Several recent articles draw attention to the power of demonisation, outrage and weaponised language within contemporary activist culture - and question whether this focus is doing more harm than good.
Jack Halberstam, director of the Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California: When groups that share common cause, utopian dreams and a joined mission find fault with each other instead of tearing down the banks and the bankers, the politicians and the parliaments, the university presidents and the CEOs? Instead of realizing, as Moten and Hearny put it in The Undercommons, that “we owe each other everything,” we enact punishments on one another and stalk away from projects that should unite us, and huddle in small groups feeling erotically bonded through our self-righteousness. [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory
on Jul 8, 2014 -
Did Hollywood Give the 1920s a Boob Job? 'Gatsby' Costume Designer Tells All
Breasts are everywhere in 2013’s new "Gatsby"… They’re pushed up to create cleavage, peeping out of frocks and fringed flapper dresses, and hugged tightly by clothes cut to show off curves. As Daisy Buchanan, Carey Mulligan is clearly wearing some sort of shapewear or bra under even her most modest clothes, to make her breasts seem perfectly perky. [more inside]
posted by Lexica
on Jul 4, 2014 -
Catherine Martin, the producer, production designer, and costume designer of "The Great Gatsby," says that she simply took the styles of the 1920s and amped up the sexy quotient—and made the dresses fit more like the designers intended.…
"Frankly, I am a bit shocked by Martin’s quotes regarding the 1920s—that she considers the clothes frumpy looking," [co-founder of the Fashion History Museum Jonathan] Walford says. "She was the wrong costumer to get the job if she can’t see the beauty in the real 1920s silhouette."
"It is often said that “Washington is Hollywood for ugly people,” but the adage is only half true. Women are not allowed to be ugly people because women—and nowhere more than in such women’s magazines that reduce female political leaders to their supposed fashion and lifestyle choices—are not really allowed to be people at all
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Jul 4, 2014 -
Skyler Page has been fired from Cartoon Network.
creator and voice of the title character has been fired for groping a co-worker on the show. The news broke yesterday from Maré Odomo (her work previously on the blue)
, and Emily Partridge came out shortly after as the person Odomo was talking about. And Partridge had been talking about an unnamed incident since June 29th.
This morning, it was rumored that Page had been fired from Cartoon Network and banned from the premises, and later today, Cartoon Brew confirmed that this was the case.
Pen Ward, creator of Adventure Time
-- which Page had worked on prior to Clarence
-- met with Partridge and the two talked about how to set up an online safe place for women in her situation. [more inside]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me
on Jul 3, 2014 -
"But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you a story: a story about a board game. The Murder, She Wrote
board game. You didn't know such a thing existed? Neither did I, before my friend Sarah brought it one summer to camp. (For the sake of clarity: I mean camp in the upstate New York sense, i.e., a small un-insulated cottage on a freshwater lake that has a preponderance of mismatched glasses and forks with wonky tines and maybe exposed studs but is the greatest place to family-vacation on earth.) Sarah and I met in day care, and had been friends for years—but this year, when she came to visit, she unknowingly brought the one thing that would enflame my jealousy.
" [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Jul 1, 2014 -
Manfeels Park is an exercise in flogging a pun for all it’s worth.
The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women. Artistic license is exercised in editing commentary for brevity, spelling and grammar, but the spirit of the original comment is always faithfully observed. Witty rejoinders are also ‘found dialogue’ where possible. [more inside]
posted by Lexica
on Jul 1, 2014 -
The problem with false feminism
: "My friends have asked for it and I feel like the internet needs it, so I’m going to go through, point-by-point and in no particular order, the top handful of reasons people have given for thinking Frozen
is a feminist triumph, and I’m going to debunk them all." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Jun 29, 2014 -
has released the third video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. It's an exhaustive (and exhausting) look at how women have been used as background decorations in video games for the last three decades. [previously
posted by Ouverture
on Jun 16, 2014 -
”Practicing openness and making oneself radically vulnerable is not only scary, it is the opposite of what we are taught to do within the logic of the contemporary university (and society more generally). Our marginalization, meager pay and lack of job security, along with the attacks on professors by students and the administration’s refusal to back up even tenured professors, all contribute to a culture of paranoia and enmity (among administration and faculty, among tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, among professors and students). Even when we manage to maintain our commitment to our students (and we do), the university seeks to capture this affective relationship and use it to further exploit us when we ask for fair wages or better conditions with the reprimand that ‘we are doing this for the students and not the money.’ Just as the practitioners of modernity gutted the erotic and sold us the pornographic, administrators attempt to gut the material and affective conditions of teaching and sell us ‘passion.’”
Dr Priya J. Shah: "My Last Day as a Professor
posted by koeselitz
on Jun 6, 2014 -
bell hooks calls Beyonce a "terrorist" and a "slave"
At a panel discussion at the New School yesterday, bell hooks raised eyebrows in a conversation about the controversial Time
magazine cover seen here,
saying that Beyonce "colluded in the construction of herself as a slave," going on to say “I see a part of Beyoncé that is in fact anti-feminist — that is, a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.” [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog
on May 8, 2014 -
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus
' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls
, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report
just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University
as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone.
But first, we're going to need to stop perpetuating the following 17 myths about female sexuality. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Apr 28, 2014 -
"This is the petty tyranny of inconvenience — just as the heroine believes that her individual comfort somehow justifies the enslavement of roughly a hundred other human beings, romance readers feel it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable to reflect on the ways the genre not only has marginalized but continues to marginalize not only characters, but also readers and authors of color. This book was not written by an obscure self-published writer with a small niche audience. Sandra Hill is a New York Times bestselling author, a genre mainstay for the past two decades; she is still writing books set in the contemporary South, though I am certainly not going to read them." -- Romance author Olivia Waite reviews Sandra Hill's Frankly My Dear
, set on a sugar plantation in 1845 Louisiana, as part of the blogging from A to Z challenge
. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Apr 16, 2014 -
Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain.
"The pain of women turns them into kittens and rabbits and sunsets and sordid red satin goddesses, pales them and bloodies them and starves them, delivers them to death camps and sends locks of their hair to the stars. Men put them on trains and under them. Violence turns them celestial. Age turns them old. We can’t look away. We can’t stop imagining new ways for them to hurt." [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Apr 14, 2014 -
"And the amazing part is, it works, her thing. It does. In a place that expects a woman to prepare for marriage and motherhood "from the moment she is given her first baby doll as an infant," as Hutsol has put it, Valeria has gotten a degree of power, a degree of control, and a major say in her own destiny. It could be that the world and I have misjudged the Human Barbie in a fundamental way. Her steady drift from reality and into the twenty-first dimension is not about submissiveness, fame, or snagging a husband. It could be about finding a way out, however random, bizarre, and costly the route appears from the outside. It could be about gaining some measure of freedom." -- Russian GQ
editor in chief Michael Idov visits human Barbie doll Valeria Lukyanova (previously)
also aks the question, can what Valeria Lukyanova has made herself into be called feminist
, considering the background culture in Ukraine?
posted by MartinWisse
on Apr 11, 2014 -
Yesterday was Equal Pay Day
. President Obama signed an Executive Order
to prevent discrimination and address the gender pay gap.
According to The National Women's Law Center
, "In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, a woman was typically paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart — a 41-cent wage gap. In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, women working full time, year round were typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Although women have narrowed the gap by 18 cents over the past five decades, the wage gap today stands at 23 cents." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Apr 9, 2014 -
Talking gender to Africa
International donors have sought to improve the social, political and economic position of women in Africa through an approach known as “gender”. This donor-driven strategy is failing. The jargon of gender programmes is ambiguous and easily misunderstood. It fosters inaction and lip service on the part of patriarchal African governments and civil servants. Gender has become the preserve of the educated elite. The voices of African women have been lost. [more inside]
posted by infini
on Mar 8, 2014 -
How well do you know (American) sexual harassment law as it relates to conferences? Attorney and Popehat blogger Ken White has created a short quiz
to find out. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea
on Feb 8, 2014 -
What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now?
"With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
posted by homunculus
on Feb 7, 2014 -
Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism:
"There was a time in my life where I took pride in being a 'social justice warrior' on Reddit, ticking the boxes of others' mistakes, missteps, and misspoken words, cruelly scolding people, looking for those who were 'doing it wrong' as a means of validating my own sense of integrity as an activist, as if each person I roasted would be a talisman against the same thing happening to me ever again. It was only when I discovered that I had made someone cry for hours that I took a long step back and asked myself if I was really making the world a better place by doing this." [more inside]
posted by Anyamatopoeia
on Jan 6, 2014 -
"We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words. And if we want all those things at once — a sense of escape, a sense of injustice, a sense of mortality and an ear for language — we can read the stories of James Tiptree, Jr.
," the reclusive, award-winning author whose vague biography started out in the Congo, routed through a period as a painter, then service as a photo intelligence officer in WWII, and finally a researcher and teacher of "soft" sciences before getting to writing science fiction
. There was another facet that was only guessed at by some, dismissed by others: the fact that "Uncle Tip," and his reclusive friend, the former school teacher Racoona Sheldon, were the same person. And they were Alice Bradley Sheldon
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Dec 20, 2013 -