greenie_breizh: (holding life still)
Sun is finally out. Probably only for a couple of days, but considering we had hail yesterday, I'll take even temporary nice weather! It's basically been February here since, well, February, and we're all really, really tired of it.

I just wanted to post a few links quickly; it's going to be a little all over the place but bear with me.

First, a really excellent analysis of sexist discourse in the French media following the whole DSK scandal. Les informulés d’une rhétorique sexiste. It's in French and I wish there was a translation available, because it's fantastically insightful, and not just for French culture.

Some of you may have heard about the story of parents in Toronto raising a 'genderless' kid. You can read the original story (complete with douchy neighbors, friends and family members! I always love the whole 'your kid will get bullied' argument because, y'know, if a kid gets bullied, the problem is not the kids who bully and the parents who teach their kids things that could lead them to be jerks to other kids). But you can also read this reflection on the piece from the Raising My Boychick blog, which is excellent. I only want to point out that while I think it's cool to assume your baby's gender is aligned with their biological sex (assuming that's straightforward) until your kid is old enough to tell you otherwise, it's important that you tell the kid that, directly or at least indirectly. Otherwise you might be the most open-minded parent who'd be totally cool with a trans or gender nonconforming kid, your kid might never know.

While we're on the topic of gender/sexuality, the New York Times recently ran a beautiful series on gay teenagers. The stories are touching, but what really drew me in is the photography. Wonderful and quiet photos.

Now for the unrelated to gender and sexuality stuff:

Allie started a food blog with her friend Katie, The Dough Also Rises - and you should all check it out, because they make really, really delicious food. With simple recipes! Which is always nice (I don't like overly fancy things that I could never reproduce/require ingredients I couldn't find if my life depended on it). Keep an eye out for the yam burrito. SO GOOD.

I may have mentioned (or not) that we're rewatching every Harry Potter movie in expectation for Deathly Hallows Part 2, and it's been great. Harry in the first movie is just the most adorable kid on earth, but it's so great to see all of them grow up. :) And then today [livejournal.com profile] mieystrapurore posted this video, which is amazing. It's just beautifully made, with wonderful music, and it takes you through the whole journey that is the HP series. If you have any attachment to this story, you should watch it. Maybe several times.



And to finish on another pop culture note, I never even mentioned here that The Playboy Club has been picked up by NBC! SO EXCITED to see Sean in there; he's psyched about the storylines that writers have in mind for his character, which makes me even more excited to see it. Let's hope it doesn't get axed by like, episode 3, I'm going to be so upset if that happens. Unless they make a spinoff about Sean's storyline, I'd be down with that.
greenie_breizh: (quote)
I've been accumulating links in my tabs again, so it's time to share. :) But first, since I'm going to re-post a bunch of links that [livejournal.com profile] zombie_process posted, I'd like to direct you to the original post first.

First up - public employees!
- A Letter to Scott Walker from a Wisconsin Teacher, which touches upon tons of really good points and issues that have been raised since Wisconsion public employees started protesting. On this topic, I have been watching this whole thing unfold mostly through the eyes of my facebook friends (someone reposted this excellent note, for example), Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, and the anti-teacher rhetoric is pissing me off. I just do not understand people who can't see the massive amount of work, dedication and energy that teaching (at ANY level) requires. More broadly, anti-public-employee rhetoric in general baffles me, but the anti-teacher stuff is particularly angering.

Always good - gender and race stuff!
- My son, the pink boy. It's both a reflection on raising a gender nonnormative boy and a rant against recent advice that Dr. Phil gave to a mom regarding her own gender nonnormative boy.
"Who's confused? My son knows exactly what he likes. When Sam was 4 and his male peers trick-or-treated as Batman and Spiderman and gorillas, Sam was a princess. At 5, he was a queen, regal and proud and full of the royal prowess that Disney offers all little girls. He liked feather boas and lip gloss and dancing. Did he think he was a girl? Nope. Was he confused about being a boy? Nope. Did he need to be taught what boys are supposed to like? Nope -- how boys are supposed to behave was abundantly clear from the trains and trucks we bought him before we realized he was a pink boy, the behavior of all the boys he knew, the messages on TV, and the judgments of all the Random Moms. He just liked what he liked, the way other kids did -- only his likes were different."

- Tomboy [article in French, video in French with English subtitle]An article and trailer/interview for what looks like is going to be a really fascinating movie about a girl taking on a boy identity for a summer. I can't wait to see it. I was a little uncomfortable about the director bringing in the notion of lying into it, but I like the way that the movie seems to approach the whole thing, from the perspective of the child's lived experience rather than trying to make a statement.

- A Bitch magazine article on race and this year's Oscars, in particular the (bland) tribute to Lena Horne. The author ends with a note that really strikes a chord:
"Lately, I’ve been reading how history has sanitized Rosa Parks by characterizing her as a sweet, apolitical lady who just happened to be too tired to give up her bus seat one day. In reality, Parks was a dedicated social activist prior to her arrest. She joined the civil rights movement, in part, to end sexual violence against black women. I’d hate to see history sanitize Lena Horne in the same way. Unfortunately, that prospect seemed likely during last night's ceremonies."


- A Salon article expressing disappointment about Natalie Portman would say on Sunday night that motherhood is 'the greatest role of her life'. Motherhood is one of those difficult topics, where it's hard to walk the line between embracing motherhood, respecting women who make the choice to be moms full-time, and still acknowledging that the concept of motherhood comes with very heavy string attached in our society. The problem (to me) is not that motherhood is necessarily problematic and oppressive, it's the way that people essentialize the experience and conflate it with 'real' womanhood. In short, when we continue to see and interpret motherhood as being the ultimate fulfillment in a woman's life that (1) tends to dismiss fatherhood, and reinforce the idea that it is less central to a man's life and (2) lessens the choices and lives of women who don't want to be mothers, or even just don't want to prioritize family above all else.

- Anyway, so I wanted to link to this other article which fronws upon the tendency in feminist-oriented circles to frown upon motherhood, and it's funny because I just don't see these two articles as fundamentally contradictory, in the end. (As a sidenote, I believe the author for this article is in a same-sex relationship, which very much can change how the dyanmics of motherhood play out.) I don't know. I want to believe there has to be a place for recognizing gendered dynamics and lamenting them, without necessarily throwing under the bus everything that's been traditionally considered feminine and womanly. In short, I want to be able to say motherhood as we understand it is problematic, without necessarily judging women who want to be mothers and want to prioritize this aspect of their life. Maybe I'm hoping for too much.

- Sort of in the same vein, but wildly more depressing, this article which responds to suggestions that Laura Logan (an American reporter who got assaulted while reporting from Egypt) should not have been sent to the field in the first place. Great great piece, both about the gendered and racialized aspects of this story.

And a miscellaneous link to finish.
- Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. It's, obviously, not just about names and programmers, but actually highlights assumptions that people make constantly, and not just about names, when you think about it. Anyway, this whole post resonates with me because my first name (of French origin) contains two accents but my Canadian university (reminder: Canada is officially a English-French bilingual country) still can't handle it and replaces the characters with ? whenever I log in, and in my university email. Super professional, let me tell you.
greenie_breizh: (political)
I don't even know where to start with what's been happening with public workers (especially teachers) in Wisconsin and other places (especially Ohio) in the United States lately, or with the unrelenting attacks by conservatives on Planned Parenthood and issues relating to women's health. I can't even link to that many articles because I've been almost avoiding reading too much about these issues because they make me so profoundly angry, frustrated and disappointed. But if you are interested in reading more, I can at least recommend this piece by Diane Ravitch on teachers in Wisconsin, and this piece by Rebecca Traister on cuts to Planned Parenthood. (This is also a helpful overview of the responses from pundits to the cuts over at Salon.) If you are in the U.S., I would also urge you to sign this Open Letter to Congress on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and to consider donating to them.

If I get started on all the implications of this conservative push, I will never stop, and I have other things to get to today, so I won't start. I will just say that these moments of U.S. history are the exact reason I do not admire the country and despise its tendency to think of itself as the Best Country of All Times; these moments also make me so, so glad I ended up not attending grad school in the U.S., because I hate the thought that the decision would have been read as, 'one more person really wants to move here because we're awesome!'. Canada is far from perfect, and France regularly does its share to make me ashamed they delivered me my passeport, too (and France also has a tendency to think of itselfsuper highly, which doesn't help). But this kind of bullshit reminds me of just how awful the rhetoric gets in the United States; it's so bad (and maybe more importantly, it's given so much visibility and credence) that it almost feels like a parody of what you can hear elsewhere in politics. Ugh ugh ugh. I wish I could hope that it's going to 'get better', but I feel like there's actually very little to indicate that it will. And the saddest thing, to me, as a French citizen, and as someone who may well end up a Canadian citizen? Both these governments think that emulating the U.S. blindly is a GREAT idea.

So anyway, as usual, this has ended up as more of a rant than I was hoping. >.> The worst part is I know I shouldn't even care or whatever, but I feel so angry and tired and disappointed on behalf of all of my awesome American friends who deserve better than this crap.

To finish on a more positive note, President Obama and his administration are apparently continuing to grow a spine! : the Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional. This is great news, although with limited effects for now, obviously; but considering court cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA are making their way through the court system right now, it's a huge step forward. It also sends a strong message in favor of marriage equality, which is also very important.

EDIT: I also recommend this Tiger Beatdown article by "Grizzili Fetus". Funny in that way that doesn't make you laugh really, because it's too right on target.
greenie_breizh: (political)
A few links before the weekend!

- A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt: I haven't really commented about the situation in Egypt because, well, I haven't really had time to comment on much, but also because I'm feeling super careful with this whole thing. I feel wildly unqualified to make any kind of statement or claim because I know so little about the situation, and I refuse to believe it's as simple as some (especially American) pundits and journalists make it seem. But anyway, at least that guide was helpful, I thought.

- "#DearJohn: On Rape Culture and a Culture of Reproductive Violence": A fantastic post over at Tiger Beatdown in response to Republican efforts to limit access to abortion and redefine rape.
But we’ve been talking about “forcible rape,” right? And how fucked-up that construction is, how all rape is based on a lack of consent and “force,” in the sense that you get beaten up, is just an additional crime? Probably everybody reading this blog knows that a lot of people don’t understand that principle. And they don’t understand it because we live in rape culture; so much sexual violence is normalized, and accepted, that it’s invisible. We can’t understand that it’s rape unless we also see physical injury, or a knife, or a gun.


- Maybe more important, head over to Daily Kos and read this post, which deals with the less visible aspects of the bill that the 'forcible rape' bullshit was part of. The core of it is here: "You're meant to recoil in horror at that redefinition. And if the bill's proponents are lucky, you'll spend all your time doing that. Because then you'll miss out on the fact that H.R. 3 is also the killing blow capping 30 years of consistent losses on abortion restrictions."

- Nothing new to most of you/us, but always interesting: Physiological impacts of homophobia. I wonder if they only ask LGB youth who have been bullied, or if they spoke to straight-identified youth who have been targets of homophobia, too.

To finish with three more light-hearted links:
- Pick-up lines for feminists, a wonderful poem. My favorite stanza is, "where have you been / all my life? / hopefully fighting / against oppressive / patriarchal systems."
- Why you should always pay your webdesigner.
- Comic creator gets back at Christian organization which used an image of his to lobby against sexual minorities.
greenie_breizh: (jon stewart <3)
I should be working (story of my life, ha) but I'm happy with how much I got done this morning so I'm going to take 10 minutes to write that post I've been meaning to write forever. First, some links! Wonderful!

- Black-Grrl Power: Willow Smith and Sesame Street: an article on black hair, started by the recent Sesame Street video featuring a black girl puppet singing about how awesome her hair is. It's a good article, and a nice reminder that racism takes forms that white people sometimes can't even fathom.

- Why Decriminalizing Sex Work is Good for All Women. It's kind of old news by now, but at the end of September, the Ontario Supreme Court struck down Canada's prostitution law (read news article here). Because it is likely to set a precedent, it's a huge step taken towards decriminalization (not to be mistaken with legalization!) of sex work in Canada. And in these Tea Party ridden times, that's almost unbelievably progressive and fantastic. So I'm just going to gleefully quote: "Whore stigma is one clue that anti-prostitution ideology is about more than just violence against women—it’s specifically about femininity. In this sense, arguments against transactional sex are a defense of both the gender binary and of heterosexuality. This is why men and transgender sex workers are invisible in prostitution debates. This is why changing laws is just the beginning, not the end, of a longtime struggle for basic human rights for sex workers."

- A post by Dan Savage on a manifesto written Episcopal Bishop John Shelby's decision to no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. More than this decision (which has positive and maybe negative sides), the reason I'm posting this is Bishop Shelby's words on "fair-mindness", which is a discourse currently used by media outlets to justify airing the views of profoundly homophobic parties: "In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people." This is an incredibly powerful statement, and a serious challenge to the way we tend to think about 'freedom of expression'.

- Two links (1, 2) to galleries of photos from Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in D.C. There are many signs amongst these that I feel ambivalent about, but there are true jewels in there, too, including this one, this one, this one, this one or this one. My all-time favorite, though, is this one which I found on Lemonde.fr (#5): "I masturbate and I vote (but not usually at the same time)." And then of course I have a special fondness for geeky signs. :) I have my ambivalence regarding the Rally (most of which has to do with the way that it idealizes moderation, as if this particular political stance - because it is one, whether people like it or not - didn't have its own problems, and consequently the way that rhetoric around the rally has tended to lump together right-wight extremism and left-wing radicalism, which I find infinitely problematic) but in the midst of all the Tea Party insanity absurdity, it does feel good to see people come out and point out the ridiculousness of people who embrace their willful ignorance and refuse to debate reasonably.

- And to finish, a link shared by [livejournal.com profile] shadesofbrixton: a sexual attraction chart. Very neat, not without its problems obviously, but I love the sheer complexity of it. :)

As usual, this has taken me WAY longer than I expected, so I'd better make myself some lunch and go back to the 200 pages I'm supposed to read before 4pm. Haha...ha.

EDIT: I forgot! I went to see The Social Network the other night - I went in being slightly unconvinced but I was truly blown away by the quality of that script. Great, complex characters and super tight dialogue, I did not see those 2 hours go by at all. What did everyone else think?
greenie_breizh: (political)
A friend just posted a really good, thoughtful post on her blog about why the "I like it on [insert place]" Facebook phenomenon is problematic. In a nutshell:

But facebook status promotional campaigns such as this not only do little in terms of helping the cause. They actually illustrate, even as they perpetrate, at least three things that are very, very wrong with American society:
  • The gendering, reifying, and branding of disease;

  • The oversexualization (and consequently, the trivialization) of women's issues and bodies;

  • The disinterested, low-risk, low-engagement psuedo-activism made all too easy (and commonplace) by social media.

The last point (about pseudo-activism) in particular I think is important to understand.

And since I'm talking about breast cancer, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month always bothers me, I'll link to another post that I find helpful to think through these issues: Why I boycott Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The central paragraph that summarizes why I feel uncomfortable with awareness campaigns and the way that they have been taken over by corporations.
My highly critical view of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is along the lines of Samantha King’s, who, in her book Pink Ribbons, Inc., “traces how breast cancer has been transformed from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship.” King maintains that corporations, under the guise of philanthropy, “turn their formidable promotion machines on the curing of the disease while dwarfing public health prevention efforts and stifling the calls for investigation into why and how breast cancer affects such a vast number of people.” I couldn’t agree more.
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
I took advantage of the fact that Allie was in Canmore with her parents for a few days to finish my second draft of my thesis, which was nearly 50 pages shorter! Success! Hopefully, anyway. Now I'm waiting for substantive comments.

Anyway, I mostly wanted to share an article, Policing Female Masculinity: Much Ado About Rachel Maddow’s Yearbook Photo! We have a tendency to jump the gun and say that masculinity is more harshly regulated nowadays than femininity, and an article like this one reminds us that actually, norms of femininity are still very much in place.

Also, a question for the French (or French-savy!) folks out there: quelle est votre crêpe végétarienne traditionelle préférée?


EDIT: Also want to link to this article on people (including Sarah Palin, who's decided to become a spokesperson for the cause or something) who oppose the construction of a community centre and Islamic prayer space near Ground Zero (note the NEAR, it's not even at Ground Zero itself). Benevolent racism drives me nuts, and I hate how much the far-right thinks they alone know what the true "American" reaction should be to something like 9/11.
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
"If you don't send your boyfriend naked pictures, I feel bad for him."
- Rihanna, in this interview.

I would add that if you don't send your girlfriend naked pictures, I feel bad for her, too. (Actually it's not true because it depends on what you're into and what they're into and all that, and that's really really important, but point is - there is nothing wrong with this practice as a whole.)

I have ranted enough, I think, about why I am ten levels of frustrated by the backlash that V Hudgens has gotten for engaging in what is commonly known as sexting. I get riled up very easily at the sexual double-standards that befalls women and men (especially in adolescence), but more generally about the kind of moral panic that so many people (especially in the U.S.) generate when it comes to talking about teens and sex. So I was really happy to listen to Dan Savage (in his Savage Love Podcast, episode 160) tear a new one to a male high school principal who suspended two girls from extracurricular activities for taking photos of themselves pretending to lick a penis-shaped lollipop during the summer, outside of school. The school was then sued by the ACLU on the behalf of the girl because this is, basically, bullshit. You should listen to Dan but here is his rant.

Who's bringing disrespect to the school? Who's creating a bad reputation for the school? Austin Couch, principal. Douchebag. [...] The most outrageous part of the story is - the girls were told that they could reduce their punishment by 25% (I don't know what that means) is they went to three counseling sessions and then appeared before aaaall the athletic coaches at the school who are aaaall men to apologize for their action. What this is really about, this whole story, this whole obsession on the part of principal Couch is the fear of female sexuality, particularly teen female sexuality, and the desire to punish and control and humiliate these girls for having any sort of sexual agency at all, for having any sort of desire at all, any sense of humor or play or - most appalling of all, this idea that they were in charge of or in the possession of any control of their own bodies, [...] that their bodies were their own and they could take pictures of them and post them on their own Myspace pages where only their friends could see them... this is really just another bit of evidence that the country and a lot of people in it have a problem with teen sexuality and in particular female teen sexuality and freedom and we have to fight these people, on behalf of these girls.


A+, DAN, A+.

Again I think there are some things to unpack there, it's not as easy and simple as Dan makes it sound. There are power dynamics between girls and boys in teen heterosexual couples that we should pay attention to, and different types of pressures that teens might be under to be more sexual than they feel comfortable being, etc. But I think the only effective way we can address these issues is if we acknowledge that most teens are sexual in one way or another, and THAT'S OKAY. By embracing this fact, we can take it seriously - we can educate and reflect and tackle problems in a much more meaningful and significant way than by pretending teens can be controlled and their sexuality restrained. By acknowledging teen sexuality we can talk about masturbation and deconstruct the fucking virginity myth and explore sex as a multiplicity of practices of pleasure rather than a single act of penetration and we can learn to embrace our bodies instead of being terrified and ashamed of them.

On that note, I have been so unproductive this weekend, but writing about things that matter makes me feel good, so whatever.
greenie_breizh: (badass women ftw)
A couple of months ago, my roommate introduced me to Sarah Haskins and Target Women, a little show that basically makes fun of media representations of women and how offensive they are. I liked it but I haven't had too much time to watch more. This morning I decided to give it a go with my breakfast and sure enough, I love it. Here is the one on cleaning:



If you liked that one, head over to current.com and search for Sarah Haskins or Target Women - there's a lot more there. :D
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
From Making Meaning of Relationships: Young Women's Experiences and Understandings of Dating Violence by Donna Chung (2007, Violence Against Women 13:12):

The findings suggest there are two related and noteworthy differences between the current generation of young women and the previous generations. First, young women now expect and feel pressure to be in an equal relationship that can lead them to present their relationship in ways that mask inequality and abuse. Second, because they see themselves as having equality with men, there is no reason why they should stay with violent or abusive partners; therefore, if they are living with male violence it can be viewed as an individual failing.
[...]
Female victims of male violence are constructed in two ways through young women's explanations. On one hand, they are responsible for the violence because they have not made good decisions about the men they date and "choose" to stay with them. On the other hand, they are vulnerable to being victims because they have low self-esteem or another personal inadequacy, which is why they continue to stay in the relationship.
Both explanations place responsibility on the woman and do not question the man's use of violence or consider his capacity for change. The study shows the continuing dominance of individualistic explanations that conceal male power and a woman's vulnerability to male violence, and focus on her responsibility to stop the violence. [...] This leaves gendered power relations relatively intact because they are invisible within these individualized explanations.


There's more in there, about how intrinsic heterosexual dating is to the performance of femininity for teenage girls, but to me the crucial point that keeps coming up over and over again is the way in which discourses that individualize actions at the price of almost all other narratives unwittingly perpetuate broader, structural patterns of inequalities. There's obviously something profoundly discouraging about the way that new discourses around gender equality have actually work to create extra pressure for girls (and presumably boys, too) rather than modify the foundations of how heterosexual couples are socially expected to relate to each other. (Which of course does not mean all straight couples strictly conform to the scripts, that would be far too simplistic.)

As a sidenote, I would be curious to use Chun's interview guide to have similar conversations with teenage boys, and see how they frame their dating practices and relationships with girls, and their own experiences of "casual" dating violence.
greenie_breizh: (Default)
I'm about to start invigilating an exam, so obviously I'm updating LJ. I love modern life sometimes.

Apparently this is a well-known video but I'd never seen it before, so I wanted to share: Dove Evolution, on how photoshop helps with setting unattainable standards of beauty.


Also I've kinda lost track of WTF exactly is happening in California around Prop 8 since there's a lot of legal subtlety going on that I don't really get, but from what I do understand, organizations are suing Prop 8 and people who put it on the ballot arguing that the proposition is not constitutionally valid. The point is that there's a judge that kicked ass last week by requiring the lawyer of the backers of Prop 8 "to explain how allowing gay couples to wed threatens conventional unions". This isn't the actual trial yet but I'm going to be SO HAPPY if the judge doesn't take BS and forces the Prop 8 folks to go and really justify WTF they're doing and why they're doing it.
greenie_breizh: (quality tv: dollhouse)
Spoilers for Friday's Dollhouse )
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
Vanessa Hudgens on the whole naked pics thing:

"It's just really unfortunate, and to this day people hate me for it, but it's not like I chose to put that out there in the world, you know? It's so aggravating and frustrating, and whenever anybody asks me, would I do nudity in a film, if I say that it's something I'm not comfortable with, they're like, 'Bullshit, you've already done it.' If anything it makes it more embarrassing, because that was a private thing. It's screwed up that someone screwed me over like that. At least some people are learning from my mistakes." (Source)

I can't stress enough how glad I am that she isn't apologizing all over the place. I've ranted enough about it previously, but I just wanted to say that. I'd actually love to have a calm, adult conversation with her about this whole scandal - and the assholes who are suggesting that having private photos leaked means you should have no problem displaying your body to the world. She seems to have a much more mature way of dealing with it now, which I can respect.

--

I feel for Caster Semenya - I am a woman with male chromosomes. An interesting Daily Mirror Chronicle by Sarah Graham that's a good overview of why it's not as easy as drawing a line between male and female. I continue to be appalled at the way just about everybody is dealing with Semenya, from the way people seem to think it's appropriate to discuss very personal medical info to the incapacity of grappling with the fact that even sex is a social construct. I haven't read too much, but I like that her family and friends in South Africa are not caring. So much for being the civilized, liberal one, Western culture, no?

--

Sinead's Hand: A cute video about same-sex marriage< from an Irish organization.


I've hit pretty much all my trademark topics so time to go watch Corbin Bleu on my TV. ;)
greenie_breizh: (badass women ftw)
Most of you probably haven't heard that Vanessa Hudgens (of High School Musical fame) had more nude photos leaked online last week. She had a first nude scandal a couple of years ago, and these new photos were taken before that first scandal, although the pictures themselves are older than the ones first leaked. Either way, she's underage in both batches.

As you can guess, she's getting slammed and called a slut by a number of people. Although she probably won't be making a statement this time around, she did last time: "I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me. I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos."

Several things about this whole scandal bother me:  )

That's it! Done ranting. Woah. Sorry if I'm a little intense and all over the place, but this has been bouncing around in my head for a few days now with all the reactions I've read really bothering me for the most part, so. It's been building up. ;)
greenie_breizh: (teh awesome)
Obama. Dude. STOP BEING SO COOL.

I can't even imagine how pissed social conservatives must be and that makes me gleeful. How does THAT feel, eh? 'Cause that's what it's been like for us for the past 8 years.

Now, awesomepants, next on the agenda (once you've settled in and gotten your staff some decent computers): getting rid of DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And then I'll have to put up a little shrine. (Unless you do stupid shit. So don't.)


Damn you for being so cool, now I have two Obama-related icons and I HAVE to make a tag for you.
greenie_breizh: (political)
We watched one of Stuart Hall's lectures tonight in class. Nothing ground-breaking, but beautifully articulate on issues of meaning-making and representation.

I also learned, not without surprise, that Stuart Hall is black.

It was funny - to realize I'd unconsciously been making that assumption we all tend to make, especially if we're white, because I've been reading stuff on LJ about cultural appropriation in writing and more generally white privilege and stuff, and it's frustrating, in a way, that I continue to make these assumptions. It makes me want to pay closer attention. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the things I've been reading:

I Didn't Dream of Dragons and the continuation, more specifically addressed to white folks. A few selected passages that really spoke to me:

Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination.

[...] Asking an author to write the Other with respect and assuming it to be sufficient, is like telling a person that being polite to everyone is sufficient in their goal of being an anti-racist ally. This is crap. Your definition of individuality, just like your definition of politeness is culture-specific.

[...] I distrust universalising statements proclaiming our inherent mutual humanity because they are uni-directional—they do not make everyone more like me, they make everyone more like you. And I do not want that.

[...] We are not used to throwing our abusers in jail after three strikes--we negotiate with our abusers being our bosses and television hosts and school teachers and peacekeeping forces and our clergy. When someone tells us we are wrong, we can't run away or banish them, we learn to live with them, and with ourselves.

[...] Decide whether you want to understand the critical lenses we use to deconstruct dominant narratives, and learn how to use them. This will probably be painful because it reveals feet of clay in dearly beloved books and authors. Is the cost worth the result for you? No one is saying there isn't still value in something offensive and flawed, but your line of tolerance may be different from someone else's. I found that, having once turned my critical reader on, I could not turn her off, and I am happy, on the whole, that this means that there are now books that I find unpalatable which previously I would have been able to enjoy.

(Also, frustrated because there was one good link that I can't find again. Will edit if I do.)


I also never got around saying on Tuesday just how fantastic it was to see so many African-Americans involved in the inauguration process, both in the proceedings and in the audience. I'm sure Obama will disappoint in some ways, but no matter what, he changed something big, and I can't help but smile at his image. Looking at this little girl's eyes, I feel like I won't ever be able to grasp the full extent of just how amazing it is that this biracial man is going to be everywhere for the next four years. (Not just him. All of them.)

Speaking of Obama and politics, much much win for his swift decision on Guantanamo (dude, he's left-handed, too? heee), and his support of Roe v. Wade today.

On that topic:
"I think what everyone ought to be interested in doing, whether they are or not, is reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies," Gandy told CNN. "Because if we reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, it will by definition reduce the number of abortions and reduce a lot of the pain and despair that has befallen women in these economic times, who cannot afford to enlarge their families when they don't have a job and they don't have a way to put food on the table for the kids that they have now."
THAT, yes.

To go back to Obama, how gorgeous is this B&W photo?

On this note, I will leave you with a beautiful photo and great moment. Not seeing / hearing about Bush anymore is going to be quite glorious, too.
greenie_breizh: (snuggle time)
Okay. So for some reason instead of jotting down the beginning of some notes for my Buffy paper I've been read these excellent (because funny) summaries of Twilight, with actual quotes! (As seen on TV.)

Well. Twilight has just turned into more than an idiotic, backwards book series. I'm officially terrified. This is an excerpt from the book. For real. (For those of you who are lucky enough to not know, the books are narrated in the first person by the female protagonist, Bella.)

Assault and all that good stuff. )


On a nicer note, I went to see Madagscar 2 tonight )

This reminds me, I can't remember if I said, but man, how much do I wish the people who made Wall-E had not felt the need to give Wall-E and Eve gendered voices. It would have been so awesome, had both their voices been neutral. They wouldn't be coded male, female, gay, straight. They would just be robots in love and we would have no words to talk about that story. I love the thought.
greenie_breizh: (everyday)
A couple of serious links for tonight:

Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly 3 about images of women in advertising - it's worth watching even if there are no groundbreaking points that are being made in there, and there's some funny. :)

The one quote I really liked was one when Jean was talking about the fact there's been a rise recently in images that objectify men, as well. And how sometimes that's used to say, look, men are treated just as badly as women.

The problem? Apart from the fact it doesn't happen with as much frequency, it is that the structure doesn't work the same for men and women. "There are no consequences to men for being objectified." The images that we circulate that perpetuate an image of masculinity as necessarily violent and unemotional have much more power, and are much more dangerous.

--

An interesting post, An exegesis on same-sex marriage, in particularly because it goes over the history of marriage as an institution.

--

And I'll throw a lighter link in there, Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon being adorable together. RL bromance FTW. :D
greenie_breizh: (identity)
I take liberal feminist education to share some core features of mainstream liberal education, with a central emphasis on a broad education that fosters freedom by developing autonomy. In doing so, the feminist variant would pay particular attention to encouraging the growth of autonomy among girls, and their capacity to choose roles and lifestyles rather than being forced to accept traditionally defined ones. (p.73)

Extract from Enslin, Penny (2003)."Liberal feminism, diversity and education", in Theory and Research in Education 1 (1): pp.73-87.


On Tuesday Karen Bradley, from Western Washington University came to do a talk entitled “Cultural and Structural Factors Affecting the Incorporation of Women into Systems of Higher Education”.

One of the things she was looking at is vertical and horizontal segregation: vertical segregation refers to the fact that women are confined to low-paying jobs, and horizontal segregation refers to the fact that they're limited to certain fields of work. One of the things that's fascinating about these two aspects of gender segregation is that the rationale of gender equality seems to have helped reduce vertical segregation, but not horizontal segregation, so that the male/female ratio at university for example is very unequal in fields of study that are traditionally gendered: engineeing, computer science (in favor of males), education, nursing (in favor of females).

One of the explanations she mentioned for this phenomenon is that our belief in gender egalitarianism has not been accompanied with a real challenge to gender essentialism: that is, the belief that men are 'naturally' one way and women 'naturally' another way. One reason for the fact that increase in gender egalitarianism in the general population doesn't mean an increase in gender essentialism is that legislating equality affects vertical rather than horizontal segregation.

Her main thesis was interesting - and provocative. She argued that norms of self-expression and the rationale of choice that are so popular (especially in North American cultures) legitimize our indulgence in gender-stereotyping.

So for example, our focus on the individual means that if a girl decides she wants to be a nurse and doesn't like math, rather than challenging that, we focus on the idea that she's making that choice for herself and that as an individual, she has the right to do that. Consequently we tend to disregard economic outcomes and the influence of gendered cultural ideas... Bradley argued this is all the more true since we allow teens to make choices for themselves at school at a moment in their life where they are the most sensitive to pressures of gendered expectations and most likely to make choices based on deeply-held cultural beliefs of gender essentialism.

In short, the valuation of choice and individualism in our society would be the very tool that allows for the perpetuation of gender essentialist beliefs, as they become concealed behind arguments of self-expression.

Now, I don't know if I agree completely with this idea, but it certainly resonates with what I know and what we have witnessed over the past few decades. It certainly makes sense in the context of heterosexism resonating so easily with a large percentage of the population, because heterosexist is rooted in gender essentialism. Anyway. I just wanted to relate the argument (not as well as she made it but hopefully fairly clearly) as food for thought.

It also really challenges liberal feminism as defined by that quote at the beginning of the post, since then emphasis on autonomy, unless it is actively accompanied by challenges to gender essentialist beliefs, would simply work to reinforce gender stereotypes in the framework of our society, rather than help liberate women.


Oh, and before I forget again: the grad advisor for our department, Gerry, is a browncoat! :D I was so happy to find out. On Thursday he briefly sat down next to me during the UGF and at one point turned to me and said "shiny!" with a knowing grin on his face. Just awesome.

Heterosex

Aug. 30th, 2008 11:49 am
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
Reading about heterosex and feeling a little down at how male hegemony is just so closely intertwined with the way we see sex - it's like even when we think we're in an egalitarian relationship where the woman is treated the same as the man, our accounts of sex reveal systemic inequalities. :/ I find myself wondering if it's possible to have non-hegemonic heterosex and the thought that maybe it's not is incredibly depressing.


"The way these activities were described, as in these two extracts, often represented her orgasm as something that she had as a result of what he did or gave her. In contrast, his orgasm, achieved through intercourse, was not typically framed as her giving – instead, it was something ‘we’ did together, or about where his orgasm took place. In these accounts, the man is represented as more active in the production of orgasm – both hers and his own – than is the woman. In this way, it is a subtle account of the relative passivity traditionally expected of women in heterosex (e.g. see Gavey and McPhillips, 1999; Gilfoyle et al., 1992)."

[...] "Numerous studies have pointed to the links between male sexuality and performance/competence (e.g. Gilfoyle et al., 1992; Kilmartin, 1999). It also points to how ‘saturated’ heterosexual reciprocity is with unequal status. If a woman’s orgasm is ‘given’ by a man, as it is in the discourse of reciprocity, men stand to gain positive identity positions (sensitive and unselfish) through this discourse. Furthermore, the caring, sensitive man partaking in reciprocal heterosex is also imbued with ‘sexpertise’ (Potts, 1998, 2002) – the competence to know how to meet the complex challenge of producing orgasm in the female body, as well as the more straightforward task of his own orgasm. Women’s ‘gift’, on the other hand, is recognized less as an active gift than as a taken-for-granted expectation. As such, the positive identities to be gained by women through the discourse are less clear (although the negative implications of not participating are clear)."

[...] "It is ironic . . . that the ‘enlightened’ male discourse, in which men take some responsibility for their partner’s pleasure, is yet another example of men abrogating power to themselves, as they take away women’s ability to be an independent sexual agent. (Gilfoyle et al., 1992: 224)"



(Extracted from Virginia Braun, Nicola Gavey and Katrhyn McPhilips, “The ‘Fair Deal’? Unpacking Accounts of Reciprocity in Heterosex,’ Sexualities 6:2 (2003): 237-261.)

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