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Posts Tagged ‘sexism’

this article really doesn’t say much about most of the issues we are concerned with here on GA, but this one paragraph is revealing. what i like about alternet is that it at least bothers to insert some feminist analysis into the news.

While the bill doesn’t come close to fulfilling the promise of the sort of universal, single-payer coverage favored by progressives, it will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, create access to health insurance to 32 million currently uninsured Americans. But the victory came at the expense of a further erosion of women’s reproductive rights, even as it proscribed discrimination against women in premium costs and gender-specific pre-existing conditions.

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Or, alternatively titled: “Making the Brown Sex Week 2010 Poster”

(This is a cross-post from the SHEEC blog/my blog)

My goals were that the poster:

  • Wouldn’t imply a certain relationship status
  • Wouldn’t be objectifying and just like any other ad on TV
  • Wouldn’t be heteronormative (and ideally not homonormative, either, which is…not easy to do–most images out there are very either/or)
  • Would simultaneously bring something “non-traditional” to the fore but NOT in a “LOOK HOW RADICAL I AM!” way or in a “LOOK HOW FREAKY THIS IS!” way
  • Would focus on sexuality and sensuality, but in a fun, not intimidating, fashion
  • Re: above, would also not be too explicit or obviously and “traditionally” sexual, so that it could have more interpretations (including “platonic” ones?)
  • Would reflect an air of inclusiveness
  • Would not represent people from just one ethnic group (and this was the hardest to achieve while still trying to keep to the other points; I resolved this issue by making the skin tones a rainbow)
  • Would not glorify a particular body type, especially one that corresponds to the dominant ideas of beauty in the media
  • Would be welcoming and attractive
  • Would hold all the text necessary!

The RESULT:

Thoughts?

Do you encounter similar situations when you have to do the promotional material for events? How do you feel about the world of advertising/promo in college and/or specifically at your institution of “higher learning”?

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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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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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Sixteen Candles

A few nights ago I sat down with my whole family to watch a movie: Sixteen Candles directed by John Hughes (who also gave us Home Alone and the Breakfast Club)

I don’t know what it was about this PG rated “sweet and funny” (Roger Ebert) teen classic; maybe it was the fact that when it came time for “the geek” to rape the beautiful, passed out prom queen, nobody gave it a second thought.  That when the “jock but actually a really nice guy” character says “I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. Shit, I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to,” it’s taken as a sign of his great maturity and sweetness that he doesn’t in fact violate her “ten different ways”  …rather than a sign that he isn’t a rapist and a criminal. That aforementioned Carolina clearly deserves to be raped, after all, she’s a beautiful cheerleader, and it’s about time the tables turned!

I won’t even go into the racism; suffice to say there is a foreign exchange student from China named Long Duck Dong.

If this is a PG rated classic, the kind of movie we show to twelve year olds, the kind of movie a whole family watches together on thanksgiving, the kind of sweet nostalgic movie taken as the antithesis of the violent, misogynistic, torture porn and regular porn and all the other garbage my mom finds so offensive…and it’s blatantly endorsing sexual abuse.

Well, I guess I already knew we lived in a rape culture…

Thoughts?

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Pre-existing condition of capitalism

Pre-existing condition of capitalism?

Feministing had a great post today about how health care reform is a feminist issue and it got me thinking to do a bit of research. What I found was that women are in need of a complete overhaul of our health care system and we need it now. Check out here, here, and here for more information.

It’s no secret that women’s health care is pricey and important. Don’t know how much a gyno costs? Ask your mom or a sister. I honestly don’t understand how we can justify forcing women to pay for their own health care, simply because women face health issues different from males, especially if we’re statistically less likely to be able to pay for it because we are often not paid (or not paid equally) for our labor. And let’s not forget that not only do our health care issues affect women disproportionately but women of color especially–women of color are twice as likely to have no health insurance and are more likely to receive late or no prenatal care. And of course our current health care for trans folks is even worse.

Also I hope you all checked out the 4 month year old who was denied health insurance because he was “too fat”. The fat phobia going on in health care these days is some seriously scary stuff.

It’s important in this time to remember that we are not too sick, too fat, too woman-y, too trans. On the contrary, we are ourselves, our existing conditions are the conditions of existence, of life. Instead our health insurance companies are too greedy, too cruel, and too powerful.

Remember, “the personal is political,” and for all those facing health care issues remember you are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with you–there’s something wrong with our system. Here’s to hoping our politicians wake up and we get some sort of public option and that we are not denied care simply for being who we are.

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PETA Save the Whales Obesity Billboard

Dear PETA:

Sometimes you have pretty cool campaigns.

Sometimes you miss the mark entirely and produce crap like this.

I don’t know who thought “YES, this is a great idea! Let’s use one of the most derogatory words for fat women and put it on a HUGE billboard and imply that women are whales that need to be saved from their gross obesity through vegetarianism (because only meat-eating women are obese)! This will entice people to become vegetarians! GENIUS!”

No. You fail.

And “trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”?

Really? Really, PETA?

I’m not even going to go into their implications that ceasing consumption of meat equal healthiness (because that’s just not true) and that the differences between skinny/fat and vegetarian/omnivore are all caused by the meat or lack thereof in people’s diets. Jeez.

————–

PETA’s press release:

Jacksonville, Fla. — A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose “blubber” is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom and features the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. The meat habit can ruin the fun in other ways too. Consuming meat and dairy products is conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer — not to mention higher rates of infertility in women and impotence in men. And not only is following a healthy plant-based diet good for the environment, it is also the best thing that anyone can do to help stop the routine abuse of animals raised and killed for food. Animals on factory farms are subjected to mutilations like debeaking, tail-docking, and branding (without any painkillers) and are often slaughtered and dismembered while still conscious.

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

This makes me cry inside. Actually, it mostly just really fucking pisses me off because this body-shaming shit really needs to stop. Implying fat women are whales and that they’re covered in blubber and just…augh! I’m tired of people producing trash like this, especially after hearing stories (or witnessing them) about women whose in-laws didn’t accept them and even tried to sabotage their marriage because they (the women) were obese and “unworthy of [the in-laws’] son.” I’m tired of seeing girls whose diaries constantly talk about their weight and how they need to lose 20 pounds NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ACTUAL WEIGHT. I’m tired of the food-diaries with “today I ate 10 grapes, 2 Fig-Newtons, and a Jell-O cup.” I’m tired of the girls who are unhappy because they never manage to be “skinny.” I’m tired of people talking SHIT about others because they’re fat, speaking like they have a right to insult them just because of their weight and body shape. It’s not fucking okay.

And I realize all these examples were female-oriented, and I acknowledge that obesity and body-shame affect everyone to some degree, but I’m just speaking for myself and what I’ve been seeing lately. And, to clarify, I’m not tired that these situations exist–more like the REASONS WHY they exist. I’m not blaming the victims of fatphobia. The opposite, actually. I’m tired that people are made to feel unworthy, unlovable, unattractive, and ashamed. THAT’S why I’m tired of seeing these situations repeat themselves constantly.

I originally posted this on my personal blog, but everything after the PETA press-release is new text. This ranting is a result of looking through my journals from when I was younger (1996-2003) and being appalled at how much I mentioned weight. I spoke to a friend about it and she had the same issue, but a hundred times worse. I at least was fairly happy with myself most of the time? Ugh. I’ll probably post about the “findings” from reading all these journals. They’re really weird, considering the person I am now.

Anyway. I blogged more extensively about my thoughts on PETA and their advertising campaigns. Feel free to check it out here and comment if you wish. I posted this entry because it was much shorter and less pic-spammy than the one I’m directing you towards. ^_^

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