Link Farm and Open Thread #5

As ever, please post links, thoughts, jokes, recipes, whatever in the comments. And you’re welcome to post links to your own stuff here too, if you like.

Here’s some of what I’ve read lately:

Some Talking Points About Samuel Alito

The Second Carnival of Bent Attractions is out.
Check it out!

“Girl Power” In Pop Culture Tends To Mean T&A

These women clearly fit into the idea of “girl power” that’s been floating around the entertainment industry for the past 10+ years. They are valued for their “strength,” as evidenced by how hard they can punch…. They are women who can, and do kick ass. But, is this “power” that of a true kind or is the phenomenon of women kicking ass a way to co-opt female power and bring it back firmly under men’s control?

Body Hatred: A Major Export of The Western World
I have issues with the book Fat Is A Feminist Issue, which despite it’s important – even seminal – place in the literature, is still a diet book that incorporates lots of anti-fat nonsense. Nevertheless, this introduction Orbach wrote for the new edition is excellent. Curtsy: Brutal Women.

Why Doesn’t The President Just Fire Admiral Cain?
If you’re not watching Battlestar Galactica, this post will make no sense.

Size Six: The Western Women’s Harem

Unlike the Muslim man, who uses space to establish male domination by excluding women from the public arena, the Western man manipulates time and light. He declares that in order to be beautiful, a woman must look fourteen years old. If she dares to look fifty, or worse, sixty, she is beyond the pale. By putting the spotlight on the female child and framing her as the ideal of beauty, he condemns the mature woman to invisibility. In fact, the modern Western man enforces Immanuel Kant’s nineteenth-century theories: To be beautiful, women have to appear childish and brainless.

Myths About Anthropology and Language
This cracked me up. Via Kip, who comments (or quotes?) “Sadly, the Intuit culture will die before the myth about Eskimo words for snow.” Speaking of which…

“Long Story, Short Pier” Is Back!
The blogosphere, insofar as it can ever be said to have been at one time worth, in whatever sense of worth applies, browsing, is so once again.

Books, Their Covers and The Consequences

The truth is I honestly enjoy and feel comfortable with both looks and, at heart, I don’t really understand why society doesn’t as well. (It’s like when I was little; I had Barbies and I loved My Little Ponies but I also liked my brother’s Matchbox cars and playing with He-man (and his tiger) with the boys at school. I didn’t think I should have to choose.) But each “look” has baggage. It either opens doors or closes them.

Hugh Thompson, American Hero
Although taught as a moral model in Denmark, he’s largely forgotten here.

White Priviilege 101

Brief Interview with Catharine MacKinnon

This idea that the problem of rape has something to do with the male body is vicious and sexist; at best, it puts all the blame on the wrong body part. I’m afraid we are going to have to deal with how the entire society sexualizes power, makes forcing sex on someone with less power sexy. Bodies are simple. That’s difficult.

New Iraqi Constitution May Limit Women’s Freedoms

If the “Terrorism and Cancer” Metaphor Was More Exact

The Language Guy on Sexism In Language
Also check out Sexism In Language part two.

Shakespeare’s Sister distinguishes good offensive humor from offensive offensive humor

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37 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread #5

  1. Pingback: Pen-Elayne on the Web

  2. Pingback: feminist blogs

  3. 3
    Lee says:

    Wow, the Size Six Harem post is awesome! Make sure you include it in the Big Fat Carnival of Fat, Amp.

    WRT some of the other threads on fat, I thought this paragraph was especially telling:

    “According to the writer Naomi Wolf, the ideal size for American models decreased sharply in the 1990s. “A generation ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average American woman, whereas today she weighs 23 percent less. . . . The weight of Miss America plummeted, and the average weight of Playboy Playmates dropped from 11 percent below the national average in 1970 to 17 percent below it in 8 years.” The shrinking of the ideal size, according to Wolf, is one of the primary reasons for anorexia and other health-related problems: “Eating disorders rose exponentially, and a mass of neurosis was promoted that used food and weight to strip women of . . . a sense of control.””

    Now we know why obesity is an “epidemic” – the norms have been revised downward (again).

  4. 4
    Tuomas says:

    Shakespeare’s Sister’s post was excellent. I love good offensive humor, but sadly it is a rare treat. (Yes, I hate bad offensive humor even when it’s “on my side”. Altough there may be a bias here based on my leanings.)

    Language Guy writes about the problem of the standard pronoun “he”. Stupid, sexist, English language! It is annoying to either choose between the clumsy “he/she”, “him/her” etc. and the weird-sounding, ungrammatical “they”. The problem has never existed in Finnish language, having no gendered pronouns, uses the word “hän” for both “he” and “she” . Imagine how easy that makes issues like how to address transsexuals.

    Just had to gloat, sorry.

  5. 5
    Polymath says:

    1. turkish also has only one third person pronoun used for both men and women.

    2. there’s actually book (named after its lead essay) called “the great eskimo vocabulary hoax” that talks about the inuit-words-for-snow debacle.

    3. i have read (i can’t remember where) that using “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun in english is not at all new, and can be found in shakespeare. so much for the “ungrammatical” criticism of it…

  6. 6
    Tuomas says:

    Polymath:
    I stand corrected on the ungrammatical point (it was something I picked up from the article…), but it is confusing to switch to plural pronoun when talking about a singular person (to me, at least). And the turkish language is good to know, also.

    What is the eskimo vocabulary hoax, exactly?

  7. 7
    Tuomas says:

    Never mind the eskimo thing. Googled.

  8. 8
    Kip Manley says:

    Not to toot my own horn after Barry’s fanfare above (I’m blushing), I did poke around the various attempts to graft an epicene pronoun onto English a while back. We’ve been trying–and failing–for a surprisingly long time…

    (Myself, I’m a partisan of “they.”)

  9. 9
    Tuomas says:

    To avoid confusion, my comment #2 was neither sarcasm or snark. If anyone does not know at this point, I am a feminist-friendly, LGBTQ-accepting Finn who really doesn’t like the confusion gendered pronouns create (we get on just fine with the non-gendered one).

  10. 10
    Magis says:

    Most of the models these days inspire nothing in this man but a desire to buy them a good healthy dinner and a couple of quarts of Hagendaz [sic].

  11. 11
    Violet Socks says:

    Yesterday I posted a religiously offensive picture on my blog (here, if you’re interested). I’ve been wondering if I offended people. I’m not that worried about it, because a) it’s my blog and I think it’s funny, and b) I figure anybody who reads my blog is going to be educated enough or irreverent enough to get the joke. But I do wonder if I’ve pissed people off.

  12. 12
    Polymath says:

    i think the best approach to the non-gendered pronoun is the accepted use of “they/them” (and its corresponding plural verbs) to represent a singular, but unspecified subject/object. why invent a new one when we have one that most people know how to use anyway. and in formal writing, i try to actually make the subject plural to avoid the problem (if possible):

    change “if a person is green, they have a problem” to “if people are green, they have a problem”.

    just be glad we don’t have different plurals for female and male pronouns too!

  13. 13
    Glaivester says:

    Spider-Girl, The longest-running comic book with a female as the main protagonist is in danger of being cancelled around issue 100 (we are now at ~93), apparently due to low sales. As a fan of Spider-Girl, this worries me.

    Is anyone else here a fan of Spider-Girl?

  14. 14
    spit says:

    I’m personally a big fan of they/them, but then it gets hacked to pieces if you’re writing anything remotely formal. Most of the time, it works really well in conversation, though. People don’t even notice, since it’s so common.

    My tactic of late has been to simply not correct people in my own case where they often can’t decide which pronoun to use, and in my own speech/writing when I absolutely can’t get away with “them”, I’ve actually gotten really good at he or she (or she or he!). But it took me a while to adapt to where it didn’t feel really awkward.

  15. 15
    spit says:

    i try to actually make the subject plural to avoid the problem (if possible):

    Good point. I think I’ve done this too, but I will try to pay more attention.

  16. 16
    Dylan says:

    The Language Log has a long-running series conclusively demonstrating that use of “they” or “them” is and has been a standard feature of English, from the days of Shakespeare to Sean Lennon (notable because the gender of the indefinite referent was known).

    I recommend the blog to anyone interested in language. One of the posters is Geoff Pullum, author of The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax.

  17. 18
    c&d says:

    Parody of Coburn
    U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Judge Samuel Alito’s Nomination to the Supreme Court:
    COBURN:

    If I’m driving a car today and I hit a pregnant woman who has a 36-, 37-week fetus, and the woman survives and the fetus dies, I can be held accountable for the death of that fetus. And by law we value that as a life — unborn but a life.

    If I say — I’m the pregnant woman — I want to terminate that fetus at 37 weeks, there’s nothing in this country today that keeps me from doing that, even though on one side of the law we say it’s a life.

    How did we get there to where it’s not life or it is a life? Tell me. Can somebody logically explain that to the American people that how, if I kill it, it was a life, but if I choose to take it voluntarily, it’s not a life?

    If I go into a woman’s house today and force her to have sex with me for 36-, 37- minutes, and the woman survives, I can be held accountable for having sex with that woman. And by law we value that chastity of the woman.

    If I say — I’m the woman — I want to have sex with a man in my house for 37 minutes, there’s nothing in this country today that keeps me from doing that, even though on one side of the law we say it’s a rape.

    How did we get there to where it’s not rape or it is not a rape? Tell me. Can somebody logically explain that to the American people that how, if I fuck someone without permission, it was a rape, but if I choose to take it voluntarily, it’s not a rape?
    link

  18. 19
    David Schraub says:

    You’ll have to believe me when I say I almost never self-plug, but I think this site especially might find this post interesting:

    “Rape From The Perspective of its Victims”.

  19. 20
    carlaviii says:

    #11. So that’s why issues of Spider-Girl suddenly showed up in the weekly comics purchase. (my husband reads this blog too)

  20. 21
    RonF says:

    I read the “White Privilege 101″ post. All I can say is that this guy has led a sheltered life. I’ve been hired by black men, white men, and white women. Now that I think about it, I’ve probably had female or black bosses more than I’ve had white bosses. I’ve hired a black guy (I haven’t hired too many people, so one is like 16% of the people I’ve hired). He lost his job because he tested positive for coke, but that’s another story. Does that mean I had less white privilege than he did?

    I’ll readily concede that it’s a better deal to be white than black in this country, though. I did exatly that on one memorable night, when I was the 4th cab on line in Inman Square in Cambridge and watched the first 3 cabs in line refuse to take 3 black guys to where they wanted to go. They came to my cab and started in on the whole deal. I interrupted; “You know why they didn’t pick you up. I know why they didn’t pick you up. Get in.” In they got and off we went to Fields Corner in Roxbury in Boston. For those of you not familiar with Boston, that would be the middle of the ghet-to. Had a fine time on the way, too. They told me to turn off the meter (which means I made more money) and we got to talking about their experience in trying to get a cab. I offered some sympathy. Somehow we got around to them asking me, “You wish you’d been born black?” I said, “Hell no, being born white is a much better deal!” They laughed like hell and broke out a joint. We were joking and smoking all the way to Roxbury. They gave me a $5 tip (good money in 1974), it was one of the best fares I ever had.

  21. 22
    RonF says:

    Lee, that comment on the Playboy playmates is right on the money. I realize that this isn’t exactly the bag of most of the people here, but if you look at a retrospective collection of Playmate photos, it’s pretty obvious that back in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s the models had some weight on them and looked more like normal women, if carefully chosen normal women. Whereas these days I think that 90% of the fat tissue in these women is in their breasts (O.K., I know, it’s likely actually saline). When a woman has boobs that are the size of your head but you can count her ribs you know something’s bogus.

  22. 23
    RonF says:

    Women’s right in Iraq; hm. Under this regime, they may be subject to Islamic law. Under the previous regime, they were subject to having their heads blown off if they said the wrong thing or had the wrong political opinion. What may happen to women under the new Constitution is definitely not a good thing, but let’s not present their previous situation too brightly.

  23. 24
    Diane says:

    Thanks to the link to The Language Guy. I am in total disagreement with him about one of his chief issues and left a comment on his blog. People make removal of sexism from language so much more complicated than it has to be.

  24. 25
    meloukhia says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Primary because there’s no carnival of fat yet, but I’d love to get people’s thoughts on this post, since I’ve always enjoyed the comment threads here: http://www.meloukhia.com/2006/01/few-thoughts-on-surveys.html

    Sexism in language is an interesting issue. It’s unfortunate that English uses gendered pronouns, and I wish there were less clunky ways of being all-inclusive. However, languages which gender their nouns must have even greater struggle with sexism in language. What makes a book “male” and a table “female,” and how do people thinking about gendered language in a language like Spanish deal with this? Should the entire language be re-tooled to satisfy gender neutrality? Chaos would ensue. I think it might be rather fun.

    I also thought the Language Guy made an interesting point when he mentioned “women doctors” (or “male nurses,” for that matter). There seems to be a need in English to distinguish between the norm, such as “doctor,” and something perceived as unusual, like a “woman doctor.” Unless one is referring to a “doctor of women,” in which you should probably just say gynecologist. I have a number of friends in medical residencies right now who say that, as women, one of the most frustrating things is that patients assume you are a nurse. Even if you have an m.d. tag on your coat. Now, don’t get me wrong. Nurses are awesome, and I have tremendous respect for them and the work they do. But they are not doctors. And you shouldn’t assume boy=doctor and girl=nurse, or you might be surprised.

  25. 26
    Matan says:

    Hey Amp, there was an AP article published in the Boston Globe yesterday (can’t find the article online, even though I subscribe) that described a new fat-is-bad study. Not much in the way of details on the study, but the gist of it was something like, “You think being fat is ok as long as you’re healthy, but think again!” It was a study about heart disease. I’d really like to see people here rip it apart, because I don’t really have the tools to do so myself.

    Has anyone else seen it?

  26. 27
    Jimmy Ho says:

    I wish the website of the Choisir (la cause des femmes) organisation had an English version of Gisèle Halimi‘s biography (the first link, which presents the organisation, is in English, though).
    I am against hasty admiration and try to have as few idols and gods as possible [the Brecht sentence, "Unglücklich das Land, dass Helden nötig hat (Unfortunate the country that need heroes), means a lot to me]. However, this woman is now in her seventies, and she does not give up on the feminist fight, no matter how often she is still accused of “man-hating” or “denying the free right to prostitute oneself”, to mention but a few. Never have I been disappointed hearing or reading her. With her standing up, and others ready to follow, you can be assured that feminism is not dead in France.

  27. 28
    Jimmy Ho says:

    I know I always link via the same sites (Scott McCloud, in this case), but this article about sexual harrassment in the comics industry by Heidi MacDonald at The Beat may be worth discussing among people more knowledgeable than myself.
    Frankly, I am not sure I agree with her views on gender issues (“Maureen Dowd may have a point”, etc.), but it has interesting links (e.g. to the linkblog When Fangirls Attack) and great illustrations by some of the most talented webcomix women artists (Jen Wang, Clio Chang, Jenn Manley Lee, etc.).

  28. 29
    FurryCatHerder says:

    Amp sez we can post recipies.

    My best wine recipe to date –

    15 pounds wild flower honey
    1 gallon organic apple juice
    2 tablespoons whole cloves
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    water to make 5 1/2 gallons

    Add all the ingrediates, except the yeast, to a hella huge pot, bring to 185°F for 20 minutes to pasturize. Add the appropriate yeast nutrients, tannin, acid blend, etc. according to your normal recipe for wine (or use a giant mix in a bag), along with a sweet mead yeast (I use Wyeast’s). Cool, pitch yeast, ferment as with other meads.

    Transfer to a primary fermenter

  29. 30
    cicely says:

    Violet Socks,

    Is your blog listed in the blogs disussing feminism in the sidebar here? If so, which one is it? Otherwise, can you direct me to it in a post?

    I ask because I just found out here that you have one, and I found your post on 2nd Jan about the two big ideas of RF enlightening. I’d like to come over for a visit…

    cicely

  30. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Violet’s blog, The Reclusive Leftist, is listed in the blogroll under the “lefty blogs” category.

  31. 32
    Violet Socks says:

    Hi, cicely — what Amp said! Do come over for a visit any time. I haven’t been posting on feminist theory lately — more politics and religion. So much going on in the news it’s hard to find time to crank out Deep Thoughts.

  32. 33
    alsis39 says:

    I only had time to read some of the links on When Fangirls Attack, as referred to in Jimmy’s post #26. Also, I gave up on doing comics years ago, so take that into account. Still…

    I find it sad that Beatrix Kyle told Ronnee Garcia Bourgeois at BUZZSCOPE that she literally cannot afford to name the man who harrassed her;That she has no power to deal with the financial ramifications of going public. I can remember the 198o’s and all the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The True North and other stuff that appeared each and every time some shop owner or whomever was in trouble due to censorship. It was always “Rally ’round the first amendment, All… Let’s defend this aesthetically worthless comic of schoolgirls getting raped by some guy in a Minotaur mask so as to show that we simply won’t back down when one of our own is being bullied just for trying to earn a living…” etc etc.

    Where are all those people now that Beatrix Kyle and others need help ? To rally ’round THEM and protect them from being silenced– from ECONOMIC censorship ? Where are the benefit books, the organizations, the declaration that no one should be shat on just for wanting to earn a living in a field they enjoy and care about ?

    Really, it’s all so damn depressing, all so business-as-usual, all so not-surprising, all so much a reason to be glad that I gave up on this shit years ago. :( :( :(

  33. 34
    Jimmy Ho says:

    Alsis, your example reminds me of a thread here (three years ago?) where Ampersand opposed Scott McCloud on the comics shop clerk who sold some terrible “tentacle rape” manga. Scott (cited as an expert in the trial) is beyond suspicion, but CBLDF-related protests would be much more convincing if similar energy were spent on singling out real-life harrassers.

    [That aside, Alsis, there is an email I wrote for a few feminist bloggers and would like to forward to you. Could you write me at:
    jimmy(dotsign)ho(alephsign)(the site called gmail dot com)
    to give me your email address. Thank you.]

  34. 35
    alsis39 says:

    Jimmy wrote:

    but CBLDF-related protests would be much more convincing if similar energy were spent on singling out real-life harrassers.

    I wasted a ton of time a few years ago trying to explain to a very intelligent male blogger and friend that there was such an animal as economic censorship. Perhaps if I’d had Ms. Kyle’s example at hand at the time, I could’ve gotten through to him by calling her fears what they are– fear of blacklisting.

    But perhaps not. :( The Christian Right makes such a satisfying foe. One’s fellow secular humanists, not so satisfying.

    Check your “in” box. Thanks.

  35. 36
    Jimmy Ho says:

    Thanks for the mail, Alsis! I just forwarded the message to you.
    As for economic censorship, I couldn’t agree more, but I guess it is convenient to forget about it. Being allowed to neglect it is also a powerful priviledge (by the way, I mentioned sweatshops in my email, but I totally forgot the way American Apparel used the justified concern to cover its anti-union behaviour and the CEO’s sexist intimidation tactics; blame it on my haste to reply in time).

  36. 37
    Glaivester says:

    Have you heard people say that the media must be lying about Iraq because the soldiers on the ground all tell us how wonderful the war is going, and that they love it in Iraq, and that people are so happy to have us there, and everything is getting better?

    The soldiers who are there must know better than the MSM people in their ivory towers, right?

    Maybe, but they also have a much bigger incentive to lie.

    Please read this Capitol Hill Blue article; it could provide the best ammo the antiwar side now has against one of the pro-warriros’ strongest arguments.