Saturday, November 09, 2013

Your Hair Should Be Looooong. On Judging Fu***bility

This Jezebel post  made me think about something a little bit wider and more serious.  First, here's the relevant quote from the post:

Regarding Jennifer Lawrence's new pixie cut, some pseudonymous goofball from writes:
If you have any female interaction on social media, whatsoever, you may also have seen Jennifer Lawrence's new 'do. Though every chick on the planet begs "Can we just be best friends? Why is she perfect?", you'd only bang her if she lost ten pounds. Now, shedding some lbs. might not even do it. Lawrence didn't go full-on pixie short, but the results are equally disastrous.
Should have cut her dessert instead.
Jezebel then talks about the short hair requirement (as in Must Be Sexy With Long Hair).  That links to something I noticed again recently:  Both men and women on the net seem to feel free to comment on women's bodies, pretty much nonstop.  Most of the comments are negative, except for the "I'd do it" or "I'd bang it" comments by mostly guys, I presume (which I have even spotted in various other languages in YouTube comments.).

When I first came across those "I'd do her" comments I thought the commenter was a teenager.  But time and experience taught me otherwise. 

Now I think that what's going on are two things.  First, women's bodies are seen as fair game for judging, by both men and women.  Men's bodies?  Some, but the level is much lower (and tends to center on shaming politicians and a few media stars.)

Second, the right to judge breasts, hips, legs, weight and general fuckability looks like a (Hetero?) Guy Entitlement, something at least some men don't mind expressing on the net.  What's weird about that is its obliviousness to others who read the comment.  The net is not a locker room.  Then there's the whole question why anyone should care about the information.  Whom someone would bang is irrelevant, the person to be banged wasn't asked, and  the whole scene happens only inside some skull.

Why that need to share?  Not sure, but it might be a way of showing power: " Here I am, and I am the judge.  The topic will be big boobs and what they do to me, and I don't care if half of the audience is boobed."  So I think it's probably a feeling of entitlement.  Could be completely subconscious, but still something I never do.

Why don't I do it?  Say, about hetero men?  The reasons are mostly obvious, what with objectification and the dangers of turning some things upside down.  But the main reason is that the culture has given me no such right.  I have to focus on what I would say. 

I know this because I have used reversals a few time, to make a point.  The usual outcome is that the body discussions stop.  Which suggests to me that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, in both directions.

And no, it's not because I came across completely prudish and moralizing.  I flipped the thing around, with humor and such.

This topic isn't terribly important, but it's an interesting aspect of the way gender affects some aspects of the net.

Friday, November 08, 2013

On My Tenth Blogoversary: Thoughts Two

Today is the day, I think!  Ten whole years wasted.  Down the drain.  Never to come back.   Aggro, unpleasant learning.   But also fun, purest joy, happy learning, making new invisible friends.  So good.

Things I have learned about blogging:

1.  Facts, things, evidence, theories:  Those remain and continue to matter.  Specific people in the public eye:  Not so much.   But we can't toss the people out of the stories, because they are like the way a good meal scents the air or the nice secret spice in the cake:  They draw the readers in.

It's not enough to talk about the people alone, however.  That way we end up no better than those who say all feminists are like Valerie Solanas and  that because she existed there is no basis to the idea that gender equality is a good goal.  Reversed, this means that I shouldn't have written so much about Rush Limbaugh and his misogynies (though there is something useful to learn from him and his ditto-heads.)

2.  I was prepared for being hated by many across various political aisles.  What I didn't expect, ten years ago, were the circular firing squads inside movements I thought were on my side.  Older and wiser I am, now.  I even get the reasons for most of the fights.  And some chasms cannot be skipped over, though we can sometimes hold hands across the chasm.  That means pragmatic unions with people who partially believe in the same things may be the best we can achieve, at the present stage of political and societal evolution.  ---  And indeed, Virginia, there ARE topics you don't want to write about unless you want a flame war.  Doesn't even matter what you say about those topics (especially if you let readers comment.)

3.  Something you may not know about me (and wish you knew, heh!):  I write a lot.  I write a lot for myself, on topics quite different from feminism, and I care about many, many types of unfairness and other large problems in the current societies.  I just don't write about them here because this blog is for a very specific type of set of readers and mostly covers stuff I think is not covered enough elsewhere or stuff I believe I can elucidate, based on what I happen to know.

This means that if I don't write about something it doesn't mean anything.  It doesn't mean I regard the topic unimportant or important and it doesn't express my views on the omitted topic.  Although it could mean that the topic is something I don't know well.

Most environmental issues fall under that category, however much I care about them (and I do).   I'm also sometimes so late on some current event (waiting for the information to be gathered and for all the facts to be known) that by the time I'm ready to write about it the world has moved on.  Picking a topic early guarantees that one rides the wave but introduces the danger that one falls off the surf board with bad facts.  Giving bad "facts" is Not Good. 

4.  Speaking of timing, it is possible to "write too early" on other types of topics in the news than those where the facts are not yet in.   That has happened to me a lot.  It's of no importance to anyone but me, but it makes a goddess grumpy.

5.  Fun posts.  I should have had more of those.  More chocolaty posts, more leaping through the air for just the joy of moving posts.  More music posts, given that I know nothing about music.  More posts about the inner and outer beauty of humans, including the surface beauty of men. I was probably trained (by the background hum in the society) to regard commenting on the latter as inappropriate.  But that training seems to be gendered and it could be interesting to reverse the way these things usually go.  And yes, the border control to the land of sexist objectification is very close there.

6.  I haven't made money out of this blog, though my wonderful readers have just about covered its costs (excluding the opportunity costs of my labor).

7.  I go too deep into whatever problem I see As An Onion.  I should just strip the top layer and leave the next layer for another post.  But then perhaps I don't go deep enough, after all?  No way of knowing how those I converse with think about this.

8.  Love, love, love the learning my readers offer me, for nothing!  I've learned so much on this blog, and not only how to make a perfect omelet, though that, too.  So my humble thanks to you all.  And the green gored skirt a wonderful reader bought me many years ago!  Still my very favorite to look at.

9.  Blogging and struggling with a book project don't go together terribly well.  If writing is like opening a vein over the computer (from here), then writing on two or three different projects simultaneously causes permanent anemia, fatigue and a carpal tunnel syndrome.

10.  What next?  I haven't decided on anything because now it is party time (you can send presents).  I need to see if my voice still provides something of value that is not already otherwise available.  But I do love writing.  So thanks to you all who have had patience with me and this blog and of course, Echidne, who has chosen to use me as her flawed vessel.

The Thigh Gap

This is not a gender gap.  It's the gap which Lululemon company's founder Chip Wilson thinks should exist between women's thighs:

If you are one of the women who spent $98 on a pair of Lululemon pants and found them to be faulty, the company’s founder would like you to know: It’s not the pants’ fault. It’s your thighs.
“Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” founder and former designer Chip Wilson said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. One design of Lululemon yoga pants was recalled for being too see-through last May. And while Wilson admitted that he knows there was a serious flaw with the sheerness of their pants, he said new complaints over pants pilling just shows that “they don’t work for some women’s bodies”:
Even our small sizes would fit an extra large. It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how they much they use it.

So I immediately checked in the mirror!  Feet touching, check.

I only have a gap between the lower thighs, from knees half-way up.  The tops of my thighs sorta touch*.  Now I have to buy a pair of yoga pants to learn which part of my body is created all wrong for this clothing!  Or I guess I could try to walk straddle-legged while wearing them.

More seriously, as the linked article states, desiring to have a "thigh gap" or beginning to expect that women should have one can be dangerous:
Women’s legs naturally touch. In fact, there’s growing concern among eating disorder specialists over a fad trend of trying to achieve a “thigh gap” — having thighs that don’t meet even when one’s feet are touching. That’s physically impossible for most people, but has nonetheless become a goal for young women putting pressure on themselves to look a certain way.
This judgmental crap about women's bodies is very tiring.  It absorbs energy that could be used for doing good, for having fun, for just living.  When it all gets too much for you, think of the fact that nobody's tomb stone will say "She achieved an incredible thigh gap."

*All this applies to the human avatar.  The goddess part of me has a single scaly tail and would never consider wearing yoga pants!  Or anything but emeralds.

Added later:  Turns out that Chip Wilson is not keen on working women or women on the pill.  For instance, here are his conclusions about breast cancer:
"Breast cancer also came into prominence in the 1990's. I suggest this was due to the number of cigarette-smoking Power Women who were on the pill (initial concentrations of hormones in the pill were very high) and taking on the stress previously left to men in the working world."
For some actual stuff about cancer risk and contraceptive pill, check out this site.   And then look for alternative firms that sell yoga pants.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Owl And The Kayaker

Photo:  Pentti Taskinen

This is a really fascinating story, from Finland.  Pentti Taskinen, a 61-year-old experienced kayaker, was out on Tuusula lake and saw something splashing in the water, through a thick mist.  When he got closer, he found that it was an owl, swimming, exhausted, near death.  Owls are not water fowl.  How that owl got into the water is a mystery.  Some bird watchers think it got lost in the fog, others suggest crows which sometimes chase owls away as a group.

What happened then?

Eläin oli aluksi kääntänyt rintamasuunnan poispäin, mutta ilmeisesti ymmärsi pian, että tyhjästä ilmestynyt kajakki saattoi olla viimeinen oljenkorsi. Vettä oli joka suuntaan vähintään puoli kilometriä ja sen lämpötila kuutisen astetta.
Pöllö lähti räpiköimään kohti Taskisen kulkupeliä ja yritti nousta kyytiin, mutta ei siihen omin avuin pystynyt.
- Hienoa oli, kun sain sen kajakin kannelle ja otin pari kuvaa, niin se ryömi lähelle ja pani päänsä pelastusliivien väliin.
Ja siihen se jäi. Pöllö oli Taskisen mukaan muuten rauhallinen, mutta tärisi hervottomasti. Hän epäilee, ettei lintu olisi enää kauaa veden varassa selvinnyt.

Translation (by me):

The animal had initially tried to swim away, but apparently soon realized that the kayak which appeared from nowhere might be its last chance.  Water reached in all directions half a kilometer and its temperature was six degrees Celsius.

The owl started struggling towards Taskinen's kayak and tried to get into it, but was unable to do so on its own.

"What was fine  was when I got it into the kayak and took a couple of pictures.  It then crawled near me and put its head inside my life vest."

And there it remained.  According to the Taskinen the owl was otherwise calm, but shook nervelessly.  He suspects that the bird would not have survived much longer in the water.

Taskinen sought the nearest inhabited shore, the owl was given heat, shelter and food, and it flew away the following morning.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

From The Folder: What Right-Wingers Say

You may already have seen this today:

With Republicans openly cheering for a low voter turnout and passing laws restricting the right to vote, it is no surprise that they are extremely upset that the Affordable Care Act website asks if the person applying for an insurance plan would like to registered to vote.
The voter registration question is actually mandated by federal law. “The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as ‘Motor Voter,’ requires public agencies that provide public assistance to offer voter registration opportunities,” Scott Keyes points out. “Nowhere are citizens told who to vote for, which party to register for, or even that they have to register at all.”
But Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy said that registering more people to vote is “promoting creeping socialism” and voter fraud. By registering more “low-income voters,” Gaffney warns, “expect a permanent majority demanding government hand-outs—and the end of America as we have known it.”
I'm not going to write about the fact that Gaffney has his gilded hoof deep inside his mouth there, because one is not supposed to say those things aloud, even when one believes in them.  Instead, I want to look at the possible Freudian (or whatever) slip in that statement, having to do with the "permanent majority demanding government hand-outs."

How many low-income potential voters does Gaffney think there are?  A permanent majority of voters?  But if that's the case, what kind of a country IS his America, the one he so fears will end "as we have known it?"

For note that a good economy, a safety net which encourages entrepreneurship (and stops the vortex that results in extreme poverty), fair wages and retirement systems would NOT create "a permanent majority demanding government hand-outs."  Because the majority of people would be paying federal income taxes and sharing in the expenses of our shared concerns.

I get that Gaffney here talks about one of the deepest of conservative beliefs:  That if you let people without, say, a landed estate, to vote, then the populace will just vote for goodies for themselves.  The only individuals who should vote in that scenario are the affluent (in the past only affluent white men), because they are viewed as the ones who would not want to dole out those goodies but instead to keep all the goodies themselves.

That deep belief appears to be based on permanent poverty of the masses.  It doesn't work that way if we have a low unemployment rate, good education, fair labor markets and so on. 

The Bechdel Test. Now In Swedish Movie Theaters

So the British Guardian tells us.  The Bechdel test:

You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.
To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
"The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm's trendy Södermalm district.


The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the A rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.

Bolds are mine.  It doesn't sound like a very demanding test to pass.  But, surprisesurprise!, it is a hard test to pass.

But who cares?  Not a Swedish anti-feminist:

For some, though, Sweden's focus on gender equality has gone too far.
"If they want different kind of movies they should produce some themselves and not just point fingers at other people," said Tanja Bergkvist, a physicist who writes a blog about Sweden's "gender madness".

That's an interesting criticism, because publishing the Bechdel test results don't require anything from anyone who makes movies.  You don't have to pass the test!  And what is finger-pointing about any of this?  Should we pretend not to notice that movies are made for the clientele of young men?  That it's somehow rude to mention that?

It's also weird in the sense that making movies is extremely expensive and before one gets the funding for a movie there are umpteen zillion hurdles in the way.  Most of them seem to be aimed at getting nothing but the next Rambo 3289 out to the marketplace.

I like the idea of giving consumers more relevant information.  That way I don't have to waste my time or buy products which I end up hating.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

My Usual Election-Related Question

Why are the US elections held on a working day?  Why not have the polls open on Saturday and Sunday instead?  That would be much better for employed voters and for anyone who is minding small children or taking care of a sick or elderly person.  And having two days for voting would take care of the religious rest day objection and, probably, let even those who work one of the weekend days go out and vote.

Over 10,000 Posts

On this blog.  The majority are mine and quite a few of them still stand the test of time (says she, smugly). 

Which is a good lead-in to the fact that the emergence of blogs and other similar devices has opened the public conversations to many more people than was the case in the past.  Most of that is excellent, some of that is terrible.  The latter because now even the nastiest of humans can have an Internet presence and because their little hives of mutual reinforcement are psychologically dangerous.

But the positive outweighs the negative, I believe, and over time the (mythological) Wild West aspect of the cyberspace will be reined in and tamed.  The trick is to make certain that the democratic aspect of the net will not be endangered by that.

And More on Evolutionarily Mean Girls

I wrote about the summary of that study earlier.

Now Washington Post has a very critical piece on the same study. 

But it gets a few things wrong, I think.  The problem with these kinds of studies is not, in itself, the fact that they reinforce the worst types of gender stereotypes (at least on women), but that the science underlying them is inherently flawed, as in the sense that we cannot go back and prove an evolutionary sexual adaptation of cattiness in women.  Neither do most such theories consider the alternative explanations (for example, that all humans can be aggressive towards each other but that men and women may use different weapons, based on their comparative advantage, in that aggression, or that such aggression can affect all fields in life, not just the competition for mates).

Consider the kind of proof that would be needed to prove an evolutionary argument of the type this study suggests.  At a minimum, we should be able to show that catty women have had more reproductive success than non-catty women.  Note, also, that all through the written history women have been expected to act obedient, chaste and silent, at least in Europe, and that such expectations leave very few avenues for the innate aggression of all people to crop up.  Except, perhaps, in the form of indirect gossip and cattiness.

So that's the first point I want to make:  It's not the conclusions that worry me but how people get to those conclusions.  And that is far too often JustSo stories, or theoretical speculation within a very narrow basic framework, one which excludes alternative explanations and often ignores all societal reasons for certain types of behavior.  Then we get comments on how "science" has proven the cattiness of women as a form of reproductive competition.

My second point is linked to the first one:  That this study is a meta-analysis is not what makes it unimportant or non-scientific.  That it is a meta-analysis of studies based on the same basic explanatory theory, that's what the problem is.   If I went through a bunch of the worst Evolutionary Psychology pieces (the kind Kanazawa creates, for instance), I could obviously get a meta-analysis which demonstrates that those pieces agree on the perfidy of women or whatever.  A proper meta-analysis of this topic would need to enlarge its scope far beyond evolutionary psychology.

Though I think studying gossip is very difficult in the first place.  Certain stuff, such as having a jaw over a beer or two, about the baseball team and that guy in the corner office, is not labeled as gossip.  Talking about the new lover of the woman next door, that is.

Monday, November 04, 2013

For The Ten-Year-Blogoversary: Thoughts One

I'm going to do posts about blogging and what I have learned and forgotten and so on.  You can give me presents during the week or two weeks this continues!  Or not, as you please.

After reading through some of my early archives I realized that I don't do Echidne much, anymore, as in the avatar of the Goddess With Opinions.  How she came to be is a boring story but she wasn't plucked out of pure air.  Or she didn't pluck me that way, either.  The role is helpful for getting a particular voice out.  It is my voice, but it's not the only one I have.

I also realized that I'm much more aware, now, of which topics will cause blog wars and flaming, and because I dislike them, I tend to avoid such topics until my conscience puts me on the rack and demands a post or it will annihilate me. 

There's a loss in that innocence I then had.  On the other hand, I learned much in the process, including when something came out of my own arrogance or privilege, if you wish.

Finally, there are posts in my archives about people and events that we have utterly forgotten.  It would be wonderful if I could learn to predict which things have staying power and which things rapidly sink into that memory hole.  Still, one reason why I write less and less about the horse race and ballet critic aspects of American politics is because those are the bits at the bottom of the memory hole, even a year or two later.  They ultimately do not matter, even though their impact on the quality of our political debates is deleterious.  Since I can't figure how to alter that aspect I pretty much let it slide now.


Pictures Of The Day

An interesting picture of the workforce in one social media marketing company:

I didn't think such places still exist.  Bros around the table.

Another interesting picture showing us how American Apparel advertises underwear (or swimwear?) for women:

The idea is to do something like porn, except that porn is largely aimed at hetero men and not at women.  I would have thought that women's swimwear or underwear is bought by women.

American Apparel is a weird company.  They are for all sorts of good political stuff, based on their website (no sweatshops, in particular).   But their photo archives include pictures like these:

What does this remind me of, in politics?  hmmmm

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Two Sunday Posts: On Female Marines in the US And The Preference For Sons in Azerbaijan

This might be a better format than speed-blogging?

1.  On pullups in the Marine Corps:

Four female Marines have passed what is considered the most strenuous aspect of enlisted infantry training, prompting officials here at the Marine Corps’ School of Infantry – East to surmise that at least some of the 15 women who began the course in September will graduate next month.
The women are assigned to Delta Company, part of the Infantry Training Battalion to which all prospective grunts are shipped after they complete boot camp. They are the first group of enlisted women to conduct such training as part of the service’s ongoing research to determine what additional ground combat jobs may lift gender restrictions.
New female Marine officers have been allowed to enroll in infantry training since last year, but as yet none has passed that course, which is considered among the U.S. military’s most arduous.
“Given the performance of female Marines with Delta Company, there is a high probability that some will be standing in formation at graduation,” said Col. Jeffrey Conner, SOI-East’s commanding officer.

This is out of a total of seven female Marines volunteering for the latest test.  Two of the three who failed plan to retake the assignment.   Here's the part I want to discuss:

And although there are more tests ahead, Monday’s hike represented the course’s last significant physical challenge. The only potential hurdle remaining, Conner said, is a final Physical Fitness Test. To pass it, the women will have to perform pullups as the men do.
Starting Jan. 1, pullups will be required for all female Marines conducting their annual PFT. That’s a new requirement. Heretofore, women executed a flexed-arm hang as a test of upper body strength. As part of this research, however, officials have stressed that women will be held to the same standard as men.

Given the average upper body differences in strength, this is a tougher test for women than men. It's not beyond a fit woman to manage, but it requires more training.

I'd like to know whether the tests are designed to test an individual's ability to get certain tasks done or whether the tests are designed to test an individual man's ability to get certain tasks done.  To give you an example, the best way to scale a high brick wall for a woman might be to use her hips much more than her arms.  That might not be true for a man (always speaking about averages).

I'm not opposed to requiring all members of some profession to have the same threshold skills.  But those skills should be based on getting the job done, not on getting the job done in only one possible way.

This also links to the idea that what we test is  based on traditions.  For example,  it could be that a test that requires very very long runs or long swims in the ocean shows some female superiority.  But those are not the kinds of tests which would traditionally occur to the test-designers in the military.  --  And then of course it's important to determine to what extent skills such as the ability to perform multiple pullups are really needed in the job.

On the whole, I'm pleased that the women who wish to participate in this training have a chance to do so.  It's too bad that they might not gain much from a successful completion, however.

2.  Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan,  sex-selective abortions are used to get the sons Azerbaijani culture prefers to daughters:

Baku, Azerbaijan - After giving birth to a baby girl, 24-year-old Shana knew what to expect the second time she became pregnant.
"When we found out that the second baby was going to be another girl, my husband said that he didn't want her and I was forced to have an abortion. It was already three months and 10 days. They anaesthetised me and cut the foetus out of me."
Shana's second daughter was one of thousands of girls aborted in Azerbaijan every year.
According to a 2012 report by the Guttmacher Institute, Azerbaijan has the highest total abortion rate in the world, with women having on average 2.3 abortions in their lifetimes. Between 2005 and 2009 almost 10 percent of potential female births in Armenia and Azerbaijan did not occur because of prenatal sex selection, another report found.
The oil-rich country has one of the world's worst records in sex-selective abortions, according to a report for the UN. In normal circumstances, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. In Azerbaijan, the ratio in 2011-12 was 116 boys for every 100 girls. In some parts of the country, such as the Ganja region, the ratio is as high as 120 to 100.

Bolds are mine.  Using abortions to select the sex of children has been used in general arguments against abortion.  Indeed, there are conservative states in the US which work towards that aim.  This is somewhat surprising as the same states otherwise care nothing about women and as sex-selective abortions are a tiny problem in this country.

The real problem in cultures which prefer sons to daughters is, of course, not the availability of abortions, but the fact that daughters are not wanted.  And that is because women are not valued.

In short, what we observe is this:  A society contemptuous of women, a society not finding much of value in women, except their ability to breed sons, gains access to easily available abortions.  What do you expect they will be used for? 

There are economic and cultural reasons for the preference for sons, naturally.  The very definition of family based on the father's blood family, the expectation that sons will take care of their parents in old age, and most importantly, the fact that families trade women in (patrilocal*  marriages) rather than men (in matrilocal marriages), in that the women leave their families**.  Any investments in daughters are, therefore, seen as wasted.  Like watering your neighbor's garden, I once read.

The articles about son preference and its consequences always, always, always write about the future scarcity of wives, the possibility that more women will be kidnapped or trafficked as wives and so on.  In some ways our focus is still on something other than the real position of women in those cultures.  The worst of these articles (not this one) pretty much regard the problem only from the point of view of future wife-seekers.

But the only real solution is to affect the sexist underpinnings of the preference for sons.  It can be done, as the article mentions in the context of South Korea:

Meanwhile, the case of South Korea has been commonly used as a successful example of how imbalanced sex ratios can be reversed.
By the mid-1990s, South Korea's sex ratio at birth was similar to Azerbaijan's today. But by 2007 it had declined to 107 males born per 100 females. South Korea based its strategy on a multidisciplinary approach: Legislation against prenatal sex detection was passed and effectively put into force; a mass media campaign called "Love your daughter" was launched; and new measures were passed to encourage gender equality. These new policies were aided by South Korea's economic boom, which helped women join the workforce and thereby achieve more autonomy.

Do these two posts have anything in common***?  I'm not sure, but  I write so much about giving women equal opportunities because the traditional female cultural norms seem to breed sexism and gender-based inequality and, ultimately, a certain kind of careless loathing of all things female, in both men and women.
*The custom of women taking the man's name at marriage is a reminder of that same practice in the West.  The woman "leaves" her natal family and "joins" her husband's family.
**And in many cultures require expensive dowries.  It's logical (in a callous and horrible way) to prefer sons to daughters when the latter cost money and yield very little, except for some useful new family connections.  But note that all those aspects which make the birth of a daughter a sad day can be changed.  They are not even especially hard to change, as cultural norms go.
***I know that they don't apply to the same countries and no way am I suggesting that things wouldn't be loads better in the US.  But the work required is similar in all countries.