“Shake Girl”

May 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm (art, frightening things, injustice, sexism)

Shake Girl is a graphic novel, viewable online, which was created by fifteen students and two instructors at Stanford in just one school quarter. It tells a story based on the real-life, 1999 acid attack on karaoke star Tat Marina and, more generally, the phenomena of acid attacks in Cambodia as a means of domestic violence and response to personal dispute.

Shake Girl is an impressive collaboration–so much input to mediate and organize in just six weeks!–and is worth a look-over. Also, from the Shake Girl website, here’s a short listing of human rights organizations/charities in Cambodia working on behalf of acid attack victims, if you’re interested in donating or learning a little more about the issue.

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Sex Differences In Cognition

May 4, 2008 at 3:05 pm (feminism, neat things, sexism)

I’ve been working pretty constantly for the last two days on my big final paper for a class of mine. It’s a research paper on sex differences in humans, specifically differences in problem solving and on the performances of various mental tasks. What a huge, exhausting topic! Ugh.

I’m posting it here in order to make the big amount of work feel vaguely more satisfying (it’s an assignment and a post!), and because, as you may have observed, I tend to post my longer, more interesting papers. This paper will be edited by my peers and my professor this week, so I may post the revision if I feel it has improved substantially. Also to look forward to next week: my final essay for another class, Writing for Arts and Culture, about sexual imagery in the work of Jeff Mangum, in which I will try to tease out the commonalities in the sexual references in the lyrics of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, On Avery Island, and some live recordings including Live at Jittery Joe’s, a show at Aquarius Records, and a show in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2001, hopefully developing an idea of some kind of over-arching meaning, attitude, intention, something. That one should be fun.

Anyway, this paper. Almost entirely below the fold, of course, ’cause it’s ten damn pages long. As a taste-test to help you figure out if you have any interest in reading it, here are some things I learned that I wasn’t expecting to (in addition to a whole bunch of stuff I was expecting to learn): little girls are about 2% more likely to engage in “cross-gender behavior” than little boys (van Beijsterveld 650), but despite this, boys are something like six times more likely to get referred to doctors to be treated for GID (van Beijsterveld 655), which shows just how huge the imbalance is between the social acceptance of female masculinity (in kids) and male femininity. Also, it’s fairly apparent, I think, that a combination of classism, racism, weird sexist ideas, and macho culture are undermining a lot of boys’ academic success. These two things have convinced me even more that we desperately need a men’s equivalent of feminism, not to shuck off the oppressive regime of women or to overturn feminist achievements or anything like that, obviously — die-hard feminist here — but to do for boys and men what feminism is doing for girls and women: to expand opportunities and remake gender roles. We’ve begun the work of making it socially acceptable for girls to excel in math and science; as we continue that work, we need to begin the process of encouraging boys in the humanities. As we continue the work of expanding our conceptions of femininity and femaleness, we need to do the parallel work of expanding our ideas of masculinity and maleness. The gender system will not die until we until we begin to attack it from every side. And for fuck’s sake, that thing must die.

On that note, here is my paper.

Sex Differences In Cognition:
Disparities, Similarities, and Explanations

There are documented differences in the average intellectual strengths and weaknesses of women and men. Some postulate that these dissimilarities are innate, the product of an evolutionary history that placed different pressures on the sexes. Others account for the variation with the strong forces of culture and socialization, asserting that the divergences are the product of the different treatment of young boys and girls.

At this time, it is not clear whether the demonstrable differences in the behavior of women and men are caused primarily by biological or environmental forces — there is support for both claims. What is clear, however, is that the sex of an individual is not an indicator of his or her particular abilities. There is a tremendous amount of overlap between the sexes, a the tremendous amount of variation within each sex, and a tremendous number of forces that influence behavior. Though there are observable trends along gender lines, they are just that: trends, which cannot reveal information about any given individual. Furthermore, “variation between men and women tends to be smaller than deviations within each sex” (Kimura 34) — regardless of certain tendencies, women and men are far more alike than they are different, and sex is just one of many axes on which persistent differences can be observed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday Feminist Lost Blogging: On Being “A Good Man”

April 14, 2008 at 11:18 am (feminism, sexism) ()

Okay, so Lost is very easily the most egregiously sexist* work I’ve ever enjoyed. Ever. There’s no use trying to dissect the incredible level of gender-stereotyping that goes on on that show — there’s just too damn much of it. If I spent time doing that, I wouldn’t have any left to wonder about the meaning of the numbers, or what happened to the Dharma Initiative, or who the Others really are. I wouldn’t have any time to think about how “Adam and Eve” could plausibly be Amelia Earhart and her navigator, or to work on writing Lost songs with Emily, or to work with Emily on creating unlikely but hot pairings of characters.

But one thing that’s jumped out at me, lately. I don’t think a single episode goes by without a mention of someone being “a good man.” As in: “You’re a good man!”

“He was a good man!”

“I know you’re really a good man!”

Etc., etc.

The reason this has me thinking. “Good man” is a phrase with meaning, and it’s a good and powerful meaning, too. It means that, on a fundamental level, the man in question is moral, upstanding, and brave. It means that he wouldn’t hurt other people, that he would instead protect them. Right?

But never in all the gendered compliments on Lost has someone been called “a good woman.” Because that phrase is meaningless, or its meaning is so disturbingly sexist one cannot use it, not even on ABC.

What would it mean to call someone “a good woman”? To tearfully proclaim, “I love you because you’re a good woman”?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean principled or courageous.

For this reason, I will never call someone “a good man.” When I want to say that someone is fundamentally kind, strong, righteous, noble, ethical, etc., I will use one of those adjectives, or call her, simply, “a good person” — “a good human being.” There’s nothing in the Y chromosome that brings bravery, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t hold all adults up to the same standard of risking oneself to protect others.

* And racist. And heterosexist. And…

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Ooaks: Creatures Of The Uncanny Valley

March 3, 2008 at 4:14 pm (art, design/gadget lust, sexism) ()

From Boing Boing again, take a look at these disturbing baby dolls. They’re made by someone named Faith. Some of them are called Ooaks and are works of the artist’s imagination, while others are “reborn,” which means sculptures of babies who died, I think. Some of them are whimsical, some freakish, some so realistic they will send chills down your spine.

You can see pictures of many that have already been adopted. There aren’t any in the eBay store at the moment, but maybe there will be later.

The detail and realism are really incredible.

doll

Browsing through the site, the large majority seem to be girl dolls — I counted 18 overtly feminine and 1 overtly masculine on the “already adopted” page. Woman as passive object much? Ugh.

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More About This Godforsaken Race (Stupidity Abounds)

February 12, 2008 at 11:38 am (politics, sexism) (, )

I hate everything.

I’m not making direct comments here because it’s imperative that someone on the left defeat the monsters on the right; I don’t want to bash my allies. Mother of god, whoever the fuck made that shit could have the decency to do the same.

This stuff makes me so mad. I know it’s not his fault — I try hard not to blame him for it. But I am extremely fucking suspicious of his more zealous supporters, given that his policies are barely a hair more progressive than hers, if that.

Do we need to add a “liberals, the truth about many of them” category? Shape the fuck up or go back to the side of hate, regression, and misogyny.

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John: Shut it.

January 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm (movies/video/clips, politics, racism, sexism, stupidity) ()

“But, but… I’ve never had to work or struggle at all to get exactly what I want! Waah! Forget anything resembling reality, this must mean I’m an oppressed minority!”

For the love of all that’s good, dude.

Anyone who so severely lacks even a basic understanding of history, the past and present development of social relations, the nature of institutionalized hierarchical order, or comprises the will to exploit that ignorance in others, is not fit to hold presidential office.

Via The Curvature.

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Blogging For Choice: It’s Important To Vote For Justice

January 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm (feminism, politics, sexism) ()

Go check out other people’s Blogging For Choice posts.

Late in the day! Sorry about that. It was the first day of the new semester, and then when I got home I got distracted building a friend for a comrade of mine who is lonely at school.

Onto the topic at hand: why it is important to vote pro-choice.

This question is an answer.

It’s important to vote pro-choice because it’s important to vote for justice. It’s important to vote for liberty. It’s important to vote against sexism, and against the fear and hatred of sex and bodies. It’s important to vote pro-choice because anything else is goddamn hypocritical.

It is blatant, absurd hypocrisy to exercise one’s freedom in order to restrict someone else’s. It’s ridiculous and contradictory and wrong to use one’s suffrage as a weapon of disenfranchisement. It’s hypocritical to use democracy as a tool of fascism.

Those of us who can vote can vote because we live in a free society. The hypocrisy of using that freedom to destroy another deserved, necessary freedom is mind-boggling.

Opposing reproductive justice is one thing. Voting against it is quite another.

It’s deceitful. It’s ridiculous. It’s disingenuous and fraudulent.

Tikkun olam, people. It’s important to vote for justice.

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The “race vs gender” competition only makes sense when you believe women of color don’t exist.

January 17, 2008 at 2:25 pm (feminism, movies/video/clips, politics, racism, sexism)

Via The United States of Jamerica, take a look at this discussion between Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, moderated by Amy Goodman, on race and gender issues amongst the Democratic hopefuls. That is, it’s Harris-Lacewell eloquently explaining why Steinem’s analysis of the Clinton/Obama competition is off-base, unfair, and typical of the worst of white feminism.

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Huckabee says the darndest things.

January 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm (politics, sexism, stupidity) (, )

All of which somehow continue to validate and exceed my deepest acknowledgements of disgust. So far, I think this is the most ridiculously puke-worthy thing I’ve heard from him (video at ThinkProgress):

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

Though other things he’s said recently come close too, for sure.

Ack, I’ve got to sleep off the headache Huckabee’s political existence has given me today; wake me when the serious candidacy of this man is only conceivable as a laughably deranged figment of distant memory.

Via Echidne.

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“Iron My Shirt”

January 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm (politics, sexism) (, )

Video via Bloggernista.

As Melissa at Shakesville has said and demonstrated with an abundance of links, “But the news is that she cried.”

Criminy.

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