Femmostroppo Reader – April 16, 2010

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

  • Gizmodo: "Baby's First Cubicle: The Most Depressing Toy Ever?"
  • – one for the WTF file

  • Stupid can’t be cured with a degree
  • – “What’s forgotten in all this is that most college-educated people don’t get degrees in journalism, philosophy, literature, or public policy and then go on to have careers in media or law. Anyone who’s worked at a college can tell that half the students at any given time are business majors. And then you have computer science and all those other majors with a direct career path laid out for you. And guess what! People with those degrees start making more money right out of the gate. According to this article, the most lucrative degrees are engineering, computer science, and business, and the least are all on the liberal arts end of the scale. The “liberal elite” are poorer than the people sneering at them.”

  • Tina Fey and What She Means to Women
  • – “I think we need to be careful when we take out our anger at pop culture for how it portrays women on the women who are doing the portrayals. “

  • The Men of True Blood?
  • – Renee examines a magazine photospread and wonders what happened to Lafayette?

  • racism, humour and the perception filter
  • – Shiny’s take on @NickSowden’s #obama730 tweets

  • On Triggers, Continued
  • – “A trigger warning does not promise to protect readers of potentially triggering material, but provide them with the opportunity to decide whether they need to protect themselves”

  • The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations
  • – “It’s wrong to take a person’s consent to one activity as consent to all related activities. And while those of us in anti-violence work already recognize this, it’s more than time to extend the principle beyond sex.

    Many feminists and disability rights activists have made the argument long before I have, but I think it’s worth a repeat and a revisit. What if we didn’t assume our right to touch in everyday, non-sexual situations? What if we didn’t just take for granted that a certain touch will be okay?”

  • Today in Rape Culture
  • – “The fact that someone bought this horse, and when tasked with coming up with a name for her, landed on No Means Yes, can only further speak to just how pervasive rape culture is.

    I’m further disappointed because I’m privy to the knowledge that people by and large take naming their horses very, very, seriously. It’s almost a discipline all its own, coming up with the perfect name for a horse. Sometimes that name is some combination of the horse’s parents, sometimes it’s a touching tribute to someone else, other times it’s an inside joke. That’s why it’s even more upsetting, because when given the opportunity to name this runner and give her a moniker that she’d race with for all of her days, the idea that consent is a constant that is also given through use of the word “no” was the best this owner could do. “

  • Tell 'Em, JK!
  • – “JK Rowling writes an awesome column (“The Single Mother’s Manifesto”) explaining why she doesn’t vote conservative, despite having becoming incredibly wealthy—and although it’s specifically about British politics, it is, as you’d expect, widely applicable:”

  • But Was She Wearing High Heels?
  • – “What is clear from this thread and others is that there is a very real pro-rape lobby. They talk the language of disbelieving, but when push comes to shove . . . these trolls really do understand that women get raped when they are most vulnerable—but they are in favor of it. Whether they are actually men who hate women, or are women who hate other women, we can’t know. There are a number of possible motives for these sentiments. But they’re not really in denial—that’s a facade they drop when pressed. In fact, they’re just pro-rape. They think it ought to be open-season for predators on certain women in certain circumstances.”

  • The Work of Making Femininity Look Effortless
  • – “Origins aside, the list reminded me of a debate that’s been raised on this blog about the modern performance of femininity: Does our culture value femininity that obviously requires work, or that which appears effortless?”

Disclaimer/SotBO: a link here is not necessarily an endorsement of all opinions of the post author(s) either in the particular post or of their writing in general.


Categories: linkfest

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4 replies

  1. What if we didn’t assume our right to touch in everyday, non-sexual situations? What if we didn’t just take for granted that a certain touch will be okay?”
    yes, yes, yes!! as a muslim woman, this really touches a nerve (pun intended) with me. it seems to be customary now for kisses to be given as a greeting, and no i don’t want to be kissed by the men i know, regardless of how well i know them. i don’t want to be hugged either, and i’d rather avoid handshakes if i could. but in practice, it’s really very difficult to object, particularly to the kissy huggy thing, because it’s taken as a rejection and causes offence, or as me not adapting to the local culture. but shouldn’t i have the choice to say who gets to touch me, without having to deal with all of your issues around that?

  2. I didn’t know where else to put it, so here goes. You know that square on the ‘feminist bingo card’ that says that more men than women died on the Titanic?
    That might have something to do with the fact that there were at least four times as many men on board as there were women—-and that women and children first only applied to the first class women. This piece cites the shocking OMG figure of 233 crew members (male) to 1 (female) crew member death rates but they leave out the raw numbers.
    But there were over eight hundred male crew members to just twenty three female crew members—of whom 3 still died! Of the 2200 or so people on board, fully 1700 were men; and approximately five hundred and some were women and children. Approximately one fifth of the women and children perished. Of the approximately seventeen hundred men aboard, about fourteen hundred died.
    And of course, let’s face it—men are bigger and stronger and noblesse oblige has never applied to those people in steerage. But the argument bugs me because they go, “OMG, the death rate is 233 men to one woman, you bitches!” when according to the mores of the time, no woman–much less a child–should died at all.

    • @ginmar,
      I’ve noticed a few Titanic-themed MRA sites going up lately too. Every single one ignores class analysis in the pattern of the deaths as well. It also ignores the women who made places for others who had young children waiting for them on shore or else simply decided to stay and die with their husbands.
      The way that the gentlemen with weapons, backed up by ship’s officers with weapons, enforced “women and children first” was as much a logistical decision as it was a purely chivalric one – it ensured that members of their own family survived, whereas if there had been an unscrupulous melee every single boat would have been overcrowded and it is likely that nobody would have survived at all. The upper-class men ensuring that as many women and children from steerage as they could easily manage also got places in the lifeboats pacified the men from steerage who otherwise outnumbered them and could have swarmed them if they felt that their own families were not going to be saved.
      Also, if you read reports from survivors, during the early lifeboat evacuation many thought that the lifeboats were unnecessary over-reaction for a little problem that would soon be sorted out, and preferred the comfort of the decks to the perishing conditions in small boats on an icy sea. Only when the boilers exploded and the ship’s list became severe was there real panic requiring weapons to be used by the enforcers of the lifeboat embarkation.
      It’s just not as simple as these sites make out.

  3. Most of the MRAs just cite percentages, not the raw numbers. I had to wade through four or five sites just to get the naked numbers. It’s a lot like the argument that they also like….”No womens’ names were on the Viet Nam War Memorial Wall! Women don’t serve in combat!” But women still got killed—at least five women in VN, if I remember correctly, not counting the many women murdered and raped at places like My Lai. If women are not allowed in combat, it’s because men are the ones not allowing them, then protesting that women aren’t paying the ‘last full measure’.
    What’s fascinating is when you read about so-called chivalry in law—these are cases that Ann Jones highlighted in her book Women Who Kill where she points out that chivalry was never ever intended to be for womens’ benefit but for mens’. When women were ‘seduced’ and abandoned to life as prostitutes on the streets, the occasional damsel in distress was made a symbolic example of—found guilty but insane, or acquitted because she was so ladylike (Lizzie Borden) but it all served as a grand show for men. They could acquit the stray woman here and there so that they could look themselves in the face in the mirror and believe that women really did have it better than men due to those ‘unofficial advantages’—-that didn’t exist, really, for 99.99999999% of the female population. If they could believe Lizzie Borden didn’t do it, if they could believe that some strange guy killed Abbie Borden and then Andrew Borden later on, then they could also believe that their own daughters had no reason to hate them and want them dead. Huge numbers of women toiled for pennies or were used, abused, and tossed away, but one or two symbolic cases gave men plausible deniability. So MRAs ignore the fact that men on the Titanic outnumbered women by three and a half to one, and pretend that men sacrificed themselves to save all those women—when so many women and children died. I mean, you have to have a lot of gall to cite the male stewards died at a rate of 233 to one without citing the fact that there were eight hundred some male crew members to twenty three women.

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