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."
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.
Women in Saudi Arabia may not drive. Today, many take to the road in protest, despite grave risks. Even cyber support may be grounds for arrest and the movement's primary website has been blocked. It's been an issue for decades; here's a writer remembering women donning disguises to drive and the sad case of a mother unable to take her injured child to the hospital. Driving may be the point of a sword aimed at securing other freedoms and attaining more autonomy.
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.
Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy. Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the 'bystander approach' to sexual and domestic violence prevention. [more inside]
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. Previously.
“I’ll tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well. And I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’” - Malala Yousafzai (previously), shot by the Taliban a year ago, talks to the Daily Show's Jon Stewart about what she would do if a gunman came to shoot her again, as they have promised.
ROSLER, Martha: Martha Rosler Reads Vogue (1983) and Born to be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads The Strange Case of Baby S/M (1988) are accessible works of video art created by Martha Rosler in association with Paper Tiger Television to illustrate basic issues in feminist thought. Rosler is also well-known for her video performance piece, Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), which continues to inspire new work. Her Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained (1977) has a similar take on the measurement of a woman's body. KREISINGER, Elisa: Pop Culture Pirate is the home of remix artist Elisa Kreisinger's feminist utopian works, including videos related to Mad Men: Set Me Free (2012); Don Loves Roger (2012); and The Evolution of Peggy Olson (2013). But also Queer Housewives of NYC (2009): One & Two. Queer Carrie (2009-2010): One, Two, & Three. The Real Feminists of Beverly Hills (2011). The Real House Husbands of New Jersey (2012). Ann Romney Loves Women (Remix) (2012). And For Your Consideration: Oscars 2011 (2012). That's two ... [more inside]
300Sandwiches.com talks about the genisis of her blog and the quest for her that engagement ring, one sandwich at a time.
Dirty Dancing is A SUBVERSIVE MASTERPIECE and here are four reasons why. "While I loved it as a mushy romance starring a relatable heroine and a dreamy guy, a huge portion of the plot flew right over my tiny unworldly preteen head. But it was only as an adult that I realized how RADICALLY subversive and politically bananas this movie really is." [more inside]
Jennifer Sky, a former model/actress, recently published a NYT op-ed about her recurring role as Amarice in Xena: Warrior Princess, stating, "Gender was not relevant in the Xenaverse." Her perspective has been met with some contention.
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."
A judge in the UK has ruled that a Muslim woman can stand trial wearing the niqab, but must remove it when giving evidence. Following the ruling Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, praised the judge for his "sensitivity and clarity", while Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society condemned the decision, saying "We will be complaining to the Office of Judicial Complaints and...asking senior legal officers to make visibility throughout court hearings mandatory". [more inside]
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.
The National Archives' Media Matters blog recently highlighted several newly digitized military etiquette training films from the late 60s and early 70s. These included a series of three films aimed at the difficult intersection of military service and gender dynamics for the members of the Women's Army Corps: The Pleasure of Your Company (background post), Mind Your Military Manners, and Look Like a Winner (background post). Bonus film for the guys: How to Succeed with Brunettes.
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]
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).
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?
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]
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.[more inside]
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]
"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]
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."
Anita Sarkeesian has released the 3rd video in her Tropes vs Women in Games series, focusing on gender-reversals on the Damsel in Distress formula.
Hugo Schwyzer announces his retirement from feminist punditry. Schwyzer cites his declining mental health and a recent extramarital affair that tarnished his "brand," as reasons for his retirement. [more inside]
Advertising about menstruation has often emphasized the down side - the inconveniences that "feminine products" can save women from. They have also often focused on body-shaming - suggesting that ideally, no one should know you're even using them. Until now - a menstruation-related ad for HelloFlo, a company that sends tampons delivered to your door, regularly, when you need them. It is voiced and acted by a spunky young girl, who is not embarrassed but flamboyantly and splendidly proud of having her period.
There have been days, since her son Ezekiel was born 11 months ago, that Los Angeles mom Beth Capper has gone without food to keep up her supply. One friend was arrested for stealing some. It's not drugs or alcohol or even baby formula that has put her in such a bind. It's diapers.
A 21 year old man was arrested for tweeting rape threats. The target of the tweets, Caroline Criado-Perez, had successfully campaigned to have a woman (Jane Austen) shown on the UK's new 10 pound note, and has been subsequently receiving incessant rape and death threats via twitter, a violation of UK law. Twitter's Terms of Service are being repeatedly and flagrantly violated in this episode, and the company appears to be having issues responding to a backlog of reports; it responded to Criado-Perez only that she take the matter to the police. This resulted in shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper asking Twitter to review its policies for handling abuse complaints. [more inside]
"Here's an idea: BMO, from Adventure Time, is expressive of feminism" PBSIdeachannel's Mike Rugnetta gives the rundown on how BMO's existence is a skilled potrayal of 3rd wave feminism.
Malala Yousafzai, sixteen-year-old Pakistani education activist, has delivered her first public address since she was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen in October last year. Yousafzai's speech at the UN headquarters in New York today is available in full as text or video. She has been credited with bringing the issue of women's education to global attention, a crucial concern given that a quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school.
Visualizing the Bechdel test. Datawankery and female representation in film.
It began with a special session called by Governor Rick Perry, who put abortion restrictions on the table. SB5 bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires facilities that perform them to conform to new restrictions. The practical effect would close most of the abortion facilities in Texas. Then came the People's Filibuster, a mass protest designed to run out the clock and prevent the bill from being passed. It didn't work. The bill passed the House and went to the Senate. But today, Texas Senator Wendy Davis began a 13-hour filibuster to stop the bill. [more inside]
David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women has raised $16,369 out of its $2,000 goal on Kickstarter. Casey Malone has called it out as "a book about how to sexually assault women" and "a rape manual", including quotes from seddit, the seduction subReddit (Google cache). A petition asking Kickstarter to withdraw funding has gathered close to 50,000 signatures, but while Kickstarter agrees that the material is "abhorrent and inconsistent with our values", it has declined to cancel the project. Author Ken Hoinsky is "devastated and troubled" by allegations that his book promotes rape, because the quotes were taken out of context. However, Jezebel reports that Hoinsky e-mailed them, "Wanna let your readers know [about the Kickstarter]? I'm sure they'll have a field day with this" which indicates he may be banking on the outrage and the backlash for added publicity. [via /r/feminism and /r/nottheonion]
Fifty years ago today, Valentina Tereshkova became the first textile factory worker, first civilian and of course first woman in space. She completed 48 orbits, in the process amassing more space time than any of the American astronauts had logged. It would be almost twenty years before a second female astronaut got into space, slightly more than that for the first American woman. In total, fiftyseven women have flown into space, or roughly ten percent of the total number of astronauts.
As an investigation is launched into men in the Australian Army circulating explicit and derogatory material about their female colleagues, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, delivers a searing rebuke to those who perpetuate or condone the harassment of women in the military.
Jury acquits escort shooter. Texas Penal Code s. 9.42 has been interpreted to possibly allow the shooting of sex workers who accept money at night but do not then perform sexual services, and Ezekiel Gilbert was therefore found to have the legal right to shoot at a sex worker over a $150 dispute. This interpretation of the defence of property has come under some criticism, and although the jury may have reached their decision on a different ground, the possibility of this defence under state law appears to be sound.
"In 1961, Phyllis Richman applied to graduate school at Harvard. She received a letter asking how she would balance a career in city planning with her 'responsibilities' to her husband and possible future family. Fifty-two years later, she responds." [more inside]
How the feminist internet utopia failed, and we ended up with speculative realism. Contemporary mass culture equates anonymity with secrecy or downright negative intent, not harmless experimentation. Who lies about who they are online? Pedophiles, scammers, hackers, bullies, Wikileaks. Anonymity has turned from thrilling to terrifying. 1:1 self-to-body ratio is a moral mandate. It’s no wonder that nailing down objective reality seems so attractive.
An Alternative History of 11 American Female Doctors: "A new producer, Glen A. Larsons, changed up almost everything fans knew about Doctor Who. Gone was the constant traveling, and in its place Jennifer Jones' Doctor was now a scientist working exclusively for the United States military in exile on Earth. The comedic style that had always been a tremendous part of the show was left behind in order to capitalize on the drama skills of the Academy Award-winning actress." [more inside]
Anita Sarkeesian has uploaded the second video in her Tropes vs. Women in Games series. The video was temporarily removed after "her harassers abused YouTube's flag function to get the video removed".
"But something happened. Once industrial music had fully transitioned from avant-garde venues into nightclubs, the stench of Axe body spray began to dominate the subculture as a certain douchey, bro-tastic vibe emerged. Where the goth/industrial scene had once existed as a safe haven for artists, weirdos, outcasts, geeks, dreamers and rebels, a disturbing trend of sexism, racism and anti-intellectualism is driving people out."
Coverflip is a one day Twitter project created by author Maureen Johnson. There are only three rules: 1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. 3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.
"By the time Cathy began, the sexual revolution had ended, so the strip stands as a perfect artifact of a moment when the cultural understanding of coercion changed completely—a moment when, one could argue, second-wave feminism basically died. With its baby-boomer characters, Cathy dramatizes the aftermath: the ’60s ended when it became clear that a revolutionary movement toward a just society wasn’t happening; the ’70s ended up being about trying to navigate the wreckage of the ’60s. The ’80s were largely about looking for strategies to accept injustice and inequality, and to construe that acceptance itself as a positive value.
"Cathy takes its place in this cultural progression by drilling in the notion that it doesn’t matter what the law says: you are being coerced not by the state but by your desire to be valued."
"Cathy takes its place in this cultural progression by drilling in the notion that it doesn’t matter what the law says: you are being coerced not by the state but by your desire to be valued."
'The Great Gatsby' Still Gets Flappers Wrong “The Flapper awoke from her lethargy of sub-deb-ism, bobbed her hair, put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity and rouge and went into the battle. She flirted because it was fun to flirt and wore a one-piece bathing suit because she had a good figure, she covered her face with powder and paint because she didn’t need it and she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring. She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always wanted to do. Mothers disapproved of their sons taking the Flapper to dances, to teas, to swim and most of all to heart. She had mostly masculine friends, but youth does not need friends—it needs only crowds.”