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Old 12-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #841
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"Other" is often perceived as lesser---not just different.

Of course, there are differences between the sexes (though not as hard-drawn as traditionalists might expect). Of course, there are horrible and stupid women (and horrible and stupid men). Very few feminists that I would listen to would canonize women to sainthood. But I would no more point to a sub-segment of obnoxious feminism or other bad behavior of women as representative of womanhood any more than I would point to Westboro Baptist as representative of Christianity.

I think (and hope she will correct me if I am wrong) that jeevey's frustration with feminism 101 and going into the same territory over and over again is that it stymies any further progress on the discussion and marginalizes it to the point of tedium for the people it most affects--kind of like any discussion about something you care about that just gets stuck at the same point over and over again. I'm looking for a gifted class. At least an intermediate one.

I don't worry to much about explaining feminism to men. Some will understand. Some won't see the whole picture. And sometimes we do a piss poor job of talking about it.
But for the most part, I'm more interested in talking to other women about the subject, to compare notes and goals, to recognize the signs of soft sexism, to be aware of it. The blatant sexism is, well, blatant.

I'm not jumping on anybody whenever they exhibit soft sexism. I have better things to do and God knows, I've been guilty of it myself--sometimes toward men, sometimes toward women. But I'm aware of patterns and how destructive they can be. I'm not looking to convert men to OUR way of thinking--but I don't want women internalizing the views. I don't want them to only see themselves through somebody else's eyes. What a limiting filter. I like when women break barriers.

And I am looking forward to the day when women get more interesting perjorative terms than bitch, witch, stupid, unattractive, emotional and manipulative. How tedious. We can run the gamut of good and bad, just like men. We can be exciting bad.

History, and women, have always taken men into account. One of the few threads on feminism shouldn't have to worry about it. We're big girls. You're big boys.
This was a very wonderful post - thank you. I really like this comment:

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I like when women break barriers.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:53 AM   #842
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Why are there so many guys who act like this online? Why is it so bloody important that they are the middle of attention, that they win and be applauded?
That sort of stuff drives me crazy as well - in a video game, a sport, or at work. Many men dislike the attention hounds as much as you.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:05 PM   #843
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There have been a few comments in here over the past few pages that have stepped over from lively debate into antagonism. I understand that some in here take this issue very seriously and have visceral reactions to perceived dismissal or downplaying of their beliefs on the issue, but if there is to be a rational discussion on this, differing but respectfully offered viewpoints need to be allowed without being immediately shouted down.

Whether or not he shares your beliefs, I think Aeon's at least proven himself to be arguing in good faith here, and attacking him at every turn is not doing anything to further this discussion.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:14 PM   #844
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July 14, 2013
Nadezhda Popova, WWII ‘Night Witch,’ Dies at 91By DOUGLAS MARTIN


The Nazis called them “Night Witches” because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick.

The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin. Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an Iron Cross.

These young heroines, all volunteers and most in their teens and early 20s, became legends of World War II but are now largely forgotten. Flying only in the dark, they had no parachutes, guns, radios or radar, only maps and compasses. If hit by tracer bullets, their planes would burn like sheets of paper.

Their uniforms were hand-me-downs from male pilots. Their faces froze in the open cockpits. Each night, the 40 or so two-woman crews flew 8 or more missions — sometimes as many as 18.

“Almost every time we had to sail through a wall of enemy fire,” Nadezhda Popova, one of the first volunteers — who herself flew 852 missions — said in an interview for David Stahel’s book “Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941,” published this year.

Ms. Popova, who died at 91 on July 8 in Moscow, was inspired both by patriotism and a desire for revenge. Her brother was killed shortly after the Germans swept into the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the Nazis had commandeered their home to use as a Gestapo police station.

In “Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II” (2007), by Amy Goodpaster Strebe, Ms. Popova is quoted recalling the “smiling faces of the Nazi pilots” as they strafed crowds, gunning down fleeing women and children.

But Ms. Popova, who rose to become deputy commander of what was formally known as the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, said she was mostly just doing a job that needed doing. “We bombed, we killed; it was all a part of war,” she said in a 2010 interview with the Russian news service RIA Novosti. “We had an enemy in front of us, and we had to prove that we were stronger and more prepared.”

As the war began, Moscow barred women from combat, and Ms. Popova was turned down when she first tried to enlist as a pilot. “No one in the armed services wanted to give women the freedom to die,” she told Albert Axell, the author of “Russia’s Heroes: 1941-45” (2001).

But on Oct. 8, 1941, Joseph Stalin issued an order to deploy three regiments of female pilots, one of which became the Night Witches. The Russian pilot corps clearly needed bolstering; in addition, some have pointed out, heroic women made good propaganda. The lobbying of Marina Raskova, who had set several flying records and became the first commander of the women’s units, helped greatly.

Nadezhda Vasilyevna Popova was born in Shabanovka in Ukraine on Dec. 27, 1921. Viktor F. Yanukovich, the president of Ukraine, announced her death.

Growing up, Ms. Popova told Ms. Strebe, “I was a very lively, energetic, wild kind of person. I loved to tango, fox trot, but I was bored. I wanted something different.”

At 15, Ms. Popova joined a flying club, of which there were as many as 150 in the Soviet Union. More than one-quarter of the pilots trained in the clubs were women. After graduating from pilot school, she became a flight instructor.

Her delight at being accepted into the 588th Night Bomber Regiment gave way to steely seriousness after her first mission, in which a Soviet plane was destroyed, killing two friends. She dropped her bombs on the dots of light below. “I was ordered to fly another mission immediately,” she told Russian Life magazine in 2003. “It was the best thing to keep me from thinking about it.”

Ms. Popova became adept at her unit’s tactics. Planes flew in formations of three. Two would go in as decoys to attract searchlights, then separate in opposite directions and twist wildly to avoid the antiaircraft guns. The third would sneak to the target through the darkness. They would then switch places until each of the three had dropped the single bomb carried beneath each wing.

The pilots’ skill prompted the Germans to spread rumors that the Russian women were given special injections and pills to “give us a feline’s perfect vision at night,” Ms. Popova told Mr. Axell. “This, of course, was nonsense.”

The Po-2 biplanes flown by the Night Witches had an advantage over the faster, deadlier German Messerschmitts: their maximum speed was lower than the German planes’ stall speed, making them hard to shoot down. The Po-2s were also exceptionally maneuverable. Still, Ms. Popova was shot down several times, although she was never hurt badly.

Once, after being downed, she found herself in a horde of retreating troops and civilians. In the crowd was a wounded fighter pilot, Semyon Kharlamov, reading “And Quiet Flows the Don,” Mikhail A. Sholokhov’s epic Soviet novel. They struck up a conversation, and she read him some poetry. They eventually separated but saw each other again several times during the war. At war’s end, they met at the Reichstag in Berlin and scribbled their names on its wall. They soon married.

Mr. Kharlamov died in 1990. Ms. Popova, who lived in Moscow and worked as a flight instructor after World War II, is survived by her son, Aleksandr, a general in the Belarussian Air Force.

Ms. Popova was named Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation’s highest honor. She was also awarded the Gold Star, the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Star.

“I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes,” Ms. Popova said in 2010. “I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber. And I ask myself, ‘Nadia, how did you do it?’ ”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 19, 2013


An obituary on Monday about the World War II pilot Nadezhda Popova referred incorrectly to her birthplace, Shabanovka. At the time of her birth, in December 1921, it was in Ukraine — not the Soviet Union, which did not yet exist. (It was established a year later.)
They made a film about the Night Witches.

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December 19, 2013
‘The Night Witch

By ALISON KLAYMAN NY Times

This is one of five films commissioned in conjunction with The Times Magazine’s The Lives They Lived issue, which commemorates people who died this year.

As a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I devoured as much information as I could about World War II when I was young. By middle school I had checked out every available book from the surprisingly vast canon of young adult Holocaust and World War II literature at my local library. So when I read the obituary this year of Nadezhda Popova, known as Nadia, I was surprised that I had never encountered the story of the Night Witches before.

The women were part of the Soviet Union’s all-female 588th Night Bomber Regiment, and among the world’s first female combat flight pilots. In the dark, they’d cut their engines and fly close to the ground to hit their targets; the sound made the Germans think of a witch’s broom.

In making a short film to honor Ms. Popova, who died in July, I sought to emphasize the fairy-tale quality of the Night Witches’ story. I teamed with the animator Dustin Grella (creator of a previous Op-Doc and a short film, “Prayers for Peace,” which memorialized his brother, who died in combat in Iraq). He draws each frame of his animations in pastels on slate, providing a stark quality that complements the historical narrative.

In interviews with Ms. Popova and other Night Witches, the women look back at their service in the world’s first unit of female combat flight pilots with a striking degree of matter-of-factness. They were adamant that their wartime achievements were made in the service of their country, aided by their love of flying. Yet many also commented that they wouldn’t wish to do it again. Rather than reading this as a sign of a weaker feminine constitution, as some critics of women in the military claim, I saw a courageous acknowledgment that war was terrible for all who experienced it.

As Reina Pennington wrote in “Wings, Women and War,” the Night Witches were a useful propaganda tool for the Soviet Army. But the story of women who fought in World War II was mostly played down after the war, and cultural perceptions of women as unsuited for combat remained unchanged. It wasn’t until 1993 that the United States Air Force lifted a 45-year ban prohibiting women from flying fighter jets and bombers. After 20 years under these new rules, female pilots now make up about 2 percent of Air Force fighter pilots at the rank of lieutenant colonel and below. Just this year, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the end of the military’s ground combat exclusion rule. It is still not clear how this change will be reflected in military rules and practice.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:33 PM   #845
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To be clear, I don't think Aeon is arguing in bad faith. I think he's in a position where he's never really had to do a lot of serious examination of gender politics from a woman's point of view, which puts him in company with an awful lot of other people. I am coming back to his responses, just after I write a term paper.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:34 AM   #846
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Sorry for stirring up the abortion issue here, but this video was so hilarious and confounding, I had to post it.

A Dude Trying To Ban Abortions Is Asked A Question He Never Considered. It's So Obvious It Hurts.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:35 PM   #847
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Sorry for stirring up the abortion issue here, but this video was so hilarious and confounding, I had to post it.

A Dude Trying To Ban Abortions Is Asked A Question He Never Considered. It's So Obvious It Hurts.
In all fairness - to someone that is "Pro Life" - asking why a woman would want to have an abortion is similar to asking why do you think a person would want to carry out premeditated murder. Could you have answer a quick answer available as to why someone would want to consider, plan, and execute and murder?

Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity are nothing more than the TMZ equivalent for "news." Asinine shows for meme-fed-bumper-sticker-slogan-stunted minds.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:33 PM   #848
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It's not similar. It's not even close. Abortion has nothing to do with murder.


The guy in the video just makes himself look absolutely ridiculous. It goes to show that those men in high places opposing abortion just want it because of either religious reasons or because it wins them votes. They know nothing about the real reasons and dramas behind the abortions.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #849
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In all fairness - to someone that is "Pro Life" - asking why a woman would want to have an abortion is similar to asking why do you think a person would want to carry out premeditated murder. Could you have answer a quick answer available as to why someone would want to consider, plan, and execute and murder?

Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity are nothing more than the TMZ equivalent for "news." Asinine shows for meme-fed-bumper-sticker-slogan-stunted minds.

I know you firmly believe abortion is murder, AEON, but I think what happened in the video totally went over your head.

BTW, if someone were to ask me that question, I would have an answer ready because I do my best to see the world from other people's eyes. It should be noted that does not mean that I support everything they do.
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:45 PM   #850
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In all fairness - to someone that is "Pro Life" - asking why a woman would want to have an abortion is similar to asking why do you think a person would want to carry out premeditated murder. Could you have answer a quick answer available as to why someone would want to consider, plan, and execute and murder?
Totally, 100% not the same. This guys is a prolife talking head. It's his job to think about this stuff. This is part of that non empathy thing I was talking about. Any person tasked with working with murderers (accepting for the moment your outrageous equation) MUST give thought what precipitates a murderer to act. How could they otherwise deal effectively with the actions or reduce their incidence? Come on, Aeon. Do better than that.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #851
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In all fairness - to someone that is "Pro Life" - asking why a woman would want to have an abortion is similar to asking why do you think a person would want to carry out premeditated murder. Could you have answer a quick answer available as to why someone would want to consider, plan, and execute and murder?
Dude, come on.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:56 PM   #852
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Totally, 100% not the same. This guys is a prolife talking head. It's his job to think about this stuff. This is part of that non empathy thing I was talking about. Any person tasked with working with murderers (accepting for the moment your outrageous equation) MUST give thought what precipitates a murderer to act. How could they otherwise deal effectively with the actions or reduce their incidence? Come on, Aeon. Do better than that.
Perhaps I misinterpreted the intention of the post. Was it about this guy specifically? Or was it that "Pro Life" men in general don't think about this?
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:43 PM   #853
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Perhaps I misinterpreted the intention of the post. Was it about this guy specifically? Or was it that "Pro Life" men in general don't think about this?
Did you even watch the video? While he stuttered for an answer, he admitted that he's not a woman and figured economics played a role. He finally openly admitted that it was a question he did not ever thought about.

The point of my post was that these are the people - often clueless men - who are trying to control women's bodies and make us walking incubators. I mean, come on, he admits he never before wondered why a woman would choose abortion. Never once thought this issue over. And yet, he's pushing for a restrictive anti-abortion issue. Baffling.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:46 PM   #854
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I think that anyone who makes moral evaluations about the actions of any other person has a responsibility to empathetically imagine what might make anyone do that action. If you honestly have no idea why a woman might seek an abortion than you should probably have absolutely zero to do with controlling when or where a woman might get one. Seriously, how can anyone seek to influence or control any person's actions without understanding their motivations?

It's not just you and it's not just men. I've found the same incredible ignorance of the perceived needs of women who seek abortions among prolife women. It's like the argument goes, "Abortion should be illegal because God." Annnnd stops right there. Zero complexity.

Here's the thing: women seek abortions because they feel that they need them. If you want to reduce the number of abortions then you have to understand the causes that make women feel that need and then reduce the causes, not just restrict the access. Because by and large, women who feel that they need an abortion will get them. The number of abortions per capita in the United Utates each year is the same now as it was before Roe v Wade. What's different is the number of women who die from unsafe abortions- and that number, as it happens, is dramatically climbing in the states that have restricted access in recent months. I posted an article about it here weeks ago.

However I think the principle holds for all people in general and about all men about women and feminism in particular. Like, if you have not given deep thought about why feminists do what they do or think what they think, then do that. Spend a long time doing it, and do it seriously, with intellectual curiosity and a degree of real dedication. Suspend the judgements and evaluations and just find out about it. My single biggest frustration with social and religious conservatives is exactly this lack of empathetic curiosity. There's a real longing to simply have a moral evaluation without real understanding or even basic factual knowledge. And it frankly drives me absolutely bonkers.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:50 PM   #855
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I think that anyone who makes moral evaluations about the actions of any other person has a responsibility to empathetically imagine what might make anyone do that action. If you honestly have no idea why a woman might seek an abortion than you should probably have absolutely zero to do with controlling when or where a woman might get one. Seriously, how can anyone seek to influence or control any person's actions without understanding their motivations?

It's not just you and it's not just men. I've found the same incredible ignorance of the perceived needs of women who seek abortions among prolife women. It's like the argument goes, "Abortion should be illegal because God." Annnnd stops right there. Zero complexity.

Here's the thing: women seek abortions because they feel that they need them. If you want to reduce the number of abortions then you have to understand the causes that make women feel that need and then reduce the causes, not just restrict the access. Because by and large, women who feel that they need an abortion will get them. The number of abortions per capita in the United Utates each year is the same now as it was before Roe v Wade. What's different is the number of women who die from unsafe abortions- and that number, as it happens, is dramatically climbing in the states that have restricted access in recent months. I posted an article about it here weeks ago.

However I think the principle holds for all people in general and about all men about women and feminism in particular. Like, if you have not given deep thought about why feminists do what they do or think what they think, then do that. Spend a long time doing it, and do it seriously, with intellectual curiosity and a degree of real dedication. Suspend the judgements and evaluations and just find out about it. My single biggest frustration with social and religious conservatives is exactly this lack of empathetic curiosity. There's a real longing to simply have a moral evaluation without real understanding or even basic factual knowledge. And it frankly drives me absolutely bonkers.
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