Archive for December, 2009

You know you’re on vacation when you’re spending your nights eating batches of vegan brownies and watching television till 2am.

Truth is, I watch all the ooewy gooey romantic movies that are on the television, and what’s worse, I’ll watch them over and over again. It’s not simply a guilty pleasure. It’s a bizarre addiction that’s probably worse for me than the brownies, btw I’m a fan of this recipe.

Short Term Effects:

  • Warm fuzzy feelings that make you want to curl up in a blanket and say “Awwwz”
  • Boredom temporarily dissipates
  • Strange hopeful feelings followed almost immediately by a sense of loss, loneliness and hopelessness

Possible Long Term Effects:

  • Library of useless pop cultural references and allusions
  • Romanticizes possibly unhealthy relationships. Isn’t it weird how we’re all supposed to love that man who has treated us like shit, the man who attacks, insults, and generally sucks? Unsuspecting woman knows he’s terrible, mean, and worth hating, but oh wait LAHVE! Ex 1, Ex 2, Ex 3, Ex 4, Ex 5, Ex 6, Ex 7
  • Proliferates the long term view that life is only about relationships, especially if you’re female
  • Further establishes that in order to be beautiful you have to be white, skinny, probably rich, and heterosexual oh and you should probs be dating somebody pretty damn similar.
  • Speaking of heterosexual, heteronormativity up the wazoo

I feel like this is something we’ve talked about a lot. We all seem to agree that we’re basically fed lots of media that affect us in various mostly negative ways, and yet at the same time I don’t really know what to watch. I guess the answer might be stop watching television and read. But you know books are just filled with all the same love plots. So my question is what are your recommendations? Sure a gal can read some fem theory now and then, but I need something to relax with, to feel warm and fuzzy and indulgent with my brownies. What are your favorites? And more importantly how/is it possible to envision a love plot that doesn’t suck? I’m open to anything, books, movies, music, whatever.

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The racial politics of Avatar

If Jake’s attraction is primarily sexual, it has to be interpreted through the historical White fetishization of women of color. From the slave masters’ midnight visits to the contemporary exoticization of Asian and Black female sexuality, women of color have served as the leading figures of White sexual fantasies.  In this context, when Jake Sees Neytiri (undeniably, a woman of color), how do we know that he isn’t just seeing a hypersexual body that he can use for his own pleasure?

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A podcast, by Gary Francione

although i do not like this deep manly man voice giving all this wisdom, i wanted to share it anyway. thoughts?

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Crossposted at Vegans of Color


Parahumans only vaguely exist at this point. They remain embryo’s grown, destroyed, and harvested for stem cells. Some how a scientist mixing human dna with animal dna is not the ethical conundrum that growing a 100% homo sapiens embryo for harvest is.


Have you heard of H.R. 5910? It was introduced by Christopher Smith (R) of NJ to the House on April 24, 2008. It never passed the House. It is also known as the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2008. An identical bill was introduced into the Senate this year. Bobby Jindal has signed passed an act that prohibits the creation of such hybrids in the state of Louisiana with a 10, 000 dollar fine or 10 years in jail.


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A group of Israeli feminists recently gathered at the Western Wall to pray and protest cultural and legal clothing restrictions.  A ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court made women wearing the tallit punishable by a fine or jail time.  Women who have worn the tallit in public have faced verbal and physical persecution.

WOW was founded in 1989.  The members are devoted to promoting the inclusion of women in various Jewish practices such as; reading from the Torah, wearing the tallit and kippah, and laying the tefillin during services.

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Did you know Gender Agenda has lived for more than a year?! We’re awesome!

And now a song about us:

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This is part of an essay that I wrote for my Domestic Violence class, that I’m a little proud of… This is a segment of it, I tried to put it in context, but I think it’s still pretty accessible. Let me know if you want to read the rest or need more explanation, I apologize for the dense Irene-is-writing-a-paper mode. I’ve been thinking about the battle between masculinity and femininity a lot lately, and I think this whole conflation of science with truth with masculinity is one of the main reasons femininity is so shit upon. This class has definitely made me appreciate my feminine side a whole lot more. Here goes:

Murray Straus conducted a survey in the early 1980s that was scientifically “objective” (it had a HUGE sample, quantitative research, etc.), measuring the rate of abuse in U.S. American families. It posed questions asking the recipient of the survey the frequency of certain acts of violence, for example “I slapped my partner” or “I forced my partner to have sex when they were unwilling” with the options “never” to “more than 20 times”. The survey was flawed in many ways, however, notably (a) that it did not include any qualitative research, (b) that it assumed that surveyees would answer questions such as the former honestly and with no inner conflict, (c) that it did not take into account whether the partner was acting violent in self-defense and (d) that it did not take into account the severity of violent acts when asking questions like “I punched my partner” (i.e. we do not know if that means the partner then took a step backwards, or the partner then fell backwards through a plate glass table requiring a trip to the emergency room). The survey concluded that “family violence” is as commonly directed from men to women as from women to men. Once the results were published to the news media, with phrases like “we should be worrying about battered husbands!”… thousands of battered women’s shelters lost funding.

The clout of science in our society is immense—in this way it is impossible for even supposedly “apolitical” research to not turn political. We saw how Murray Straus’ “apolitical” and “objective” research was ultimately a political tool to many who dismissed feminist work in domestic violence. I believe it is unreasonable to think that a person can publish any social science research as “fact” when even the “harder” sciences such as biology are being politicized for theories like evolution. Even if we assume that objectivity is possible within the lab, there is no predicting how subjectively and politically the study will be received outside the lab. Yllo points out that “The assumption that observation and data can be divorced from theory (and values), and that the natural and (even more problematic) the social world can be objectively studied, is at the core of the debate”. It is my opinion that the data you collect and how you collect it cannot be divorced from your politics and values. I believe objectivity is not possible; it is merely an ideal that bolsters the findings of men.

The problem is that our society ascribes value only to objectivity and quantitative research. Feminist research is slandered in the male-dominated science world by means of attaching the labels “subjective” and “political”. These subtle attacks on feminist research must be exposed for what they are—that is, misogyny. Only then, I think, will quantitative and qualitative research be able to live in harmony. I do believe that quantitative research has some value and can help to observe patterns. But I do not believe that it can bring infallible truth without reinforcement from qualitative research.

In my life, feminism has revealed much more for me about the nature of humanity than science has ever “objectively” put forth. However, the difference between the two, according to our mainstream society, is that science is “fact”, while feminism is “biased politics”. To me, science lacks the self-consciousness that feminism contends as essential to a good study. I think either (a) you acknowledge your politics and how they shape your research or (b) you pretend you don’t have politics and they shape your research anyway subconsciously. The issue, to me, is transparency. Scientists that moon over objectivity refuse to believe that their experience of the world could have shaped their research even slightly. And this is how domestic violence stays invisible.

The power of science in our society is in that it establishes truth. If science does not acknowledge domestic violence, then domestic violence does not exist. Domestic violence is a phenomenon that is impossible to observe in its entirety without qualitative research. Thus, the two research methodologies of quantitative and qualitative must come together to legitimize domestic violence to our society. The first step to getting rid of a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Our society is in denial, and it is not until a combination of forces brings visibility to domestic violence that our society will admit that domestic violence is a problem. Science can bring that visibility.

p.s. This is also me trying to start a conversation about domestic violence here, but not knowing where to begin.

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From this NYT article:

In the popular 1966 book “Feminine Forever,” Dr. Robert A. Wilson, a gynecologist, used disparaging descriptions of aging women (“flabby,” “shrunken,” “dull-minded,” “desexed”) to upend the prevailing idea of menopause as a normal stage of life. Women and their physicians, Dr. Wilson wrote, should regard menopause as a degenerative disease that could be prevented or cured with the use of hormone drugs.

“No woman can be sure of escaping the horror of this living decay,” Dr. Wilson wrote. “There is no need for either valor or pretense. The need is for hormones.”

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This dude is scary.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Let’s Cure Gay Hate Instead", posted with vodpod

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…unless you’re an illegal immigrant.  According to the Houston Chronicle, some Houston charities are requiring that parents show photo identification/proof of citizenship before their children get toys:


“Those who do check immigration status or other qualifications say they are trying to ensure they make the best decisions about whom to help.  ‘We want to be good stewards, so the people that are donating to us trust we’re going to do the right thing,’ said Sonya Scott, manager of care ministries at West Houston Assistance Ministries.”

As Christopher Hitchens likes to say: Actually, sunshine, we’ll be the judge of that.

Actually, Ms. Scott, when I put my pocket change in that little red bucket outside of Stop & Shop, I don’t earmark it for white, U.S.-born kids.  And I’m sure there aren’t many donations to your organization that come with terms of use.  There aren’t some needy kids who deserve a moment of happiness more than other needy kids.  I put my money in because I’d like all of them to benefit from the generosity of charities like yours.  Ok, I also like hearing the guy ring the bell.  But it’s mostly the first thing.

Finally I’ll say that for me, when generally virtuous organizations adopt policies of racism, classism, and xenophobia it really feels like a hostage situation.  You can’t feel great supporting them anymore, and for obvious reasons you can’t feel great boycotting them.  It’s plain manipulation, intentional or not.  And it’s the worst kind of betrayal when community organizers manipulate and marginalize those in their own community.


UPDATE: The article also accuses the Salvation Army of participating in the discrimination.  A rep from the organization later said that they only require SSNs to prevent fraud.  A couple of other organization made similar statements.  What do you think?  Legit or bullshit?


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