who has poached another eligible bachelor. You really can't win in these situations. If two consenting adults have something going, the complexities of their situation will seldom be something that a passerby could adequately judge.
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MORE DIGRESSION
I once horribly misjudged a relationship from a distance. I was on Kitsilano beach in Vancouver eight years ago, where I watched a man in his seventies set up an umbrella and chairs. He was soon joined by a woman in her early thirties. I thought "sugar daddy." Later, they came over to where I was carving driftwood and we got talking. Saul, the old guy, was the young woman's neighbour. Jill had been Saul's neighbour since she was a university student, seven years earlier. A degenerative nerve disease had crippled her and she now required full time care. Saul had retired from a good job and had planned to travel the world. Jill had no family who could help, so Saul got a bigger place and moved her in. He had been caring for her ever since. They had gone to the beach that day because she felt up to it after months of being too sick. Jill said that she would probably have had to move to East Hastings (Canada's worst neighbourhood) if not for Saul's generosity. I gave them the little bowl that I had carved. Jill gathered some sand and shells to display in the bowl and then she asked Saul if he would mix some of her ashes into the sand when she dies. He agreed and gave her a hug.

That was a very unusual day that I'll never forget. Things are often not as they first appear to be.
 
wayne stephen
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Richard Pryor had a skit in which he outlined why black folks could say N----- and white folks could not. Chris Rock goes further and jokes why fat girls can talk about skinny girls but not vice versa. It comes down to who has historically been in the oppressor class and has used bigoted humor and language to keep another class or race downtrodden. I believe this gender sensitive dilemna is parallel to the humor dilemna. There is alot of historical baggage attached to any role which even resembles paternalism. Whose baggage is it though ? Can we menfolk say we are not giving off those signals socially , or actually harboring those mysoginistic tendencies ? Social evolution may progress faster than biological evolution but it still requires generations to become firmly entrenched as the norm. My hope is that one day we humans will view each other as autonomous and unique . Until then we need to be aware and respectful of the growing pains involved in the process. It took 100 years from the Emancipation Proclamation to the Selma March. Still a long way to go , only forty+ years since the first bra burnings. Right now the new roles are in the fetal stages . When the new roles are evolved and proven by time , young men and women will have no sense of the old roles . Their norms will be different than ours . That is my hope anyways . Sometimes after an Elightenment there is a Dark Age .
 
Dayna Williams
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wayne stephen wrote:When the new roles are evolved and proven by time , young men and women will have no sense of the old roles . Their norms will be different than ours . That is my hope anyways . Sometimes after an Elightenment there is a Dark Age .


Or maybe the "Enlightenment" wasn't quite as enlightened as we thought? No matter how much time passes (unless you know something about evolution that I don't), women are still going to have a uterus and breasts, and men are still going to be able to build sheer strength that most women can't match. You can burn your bra all you want, but pretending you don't have breasts doesn't make them go away. Especially on a forum where we celebrate the innate nature and unique roles of plants/animals (like nitrogen-fixing, or manure-producing), I think we can celebrate the uniqueness of the genders instead of trying to lump them together into one gender-neutral amalgam.

Maybe the enlightenment that we really need is for women to fully appreciate and utilize their feminine qualities if they want, rather than being told they are only worthy if they can "succeed" at traditional men's roles. And maybe men should be allowed to be manly if they want instead of having their more rugged qualities squashed by fearful women. I am all for equal value of the sexes, but equal roles just don't necessarily make practical sense.

Imagine a man and woman plunked down in the wilderness with no preconceived gender roles. Don't you think they might have a baby, and then the woman would say, "Hey, look, it makes sense for me to take care of this child who needs my milk every hour. Why don't you go use your strong muscles to move those heavy logs and make us a house?" They will revert to roles that make sense and utilize their innate strengths, even though they haven't been "conditioned" by "sexist" roles of the past.

 
Tyler Ludens
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I think in that fictional scenario the man and the woman would work together to build a shelter before the baby is born, and raise the baby together. But humans are social animals who lived for most of our time on this planet in bands, not in pairs, so typically the entire band will help raise the babies.

Some cultures have multiple gender identities and roles.

http://www.genderspectrum.org/understanding-gender
 
Kaye Derama
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Well, I'm thinking of a lot of things now because of this post and in the end I was like "WHAT"
All I can say is, I'm 19. Whether I'm that young or that old for anyone I can make decisions on my own and I earn my own money too. I believe that sexism is true but in my point of view it actually depends on the person if he/she is going to let stereotyping for man and woman affect his/her life. I have a boyfriend, we are 4 years apart and we are very dissimilar in some ways but we respect each others wants or likes or decisions or whatever. People become who they are by what they believe in so it's really up to you whether or not you'll let sexism in your mind and let it run over your life or be open-minded and welcome every person you meet. Never judge and look into the good they have inside, man or woman, rich or poor, old or young.
 
wayne stephen
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Certainly there are physical differences that matter. But the old ways were that the " weaker vessel " is also weaker mentally. We now can share in the planning and administration of our homes and business without the rigid roles. If your strength is in physical work and building and anothers is in music and business maybe the two match up regardless of the gender.
 
Dayna Williams
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I fully agree, Tyler and Wayne, and the hypothetical scenario may have been a little overly exaggerated. I just think sometimes we're too quick to assume that because traditional roles were repressive in some ways, they were automatically pure evil and need to be completely thrown out. It seems wiser to learn from them, assimilate their good points if we choose to, rather than fear them.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Interesting direction with this thread, but Paul's 1st line put a totally different spin on how my mind has worked in the past. Checking from time to time for an intern on WWoofers - I was concerned when I'd see a lot of 18-25 year old women, looking to spend time on a farm and doing so alone. I never thought a thing about the land owner's "ickiness" but for the kid and their possible naivety about situations that may arise. I think the icky/letch title may be born out of the same thoughts for the girl/woman I have had, although granted they sure as hell took their assumptions a step further. My concern is for these solo-traveling wwoofers; sounds like the name callers have assumed a land owners' act of carrying out a letch's dream is eminent. They are then the truly twisted ones!
 
wayne stephen
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I am in full agreement with you Dayna . My beautiful wife and I fall into a more traditional role with each other just by natural abilities and limitations. She is half my weight . When we exercise She picks up 5lb weights and I pick up what she weighs. She has stayed home with the children , home schooled , and ran our homes daily operations. I am the breadwinner. We are both good at what we do. She is also a horse trainer . A mare bucked and kicked her right hand 2 years ago breaking it. She immediately assumed a dominant stance and made that mare walk backwards 100 yards. Good horsemanship , strong womanhood.
Then she asked me to drive her to the ER. I am a nurse by trade , Director of Nursing. Neither a traditional role for men. My superior officers are woman , so are most of my charges. I know from example that woman can administrate , perform complex critical thinking , work on their feet all day. Hospitals are not run by Doctors they are run by Nurses , mostly women. So I think that as the next generations see woman in these roles , police - business management -
military - farming , they will not think it unusual , they will have a familiarity with those new roles and they will not pass the old prejudices on to their progeny . The same holds true for race relations. Familiarity opens the door to intimacy. We will all begin to learn each others true strengths and weaknesses as individuals , my prediction.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Marianne Cicala
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I guess my problem is, having someone else paste their "traditional" roles on me (and others), by claiming those roles are "natural."


I found out long ago, that you're the only one that can paste traditional roles on yourself. In the 70s, I could run a bead as good as any welder, but because I was 20ish, I was told that I would be distraction in the shop and no one would even let me apply for a welders' job (which paid a lot of money back then to a 23 year old). Pissed me off, but didn't stop me from building a career in what was certainly a man's world in the early 80s aka Wall St. and to a great extent still was when I left it 4 years go. I could never figure out why I was usually the only female in the room at meetings so I began to ask other women in the field why they didn't inquire about position beyond being an assistant - the answer was ALWAYS the same: this is where I belong. Self imposed tradition.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I don't agree that an individual is the only one who can paste traditional roles on themselves. People are pasting roles on others by claiming those roles are "traditional" and "natural" and this is seen as acceptable. Gender bigotry is still casually accepted, whereas in most circles racial bigotry is no longer acceptable.

sorry about all the editing, just not being able to communicate effectively today.

 
Marianne Cicala
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Tyler - I'll go along with "only" being out of line. Some folks just roll over when they could be shouting "CHARGE!!!" when roles are pigeon-holed by gender.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Marianne Cooper wrote:Some folks just roll over when they could be shouting "CHARGE!!!" when roles are pigeon-holed by gender.


This may be true, but I can't know what another person is up against, what challenges they're struggling with. They may be rolling over after a long personal fight. If I am able to succeed in a non-traditional role, it might be because of fortunate circumstances which another person doesn't have. I was not raised with a heavy burden of traditional expectations, and I think things might have been very different for me if I had been, much more difficult.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Absolute truth - I was lucky enough to be the only girl surrounded by brothers and a dad that was before his time - gender was unimportant. That's why I said Some, not all.
 
rowan james
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perhaps when discussing "feminism and sexism" it helps to remember they are belief systems that vary with the "believer" - despite having definitions, how they are practiced in a cultural context is never going to be uniform - like religions! folks referring to themselves as "Christian" or similar are going to have different ways of applying their beliefs to their reality/environments, depending on their version of Christianity. . . so if a person wants to have some beliefs, and then say those beliefs are because they are "feminist" this does not make their beliefs uniform amongst all "feminists" - although I realise a lot of people who "don't like feminists" might use these folks as examples of why (they don't like feminists). same goes for all belief systems that exclude "others" - yes?

but I really just wanted to say this thread made me smile, particularly with wayne's observations/personal stories - and Tyler including a link to understanding gender (!!) having respect for people as individuals is important to me, irrespective of their culturally labelled "positions" within the system, globally. the hierarchies are very apparent to anyone who travels extensively, be they issues of sex/gender, or dominant global cultures (aka "first/third world" labels), issues of class/colour/education/etc. some of these we are more familiar with, some we don't often notice until it's pointed out. but the "gender" hierarchy, that's an interesting story if one uses a wide angle lens applied globally. . . males/men have a more uniform position, considered "natural", while a female/woman has far more cultural baggage to deal with, depending on the territory they are born in and the social expectations. which is where gender roles can be observed more clearly, in a larger context.

one thing I love about permaculture is that anyone can use the principles to enhance their lives/living. . . while perhaps some men have more access to financing larger parcels of land, this has always been so - but not everything need be large scale, and the notion that one, any one, can live in harmony with their environment, in a way that encourages more peaceful interactions (less stress dealing with "cultural" stuff), this is so revolutionary!

peace.
 
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