Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [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?”
"If a woman is objectified in a relationship, the research indicates, it's more likely that her male partner will sexually coerce and pressure her." [more inside]
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]
Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
"Reading comments on any article about pantyhose, you’d think we were talking about the Gaza strip, not flimsy tubes of nylon. Trends come and go... But there’s something about pantyhose that’s oddly divisive." Autumn Whitefield-Madrano on The Beheld with Hosed: Conservatism and the Return of Pantyhose. [more inside]
Guys don't want casual sex: "This stereotype 'tells us that guys are primarily interested in sex, not relationships... This contributes to the notion that guys are emotional clods who are incapable of connecting with their partners because, hey, they’re just guys, and guys are only interested in sex.'... the Wake Forest University professor lays out the current data on young men’s sexual desires and behavior to make a case against this insidious stereotype." Salon interviews Andrew Smiler, author of Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male. [more inside]
The Mom Stays in the Picture - When Allison Tate wrote about how "Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen... I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them", it resonated with many other women. "To read through the notes that came with the thousand-plus photos (and yes, we have read every single one) was to read the minds of today's mothers. Over and over you told us that you don't look the way you want to look, don't look the way you once did. Even when joining a movement created around the motto 'I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother,' you felt the need to apologize." (via middleclasstool's other half)
"The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman's body throughout her life. It doesn't disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don't bleed the first time."
My Corona: The Anatomy Formerly Known As The Hymen & The Myths That Surround It is Scarleteen's reprint of a booklet (PDF) produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Time for more accurate terminology: Hymen renamed "vaginal corona"). More mythbusting: You can't pop your cherry: Hymen 101 (NSFW-ish video, less than 4 min.); SBTB's Where is the hymen? and Virginity clichés in romance; and 20 Questions About Virginity: Scarleteen interviews Hanne Blank.
On the proper fitting of jeans. More: Mom jeans and the dreaded "long butt" - "Lydia and I ran a completely scientific experiment to prove that, indeed, it’s all about the pocket. But, while doing so, also made many other notes for you to help you avoid a Mom Jeans catastrophe altogether"; the follow-up post - "Hypothesis: That the condition known as “long butt” and proven as simply a wardrobe mistake in previous works can also be replaced with much more flattering looks even for more mature Moms, and that proper dressage in appropriate jeans can be potentially life changing"; & even more: Gateway mom jeans - Gap and Old Navy? Links include photos of bums in jeans. (found via youlookfab) [more inside]
Bratabase is a crowdsourced "bra database" made to help women find the right bra (interview with the creator). According to many studies, over 80% of women aren't wearing the correct bra size: "there's a lot of misinformation about bras out there". For instance, D cups just aren't that big ("Clearly there are a whole lot more D+ cups out there than people assume") and not all D cups are the same size ("from left to right 30D, 32D, 34D, 36D, 38D. Five different band lengths, five different cup volumes. All D Cups"). Most of these links contain photos and therefore may be NSFWish for some. [more inside]
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
Can using different types of models benefit brands? Ben Barry discusses his Ph.D. research in Elle Canada, making a business case for diversity in fashion: women increased their purchase intentions when they saw models who reflected their size, age, and race. Jezebel summarizes, "Barry's research... casts doubt on the age-old theory that people buy things because advertising stokes their insecurities, creating a need that can only be filled by the advertised product. It suggests that advertising can work by inducing in the consumer feelings of affinity for and identification with the people shown in the ad."
Stephanie Coontz: The M.R.S. and the Ph.D. "Is this really the fate facing educated heterosexual women: either no marriage at all or a marriage with more housework and less sex? Nonsense. That may have been the case in the past, but no longer. For a woman seeking a satisfying relationship as well as a secure economic future, there has never been a better time to be or become highly educated... The most important predictor of marital happiness for a woman is not how much she looks up to her husband but how sensitive he is to her emotional cues and how willing he is to share the housework and child-care. And those traits are often easier to find in a low-key guy than a powerhouse." [more inside]
Of six-pack abs and real girl bellies: thoughts after viewing xoJane's "Real Girl Belly Project" ("Show Us Your Bellies!", photo gallery part one, photo gallery part two).
"Princeless" is a new comic book in the self-rescuing princesses genre (more page previews here and here) - perhaps a younger-audience example of women kicking back against comic-book sexism? (previously on MeFi - wik, alsø wik, alsø alsø wik)
Feminism's Uneven Success: "Class and racial and ethnic differences among women have intensified over time. The higher earnings of college-educated mothers make it possible for them to purchase child care and help with housework (typically performed by low-wage women workers)... the number of low-skill immigrants living in a large city reduces the tradeoff between employment and fertility for women college graduates. Outsourcing of care responsibilities can have many positive effects, but it reduces the potential for cross-class gender coalitions. Emphasis on changes in women’s average or median earnings relative to men often conceals growing inequality among women." (via)
All The Single Ladies - "In the cover story for the November issue of The Atlantic, which just came online, 39-year-old writer Kate Bolick explains why she hasn't gotten married and why many of her friends haven't either." (via The Hairpin: an email interview and a link to a video interview with the author)
my body gallery - photographs of women, searchable by height, weight, clothing size, and body type (via youlookfab) [more inside]