Thursday Round-Up

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Don’t you just hate when “real life” takes over? Of course, my real real-life is right here… But time is short, so this one is quick and dirty 🙂

Today is all about the ongoing war on women — in advertising, on the street, and in politics. In short, everywhere.

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Media

Shall we start off with some patriarchal misogyny in an advertisement? (Shocking, right?)

Amy Tennery, in The Jane Dough, writes about this one:

That’s so weird. I had no idea Reebok had zero female customers.

At least it would appear that way.

In a move of promotional wizardry, Reebok has released an offensive ad targeted at men, which reads “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.” It’s the kind of ad you might see on “Mad Men” — if the executives on “Mad Men” were subjected to sensitivity training from Larry The Cable Guy.

It isn’t clear if the ad is in Germany, or has wider distribution. But a big “Boooo!” to whoever approved it at Reebok.

Israel SlutWalk

I am so proud that THREE SlutWalks are scheduled in Israel’s three major cities: The Tel Aviv SlutWalk is today, Haifa tomorrow, and Jerusalem in late April.

Lots of positive reactions: Karin Kloosterman of Green Prophet draws a line between green sustainability and women’s rights. Tinamarie Bernard explains why Slutwalk is good for religious women, too.

Jerusalem Slutwalk Facebook Page

Haifa Slutwalk Facebook Event

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Which doesn’t prevent the media — ostensibly covering the issue of women’s rights and freedoms — from jumping in and objectifying the women. Ansamed, for example, warns that “A horde of half-naked women is about invade the streets of Israel, first in Tel Aviv (on Friday), then Haifa, and finally, even in the holy city of Jerusalem.” Nice, guys. (Nice GuysTM?)

War on Women

It’s impossible to round up all the woman-hating statements, legislation, videos, speeches, etc. coming out of the United States lately, whether laws allowing doctors to hide health information from pregnant women if they think she might terminate her pregnancy, to enabling employers to fire employees who use birth control, rape by ultrasound, to personhood amendments, to anything Mitt Romney has to say. (No need to mention Rush Limbaugh, right?)

Made me glad to find this:

And Doonesbury gets a special mention here, with a week-long series of the comic strip on the rape-by-sonogram and general humiliation the GOP wishes to visit on women and our bodies.

Thursday Round-Up

Here are some interesting photo galleries, and everything you ever wanted to know about the mythical Obeast.

As always, many thanks to my beautiful and intelligent friends who continually broaden my horizons.

Obeasts

From MOCS, the Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies website:

Obeasts have been an important feature of the North American cultural landscape for tens of thousands of years, and yet little is actually known about these shy and endangered animals today. Artifacts have been uncovered in North Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and even as far north as New Brunswick Canada, which depict the obeast and its revered status amongst native cultures.

I especially like the Obeast Biology page.

A Squirrel's Guide to Fashion

An album from 1940a Life Magazine

Beauty In Ugliness

Photographer Lee Jeffries finds beauty and humanity in series of black and white photos of the homeless in various cities. Also here.


Flying Baby

Photographer Rachel Hulin took this fabulous series of photos, making it appear that her baby is in flight. Hulin says there was minimal Photoshop use, but won’t reveal the secret of how she set up the shots.

Sexual Violence Round-Up

Today, a different round-up. Gender violence is a “pet” topic of mine, so I always want to post about it. But I usually don’t like treating it in a shallow manner, which means a great deal goes unsaid. Recently, there have been lots of discussions about this in my life again, which led to another 30 tabs being open in my browser… So rather than an in-depth post on one topic, I’m including several. Because they were all good enough to stay open on my desktop until I gave in and posted them.

Rape Culture

Rap, I mean, rape culture and Black women

In January, rapper Too Short appeared on XXL, where he gave various bits of advice to boys, regarding girls – including pushing a girl up against a wall and inserting a saliva-wetted finger up her vagina.

Inundated with protests, XXL eventually removed the video from their site, and both XXL and Too Short issued very minimal apologies (too little too late), neither of which actually took any responsibility for statements encouraging violence against girls, or acknowledged the danger of the attitudes underlying Too Short’s statement.

Professor, activist, and blogger Mark Anthony Neal writes that

In a society that continues to assert its familiarity with the bodies of Black women and girls… Too Short advising boys to “take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens… is, unfortunately, not all that surprising; seems more like the status quo for Black women and girls.

He adds that girls and women are not the only ones harmed by perpetuating this attitude:

And this is not simply about political correctness; besides advocating rape and sexual violence against Black women and girls, diatribes like Shaw’s also further criminalizes Black boys, within institutions—our schools—in which Black boys are always, already criminalized.

Neal calls for new strategies other than protest/petition/outrage leading to minimal, too-late apologies and content removal after the damage is done. I’m not sure he has found that alternate solution yet – I’ll be waiting.

Meanwhile, I just found this song — Your Revolution — by Sarah Jones and I found it stunning and somehow appropriate:

Feminist Looking Glass says,
This song is a really clever take-off on Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Sarah Jones sings that “your revolution will not happen between these thighs,” and invokes just about every famous sexist hip hop lyric of the past decade to make her point. → lyrics

UK’s Uni Lad Promotes Rape

Yes, it was a busy week for rape proponents… Huffington Post reports this story from the UK:

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called for the website UniLad, which claims to be the “number one university student lad’s magazine and guide to getting laid” to be pulled down over the article.

In an article titled “Sexual Mathematics” it stated:

“If the girl you’ve taken for a drink… won’t ‘spread for your head’, think about this mathematical statistic: 85% of rape cases go unreported.

“That seems to be fairly good odds.”

The writer then adds at the bottom of the piece: “Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying ‘surprise’.”

Though the article has been removed, the battle is still ongoing on twitter, where women daring to criticize Unilad are verbally abused, including lesbophobic use of the term “dyke”.

Critics point out that the issue is far greater than this one article; that Unilad is filled with misgynistic content that reflects, and contributes to, a corresponding misogynistic attitude on UK university campuses, and largely unreported and unpunished violence against women in the UK as a whole.

And still – the Twitter campaign has made waves, and provided critics of Unilad with a great deal of support. (I found this illuminating article via Twitter: Laurie Penny writes how Uni Lad’s “banter” is based on exclusion. And Another Angry Woman wrote them this open letter, and provided the image below, so funny :/ )

Which just goes to show we need to keep our voices out there. All the time. As frustrating as it often is.

Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is still all too common. When questioned about who gets raped women answer that women that dress a certain way, act a certain way, drink, are out late, or… are those who get raped. Their assumption is that it is women who are directly or indirectly responsible for the violence perpetrated against them. There are also indications that men are even more likely than women to blame the victim.

See for example the case of the Pennsylvania Liquor Board campaign, which first blames the victim (because she was drinking), then her friends (because “Calling the shots starts with you. What if you didn’t watch out for your friends during a night of drinking?”), and at no point blames the rapist.

Feministing wrote this powerful post about why victim blaming is not a good way to prevent binge drinking.  Some of the points to think about include:

  • These campaigns are aimed at women, and limiting women’s behavior. That is more palatable somehow than limiting men’s behavior.
  • However, a third of sexual assault perpetrators are intoxicated at the time of assault, so clearly there is a case to be made for redirecting attention – away from women, and onto the attackers.
  • The use of sexual assault as a scare tactic to prevent binge drinking demeans both the very real dangers of alcoholism, and the issues faced by survivors of sexual assault.
  • These types of campaigns reinforce rape culture. “We’re basically telling rapists they can get away with it when the lines of consent are hazy, that they should target drunk people.”

Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan wrote of the ad, “Rape is not just a bad thing that happens to someone after drinking too much. It’s a deliberate act on the part of the rapist, a violation of another person committed solely because the rapist wanted to rape. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we’ll be rid of stupid, finger wagging ads like these.”

Ebony magazine, for one, thinks that enough is enough – that public service ads aimed at women telling them how to prevent rape are misguided and harmful, and that men should be better educated instead.

Holding women and girls accountable for preventing sexual assault hasn’t worked and so long as men commit the majority of rapes, men need to be at the heart of our tactics for preventing them.  Let’s stop teaching ‘how to avoid being a victim’ and instead, attack the culture that creates predators in the first place.

And  in Salon.com, Tracy Clark Flory injects some reality into the dialog in How to Prevent Rape Without Blaming the Victim.

Here’s an ad campaign that gets it:

http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

And then there’s this public service ad from Scotland:

Survivors

This is one of the most amazing, emotional, difficult, painful, and necessary projects I have ever seen.

Project Unbreakable

About Project Unbreakable, from the project blog:

In October of last year, Grace Brown began a photography project called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers. Rape survivor and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, Yvonne Moss, describes the project as a way for victims to take the power back of the words that were once used against them.

Grace plans on photographing survivors for as long as she possibly can. Her goal is to spread light, awareness, and healing for those who have been affected.

If you are interested in participating by either being photographed or sending in your own image, you may send her an email at projectunbreakable@gmail.com with the subject line “Photograph Me” or “Submission”, depending on the circumstance.

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Project Unbreakable Facebook page

Thursday Round-Up

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Last round-up got a bit long, and I still had so much to share… So here’s more fun! Is Thursday Dysphoria recognized in DSM-5? Are all women mentally ill? Stuff you (maybe) didn’t know about women’s sexuality and health.
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Women's Health

Are menstrual symptoms a sign of mental illness?

The American Psychiatric Association wants to add PMS — or what they’re calling Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder — to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5.

’cause women are not stigmatized nearly enough by PMS….

Admittedly, when they say it, it sounds kinda worse than plain-old PMS. But basically, what they are saying is that if you feel depressed or irritable or anxious or tense, or otherwise have mood swings before your period starts, you have a mental disorder.

Which essentially means that being a woman who menstruates is pretty much equivalent to being mentally ill.

 Read the proposed DSM addition here.

Could DSM-5 Be Harmful to Your Mental Health?

The DSM, which has never been particularly free of controversy, is coming under increased attack, especially in view of many proposals and modifications that are more and more widely being viewed as detrimental to the health of children, women, and the elderly.

The DSM is a strange kind of double sword: Its largely unscientific definitions can be used as a basis for taking away people’s rights — such as forcing them into institutions, onto medication, stigmatizing them, etc. On the other hand, when they recently redefined what autism is, for example, they ensured that a whole lot of people would now be excluded from being able to receive care.

Among the changes to expect in the next DSM:

  • Gender Identity Disorder will become Gender Dysphoria.The revisions are intended to address concerns of social stigma while still protecting insurance coverage. The proposed update is getting mixed reviews in the transgender community.“We support the change of name,” says Lin Fraser, president-elect of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). “WPATH believes that gender variance is not in and of itself pathological, and that having a cross-gender identity does not constitute a psychiatric ‘disorder.’” Others feel that no matter the name, a diagnosis that casts one’s identity as an illness should not be in the manual to begin with.
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  • Binge Eating Disorder is now a recognized disorder, as is Hoarding Disorder; and Hypersexual Disorder is listed in the appendix.
  • Mental Retardation will now be renamed Intellectual Developmental Disorder

In this article, Elayne Clift discusses why DSM-5 might be bad for our health, and talks about the calls to boycott it.

The Female Orgasm

And to a topic that is much more fun… This French documentary attempts to explain the intricacies of the female orgasm, which apparently remains a mystery to many (too many… 🙂 )

And I find it particularly cool that the video was made available for viewing by passengers on Qantas flights!

Clitoris Mapping

Until 2009, no one in medicine or science had mapped the human clitoris. (In spite of extensive mapping done of the male sexual organ since the 1970s.) In effect, no one really knew what it looks like, how it functions, or much at all, and that’s the point. Cuz what you can see and probably know as the clitoris is really just the visible tip of quite an amazing organ.

 Read all about it ♥

The Weekly Trope

So, this isn’t really a trope. But it’s a cool website in spite of the genderized name: Fametracker’s Hey! It’s That Guy shows you who all those actors are that you recognize on TV but are not famous enough to know their names. Well, it’s an old site, some have become quite famous since…

And many of these actors do represent popular tropes.

Thursday Round-Up

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Two notable campaign successes: Planned Parenthood vs. Komen, and “gay cure” clinics in Ecaudor are OUT; Do women really suck at math?; Funky art stuff; And more… It’s another round-up!

(Yes, I know it’s not Thursday. I missed a Thursday. Meh.)

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From the Queer 'Sphere

Ecuador President Announces “Gay Cure” Clinics to Shut Down

After campaigns launched by All Out, Change.org and CredoAction went global — and local human rights defenders kept the pressure on in closed door negotiations with the Ecuadorian Health Ministry — the government just announced they’ll be investigating — and shutting down — hundreds of abusive and illegal “gay cure” clinics.

Read more, and sign a support petition to President Rafael Correa

Gender

Surprise! Gender Equality Makes Everyone Better At Math!

Tired of hearing that tired old argument that women are inherently less capable of excelling at math, physics, or other sciences? This delightful article explains the whys and wherefores of why that’s total CRAP. (And I’m sure you’ll have no trouble whatsoever with all the charts 🙂 )

Art & Culture

Photographer Hal’s Vacuum Packed Couples

In his “Fresh Love” series, Japanese Photographer Hal photographed couples in vacuum-packed nylon, representing the “ultimate union”. The couples actually stayed without oxygen long enough for Hal to snap three photos.

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Tampon Crafts

And this is a whole different kind of interesting   → 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Irina Werning’s Back to the Future

Argentine photographer Irina Werning takes subjects from around the world back to the future — recreating old photos quite amazingly!

     

See also Back to the Future 2

Women's Health 

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project

Continuing with art for a moment, here is art for breast cancer awareness.

The project Facebook page.

An all Breast Cancer Survivor project for awareness, fundraising, inspiration and healing worldwide… So far 25 brave and incredible women have selflessly stepped forward and been painted for the project.

Susan G. Komen Foundation vs. Planned Parenthood

Last week was all about the furor caused by Komen’s announcement that they would no longer provide funding to planned parenthood for breast cancer exams and screening, as a result of right-wing pressure opposed to PP’s abortion services. It was heartwarming to see the support that quickly arose for PP — from petitions, to blogs, to news coverage, and of course to donations that came pouring in and the increased awareness of both the need for breast cancer services and Planned Parenthood’s activities in general. The Komen Foundation’s top director resigned, and their site was even hacked. Now, Komen has announced that it has reversed its decision, and PP will remain eligible for funding. This campaign was the second great victory of the past week… Don’t let women die in the name of being “pro-life”… Keep the good news coming!

Thursday Round-Up

Slavery in the Georgia school system, and teaching about sexism in the civil rights movement — (almost) just in time for MLK Day; Saudi women take baby steps toward political empowerment; Roe v. Wade celebrates its anniversary; Huxtables — hot or not? Who is your favorite Manic Pixie Dream Girl? And if YOU TOO blame the patriarchy, have I got a blog for you…

It’s a new Thursday Round-Up!

Education

Slavery Examples Used in Georgia Schools

A few weeks ago this hit the interwaves — A Georgia elementary school teacher was using slavery in math questions (really!), and when horrified parents turned to the school district, their concerns were basically dismissed.

♦ See videos and read more about it

“Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

“If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”

What the hell is going on in the US, people??

Discussing Sexism in the Civil Rights Movement

In the Internet age, high school kids are no longer limited to the by-the-[text]book material about key figures they learn about. If they look up Martin Luther King, for example, they will likely read about his infidelity, chauvinism, and other not-so-nice stuff in addition to his activism and struggle to promote civil rights and end segregation.

Teaching Tolerance, a project run by the Southern Poverty Law Center, published this guide to dealing with the complexity of multi-dimensional.

What do you think? Good? Bad? Excuses?

Politics

Activist Language

Last time, I wrote about microaggression. Only then did I find this site: http://microaggressions.com/

Saudi Women to Vote Without Male Permission

Recently, Saudi King Abdullah announced that women in his country would be allowed to run for office and vote in municipal elections without male approval. While widely lauded as a step in the right direction, Saudi male-guardian laws remain largely unchanged: women cannot drive, work, travel, marry or even go to hospital without the approval of their male guardian.

Roe v. Wade – What does it mean to you?

January 22 was the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision. Planned Parenthood launched this interactive site where everyone can write what Roe v. Wade means to her.

Gender and Socialization

Mansplaining

Why “Yes But” is an inappropriate response to misogyny

Trust Women week

January 20-27 is Trust Women Week!

Culture and Media

Huxtable Hotness

I have to admit I never really liked the show… But when I came across the Huxtable Hotness blog, it really cracked me up. Some weird form of nostalgia?

The Weekly Trope

From the TV Tropes entry on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope:

“Let’s say you’re a soulful, brooding male hero, living a sheltered, emotionless existence. If only someone — someone female — could come along and open your heart to the great, wondrous adventure of life…

It’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the rescue!”

Coined by Nathan Rabin in his review of Elizabethtown for the A.V. Club’s My Year In Flops, the manic pixie dream girl is that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

If she’s hot, “quirky” and exists only as a means-to-an-end plot device, you’ve got yourself a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. (From one guy’s take on MPDG)

Natalie Portman in Garden State Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown

Blog of the Week

I Blame the Patriarchy

Not for the timid 🙂

This is from the About section:

You are reading I Blame The Patriarchy, the patriarchy-blaming blog that has been advancing the radical feminist views of Jill Psmith and/or Twisty Faster, a gentleman farmer and/or spinster aunt doing the butt-dance in Cottonmouth County, Texas, since 2004.

I Blame The Patriarchy is intended for advanced patriarchy-blamers. It is not a feminist primer. See Patriarchy-Blaming the Twisty Way for details.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Thursday Round-Up

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A genderqueer love story; A 13 year-old girl who knows more about slut-shaming and why it’s wrong than almost any adult I know; Pink tanks;  Transgender Israeli man gives birth; Why you should buy girl scout cookies; Metonymy; Who’s the queerest of the queer?
It’s another Thursday Round-Up!
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From the Queer Blogosphere

Israeli Transgender Man Gives Birth

Yuval Topper-Erez is the first Israeli transgender man to give birth. Congratulations to him, his spouse, and their baby Lyrrie!

Girls Scout Cookie Boycott?

There are plenty of reasons why I’m not a fan of the Girl Scouts or their cookies… But right now, I want to buy a case!

This girl scout wants to boycott the Girl Scouts cookie fundraiser because some divisions allow transgender girls to be members. She attempts to find a basis in girl scout values like honesty — the thesis being that girls and parents are being lied to, and that transgender girls are actually boys who decided they want to be girls… Well, watch for yourself.

Edit: The video seems to have been removed — perhaps because of all the hackles it raised? I hope so! But you can still see who and what is behind it, and get a full nauseating look at their agenda at the Honest Girl Scouts website.


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Some good response videos here and here. And this one by a queer former girl scout →
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(And someone needs to explain to Huffington Post that transgender is NOT gay)

Queerer Than Thou

I love this comedy, which aims to answer the age-old question —
Who’s the queerest of them all? (Which is all eerily familiar…)

(“I’m so queer, I’m beyond identity politics…” 🙂 )

Genderqueer love story

A poem.

Discovery of the Week

Activist Language

I love learning new stuff. Here are two words I was not familiar with before:

Microaggression: The idea that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as non-physical aggression.

Type Definition
Microassault An explicit derogation characterized primarily by verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions.
Microinsult Characterized by communications that convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s racial/cultural/gender heritage or identity
Microinvalidation Characterized by communications that exclude, negate, or nullify a person’s psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality.

Metonymy: A figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, “Hollywood” as used to represent the American movie industry. Or, “The pen is mightier than the sword”, whereas “pen” represents the written word, and “sword” represents physical force.

While not necessarily a political/activist term, I learned it in this context. It’s dangerous to send me on Google searches to discover why a feminist-orientalist-activist-academician-Facebook-friend of mine used it in a political argument… I came up with a whole new way to look at how we use words in our political discourse. For example, this academic paper explores how the Bush administration used metaphorical and metonymical references to create solidarity (with “The American People”) and distance (from “The Iraqi People).

But you don’t need to delve into high-level academics to understand this: Just think about the automatic substitutions we do every day. Can you spot the difference in these (made-up) headlines?

  1. Russia Plans War With Japan
  2. Russian Premier, Sergei Doe, Opines That War With Japan Is Inevitable.

Think about how that changes our perception of what we read and hear.

Gender & Socialization

Fotoshop by Adobé

This video by Jesse Rosten has gone mega-viral, but just in case you haven’t seen it — it’s a must!

**This commercial isn’t real, and neither are society’s standards of beauty.**

13 Y.O. Explains Why Slut Shaming Is Wrong

I love this girl — I can’t believe she’s thirteen! Most adults I know cannot reason this well, and don’t know as much.

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MRI Scan of Female Orgasm

You know what it feels like… Do you know what it looks like? Really, science knows so little about it. Have you any idea how many sections of your brain light up?

To me — this is BEAUTIFUL.

 

Random 

And just because it’s fun – Art Cars!

Feminist Art Car — Vain Van

Peacenik Art Car — Ping-Pong VW

Make Afghans, Not War

http://artcar.blogspot.com/

http://www.braball.com/MoreArt/artcars.htm

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