Archive for ‘expectations and ideals’

March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen’s Mysogyny

by d

…is tolerated as part of a larger cultural misogyny. Anne Holmes, creator of Jezebel, has an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times called The Disposable Woman.

Holmes demonstrates how Charlie Sheen‘s record of lashing out and being abusive toward the women in his life has been tolerated, even affectionately joked about, by the media at large. Part of the problem, she argues, is the sort of women he’s been involved with.

But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)

Holmes goes on to point out how the exploitation and debasement of women has become a normal part of reality TV culture.

Honestly, there are so many great quotes and arguments in this piece, I can’t possibly pull them all.

Read it for yourself at the NYT.

February 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood is not synonymous with abortion

by d
Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptive...

Image via Wikipedia

Planned Parenthood has a really descriptive name. It does exactly what the name implies. We don’t talk much about “family planning” these days, and we should.

Before modern science kicked in, conception was, for the most part, a game of roulette. Folk remedies and leather condoms weren’t nearly as effective as people wanted them to be, but they kept trying. All it took was some observation and life experience to see how inconvenient–and dangerous–the lack of control could be.

When a woman gives birth too young, she and the child suffer. (18 is the minimum recommended.) If she has children too close together, she and both children can suffer. Doctors and midwives knew these things; parents knew them. But what do you say to a couple who have had the number of children they want? Spend the rest of your lives together in separate beds? More babies happened.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s first president, was a remarkable woman who saw the effect this had on people, particularly poor people and women. She also saw this suffering as, at best, unnecessary. At worst, it was a deliberate means of keeping women in subjugation.

In 1912, after a fire destroyed the home that William designed, the Sanger family moved back to New York City, where Margaret went to work in the East Side slums of Manhattan. That same year, she also started writing a column for the New York Call entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Distributing a pamphlet, Family Limitation, to women, Sanger repeatedly caused scandal and risked imprisonment by acting in defiance of the Comstock Law of 1873, which outlawed as obscene the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.

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January 5, 2011

Waiting/ April 2010

by feyruhan
She's Been Waiting

“Kiss me or fuck me, I can’t take it anymore.”

I did neither.

***

I watch my reflection in the windows of the bank as the bus drives away; I see a girl in a blue shirt, dark hair tied up.  We hit the second street corner and an announcement for tickets to this summer’s big event comes on the speaker, as usual.

“You go all the way around the state before you get to the point,” I remember my friend telling me.  She was laughing but, still, it hurt a little.

[Long pause in journaling]

“How do you know I’m ready?”

“Your body’s ready.”

“I’m almost twenty-three, my body better be ready.”

[Pause in journaling]

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January 3, 2011

A Heroine of Another Weight

by d

Desire Me (detail)It seems romance writers are more progressive than modelling agencies.

Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has just posted an entry about the changes in physical descriptions of heroines in romance novels over time.

My first encounters with female beauty in books was, as @joyabella noted when I asked this question on Twitter, the Wakefield twins. So many women found their gateway to romance in Sweet Valley High, and that gateway came with the constantly repeated and thus unfortunately inculcated reference to the “perfect size six figure.”

First, let me say on behalf of every woman with breasts and a backside: Fuck you and your six.

(Have I mentioned that I ADORE the Smart Bitches? Because I do, oh so much.)

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December 30, 2010

The HPV Vaccine and You

by d
Pathology: EM: Papilloma Virus (HPV) Electron ...

HPV. Image via Wikipedia

If someone came up to you, out walking with your young child, and said, “Hey there, I have a vaccine that will prevent your child from ever getting a black eye!” would you say, “How insulting! My child will NEVER have a black eye! I am raising him/her properly and they shall never get into any sort of a scuffle! We use our WORDS in this family!”

(This would, of course, be followed by an incident where your child has an accident that gets them not one, but two black eyes.)

Of course you wouldn’t say this. You would recognize that accidents happen, that even if your child is an angel other people are not, and that your little darling might have a moment of poor judgment at some point in the future. You might still refuse the vaccine, but you wouldn’t act as though this sales rep were trying to blacken the family name.

That’s why I don’t understand statements like this:

“I was greatly offended that Merck suggest I vaccinate my nine-year-old daughter against an STD,” says Kelley Watson, a mother of two in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.

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December 27, 2010

Femme Funnies (?): Burka Woman

by d

This one is loaded with controversy. A Pakistani comedian has put together a music video spoofing the classic “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison.

Personally, I think the concept is awesome. I’m always up for satire, and I think it’s most needed where people don’t want it.

Some people say it’s derogatory toward these women, that it mocks Islam, that it will sour relations with the West, that it will “only create further divisions and friction within Pakistan.” All of that is true, and none of it is true. I get the sense that this video was done with great affection, as well as criticism for, the customs of Pakistan and Islam in general.

What are your thoughts? Hilarious send-up, or blight on social discourse?

December 24, 2010

This has to be fake.

by f

courtesy Postsecret Favorites via Flickr

Read: “I want an Arranged Marriage”.

No, you don’t.

No, you don’t want an arranged marriage.

(I understand it’s an emotional argument to make. I also understand that I can’t make blanket statements. I am going to violate every cardinal rule of argument or political correctness — you know, that convention that prevents us social anthropologists from saying that one tradition is inherently better than the other.)

The writer has chosen not to reveal her name. This is smart. She is clearly confused and her thoughts are badly organized. If she gave her real name, she would have been pilloried across the internet.

This story was a mishmash of disjointed orientalist stereotypes, and it should not have been run. I love the Frisky’s GirlTalk segments as a rule, but this is awful. I hope against hope that this doesn’t turn into a farce of Gilbert-style proportions.

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December 17, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 3

by subterfusex

This is the third part of Alissa’s interview. In this segment, we discuss the larger context of her work, and how it relates to the mission of our site. We asked her questions pertaining to gender and personal artistic decisions. She answered us — as always — very honestly. As we wind down this interview, we’d like to thank Alissa once again for her participation and for the chance to talk about her amazing work.

What does “feminism” mean for you, and would you consider yourself a feminist?

Overall, I do believe in what feminism stands for. Everyone wants equal rights. I think feminism has gotten a bad rap, really; growing up the first thing I thought of when I thought of a “feminist” were the extremists who burned bras and were avid “man haters”.

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December 15, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 2

by subterfusex

As we brainstormed questions for Alissa’s interview, both of us wanted to address the inspired quality we found in Alissa’s art. We found traces of this inspiration everywhere, from the elegant Grecian forms of her Greek gods and goddesses series, to other complex mythological characters.

Alissa wrote us insightful  — and often surprising — answers to these questions, and we are happy to share them with you in our second installment.


Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your muses?

As a kid, I read a lot of comic books, watched a lot of anime, and I surround myself with Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino films. I also read A LOT, see a lot of movies and am an iTunes junkie. I constantly surf the net, admiring other artists’ work. I really just look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere I can get it.

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December 13, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 1

by subterfusex

A simple search for “subterfuge” under Google Images produces some amazing graphics. None of these, however, are more stunning than the artwork we found by Alissa “Lissy” Jo Rindels.

Her piece, (obviously titled “Subterfuge”) features a woman whose voluptuous body is splattered with blood. Though her subject wears little else but an arresting glare, she points a sanguineous arm to the right.

F found the picture through an impulse search on Google Images. Mesmerized, F showed D the image. Together they clicked through to the rest of the website to see many examples of women in positions of power and strength. These pieces provoked questions and thoughts and ideas about the subjects and the positions they found themselves. We knew we had to write about them — and their creator. D and F drafted a series of emails in trepidation.

This was the first time we’d ever done an interview, and we needed to make a plan of action.

The process of coming up with questions was an intimidating one. We wanted to ask about the art itself. We wanted to ask about her inspiration. We wanted to ask about her muses and sources of strength. We wanted to ask her about the life of a spectacularly talented artist. Most of all, however, we wanted to ask her about the irresistible female force behind her work.

We finished writing the questions over the course of a few days. (We had many.) Alissa responded promptly. She was gracious, kind, and willing to answer whatever questions we had for her. We corresponded over a short period of time. Soon, we had our answers. We — F and D — would like to thank her very much for her hard work and her patience.

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