Does The Handmaid's Tale hold up? , Adi Robertson for The Verge:
"A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was in the middle of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. 'It’s like 1984 for feminists, right?' he asked. Sort of, I said. But it's a lot scarier. It's about how you'll lose every right you have, and none of the men you know will care. Then I said he would probably betray me if they froze all women's bank accounts. That was the peak of my paranoia, but it held on for several more days, as I read on the subway while half-consciously figuring out how I might theoretically escape to Canada. 1984 was for lightweights."[more inside]
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]
"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]
"When do women in Ireland get to say 'no'? Today we find out that the answer is 'never', not really – not if a man has other ideas and the state decides to enforce his use of a woman's body." [Warning: may be triggering.] New Statesman, "Violation after violation: why did Ireland force a woman on hunger strike to bear her rapist's child?" [more inside]
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]
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]
In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
Sexism at the border: A personal account. "For me, carrying my own condoms (in purses, wallets, camera bags; everywhere) is a routine act towards safer sex. For someone else with the power to not only deny passage but judge, moralize and intimidate, it has become enough evidence to put a woman through hell. My story has brought a number of women out of the woodwork stating that they have had similar experiences." [h/t Alex Grossman]
What would you think if I told you there is an ugly, self-sustaining, omnipotent invisible force that explains everything. It frames every argument, structures language, and every element of human experience.... This article will examine Patriarchy as a theory that is beyond falsifiability. - Naomi J. Chambers
As the culture evolves, people who benefitted from the old ways invariably see themselves as victims of change. The world used to fit them like a glove, but it no longer does. Increasingly, they find themselves in unfamiliar situations that feel unfair or even unsafe. Their concerns used to take center stage, but now they must compete with the formerly invisible concerns of others. If you are one of the newly-visible others, this all sounds whiny compared to the problems you face every day. It’s tempting to blast through such privileged resistance with anger and insult. Tempting, but also, I think, a mistake. The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.
Instead, your article suggests that women should be focused on making one shitty dude's life better.
If a man finds himself attracted to a woman who doesn't conform to this list (more on the specifics of the list in a minute), does he not count as a man? What if she's "perfect" for him? What if she makes him feel like a whole person for the first time in his life, but she just happens to have chunky ankles? What does "perfect" mean then? What does "hot" mean? What does "the One" mean? What we're setting up here is an impossible cultural standard that excludes...well...100% of women. Because literally no one is that weird Frankenstein's Monster-with-Benefits that your art department put together. In her typical masterful style, Jezebel's Lindy West reminds us that being a perfect woman is no excuse for being actively harmful to humanity.
The Daughter Test. Steven Levitt of Freakonomics decides he's ok with the government restricting things if they're something he wouldn't want his (extremely cute) daughter to do. Kevin Drum responds. Ross Douthat responds. Feminists are squicked. [more inside]
At the end of October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, members of the men’s movement group RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting ) gathered on the steps of Congress to lobby against what they say are the suppressed truths about domestic violence: that false allegations are rampant, that a feminist-run court system fraudulently separates innocent fathers from children, that battered women’s shelters are running a racket that funnels federal dollars to feminists, that domestic-violence laws give cover to cagey mail-order brides seeking Green Cards, and finally, that men are victims of an unrecognized epidemic of violence at the hands of abusive wives."[more inside]
"Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves." Also: male gaze on the Gender Ads Project. Laura Mulvey's original 1975 essay on Male Gaze in cinema.
Moving beyond no means no. The anthology Yes Means Yes brings together writers, male and female, to explore the power of enthusiastic consent and to promote female desire free of coercion. The book has spawned a series of readings, live chats, and some interesting blog responses. [more inside]
Whether she is called a geisha, a courtesan, a prostitute, or a dominatrix, women who make their living by offering intimate, one-on-one companionship to men (sexually or otherwise- as is more often the case) have been around since day one. Often reviled, marginalized, and belittled, are they truly the hapless victims and social parasites they are often portrayed as? Or is this sort of profession really one of the few areas where an intelligent woman can achieve financial security and prosperity, even in a patriarchal society? (note: I am well aware that sex is not normally part of the deal with geishas and dommes. However, they are frequently lumped in this category.)