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"...he has been fairly clear that he is simply a boy who sometimes likes to dress and play in conventionally feminine ways."
A boy who insists on wearing a skirt seems to be asserting the importance of gender norms, not eroding them.

See, this risks slipping over into "but trans women are just reinscribing teh patriarchy" reasoning - where when someone asserts that they want to do a particular thing, it is read as meaning "this thing is based on some kind of Deep Truth About Gender, not just on my preference". But when I, assigned female at birth, wear... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:34 AM on August 8, 2012
(Also, most of the kids I know mostly wear hand-me-downs or thrift store stuff or presents - it's actually cheaper to be able to use a wider variety of hand-me-downs rather than a gender-restricted sort. You don't need "two wardrobes" (or a double-sized wardrobe) to incorporate boys' and girls' clothes any more than I keep "two wardrobes" because some of my clothes are men's.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:37 AM on August 8, 2012
I've just had a thought: when I took child development classes as part of an abortive attempt at teacher-training, we were told pretty clearly that around age 3 kids "naturally" developed a lot of anxiety about which gender they were and "naturally" divided things into 'boy' things and 'girl' things, plus worked hard to avoid things of the opposite gender. This was taken (at the time, about 1998) to signal that gender was so deeply ingrained, by whatever mechanism, that it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:46 AM on August 8, 2012

We're changing our image.
I'm torn because while I feel homeless people probably have the right to beg, makes signs, loiter downtown etc., it really kills urban centers. Directly or indirectly the homeless have been used to justify the nonexistence of benches, closure of parks at dusk, reduced library services and hours. It's just a mess of collateral damage.

This is on us and on the state, not on the homeless. What a lot of folks want is to cut social services so that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2012
The thing is, the state/the collective has to take the burden off the individual in terms of being exhausted and frightened by panhandlers - and I do believe that it can be exhausting and I know it can be frightening. What happens now is that individuals react either with pity or with anger to a problem that is too large for them and we argue about it as an individual moral problem.

I think on one level it is an individual moral problem - someone who... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:11 AM on August 7, 2012
When they left they go into an almost new mini-van. I have problems with things like that.

You can't - you really can't - judge how poor people are by their immediately obvious possessions. There was an article linked here not long ago about a woman who was homeless and living in her van - and social services people tried to get her to sell it because "well, you can't be that poor if you still have a van". But of course, it was where she... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:27 PM on August 7, 2012
(I add that I was "aggressively panhandled" by a drunk and broken-toothed guy a couple of years ago and it was scary. I totally, totally believe it happens. And honestly, I get tired of the "and I just need ten dollars to get back to my car to drive to the train and I'll pay you back if you give me your email" scam, so I usually cut people off and just give them a couple of bucks. I mean, being panhandled, yeah, it isn't an awesome experience. How... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on August 7, 2012
I am uneasy with the "give money to social services, not the homeless" line, for several reasons: first, because I suspect that it results in less giving, because it's easy to think "oh, I will give at X point and not now to this person" and then it's late in the month and you're low on money and X point never comes, or something else gets in the way; second, because it concentrates funds, often into the coffers of Big Charity - organizations like the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:49 PM on August 7, 2012
And dentists, come to think of it! You could improve the lives of MANY homeless people by staffing a free, full-service dental clinic....but of course, if we started giving free and desperately needed care to homeless people, it would be harder to justify withholding it from the working poor, and there goes your labor discipline, and whoops, that's the end of capitalism as we know it.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:54 PM on August 7, 2012

I am not certain that unsourced suspicions about social services, and a sense that the people who work at them shouldn't get paid for their work, helps the homeless either.


I can only offer the critique in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded and a lot of experience trying to help my friends get medical care, plus a shit-ton of really shocking interactions between my working class friends (or other... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:26 PM on August 7, 2012

Like a cargo cult to 50 Cent
I think it's worth looking at the comments at Clutch - it's a site with some fairly sophisticated analysis of style and race, and IMwhiteO the commentariat is also pretty sophisticated. Folks' feelings seem to be complicated, a lot more complicated than feelings about, say, white Americans doing something similar.

Do I think it's racist? I think total racial drag in a society where there aren't many of the people you're imitating... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 AM on August 2, 2012
So, is internalized racism not a thing now? You don't think that French-North African kids might be responding cheekily to the racism they receive from mainstream French culture and that the mode of resistance they choose (adoption of imported, prefabricated mass-cultural norms from America) might also be culturally disastrous? Recognizing that a subculture has agency and that that agency might not always have edifying results shouldn't be mutually exclusive things. We shouldn't just... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on August 2, 2012
I think that those of us who are white Americans in this thread have the tricky issue of, well, the whole thing is happening in Japan....and it's not like there isn't a great deal of racial overdetermination in our understanding of Japan already.

I just wonder whether "is this racist?" is the most productive question to ask.

What about "what does this say about race in media?... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:24 AM on August 2, 2012
A couple people have more or less said that they'd like to hear the opinions of Black people, as if we hadn't already spoken in this thread. I'll be clearer and say that at least one of us has already spoken, probably more. Maybe don't assume that everyone in the thread is white.

Oh, hey - one of those people was me! I wasn't so much assuming that everyone in the thread was white as clumsily trying to express "I think that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2012
i wish white people would stop saying "damn skippy"

Really? I wanted to ask about this as it's a phrase I associate mostly with white dudes of a certain age who coach sports and/or had a military career. Like "Should we load these up, coach?" "Damn skippy you should load those up and then get your ass on the bus!" Like when it's used to mean "yes of course, what are you stupid?" I had assumed that it derived... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:23 PM on August 4, 2012

jeans (mostly women's fit and such)
I wish we could separate "jeans that do not flatter the body" from "things that remind us of mothers". I really dislike that whole "of course moms are frumpy and boring and have bad taste and are not sexy, and of course real women need to be sexy all the time anyway" thing. Especially because virtually everyone has a mother, a mother who was frankly probably both busy and broke during her childrearing years.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:28 PM on August 2, 2012
The other thing I want to add - I have a relative whose health isn't good and who can't wear anything but elastic waisted pants. She usually wears denim ones because they're sturdy and warm. I'm okay with saying "fitted jeans are more flattering" and god knows I'm in the dictionary next to "clotheshorse" but I really don't like the whole "elastic-waist jeans ew ew ew they are a sign of being a woman who is old" thing. When you're helping your... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 PM on August 2, 2012
Regarding those who say they don't give a damn what they look like: My father-in-law buys Folger's coffee in giant containers from Sam's Club. He doesn't want to try anything better because it gets the job done and it's cheap. But he doesn't know what he's missing drinking that swill.
In much the same way, people don't know what they're missing when they dress like potatoes. When I last bought decent, new, good-fitting clothes, I was stunned by how much better people treated
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2012

I am just so tired of people doing this "you and your sad pathetic life, you don't know what you're missing because..... on morally insignificant choices.


Okay, in looking back mere moments later that was a really mean way to say what I said. I apologize for being that snippy. I really want to work on being Less Mean On The Internet. I respond better to kind words than snippiness myself and should not use them on other people.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on August 3, 2012
I remember looking askance at my coworker in 2001 who was just 6-7 years older than me (about 34 at the time, and not a mother) because she wouldn't budge from the faded Lee tapered jeans. They were perfectly reasonable when she was 22, but made her look oblivious at that time. Now that I'm 34, I know I get the same look from the college students on my campus, because I am obviously hopelessly out-of-date in my flared jeans, while they are all wearing skinny cuts. But I find it very... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2012
No seriously, if you honestly think that it's only us modern capitalist industrial folks who are judgy towards our elders/youngers, you really need to read more.

No, no, there's actually some pretty good research on the concept of "generations" and how it becomes much more fine-grained/hard-edged with the rise of modernity and industrial capitalism - with the mass institutions of the school and the army, with legal codes that differentiate... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2012

Trouble in the tragic kingdom


The Anaheim city government has been surprisingly responsive to the people here. Rather than circling the wagons and undertaking an "internal investigation", the mayor has reached out to the FBI and US Attorney's office to launch an independent external investigation. I think there's the real potential for the guilty parties in the police force to be brought to justice here.


It's funny, I was just having a conversation with... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:53 PM on July 25, 2012
NYT Photos Don't Do Justice to Police Presence at Anaheim Protests

I wanted to comment on the social work that goes into maintaining the illusion of benign police presence...via anecdote, naturally:

Back right after the Seattle anti-WTO protests in 1999, there were a bunch of solidarity protests around the country. In Minneapolis, they coincided with a large and militant hotel workers' strike and with May 1.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:17 AM on August 3, 2012

"Looks, feels, tastes, and acts like meat."
Okay, I freely admit that I like meat analogues. I do. I love wheat gluten/mock duck-in-a-can, I really like those Tofurkey italian sausages, I am a total sucker for many of the mock-meat things you find in a large and well-stocked pan-Asian grocery store. If Quorn were vegan, I'd eat a lot of Quorn, mycoprotein or not. I know that it's appropriate to say that one is not a vegan for the fake meat and that of course one likes beans and quinoa and so on much better, but hey, I really like fake... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:29 AM on August 1, 2012
(Also, vis-a-vis the tofu thing: don't the studies suggest that tofu, soybeans, tempeh and other less-processed soy foods are good for you, anti-carcinogenic, etc and that Morningstar soyprotein patties and their ilk are the health problem? I thought there were studies that pretty sharply showed that in countries where people eat tofu and tempeh that seems to have a protective effect but in countries where people consume soy via soyburgers it is dangerous.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:32 AM on August 1, 2012
Tofu and breast cancer: Here is a PubMed link to one of the studies I've seen. I've seen a bunch of other similar ones but don't have time to google around for them - this one is pretty characteristic.

Here is a crappy Dr. Weil link that discusses a U of I study which suggests that "highly purified" soy products, ie soyburgers, raise some cancer risk. Again, pretty typical study results.

I looked into this pretty seriously when I was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2012
Oh, my comment about tofu studies was in response to
I've never heard of a study like that; moreover, it sounds dubious. There are no countries where people primarily consume tofu via soyburgers, so it'd have to be a pretty highly-targeted study.

posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:50 AM on August 1, 2012
Er – did you notice that that study says that eating tofu seems to prevent breast cancer?

Okay, we are talking totally at cross purposes here. The point I was trying to make was precisely that tofu seems to prevent breast cancer (and IIRC reduces risk for several other kinds of cancer and chronic illness) but that soyburger/highly processed soy protein seems to raise some kinds of cancer risk. Those two studies... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2012
I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

I know that social circles vary tremendously, but I get a lot of the "LOL vegan I am going to eat this... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2012
To be fair, I (and I'm pretty sure elizardbits, too) was saying that the lulz come from vegetarians who say that they're so much more ethical and healthier because they don't eat meat when actually they're junk food fiends

No, people - people I basically like, actually - have on numerous occasions made a point to tell me that they are eating meat (especially pork for some reason) and then made humorous reference to the pain that the pig experienced... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2012
OK, so I don't want to make this a thing or keep talking about it because it makes everyone feel bad, but I just want to be clear that you are responding to the one thing I specifically said was not the thing I was talking about. That is all.

It does occur to me that it's very tempting to relive old hurts when one is talking on the internet. There's no particularly good reason for me to think about [the behavior which shall not be named] since none of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2012
This is a sort of bizarrely western-centric statement, don't you think? Considering the over 30% of people in India who are vegetarian and do not seem burdened by these issues.

Only if you assume that I'm suggesting that gender is performed identically across cultures and that gender anxieties are therefore expressed the same way across cultures. Or if gender were genetic/essential/innate and not cultural so that all men everywhere... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2012
To continue, since I think it's important: something can be about gender or about race without reflecting everyone's experience of gender or race. I have experienced, for example, very little "girls need to [do their hair/shave their legs/show cleavage]" but I did experience a lot of very old-fashioned "we do not talk about those parts of the body and no one in this house will ever walk around in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2012

NYC and Breastfeeding
Women's bodies are always regulated as part of a nationalist impulse. I'd argue that the obese body is implicitly "feminized" in popular discourse and regulated in the same way. Women and feminized people can't be trusted with their bodies; women and feminized people are a threat to the body of the nation (as I think Bunny Ultramod's comment upthread makes clear - a "we" which is quickly figured as the nation, usually the nation in crisis).

Blech.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:02 PM on July 30, 2012

There is a 20 point gap in breastfeeding rates between mothers with a High School Diploma or less and mothers with an Undergraduate degree.

There is a 30 point in between mothers 30+ and 20 years of age.

African-Americans breastfeed at a rate 20 points below the rest of the United States.


Underlying this common discourse - which aims to root itself in facts - is the deep-seated... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:36 AM on July 31, 2012

Picture This
That last interval is 5 years?! Looks like the fellas hit a bit of a rough patch ... yikes. I am not looking forward to 50...

Well, the light in the last photo is falling really differently and casts a lot more shadows/deepens lines. Obviously, one does age between 45 and 50, but the light is a definite factor.

The unkindest thought I have is that straight male haircuts are generally not very flattering - it's like "grow... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:36 PM on July 26, 2012
The unkindest thought I have is that straight male haircuts are generally not very flattering

Yes, but they look better on us. I mean, consider a man with a nice head of hair and a ponytail - he generally looks more distinguished than a woman with her hair in a ponytail, even if her hair is as nice as his. Haircuts are a social phenomenon.

Ie, men with buzzcuts never catch my eye; women with buzzcuts always do.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2012

I'm not sure "man," "ponytail," and "distinguished" belong in the same sentence unless you're talking about the winner of this year's Roadie Awards.


And yet you live in New York with all the hipsters and such! Pony tails are coming back, as is longer hair for men generally. I've seen a number of hip young things with longish hair and several with ponytails...and once longish hair becomes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:15 PM on July 27, 2012

Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?
By the same token, you could say that destitute young women are currently economically "coerced" into having children, because of income assistance available to mothers. It's counterintuitive, but if we paid young women as much to not be mothers as we currently pay them to become mothers, that might be parity rather than coercion.

I really, really wish that people who talk about how much "we" pay young women in welfare and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:33 PM on July 24, 2012

I'm With The Band
Now there is an article that could jinx a life - talking about how you're in love with some famous musician fellow and what it's like being with the band, that's practically a guarantee that the guy is seeing some European music journalist on the sly and will dump you inside six months. Dating people in bands requires a strong sense of self and a recognition that most people who are capable of being in famous and comparatively successful bands are not the kind of people who... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:20 PM on July 24, 2012

It really weirds people out

She's still breastfeeding her 3 year-old.


I know someone who breastfed her kid until he was, uh, I dunno, three-ish? Older than three? I know a lot of people who do all that new age parenting stuff. The lesson for me has been that something that is OMG-so-bizarre-she's-going-to-mess-up-her-kid when it's a stranger on the internet is just one of those things when it's someone you actually know and you actually see the full complexity of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:40 PM on July 22, 2012
I kinda chuckle to myself when I see chicks on the subway with huge tattoos of birds on their arms, really hairy legs/armpits, and a short cropped haircut, buzzed in the back and heavily styled in the front. Oh yeah.. the legs and armpits really say something.

Yes, I have a good chuckle at young queer women myself. Don't they understand that no man will want them if they look that way? My goodness, how ridiculous the fashions of subcultures other than mine are!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:29 PM on July 22, 2012
I'm not really sure how picking the normal, socially-rewarded option - the option that does not get you hostility and mockery and make every job interview an even more vexed situation (even if you're wearing pants, ankle slippage is always a possibility, and then there's the whole "I don't shave my legs regularly so when I do shave for an interview I'm usually trickling blood" angle), make doctor visits extra fun (nothing like feeling extra judged!)....anyway, I'm not entirely sure how... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2012
See, I'm not a choice feminist. I don't care, god knows, what other women do with their bodies. (And there's a whole other queer/femme women thing which really isn't being addressed here.)

I think we might be addressing different parts of the argument and getting hung up on semantics.

I don't think it's "not feminist" to shave your legs. I don't think it's feminist, either. This is because I don't think that the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:40 AM on July 23, 2012
Also, Frowner, just because women see making their own decisions about hygiene, dress, and gender presentation without taking into account anyone else's opinions, wishes, or feelings, as being feminist (because how dare a woman just do what she feels like without making sure everyone else is happy first???) nobody is saying "their lives are exactly equal to yours." Where are you getting that from?

The whole logic of "I make my choice,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2012
(Also, "rage"? Really? We're disagreeing on the internet and that's rage. If we want to unpack how women are expected to behave, I find it interesting that it seems natural to be told not to express anything that even hints at anger.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2012
(Also, "rage"? Really? We're disagreeing on the internet and that's rage. If we want to unpack how women are expected to behave, I find it interesting that it seems natural to be told not to express anything that even hints at anger.)

Although, to be honest, I yearn to de-escalate, because I hate fighting on the internet, whether that's a gender thing or not.

Perhaps we could just say that as a baseline we both... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:00 AM on July 23, 2012
I thought the part about how you "resent" us for things that I didn't see anyone saying here, and the things that we "bang on about" that nobody said here either, were meant to convey rage, but I apologize if I misread that.

See, I think that this type of conversation is very tempting on the internet, but often goes spectacularly badly. I think there's a lot of slippage between "I have experienced this" and "you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2012

Le Sexisme Ordinaire
This is both feminine and elegant. And this number on Mademoiselle Perry is vraiment chic.

Leaving aside the fact that neither of those is a work dress for most values of work...

Really? Really? A ruffled polyester shirt dress that I would have worn in my late-seventies-vintage days and a body-con-esque dress with mesh-lace sleeves? I mean, they're both pretty enough within their vernacular, but they're only going to flatter... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:56 AM on July 20, 2012

Silk washes just fine. I have a silk shirt that I've washed several times. I'm sure I can wash it a few more before it's unusable.


I know we're arguing about clothing technics in a politics thread, but although some silks wash quite well (I have some eighties parachute silk shirts that have probably been washed a hundred times since they were new), if that linked dress is silk then it won't wash - it's lined, for one thing, and it's a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:53 PM on July 20, 2012

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