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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 40,343

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

What Is Sexy, Exactly? Absolutely Anything.

We tell men things like, real sexiness is when you do the dishes, and we tell women things like, real sexiness is when you have bulletproof confidence. But real sexiness is both everywhere and elusive, and could be any of the following items from this extremely impartial list:

You get the point. The sheer range of what could be considered sexy is so vast, so expansive, because at our core, most of us want to have sex at some point or another, meaning, it behooves to not be limited in what turns us on, no? It would be problematic, population-wise, if the only thing we thought was sexy was, say, the smell of jasmine on Saturdays in July for a five-minute window.

And when you are a sex-having people, it would seem then that inclusivity would be a good thing. But don't go looking for that over in Esquire's thing — but should you want to read it anyhow, go for it. It involves a dude talking to a bunch of models and a woman who doesn't think men should Care about how they look. Sure, I love when investigations turn over precisely one leaf, and one leaf only. But nowhere are the following obviously sexy things covered:

The word desiderata
Reading out loud
Drawers that open slowly
The explaining of scientific/sophisticated concepts in lay terms
Big, long, tedious, nuanced debates
Old books
Handwritten letters
People who are willing to talk about handwritten letters


(Old books--very sexy to me )

Then Some More Fun Gender Research! On Textual Analysis of Gender in Emails. Or on Water Rats.

To explain why I write about this particular study, I have to mention the sites which picked it up hot from the oven. They are a physics site and a tech site (you might not want to read the comments there). Someone then brought the study to me the way my mom's cat used to bring her water rats: Like a prize but not really. In my case it was more like: See? Women and men are really very different and it's physics and tech guys who are interested in this matter, possibly because they want to tell us that women aren't in the STEM careers because of biological gender differences.

The study (pdf), however, is not about biological gender differences, or at least cannot prove that the differences it argues it found are biological. It isn't even about mathematics or tech! It has to do with a textual analysis of Enron management e-mails when it comes to emotions! A girly topic, really, but whatever.

The Enron managers' e-mails are publicly available, and that's probably why they were picked for the analysis of gender differences in the language people use in e-mails. The here-relevant conclusions of the study:
We show that there are marked differences across genders in how they use emotion words in work-place email. For example, women use many words from the joy-sadness axis, whereas men prefer terms from the fear-trust axis.
The e-mails used in the research came from the Enron corpus which contains more than 200,000 e-mails. Sounds very impressive, right? One can do a lot of statistical analysis with that amount of data.


So basically, Enron managers by gender, if female, are happy/sad and men are scared/brave/paranoid? Actually-- read the study, actually quite amusing, in that water-rat way.

In New York, Connecticut and Ohio, Students Demand an End to Gender Violence

1. At City College, a Surprise Shutdown Sparks an Uprising

On October 19, the City College of New York closed the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Center, a community and social justice space, replacing it with a career center and setting off major protests across campus. During the raid, college officials arrested an alum who sat-in and called council members and students to notify them. Meanwhile, they shut down all buildings on campus, barring students from studying in the library—flying in the face of direct action for 24/7 library access during midterms and finals week. On October 21 and 24, hundreds of students rallied to demand the immediate return of the center. This week, there will be a protest in front of the school’s administration building as college president Lisa Staiano-Coico meets with the undergraduate student government. Students will continue to protest until the center is re-opened.

—Alyssia Osorio

2. For Women and Queer People, the Shutdown Hits Home

The day before the Morales/Shakur Center was shut down, after months of organizing and lobbying by Students for Educational Rights, the City College of New York recognized the need for a gender identity protection in its anti-discrimination policy. The push started at the MSCC, where a range of groups focused on justice for women and queer people, including the Multicultural Gender Resource Center Campaign and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, held most of their programming. Due to the abrupt closure of the center, campaigns like these are threatened.

—Veronica Agard

3. Upstate, Racist Scrawls Bring Old Truths to Light

On the night of October 18, someone wrote on a whiteboard in SUNY–New Paltz’s DuBois Hall, “Emmett Till Deserved to Die.” Later, once it was erased, someone came back and wrote, “Don’t Erase the Truth.” Since then, black student leaders and student government representatives have met to formulate initiatives to promote a safer campus for students of color. Our resolutions include a racial diversity task force, similar to New Paltz’s LGBTQ task force, to address racial injustice; prioritizing people of color for new faculty and administrative hires; and explicit conversations about racial equality during freshmen and transfer orientations. We feel like this campus does not value our presence here, nor does it appreciate the role of people of color in broader society.

—Jordan Taylor

4. The IX Coalition at UConn

UConn’s IX Coalition is a non-university-affiliated, student-led campaign working to change campus culture and policy. The group was created in response to the Title IX complaint filed on October 21 to show solidarity for the filers. Since then, we’ve been chalking frequented spaces on campus, including the Celeron path, which is widely referred to as the “rape trail,” with statistics, sentiments and resources on sexual violence. On October 30, we will be hosting a speakout at Husky Solidarity Day to address the culture of violence on campus, its history and its connection to discrimination. While the image of victim-survivors has centered on white women and their experiences with sexual violence, racism, homophobia and other forms of oppression are just as toxic to student life.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Black and Native American Women

Black and Native American women experience the highest rates of violence. It has been largely researched and reported that the number one cause of death for both Black and Native women is murder. In the current mainstream conversation it’s important to have awareness of current rates of violence but also important to acknowledge the history of violence against Black and Native women. Violence against Black and Native women is historically a form of terror perpetrated by White men against both of our communities, and the sexual and physical abuse of Black and Native women was legal (1). Violence against Black and Native women was and is a pillar of both ongoing genocide and slavery. Both Black and Native American women face difficulties with the legal system. Many scholars, activists, and victim advocates have long discussed state and colonial violence against women of color, and the legal system reflects and reinforces that. This is directly a symptom of ongoing genocide and violence against our bodies not considered illegal.

It is difficult to be expected to report incidences of partner violence when police respond with dual arrests of victim and perpetrator as mandatory arrest laws have led to significant incarceration of brown and Black women who are victims of violence. There is also the threat of police officers assaulting us directly, even in the name of public safety (2). We live in a society that constantly tells us to just fight back or self- defend, but as cases like that of Marissa Alexander and as Project Nia points out, we have no selves to defend and are again criminalized (3). We also have to remember that in many places domestic violence is considered a crime against the State, not the person. This means the person who has been assaulted does not have the power to press charges—that decision depends on whether or not police considers your case worthy of building and whether the prosecutor considers charges worthy. In addition to domestic violence being a crime against the State, it is only a crime if the abuse fits the legal definition of violence. Law enforcement is predominantly looking for immediate signs of a physical attack, and in a lot of situations, signs of violence aren’t immediately available. With the idea that Black and Native women are “unrapeable” (courtesy of stereotypes and myths about sexualities) and are immune to violence (not considered women) complaints of domestic violence are taken even less seriously. It is very clear that Black and Native women are deemed not worthy of equal rights and protections and this is proven by lack of prosecution (and reporting) for women of color.

This year the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized but not without huge pushback from many of our senators and representatives. A piece of legislation that has always been easily reauthorized took over 500 days for our government to pass because of the new provisions in the bill for Native American women who reside on reservations. At one point during the VAWA floor debates Representative Gwen Moore invoked Sojourner Truth’s extraordinary “Ain’t I A Woman” speech to address Native women. She asked our Congress, “Don’t women on tribal lands deserve the constitutional right of equal protection and not to be raped, and battered, and beaten…ain’t they women?!” (4) She asked this, and many of our Congresspersons responded with a resounding “No.” (5)

The mainstream anti-violence movement is still heavily invested in protecting white-womanhood. This is evident by things like “teach men not to rape” without acknowledging racism and colonialism. There is no part in this education that says “teach men not to rape Native American women, because they’re most likely to be sexually assaulted than anyone else, particularly by [white] men.” (6) It is also evident that the anti-violence movement that is pushed by mainstream feminism is not concerned with Black and Native women’s historical or current relationship with the legal system. VDay and Eve Ensler (7) who are famously lauded as the leaders of the feminist anti-violence movement have decided that February 14, 2014 will be the global day to report your assault, as if Black and Native women can just simply do that. In May, Ensler stated, “We are asking women who have been attacked to file charges” at an event in Philadelphia. First of all, Pennsylvania (the state where she made this grand announcement) is a place where domestic violence is a crime against the State, and as mentioned earlier, this means you do not have the discretion to file charges, it is up to the prosecutor. Secondly, the constant push for criminalization as the only solution to violence demonstrates the total lack of concern for Black and Native women who are victims. But when you’re still predominantly concerned with protecting white-womanhood, these issues can be easily dismissed.


Ted Talks--the Wizard of Oz

While he doesn't get rape threats, look at the comments for daring to deconstruct gender in movies


Can the burqa be stylish?

I found this very interesting, although the 'stylish' word made me cringe. Women should have the right to wear what they want; the legal right, the human right-- but how many devout Muslim women would choose otherwise if they did have that right in oppressive countries? It's why FEMAN failed; they were railing against religious oppression, but forgot there are many women who embrace that faith.

Muslim women all over the world repudiated FEMAN for insisting on shared experiences, much like women of color repudiated the white Western middle classes experience of the state of being woman as one and alike.

This is probably patriarchy in action though; if enough women reject a kind of covering, the fashion industry is right there to make it "sexy"

Despite her choice to dress in a garment associated with religious and patriarchal subjugation, the 29-year-old Sheikha Raya does not in any other respect look like an oppressed woman. "When people make comments about 'covering up', they're not understanding," she says. "It's not this forced-upon-us thing. It's a reflection of what is part of our culture."

Sheikha Raya is one of a new wave of young women across the Middle East and beyond who are seeking to redefine traditional Islamic dress – the abaya (cloak), the niqab (the face veil), burqa (whole body covering) and the hijab (the head and shoulder scarf) – as a means of female expression. These women insist that they do not equate modest dressing with persecution, but that wearing an abaya can be a statement both of individual choice and style.

It is a stance that continues to divide opinion. In September, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, ignited a national debate after saying he did not think the full veil was appropriate attire for airport security or the classroom. Shortly afterwards, a government review was launched into health-service guidelines on veils to ensure that patients had "appropriate face-to-face contact".

At the same time as the politicians were debating the issue, the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a high-gloss event on the eve of London Fashion Week to showcase the work of three female Qatari designers, all of whom took the traditional Islamic dress as their starting point. On the catwalk, richly embroidered abayas were teamed with futuristic Philip Treacy headdresses and Asprey handbags.


Rape, alcohol and feminist posturing: On women who defend Emily Yoffe

Elsewhere, in a piece entitled Women, Please Stop Getting Wasted Evann Gastaldo reminds us that “it’s possible to have fun without binge drinking” (hey, at least she said “please”). Maclean’s’ Emma Teitel, meanwhile, suggests the alternative to telling women not to drink — teaching rapists not to rape — is akin to telling “terrorists not to terrorize, dictators not to dictate, hit men not to hit men and con men not to con” (raping is now, apparently, a vocation rather than a form of interaction which thrives on being culturally condoned).

So much for the sisterhood. The thing is, I don’t really believe any of these articles has much to do with beliefs about rape, alcohol and risk. I don’t know whether, deep down, these women believe what they’re writing. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. What I am sensing, however, is a form of posturing in relation to women in general and feminists in particular. The other women — those who deride Yoffe’s views — are casts as hysterical, over-emotional, lacking in reason (typical “female” qualities). The likes of Marcus, Wente, Matchar et al are, by contrast, measured, thoughtful, eminently reasonable (so much so, they could almost be men!). What’s taking place here isn’t so much a debate about rape prevention as an attack on uppity, demanding feminists and their strident views. It’s a mode of differentiation — “I’m not one of them! I’m rational!” — that isn’t actually coherent yet manages to persuade by its constant self-identification as the voice of reason.

This is particularly clear in Marcus’s piece, in which we’re told that “the regime of feminist political correctness that chills discussion” and “this isn’t a gender studies class; it’s the real world” (no, it’s not; it’s a rape apologist op-ed). Wente notes that Yoffe was “torn apart by furious feminists” (using their evil harpy claws, presumably). This pseudo-intellectual posturing, with its resigned sigh (“why am I the only woman with any sense?”) isn’t at all new, of course. It’s there in Victoria Coren’s recent call for “nuance” regarding Roman Polanski, and it was there twenty years ago when Katie Roiphe wrote The Morning After. These clever, clever women are far too clever to get angry about the world and want to change it. How silly! Far better to breathe deeply, smile and advise the rest of the female population to calm down, dear. After all, it’s only common sense.


'Rape Culture' Is Just Drunk College Sluts Lying, Says Major Magazine

Hey gals, gather around for some Real Talk: did you know that America's college rape epidemic is all in our jungle juice-addled slutty imaginations? At least, according to a column posted by US News & World Report, it is.

In a column called "The Rape Epidemic Doesn't Actually Exist," (a real title for a real post on the decomposing website corpse of what used to be a major American magazine), Caroline Kitchens argues that "rape culture" is nothing but flawed statistics and angry bitches who hate men. Seriously.

Since last spring, an expansive network of student activists has emerged to fight "rape culture" and change the way universities respond to cases of sexual misconduct. However, as universities reexamine their sexual assault policies, administrators should be wary of the demands of these "rape culture" activists. Not only is their movement built on a foundation of dubious statistics and a distorted view of masculinity, but it has already led to policies that have proved devastating to those who have been falsely accused.
First of all — it's just adorable that Kitchens believes that the anti-rape culture movement on American college campuses started LAST SPRING. Apparently she's unfamiliar with Take Back the Night, or Susan Brownmiller, or the uproar over what happened to Lizzy Seeberg, or the entire history of the women's movement in the US prior to the spring of 2012. But getting caught up on Kitchens' laughable lack of understanding of what we mean when we say "rape culture" distracts from the worst part of her shitpile argument: that rape culture isn't real. Why? Because the statistics prove it's not!


Shutting us down: How online misogyny prevents women from fully participating in democracy

Laura Bates gave these remarks in the UK Houses of Parliament on Wednesday as part of a gathering of speakers hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

There are two major barriers to women’s full participation in the democratic process in the UK at the moment—the first relates to their taking part in the vital and shaping process of grassroots activism, and the second to their participation in more traditional political careers.

The process of democracy in the UK is shaped by exciting and vibrant activism, across a whole range of issues, from climate change to women’s equality. Increasingly, in the digital age, this activism is both organized and carried out using online resources such as social media. The Internet is a vital tool in raising the voices of those who have frequently previously been silenced, and allowing marginalized and disadvantaged groups a platform to campaign for their rights. But the experience of participating in an online campaign or in online activism is manifestly different for men than it is for women.

Simply by participating in online spaces, women are faced with a barrage of content that can make it a hostile and dangerous environment for them.

Rape jokes, domestic violence memes and entire forums dedicated to violent misogyny exist close to the surface …

… with images like these cropping up on popular social networking sites.

But more specifically, women who dare to use their voices to discuss politics or take part in democratic processes online tend to face a barrage of online abuse. I have experienced this myself almost constantly since starting the Everyday Sexism Project two years ago. It ranges from online harassment and sexist responses to political debate which utterly ignore the content of said debate in favor of outright misogyny …


How to Clean Like a Feminist

Feminist: Hold broom firmly, make long strokes on floor until all dirt has been gathered into a small pile.
Not feminist: Hold broom firmly, make long strokes on floor until all dirt has been gathered into a small pile. Tell the broom that its body is shameful and whorish.

Feminist: Sort clothing into lights, darks, and colors. Wash whites on hot, and colors and darks on cold. Dry according to instructions.
Not feminist: Sort clothing into lights, darks, and colors. Wash whites on hot, and colors and darks on cold. Dry according to instructions. Tell your daughter that if she doesn't stay skinny then no man will ever love her.

Feminist: Spray a dusting solution over the dusty surface you wish to clean. Using a soft cloth made of natural fiber, wipe in small circles until you've covered the entire surface.
Not feminist: Spray a dusting solution over the dusty surface you wish to clean. Await a man's further instructions. Any man.

Feminist: Fill sink up with warm water and dish soap. Scrub dishes. Rinse. Dry.
Not feminist: Fill sink up with warm water and dish soap. Scrub dishes. Rinse. Dry. Make a call to your congressman opposing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

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