Estrangement, entitlement, evaluation: questions arising

I have four questions for you all.



Question 1 to the Hoydenverse: Have you ever broken up with someone (or been broken up with) via text message?
(feel free to switch to an anon handle if you prefer.)


Kate Harding: “Reality Check: Why Don’t Fat Women Get Checked for Cancer of the Nasty Bits?”

Fat women have a lower rate of screening for cancer of the breast and cervix. Of course, fat women get blamed for this: they didn’t turn up, they’re too embarrassed the silly little things, blahdiblah.

Turns out 24% of nurses are “repulsed” by fat people and 17% of doctors are reluctant to provide pelvic exams to fat women. If your body isn’t a source of amusement, aesthetic value, or in some cases titillation[trigger warning] for them, there’s a one in five chance that a random doctor or nurse just plain doesn’t want to offer you cancer screening.

Who exactly is doing the paying here?

Question 2: Why do some healthcare professionals think that they’re entitled to an incessant parade of pulchritude? Have you encountered this attitude? (See note for question 1.)


The Ithacan Online: “Rapes feed into paranoia culture”

Some college dude with an excruciating case of wotaboutthemenz thinks we should stop talking about rape in campus newspapers, because it makes women careful. When he’s walking around at night and finds himself walking right behind a lone, frightened woman, he feels panicky and accused and doesn’t know what to do.

Suddenly I am awash with paranoia, probably as much as she is feeling. What can I do? Should I turn around and go home a longer way? Should I stop to tie my shoe and let her get ahead? I just want to yell at her: “Hey, I’m not a rapist!” Of course, then I’d only be more suspicious, wouldn’t I?

I feel like the term “rape culture” is thrown around, but people don’t worry about paranoia culture. The realization that someone is afraid of you is sickening, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Question(s) 3: Blokes of the Hoydenverse: what do you do? Is it really onerous to drop back or cross the street or something? Should James Chapman ’09 GTF over it?


[h/t to whooz_queen]

Popwatch: “Do we need more women movie critics?”

Popwatch reports that The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a review of The Other Boleyn Girl, and ended up red-faced and apologising. Christopher Kelly’s review opened with a sledge at Natalie Portman. Why? Not enough boob. Deprived of the pornified body he felt entitled to, having paid his six bucks and all, the reviewer opened:

“What is the point of a bodice-ripper starring an actress who – how can we put this politely? – doesn’t have much to offer in the decolletage department?”


I can’t find the original at SDUT, but a copy is here. It continues:

It’s a part that calls for a heaving bosom and a commanding presence, and the pixie-like Portman [who, even at her most grown-up and hyper-sexualized, as in Wes Anderson’s recent “The Darjeeling Limited”, still looks like an androgynous 16-year-old] has neither.
The voluptuous, unabashedly tarty Johansson at least looks the part.
And without two strong actresses at its center, well, “The Other Boleyn Girl” quickly devolves into tedium. it’s a catfight without claws.

Popwatch goes on to ask:

A diverse set of viewpoints is good, but do male and female critics see films differently?

So my question 4 is: what do you think?

Categories: Culture, gender & feminism, health, medicine, relationships, violence

Tags: , , ,

14 replies

  1. I was dumped via SMS once, but in this particular circumstance it wasn’t a problem and we remained on friendly terms. It was very much a short term arrangement. I’m not suggesting everyone go out and dump their spouse/co-habitation partner in such a juvenile manner. We were very young and had an excuse for being childish (both of us).
    I can’t really see that having someone think you’re potentially someone to be afraid of is as bad as actually being attacked. So don’t walk at an intimidating distance behind someone, day or night, it’s creepy. Speed up and go past them, cross the road, tie your shoe. Whatever.
    kate’s last blog post..Earth Hour 29th March, 8pm

  2. If I do get the feeling that someone might be uncomfortable with me following them, I don’t find it too onerous to drop back, though I might also speed up and go past. I do, indeed, think James Chapman should get over it. I’d also add that if asked to escort someone, I try to treat it as straightforwardly as possible, and as a pleasant chance to spend a little time walking with a friend rather than as a duty (which is, in fact, how I usually feel).

  3. I’m a late adopter of mobile technology, figuring one sibling dying form a brain tumour is about all the family can handle. I’ve only had the mobile in this, my latest and longest relationship, so being dumped or dumping by sms is a joy yet to be experienced. I do believe it is quite acceptable to offer sexual favours via texting, so why not the opposite? My verdict – acceptable for a fling but indicating a deeper communication issue if a long relationship ends this way adding another good reason to end it.
    another outspoken female’s last blog moo juice?

  4. On film critics – the inane shallowness of reducing attractivesness to boobage is what really got me, and the follow up idiocy of equating that with being ‘a strong actress’. Its as if, as a film critic, he actually doesn’t know what acting actually is (or even the vaguest idea that its possible to both have smaller boobs and still be attractive, but the odd ideas about acting would seem to be the real kiss of death to be given credence as a film critic).
    I do, in general, wish there were more female film critics. Of course, I want them to be good, and not prone to saying inane things, too, and unfortunately Megan Spencer, who seems to have found herself the role of Australias token young female film critic, I also find to be Australias worst professional film critic, with some elmost as silly comments on film from time to time. Still, we can hope for there to be more like Margaret Pomeranz (who I also appreciate for her anti-censorship activism).

  5. I’ve not been broken up with via text message, mostly because I got myself monogamised around the same age I started properly using a mobile phone. I think cancelling anything, including a relationship should probably be done at least by voice over the phone. But then I was a cowardly, untruthful dumper in my day so who am I to judge.
    Those stats about doctors/nurses being repulsed by giving internal exams to some female patients is just awful, as if women don’t get to feel vulnerable enough during a pelvic exam, they have to also wonder if they’re repulsive to their doctor/nurse. Just horrid.
    My partner said “Who’s suffering more, the person scared of being raped or the person scared of being momentarily considered a potential rapist? Cross the street, drop back and sit on the footpath for 2 minutes and deal with it”.
    This issue is exactly like the child sexual abuse paranoia complaint. Yeah, sad that we as adults have to be on guard lest parents and carers think we’re up to no good with their children.. but let’s rejoice in the fact that we’re not all still walking around in trusting ignorance thinking that child sexual abuse is rare and only committed by strange men with sweets.
    blue milk’s last blog post..Autumn is for..

  6. Question 1: No, on both counts. Whether or not it’s okay, I think, depends on the circumstance. Much of the time, I’d be inclinded to think that breaking up by text message is rather rude, but I can see some circumstances in which it might be the best option– if the partner being dumped was abusive, for instance.
    Question 2: Nope, I’ve never encountered that, but I’ve had all my pap smears done at one university health clinic, and all by female doctors, if that makes any difference. When I have discussed weight related issues with these doctors (when I have brought it up, not them), the advice has always been to concentrate on reasonable amounts of exercise and a balanced (but not restricted) diet. I’m lucky. 🙂
    Question 3: Why doesn’t this douchbag put his effort into petitioning for better security on campus? I also wonder how quick he’d be to lay the blame on women for walking alone at night when rapes do occur on campus.
    Question 4: I think that men and women are socialised so differently that it’s inevitable that we will see things differently. This is not to say, however, that female film critics will necessarily be less likely to impose misogynist assumptions. However, if we had more of a balance between men and women, in this field and every other field, those assumptions are likely to become a lot less prevalent.

  7. 1. I was once dumped in an SMS, but it wasn’t unexpected.
    2. Most of my doctors etc. have been quite good, with only one being a little sleazy.
    I had the interesting experience of being hospitalised overnight for an operation not long after I transitioned. The surgeon was fine, but a one of the nurses was a little uncertain.
    3. Following from that, I have had the experience of being perceived as male for most of my life to date. I sometimes felt awkward in those sorts of situations, but I also knew why a passing woman would react that way and I would fall back, walk past or whatever. The interesting thing is that I now feel anxious when I see a man while walking alone. It really is amazing how differently I am treated now that I am perceived as a woman.
    4. I have never cared much for what film critics say, but it is to think that they are gainfully employed and not wandering at large.

  8. #3. Dude, you are totally right. Women should stop worrying about their safety if that makes you uncomfortable. How do you feel about being presumed a potential burglar? Does that bother you as well, or can I continue locking my front door when I leave the house?
    #4 I would have thought that the most hyper-sexualized part of Natalie Portman’s film career was when she was pulling aside her G-string for Clive Owen in Closer, but I haven’t seen Darjeeling.

  9. 1) No. I think that’s really low and hope I would never date someone who would do that. (Not that I date too often and my current partner would never ever)
    2) That is bull. I couldn’t see my clinic doing that, but I go to Planned Parenthood and they are just all around awesome. I have never heard that complaint from any of my friends who go there, regardless of size. (That and their nurse practitioners are pretty diverse in size themselves.)
    3) My friend Nathan is a large man. He intimidates men. While he is no threat and it saddens him that women react that way, he understands and will cross the street or, if possible, take another route. This jerkface should GTF over it.
    4) A) Natalie Portman is a fantastic actor. Obviously this guy is a misogynist twit. She is one of the best actresses in her age group, hands down. I think many others are popular b/c of morons like that who think that their worth is in their chest size. Also, and this is neither here nor there, I find her to be extremely beautiful.
    Lost Clown’s last blog post..Here’s where I ask you to do something

  10. It’s many, many years since I’ve been able to see a doctor or have sex at all because of what I suffered during my teens at the hands of the medical industry. Perhaps fat women don’t want people peering at them and jabbing away with stainless steel instruments because they wish to exercise a choice as to the sanctity of their own bodies. It seems like any woman who has second thoughts about screening that involves invasive procedures must be demented, but no-one puts much thought into the manner in which much of it is carried out. It reaches a point when you’ve been raped, date raped and sexually abused by doctors, husbands and fathers for so many years that the thought of a doctor poking away really doesn’t seem like a pleasant alternative to checking out.
    Crowlie’s last blog post..Sex-crime reporting criminal.

  11. Today I got a classic pincer movement. Slightly longer email with an abridged text message by phone. Just in case. It does follow in the great tradition of the Dear John letter, but it doesn’t have the same pathos. I wonder how the kiss off will look in 20 years?

  12. One of the radiography services in my town has a horrible reputation which doesn’t, unfortunately, stop GP’s from referring to them (that would be mean, whereas women copping verbal abuse is just life, I’n it?). This guy is renowned for making scathing comments to women that they shouldn’t think they are anything special, that he has seen so many cases of blah blah blah, that he couldn’t care less. Maybe in some deep recess of his brain, a place untouched by rudimentary social skills or empathy, he thinks that this is a reassuring thing to say, that a woman who is making nervous small talk in an attempt to distract herself from the invasiveness of the procedure, just needs to know that he has nothing but contempt for her genitalia in order to be reassured.

  13. Crowlie, ellen and su – ugh all round.
    Crowlie – sorry to have not responded earlier. That was just so raw I didn’t, and still don’t, know what to say. I’m so sorry that shit has happened to you.
    ellen – I’m sure that in 20 years you won’t regret him, and may perhaps be grateful in retrospect that he left you with such incontrovertible evidence of jerkitude.
    su – what a shit. Poster-boy for entitlement issues.

  14. 1.Not yet, happily.
    2.Shit, I have to worry about being attractive to MY DOCTOR now??? milk nailed it. You think you’ve got it bad, women being suspicious of you every now and then? Try being the woman who’s heart is pounding in her throat, desperately wondering what she’ll do in the next few seconds if you DO turn out to be a rapist. Now imagine you feel that way at least once almost every single day.
    4.This film critic has been through a truly harrowing ordeal. He was forced to watch, for a full 120 minutes, a woman on screen who he DIDN”T FIND ATTRACTIVE. My god, how did he survive?
    OT a bit: “bodice ripper”? I was under the impression that TOBG was a historical drama, if perhaps a slightly racy one. Hardly qualifies as a “bodice ripper”.
    OT even more: There’s a lot of hate for Natalie Portman online and in reviews for being flat-chested and often short-haired. I myself look a lot like her (though sadly not as pretty), and I can tell you that people are really uncomfortable with the androgynous look. At least now I know I’ll never be a “strong actress” because I don’t have a rack like Scarlet Johansson.

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