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."
If you asked me two years ago whether I’d have a baby and give it away for money, I wouldn’t just laugh at you, I would be so insulted I might hit you in the face,” said Indirani, a 30-year old garment worker and gestational surrogate mother.
Nichelle Gainer (whose Vintage Black Glamour blog was seen previously on MeFi) responds insightfully to a NY Times editorial by author Alice Randall called "Why Black Women Are Fat."
Christianne Harder on why Jessica Dorrell's actions hurt all women trying to work in college football.
Name all the female movie directors you can in one minute, right now. No Google. I’ll wait. This movie gave me cooties why there are no female directors.
Women are often referred to as crazy when remembered by exes. A magazine article propagating this view was forcefully rebutted. Have the times changed for women with a wide range of emotions?
Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse. There is, however, one exception to this grim trend: Maryland. Since 2007, domestic violence homicides in the state have fallen by a stunning 40 percent. What is Maryland doing that other states are not? The answer appears to lie with a former high school nurse, an ex-Washington, D.C., police lieutenant, and their ground-breaking efforts to protect the most vulnerable victims of abuse.—Fighting Back is an article by Tim Stelloh about new method to identify and protect abused women, developed by a group of law enforcement officers and academics (Note: The article features graphic descriptions of domestic violence and murder). The article focuses especially on the work of Prof. Jacquelyn Campbell. You can watch an interview with her here.
Judit Polgár is the greatest female chess player in history. The product of an educational experiment by her father, she was the first to break Bobby Fischer's record as the youngest-ever grandmaster - by which time she had already stopped competing in women-only tournaments. In 2002, she avenged an earlier controversial loss to Garry Kasparov - the first time in any sport that the No. 1 ranked female player has beaten the No. 1 ranked male player. At her peak, ranked 8th in the world, she became the first woman to compete for the World Championship. After several years of reduced activity spent raising her two children, Polgár returned to full-time competition - making it to the quarter-finals of the 2011 FIDE World Cup. [more inside]
In the wake of so many recent controversies over women and their right to safe, affordable health care and the supposed desire of working women to be "put in their place" by aggressive men in the bedroom, Penny Red suggests that "Right now, we are in the middle of a sexual counter-revolution." [more inside]
So Tara Tiger Brown of Forbes.com wrote an article begging fake geek girls to go away. Leigh Alexander of Sexy Videogameland responds with "This is the worst kind of thing to me, because not only is it sad for her, but it sucks for all of us. Women in our space, having once been something of a scarcity, face particular challenges. We lack for companions and mentors. " Followed by The Mary Sue's Susana Polo "So yes, I understand the desire to weed the “posers” out of your personal life and interactions. But I have never, actually, in the flesh, met a “fake” geek girl. Or guy. "
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
Having heard way to many similar stories, Dr. Kate Clancy, author of the popular Scientific American blog Context and Variation, has recently run two accounts written by graduate students about their experiences with sexual harassment in the hopes that they will spark a wider discussion. The comments in the second article are uncharacteristically amazing and include several more women sharing their experiences. [more inside]
Just in time for International Womens Day, it's Narrow the Gap, a look at the unbalanced payrolls of American workers based on US Department of Labor statistics from a variety of industries.
‘Tough, Cold, Terse, Taciturn and Prone to Not Saying Goodbye When They Hang Up the Phone’ - Is the fabled "Strong Female Characters" a bad thing? Counterpoints from Mur Lafferty and Charlie Jane Anders. Obligatory Kate Beaton link.
The Library of Congress has posted a series of colour photos from the 1930s and 1940s online. [more inside]
It’s a very specialized set of sports that the Chinese focus on but they simply kick absolute ass at them. ... If you look at the 2008 Olympic weightlifting results in Beijing... the women didn’t just squeak by to win a medal; most were simply so far ahead of their competition that it was a joke. In most cases, the Chinese women took their first attempt after everyone else had already finished lifting for the day. And they came out and just dispatched their weights in perfect form, setting new world records and winning medals with abandon. [more inside]
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]
What if the seminal case on reproductive freedom had been Struck v. Secretary of Defense instead of Roe v. Wade?
"This is an attempt at recovery. This Essay hopes to call attention to then-Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1972 merits brief in Struck v. Secretary of Defense. The brief has been underappreciated in part because the Supreme Court of the United States eventually declined to decide the case.” On the 40th anniversary of the brief's submission, read Reva Siegel's compelling essay [pdf] on this overlooked brief in which “Ginsburg and the women’s movement talked about pregnancy discrimination in a way that ties together pregnancy discrimination and women’s equality, and women’s equality and reproductive freedom, before the Court split them apart,” and imagine what might have been had the Supreme Court decided Struck v. Secretary of Defense in 1972.
A bunch of guys standing around trying to sound like a Kevin Smith movie but failing because they're not as clever
Last Sunday, Comic Book Men premiered on AMC, sliding right into the time slot right after the comic book-based Walking Dead series. It's a reality show masterminded by filmmaker and occasional comic book writer Kevin Smith that follows four employees at his New Jersey comic book shop, the Secret Stash, as they deal with the world of comics retail. If the intent is to show comic shop employees as anything other than obnoxious walking sterotypes, it's a complete failure. If, however, it's meant to be the most compelling argument I've ever seen for never setting foot in a comic book store, I have to admit that it's a smashing success. - Chris Sims reviews Comic Book Men. Remember, no chicks allowed.
Romance fiction is widely reckoned to be a very low form of literature. Maybe the lowest, if we're not counting the writing at Groupon, or on Splenda packets. Romance fiction: probably the worst! An addictive, absurd, unintellectual literature, literature for nonreaders, literature for stupid people—literature for women!
Today, across Canada, thousands of women March. The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who have died due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. [more inside]
A documentary by Ariel Nasr, "The Boxing Girls of Kabul" (National Film Board of Canada trailer), profiles a group of young Afghan women training to compete in women's boxing in the 2012 Olympics (which will feature boxing for the first time as a women's event). Radio Netherlands interviews 18 year old Shabnam Rahimi, and the Toronto Star has a photo album on the athletes. If all that inspires you, petition President Hamid Karzai's government to support the team, via this petition page. (Nasr is also known for his documentary, "Good Morning Kandahar".)
Best known for the (exaggerated) tales of her miserliness, Hetty Green was arguably the greatest female investor in history. During the 1907 Bankers' Panic, her loan of $1.1 million helped keep New York City solvent. Her estate - greater than that of J.P. Morgan's - was valued at more than $2 billion in today's money. [more inside]
Jezebel. The Hairpin. xoJane. Rookie. The ladyblog isn't quite the same as a feminist blog, but what is it? n+1 says, The notion that women might share some fundamental experience and interests, a notion on which women’s websites would seem to depend—'sisterhood,' let’s call it—has curdled into BFF-ship." Salon counters, "On the ladyblogs, adult womanhood is a given, and within our shared womanhood we carve out a comfortable space we can all inhabit."
Technology/sex columnist Violet Blue (previously) has been reporting from this year's Macworld trade fair for ZDNet; among her reportage was a photograph of a woman sitting in a booth, labelled as "The Saddest Booth Babe In The World". Later it emerged that the woman in question was not, in fact, a booth babe (i.e., a model hired to smile, hand out flyers and appeal to the heterosexual male gaze) but rather an iOS developer presenting her products, hence her less-than-effervescent demeanour. Blue's response was somewhat evasive, suggesting that her (and, in her opinion, the average attendee's) expectation upon seeing a woman at a booth at a technology event would be that she would be there for decorative purposes.
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).
[all links nsfw] Although [Lisa] Lyon briefly served as unofficial chairperson for women’s bodybuilding in its infancy, her fondest desire was to explore bodybuilding as an artistic medium. Elevating bodybuilding to the level of fine art, Lyon was photographed by the likes of Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe, and was the first female bodybuilder to appear in Playboy.
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Results of a new survey by the Washington post and Kaiser sheds some light on black women in America in a way that some others have failed to do. 2011 saw a record number of articles, books and shows dedicated to analyzing the "plight' of black women in America. Naturally, most of it devolved into popular tropes about black women being undesirable, ugly, angry, and lonely. This new survey shows that for some black women, the path to happiness doesn't necessarily have to be through companionship with a mate.
As more women earn high-level corporate roles, more husbands are staying home, raising the kids, and changing the rules.
This just in ... Men are different from women. OK, scratch that. More different than researchers had previously thought.
"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)
Shit Girls Say, a humorous twitter account created by Graydon Sheppard and his partner Kyle Humphrey, now has two videos based on the joke [1,2]. Some women say "um, no thanks.".
American Woman: Vocal fried. On the partial glottalization of speech in young English speaking American women.
Women journalists confront harassment, sexism when using social media You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you’re political. You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking, and become merely a daily or weekly annoyance, something to phone your girlfriends about, seeking safety in hollow laughter.
"While we still live in a sexist society, any woman who sticks her head above the parapet will encounter misogynistic abuse."
"You should have your tongue ripped out." Female bloggers speak out about misogynist comments, rape threats and death threats. [more inside]
"Clay and many magazine people told me not to include a lesbian article in the first issue—and so, of course, we did."
The December 20, 1971 issue of New York Magazine came bundled with a 40-page preview of the first periodical created, owned, and operated entirely by women. The first issue sold out in eight days. 40 years later, New York Magazine interviews Gloria Steinem and the women who launched Ms. Magazine. (single page version.) From the same issue: How the Blogosphere Has Transformed the Feminist Conversation [more inside]
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
She Was A Camera. Melissa Gira Grant writes about camgirl culture. (NSFW?)