in the iliad helen speaks the last lament for hector. the only man in troy who showed her kindness is slain—and now, helen says, πάντες δέ με πεφρίκασιν, all men shudder at me. she doesn't speak in the iliad again. homer isn’t cruel to helen; her story is cruel enough.[more inside]
Keira Knightley, among other stars, is sick of being Photoshopped. She posed topless in Interview Magazine in protest of the unfair body image standards thrust upon women. [more inside]
Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
Do movies that pass the Bechdel Test make more money than movies that don't? Walt Hickey, writing for Nate Silver's new fivethirtyeight site, examines the data.
Growing Out My Bush is a fascinating Tumblr where one woman explores the perception of the female body by first shaving and then photographing the re-growth of her pubic hair. Especially interesting are "The Reality of Nude Photos" and "How Breasts Can Look."
Teaching Cliteracy 101: "It is a curious dilemma to observe the paradox that on the one hand the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality, its use saturates advertising, art and the mainstream erotic imaginary. Yet, the clitoris, the true female sexual organ, is virtually invisible." ~ Artist Sophia Wallace is using street art and an art exhibition that incorporates pithy slogans, 'scientific data, historical information as well as references to architecture, porn, pop culture and human rights' to make "the case for the clit". (Links throughout this post may be NSFW.) [more inside]
Last week, in a surprise vote, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) elected its first female presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton. [more inside]
Coverflip is a one day Twitter project created by author Maureen Johnson. There are only three rules: 1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. 3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.
Men in Saris: Mumbai's new lavani dancers Lavani is a folk dance, traditionally performed by women for men. The popularity of Bin Baykancha Tamasha (or Performance Without Women) and other female-impersonation groups in Mumbai suggests that the city may slowly be getting comfortable with flamboyant expressions of male sexuality.
"Men across all cultures reported higher sex drives and less restricted sexual attitudes than women, but women were consistently more variable than men in their sex drives. Another important, if not entirely surprising pattern, suggests that these differences are not entirely biological, and are due in some part to social and cultural ideologies." An io9 article looks at the results from a number of sex surveys.
Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses male mythology, biology and Raymond Chandler's Private Dick
"Why did small business owner and gamer dad Mike Hoye spend the last few weeks hand-tweaking the text in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that the main character was referred to as a girl instead of a boy? As he put it, 'I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero.'"
Imagine a school where the cool kids are on the Chess Team... Welcome to I.S. 318. where 60% of the students come from families with incomes below the federal poverty level. BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. One of those students and the only female, 17 year-old Rochelle Ballantyne, is poised to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess. An interview with Miss Ballantyne.
"Looking back a year ago when conceiving this idea, we thought it would be far too impossible to even attempt. We tried anyway. So, after months and months of recording/writing its finally finished: “Persongalize”, a one of a kind personal song generator, featuring thousands of different girl names available in the rock, pop and country genres. Yes, someone, (Karlton Tillman), had to sing 1,816 names into these tracks, TWICE, since each name is sung twice in each song."
Nature constantly engineers new and creative solutions to all sorts of problems—turning our stereotypes about sex upside-down along the way.
The London Olympics has been billed as a notable step forward in gender equality. It is the first Olympics with female representation from all countries despite the many and several barriers to female sport participation that still exist in some countries (including developed ones). These Olympics have female boxers, female athletes from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei and male medal bearers But despite Jacques Rogge's declaration in his opening ceremony speech, some are more equal than others. Australia and Japan are reviewing their athletes' travel arrangements after women were given second class tickets and there is a small, but growing campaign to see male synchronised swimming form part of the program (one of two sports, the other being rhythmic gymnastics, with no male competition). [more inside]
Half-Drag is photographer Leland Bobbé's series capturing both the 'male and the alter-ego female side' of a person's face in a single image.
Model Behavior: A Laurie Penny essay on gender presentation, anorexia, neoliberalism, capitalism, queerness, gender, drag, media, America's Next Top Model, and a few other things.
Ana Utopia Giordano photoshops portraits of Venus for today's standards of the feminine ideal.
The SCAR Project is a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. (NSFW)
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
"...officials warned that a woman who ran a more ambitious distance might cause her uterus to fall out." [NYTimes] On Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Julia Chase-Brand, 69, plans to run a 4.75-mile race in Manchester, Conn., where the presence of women will be plentiful and unremarkable. Fifty years ago, when she and two other women ran there the first time, it was a widely publicized act of civil disobedience that became a pioneering moment in female distance running in the United States.
Why are computer voices mostly female? Apple's 1987 vision of a computerized personal assistant was originally male. Siri's voice is female in the US and Australia, but male in the UK and France. [more inside]
Ada Day appreciates and commemorates women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with events all over the globe. A few links to start the celebration: Ada Lovelace, The Origin. Women@NASA (previously). Ladies Learning Code. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper explaining nanoseconds to David Letterman. AstronomyCast with Dr. Pamela Gay. Hedy Lamarr and other female inventors.
Paul Lukas found hundreds of Manhattan Trade School for Girls "report cards" from the early 1900's and has posted several of them online. [more inside]
"When I go to heaven, they're going to tell me where I really finished in the world." Ted McClelland suggests that women's track and field records be abolished to "give today's runners realistic times to chase." An As It Happens (CBC) interview with McClelland begins around 11:40 of this link.
From 1999 to 2003, the largely-female UK comedy trope Smack The Pony had a series of short skits based on video dating ads. Youtube user myLastTears has edited them together into a supercut: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 [more inside]
‘In 1912, Scotland Yard detectives bought their first camera, to covertly photograph suffragettes. The pictures were compiled into ID sheets for officers on the ground.’
“Sheryl is putting together a new-girls network inside Silicon Valley.” She neither flaunts nor hides her ambition, and she talks about her guilt at not being home more; she takes command in meetings, yet she’s comfortable describing Mark Zuckerberg as “my boss,” and as “the Steve Jobs of his generation.” She is emblematic, Gruenfeld thinks, of a post-feminist woman who believes that “when you blame someone else for keeping you back, you are accepting your powerlessness.”
"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
A 1961 fashion shoot from Disneyland which was featured in Midwest Magazine, a supplemental newspaper insert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Julia Sherman offers us a glimpse into the sheitel industry and the larger global hair trade. [more inside]
Vintage photos of women in sport. "At the turn of the last century women in the western world were finding a voice, both collectively and individually. As the Victorian era lapsed in to memory and the Edwardian Era commenced many women chose to pursue sports." [more inside]
Writing a work of fiction? Want to know if the female character in it is a strong one? There's a flowchart for that. (more info) Though you'll want to go through the flowchart at least twice if you want any hope of passing The Bechdel Test (bonus link)
This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
Transphobic feminism makes no sense, argues Laurie Penny For decades, the feminist movement has been split over the status of trans people, and of trans women in particular. High-profile feminists such as Germaine Greer, Jan Raymond and Julie Bindel have spoken out against what Greer terms “people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody”. Some prominent radical feminists have publicly declared that trans women are misogynist, “mutilated men”.
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