“The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups,” writes Niamh McIntyre on a proposed, protested, and then cancelled debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life. The Oxford abortion controversy, argues Lizzie Crocker, is the latest example of an increasingly common instinct among certain feminists to argue that certain subjects and certain arguments are either off limits or simply not up for debate.
Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
Barbie Fucks It Up Again “This is great!” I said. “Barbie wants to be a computer engineer! And fifty stickers!” [more inside]
Now, however, the internet has created a revolution in the place of young women in our culture, granting millions of them the chance to represent themselves to the world in all sorts of ways that Ruby Tandoh argues are both tremendously exciting and profoundly empowering. She'll look back at the development of the place of girls in youth culture over the decades, examining the importance of the private space of the bedroom in providing a crucible in which identities are actively formed, and find out about those young women in movements like punk and Riot Grrrl who blazed a trail for today's girls as they take the reins of cultural production through their vlogs, blogs and zines.From Radio 4's Archive on 4 programme comes A Girl's Own Story.
Thanks To That Shirt, We May Get a Shirt Celebrating Women In Science by Mika McKinnon for io9:
"Along with [the newly-designed shirt] provoking quite a few giggles, Elly Zupko, the woman behind the design has been talked into trying to make the shirt for real with the intention of donating proceeds to science diversity programs. She's soliciting names and images of women in science who should be featured on the fabric. Zupko has a lot of logistics to figure out, but she's enthusiastic and buoyed by the support of others eager to celebrate the wide diversity of women in science who have contributed so much over the years. If all goes well, the take-away of this mess will be the Project Scientist for the another incredible space mission wearing another shirt covered in ladies, but this time celebrating them instead of objectifying them.[more inside]
The lethal combination of being a woman and having an opinion is a recipe for a troll cocktail. Modeled after Jimmy Kimmel's Celebrities Read Mean Tweets, this short YouTube video shows how women who challenge the status quo are treated online on a daily basis. [more inside]
"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
"Ortberg’s writing comes from a culture that is both unapologetically and unconventionally political. Not all of her work is explicitly gendered — perhaps my favorite piece of hers is a list of “The Eleven Worst Plants” — but the intersection of gender, art (writ large), and social power is her great topic, and she returns to it almost weekly in posts exploring issues such as “Women Who Want to Be Alone in Western Art History.” With Texts from Jane Eyre, Ortberg’s writing is poised to reach a wider audience. This seems, then, a good moment to pause and take stock of the stakes of her project. Why texts; why Jane Eyre?"
"Go say hi to other dudes if you need to so bad." Twitter reacts to claims that men who street harass women are "just saying hi." [more inside]
Janus was nominated for three “Best Fanzine” Hugos in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Jeanne Gomoll was nominated for two “Best Fan Artist” Hugos in 1978 and 1980. Janus and Aurora were the most prominent feminist science fiction fanzines of their time. With the exception of Amanda Bankier’s fanzine, The Witch and the Chameleon, which ceased publication in 1976, Janus and Aurora were the ONLY fanzines with this focus.The full archives of Janus & Aurora, the feminist science fiction fanzine created by the people who went on to create Wiscon, the feminist sf convention.
The Dads of Tech – by Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil, The Baffler
"The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house," Audre Lorde famously said, but let Clay Shirky mansplain. It "always struck me as a strange observation — even the metaphor isn't true," the tech consultant and bestselling author said at the New Yorker Festival last autumn in a debate with the novelist Jonathan Franzen. "Get ahold of the master’s hammer," and you can dismantle anything. Just consider all the people "flipping on the 'I'm gay' light on Facebook" to signal their support for marriage equality — there, Shirky declared, is a prime example of the master’s tools put to good use.[more inside]
"Shirky invented the Internet and Franzen wants to shut it down," panel moderator Henry Finder mused with an air of sophisticated hyperbole. Finder said he was merely paraphrasing a festival attendee he'd overheard outside — and joked that for once in his New Yorker editing career, he didn't need fact-checkers to determine whether the story was true. He then announced with a wink that it was "maybe a little true." Heh.
The "Women Fashion Power" Exhibit at the Design Museum in London has reignited the discussion regarding fashion as a symbol of power among women. [more inside]
Halloween is almost here which to me means one thing: overanalyzing horror flicks for any feminist undertones! ... [N]o season has better metaphors for misogynistic fears and powerful female sexuality than the scary movies that permeate almost every channel and film festival throughout October.At Autostraddle, Nina suggests nine horror films she likes in the "Blossoming-Teenage-Girl-Becoming-A-Woman" sub-genre. She is far from alone in her search for interesting feminist themes in horror cinema and literature. [more inside]
What if, wrote Jenn Frank (previously), there was a computer game that involved a sexy character shopping for a bra but ended with her crying softly because she could not find one that fitted. "Everyone thought I was kidding," Ms Frank told the BBC. "I thought I was kidding, and then two hours later I was building a website for it." "It" is Boob Jam, a weekend-long event during which game developers will go without sleep to create games that offer players a more truthful and accurate depiction of breasts and what it means to have them. [more inside]
Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism (YouTube; NSFW), FCKH8's new video campaign, has gone viral - attracting both praise & criticism. FCKH8's campaigns have sparked similar mixed reactions before. [more inside]
Style Gone Wild: Why We Can't Shake the 1970s
Collectors Weekly: What prompted such radical changes in popular fashion?[more inside]
Lutyens: One reason was that people in the West were becoming increasingly affluent, and this gave young people the confidence to question their parents’ values. Because they had money, they could be more independent. Society was also becoming much more liberal as well because you had things like the legalization of homosexuality and the legalization of divorce. People were allowed to be themselves more without being judged by other people.
Then the three main minority movements — feminism, black civil rights, and gay liberation — all these minorities had been marginalized until the late ’60s. In the ’70s they began to assert themselves more and become more visible. So their style became more visible, and it influenced mainstream fashion.
Microsoft CEO to women: Don't ask for a raise. CEO Satya Nadella spoke at the Grace Hopper Celebration and told women to use their "super powers" to get raises. [more inside]
When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science – [Trigger warning for this and all following links] by Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill):
The seminars, workshops, blogs, op-eds, research, policy papers, luncheons, and happy hour discussions are all valuable, and important, and they need to continue. But when the beer is drunk, and the pizza gone cold, and the printed articles relegated to the recycling bin, we are left with words: words written by us and about us, spoken in confidence, tossed like poisoned barbs in the comments sections, smoldering as craters in our in-boxes, pounding in our ears when we run it out at the gym.[more inside]
I’m sorry, you guys, but words are not enough. Not anymore.
Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War, by Laurie Penny and her in-your-face feminism. [more inside]
Bitch: A History This past semester at MIT I took a really wonderful class called “Feminist Political Thought” which had a very open ended essay assignment. I wrote a history of the word “Bitch,” and several of my classmates requested to read the whole paper so I thought I’d post it here.
Max Fisher of Vox describes how Naomi Wolf has turned to rather outré conspiracy theories. Via Ayelet Waldman on Twitter, who commented "I think maybe we need not to condemn Naomi Wolf but to consider the possibility that she's having a psychotic break."
We Hunted The Mammoth digs deep into the varied worlds of Mens Rights Activism to examine anti-feminism through such lenses as giant harassment machines, pro-life horror movies, MRA automation, Islamophobia, Metafilter's own Scott Adams, and flatulence. Trigger warning: every imaginable type of MRA language. Also, explaining the mammoth thing.
Beyonce feminism vs. Emma Watson feminism. "The Internet’s overwhelmingly positive reactions to Watson’s feminism were exciting, but also troubling when I remembered the way Beyoncé’s feminism was dissected, critiqued, and doubted last year when she dropped her self-titled album that included a recording of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaking about feminism."
"I'm not sure whether it mattered. One young man very kindly said to me, 'You don’t understand, women are holier than men.' I said, 'That’s rubbish and it doesn't excuse the insult,' and then I added that I spent 13 years in yeshiva and there's nothing he could tell me that I haven't already heard. Then the original man, the one who refused to sit next to me, muttered to another man as he was walking away, 'She doesn't understand.' I said, 'I understand everything, and don't talk to me as if I'm not here.' He ignored me, and all the other men turned their backs and did not respond or even look at me." [Similar version at JewFem blog.]
GUTS is a new online feminist magazine. Topics from the first two issues include Canadian feminist documentary filmmaking; feminist strategies for commemorating gender-based violence; "postfeminist" parliamentary political discourse; Canadian novelist Sheila Heti's genre-bender on women's relationships, How Should A Person Be?; women's paid and unpaid labour; institutionalized gender inequality in organized sport; Indigenous women, decolonization, and institutionalized racism. There's also a blog.
Ray Rice Makeup Tutorial Learn all about how to cover up domestic violence just like the NFL and get a fresh face for fall. (DV trigger warnings).
"What a bizarre day. I'm sitting here watching my email fill up with message after message from people from so many different times and places of my life, all congratulating me for the astonishing good fortune of receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Not to mention a flurry of texts and tweets, and I haven't had the energy to even look at Facebook." Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist Alison Bechdel (previously on MetaFilter: 1, 2, 3, 4) has won the prestigious MacArthur Genuis grant, giving her the opportunity to dig into her archives for a previous comic she drew in 2004 to conclude her reaction blog post. [more inside]
Emma Watson, in her position as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, has delivered an excellent speech on feminism to the United Nations. Part 1. Part 2.
The most feminist moments in sci-fi history -- from 1905 Indian feminist proto-sf to the rescue of Star Trek by female fans and beyond.
This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [more inside]
Thirty years ago this month, NBC premiered "The Cosby Show" and changed the television landscape. And though people will rightly remember it as a groundbreaking show for African Americans (and sweaters), Slate's Jason Bailey argues that it was just as important in its feminism.
Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
"Feminism Has Conquered the Culture. Now Comes the Hard Part: A debate on this unprecedented opportunity"
By Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz
By Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz
In response to criticism over the banning of infamous subreddit TheFappening, where private photographs of women (both celebrities and not) were being circulated, Reddit chief Yishan Wong released a controversial op-ed stating that Reddit considers itself "not just a company running a website where one can post links and discuss them, but the government of a new type of community." T.C. Sottek, writing for The Verge, asserts that if this is the case, then Reddit is assuredly a failed state. [more inside]
Perils of The Lady Gamer. – a New Graphical Diversion by webcomic artist and writer Shaenon K. Garrity (previously). [more inside]
The long and fairly disturbing history of the "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" feature of Ladies' Home Journal.
"Heralded in its day for its audacious envisioning of an American social landscape ravaged by dysfunctional sexuality – featuring an aspiring single mother who impregnates herself upon a dying soldier’s genitalia; a transsexual [gasp!]; and a feminist society who protest violent rape by cutting their own tongues off – John Irving’s 1978 picaresque now reads like a hysterical (in both senses of the word) male vision of the burgeoning feminist movement. Not much is different in George Roy Hill’s 1982 movie version, except that the absurdist imagery no longer drifts along the cooing flow of Irving’s prose, but rattles and jerks from one set piece to another. What’s missing is a strong characterization of the title character, played by Robin Williams, who scrambles from scene to scene like a quarterback shaken out of his pocket, never finding a consistent behavioral core from which to regard the shenanigans. Glenn Close and John Lithgow deserved their Oscar nominations for breathing dimension and empathy to a couple of kooky types the film otherwise regards with mocking abjection. For its reactionary middle-of-the-road advocacy of American normalcy under the threatening spectre of liberal progress, it’s a worthy precursor to Forrest Gump [TSPDT #577]. Of the films I’ve seen in the past two years for this project, this is the film for whose placement on the 1000 Greatest Films I have the most reservations." [more inside]
Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [more inside]
We can’t close gender gaps when we spend endless hours counting calories instead of cracking glass ceilings. We can’t gain self-assurance when body dysmorphia is so abundant.11 years on, Vanessa Garcia tells her 24-year-old eating-disordered self “Your time is precious. Get help. Do it now. You have too many important things to do.” [more inside]
It's a sex crime. "It is not on the (usually, but not always, female) victim to take 'enough' measures to protect herself but rather on the (usually, but not always, male) victimizer to choose not to commit said sex crime. That notion was lost on the Disney Channel back in 2007. They treated Vanessa Hudgens like a sinful child after personal nudes were leaked and stated that 'Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.' "
The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.[more inside]
“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
“Until a person has experienced career-harming bias...they simply don’t believe it exists.”
Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person.
Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person.
Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games (28 min 33 sec; here's a pointer to the identical video at YouTube). Warning: contains graphic sexual and violent game footage. Presented by Anita Sarkeesian of the video blog, Feminist Frequency. The website version (first link) is annotated to include links and resources, an "about the series" section, games referenced in this episode, and a transcript. [more inside]
Flowchart: Should you catcall her? From playboy.com. Flowchart designed by @sheastrauss. Link is NSFW (images) if you scroll all the way to the footer, or drawn silhouettes of women in the flowchart are problematic. Slightly NSFW text.