"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Can't Believe it's Not PETA

This is fucking horrifying. HUGE trigger warning:

David Kiefaber from AdFreak writes:
Dutch non-profit Animals Awake takes a page from PETA's playbook in this disturbing spot by getting festish model/Playboy Playmate/sexy vegetarian Ancilla Tilia to strip naked. But then the ad gets, well, Dutch, and the poor girl is gutted like a trout by some dowdy fisherman. The point is to discourage stripping fish while they're still alive. Similar consideration, we're sure, should be given to Ms. Tilia. But as PETA so often does, Animals Awake muddles the message here in the delivery. Gutting a fish, even while it's alive, and killing a human being in a room full of people just aren't the same thing. Animals Awake has a worthy message to relay, but it could do so without all the gimmickry.

The only thing I have to add to this is to make the point that in a world where women are constantly and systematically objectified and victimized, ads like this are completely and utterly inexcusable.


Jezebel: Meet Ponyo, Hayao Miyazaki's Latest Girl-Friendly Film

Kiss My Black Ads: Because you're not worth it: L'Oreal found guilty of racism

Grace the Spot: The Grass is Always Greener... (or bush, more accurately) --Thanks, Erin!

Feministing: Venice Gets its First Female Gondolier

Bitch Flicks: Misogyny Still Reigns at the Box Office

Title IX Blog: Title XI Doesn't Cover Discrimination Against Female Football Player, Court Rules

Womenstake: Just Released: Gains and Losses for Women in 2008-09 Supreme Court Decicions

Echidne of the Snakes: There Were Cavewomen????

Muslimah Media Watch: Sarkozy to the Rescue! France, Burquas, and the Question of Choice

Monday, June 29, 2009

Away We Go


This film was completely lovely from start to finish. The women totally stole the show, too. Maya Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Carmen Ejogo, and Melanie Lynskey were fantastic.

I don't want to spoil anything, but there's this scene -- with Verona and Burt (Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski) lying on a trampoline under the stars making promises to each other about how they will raise their soon-to-be-born daughter -- that made tears just roll down my cheeks.


SEE THIS MOVIE. And check out Melissa Silverstein's interview with Maya Rudolph about the film at Women & Hollywood.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


No idea if it will be really good or just another cheesy biopic, but Mira Nair and Hillary Swank could make a great team:

My guess is that Swank's version of Amelia will be a little less kitcshy and lingo-y than Amy Adams' portrayal in Night at the Museum 2:

Friday, June 26, 2009

As Seen on TV:

A few days ago, AdFreak posted this commercial for Kush, the "breast-support sleeping aid" that "makes everyone feel good":

Maybe the real reason these women are experiencing discomfort is that they're trying to sleep in tight, low-cut, lacy corsets.

Seriously, though. I would like to know from readers - is this a legitimate problem that needs correction? Being somewhere between a C and D cup, I have never for a moment felt that I needed extra support between the girls while I sleep, but I wouldn't want to negate anyone else's experience. Frankly, it just seems like a total sham to charge $55 for a rubbery plastic cylinder to stick in there. Thoughts?

My Earliest Michael Jackson Memory:

Captain Eo, the 1986 3D film at Disney World, which I saw on my visit there when I was five:

Pop: A Fabulous Child's Story

(Updated to add link to the Lois Gould story. Thanks, Malta!)

Each quarter, my students read Lois Gould's 1972 short story, "X: A Fabulous Child's Story", in which fictional parents raise their fictional child without naming its gender so that it can grow up without internalizing gender stereotypes.

That story was written in 1972, but it seems that a pair of real parents in present-day Sweden have decided to try the exact same experiment with their child, who is, for the purposes of the article, called "Pop":

Pop’s parents, both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child’s parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.

Pop’s wardrobe includes everything from dresses to trousers and Pop’s hairstyle changes on a regular basis. And Pop usually decides how Pop is going to dress on a given morning.

Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop.

“I believe that the self-confidence and personality that Pop has shaped will remain for a lifetime,” said Pop’s mother.

LOVE this. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for these parents to constantly explain to people that they choose not to disclose Pop's sex, but it makes me smile to think that this child has made it to age 2 and a half without ever having to hear from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers about how little boys or little girls are supposed to be and think and feel and behave and have to try to figure out which mold to conform to. It won't be so easy once Pop is exposed to lots of other kids and media influences, but until that point, I totally don't see any reason why kids have to be so identified by sex.

The rest of the article gets annoying by introducing a psychologist concern troll who feels it necessary to explain that there are "natural" differences between boys and girls, as if it could ever be possible to separate out social influences and know about such differences with any certainty:
Pinker says there are many ways that males and females differ from birth; even if gender is kept ‘secret,’ prenatal hormones developed in the second trimester of pregnancy already alter the way the child behaves and feels.

She says once children can speak, males tell aggressive stories 87 per cent of the time, while females only 17 per cent. In a study, children aged two to four were given a task to work together for a reward, and boys used physical tactics 50 times more than girls, she says.

First of all, 87 per cent is not 100 per cent, and 17 per cent is not 0 per cent, which tells us that there is more than one way to act like a boy or a girl. If you separate out genders in a study in order to look for differences, your biased ass will probably find them. Secondly, nothing about these studies proves that any of these differences are natural and not related to gender socialization. I can't imagine what citing these studies could possibly have to do with parents' decision not to associate everything in their child's life with pink/blue, doll/truck, and vagina/penis.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When Love Means Doing His Laundry:

I can't get enough of Vintage Ads lately. They're just too entertaining.


Caption reads: "He wears the cleanest shirts in town ...his 'Missus' swears by TIDE!"


I was at a week-long training session for a volunteer gig all last week (more on that later) and dropped the ball on the link love. Time to remedy that, though.

Muslimah Media Watch: There Will Be Blood: Neda Agha Soltan's Post-Mortem Image in the Media

Racialicious: Timing is Everything: Nicholas Sarkozy Defends Women's Rights By Restricting Them (A lot of folks have been writing about this issue lately, but Wendy comes the closest to explaining how I feel about it in this post.)

flip flipping joy: fluency and coalition

My Ecdysis: It's A Boy, It's a Girl

Trans Group Blog: Trans men may be butch but they're not (usually) butches

The Rotund: I Could Go Out Tonight: The Morrissey Dilemma

Feministing: Advice for a Baby Feminist

Bitch Blogs: Pride Worldwide

And in TV News:

Sociological Images: Canada's Next Top Model "Breaking the Mold" or Same Old Same Old?

The F-Word.com: Jessica Simpson to host "The Price of Beauty"

Women & Hollywood: Finally - A Woman of Color Joins the Summer Lineup

A Blog of Our Own: Some feminist thought from Roseanne

Female Game Characters: One Size Fits All

"Obama Girl" cruises the E3 Expo to ask attendees the question, "Who is the hottest girl in gaming?" The series of images in this clip demonstrates perfectly how women are typically portrayed in games. Most are depicted with completely unrealistic, oversexualized proportions and barely-there clothes, and those who are somewhat less porntastic, like Ms. Pac-man and Princess Toadstool, are still highly feminized and shown in poses that are less than powerful:

Another Vintage Ad

Just for Katie, who loved The Nipple Bra so much and showed an interest in Latisse:



Monday, June 22, 2009

The (sexist, ablelist, homophobic) Art of the Comedy Roast

The morning radio show I occasionally listen to had "insult comic" Jeffrey Ross as a guest this past week, because he was advertising his upcoming shows at a local comedy club. Ross is apparently well-known for his presence at Comedy Central's roast specials, as well as a short stint (meaning he was the first contestant kicked off) on a season of Dancing with the Stars. He wasn't on the air very long before he was completely pissing me off with his sexism and homophobia. Here's an excerpt from his interview with the D.C. Decider, in which he uses pretty much all the same jokes he used on the morning show I heard. I was going to put the really offensive stuff in bold, but changed my mind when I realized that would be most of it. Just read for yourself:

Decider: Out of all the people you have roasted, who has been the best sport?

Jeffrey Ross: Everyone I’ve roasted has been a great sport. The only person that ever came after me was Penny Marshall. It all started when I roasted her ex-husband Rob Reiner. I said, “What was your wedding song, ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?’” I saw her at a roast two months later and she attacked me. Luckily I’m a black belt in karate.

D: How did she attack you?

JR: She headed toward me in a drunken rage. So, I made a joke. I said, “Which one were you again? Lenny or Squiggy?” Of course, they escorted me out the back door. Occasionally a roastmaster needs to get out of Dodge.


D: Or you can roast the whole cast of The Hills. That works, too.

JR: Oh boy, I’d rather bang the cast of The View. Seriously, though, Spencer Pratt? That guy is adorable. He’s like Lance Bass’ retarded nephew.

D: Miley Cyrus.

JR: Well, I’ve got a good story about Miley Cyrus. My nephews begged me to take them to see Hannah Montana, but it was sold out. So I took them to see Hannah New Jersey.

D: How old are your nephews?

JR: They are 6 and 12. They got a couple handjobs in the lobby on the way out.

D: Okay, here’s one for you to roast—Lindsay Lohan.

JR: You know what? Lindsay is a friend of mine. I feel like she’s gotten a raw deal. So, Lindsay, wherever you are, I hope you find love, and, uh, I hope I can watch.

D: Amy Winehouse.

JR: Oh my God, she is the greatest. She makes Courtney Love look like Mother Theresa.

D: Paris Hilton.

JR: The Hilton sisters. How great is it that two sluts are named after a cheap motel?

D: Oprah Winfrey.

JR: Oprah. You don’t mess with Oprah. She has enough money in her left pocket to have me killed.

I guess the thing that angers me the most is that he makes it quite evident that the best way to "roast" a woman is to (1) attack her femininity/fuckability, (2) sexually objectify her, or (3) call her a slut. Someone needs to send him a memo that relying on the basic tenets of sexism to insult women does not make one a comedic genius.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another slap in the face for female gamers:

The print version of the well-known gaming magazine EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) folded earlier this year, and rather than a refund for their subscriptions, its readers have just begun receiving issues of Maxim instead.

It seems that this first replacement issue comes with a note letting subscribers know they can opt for a prorated refund instead of more issues of the not-completely-nude-but-still-smutty men's mag, but this option means little, since they've already sent a message to each and every one of their female subscribers that their only important readers were dudes who like boobies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


stuff white people do: get interested in black skin whenever summer comes around

Haunted Timber: All Your Labels Are Belong to Us

I Blame the Patriarchy: Spintster aunt perceives misogynist billboard

Plain(s)feminist: Fat and food politics for breast cancer survivors

"Smart Moms": When descriptive marketing becomes prescriptive

Next week is Father's Day, so the sale ads stuffed into the Sunday paper are full of ads for tools, polo shirts, cologne, bar accessories, and electronics for Dads. But what caught my interest in this week's Target ad, after pages and pages of Dad-defining messages, was this page that mentioned Mom:


The caption reads, "smart moms know our prices are low", above a variety of images of pharmacy-type items, cosmetics, pet food, and diapers, which sends the message that (1) moms are the only ones who buy these items or (2) only moms are price-savvy and care about savings. Since neither of these things are true, I find it rather irritating when marketers invoke the ubiquitous "mom" in order to sell products. While they may be operating under the assumption that it's usually moms who are buying these products for their families, they implicitly reinforce the idea that moms should be the ones with this job, or that moms are somehow intuitively equipped (through their special mom-"smarts") to fulfill this task best.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day

Taking us all back to a time when nipples were fashion accessories:


The caption reads:

Now you can have the sensual no-bra-look while wearing a bra.
The look is so provocative, no one would believe you're actually wearing a bra, yet you get all the support you want.
Our exclusive braless-look-bra is the very first bra to have its own built in nipple. Imagine having that sensual cold weather look all the time. It is so sexy, it'll give your shape a whole new eye-opening dimension. The bra is available in beige, white, or black. It's made from lined sheer nylon trimmed with daisy lace. Sizes 32, 34, 36. The bra is machine washable.

Didn't anyone ever start to wonder why these women's nipples were ALWAYS hard? And what if their real nipples (realistically probably located somewhere a bit lower than the bra's) ever poked through, creating a quadruple effect?! Horrifying.

I find this whole thing especially funny, since, while shopping recently, Katie and I were making fun of these bras with built-in "modesty panels" that provide extra padding so that the nipple will never make an appearance. Times sure have changed.

Anyone want to bring this look back?

(Via the Vintage Ads LJ Community)


Jezebel: Why is it So Difficult to Defend Sarah Palin? (The commenter quoted in this story is me!)

Shakesville: I Write Letters

Women & Hollywood: Political Sidenote

Womanist Musings: Congratulations to Thomas Beattie In Spite of "The Views" Transphobia

The Apostate: Six Feet Under, Feminism, and Rape

DAMSEL: Mazel Tov American Girl

PhD Comics: Grooming Vs. Time in Grad School

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Afrospear: The Only Black Family on the Titanic

The Rotund: Dear Bravo and The Fashion Show,

glaadBlog: Chaz Bono Comes Out as Transgender

My Ecdysis: The Great Wall of Mainstream Feminism

black girl blogging.: Why Not Call it Terrorism?

abyss2hope: Need Nominations (as in for the next Carnival Against Sexual Violence)

CRAFT Blog: Bedazzled Tampon Finger Puppet


I told my best friend Katie today that I felt like the ability to quickly share items on my Google Reader was keeping me from blogging. As a step toward remedying that, I'm going to try to start linking to those items here in addition to just sharing them with the two friends who follow me in Google.

So here's a taste of what I've been read today:

Alas, A Blog: Equal Vocabularies: Why we need the word "cis", and a new word for "normal" weight

Questioning Transphobia: Healthy adult gives birth to second healthy baby

Sociological Images: White Privilege and the Trouble with Homogeneity: The Black Oreo Barbie

Womanist Musings: Beauty Boot Camp

Pizza Diavola: Gender and Chef-ing

Transgriot: Here We Go Again - Chill With the "It's Black People's Fault Prop 8 Passed" Meme

Kiss My Black Ads: Chicago-Lake Liquors rhymes with Embargo Fake N...

Jezebel: Questions About the High Fashion and Domestic Violence In Lady GaGa's Video

Muppet Newsflash: Beaker at the Webby Awards

Cute Overload: Powered by Ambien

FailBlog: Cake fail

Feel free to drop links to what you've been reading and writing in the comments section!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Read this post:

Stuff White People Do: only care about "gang violence" when it hits white people
So this becomes a story about the shocking invasion of supposedly safe suburbia. But again, this isn't just a story about people in general who've arrived at a cozy rung on the American class ladder, is it? It's really about white people who've done that; it's a safe bet that if non-white people who've done that were to lose a son in the exact same way, Good Morning America would not be in their spacious kitchen interviewing them.

To illustrate that the story being told here is also about race, that it's really all about race, imagine if a black child of black parents in that same neighborhood had been killed in this same way.

Would his story be covered by Good Morning America like this? I doubt it.

Would it even be covered at all by Good Morning America? I doubt that too.

Never mind asking if Good Morning America would cover an inner-city black or Hispanic or Asian American child's violent death with this same wide-eyed concern, and this same heart-tugging music. We know that'll never happen (though I do hope that someone will provide a link to a GMA video-clip that proves me wrong).

I am sooo glad macon d wrote about this. I never watch Good Morning America, but I DVRed and watched it on Monday to try to catch the segment with Marianne Kirby from The Rotund (which ended up getting bumped to as yet unspecified date), and I ended up seeing this instead. A totally tragic story, to be sure, but the way GMA frames it says a whole lot about how we think about race and class in America. Go read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Target Women: Story Time

(Update: If you're reading through Google Reader, it seems you have to click through to see the video.)

I am so glad Sarah Haskins is taking on some of these ridiculous commercials. Brilliant, as always:

Ugh. And I'm also SO glad I have never had the privilege of catching one of those milk commercials on TV.

Quote of the Day:

"Life without TV is borderline camping." -Jorge Garcia

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feminists on TV

This past week, Jezebel came up with a list of 20 Feminist TV Characters. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to the list:
Almost all of them are middle class. Many of them are educated and somewhat socially awkward. A lot of them are either nerdy, or have nerdy pasts, and can be annoying. But unfortunately, all of them — including the animated ones — are Caucasian. Worse still, only three of the females listed below are characters on shows currently on air.
Not to mention that a lot of the characters are portrayed in problematic ways, like being depicted as man-hating or as comic foils to more important chauvanist male characters.

But the list is still fun to read. It warmed my heart to see Roseanne and Elyce Keaton from Family Ties on the list. And the best part about the post is the comments thread, which is bursting with more suggestions for feminist characters. If you take away the (somewhat rigid) requirement that they actually talk about feminism or identify as feminist, television somehow becomes a lot more promising. Also, see Aviva's additions to the list at Fourth Wave. She comes up with five more TV feminists, three of which who are women of color.

UPDATE: Melissa Silverstein at Women & Hollywood has more.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wyomingers Welcome Here

My Google Analytics data tells me that this site has had visitors from all 50 U.S. states... except Wyoming.


I realize it has the lowest population of any state, but it still makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong.

Hysteria, Thy Name is Woman

Over the last couple of months, I've been DVRing old episodes of 90210 on SoapNet, and as I'm reliving just how addictive the show can be, I'm also seeing the show in a whole new way through feminist consciousness. For example, when these episodes aired 15 years ago, I never would have noticed how anytime the show depicted a troubled or hysterical suicidal character, that character was always, always female. Male characters had their irrational anger flare-ups from time to time, but never anything like this:

Granted, I've only made it halfway through Season 4, with six more seasons to go. I'll let you know if the trend changes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Antifeminist Childhood: "Get in Shape Girl" Edition

Okay, so I have to admit that I totally forgot this even existed until I was reminded by this Feministing post:

And now I'm flooded with memories of my weights, ballet bar, sweat band, legwarmers, and cheesy narrated cassette tapes. I'm pretty sure I played dress-up with the accessories and never actually worked out. But the ballet bar really came in handy when my brother and I wanted to play "see how far we can smack the kickball with the ballet bar" in the backyard.

71st Carnival Against Sexual Violence

I just noticed that my "Sex Type Thing" post made it into the 71st Carnival Against Sexual Violence, hosted over at abyss2hope.

I always get the carnival via my feed reader, but I've been remiss in advertising and linking it. Go check out all the great posts! I'm proud to get included among them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Katie Couric Kicks Ass:

In regards to being selected as the first female Class Day speaker at Princeton, Katie Couric had this to say to the graduating class of 2009:

But, actually, I do have a bone to pick with you. I have discovered I am the first female Class Day speaker in Princeton’s history. OMG, WTF [Thanks for the LOL]

All these years, and only one woman? Now, I understand this isn’t Lilith Fair and there are plenty of great men out there…… but you actually asked Bradley Whitford of the West Wing BEFORE you had a woman? I understand the concept of casting a wide net…but great women like Madeline Albright, Sally Ride, Mother Teresa, Ellen Degeneres all bested by a fake political advisor to a fake president!? And then you had Stephen Colbert, a fake TV anchor? Actually, Stephen could be a REAL anchor…with just a little more product in his hair! I must say, I’m shocked you didn’t invite Doogie Howser this year, a fake doctor and graduate of Princeton Class of 83. Or maybe you did, but he was too busy on the set of “How I Met your Mother.” Or as we call it, My Favorite MILF.

So, I’d like to officially welcome Princeton to the 21st Century. You’ve embraced the female gender at the perfect time…because it’s been quite a year for women.
Love it.

(Via Women & Hollywood)

I learned something new today about trans issues:

And I learned it here:

The New NJ Trans Driver License Regs: A Step Forward, If You Can Afford To Take It
-- by Rebecca Juro over at the Trans Group Blog

Seriously, if you're not reading Trans Group Blog, TransGriot, Whipping Girl, and Questioning Transphobia, it's time to get with the program.

Feel free to leave links to other blogs that discuss trans issues in the comments section.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Men Get All the Good Lines

Out of 100 movie lines, I count only nine uttered by women. Anyone with editing skills want to create a new video in response?


I was waiting until I could find the commercial on YouTube to post about this, but since it hasn't shown up, I'll just go ahead and say it.

What the fuck are "inadequate lashes," and why are they being presented to us as a medical problem in need of doctor-prescribed treatment?

How can eyelashes, of all things, be "inadequate"?