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 -
Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada?
Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
posted by Conspire
on Dec 10, 2013 -
Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 8, 2013 -
Seventeen Magazine encourages its readers to post pictures of their nail polish on twitter every Monday, using the tag #manicuremonday
. Starting last week, working scientists and engineers have been contributing their own fingers - often beautifully manicured - doing sciencey stuff. The movement was started
by scientist Hope Jahren
] [more inside]
posted by moonmilk
on Nov 25, 2013 -
Last week, Time
magazine put out a feature on the Gods of Food
, a series of articles on 60-some-odd empire-building chefs who the magazine thinks are influencing and leading cuisine today. Beyond the statistical problems with the article ... some folks had the temerity to point out that this culinary Mount Olympus was basically a bunch of white dudes. Actually it was all dudes, not a single woman deified. Eater's interview
's food editor Howard Chua-Eoan about the story. Amanda Cohen's scathing takedown of the clusterfuck
. The New York Times
' Room for Debate
feature asking leading female chefs about underrepresented women in food media. Eater's latest piece
on the question of gender bias in food journalism. [via
posted by Room 641-A
on Nov 15, 2013 -
The Trouble with "Carrie": Strong Female Characters and Onscreen Violence.
Whether she's volunteering to take her sister's place in the arena or grooming her son to lead the resistance; gunning down the gangsters who sell drugs to the kids in her neighborhood or swinging swords to avenge her daughter, the "strong female character" is often stirred by a maternal concern, a quintessential desire to preserve her community, to protect the weak and vulnerable. Her bad-assery must be in the service of a greater good. Even when she's more ethically complex (like the Bride, who begrudgingly admits that all the people she killed to get to her daughter, "felt good"), she never takes a place at the table of Walter White's grand epiphany: "I did it for me."
posted by Lexica
on Oct 30, 2013 -
Carrie does what Beatrix Kiddo and Ellen Ripley and Katniss Everdeen don't: She does it for herself. Her vengeance, her violence, is in service to no one, no noble good. She doesn't kill because her family and friends have been threatened. There are no friends, no fellow outcasts, to protect from the bullies. No little sister to shield from Mama's wrath. Only her. And she is enough. Carrie kills because she was wronged.
Meet the Victorian women who fought back.
Once, Queen Victoria was the only woman in the realm with no legal impediment because of her sex. She reigned over a society that was full of intelligent women going mad with frustration - and then they began to do something about it.
posted by adamvasco
on Oct 20, 2013 -
When we were little, Jaime and I were so much alike that even our lord father could not tell us apart. Sometimes as a lark we would dress in each other’s clothes and spend a whole day each as the other. Yet even so, when Jaime was given his first sword, there was none for me. “What do I get?” I remember asking. We were so much alike, I could never understand why they treated us so differently. Jaime learned to fight with sword and lance and mace, while I was taught to smile and sing and please. He was heir to Casterly Rock, while I was to be sold to some stranger like a horse, to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly. Jaime’s lot was to be glory and power, while mine was birth and moonblood.
Daniel Mendelsohn in the New York Review of Books on the Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic
posted by grobstein
on Oct 18, 2013 -
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing.
posted by cthuljew
on Sep 21, 2013 -
Elizabeth Simins is an illustrator and a gamer. The latter wasn't always easy, though, which she illustrates in a four-part comic
on growing up as a girl gamer.
posted by gilrain
on Sep 16, 2013 -
You know how it is, right, ladies? You know a guy for a while. You hang out with him. You do fun things with him—play video games, watch movies, go hiking, go to concerts. You invite him to your parties. You listen to his problems. You do all this because you think he wants to be your friend. But then, then comes the fateful moment where you find out that all this time, he’s only seen you as a potential girlfriend. And then if you turn him down, he may never speak to you again. This has happened to me time after time: I hit it off with a guy, and, for all that I’ve been burned in the past, I start to think that this one might actually care about me as a person. And then he asks me on a date. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 6, 2013 -
Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt
from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript
posted by audi alteram partem
on Sep 6, 2013 -
In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women. -- The Harvard Business Review asks why are less than competent men getting leadership positions when much more qualified women aren't
posted by MartinWisse
on Sep 5, 2013 -
I had my students fill out mid-semester evaluations last fall. No big deal, just answer these four questions: 1) What am I doing to help you learn? 2) What could I be doing better to help you learn? 3) What are you doing to help yourself learn? and 4) What could you be doing better to help yourself learn? I had them turn the evaluations in anonymously to allow more genuine feedback. Later that afternoon, I started going through the responses. It was encouraging to see that, in general, responses to the first two questions indicated I was getting better, which was gratifying given the amount of time and energy I spent re-developing the class. For the most part, students were surprisingly honest when responding to questions 3 and 4, showing they understood their responsibility in their progress, or lack thereof. Somewhere towards the end of the ~160 evaluations, I came across one that answered question #2 with: “Teach naked.” [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 4, 2013 -
John Scalzi responds to a troll
Cheezburgering "This is what a feminist looks like" on a photo of him in a regency-era gown.
Over the weekend, some dudebro with a history of shitting on women took this picture of me and meme-ized it, with the intent, given his personal history and predilections, of mocking me — both for my views as regards women, and for wearing a dress.
Dudebro: Let me detail for you the various ways this picture has utterly failed you as an attempt to ridicule me.
posted by modernserf
on Aug 26, 2013 -
On Monday, web technology mogul Dave Winer shared his theory
about the gender imbalance in software engineering. This kicked off a hashtag
on Twitter as well as this response
from Rebecca Greenfield and this correction
from Andy Baio. Yesterday Winer posted a follow-up
, declaring "I don't care why there are so few women programmers." It was later revealed that some comments
on this post were deleted, including the personal testimony of a 54 year-old female veteran of software engineering. [more inside]
posted by annekate
on Aug 23, 2013 -
"Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?" Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report, raised $6.5 million
to build and grow a feminist website for women, Bustle.com
. [more inside]
posted by meese
on Aug 14, 2013 -
On the importance of Magical Girl Heroines & Weaponized Femininity:
"The Magical Girl genre is essentially a genre which explores the female Heroine’s arc, the female coming of age story, and the womanhood narrative with varying degrees of success or failure — but it gets explored. I’d be hard pressed to name a whole lot of series that allow women to play every single archetypal role in the heroic book the way say, Sailor Moon does."
posted by jaduncan
on Aug 7, 2013 -