"Instead, most current systems, almost without fail, do the opposite. Moderators responsible for content and complaints, regardless of gender, are making decisions based not just on the information they are reviewing, but on the way in which the information flows – linear, acontextual and isolated from other incidents. They are reliant, despite their best efforts, on technical systems that provide insufficient context, scale, frequency or scope. In addition, they lack specific training in trauma (their own or users) and in understanding gender-based violence. " -- "Silicon Valley sexism: why it matters that the internet is made by men, for men", by Soraya Chemaly, The New Statesman
"A man who doesn’t help is 'busy'; a woman is 'selfish'." Regardless of your opinion of the advice Sheryl Sandberg gives to women in this article, it has some interesting (and disheartening) statistics about how the majority of "office housework" is expected to fall to women:
In a study led by the New York University psychologist Madeline Heilman, participants evaluated the performance of a male or female employee who did or did not stay late to help colleagues prepare for an important meeting. For staying late and helping, a man was rated 14 percent more favorably than a woman. When both declined, a woman was rated 12 percent lower than a man. Over and over, after giving identical help, a man was significantly more likely to be recommended for promotions, important projects, raises and bonuses. A woman had to help just to get the same rating as a man who didn’t help ... When men do help, they are more likely to do so in public, while women help more behind the scenes. Studies demonstrate that men are more likely to contribute with visible behaviors — like showing up at optional meetings — while women engage more privately in time-consuming activities like assisting others and mentoring colleagues. As the Simmons College management professor Joyce K. Fletcher noted, women’s communal contributions tend simply to “disappear.”
30 of the Best Pop Culture Spinsters Elisabeth Donnelly presents "our 30 favorite writers, artists, and fictional characters who show the freedom that comes from living an unmarried life — female characters who are defined by their wants and desires, and not characterized through the simple scrim of their relationships." [more inside]
Infamous. Thoughtless. Careless. Mark Bernstein on recent editorial decisions at Wikipedia: "The infamous draft decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime. It’s a blunder that threatens to disgrace the internet." [more inside]
"As Maggie Gyllenhaal put it in accepting an award for her performance in 'The Honorable Woman': 'What I see, actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.'" The 'strong female character' is dead. All hail the complicated woman., by Alyssa Rosenberg for The Washington Post. [more inside]
"For many men, beauty, coolness, [and] desirability are gifts they alone can bestow upon women. They get baffled, even aggressive when you show you've known you possess those things all along." (BuzzFeed, trigger warning for hate speech) [more inside]
"From a seven-year-old who took on a supermarket to the girls who stood up to authority against violence, racism and inequality, these girls make the future look bright." Laura Bates looks back at a year of young feminist action in the Guardian piece, "2014: a year of brave, inspiring, young feminists". More feminism year-in-reviews below the fold. [more inside]
“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.
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]
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]
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.
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."
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.
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]
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.
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]
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?”
"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle) [more inside]
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
LEGO does something good! (Sets revolving around female scientists sold out in one day; previously.) LEGO does something bad! (Sets with major petro-company branding.) [more inside]
On July 18, the only Morgentaler Clinic in New Brunswick closed. Its closure has an interesting backstory and has sparked a fight. [more inside]
Editor’s note: We don’t publish many anonymous pieces on Forbes.com, but this compelling first-person account of sexism in the startup world merits an exception. I met the author several months ago and was floored by the stories she had to tell about her dealings with mostly male investors. Like many men (as she writes), I knew women in tech faced a certain degree of chauvinism and harassment, but I’d had no idea it was so barefaced and routine, in an industry that thinks of itself as egalitarian and forward-looking. After much persuading, she agreed to write about her experiences but asked that I omit her name, for several reasons. First (again, as she writes), the startup community is a small one, and founders rely heavily on social capital and goodwill to navigate it. Speaking up carries big risks. But fear of retribution wasn’t her only concern. While putting an individual human face on an issue, it can also be a way for critics to short circuit the discussion by engaging in ad hominem attacks. ”I don’t want it to be about me, but about the issue at hand,” the author says. “When we get into a witch hunt around particular personalities, we lose sight of the problem we should be tackling.”
Nicki Minaj (autoplaying video) is a singer, rapper, songwriter and actress who is known for her outlandish outfits, makeup, and wigs, and gutsy, lyrically skilled rapping. She creates personas or "masks" in her music and videos to communicate her message. Recently, she released an album cover online to promote her new release, Anaconda, and to create buzz. Boy did it. (All links NSFW.) [more inside]
Michel Martin, in her last week as host of NPR's "Tell Me More," responds to conversations about work/life balance such as Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-commented 2012 "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", (previously) where "the discussion too often ends where it began: with privileged, mostly white women at the forefront." [more inside]
Still shaking your head over that ridiculous "Women Against a Feminism" tumblr? The inimitable Bloggess weighs in with some welcome comic relief. (Time, right on schedule, helpfully pops up to explain it all for you).
Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
Rebecca Traister writes at the New Republic on being tired of women's choices, accomplishments, and existence being measured by barometers which are "calibrated to dude," as exemplified by a recent Esquire piece. [more inside]
Hollywood is tough on older women -- it's like they're filed away in a folder simply marked "old" — and it’s a problem their male counterparts rarely have to contend with. To prove it, we’ve rounded up some recent examples of age-inappropriate casting, then imagined what would happen if some of these believability-busting pairings got a gender flip. [more inside]
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn "Stop interrupting me." "I just said that." "No explanation needed." [more inside]
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]
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."
35 Practical Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution: "This list entails suggestions for some practical tools all men can apply in their day-to-day lives to foster equality in their relationships with women, and to contribute to a culture where women feel less burdened, unsafe, and disrespected." [more inside]
While interviewing Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, at the Aspen Ideas Festival Monday, David Bradley, who owns The Atlantic, asked two questions that elicited as frank a discussion of work-life balance as I've seen from a U.S. CEO. Pepsi CEO's Mother Had A Brutally Honest Reaction To Her Daughter’s New Job. (Previously)
A study (pdf) released by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment shows that 65% of American women have experienced some form of street harassment – 41% of women were subject to physically aggressive harassment in public like being flashed or fondled. Men also report being harassed (and men who identified as LGBT were much more likely to be harassed than heterosexual men). No matter who was being harassed, men were most likely to be the harassers.
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. [more inside]
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]
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]
On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women. [SLYT; NSFW; Nudity; Sexual violence]
Laura is super passionate about girls fighting evil, creating collages with short stories about various groups of girls fighting off demons - from radio DJs and the interns at Night Vale, to Dorothy Gale, travelers, and of course Beyonce. Sometimes the girls are helping the demons: evil counterparts to Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, the underwater orchestra, even the underlord's admin assistant. Sometimes they fight each other; sometimes they fight themselves. Some of these fighters are real. Sometimes they'll let you borrow their style.