Femmostroppo Reader – June 11, 2009

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed. Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

(Huge catch-up set of links today, so click through the cut to read them all)

Categories: linkfest

Tags: , ,

19 replies

  1. Growing In His Amazing Grace: Femininity vs. Feminism – only discuss it without aggressiveness on the original post
    I went and took a look, and the writer is a 13 year old girl, homeschooled.
    I’m trying to work out how you can slander someone by doing the same job as them – I can’t quite get my head around the logic. You would have to think that women dong jobs previously done only by men implied that men weren’t doing them well enough. So you “slander” men by doing the job better. But that’s kind of a bizarre thought. Maybe she really means, “Women shame men by showing men up.”
    Whatever. I really just can’t get myself into a headspace that has “women’s jobs” and “men’s jobs” anyway. Whole other world out there…

  2. @ Deborah:
    Yes, her obvious naivety is why I put the caveat on the linkage – the post just popped up in my Google news-alert on “feminist” (where I suspect the algorithm is weighted to favour linking to blogs that haven’t been part of a news-alert before). I don’t want her to be intimidated by a feministalanche, although it would be great if someone finds a way to get her thinking more about “why” she feels this way about women’s jobs and men’s jobs.

  3. I hope the young girl in the Femininity v Feminism post finds a nice husband who looks after her and doesn’t ever do anything nasty to her so that she can live happily ever after. I’m not suggesting the Feminism is the only path to happiness, but having some idea of your own self worth does help.

  4. @ Mindy:
    Thanks for the link to Emma Young’s article on Therese Rein’s unauthorised gym photos. That’s a beaut.

  5. You might also like these from Sarah Haskins

    H/T to DV

  6. Well the Holocaust Museum attack didn’t surprise me. The murder of Dr Tiller has prompted his family to close the clinic, perhaps the supremacist thought that killing someone there would get it closed down.

  7. Okay, I’m posting it here in response to the Femininity vs Feminism post, because otherwise I really will post it over there, and be deemed a menace to society. I figure menacing over here with sweet slashy goodness can’t be *too* too bad, right?
    Also because I adore adore adore this clip…
    I am still pondering whether to respond to the post itself, but I’ll try to be gentle if I do…

  8. @ WildlyParenthetical:
    That is one beautifully composed and edited fanslashvid! I love the final shot.

  9. I rather suspect that the girl posting on “Femininity vs. Feminism” doesn’t actually understand the meaning of the word “slander”, and that she instead intended something more like “demean” — because, according to the worldview she’s been indoctrinated with, it’s demeaning to men to be associated with women who are not subservient to them. At root, it’s really much like the the way that “girl” is used as an insult against boys — if a woman can hold positions of authority, just as a man can, then it implies (to the writer) that those men are “like girls” and therefore deficient.
    It’s interesting, however, how the concepts of “femininity” and “feminism” do operate in general discourse (that is, the discourse of those who haven’t engaged with feminism to a great extent). Although they are not mutually exclusive concepts, at the writer believes, I’ve often encountered the idea that any text that deals with “feminine” experience is automatically feminist, even if that experience is limited to a closed domestic sphere. Conversely, I also find that some women worry that they are unable to be feminists if they wish to reclaim certain “feminine” traditions for themselves (for instance, arts that have typically been associated with women– and are consequently perceived as being “lesser” in value, regardless of the skill required and the effort expended).
    You know, WP, I have to wonder if that girl would even get the slashiness of that video — I kind of suspect that she’d probably just see it as evidence of exactly why Eowyn shouldn’t be allowed to be a warrior — after all, as a girl, she’s not capable of wielding phallic symbols like swords and arrows (her arm gets crushed when she finally does wield a sword in battle — proof that she’s not, er, up to the task, shall we say).

  10. Yeah, I agree, Beppie, I think she probably doesn’t fully comprehend the word ‘slander’. But I think it does imply a diminishment of masculinity (y’know, the old ‘emasculation’) because women ‘took over’ their jobs. And you’re right about the intriguing intersections of feminism and femininity, of course. I actually agree that there can be a form of feminism at work in the depiction of even closed domestic spheres, but that’s because I don’t see whether a text is feminist or not as a zero-sum game: it can be feminist in some respects (say, in taking women’s doings, whatever they are, as worthy of being written of and considered seriously) and sexist or even misogynist in others (say, in suggesting that this is all that women are good for), and so on. This, of course, does interesting things to how we think about romance novels. After all, as some scholars have pointed out, is it a coincidence that books written by women for women about things that women are, at least if the purchasing of books is an indicator, interested in, are considered so terribly trashy by the vast majority of reviewers? Hmm. Perhaps not ;-P (NB This isn’t a wholesale defense of romance novels, which are a) reasonably diverse, at least in some respects, and b) often extremely extremely problematic. See above re: non-zero-sum-ness!).
    And yes, you’re probably right about her not quite getting the slashiness of the vid, but I guess in these kinds of situations (where you encounter someone whose religion has become so all-encompassing, so totalising) I just want to hope that it plants a queer seed, y’know? That she turns over in her head those longing gazes, and those tender moments with weapons… at night… under the covers 😉 And yes, bah! to Tolkein for his shocking misogyny. His mistreatment of the awesomeness that is Eowyn (not to mention the Very Few Other Women who are either Divine or Evil or Both) has always made me grumpy.

  11. I don’t see whether a text is feminist or not as a zero-sum game: it can be feminist in some respects (say, in taking women’s doings, whatever they are, as worthy of being written of and considered seriously) and sexist or even misogynist in others (say, in suggesting that this is all that women are good for), and so on.
    Yes, I see what you’re saying here, though the instances I’m thinking of were more along the lines of, “there are women, therefore it is feminist and no further inquiry into the social forces at work is needed.” Nonetheless, your broader point still stands.
    I think that women’s magazines are another example along the lines of romance novels — yes, they often pertuate a lot of harmful patriarchal nonesense, but they are also often spaces for women to discuss issues that are important to them as women. In manys, the patriarchal trimmings on these texts are there, I think, to give many women an “excuse” to read about things that interest them as women.

  12. Ah yeah, it’s interesting how swiftly and intensely people seem to want the political status of a text to be resolved. I know we’ve talked about it before, but the ‘I haz found da troof of dis text!’ thing is frustrating on many fronts.
    I agree on the women’s mags things; although interestingly, as I’ve grown older, I’ve found them less interesting. I can’t tell if that’s because they’re just so goddamned repetitive, or because I’m feeling less like I need or want or am even interested in the kinds of assurances they tend to offer, or the kinds of topics they tend to focus on. Or perhaps because I’m increasingly irritated and depressed by the ways in which there’s a tendency to encourage and belittle women at the same time (and this belittling is something that some women don’t see or experience that way). Apparently I like my encouragement pure 😉

  13. I found this quick hit interesting, particularly with regards to the way some of the commenters were *unable* to get over their own biologically determinist and cisgendered views on everyday clothing.

  14. Of the Femininity vs Feminism post. What irritates me is that it’s such a narrow view, in terms of class and in terms of history. Women have always worked “outside the home”, because they’ve had to.

  15. @ hellonhairylegs:
    Yes, I noticed that as well. Having a wife who only works directly for her family’s comforts at home has always been a social status marker, where those men who need the extra income from a working wife to cover expenses are looked down upon by wealthier men.
    There’s the very occasional “acceptable” monetary employment for a wife (especially a young wife) to have in these traditionalist communities – music teacher, part-time bookkeeper, solicitor’s clerk, subject tutor – ideally things that they can do from the home. But even these are viewed as secondary pursuits that “help” with the family’s bills and they are expected to cease these activities as soon as their husband progresses sufficiently with his career that his income covers all the bills.

  16. More on Femininity vs. Feminism: Vyckie from No Longer Quivering posts about these concepts as someone who has lived through the patriarchal Quiverfull movement and left it behind– Women can’t “have it all” but QF women can do it all.
    Basically, she’s saying that the ideals of “femininity”, of which our thirteen year old blogger speaks so lovingly, are really about being expected to do enormous amounts of labour without compensation of any kind — the flowers and dresses are just outward symbols of a willingness to do it all, without getting anything in return. I know that the idea that women do huge amounts of unacknowledged labour is not new to feminists, but I love that she’s talking about it in contrast to the notion that feminists are perceived as greedy bitches for wanting more options.

  17. Just a warning, that taser video is pretty distressing. I’m extremely worried about the taser thing and policing in general. I think people will be deterred from protesting and I think that’s the whole idea behind extending police powers.
    Re: the pics of Therese Rein, to add to the insult, when channel ten ran it on the 10.30 news headlines the other night it was immediately followed by a story on giant jelly blubbers. Just in case we were unclear on what we should take away from the story about the prime minister’s wife in the gym. Nice.

  18. I was going to come here and say “oh dear god, why did I click on that last link?” Now I’m glad that I clicked on this link to come to the actual post, because otherwise I would have never known that the writer is a 13-year-old girl. Knowing that much, while it’s still extraordinarily depressing, will indeed help me to sleep easier. Though there still is the question of some of the comments . . .

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