Right now Baltimore, MD plays host to FemmeCon, a biannual gathering for those who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities". Some of the issues faced by queer femme culture include femme invisibility in larger queer culture, the lack of non-stereotypical role models, being classed 'femme' by default, dismissal as "too much", as well as intersectional issues of femme with race, gender, and disability. In the meantime, femme subcultures such as tomboy femme, hard femme, and FEMME SHARKS as well as femmes in specific regions come together for inspiration, expression, power, creativity and support from each other - as well as from appreciative butches.
A Guide to Houses No Gentleman Would Frequent, and more artifacts of history and archaeology that shed some light on the largely-unwritten world of nineteenth-century prostitution in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, and Paris, among other locales. Lest it appear too amusingly salacious, the miserable side.
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]
Molly Paxton, Carrie Figdor, and Valerie Tiberius have a new paper in Hypatia quantifying the gender gap in philosophy (pdf). [more inside]
The Improper Bostonian: "In a town rightfully famous for its trailblazing female chefs, where Julia Child helped introduce American families to fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods, and Lydia Shire fine-tuned the buttery possibilities of French cooking, women have hardly disappeared from the dining scene. They can be found in other kitchens. But where and why are subject to debate, depending on whom you ask."
Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer at age 61. NPR blog. She was an inspiration to many. I saw her speak years ago when I took my daughters to a women in science program at the University of Michigan and both they and I came away impressed with her intelligence and commitment - the world is a richer place for her having been in it.
Officers in the United States Marine Corps face a long and rigorous selection and training process. First, Officer Candidate School, where they receive their commissions. Then The Basic School, where they are taught the credo: 'Every Marine A Rifleman.' Then, for those who choose and are selected for the infantry, the Infantry Officer's Course. With the 'front lines' of modern combat blurred at best, the United States Marine Corps will begin accepting women for the infantry in September, enrolling them in the Infantry Officer's Course. [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
"'whether a domestic traditionalist can also be an organizational egalitarian?' The answer we posit is 'no.'"
Researchers found [.pdf], after a series of four studies that "husbands embedded in traditional and neo-traditional marriages (relative to husbands embedded in modern ones) exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that undermine the role of women in the workplace." The potential resistors focused on are husbands embedded in marriages that structurally mirror the 1950s ideal American family portrayed in the “Adventures of Ozzzie and Harriet” sitcom. [more inside]
The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty. Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name.
Does It Matter If the Heroine of 'Brave' Is Gay? [Contains spoilers for Brave]
"I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could." Anne Marie Slaughter, the former policy director for the State Department and professor at Princeton University, has written a nuanced essay for this month's Atlantic Monthly, about the feminist generation gap and work-life balance at the top levels of government and academia: Why Women Still Can't Have It All. [more inside]
"The only thing that makes my abortion decision different from anyone else’s abortion decision is that some people who are against abortion will think that my abortion is acceptable." Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker on what she's dubbed "The World's Shittiest Secret Society."
Bessie Stringfield rode across the US alone, 8 times. In the 20's, 30's and 40's, women didn't ride motorcycles and black women didn't travel alone, especially in the South. But Bessie rode until she died, for the US Army, based on a penny toss, wherever she wished.
This story could be called "The Quest for a Personality" -- or "15 Guys in Search of a Feminine Identity" -- or "How Miss Virginia Slims Got to Be the Kind of Girl She Is."
From UCSF's Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, "How an Agency Builds a Brand--The Virginia Slims Story." [more inside]
When her boyfriend tried to kill the woman with a hammer, her fearless Great Dane jumped in the way, laying over her body and taking most of the blows until the man threw both of them out of a second story window. The dog suffered multiple broken bones in the attack, sparing his owner’s life in the process. [more inside]
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
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]
The CARD Act of 2009, which has been much lauded for providing consumer protection hurts stay-at-home moms (and dad's). "This decision was meant to keep college students from going into credit card debt they could not afford to pay off but it also has the consequence of disenfranchising stay-at-home parents, 88% of whom are women. [...] In the worst case scenario, the Federal Reserve’s decision will play a role in financial abuse. Financial abuse is a factor in 98% of abusive relationships." 30,000 signatures have been delivered to the Financial Protection Bureu in Washington DC with "some petitioners dressed up as housewives from the 1950s -- complete with A-line skirts, pearls and tightly pulled back hair -- since the rule "feels like a flashback to the 1950s because of the way women aren't empowered financially."
Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso run While the Men Watch, a website that offers "alternative commentary" for women during major sporting events. Now Hockey Night in Canada has joined forces by offering a special While the Men Watch broadcast during all Stanley Cup Final games. Some people are not impressed.
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!