Posted: February 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Tags: bisexuality, body image, Christianity, lgbtiq, mental health, politics, privilege, racism, rape, Religion, trans*
We come to the end of a rather hot summer, though the past few days have been spring/autumn like (for a change), and I have been remiss, because I’ve been busy, in putting together my collection of interesting links and stuff to share. So here it is.
Philip Guo at Slate writes, “Silent Technical Privilege“:
OK, all of the above was a lie. With one exception: That is me in the photo. When it was taken, I didn’t even know how to touch-type. My parents were just like, “Quick, pose in front of our new computer!” (Look closely. My fingers aren’t even in the right position.) My parents were both humanities majors, and there wasn’t a single programming book in my house. In sixth grade I tried teaching myself BASIC for a few weeks, but quit because it was too hard. The only real exposure I had to programming prior to college was taking AP computer science in 11th grade, taught by a math teacher who had learned the material only a month before class started. Despite its shortcomings, that class inspired me to major in computer science in college. But when I started freshman year at MIT, I felt a bit anxious because many of my classmates actually did have over 10 years of childhood programming experience; I had less than one.
Even though I didn’t grow up in a tech-savvy household and couldn’t code my way out of a paper bag, I had one big thing going for me: I looked like I was good at programming.
At Politically Homeless, “Scott Morrison should be sacked“:
It strains credibility that the Navy veered off course and did not realise its vessels were in Indonesian waters. The Navy sent its vessels where government told them to go, and did what government told them to do. It is not OK to blame the military for government policy blunders, and ultimately such a tactic will work against the government rather than the military.
From now on people in the military are more likely to leak against this government. People in the military are more likely to have credibility that politicians lack. Any difference of opinion between a politician and the military will be resolved in favour of the military (with the possible exception of bullying allegations). When you consider that military personnel vote Coalition more than any other occupational grouping, this is a political own-goal as well as a governmental one.
Boing Boing have embedded Jay Smooth’s fantastic video, “How to talk about race, productively“, and apart from it being brilliant, is it just me or does Jay Smooth have one of the most amazing speaking voices ever?
Rafe Posey at BuzzFeed writes, “How To Write About Transgender People“:
2. Use your subject’s preferred name, pronoun, and picture.
When was the last time someone asked you to prove that you’re a man or a woman, or that your name and the gender marker on your driver’s license match what’s on your birth certificate? We will tell you who we are. Your job is to listen, not to decide that you have a better idea about who we are just because you think we are “confused.” We don’t need you to explain our identities to us, and we do not need your permission.
Use the names, pronouns, and pictures that we provide. If you are honestly confused, ask politely what our preferences are, and then honor our answers. If we provide information in confidence, don’t reveal that information.
Aaminah Khan at Days Like Crazy Paving writes, “The invisible girl – bisexuality in a biphobic society“:
I’m a bisexual woman in a relationship with a straight man. That means I don’t exist.
You see, in order for society to accept me as bi, they need to see evidence. If I’m not neck-deep in a threesome with an attractive woman on one side and a strapping man on the other, how can they be expected to tell that I’m not monosexual? If I’m dating a woman, I must be lesbian. If I’m dating a man, I must be straight. Unless I’m dating both at the same time, I can’t be bisexual.
The first person to tell me I wasn’t “really” bi was a gay friend of mine. I believe I’ve told the story before, so I won’t retread old ground, but suffice to say that while he was the first, he certainly wasn’t the last. I’ve heard it all – it’s just a phase, I’m fence-sitting so I don’t have to pick a side, I’m greedy, I’ll cheat on my partner, I’m just doing it for the attention, I just don’t want to come out of the closet. It seems everyone has a theory about my sexuality that they’re just dying to share with me, as though they’re the first people ever to think of it. (Yeah, I’ve never heard the one about how I can’t be bi because I’m not poly before. You’re so original!) You’d think I’d know my sexuality better than a stranger, but in a world where anything perceived as differing from the norm instantly becomes fair game for public discussion and dissection, it seems the only person who isn’t a self-proclaimed expert on my sexuality is…me.
Rohin Guha at Jezebel writes, “The Myth of the Fag Hag and Dirty Secrets of the Gay Male Subculture“:
It’s a dirty secret of a subculture of the gay male world about women: That they’re essentially unwelcome, unless they come to us as a Real Housewife, a pop diva, or an Tony award winner–or an unassuming fag hag. To anyone just coming out of the closet and hoping to get his bearings in the gay male community, the attitude towards women is simple: They are just objects whose function is to serve gay men. Maybe it happens when gay men get too comfortable in newly-discovered safe spaces–where they get to call the shots as their proudly out new selves. Or maybe it happens through cultural conditioning. Whatever the cause is, it becomes clear: If there isn’t any kind of transactional exchange happening, then women lose their value in gay male subcultures.
Laurie Penny at New Statesmen writes, “Why patriarchy fears the scissors: for women, short hair is a political statement“:
The “manosphere” really hates short-haired girls. On “game” forums and in personal dating manifestos, the wickedness of short-haired women pops up time and time again as theme and warning – stay away from girls who’ve had their hair chopped off. They’re crazy, they’re deliberately destroying their femininity to “punish” men, but the last laugh will be on them, because the bitches will die alone. Yes, there are people who really believe this. In 2014.
This week, a writer going by the handle Tuthmosis put out a short article explaining why “Girls With Short Hair are Damaged”. The piece has now received over 200,000 interactions on Facebook, so I’m not going to link to it again here. If you scrape through the layers of trolling, though, Tuthmosis’ logical basis for declaring short-haired women “damaged” is pretty interesting.
He writes that long hair is “almost universally attractive to men, when they’re actually speaking honestly. . . Women instinctively know this, which is why every American girl who cuts, and keeps, her hair short often does it for ulterior reasons . . . Short hair is a political statement. And, invariably, a girl who has gone through with a short cut – and is pleased with the changes in her reception – is damaged in some significant way. Short hair is a near-guarantee that a girl will be more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged.”
Cooper Fleishman at The Daily Dot writes, “The ‘girlfriendzone’ flips the ‘friendzone’ myth on its head“:
So here’s something new: a reaction to the friendzone, called the “girlfriendzone.” It comes from Reddit, whose feministcommunities are becoming an increasingly large presence in the culture there, calling out bullshit and misogyny and forming a safe space for women to converse openly and honestly. Or to give advice to male redditors.
“She’s not friendzoned you, OP,” ObscenePenguin writes. “You’ve girlfriendzoned her. … Seeing a female friend only as a girlfriend is girlfriendzoning.”
It’s flipping the script: identifying the friendzone as an entirely male creation, and putting the onus on dudes not to be entitled pricks about it when girls don’t throw themselves at them.
Jim C Hines writes a very detailed response to Larry Correia’s article in which Larry suggests that requests for science fiction to be more inclusive are killing the genre (which is why we have such great things as Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter which has been successfully funded). Jim’s article is titled, “Fiskception: Dissecting Correia’s Critique of MacFarlane“.
Cosima Marriner at Fairfax writes “Study finds same-sex parenting is not harmful for children“, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Also not coming as a surprise, but frustrating, is that this article is dumped in “Life & Style” and therefore less than “news”.
Children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well in their education, emotional and social development as those raised by heterosexual parents, new research shows.
The report on same sex-parented families in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), found “there is now strong evidence that same-sex-parented families constitute supportive environments in which to raise children”.
The findings are at odds with Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi’s recent comments that the “gold standard” for children’s development is having a biological mother and father who are married.
Report author Deb Dempsey, who reviewed all the research on same sex-parented families, said there was a wealth of evidence that showed the children were doing fine.
Taryn Fox guest posts at Geek Feminism with, “How to kill someone without pulling the trigger“:
The “Just World” fallacy
This is a fancy name for the idea that people tend to get what they deserve. Here in the States, we call it “liberty” and “objectivism” and “reducing dependence on government.” In the Linux and Free Software communities, we call it “meritocracy.”
It’s an extremely convenient belief to have if you’re at the top of your pecking order. It tells you that you deserve to be there, because of how awesome you are. And it tells you not to worry about anybody beneath you, because if they’re deserving they’ll make it eventually. And if they’re not, well, don’t worry about it. It’s their fault, and helping them will just keep them dependent on you. Better to throw them out of the nest and watch their carcasses smear on the rocks, until you find one that can fly like you could.
This mindset stigmatizes being weak or in need of help. It turns being a newb, at life or at Linux, into something to be ashamed of. And when you have this mindset yourself, and are weak or injured, you’re ashamed of everything. You have a desperate need to please others and show that your life is worthwhile. You’re afraid to admit failure, to yourself or to anyone else, because you know that you’ll be destroyed and it’ll be your fault.
Faine Greenwood writes at SF Gate, “Gender gap: Men getting paid more than women in Silicon Valley“:
Men who hold graduate or professional degrees earn a whopping 73 percent more than women with the same educational qualifications, while men with a bachelor’s degree earn 40 percent more than women with the same credentials, the study found.
Income inequality by gender is worse in Silicon Valley than it is for the whole of California: U.S. Census Bureau figures found that males with professional or graduate degrees earn 52 percent more than women when the entire population is taken into account, while men with a bachelor’s degree earn 36 percent more.
Interestingly, the situation in Silicon Valley is actually getting better, notes Rachel Massaro, vice president and senior researcher at Joint Venture Silicon Valley, who crunched the numbers.
“In 2010, men with a graduate or professional degree earned 97 percent more than women with a grad or professional degree,” she said.
Allen Clifton at Forward Progressives writes, “Florida Ordinance Makes it Illegal for Homeless to Use Blankets to Protect Themselves from Weather“, which has since been reversed as reported by T.S. Strickland at PNJ, “Hayward changes course on Pensacola homeless blanket ban“.
Tofik Dibi at Vice writes, “Life as a Gay Imam Isn’t as Bad as It Sounds“:
Just about every predominantly Muslim country forbids homosexuality. In nine of those countries, homosexual activity carries the death penalty. But the thing is, the whole Islamic prejudice against gays seems to be based on one monumental misconception: that certain verses in the Qur’an about Sodom and Gomorrah condemn homosexuality. They do not, according to Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, Daayiee Abdullah, and Muhsin Hendricks, three openly gay imams I spoke to who are trying to end the marginalization inflicted on LGBT Muslims because of their sexuality.
Tina Vasquez writes at bitchmedia, “It’s Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women” *trigger warning transphobia and Cathy Brennan*:
This debate is not just feminist-theory inside baseball. Though outspoken, politically active trans-exclusionary radical feminists are relatively few in number, their influence on legislation and mainstream perceptions of transgender people is powerful and real.
For example, transgender people were able to readily obtain government-funded healthcare prior to 1980. That year, Janice Raymond wrote a report for the Reagan administration called “Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery” which informed the official federal position on medical care for transgender people. The paper’s conclusion reads, “The elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery, but rather by legislation that limits it and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping.” In her book Transgender History, Susan Stryker says that the government curtailed transgender access to government social services under Reagan, “In part in response to anti-transgender feminist arguments that dovetailed with conservative politics.”
These days, trans-exclusionary feminists’ voices seem louder than ever, as they use social media to amplify their message. If you start following feminist conversations online, at first it seems like there’s a chorus of individuals running websites that speak out against the dangers of accepting transgender women as women. But then it becomes clear that numerous websites and Twitter feeds come from just one person: Cathy Brennan. On her personal site, Brennan lists her numerous blogs: Gender Fatigue (which recently published a tirade about Janet Mock’s gender that would make Piers Morgan blush), Pretendbians (devoted to documenting transgender people who “oppress Lesbians”), Name the Problem (which posts mugshots of alleged sex offenders along with write-ups about trans activists), the aforementioned Gender Identity Watch (which posits to watch “legal developments that erase female reality”), and a private site called Fauxmosexuals.
Laurie Penny at New Statesmen writes, “The way we talk about rape and abuse is changing” *trigger warning rape*:
Rape culture means more than a culture in which rape is routine. Rape culture involves the systematic silencing of victims even as women and children are instructed to behave like potential victims at all times. In order to preserve rape culture, society at large has to believe two different things at once. Firsty, that women and children lie about rape, but that they should also act as if rape will be the result if they get into a strange car, walk down a strange street or wear a sexy outfit. Secondly, if it happens, it’s their own fool fault for not respecting the unwritten rules.
This paradox involves significant mental gymnastics. But as more and more people come forward with accusations, as the pattern of historical and ongoing abuse of power becomes harder to ignore, the paradox gets harder to maintain. We are faced with two alternatives: either women and children are lying about rape on an industrial, organised scale, or rape and sexual abuse are endemic in this society, and have been for centuries. Facing up to the reality of the latter is a painful prospect.
Mia McKenzie from Black Girl Dangerous writes, “4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege“:
3. Shut up
This one is so, so important. If you are a person with a lot of privilege (i.e. a white, straight, able-bodied, class-privileged, cisgender male or any combination of two or more of those) and you call yourself being against oppression, then it should be part of your regular routine to sit the hell down and shut the eff up. If you can recognize that part of the reason your opinion, your voice, carries so much weight and importance is because you are a white man (or whatever combination is working for you), then pushing back against your privilege often looks like shutting your face. Now, of course, using your privilege to speak out against oppression is very important. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about chiming in, taking up space, adding your two cents, playing devil’s advocate, etc. when 1) no one asked you, 2) the subject matter is outside your realm of experience (why do you even think you get to have an opinion about the lives of black women??), 3) anything you say is just going to cause more harm because your voice, in and of itself, is a reminder that you always get to have a voice and that voice usually drowns out the voices of others.
Rebecca Shaw writes at SBS, “Comment: Why it matters that Ellen Page came out“:
Her nervousness instantly took me back to the night that I first spoke those words out loud to another human being. It was one of the scariest things that I have ever done, and I remember the clenched feeling in my chest, my stomach rolling with nerves.
We were sitting outside in the cold, and I can still see my breath coming out hard and fast into the night air. I was terrified – and drunk. And yet, I knew that the person I was telling would be 100 per cent fine with it. In fact, I knew that she probably already knew. It didn’t matter. Saying those words out loud, even to an incredibly receptive crowd (like the HRC) is petrifying.
Brocklesnitch writes, “Biscaryials“:
Take Olympic diver Tom Daley. Don’t you think it is weird that he seemed so COMFORTABLE saying that he still fancies women while dating a MAN? Someone has obviously been taking acting lessons from Dustin Lance Orange is the New Black!! How else could you explain that he seemed content to imply that he is attracted to both sexes? That is just not possible. They are so different! Men like doing things like sports and beer and women like doing things like shopping and wine! How the fuck could you ever be attracted to both of those, like some sort of hybrid human who could enjoy beer AND wine? Or sports AND shopping?
leenamielus at Facetruth writes, “I Took Off My Hijab“:
By adding more layers. A knit hat and scarf around my neck to be exact.
I didn’t understand what was happening at first. People started talking to me more. Women would speak to me like I knew them since forever. Men looked at me like I was actually approachable. And I was made to feel like I was actually from this planet.
Maybe I was finally fitting in? Maybe I was no longer self conscious about my unique dress code and a face lacking makeup?
But then it became fishy. The Muslim taxi drivers who would almost always say “Assalamu Alaikum,” ask me where I’m from or if I’m single, or not allow me to pay for the fare became cold and dry. I would simply give the address, and the only dialog thereafter was at time of payment. It was puzzling.
Jacqueline Applebee at Blogging in Shadows writes, “Biphobia“:
The bank I work for starts an LGBT networking group. I don’t quite believe it is real until I enter a room full of happy faces. Queer staff and their partners from all over the South-East have travelled to our Brighton head office to take part in the launch. Of course, Biphobia turns up to the event too. He sloshes down bottles of wine, and eats all the sausage rolls.
A senior cashier from Littlehampton corners me by the windows. “Did you bring your girlfriend with you?” she asks.
“I have a boyfriend,” I respond before I can stop myself. “He was busy.”
The cashier looks like I’ve slapped her. “This group is vitally important for gays and lesbians. It’s not for straights.”
“I’m bisexual.” I’m aware my voice is a whisper. I’m aware I don’t want anyone else to hear me. Biphobia slips an arm around my shoulder. I feel totally intimidated.
Alan Austin at Independent Australia writes, “Churches combine to condemn Abbott’s evils“:
Last month, IAlisted several transgressions which have dismayed Roman Catholics. These include bioethical issues, persistent blatant lying, dudding Indigenous people, cutting overseas aid, abusing vulnerable people, militarism, spying and redistributing wealth and income in favour of the rich.
Since then, further wrongs have provoked the outrage of Catholics and Protestants alike.
What seems most offensive, however, is that those committing such clear violations of fundamental Christian teaching actually profess strong personal belief.
Such hypocrisy, according to all strands within Christendom, deserves special condemnation.
Several religious groups have sheeted home blame for this week’s loss of life on Manus Island to Abbott’s regime.
Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:38 am | Tags: gender roles, media, sexism, story, thoughts
This post is going to be about the most recent (2012/2013) series of Doctor Who and may touch on the 2013, 50th Anniversary episode, and the 2013 Christmas special. If you haven’t watched any of these, and don’t want the spoilers ahead, have a kittie and enjoy the rest of the internet.
Ok, let’s get started
It’s not that Moffat can’t tell a good story, well maybe it is. Coupling was funny, but is based on his life, and Sherlock is based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, so maybe he can’t tell a good story. What really annoyed me about this entire season (minus 50th anniversary special and the Christmas episode), was that the story arc, and apparently there was one, was pretty much non-existent. The Christmas episode ended with the disbandment of “The Great Intelligence” so that it would be a long time before it could threaten the earth, or the galaxy or something.
The first episode of 2013 had a cameo appearance of the Great Intelligence (a seriously wanky name for a villain), that the Doctor doesn’t notice, but is a suggestion to the viewer that something more might come from this.
And then nothing, nothing concrete about the Great Intelligence until the final episode when we discover that the Great Intelligence is pissed at the Doctor for constantly upsetting his plans, the plans we should note that have never really happened during this season apart from the 2012 Christmas special and the first episode in 2013. That’s two whole plans in a season, that’s not plans, that’s a side story that something forgot.
It turns out that the Great Intelligence has a massive backstory, but as a minor reoccurring villain the average fan, especially new fans, are not going to have the foggiest idea what is going on. This is not a story arc, this is a shoehorned “let’s make everything neat and tidy and pretend we had a plan”.
The Name of the Doctor (final episode of this season), casts the Doctor as a selfish arsehole. It’s not exactly like it’s hard to cast him like that, in an earlier season River Song tells Amy not to grow old in front of the Doctor, that it upsets him (oh woe, poor Doctor who has been associating with humans for at least 1000 years, he should be used to it).
After Clara has done something of her own volition for a change (more on that later), River attempts to stop the Doctor entering the bright shiny thing, and only at this point does the Doctor acknowledge that he can see her. We find out that at this point in her timeline she’s dead, but is effectively haunting the doctor because he hasn’t said goodbye, and he’s been ignoring her because it’s painful. Quite frankly I think being dead and haunting someone who won’t say goodbye to you is more painful than the Doctor’s fee fees (especially as her death was pretty tragic), but he is important man, so his feelings are totes more important that River’s, and she’s dead anyway.
Clara spends most of this season doing what’s she’s told. Protect this, go there, do this, stay here, and this follows through until the 2013 Christmas episode. When she does do her own thing, it’s often to save the Doctor from something or someone, or to beg someone else to take action to save the doctor. She’s a stereotypical female character, feisty, determined, somewhat argumentative (but only to a point), and wants to have all the fun – except when she doesn’t.
The sad thing about the character of Clara is that there was a lot of potential for mystery and exploration of why she was always around saving the Doctor. There should have been (given the ending of the episode The Name of the Doctor) more attempts by the Doctor to remember if he’d run into her before, or only recently (because it was only recently as far as the current stories go).
The Doctor’s “Mysterious Girl”, and the resolution of why she keeps appearing in the Doctor’s life is apparently the true arc of this episode, but again it’s shoehorned in. There is the Doctor pondering it, but instead of actually talking to people who might know (as he’s done in other seasons), or doing much beyond sometimes thinking about it (out loud), it’s not really the point of the season, even though it is.
The pregnant/not pregnant scan during an earlier season when it turned out that Amy was effectively a replicant/pod person (or whatever they were called), was quite well done, and on reflection you could see that the stories linked into each other as there was a common theme. Clara is not a theme, she is a character. You can’t really use a character like Clara as a theme in the same way as you can use a scan, or a series of words (Bad Wolf), or the scar in the universe.
And really the Doctor treats her like she’s 7 half the time. He attempts to protect her, even when she doesn’t want protecting. He breaks his promises to her about not leaving her behind, or about letting her join in the fight, and apparently this doesn’t piss her off enough to tell him to get fucked (and it should). Unlike some of the other “companions” that the Doctor has recently, Clara obeys and sets out to do the best job obeying that she possibly can, except when she thinks she’s being left behind, in which case she’ll do what she can to stay and help/protect the doctor.
The Christmas episode
Which makes the Christmas episode all the more annoying. Against Clara’s express wishes, and the Doctor’s own promise (and we didn’t see him cross his fingers), he sends her away, multiple times. Clara fights to come back and manages the first time, but not the second, until she is brought back by the Tasha from the Church of the Papal Mainframe. Seriously the Doctor is such an arsehole.
The Doctor spends over 300 years on Trenzalore, and for the first time, despite hanging around in his current form for a few hundred years, he ages and gets frail… how many hundreds of years, on a planet that is pretty much at war every day, does the Doctor stay there? The planet’s population seems to not just survive, but also thrive despite being at war for over 300 years (that’s a lot of war), though I can be convinced that the war was more occasional incursions.
Once again Clara saves the day by begging the Time Lords (who just want to be set free so they can keep being the arseholes of the universe), to save the Doctor. Her mission in life is to save the Doctor, she has no other purpose in this universe. Sure she gets to look after children from time to time, but mostly she’s just off saving the Doctor. It’s been remarked upon before that women in Moffat’s universe are the nurturing caring types and that’s pretty much all they get to be, and Clara pretty much just that.
Moffat really needs to stop being show runner. He’s had lots of fun now, but the show will do better (and attract all the fans that have left because of him) if someone else took over. The last season was so disappointing and frustrating because it was so badly put together. Some of the stories were good, but I watched the season out of habit (and because I was travelling and watching TV during the heat of the Roman summer was a necessary thing). I want to be gripped by the stories and the season arc like I was when Russell T Davies was running the show. I want the seasons to be as tight as Torchwood and as gripping, and this last season was a joke.
Doctor Who isn’t likely to drop in ratings anytime soon, because people are still watching it and still hoping for the magic to return. It’s not going to return, and I’m beginning to lose interest in watching future episodes. I’m vaguely interested in Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, but with Moffat running the show, I don’t know if I can be bothered.
Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Tags: bisexuality, Feminism, gender roles, harassment, media, politics, privilege, racism, reproductive rights, sexism, trans*
Thanks to my blog running out of bandwidth in early December, and then subsequent headaches as I migrated the entire thing to another provider (with more bandwidth), I didn’t get to do my linkspam post in early December, so this will be epically epic. Sit down, get some popcorn, and enjoy the stories.
Michael Shulman at the New York Times writes, “Bisexual: A Label With Layers” (which for some reason is in “fashion and style”):
Whatever the answer, Mr. Daley’s disclosure reignited a fraught conversation within the L.G.B.T. community, having to do with its third letter. Bisexuality, like chronic fatigue syndrome, is often assumed to be imaginary by those on the outside. The stereotypes abound: bisexuals are promiscuous, lying or in denial. They are gay men who can’t yet admit that they are gay, or “lesbians until graduation,” sowing wild oats before they find husbands.
“The reactions that you’re seeing are classic in terms of people not believing that bisexuality really exists, feeling that it’s a transitional stage or a form of being in the closet,” said Lisa Diamond, a professor at the University of Utah who studies sexual orientation.
Adam Mordacai presents a fantastic spoken word piece by Guante, at Upworthy, “If You Tell This Dude To ‘Man Up,’ You Better Be Prepared To Learn Why What You Said Is Awful“
Colin Freeman at the The Telegraph writes, “Child taken from womb by social services“:
It will be raised in Parliament this week by John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP. He chairs the Public Family Law Reform Coordinating Campaign, which wants reform and greater openness in court proceedings involving family matters.
He said: “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme.
“It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”
Benquo at LessWrong writes, “Wait vs Interrupt Culture”:
Then I went to St. John’s College – the talking school (among other things). In Seminar (and sometimes in Tutorials) there was a totally different conversational norm. People were always expected to wait until whoever was talking was done. People would apologize not just for interrupting someone who was already talking, but for accidentally saying something when someone else looked like they were about to speak. This seemed totally crazy. Some people would just blab on unchecked, and others didn’t get a chance to talk at all. Some people would ignore the norm and talk over others, and nobody interrupted them back to shoot them down.
But then a few interesting things happened:
1) The tutors were able to moderate the discussions, gently. They wouldn’t actually scold anyone for interrupting, but they would say something like, “That’s interesting, but I think Jane was still talking,” subtly pointing out a violation of the norm.
2) People started saying less at a time.
Maria Bello at The New York Times writes, “Coming Out as a Modern Family“:
My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving. Jack’s father, Dan, will always be my partner because we share Jack. Dan is the best father and the most wonderful man I’ve known. Just because our relationship is nonsexual doesn’t make him any less of a partner. We share the same core values, including putting our son first. My more recent ex, Bryn, remains my partner because we share our activism. And Clare will always be my partner because she is also my best friend.
Van Badham writes at Women’s Agenda, “Van Badham battles the Brosphere: On women, trolls and the Australian media in 2013“:
Perhaps due to the phenomenon of watching Australia’s first female prime minister forced, position notwithstanding, to suffer the sexist indignity so familiar to Australia’s working women, local feminist commentators have found a ripe readership for their opinions. Ripe enough, in fact, that many of the old mastheads are now commissioning from a pool of what used to be marginal activity. Discussions of rape culture, slut-shaming, abortion wars, the gender pay gap and sex discrimination are happening not in dingy ex-broom-closets in university union buildings or in photocopied newsletters mailed out irregularly from an underfunded women’s centre, but across the mainstream media – and every day.
Georgia Dent at Women’s Agenda, “Women need to work an extra 25 years to match men’s superannuation“:
The average 60-year-old Australian woman would need to work an extra 25 years in order to retire with the same superannuation account balance as her male counterpart.
The Westpac Women & Retirement Readiness Report, released yesterday, shows a $121,200 gap between the median super account balance for women and men ($108,900 and $230,100 respectively). This means a female earning an average wage of $51,200 would need to work until she is 85 to start her retirement on a level financial playing field.
Bob Owens at Bearing Arms writes, “Southport, NC cop shoots tased and restrained 90-pound HS student after allegedly stating, “we don’t have time for this.”” *trigger warning – mental health, police violence*
It appears that the two officers that initially responded to the call had Keith Vidal calming down from his episode with a third officer arrived. The situation then immediately turned for the worse, and Vidal was tased repeatedly and was in the grip of two officers when the third officer reached in with his duty sidearm and killed him at point blank range.
Bridie Jabour at The Guardian writes, “History wars: the men behind the national school curriculum review” and gives a run down on Kevin Donnelly and Ken Wiltshire.
Preston Towers at AusOpinion writes, ““Everyone’s an Expert on Education” – Pyne’s Education Revolution of Two Men“:
An extraordinary timeline. First of all – the review by Donnelly and Wiltshire is supposed to take 4 months. 4 months to consult educators, administrators and legislators in every state and territory, analyse the education system of other countries. That sounds like they’ll only have time for “talking to a few friends”, rather than broadly consulting. Next, that the changes recommended will be implemented in 2015. How Pyne suggests schools will be able to get time for teachers to rewrite programs is not mentioned, nor is how the review from Donnelly and Wiltshire will be converted to outcomes that could be easily integrated. Programs for 2015 in Years 8 and 10 will start to be written in Term 1 this year – many schools would have already finished them. It’s been one of the largely program rewrites in the past decades of teaching and Pyne wants schools to change the programs within six months? I would suggest school systems – not just public ones – may have a problem with this.
gradient lair writes, “10 Ways That White Feminist and White Anti-Racism Allies Are Abusive To Me In Social Media”
The idea that I should simply overlook these irritating and manipulative passive aggressive behaviors, ones that occur hundreds of times a month (not hyperbole) simply because these Whites on the Left don’t tweet me direct slurs (some do use coded racist language though) is something that doesn’t sit well with me. Microaggressions harm. Occurring regularly over time has just as much impact as dealing with less frequent incidents of overt racism and the day to day of dealings with institutional racism.
Victoria Bond at HuffPost Gay Voices (still problematic) writes, “Three Problems for Bisexuality“:
Connor at The Independent put the sexual revolution front and center rightly. The work of psychologist Roy Baumeister, for example, supports that the sexual revolution impacted women’s lives much more than it did those of men. But Connor obscures the main point of female sexuality’s adaptability (pointing toward bisexuality in the case of same-sex contact) by pitting the findings on women against those of men, those of “the standard.” Connor’s reading of women as “catching up with men,” implies we are behind and also tacitly considered less than men. Freud himself immortalized the inferiority with which women are commonly regarded in his most famous question: “What do women want?” Women’s desires may even in the 21st century remain mysterious irrespective of how many answers feminism and one of its many offshoots, like the work-life balance debate, for example, has provided. All the same science is not clueless. This “women are mysterious because we’re not like men” crap is just that: crap. Chivers’s research at least lays the carnal aspect of female sexual desire bare. We are aroused by male-male, female-female, female-male and even, to some degree, animal sounds. In other words, female desire is flexible. Given this is the case doesn’t it make sense that women would be more profoundly adaptable to the evolution the sexual revolution set off and that men’s numbers remain steady, due to how little we have allowed the sexual revolution to really touch them? Especially given their sexual wiring shows less changeability than ours.
Adam Clarke Estes of Gizmodo writes, “Your Face and Name Will Appear in Google Ads Starting Today“:
So how does that make you feel? Google obviously wants you to feel okay about the changes. The company assured users in its announcement blog post, “On Google, you’re in control of what you share.” (Emphasis Google’s) And that’s technically true. You can opt out of the face-flaunting new feature through this settings page in Google+, but if you don’t do anything, Google says it will use your information without explicit consent.
Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist wrote, “Further to my piece on sexism, racism and the AFL“:
In addition to the Brownlow Night point, I also feel it is important to look at women’s sport as a whole. Women work their guts out on the fields constantly. They work just as hard, if not harder, than the men. In comparison though, they receive very little recognition for their efforts and dedication. Their sponsorship is chicken feed and their professional earnings, with only a couple of exceptions, amount to pocket money in comparison to what men in AFL will make. In addition, society itself, due to a deeply embedded culture of believing women’s sport is not as good due to their lesser physical capabilities (or something) or that a woman’s place is not on the field. For further information, please revisit the kind of slurs you hear directed to male players when they are perceived to not be playing their best game. Our amazing Australian women’s cricket team which continually brings home the trophies gets zero recognition compared to our currently mediocre men’s team. Our almost unbeatable netballers get paid about $15k in their rookie year, compared to the $130k AFL players get. Each year, the Deadly Awards offer three sports categories for men to win in, one unisex category and one for women. You get my drift.
Annabel Crabb at the ABC wrote, “Pay cuts hurt, don’t they Prime Minister?”
People don’t like pay cuts. It’s a uniquely insulting process to have to go through, as it entails not only a decline in quality of life, but a broader judgment, keenly-felt by the subject, that the world does not value what they do. And that is not a nice feeling.
We know that this feeling is universal, because it’s exactly how Tony Abbott felt, after losing 40 per cent of his income in 2007 when the Howard government lost power and he went back to a basic backbench salary.
“What’s it called? Mortgage stress? The advent of the Rudd Government has caused serious mortgage stress for a section of the Australian community, i.e. former Howard government ministers!” he said at the time.
Mark Pygas at Listverse writes, “10 Amazing Women Who Led Rebellions“:
Male revolutionaries such as Che Guevara have gone down as heroes for leading rebellions against “the Man.” But forgotten by history are the women who took on far greater powers than Fulgencio Batista. Throughout the ages, women have led rebellions and revolutions which took on the might of the Roman Empire and the vast wealth of the British East India Company.
Sarah Morrison at The Independent writes, “Russian bisexual activist Irina Putilova is released from detention and taken off fast-track asylum list“:
A woman who was facing deportation to Russia has been released from detention and taken off the tougher fast-track asylum system after thousands of people signed a petition to support her release.
Irina Putilova, a 28-year-old bisexual activist, left St Petersburg six months ago, after fearing for her safety. The activist talked to The Independent from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre on Monday and said that under Russia’s new anti-gay legislation, which criminalises the promotion of non-heterosexual relationships, she did not feel safe to return home. She added that it was “totally impossible” for her to be free in Russia as an LGBTQ person.
Katy Waldman at Slate writes, “Society Tells Men That Friendship Is Girly. Men Respond by Not Having Friends“:
American men are starving for friends, writes sociologist Lisa Wade in Salon. Or, more precisely, adult white heterosexual men have fewer friends than any other group. The friendships they do form are often superficial, involving less support and “lower levels of self-disclosure and trust.” The sad part is that surveys show that men desire closeness and intimacy from their male friends just as women do. So why don’t they have it? Around the age of 15 or 16, Wade suggests, friend-like traits such as emotional openness, vulnerability, supportiveness, and caring become risky for boys to show; these qualities get suppressed in favor of self-sufficiency, stoicism, and competitive fire.
Wade sifts through the work of researcher Niobe Way, who interviewed high-school boys over four years about their evolving same-sex bonds. One kid, Justin, said this about his best guy friend:
We love each other … that’s it … you have this thing that is deep, so deep, it’s within you, you can’t explain it. It’s just a thing that you know that person is that person … I guess in life, sometimes two people can really, really understand each other and really have a trust, respect and love for each other.
Three years later, Justin came down to earth:
[My friend and I] we mostly joke around. It’s not like really anything serious or whatever … I don’t talk to nobody about serious stuff … I don’t talk to nobody. I don’t share my feelings really. Not that kind of person or whatever … It’s just something that I don’t do.
Hugo Gye at the Mail Online writes, “Work – it’s not for girls: Most Britons still believe men make better plumbers and pilots and think women shouldn’t be soldiers or electricians“:
Gender stereotypes are not yet a thing of the past as a new survey reveals that many people still have strong opinions on which jobs are suitable for men and women.
Two-fifths of Britons believe there are some jobs which women should never do, including soldier, mechanic and surgeon.
A similar proportion think that men are unable to do some jobs properly, such as beautician, florist and nurse.
Doug Saunders at The Globe and Mail writes, “Britain has an ethnic problem: the English“:
Let’s face it: Britain has an ethnic problem. Its patchwork of peoples, once the envy of the world, has become frayed, its harmony devolving into anger and xenophobia. And, we should be honest, the problem is rooted in one ethnic group – one large but troubled people who are failing to integrate into modern postindustrial society.
While some of its more ambitious members have found success in politics and business, this community is falling behind educationally and economically as a whole, self-segregating into ethnic enclaves, becoming increasingly prone to violence, rioting and substance abuse. More troubling, in recent years they have begun to vote for ethnic extremist parties that threaten to undermine basic British values.
Who are these people? The English. Once a tolerant, welcoming people who thrived in scholarship and commerce, they have become a drag on British society.
Janell Ross at The Root writes, “Racism Linked to Infant Mortality and Learning Disabilities“:
On the long list of health disparities that vex and disproportionately affect the lives of African Americans—diabetes, cancer and obesity among them—one of the earliest and, it turns out, most significant, may be just when a black child is born.
A pair of Emory University studies released this year have connected the large share of African-American children born before term with the biologically detectable effects of stress created in women’s bodies after decades of dealing with American racism. As shocking as that itself may sound, the studies’ findings don’t end there.
Racism, and its ability to increase the odds that a pregnant mother will deliver her child early, can kill. There is also evidence that racism can alter the capacity for a child to learn and distorts lives in ways that can reproduce inequality, poverty and long-term disadvantage, the studies found.
Sean Strub at HuffPost Gay Voices (still problematic) writes, “Kenneth Cole Needs a History Lesson“:
The “first AIDS research organization” was actually the AIDS Medical Foundation, which preceded amfAR by two-and-a-half years and was founded by people with AIDS, including Michael Callen, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, a pioneering researcher and community physician and Dr. Krim (pictured on right; photo by Peter Serling). Sonnabend knew Krim from interferon research and had asked for her help in raising money to study his sick patients. The partner of one of Sonnabend’s patients — an African American, I might add, whose role has also been largely lost to history — suggested formation of a foundation to pursue research drawing on Sonnabend’s pool of patients.
At the Gamma Project, “Is The Bisexual Experience different?“:
I started at Gamma Project with former experience counselling gay and lesbian clients in similar community settings. At the time I felt my previous knowledge was easily transferable to bisexual men and their concerns. After several counselling sessions with a variety of bisexual clients I was convinced otherwise and surprised how different this client group was to my previous client group, the gay and lesbian community.
What stayed with me most was that many of my client’s stories had an underlying theme of isolation and secrecy. It didn’t matter if I was talking to transsexual clients who were waiting to dress up at home once their wives and families had left, or if I was engaging with married and sexually loyal bisexual men who were yearning for male friends to share their emotional life – their common concern was a craving for being accepted and acknowledged.
Nitasha Tiku writes at Valley Wag, “Paul Graham Says Women “Haven’t Been Hacking For the Past 10 Years”“:
Okay. Deep breaths. Still with me? Graham makes clear in this interview that people who do not fit into the archetype of the precocious programmer are routinely dismissed as unworthy. That archetype, of course, is usually attached to a penis. No wonder Graham once said he can be “tricked by anyone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg.” If you’re a female engineer who found her interest in STEM education squashed early in life by gender norms, but had the guts to try again later, your cred as a coder is questionable. If you’ve been programming for the past 10 years, rip off your invisibility cloak because Graham has never seen the likes of you. That must be why Graham’s wife Jessica Livingston, who cofounded Y Combinator and has been instrumental from the beginning, is the institution’s “secret weapon.”
Will Ripley at 9news.com writes, “Transgender woman’s lawsuit leads to CDC policy change for breast cancer screenings“:
When Blair tried getting a free mammogram this spring, she never imagined what would happen.
“When I was told that I didn’t qualify because I was transgender, that just really shook my foundations,” Blair said. “I’m really no different than anybody else.”
Her income at the time was below the poverty line and she met all the requirements, except one: CDC policy only covered “genetically female” patients.
Ray Filar at The Guardian writes, “Where were all the lesbians in Queer as Pop?“:
In these post-Queer as Folk times, the word “queer” is rarely said on TV. Not with any approval, anyway. That might be why Channel 4′s documentary Queer as Pop: From Gay Scene to Mainstream, initially seemed so exciting. If you’re part of a subculture whose existence is generally ignored – despite its considerable influence on wider culture – you grasp at any mainstream attempt at representation.
Yet in promising to explore “the men, music and moments that have brought pop music out the closet”, this documentary replicated mainstream prejudices by writing women out of its cultural history. Featuring a bland narrative peppered with sweeping generalisations (including the frankly fantastic claim that David Bowie putting his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson on stage was “more important in British pop culture than all the Pride marches, and Stonewall”), the show was livened only by the undeniably great pop music.
Jack Weatherford at Lapham’s Quarterly writes, “The Wrestler Princess“:
Although mentioned in a variety of Muslim sources as well as in the accounts of Marco Polo, Khutulun almost disappeared into the fog of historic myth. Only by chance was the story of the wrestling princess resurrected in a twisted way in the eighteenth century. In 1710, while writing the first biography of Genghis Khan, the French scholar François Pétis de La Croix published a book of tales and fables combining various Asian literary themes. One of his longest and best stories derived from the history of Khutulun. In his adaptation, however, she bore the title Turandot, meaning “Turkish Daughter,” the nineteen-year-old daughter of Altoun Khan, the Mongol emperor of China. Instead of challenging her suitors in wrestling, Pétis de La Croix had her confront them with three riddles. In his more dramatic version, instead of wagering mere horses, the suitor had to forfeit his life if he failed to answer correctly.
Fifty years later, the popular Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi made her story into a drama of a “tigerish woman” of “unrelenting pride.” In a combined effort by two of the greatest literary talents of the era, Friedrich von Schiller translated the play into German as Turandot, Prinzessin von China, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe directed it on the stage in Weimar in 1802.
More than a century later, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was still working on his opera Turandot at the time of his death 1924. Unlike his other operatic heroine, Madame Butterfly who lived and died for the love of a man, Turandot rejected any man whom she deemed inferior to her. His opera became the most famous of the artistic variations of her life’s story.
Katie W at The Toast writes, “Misandrist Animals“:
The anglerfish swims. She spends her life in the deep darkness of the sea. She notices little outside of herself, only the glow of the occasional passing edible fish and the movement in water created by those too big to be seen in the darkness. Encounters with other creatures happen so far in between that, most of the time, she believes herself to be the only one. She forgets that her swimming is a purposeful search for food; in time, she forgets everything but herself. The majority of her life is spent in darkness, alone. Her interactions with the males of the species are cut short-she notices them briefly as the find her, but then they bite and merge and lose themselves in the worship of her, and she no longer remembers their existence. She does not acknowledge the others who were when she lays eggs, because by the time she is ready, they no longer exist; they are a part of her. They are a tail, a fin, a reproductive organ hanging off of her magnificent surface. The anglerfish requires nothing but the intermittent fish meal: a sacrifice to her altar. Knowing herself to be a god, the anglerfish swims as a prayer to the only creature in the void.
Adina Nack at Girl w/Pen! writes, “Healthy Relationships and Families – Beyond Monogamy“:
Yes, poly women say that they relish the opportunity to have multiple partners. The equality of allowing everyone access to multiple partners, regardless of gender, means that polyamory has a significantly different impact on women than polygyny. Women in poly relationships tend to be highly-educated and able to be financially independent if circumstances require – a significant departure from women in polygynous marriages who are typically denied education and access to paid work. Poly women generally chose the relationship style as adults, rather than entering arranged marriages as adolescents who may not have even been consulted about their wishes. Results of this gender parity are evident at the community level, in which most of the high-visibility leaders, activists, writers, and researchers are women.
Charlotte Shane at The New Inquiry writes, “Downward-Facing Drones“:
I’ve heard particularly devout practioners claim that yoga, if it were even more widely practiced than it already is, would eliminate murder and soothe tensions between nations. It’s common knowledge among yoga devotees that if only politicians did yoga, civility would be restored to our government. (It’s less commonly known that Congressional gyms already offer regular yoga classes.)
Speculations like this might seem too facile to be worth criticizing, but they’re a symptom of prizing the body as a foolproof thoroughfare to one’s heart. Though Americans may treat sports heroes as gods and resist acknowledging their obvious flaws, rarely does a form of exercise itself convey the philosophy that physical prowess leads to holiness.
Laurie Penny at New Statesman writes, “Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase“:
Fan-ficcers are used to being treated as the pondscum of the nerd world, a few slimy feet below the table-top roleplayers and historical re-enacters. They don’t care, because they know – alright, alright, because we know – that fanfic is brilliant. I’ve spent many years hanging out in fanfic communities, mostly as a reader rather than a writer (my cringeworthy teenage Buffy slash was mostly done on paper). Fan fiction is where modern storytelling enters the realm of myth and folktale, where characters take on a life beyond the control of their authors, where they are let loose in communities with their own ideas about how to tell a story. More and more writers are coming out of those communities – not just E L James with her steamy Twilight rip-off, but fanficcers who break out into publishing their own original books, sometimes to great critical acclaim.
Excuse me, by the way, from taking a break from serious social justice writing to totally nerd out. It’s just that I’m desperately interested in stories, and who gets to tell them, and who has to listen.
Barbara Ehrenreich at The Atlantic writes, “It Is Expensive to Be Poor“:
For most women in poverty, in both good times and bad, the shortage of money arises largely from inadequate wages. When I worked on my book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, I took jobs as a waitress, nursing-home aide, hotel housekeeper, Wal-Mart associate, and a maid with a house-cleaning service. I did not choose these jobs because they were low-paying. I chose them because these are the entry-level jobs most readily available to women.
What I discovered is that in many ways, these jobs are a trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for child care or take a second job. And in many of these jobs, even young women soon begin to experience the physical deterioration—especially knee and back problems—that can bring a painful end to their work life.
Michelle Nijhuis writes at Slate, “Bilbo Baggins Is a Girl“:
And you know what? The switch was easy. Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She’s tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender—and neither does anyone else.
Despite what can seem like a profusion of heroines in kids’ books, girls are still underrepresented in children’s literature. A 2011 study of almost 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000 showed that only 31 percent had female central characters. While the disparity has declined in recent years, it persists—particularly, and interestingly, among animal characters. And many books with female protagonists take place in male-dominated worlds, peopled with male doctors and male farmers and mothers who have to ask fathers for grocery money (Richard Scarry, I’m looking at you). The imbalance is even worse in kids’ movies: Geena Davis’ Institute on Gender in Media found that for every female character in recent family films, there are three male characters. Crowd scenes, on average, are only 17 percent female.
Susana Polo at The Mary Sue wrote, “The Two Most Inexplicable Examples of Video Game Community Harassment This Week“:
In my title I call each of these examples of harassment “inexplicable,” even though they have clear explanations: some folks are uncomfortable with a woman making video games. Some folks are uncomfortable with a perceived feminist being involved in their video games. But “inexplicable” was really my first reaction: you mean a bit of gender swapped fan art led to backers demanding that heads roll and money be refunded? That an interactive fiction game placed on Steam Greenlight would incite an internet community that apparently believes that because they have the attention of men, women can never suffer from depression?
Dr. Elisabeth A. Sheff at Psychology Today writes, “Fear of the Polyamorous Possibility“:
Coming to the realization that there is an option to have openly conducted non-monogamous relationships is what I call the polyamorous possibility. Once people become aware that there is middle-ground between monogamy and cheating they have grasped the polyamorous possibility, and can never unthink it again. They may reject the idea or decide to explore it further, but the potential for themselves or their partner to initiate discussion of a polyamorous relationship exists in a way it had not before they became aware that polyamory is a social option. In my research, I have found that three common reactions follow realization of the polyamorous possibility.
Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress writes, “Fox Guest Encourages Female Host To Quit, Get Married, Have Babies“:
In the piece, Venker argues that women won’t find fulfillment trying to balance a relationship and family with full-time work. “Financial independence is a great thing,” she writes, “but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you. And there’s nothing empowering about being beholden to an employer when what you really want is to have a baby. ” She uses this opinion to advocate for women having less of a role in the workforce, and letting men be the breadwinners. “Unlike women,” Venker writes, “a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck.”
Tracey Lien at Polygon writes, “No girls allowed“:
If the selection at the average retailer is anything to go by, girls don’t play video games. If cultural stereotypes are anything to go by, video games are for males. They’re the makers, the buyers and the players.
There is often truth to stereotypes. But whatever truth there may be, the stereotype does not show the long and complicated path taken to formulate it, spread it and have it come back to shape societal views.
The stereotype, for example, does not explain why “girls don’t play video games.” It does not reveal who or what is responsible for it. It does not explain how an industry that started with games like Pong (1972) or the first computer version of Tic-Tac-Toe (1959) came to be responsible for a medium that, for most of its history, hasn’t had even an aisle’s worth of games for Maida.
ReBecca Theodore-Vachon at RogerEbert.com writes, “Acting right around White folks: on “12 Years a Slave” and “respectability politics”“:
In his article “I Hate Myself: What Are Respectability Politics And Why Do Black People Subscribe To Them?”, Maurice Dolberry defines Black Respectability: “They are an undefined yet understood set of ideas about how Black people should live positively and how we should define Black American culture.” Dolberry traces the roots of this ideology as far back as the 19th century with the formation of the Women’s Convention – a group of Black women from various Baptist churches whose mission was to uplift and unify the African-American community. One of their missions was to go into poorer communities, handing out flyers that instructed them how to behave properly in public, proper hygeine and the importance of sexual abstinence. Unfortunately, Black Respectability politics would only target those of lesser economic means.
Even noted Black intellectuals like W.E.B. DuBois engaged in respectability politics. In his 1920 essay “The Damnation of Women,” DuBois described abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman as “strong, primitive types of Negro womanhood,” and hoped for a “finer, type of black woman wherein trembles all of that delicate sense of beauty and striving for self-realization.” While DuBois appreciated both women’s contributions to the end slavery, their physical appearance and socioeconomic background did not qualify them as the right kind of “Negro” DuBois desired.
Dr. Jill McDevitt at A Day in the Life of a Sexologist wrote, “I accompanied someone to the police station to report a sexual assault, and this is what happened” *trigger warning for discussion of rape, rape apologia, and arsehats*
Amanda Hess at the Pacific Standard wrote, “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet“: *trigger warning for online harassment*
A woman doesn’t even need to occupy a professional writing perch at a prominent platform to become a target. According to a 2005 report by the Pew Research Center, which has been tracking the online lives of Americans for more than a decade, women and men have been logging on in equal numbers since 2000, but the vilest communications are still disproportionately lobbed at women. We are more likely to report being stalked and harassed on the Internet—of the 3,787 people who reported harassing incidents from 2000 to 2012 to the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 percent were female. Sometimes, the abuse can get physical: A Pew survey reported that five percent of women who used the Internet said “something happened online” that led them into “physical danger.” And it starts young: Teenage girls are significantly more likely to be cyberbullied than boys. Just appearing as a woman online, it seems, can be enough to inspire abuse. In 2006, researchers from the University of Maryland set up a bunch of fake online accounts and then dispatched them into chat rooms. Accounts with feminine usernames incurred an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages a day. Masculine names received 3.7.
Posted: December 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Tags: Feminism, gender roles, media, sexism
This post is going to discuss the second book and movie in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire. There will be discussion of the plot, so if you haven’t read or watched the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, wander away now.
I love the Hunger Games series. I love the writing, I love the depth of the characters, and I love that the main character is an incredibly traumatised teenager who is doing her best to protect those she loves and who tries to be strong despite suffering from untreated PTSD.
Jason Kottke put together quotes from two interesting posts on Gender Roles and Monogamy in the Hunger Games, and the quotes are interesting (I haven’t yet read them in full), and then he makes an incredibly gendered slur and messes the whole post up.
Maybe this is why the end of Catching Fire (minor spoilers!) — Katniss as the cliched irrational hysterical woman who can’t be trusted with information — felt so out of place compared to her gender fluidity throughout the rest of the movie.
Now, I don’t know if Kottke has actually read the books, but he clearly failed to grasp the second last scene of the movie. Katniss (who is a teenager and I think that really needs to be kept in mind), wakes up in a Captiol aircraft, after thinking she was dead. She takes off the oxygen mask, pulls the drip out of her arm and grabs the first weapon to hand – because she’s not only traumatised, she’s also rightly paranoid. She listens to the voices on the other side of a door, and then charges in asking where Peeta is.
When she discovers who is on the other side of the door, and that Peeta isn’t there she is upset and furious. She is not “hysterical” which is a gendered slur. She is not “irrational”, another gendered slur. She is upset that Peeta has been left behind because she knows what will happen to him, after watching the beating of Cinna at the beginning of the Quarter Quell.
And the reasons that Haymitch gave her for not letting her in on the plot was actually entirely reasonable, Snow was watching her, and with them watching her, the rest of them were free to wheel, deal and do everything else behind her. It was in everyone’s interest that she not be told. I didn’t see her fury at being kept in the dark about that, but about the fact that the promises made to her that Peeta would be kept safe even if she dies, were betrayed. She cared more about him living than she did about herself, and those who had made promises to keep him safe had broken those promises. Of course she was pissed off, she had every right to be. She was not irrational and she was not hysterical.
Posted: November 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Tags: abuse, atheism, bisexuality, body, children, disability, Feminism, media, politics, racism, rape, relationships, repro justice, sex, sexism, social justice, stuff, trans*, violence
I know November is almost over, and we’re rapidly approaching the horror month of the year, so have some posts of interest that I’ve found to take your mind of it.
s.e smith writes at This Ain’t Livin’, “Do Some Prisoners Matter More Than Others?“:
So when we talk about prison reform, many people shy away from talking about murderers and rapists and their rights, as well as the fact that they deserve justice. Despite the fact that the racial disparities seen in nonviolent drug convictions, robberies, and similar crimes are also seen with rape and murder, there’s an unwillingness to engage with issues like the possibility of profiling, false conviction, harsher sentences because of an offender’s race, and the myriad complicating factors that interfere with true equality for prisoners in the US, all of whom do in fact deserve human rights, no matter what their crimes.
Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism writes, “I Am Not an Anti-Theist“:
For another thing, I’ve ceased to see a rejection of the supernatural as some sort of cure-all to the world’s problems. Part of this of course has been the issues of feminism and sexism percolating within movement atheism, on both blogs and at conferences, for the last several years. Sexism and misogyny are not a religious thing. They are a people thing. They are a patriarchy thing, and patriarchy came before religion. And then of course there are anti-vaxxers. It turns out you don’t have to be religious to latch dogmatically to demonstrably false and objectively harmful beliefs. If I imagine a world with no religion, the world I see is not actually a better world than the one we have today.
Yessenia writes at Queereka, “The Limits of Empathy“:
What is more difficult is imagining how to challenge their able-bodied-privileged assumption that I owe them compassion that is not afforded to me. That I must understand that they have no other way of knowing what it’s like. That they can have direct experience of ‘what it’s like,’ but my explicit statement that “this is actually not at all what it’s like” is completely irrelevant and a product not of my dual experience, but of my failure to understand their experience of not understanding me.
It’s not unlike other kinds of privilege. How many of us have had well-meaning theists patiently explain that theists have a deep commitment to the truth of their religion, and therefore just can’t possibly stand to hear us say it’s not true? (Yet the reverse is never considered). How many of us have had well-meaning straight allies tell us that they are fine with our sexuality, but we should keep it private and not hit on them? (Yet again, the reverse is never considered). How many of us as women have had (straight) men explain that women’s outfits are just too revealing or tempting sometimes and it can be so distracting? (Yet the reverse, once more, is not even discussed).
Anita Heiss writes, “Redfern Now: Not the Whole Truth“:
Following a hugely successful series one for both Blackfella Films and the ABC, it was hard to imagine the bar could’ve been raised any higher. However, within minutes of the first episode (aptly titled Where the Heart Is) going to air on October 31st, Australian viewers (604,000 of them!) were in tears having been gutted by the death of a young man, Richard, whose partner Peter (Kirk Page) was left to grieve amidst the battle of homophobia, custody issues and his own rights as next-of-kin.
Kat Muscat writes at Scum Mag, “So Your Dick Isn’t Perpetually Hard.“:
It was a strange thing to be reminded of, really, because no kidding sex with different male partners is going to be different. In the seven years I’ve been doing this whole intercourse thing that has always been the case; the ‘thank you Captain Obvious’ reaction was justified.
Since starting out, but this year in particular, I’ve found my feet as a poly, sex-positive girl so the summer of lurve hasn’t needed to end. It’s tricky to convey credibility in this area without sounding braggadocious, but however unscientific my encounters with bartenders, backpackers, boys from house parties and outta town (along with the occasional ex) are, it’s been enough to burst the bubble that guys are always up (get it) for casual sex. However, the myth persists both publicly, and to an extent privately; after a while of fooling around it always seems to be expected that we were now going to Have The Sex. Like ‘real’, heteronormative, the-apparent-point-of-it-all, penis-in-vagina sexy sex.
While generally a fan of this type of fucking, it is a ludicrously simplistic conceptualisation of Sex with a capital S. It also by necessity requires guys to get, and remain, hard. No pressure! Just, y’know, regardless of where you’re at emotionally, mentally, what work has been like, whether you’re actually feeling safe—all of which are separate from whether you wanna have the Sex—if we can’t do this one activity it’s all on you and is it because I’m not pretty? If we’ve gotten this far, that seems unlikely you’re repulsed by my physicality. And even if it is a matter of not feelin’ the spark, come the fuck on, that is also fine. Chemistry, both in science and in between the sheets, is a complex business.
One of the sexiest things a guy has said to yours truly is, ‘sometimes it takes me a long time to get going. Maybe won’t even happen tonight at all’. This admission wasn’t something that got in the way of much playtime. In fact, it was even better because yay communication. The expectation had been lifted from both of us. We didn’t have to do anything unless it felt good; there was no single activity that got to arbitrarily mark the You Have Now Had Sex point.
Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “Why, why, why, “vagina”?“:
Now that that is out of the way, allow me to clarify. Vaginas are wonderful, magnificent parts of a woman’s anatomy. They can give birth; give pleasure. They’re strong and resilient. And somewhere along the way they have managed to become the only part of a woman’s genitalia that’s worth mentioning. In fact, the word has morphed and the wonderfully complex variety of folds, nerves, mounds down there are all collectively and colloquially as “the vagina”. At the end of the day, that’s the only really important bit, right?
Well no. It really isn’t. To suggest it is is about as heteronormative and misogynistic as you can get. It undoes a fair chunk of work those feminists back in the 70s did of not only ensuring women knew their genitalia had different parts that are all important, but also re-including clitorises in medical textbooks after they had been omitted for decades. I’m not being over-the-top here, I promise. It’s just that I can’t think of a single time where I have heard the entirety of a man’s genitalia referred to as “the penis”. Generally speaking, we tend to acknowledge that there are other bits there that have importance and refer to them accordingly.
Laurie Penny at The Guardian writes, “If you’re a feminist you’ll be called a man-hater. You don’t need rebranding“:
he rebranding of feminism as an aspirational lifestyle choice, a desirable accessory, as easy to adjust to as a detox diet and just as unthreatening, is not a new idea. Nor is ELLE magazine even the first glossy to attempt the task in recent years. But unfortunately there’s only so much you can “rebrand” feminism without losing its essential energy, which is difficult, challenging, and full of righteous anger. You can smooth it out and sex it up, but ultimately the reason many people find the word feminism frightening is that it is a fearful thing for anyone invested in male privilege. Feminism asks men to embrace a world where they do not get extra special treats merely because they were born male. Any number of jazzy fonts won’t make that easy to swallow.
Robert Jackson Bennett writes, “On women, and empathy, and con games“:
The problem was that, in this Big, Really Important Part, the protagonist encountered a character unlike any other in the book so far, a foreign, alien, incomprehensible being that I suddenly discovered I had no idea how to write.
Was it some fantastical entity? A Lovecraftian horror? Some tortuous, unfathomable monster?
No. It was a woman.
Greg Sandoval at The Verve writes, “The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man“:
She had enraged scores of men for supporting a call to moderate reader comments, which is of course common practice now. Sierra went public about the threats, writing on her blog, “It’s better to talk about it than to just disappear.”
But disappear is exactly what she did next. Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a well-known provocateur, hacker, and anti-Semite, circulated her home address and Social Security number online. He also made false statements about her being a battered wife and a former prostitute. Not only did Sierra find herself a target for identity theft, but all the people who had threatened to brutally rape and kill her now knew where she lived. So, she logged off and didn’t return to the web until two months ago. She gave up the book deals, speaking engagements, and even fled her home. An anonymous internet group had chased her off the web and out of tech, and it finally managed to hijack her offline life.
Gunjan Sharma at dnaIndia writes, “India gets first radio station – Q Radio dedicated to LGBT community“:
The country’s lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGTB) community can now celebrate freedom of airwaves with a round-the-clock radio station dedicated specifically to them.
‘Q Radio’ which started operating from Bangalore this September claims to be the first radio station in India that is tailored for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audience.
Amy McQuire writes at Tracker, “No winners in the blame game“:
For one – the central premise that the Left are silent about violence against Aboriginal women is wrong and offensive. Aboriginal women who identify on all sides of the political spectrum are concerned about this problem.
We’re not talking about violence against unknown women. We are talking about violence against our sisters, mothers, cousins and friends.
I don’t believe any Aboriginal woman has ever sought to elevate concerns over culture above the safety of our women.
It’s not a competition about who cares the most and I don’t understand how anyone could make such a blanket accusation.
It would be inhumane to remain silent. But inciting moral panics amongst largely uninformed Australians, accustomed to viewing blackfellas as the “other”, is just as insidious.
Amanda Marcotte at The Raw Story writes, “For The Misogynist Trolls: Your Repulsive Personality Is Not Inevitable“:
As I’ve pointed out over and over again while wielding the banhammer, if the haters took the time they spent hating feminists and creating threatening anti-feminist Facebook pages, and instead put that time towards self-improvement, they might actually find their sexual prospects brightening. Probably not with 21-year-old club girls, but there are a lot of women out there! Simply not being a repulsive choad and take you a long way. But the message isn’t sinking it.
I realize that part of the reason is that I, because of my desire not to ‘splain things that I think you already know, have never articulated what kind of self-improvement project that misogynists could take on instead of trolling feminists online. But their rising levels of hate and frustration have made it clear that they may just not know! So, in interests of making life more pleasant for everyone around, I compiled a list of self-improvement projects to turn you from a bitter asshole who repels women to someone who can get a date and is less interested in blaming feminism for all your problems. Next time you feel the urge to waste time trolling feminists online, try one of these projects instead!
Neil Gaiman at The Guardian writes, “Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming“:
It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.
And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.
The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.
jessamyn at Geek Feminism writes, “Wednesday Geek Woman: Mildred Dresselhaus“:
But Dresselhaus was into carbon before it was cool, and has been a professor at MIT since the 60s studying the physics of carbon materials. Her work has focused on the thermal and electrical properties of nanomaterials, and the way in which energy dissipation is different in nanostructured carbon. Her early work focused on difficult experimental studies of the electronic band structure of carbon materials and the effects of nanoscale confinement. And she was able to theoretically predict the existence of carbon nanotubes, some of their electronic properties, and the properties of graphene, years before either of these materials were prepared and measured. Her scientific achievements are extremely impressive, and she has gotten a lot of honors accordingly.
And as you can imagine, things have changed a lot for women in science over the course of her career. When she began at MIT, less than 5% of students were female, and these days it’s more like 40%. But of course, it helps female students quite a bit to see female role models, like Dresselhaus.
Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress writes, “In An Ugly Custody Battle, Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids“:
A Manhattan woman is currently embroiled in a high-profile custody battle with her ex-husband, a wealthy bank executive. The case is making headlines because a New York judge decided to consider her decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she’s not fit to care for her two young children.
38-year-old Lisa Mehos had an abortion nearly a year after she divorced her husband, 59-year-old Manuel John Mehos. In an interview with Salon, Mehos explained that her ex-husband found out about it because his lawyers subpoenaed her medical records to use as evidence in the custody case. Now, they’re arguing that it’s proof of her dishonesty and emotional instability.
The lawyer representing Mehos’ ex-husband, Eleanor Alter, suggests that the abortion “calls her credibility into question” because she is a Catholic. Alter also says it undermines Mehos’ claim that her tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband is actually what has caused her stress, since having sex out of wedlock and deciding to end a pregnancy are also “traumatic” experiences. “She’s traumatized by the abortion I presume, or worse, if she wasn’t traumatized by it,” Alter noted.
Anna Pulley at Role/Reboot writes, “Why It’s Tough To Be Bisexual“:
Since I came out over a decade ago, I’ve been a virulent defender of bisexuality. I’ve written numerous articles, dispelled stupid myths, and gotten in far too many heated arguments about the misunderstood goth teenager of sexual identities. While I’m done getting in knife fights over whether Willow from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was really gay or really bi, I’ve noticed a cultural shift in people’s willingness to use the word “bisexual” as an identity or descriptor of their sexual behaviors (with the exception of surveys and those in the medical establishment).
“Bisexual” is increasingly and fervently treated as the worst kind of cooties. Most people who are attracted to more than one gender prefer to identify as anything but bisexual, whether that’s queer, omnisexual, pansexual, homo- or hetero-flexible, straightish, fluid, polysexual, “on the down low,” “gay for pay,” (e.g. porn) and on and on.
Clementine Ford at Daily Life writes, “Excused for sexually humiliating a woman“:
This communal act of disregard for another human being is not an isolated incident. The news is full of examples of men bonding over the violation of women, from Steubenville to the pack rapes in Cleveland, Texas to Daisy Coleman in Maryville; the pack rape of a 13 year old runaway in Austin, Texas to the gang rape of a 16 year old homeless girl in Brunswick; the rape and subsequent murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey on a New Delhi bus to the almost identical attack on Anene Booysen in Cape Town to the recent brutilisation of a young Kenyan girl that has left her in a wheelchair.
Not all of the incidents linked to directly above are exactly the same, but they all have one thing in common: they exist on a continuum of violence that is supported by a perceived sense of unquestionable masculine entitlement. Because what leads a group of men to participate in the pack degradation of another human being other than the deeply held belief that it is their right to do so?
When Deblaquiere contacted McDonald via text to say, “I just had a f—in sick idea pop into my head, f— her n film it”, he wasn’t demonstrating a unique imagination. Rather, he was following in the footsteps of a long line of similarly privileged men who are empowered by society to behave exactly as they like towards women, and who will continue to be so as long as incidents like these are written off as the simple mistakes of men who got a little too carried away.
Anna Hart at Sabotage Times writes, “Bisexuality Is Not As Much Fun As You Think“:
But I lied mainly because I was still figuring out what the fuck I “was”. Lola was my second serious girlfriend, but I’d also been really into a boyfriend when I was 17. I was pretty damn sure I wasn’t gay. I also knew, every time I looked at Lola, that I wasn’t straight. I know that lying about your sexuality is a cut-and-dried 21st century sin, and I’m not proud of it, but it seemed heartless to put my parents through this particular wringer until I was 100% sure what exactly it was about my sexuality I had to tell them. Plus I didn’t want to be popping in and out of the closet like a jack-in-the-box. Telling your family that you’re gay remains a very brave, potentially traumatic and admirable decision. Announcing that you are “straight, after all, folks”? That’s just embarrassing.
The main hitch was that I hated the word “bisexual”. Lola and my previous girlfriend, Mia, were both gay, with gay friends, who teased me good-naturedly for being “a bicycle”, as they put it. Without exception, my gay friends thought that bisexuality was nonsense, and that I was either gay or in denial or straight and in denial. Their teasing was good-natured and – I thought at the time – harmless, but I was called a “part-timer” and “half-a-gay”.
Catholics for Choice writes, “New Video Sheds Light on Religious Extremism at the UN“:
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, noted that the Holy See’s obstructionism is ongoing, even under the new pope. “Earlier this year, as the conclave to elect Pope Francis took place, the Vatican collaborated with Iran and Russia in stymieing progress on a simple statement condemning violence against women. Since his election, we have seen more of the same. The Holy See has expressed its opposition to sustainable development and continues to rail against reproductive health services at every opportunity. It’s high time that the Vatican is required to act as other religions do at the UN. Religious voices are important, but should not be granted extra deference simply because they are religious.”
Jaclyn Friedman at The American Prospect writes, “A Good Men’s Rights Movement Is Hard to Find“:
What makes the MRAs particularly insidious is their canny co-optation of social-justice lingo. While Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex, MRAs claim to be a movement for positive change, with the stated aim of getting men recognized as an oppressed class—and women, especially but not exclusively feminists, as men’s oppressors. It’s a narrative effective enough to snow the mainstream media: Just this past weekend, The Daily Beast ran a profile of MRAs that painted them as a legitimate movement overshadowed by a few extremists. Trouble is, even the man writer R. Todd Kelly singled out as the great “moderate” hope that other MRAs should emulate—W.F. Price, of the blog “The Spearhead”—is anything but. According to Futrelle, “This is a guy who … blames the epidemic of rape in the armed forces on women, who celebrated one Mothers Day with a vicious transphobic rant, and who once used the tragic death of a woman who’d just graduated from college to argue that ‘after 25, women are just wasting time.’ He published posts on why women’s suffrage is a bad idea. Plus, have you methiscommenters?”
In some ways, the manosphere is old news. As long as there has been feminism, there has been a misogynist backlash. Warren Farrell, considered by many to be the father of the modern men’s rights movement, has been at it since the ’80s. But the Internet has proven a powerful accelerant for these discontents: According to Alexa.com, a web analytics service, A Voice For Men’s traffic has more than doubled in the past year; the site’s U.S. traffic ranks at 10,303 as of this writing (by way of comparison, the Prospect is ranked at 16,142).
Barbara Fredrickson at CNN writes, “10 things you might not know about love“:
2. Love is not exclusive.
We tend to think of love in the same breath as loved ones. When you take these to be only your innermost circle of family and friends, you inadvertently and severely constrain your opportunities for health, growth and well-being.
In reality, you can experience micro-moments of connection with anyone — whether your soul mate or a stranger. So long as you feel safe and can forge the right kind of connection, the conditions for experiencing the emotion of love are in place.
Sara Saleh at New Matilda writes, “Asylum Seekers Risk More Than Words“:
Labelling asylum seekers as “illegal arrivals” because they have come by boat, is like drawing attention to the illegality of trespassing when someone flees their burning house through the neighbour’s garden.
That is why context is so important — context that this language ignores by criminalising asylum seekers who, until processing stalled last year, were found to be genuine refugees 90 per cent of the time.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended this language by saying that the UN Refugee Convention defines illegal entry as people who come without a valid permit for entry into the country.
But the convention also guards the right to seek asylum — by boat or otherwise — in international law, and requires that no refugee be penalised by states for doing so.
Lin McDevitt-Pugh writes at NetSheila, “Sexuality Research at Work“:
In the Netherlands, most gays and lesbians are out of the closet at work and experience work in a similar way to their heterosexual colleagues. Bisexuals are largely hidden at work and experience more problems as a result. On Coming Out Day last week the Dutch Institute for Social Research* (SCP) published its research on sexual orientation at work.
The research concludes that 40% of the people who are attracted to people of the same sex are closeted at work. Kuyper’s research into sexual orientation at work found that 2.3% of male and 4% of female employees are bisexual. The figures are different to those found in previous studies, probably because the questions were asked differently. So anyone wanting to know how many bisexual people live and work in the Netherlands will have to hold their breath until new, definitive research is done. Meanwhile, brace yourself for significantly disturbing results. 74% of bisexual men are in the closet at work. Bisexual employees are more often looking for a new job, have twice as many conflicts with colleagues, experience negative attitudes and are more often bullied. They have more health problems.
Diane Revoluta writes, “At Every Age and Every Stage“:
Between the ages of 5 and 10, I am conditioned to be empathetic, sensitive and kind, while my male classmates are taught to be hard-working, resilient and confident.
At age 11, when family friends come over for dinner, I watch as the women busy themselves cleaning up the meal while the men sit in the lounge discussing politics.
At age 13, I go to high school and realise that smart girls are not attractive girls, and my popularity would be better served if I sit slumped in the back of a classroom feigning disinterest rather than eagerly answering questions.
At age 14, upon losing the regional debating final, a guy from the other team shakes my hand, smirks and says that “for a girls team, you put up a good fight”.
At age 17, not one career advisor or teacher or adult suggests I should consider politics as a career, despite the fact I am that 17-year-old who is on all of the youth councils and student bodies, I am a debater, and I show an interest in political issues.
Laurie Penny at New Statement writes, “A discourse on brocialism“:
I’d like to say, first off that there are many things apart from the hair and cheekbones that I admire about Brand. He’s a damn fine prose stylist, and that matters to me. He uses language artfully without appearing to patronise, something most of the left has yet to get the hang of. He touches on a species of directionless rage against capitalism and its discontents that knows very well what it’s against without having a clear idea yet of what comes next, and being a comedian he is bound by no loyalty except to populism. And he manages without irony to say all these things, to appear in public as a spokesperson for the voiceless rage of a generation, whilst at the same time promoting a comedy tour called ‘Messiah Complex.’
But what about the women?
I know, I know that asking that female people be treated as fully human and equally deserving of liberation makes me an iron-knickered feminist killjoy and probably a closet liberal, but in that case there are rather a lot of us, and we’re angrier than you can possibly imagine at being told our job in the revolution is to look beautiful and encourage the men to do great works. Brand is hardly the only leftist man to boast a track record of objectification and of playing cheap misogyny for laughs. He gets away with it, according to most sources, because he’s a charming scoundrel, but when he speaks in that disarming, self-depracating way about his history of slutshaming his former conquests on live radio, we are invited to love and forgive him for it because that’s just what a rockstar does. Naysayers who insist on bringing up those uncomfortable incidents are stooges, spoiling the struggle. Acolytes who cannot tell the difference between a revolution that seduces – as any good revolution should – and a revolution that treats one half of its presumed members as chattel attack in hordes online. My friend and colleague Musa Okwonga came under fire last week merely for pointing out that “if you’re advocating a revolution of the way that things are being done, then it’s best not to risk alienating your feminist allies with a piece of flippant objectification in your opening sentence. It’s just not a good look.”
Kathryn Joyce writes at Slate, “Hana’s Story: An adoptee’s tragic fate, and how it could happen again” *trigger warning child abuse*:
“We look at our own children, and think, how could that go so horribly wrong?” said adoptive parent Maureen McCauley Evans, who attended the trial almost daily, writing comprehensive blog updates for supporters unable to attend. But she also had an idea how it happened. More than an adoptive parent, McCauley Evans is also the former executive director of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, one of the top adoption advocacy organizations in the country, and had worked for two adoption agencies in the Maryland area. From this experience, she feels Hana’s case symbolizes some of the worst problems in adoption policy today: that families are only required by the Hague Convention on Adoption, an international treaty ratified by the United States, to have 10 hours of preparatory training before adopting, all of which can be done online; that once adoptions are finalized, families have no legal responsibility to report on their children’s well-being; and that a family was able to simultaneously adopt two older, traumatized, special needs children without having traveled to Ethiopia. That the Williamses took no steps to understand Hana and Immanuel’s background and believed that striking and withholding food were legitimate forms of discipline for adoptees—who may have gone hungry or been abused in the past—just made the situation that much worse.
Christopher Ketcham at Vice writes, “The Child-Rape Assembly Line: In Ritual Bathhouses of the Jewish Orthodoxy, Children Are Systematically Abused” *trigger warning rape, child abuse*
Ultra-Orthodox Jews who speak out about these abuses are ruined and condemned to exile by their own community. Dr. Amy Neustein, a nonfundamentalist Orthodox Jewish sociologist and editor of Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals, told me the story of a series of Hasidic mothers in Brooklyn she got to know who complained that their children were being preyed on by their husbands.
In these cases, the accused men “very quickly and effectively engage the rabbis, the Orthodox politicians, and powerful Orthodox rabbis who donate handsomely to political clubs.” The goal, she told me, is “to excise the mother from the child’s life.” Rabbinical courts cast the mothers aside, and the effects are permanent. The mother is “amputated.” One woman befriended by Dr. Neustein, a music student at a college outside New York, lost contact with all six of her children, including an infant she was breastfeeding at the time of their separation.
David Fisher writes at The New Zealand Herald, “Greatest NZ stories: Long, terrifying journey to become a mother“: *trigger warning – suicide*
Life edged towards tipping point. Lex won a study award, travelling to the United States, Canada and Europe to study Shakespeare production and was staying at a backpacker hostel in Zurich when life, structured as it was, caved in. Lex, with long hair and a beard, stood naked in a bathroom walled in mirrors and knew life had to change.
Lex returned and sought counselling. Childhood sexual abuse was worked through and, while driving home one day, Lex realised life had been lived with freedom from suicidal thoughts for three months.
But the epiphany was still to come. At one therapy session, counsellor Wayne Gates set out two chairs. “Lex,” he said, “you sit there and Sally will sit here,” he gestured to an empty chair. Lex inhabited both and played both parts, moving from one chair and character to the other, talking and talking, and crying. “That was me sitting in that chair,” said Lex to Wayne, pointing to the empty chair.
Sydney Magruder at Racialicious writes, “My Dad, the Feminist“:
“Y’know, I think you’d make a great president one day,” he beams. I smile at him, believing his every word.
And just like that, Daddy put roots in my heart. Roots that would one day grow into feminism.
As a child, Dad constantly reminded me that I was not limited by my gender, or by my Blackness. He celebrated them to no end, constantly praising my intellect, my wit, and my good judgment. He made perfectly clear to me the plight of women and of people of color in this country, and stressed the importance of knowing our history — my history.
Dean Arcuri at SameSame writes, “‘Black Rainbow’ challenges homophobia“:
Black Rainbow, a national coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay, lesbian, bisexual, sistergirl, transgender and intersex peoples has published an open letter the Koori Mail, a fortnightly national newspaper reporting on the issues that matter to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people giving Indigenous Australians a voice missing in the mainstream media.
“We are a group of strong and fabulous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, sistergirl (transgender) and queer people who would like to highlight our existence and the positive roles we undertake in our communities,” the letter reads.
“We would also like to congratulate the makers of the first episode of Redfern Now, and to respond to recent homophobic comments in the mainstream and social media.”
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Tags: Feminism, media, rant, sexism
Be quiet. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. Silence is a virtue. Don’t talk back. Don’t make a scene. Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.
Don’t do that, do this. Don’t do that, do this. Don’t drink. Don’t drive. Don’t go to that neighbourhood. Don’t go out at night. Don’t be alone. Don’t be alone with them. Learn a martial art. Be loud, shout. Fight. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t get drunk. Don’t take any risks. Plan everything.
Be nice to men. Don’t be nice to women. It’s a competition. Dress like this, no like this, no like this. Show more/less skin. Don’t dress like that. Don’t earn more than your boyfriend/husband. Don’t be more educated than your boyfriend/husband. Don’t be queer. Be sexually available. Don’t have sex on the first date. Play hard to get. Tease. Flirt. He didn’t mean it. Why didn’t you leave?
It doesn’t matter that you earn less than men. This is not a career path for women. Don’t negotiate for a payrise, you’ll be seen as a bitch. You’ll have a husband to support you in your retirement, so why care about super? You don’t need to worry your pretty head about money and budgeting.
Your voice isn’t important. Your opinions don’t matter. This issue that affects you is better discussed by a man. Men write better than you. Men know more than you. Your issue isn’t important. You can only write/publish in the “women’s interest” areas. No one would take you seriously if you wrote about politics/the economy/sport/violence.
As a man, I can speak personally about abortion. You have no merit. Institutional sexism is perfectly fine and we’re doing nothing to change it. Your sex appeal is more important than your policies and ability to do your job. Having children shows you’re a real woman. Having children shows you cannot dedicate your full attention to politics.
You’re too skinny. You’re too fat. Exercise more. Use this cream/lotion. Don’t use that cream/lotion. Eat this type of food. Don’t eat that type of food. Avoid carbs/protein/fat/everything. Starve yourself thin. Your body isn’t yours, it belongs to everyone else. Do you feel ashamed to have your body yet? You are beautiful. You’re an ugly slut.
Be nice. Don’t have self esteem. Be confident. Fake it until you make it. Feel ashamed. Be empowered. Be patient. Be kind. Don’t be rude. Don’t stand up for yourself. Be cautious.
Women have more emotions than men. Smile. Don’t be angry. Be calm. Don’t cry. Don’t scream. Don’t be afraid. Be afraid. Women make no sense. Women cannot be trusted to know their own feelings.
You belong at home. You belong in the kitchen. You belong with me. You are mine. You belong with the children.
Posted: November 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Tags: lgbtiq, media, racism, WTF
I found Daniel Stacey’s article on Daily Life titled, “Does The Hunger Games perpetuate ugly LGBT stereotypes?” and went “what, but… I don’t even… huh… does this even make sense anymore?”
As a bisexual, I appreciate that Stacey is attempting to have my back and protect me from homophobia (though not biphobia and there is absolutely no mention of transphobia in the article), but I think he doesn’t have sufficient historical knowledge to understand the Capitol and their wealth in context. Stacey seems to think that men who wear flamboyant clothing and makeup are foppish and effeminate, and that women who wear extravagent makeup are dressing like drag queens, which doesn’t sound at all homophobic.
The context that Stacey is missing is that historically the incredibly wealthy (generally the nobility) wore extravagant clothes and makeup. In pre-Revoluntionary France Kings Louis XV and XVI lived lives of decadence, wearing fine laces, silks, brocade, wigs, and makeup, because that’s what was done. The unadorned man is actually a very recent invention. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games Trilogy (I assume Stacey hasn’t read them) makes it clear how wealthy the citizens of Capitol are compared to those who live in the Districts. As King Louis XVI’s court was physically separated from the poor and starving in Paris, so the Capitol’s citizens are distant and separated from the poor of the Districts. As King Louis’s XVI court spent far too much money on clothes, make up and food, while the poor starved and agitated in Paris, those in the Capitol do exactly the same while those in the District start to agitate for change.
The story is not about homophobia, the story is about what happens when you treat a large portion of your population with contempt, put them in arenas to kill each other, while forcing them to watch, and letting them starve while you keep all the good things for yourself. In the books and in the movies, those of Capitol are displayed as incredibly wealthy, incredibly unaware (for the most part) of the privileged position they hold, and that they view those of the Districts as toys versus actual people.
The Hunger Games and stories are really a cross between the Roman Empire and it’s circuses and the pre-Revolutionary French monarchy’s disregard for the lower classes. If you read homophobia into that, then I’d suggest it’s your own internalised homophobia.
Stacey’s comparison of The Hunger Games to the movie 300 is also weird. 300 (the movie) was based on the comic book 300, written by Frank Miller.. Stacey claims that 300 was racist and well on the surface that’s indeed true, but again ignores history.
The comic is a fictional retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller watched as a young boy. The work was adapted in 2006 to a film of the same name. [Wikipedia]
When you have a story about one group of people going to war with another group of people, one of those groups is always going to be painted as the bad people, and generally it’s going to be based on where they’re from or the reason they’re warring in the first place (wrong religion, wrong wife, wrong coloured socks, etc).
To conclude, Stacey needs to learn more history and stop judging things after a few seconds of thought. Perhaps he should also ask some other LGBTIQ people their opinions on the movie before spending several hundred words writing a mostly incomprehensible article about non-existent homophobia (and biphobia and transphobia) and alluding to racism in movies for reasons that aren’t very clear.
The comments on this article (at least the first page) are pretty good for a change, and it’s refreshing to read a whole lot of people go, “What, why did you even!!!” at someone I’m doing the same thing to.