Happy New Y ear everyone! I hope that 2013 is awesome for you all, that you find happiness, peace, contentment, joy, and all other sorts of positive things this year.
Now here is a collection of posts and other interesting things I’ve found over the last month that I thought I’d share with you.
First up is a Part 1 of a short film “The Silent City” about the end of… we’ll we’re not quite sure. At time of writing there are 5 parts completed, and clearly intent for a 6th and perhaps more. The film makers have used the abandoned spaces of New York (I think) very well, and one of my favourite things about the movie is that it uses a non-white actor as the protagonist. Enjoy
In the rest of this answer, though, I’ll show how the accusation of ‘unnatural’ is only used to protect the power structure as-is: people accept all sorts of things that were once considered unnatural if those things prove to help white heterosexual cis men. Specifically, they accept medical technology, beautifications and body modifications usually used by women (so long as they jibe with the male gaze), and (since it’s become economically beneficial for white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, at least to some extent) women working outside the home and in professional jobs. [emphasis in original]
Any mention of Willow Smith seems to eventually devolve into a discussion of what is “acceptable” black parenting. There’s a myth (heavily fed by the media) that the Smiths are doing something incredibly new and unusual, particularly for black parents. Conversations about their parenting never really touch on the fact that their children are already millionaires in their own right with an even larger inheritance ahead. Willow Smith can shave her head one week and wear an ankle-length wig the next because she’s in an environment where it’s safe for her to explore everything that interests her. There is no need for the Smiths to teach their children the same lessons taught to poor black kids in the inner city, or even those facts of life that middle class black kids in the suburbs might need to learn.
Willow’s situation is unique for a young black girl in America, and the very public nature of her life has a lot to do with the responses to her fashion choices. Those who take issue with lack of boundaries set on her appearance are really reacting to the world in which walking while black can be an invitation for harassment, assault, or death. They live in communities rife with gang violence, police brutality, and institutional racism that would make it impossible for them to have green hair and be gainfully employed. In their minds, the Smiths are allowing Willow to develop habits that could have long-term consequences, and they cannot imagine how these choices could be a good idea.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is fond of repeating this business world double standard among groups of women: “Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.” So as men gain power, we like them more. As women rise in the ranks, we like them less. Jessica Valenti has proposed that women respond by ditching their “desire to be liked and accepted” altogether. “Women adjust their behavior to be likable and as a result have less power in the world,” she writes. “But the trade-off is undoubtedly worth it. Power and authenticity are worth it.”
If only bitches had it so easy. People may dislike powerful women, but being unlikable won’t necessarily help women get that power in the first place. One 2011 study found that while acting rude and disagreeable helps increase men’s earning potential in the office, the same is not true of women. When it comes to salary negotiation, even nice guys don’t finish last—they, too, are better situated than disagreeable women. So women are counseled to act like ladies when asking for a raise.
Rachel and Tyler Fracassa always did things too soon.
They became inseparable when they were 12 and married at 16. At 18, they had a house in Raytown and another child on the way.
Last year, the couple built a homestead on a 16-acre plot of land in Urich, Mo. The one-room house was enveloped by three pastures, a winding creek and a spring-fed pond.
It was as beautiful as it was secluded, and it embodied the couple’s biggest dream: to live as simply as possible so they could spend lots of time together and, someday, save enough money to take their kids all over the world.
The report, into the media portrayal of LGB audiences, featured interviews with LGB organisations and representatives and comes two years after a 2010 study carried out by the BBC. In two parts, the report also featured the views of around 3,500 people on the BBC’s own independently run audience reaction panel, Pulse.
Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Holby City were among the shows praised by the report for their inclusion of incidental LGB characters. “Doctor Who quite often has a gay character in it but it isn’t always an issue or the plotline,” said anti-hate crime charity Galop. “It’s just incidental which has been quite nice.”
But there was criticism of another BBC drama, Lip Service, about a group of lesbians living in Glasgow which aired on BBC3. The actors trade union Equity said: “Lip Service is written by a lesbian/bisexual woman. This makes a huge difference.
“However, the episodes were directed by men and the majority of the lesbian characters were played by heterosexual actors and this clearly impacts on the quality and integrity of the representation. Some of it was laughable.”
But my rant is actually not quite about that stuff at all. It’s about history, and this notion that History Is Authentically Sexist. Yes, it is. Sure it is. We all know that. But what do you mean when you say “history?”
History is not a long series of centuries in which men did all the interesting/important things and women stayed home and twiddled their thumbs in between pushing out babies, making soup and dying in childbirth.
History is actually a long series of centuries of men writing down what they thought was important and interesting, and FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN. It’s also a long series of centuries of women’s work and women’s writing being actively denigrated by men. Writings were destroyed, contributions were downplayed, and women were actively oppressed against, absolutely.
The other day I saw the new character model for Cortana and I was thinking it seemed pretty alright – she looked older, stronger, far less caricatured. If Cortana was always going to be titillating, at least she seemed a more appropriate object of desire: more 25 than 15, more flesh than real doll.
So I got a bit nervous when I saw a lot of negative reactions to Cortana’s new larger boobs. Not because that reaction wasn’t coming from a good place – these were people I respected, reacting against objectification of women and the presentation of unrealistic ideals to young women. But just a couple of weeks earlier I heard they’ve got plans to make the new Lara Croft incarnation deeper, and part of that will be making her boobs smaller. The implication that larger boobs are a liability to well-presented, deep characters makes me nervous because, well, how many stacked women get to have complex stories in popular media? I can think of Joan Holloway and…?
Boob sizes have been neatly separating the mistresses from wives, the sexy/trashy good-times-girls from the arty/pretentious hipsters, the ciphers from the plotlines. Video games have certainly fed the first part of the stereotype, that ‘e-cup women are playthings’, but wouldn’t only giving empathetic roles to C-cup-or-less women just reinforce that? (It’s also implying small-boobed women can’t be objectified because they’re insufficiently sexy. The beauty of this system is no-one wins!) Where are the ‘twist’ video games for this gaming trope, promoted as indulging the players’ desire to objectify women, but surprise! actually gives you that character’s perspective about what it’s like to live with all that objectification? Lara Croft isn’t running towards her goal, she’s running away from you, thousands upon thousands of leering players.
But there’s another point I want to make, because the logic that suggests “Sex is fun, fun is trivial, certain bodies are more sex than others, therefore certain bodies are more trivial than others.”, comes from the same place as that attitude towards media: “Play is fun, fun is trivial, certain media forms are more about play than others, therefore certain media forms are more trivial than others.”
Over at not language but a map, “just shut up” about problematic themes in media (the excerpt below relates to Beauty and the Beast):
The film ended, and my professor flicked the light on. She passed out a handout we’d already received, a list of warning signs for domestic abusers. This list included things like, “Isolates partner from support systems—tries to keep them from family, friends, outside activities.” It included things like, “Attempts to control what partner wears, does, or sees.” It included things like, “Is extremely moody, jumping quickly from being nice to exploding in anger.” It included things like, “Is overly sensitive—gets hurt when not getting their way, takes offense when someone disagrees with them, gets very upset at small inconveniences.” It included things like, “Has unrealistic expectations of partner,” and “Is abusive towards other people,” and “Has ever threatened violence, even if it wasn’t a serious threat,” and, “Gets romantically serious very quickly,” and “Holds partner against their will,” and “Intimidates with threatening body language, punching walls, breaking objects, etc.” The Beast meets almost every criterion on the list, and those he doesn’t meet (“Was abused by a parent,” “Grew up in an abusive home,”) are only unmet in the sense that we have no way to know, from the narrative given to us, whether he meets them or not.
My professor said, “Okay. Now let’s talk about it.”
One of the frustrating things for me about spending a lot of time with women, writing about women’s issues, and interacting with women is that I’m usually read as a woman and have that identity forced on me even though I’m very open about the fact that I’m genderqueer. This isn’t just because of how I look, although obviously that’s a factor; with a lot of images of me circulating on the web, often accompanying my work, it’s inevitable that people are going to make a snap assumption about my gender on the basis of my appearance. Nor is it because of the way I write; writing analysis tools tend to skew masculine when I run my work through them.
It’s because of what I write about. The assumption is that anyone who writes both passionately and sometimes personally about issues that primarily affect women must be a woman, because who else would care, right? And who else would share those experiences (rather than pontificating on them as an outside observer)? Consequently, I end up in this strange doublebind where I am welcomed into ‘women’s spaces’ and forcibly labeled as a woman—as long as it’s convenient, and then suddenly I’m shut out.
Inequality doesn’t just spring up without a context. And women don’t just opt out of hacking and hacker communities because of the tired rhetoric “maths and hacking is boys’ business.”
No, women stay the hell away from hacker-spaces, conferences and tech initiatives because of on-going experiences of misogyny, abuse, threats, put downs, belittlement, harassment, rape.
Last infosec conference I went to – there was six females and over 1000 males in attendance. My female friend roped me into pretending I was her lesbian lover, simply to get a guy to let-the-fuck-go of her hand.
At this point, some of you are thinking, “Well, if DEFCON is so bad for women, women just shouldn’t go. Who cares?”
As KC puts it, “Defcon is also many wonderful things. It is a fantastic environment to learn, network, and connect with friends old and new.” There’s a reason that I attended DEFCON five times before I quit. DEFCON and other hacker conferences are popular for all the reasons that conferences exist at all: learning new things, meeting people in your field, improving your reputation, finding jobs, and making new friends.
I’ll start with the most obvious benefit of attending DEFCON: jobs. Did you know that Twitter is recruiting computer security experts at DEFCON? So are Zynga and the NSA
More people are finally taking notice of the abuse. But there’s still a dearth of discussion on why it’s happening. The culprit isn’t anonymity, often the go-to answer for why the Internet can’t have nice things. Instead, it’s believing in the exceptionality of the Internet—and online gaming—that allows the abuses within, and it is enabled every time someone utters “It’s just a game.”
That phrase is the machine to which oppressive power dynamics are the ghost. How many times have you heard someone say “It’s the Internet; you shouldn’t take that seriously”? This kind of thinking supports the idea you can do anything you want with no consequences, when in all actuality, virtual actions like sexual harassment, stalking, abuse, prejudice in all of its forms—racism, sexism, transphobia, or all of the above—do have consequences.
Let’s start with that distinction between “online” and “the real world.” In the virtual world, there is a clear, aggressively policed distinction dictating the boundaries of both cyberspace and its social practices. In online gaming spaces in particular, this distinction is similar to the difference between “play” and “nonplay.” As child psychologists have long recognized, the act of saying “this is play” makes the real seem unreal, and thus malleable and less threatening. It allows for experimentation and learning, as well as simply finding out who you are. But in online gaming spaces, when combined with a culture of zero accountability and prejudice, it becomes a way of denying the impact of one’s words and actions—putting no limit on how nasty they can be.
There was a time that it gave me a blush of pride to be referred to as “the Spelling Sergeant” or “the Punctuation Police”. I would gleefully tear a syntactic strip out of anybody who fell victim to the perils of poor parallelism or the menace of misplaced modifiers. I railed against atrostrophes and took a red pen to signs posted in staff rooms, bulletin boards and public washrooms. I was, to put it bluntly, really, really annoying.
Four years ago, I was hired in a program that helps disadvantaged adults acquire fundamental literacy skills. To say that it has been an eye-opening experience deeply understates its impact; in fact, it has been mind-opening. And one of the ideas that has fallen into my newly-open mind is that being pedantic about the language skills of perfect strangers is kind of an asshole move.
It’s a tough habit to break, though. Prescriptivists are vocal and ubiquitous, and many of them have found their way into the public education system. Writing can be a powerful form of communication, and grammar snobs tend to be good at it, so the result is that their sneering condescensions become canonized – and cannon-ized – as easy shots against opponents in intellectual debate. The advent of the world wide web, naturally, has elevated this sport to Olympic proportions.
Reclamatory language seems to tie people up in knots as they attempt to navigate the murky waters of words, who uses them, and how. I don’t blame people for being confused; language is constantly evolving and sometimes it feels like an ever-moving goalpost designed to trip people up, rather than a useful tool for describing ideas, actions, people, and experiences. And it becomes especially fraught when people are using language some people identify as slurs self-referentially, particularly in progressive communities where there is a strong stigma about using the wrong word.
Reclamatory language, in a nutshell, includes slurs repurposed by members of a given group as a form of self-empowerment, criticism, or ingroup solidarity.
After telling myself for years that these feelings were just appreciation, or jealously for physical beauty, or anything other than what they were, I finally let go of the denial and admitted the truth to myself.
I am sexually attracted to women.
There was such freedom in just admitting that to myself. I could let go of the confusion and just be me. I could let go of the questions and just accept myself for who I was. I could let go of the questions and just embrace life.
N.K Jemisin (one of my favourite authors ever) wrote a post heavy on US politics on the Predators movie , “Predators, the GOP, and you“:
But that movie had serious problems. You knew Weathers’ character was doomed the instant you saw him, along with Bill Duke’s character — the other black guy. You knew when you saw Billy, the generic American Indian character, that he was going to die a Noble Savage death. You knew Poncho, the generic Latino character, was going to reveal cowardice or criminality before the end of the film. You knew the female character, who never even got a name, would be useless deadweight and have to be rescued repeatedly. You also knew she would probably get to live, because who else is the surviving male hero going to bang for his victory celebration?
This new version raised all of that, and saw us some additional extra-crispy crapcakes to boot. Nothing progressive about this one; regressive, in fact.
Patrick RichardsFink writes, “An Invisible Man” at Huffpost “Gay Voices” a piece about being bisexual, monogamous and married to a woman:
The nature of my relationship, however, does not change my sexual orientation. That has not changed, even when I publicly denied it. When I was in the closet, though, I never actually told people I was straight. I would duck the issue, change the subject, or deflect with words that seemed to give an answer while not actually giving any information. If I had been more comfortable with that kind of technically not-lying obfuscation, I could have gone into politics.
There’s an unfortunately common idea that while it’s perfectly possible to be straight or gay without having to do anything to prove it, in order to be bisexual we either have to have frequent three- or moresomes, or alternate genders of partners in strict same/other order — to “maintain balance.” A lot of the myths about bisexuality are built on these assumptions.
Are there people who fit the stereotypes above? Sure. Is it their right to do so? Absolutely. Criticizing someone for “reinforcing a stereotype” is dirty pool, a way of telling them that their choices are not valid because “it reflects badly on the community.” This is a problem faced by people in all minority groups: race, socioeconomic status, gender expression, sexual orientation. No one has the obligation to “be a credit to their [whatever].”
It’s interesting that bisexuals — in particular, bisexual women — are facing this issue of having their bisexuality questioned because they are in relationships. Are bisexuals required to be single in order to truly say that we are bi? Why can’t a bisexual celebrity, or any other bisexual person, get married or be in a relationship? If a heterosexual person gets married, I can’t imagine anyone tweeting to ask if they’re still straight. Why would they? What would one have to do with the other? But for some reason, bisexuality is cast in a different light. It’s seen, at least by Wood’s follower, as something you do rather than something you are.
Natalie Reed wrote this post that I only discovered recently, back in April 2012, “Natural Privilege“:
Yesterday on twitter I came across a woman calling herself Yeats Infection who decided to chastise the “decision” trans people make to become dependent on the “capitalist pharmaceutical industry” for the rest of our lives, framing us as having somehow been duped by the evil conspiracy of Big Pharma.
What an insulting, condescending, privileged, uncomprehending, self-righteous, patronizing infuriating, ignorant thing to say. Ugh. Just ugh. Well, no, not just ugh. Ugh and a heartfelt “fuck you” as well.
What it brought to mind for me, and made explicit, was the incredible degree of privilege and entitlement that often underlies the “natural medicine”, “alternative medicine”, “non-allopathic”, anti-”Big Pharma” attitude. That beneath the preference for these “natural” alternatives was the luxury of a normative physiology, and that to extrapolate from that luxury a prescriptive, paternalistic attitude towards the not-so-inconsequential choices others make about their health and bodies belies considerable classism, ableism and, yes, cissexism.
Womanhood is full of frustrating hunches, and society is full of people who want to pooh-pooh those hunches. “I’m pretty sure I’m being treated like shit right now because of my vagina,” we women say. “Shut UP, women! Because men get injured in industrial accidents! Therefore, equality reigns!” the pooh-poohers reply. There’s almost nothing as satisfying as having one’s hunches backed up by science. So color me delighted by this new study published in American Political Science Review, which found that, in collaborative group settings, “the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation—amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.”
HA. That is just about the truest shit that I have ever heard. I (and, I suspect, pretty much any woman) can access that feeling really quickly and vividly—when you find yourself in conversation with a circle of men and, against your better judgment and all your feminist impulses, you just turtle up. You retire. You forfeit, because their lungs are bigger, they’re groomed for assertiveness since birth, and you’re groomed to assume that nobody will take you seriously anyway. You wait for a pause in a room of interruptors. Sigh. I do it like crazy, and I am a fucking loudmouth feminist yelling machine.
In the autumn of 1978 the Washington Association of Churches and the Washington State Catholic Conference jointly published a six-page pamphlet they called “Abortion: An Ecumenical Study Document.” Their work offers a fascinating snapshot of Christian thinking at the time and raises some equally fascinating questions about what, exactly, has happened in the last 35 years.
The pamphlet does not contain a position statement. Quite the opposite, in fact. From the beginning, the authors explain that such an agreement is impossible: ”Clearly there is no Christian position on abortion, for here real values conflict with each other, and Christian persons who seek honestly to be open to God’s call still find themselves disagreeing profoundly.”
Reverend Gary LaMoine of the Assumption Church in Barnesville, Minn., denied 17-year-old Lennon Cihak the Eucharist rite of Communion after seeing a picture on Facebook of the teen that went against the church’s politics.
The image in question, currently inaccessible due to privacy settings, depicted Cihak holding a modified sign in support of an amendment to the state’s constitution that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Cihak’s modification to the yard sign reflected his support of marriage equality.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of comments on the interwebs from genuinely nice guys who want to know how to be good feminist allies in this shitty rape culture world we live in. And it’s a more complicated question that it looks, since there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about white knighting (which in itself is a confusing term with about four distinct and sometimes mutually exclusive meanings) and helpful-versus-unhelpful anger and nice guyism and creepers and OMG PARALYZED BY THE POSSIBILITY FOR WRONGNESS.
So here is a Helpful (Male) Allies 101 post for men who would like to be helpful male allies as far as my opinion goes. Also, upfront, these posters are very cool. Just sayin’.
The piece is broken up into five different parts – in that way its like the Fast and The Furious franchise, or if you prefer, a bullshit-cake that has been broken up into five different parts. Each of these parts addresses a different group and tells them, with what I can only assume is a straight face, ‘what men want’.
Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with this in theory. Men are not prohibited from telling people what they want. In fact, this willingness to not be coy about what we want is just one of the reasons why we have owned, throughout history, most of the things. So no one is saying that suddenly the needs of men are irrelevant and to be ignored. I mean, that’s just such a tediously obvious point, that in order to put that argument forward you’d have to posses the kind of myopia that renders you unable to acknowledge even the most self-evident of truths. Truths like the fact that the increase of rights for one group of people does not, in any sense, mean a decrease in rights for another.
I think we can all agree that the sentiments expressed here are less reminiscent of anything meaningful than they are a giant, steaming pile of crap that’s been passed through the digestive system of a cow then exposed to radioactive waste so that it grows to be a super dungpat that can walk around and talk and then eventually tries to run for Prime Minister while enjoying the ongoing support of Miranda Devine. That’s how messed up this turd is.
Unfortunately, it’s a turd whose central thesis is reinforced far too often in society, that being the conflation of women’s value with their vigilance in keeping their legs shut. Ladies! How can we respect you when you don’t respect yourselves?! HOLLA!
Having worked in the IT industry for a long time (almost 20 years), I felt it was my duty to explain how Abbott’s line that “during April the computer server timestamps were sometimes out by up to 10 hours” was wrong ― and why it was – at best – improbable and – at worst – impossible.
Let’s take this on face value: the Australian Parliament House (APH) network – like most corporate and government networks – is a complex beast. Spanning politicians on all sides of parliament and public servants alike, security is paramount. To maintain the level of security in APH time is essential.
If you work in IT, you know that setting a clock even one hour out will cause your network to fall over, as the tolerances for Windows Server is five minutes difference in time. Even if you set a different timezone, Windows Server will not accept login credentials from a client computer if the time is more than five minutes out.
“Men’s rights” groups are a growing phenomenon, with “men’s centres” and “men’s issues awareness” clubs appearing on campuses. Manipulating men’s anxieties faced with neoliberalism and austerity, “men’s issues” groups ignore the poverty, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia that men and women face, and instead scapegoat the women’s movement and progressive movements in general.
The rhetoric of “equality,” “diversity,” “human rights” and “inclusivity” that these groups use can certainly seem appealing, as can their claim to “provide support for individuals whose equality rights have been denied.” And their claim of “evidence not ideology” gives them a semblance of objectivity, which they apply to issues many people are concerned about: “men’s health, fathers and family issues, boys issues, suicide, violence, safety, workplace issues, crime and punishment.”
‘Tis the season for facial hair, courtesy of Movember, although Rachel Rubin rightly pointed out that there are some serious problems with how the event is currently framed and handled. Much like breast cancer awareness, Movember has become a juggernaut of misdirected funds and general grossness, rather than a legitimate effort to address serious men’s health issues.
And for the women who want to participate, it’s quite a minefield. Rachel collected an assortment of nasty Tweets about women with facial hair in her piece on Movember, illustrating broader social attitudes about ladies sporting mustaches, beards, sideburns or, really, anything even vaguely resembling hair on their faces. Bearded ladies are supposed to be freakshows, something to be pointed and laughed at, rather than women who happen to have facial hair, for whatever reason.
Unlike men, women aren’t socially allowed to choose facial hair as an aesthetic choice and as part of their personal expression. They’re supposed to shave it, wax it, laser it or otherwise remove it. Just get it off, because women aren’t supposed to have hairy faces.
“When the bigotry comes from the straight community, it’s hurtful. But when it comes from the gay community, it’s worse—because they should understand,” says Ingram, who now lives in Bensalem. “This is the experience of the gay community—having the straight community tell them they’re wrong, they don’t exist. For me, it feels like personal betrayal. I feel like ‘I was there with you, in the beginning,’ and then I hear ‘What has bisexuality done for the movement?’ That just floors me. The history has been rewritten.”
Ingram met her husband of three years, James Klawitter, at a meeting of BiUnity, a Philly-based bisexual support network. They were both prepared for the onslaught of questions from friends and family, some well-meaning and others hostile, when they became engaged: “Are you straight now?” (They are not.) “Are you going to miss the other gender?” (No, they have a polyamorous marriage.) “Do all bi couples have poly marriages?” (Most don’t, although some do. Same as gay and straight people.) “Are you straight now?” (No, still not straight.)
Last week, the #1reasonwhy hashtag took Twitter by storm.
It provided an outlet for gamers and game designers alike to express their frustration with the sexism of the gaming industry. The comments from women working in the industry reflected and repeated many of those we have collected on the Everyday Sexism project, from across a wide variety of jobs and workplaces. Particularly poignant were the stories from women who had been dismissed out of hand before their work had even been seen, or those afraid that a single failure would be deemed “proof that woman shouldn’t be in the industry”. The answer “Because every disclosure of harassment feels like risking never being hired again”, was also achingly familiar.
But what really struck home was the similarity, on the #1reasonwhy hashtag and amongst other articles, between gamers’ virtual experiences and the real-life gender imbalance recorded to our project website daily. We were struck by the multitude of ways in which sexism within video games themselves seemed to mirror real-life sexism.
The next taunt in class, we looked at each other. I waited for him to speak. He didn’t. I didn’t. Then a girl behind me did, out of nowhere. We were shocked but relieved.
“Shut up, you guys.”
Crosshairs were now on her. They started applying the same tactics on her as they had the previous girl, but with added harshness, because she dared to challenge them.
The boy and I stood up for her. Soon some more joined in.
I was so scared to defend her by myself. I was already a weird kid. I just wanted Justin to like me. But once others started standing up against shitty behaviour, I had much more confidence. I got mouthy. I put the mean kids on a lunch negotiation embargo. You bitches ain’t getting MY Burger Rings! I started having less tolerance for their crap, and less fear about letting it be known. I became even more radioactive than I was before, but I was oddly at peace with it.
This week, the #1ReasonWhy campaign provided a poignant and much-needed platform for women to talk about why they don’t feel comfortable in the games industry. Obviously it’s the perfect time for a Facebook advergame that encourages you to bully your friends about their breast size.
Wait, what? Are you serious?
Hire Hitman, a Facebook app designed to do some viral marketing for Hitman: Absolution in the wake of its mixed critical reception, was live for only an hour before an apologetic Square Enix pulled it.
But for that brief window, you could help the company sell its game by making death threats to your friends based on their body size, for having hairy legs, their awful make-up or their “tiny penis.” How appropriate for the age of cyber-bullying and teen suicide!
I found the Facts and Stats page of the Australia’s CEO Challenge: workplace partners against domestic violence.
I don’t want to knock college newspapers. They can be an incubation ground for great journalists, and sometimes their columnists are funny, sharp, insightful and so much more.
But other times, they’re just plain ridiculous, and that sums up John Corrigan, who is apparently approximately 12 years old, at “The Temple News” to a tee. For his parting shot as he prepared to leave the paper, he wrote himself up an oh-so-witty column about cis ladies and their periods. Because, as we all know, this subject is hilarious, especially when written up by a man complaining about how his girlfriend transforms into some sort of creature from the deeps for three to five days out of the month.
He managed to include almost every possible period stereotype, no mean feat for such a short column. He portrays menstruating cis women as out of control animals, held captive by their hormones, depicting menstruation as some sort of minefield for the men around them (“When your girlfriend suffers, you will too”). He informs us that women eat weird things during their periods — har har! — and points out that one side benefit is a chance for some sexytimes, but “don’t expect a quickie.” Because, you know, menstruating women need to be tenderly held and snuggled, all emotionalstyle.
Whenever I read the term “gay marriage” I get annoyed. The word “gay” has a specific meaning, it is a sexual orientation in this context, so therefore “gay marriage” would be wedding between two gay people. Macquarie dictionary (the Australian dictionary of choice) states that gay is especially of male homosexuals, though also states that it relates to homosexuals in a broader sense, so that may include those who identify as lesbian. The groups that the term “gay” describes does not include bisexuals, trans* and intersex individuals.
So if you decide to use the term “gay marriage”, then you are excluding bisexuals, trans* and intersex individuals from your definition of marriage – which is why I prefer (and argue for) the terms “marriage equality”, “equal marriage” or “same-sex marriage”. If you’re happy excluding the bisexuals, trans* and intersex members of the LGBTIQ community, then I don’t want to be part of your group.
I know I’ve written about this before, but it keeps happening and so I keep pointing it out. It happens in places who should really know better, such as in the Fairfax media, or the Huffington Post, or even at my own workplace. Recently at work, when I called out the person on it, I told them that they should be using inclusive language, and not exclusive language. The guy I addressed my issue to started to argue with me, but then listened to what I was saying, apologised and agreed to correct the language in the presentation pack.
Fairfax and the Huffington Post completely ignore my requests to them to change their language use. Fairfax hasn’t been on my radar much recently, but the Huffington Post has been making me growl regularly. For starters, the section in HuffPo that covers LGBTIQ issues is called “Gay Voices” which really seems quite odd when they have bisexual and trans* content (I don’t know if they have any intersex content). I have asked that they change it to “Queer Voices”, but have not received any response from them. Clearly I am a lone (ish) voice in Australia, it is possible that a concerted campaign might get through to whoever manages that site.
HuffPos’ twitter account regularly refers to “gay marriage” and doesn’t use inclusive terms. Tonight they tweeted about a wedding that had to be moved due to Hurricane Sandy, but they called it a “gay wedding” despite no one in the article using the term. I then argued with people on twitter about orientation – always a fun activity.
All I want, and I don’t think it’s really that hard, is that when referring to issues that affect the entire LGBTIQ community, that attempts are made to use inclusive language. Using umbrella terms like “gay and lesbian” alienates entire sections of the LGBTIQ community, and that’s not cool. Making us invisible because saying gay or lesbian is easier is not cool. We want to be included, we don’t want to be invisible because keeping us invisible makes it harder for us to participate in the wider community, being invisible leads to worse health outcomes for us, being invisible leads to higher rates of violence against us, and generally weakens the community overall. So next time you hear someone refer to “gay marriage” or the “gay and lesbian [insert group here]” ask them if they intend to exclude bisexuals, trans* and intersex people.
*Trigger warning for rape discussion (corrective sex)*
So Ricky Nixon, an AFL “personality” (former player manager), decided to publicly sledge a Fairfax columnist (is that different to journalist?) Suzanne Carbone on his Facebook page today. As it was a public page/wall* the whole world could (and indeed did thanks to the article published by The Age and other places) see what he and his friends said about Suzanne Carbone. It wasn’t pretty, it was incredibly sexist. It was also incredibly immature. Seriously guys, if someone says something you don’t like, debate it, don’t call that person names and suggest that the solution is “a good shag” because not only is that sexist and misogynist, but it also makes you look like a Neanderthal. Debating ideas and opinions is not that difficult. Name calling is certainly easier, but makes you look like a fool while the other person effectively wins. Not a good strategy.
Two articles in today’s Age (online) were so jaw-droppingly bad I thought I’d draw everyone’s attention to them. The first is an article sourced from AFP, and appears to have been just been pasted in without any consideration of the AWFUL language included.
Rights campaigners and politicians have condemned a video showing women from a protected and primitive tribe dancing for tourists in exchange for food on India’s far-flung Andaman Islands.
Primitive? Primitive? According to who? Is there any way that sentence could be any more racist? The women are part of the Jarawa people, an group of people indigenous to the Andaman Islands. How hard is that to say versus “primitive”?
The second article is titled, “Court in same sex tennis furore” is in relation to Margaret Court and her issues with an equal marriage protest/action at the Australian Open. Hoyden About Town blogged very nicely about the issue here.
Part way through the article…
Court, a 24-times grand slam singles champion and a pastor at the Victory Life Centre church in Perth, has long opposed same-sex marriage but sparked a fierce backlash from retired women’s champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both homosexuals, when she reiterated her views in a Western Australian newspaper recently.
“both homosexuals”????? I don’t know how Martina Navratilove and Billie Jean King actually identify, but the correct terms most commonly used to describe women in same sex relationships, are lesbian or bisexual. The term homosexual has a negative history from being classed as a mental disorder. Steve Williams has a great blog on the issue here.
To my mind, the word “homosexual” has a very clinical cadence to it, and the emotions it seems to invoke appear to stem from the not too distant past when homosexuality was still thought of as an affliction and a mental disorder. There’s also an inherently androcentric core to the word “homosexual.” Of course, it can be used to refer to both gay and lesbian people, but I’d wager that the word “homosexual” is mostly used in reference to gay men, especially when utilized by social and religious conservatives. Moreover, it probably carries notions of sex and, by extension, anal sex or sodomy, which is usually one of the central pillars of disgust threaded throughout most prejudiced material.
Neither of those two statements are true. Pain is not always temporary, and to suggest it is makes those who live with chronic pain either non-existent, or delusional. Some pain is temporary, and some pain is not.
Quitting is not forever. Quitting is just a thing. Sometimes it can be about personal boundaries, abilities, or coping capacity. Sometimes it can just be because you are done and don’t want to continue. Sometimes it can be because you’ve changed your mind. None of these things are necessarily permanent – though of course they could be, but that doesn’t mean that all things you quit are.
So, poster on the wall at my gym, kindly take your offensive slogan away and sod off – because fire… the effects of that can be permanent.
I don’t know if I will do daily updates of my trip here to KL, but since I have the night done, and we’re waiting now to be tired enough to go to sleep (we mega napped this afternoon), I thought I’d upload my photos to Flickr and quickly write up today.
Though now with attempting to sort out phone dramas (I can connect to our pre-paid provider with no problems – Scott is having issues), I might not get the photos uploaded until later.
Anyway, things I’ve learnt – I’m too short. This wasn’t something I’ve ever had an issue with when flying before, usually the shorter the better, but the Emirates seats were too high for me, meaning that I could not rest my feet on the ground. When I was awake, this wasn’t too much of an issue, but when I slept (and our flight left Melbourne at 2:30am, so I was hoping to sleep), I would wake up in pain from my knees… or from gritting my teeth in my sleep against the knee pain. I need a massage to recover from the flight, so that is something I have planned for tomorrow… vaguely.
Malaysia is as warm and humid as I could possibly want. Cold is a slightly distant memory and being warm is a nice change, sweating is a novel experience.
It is beautiful, the food so far has been amazing, the being in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language nor understand the signage (though a lot of it is also in English) is interesting (mostly from the analysing my own internal responses to this) and things are much closer than they generally appear.
Tomorrow, apart from the massage, Scott and I hope to go to Little India and then towards evening head over to China town to soak up the magnificence as well as the crowds. We’re also planning to go to the top of the Petronas towers, see the museum, art gallery, bird park, butterfly house and everything else this week. Oh and eating, we’re planning on doing a lot of eating.
Hello everyone and welcome to the 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. Thanks for all the fantastic submissions and to everyone who wrote all the fantastic articles I’m linking to.
If at any point I have misnamed, mislabled, or misgendered someone, please let me know immediately so that I can correct my error. If I have included a post of yours that you would not like included, please let me know and I will remove it. Should any of my links be broken, just let me know and I’ll attempt to fix it.
The crackdown — which extends the Baillieu government’s ever-growing law-and-order agenda — means police will be able to issue infringement notices for offensive behaviour and indecent language similar to parking and speeding fines.
Attorney-General Robert Clark said the idea was to lower the police workload by allowing them to issue fines instead of tackling bad language using the court system.
“It frees up police time for other law enforcement activities and enables them to more readily issue penalties against those offenders who deserve them,” Mr Clark said.
“By providing police with as many enforcement tools as possible, Parliament is sending a strong signal that people who engage in criminal behaviour can expect to be dealt with under the law.”
Offensive language has been an offence in Victoria since 1966. Swearing — if it is deemed serious enough — can carry a penalty of up to two years’ jail, and is even considered an offence if no one is present to hear it.
In truth, they’ve all been out of bounds since the Act was introduced in 1966, but until 2008 anyone thus charged had to have their case heard in court. That took time and effort and got in the way of more pressing cases. Frankly, who could blame the legal system if it collectively decided it really couldn’t be arsed to hear such matters – matters that Ross Garnaut might feasibly have described as “pissant”? (The Age -another article)
Because saying “FUCK” (and other swears) is clearly criminal behaviour. I didn’t know, until now, that “offensive language” was actually a real offence, and only had been since 1966. I’d also like to know what “offensive language” actually means. Sure it’s almost described with “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language, but what does that really mean?
How will police define “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language? Will some groups, as I suspect they will, receive far more leniency from police in relation to swearing than others? Will some groups who have threatening language used towards them (those who are not white, the homeless, the LBGTIQ community, etc) really have an effective response from the police if they report the language used against them?
It has been suggested that this is just an attempt at revenue raising by the Victorian State Government, and I’m inclined to agree. Instead of ensuring that minority groups who already have existing issues with police are protected adequately, this will be further power for some police to put the boot in even more.
Then there is the cultural impact – the fact that people can (and probably will) be fined for swearing at sporting events, live music concerts (Yeah, how is Cee-Lo (warning for NSFW swears) ever going to perform his song in Victoria?), comedy, or the theatre? The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (one of the biggest comedy festivals in Australia -possibly the third biggest in the English speaking world), is worried that the new laws will impact on the festival next year.
Comedian Wil Anderson yesterday tweeted in response to the news. “Victoria announced on-the-spot fines of $240 for indecent language. Suddenly my [comedy festival] show is going to cost me a lot more next year.”
Melbourne International Comedy Festival director Susan Provan said she was taking a wait-and-see approach. “We at the Comedy Festival will be waiting with bated breath for news on what does and does not constitute swearing,” she said. However, she added that the festival may need to consider hiring people “with bleepers in all areas of our activity”.
The Baillieu government is pitching this as part of its ever-expanding law-and-order agenda, but the cynically inclined might wonder if it is not also a blatant revenue-raising exercise. Given the difficulty of successfully prosecuting someone for swearing (or, more broadly, offensive language) in court, this is by and large money the government would not otherwise have had. (The Age)
The Age article the excerpt above is from also defines all the places in which it will be illegal to swear – and about the only place you will be able to swear will be in the privacy of your own home – provided that the public is not gathering there – so not when you’re having a party probably.
In fact, there is little agreement even on what constitutes “offensive” language in 2011, as distinct from 1966. One man’s meat is another man’s cruelly harvested animal flesh, as it were.
In a much-noted ruling in 2002, NSW magistrate David Heilpern observed of the F word that “one would have to live an excessively cloistered existence not to come into regular contact with the word, and not to have become somewhat immune to its suggested previously legally offensive status”. (The Age)
With no fucking clue as to what constitutes offensive language, the potential for this new police power to be massively misused is very high. Personally I’d take the fine to court and ask that the 2002 NSW ruling be taken into account, if I was fined by the police for swearing. I have that luxury and privilege. Those who have minimal incomes, minimal support, and/or an unfamiliarity with the Australian Justice System are going to struggle to have the fine waived, and in many cases struggle to pay the fine.
This is not a law which does anyone any favours if all the attention is put on “offensive” and none on “threatening”. I’d like to see “threatening” strengthened, and a real discussion about whether or not we need to be protected from swears when we’re out in public these days.
This post is partially inspired by Chally’s post at Feministe, though on different topics, and nowhere near as well written as her piece – which I’ve just re-read and have fallen in love with all over again.
But anyway… here are some issues that I would LOVE the USA to address, because they piss me off no end.
I don’t live in the US
As Chally pointed out, the world does not revolve around you, not even close. You are not the only country that uses the internet, though that must come as a bit of a shock. Internet sites are getting better at noting this, but really, if you are a multinational company, and you sell to countries outside the US, defaulting to the US (especially when you can figure out that my IP is from Australia) is just rude.
Not to mention the number of times when I first started on the internet and put AU as the country code in forums and was asked if I was from Austin…. no, there really are other countries out here.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about a job vacancy listed in the LinkedIn groups I’m in and someone has listed a two letter state code, which I presume is somewhere in the US. Oddly enough I’m not across your 50 states, where they are, what their capital cities are and how on earth to decode their state abbreviations. If you’re a member of an international forum, for flying spaghetti monster’s sake, just spell out the state if it’s that important to you AND list that this job is in the US (so I can ignore the post and move to the next one). Every other non-US role I’ve seen advertised lists the country – it’s just the USian jobs, which list two letter codes which could be anywhere, which piss me off.
So yes, start looking outside your borders, realise that there is an ENTIRE world out here, with people who use the internet, shop on the internet and who work and job hunt.