sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
Trigger warning: rape, rape culture, sexism, racism

In “80 Books No Woman Should Read,” [] Rebecca Solnit says, “I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means.”

Those who listen to popular music at all, know this is true of music also. In her sensitive essay, “Hear him Whip the Women,” [], Stacy Parker Le Melle ponders the Rolling Stones’ song “Brown Sugar”:

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sasha_feather: "The heroine's achivement of autonomy and self-actualization was the point of the narrative" (heroine)
Content note for discussion of cursing, violent language, rape culture.

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sasha_feather: Furiosa at night (Furiosa at night)
I tried to watch the film "RED" the other day but turned it off just a few minutes in. The protagonist Frank, played by Bruce Willis, is shown to be a super-capable ex-CIA agent. He has a flirtatious relationship with Sarah, whom he talks to on the phone, played by Mary-Louise Parker, and he makes vague plans to meet her in Kansas City. Killers invade Frank's home one night, and he has no problem deftly dispatching them.
discussion of creepy tropes )
Does anyone know if this trope has a name? It is super gross and annoying. It is hard enough having boundaries in life and saying no, and telling people to buzz off, etc, without stories like these which present positive portrayals of abusive situations.

Contrast to Mad Max:

spoilers )

comments welcome
sasha_feather: a fox curled up around a rabbitt (fox and rabbit)
Last night a friend and I re-watched "Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home", also known as "The One with the Whales".

Why this is a feminist film:

this post contains spoilers for a 1986 film )
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
I will keep watching this, but I have mixed feelings about the pilot episode.

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Top Five

Dec. 27th, 2014 01:11 am
sasha_feather: Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz holding a gun looking tough (hot fuzz)
Top Five, written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, rated R, 2014

This is a tightly written film about a comedian named Andre Allen, who reluctantly agrees to do an interview with Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson). They spend the day together talking as Allen does press for his new film and attempts to handle his reality-star fiancee (Gabrielle Union). There are lot of threads and characters, deftly handled, as the two wander around New York. They discuss addiction and recovery and Allen takes stock of his career, which is at a turning point.

This film has a lot going for it-- fun cameos, a lot of honesty from Chris Rock's character, and good pacing. However I cannot recommend it to my friends, and here's why.

There are two major sex scenes in the film. They are both disturbing and yet played for laughs.

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Chris Rock seems to be savvy to a lot of issues, particularly involving race and snappy dialog, but he fails on this one.

Zuko I am disappoint!
sasha_feather: Avatar Kyoshi from avatar: the last airbender cartoon (Lady avatar)
Attempting to post more. Thinking about weight / size politics under the cut.

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sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Not sure if I should post this locked or unlocked. I'm putting myself out there a lot with this post-- please don't link w/o permission.

Content note: discusses harassment/bullying and responses to it.

Learning to recognize harassment - general thoughts )

a wiscon story )
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
I read the long article in Buzzfeed about misogyny in the atheist and skeptic communities, written by Mark Oppenheimer:

Will misogyny bring down the atheist movement? (content note: harassment, rape, gas lighting, etc).

This is a pretty thorough article, although there are some odd writing and editing choices in it. For instance, blogger Watson has her appearance described, although no one else does. Male privilege is mentioned nowhere. A quote given by a man, in reference to hate male, is pictured next to a woman, making it look like she said it.

There are many good points, though, and a lot of good background, such as the fact that the skeptic movement attracts libertarians. Some of the community is there via magic debunking, while others are there via ivory-tower science, and people who come from social justice areas don't necessarily have a lot in common with those folks.

In talking about this on twitter, a friend pointed out that people in geeky, alternative communities are used to feeling embattled, so are resistant to attempts to change their behavior (a geek fallacy-type observation). Also, sometimes assholes make good activists because they focus on one goal to the exclusion of all else, and steamroll other concerns, which is sometimes a needed thing but also causes many problems.

Although the article covers many incidents and problems, the main reactions I've seen are to this one guy Shermer (who seems like a gross individual). I am apparently in an argument with a friend's spouse over on Facebook. UGH, people are fools.

After the Shermer article: what do you decide? A call out to the community.

The Shermer Allegations: some considerations for those to whom this is a nasty shock

I should say that I am not a member of these communities and have no idea who these people are; I am mostly interested in this because of the patterns of harassment and reactions are similar to what happened in my own community, and are happening everywhere it seems.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
I said earlier on twitter that I hate the internet meme-speak that goes, "you're all fired for not telling me about" X thing.

I could probably write hundreds of words about why I hate this phrase, some of which have to do with how I was fired and how horrible an experience that was. Some of which have to do with guilt, and entitlement, and how instead we should be supporting each other.

I'm going to skip over that and say: thank you to all my friends, acquaintances, and internet strangers who alert me to cool things. Thank you to those of you who post reviews, recs, and anti-recs of media in your journals and on Twitter or Facebook or Pinboard or anywhere else. Thank you to those of you who maintain and moderate communities, web sites, and blogs such [community profile] fancake and Geek Feminism. Thank you to people who run fan works challenges. Thank you to those of you who code, or work on anti-spam, or tag wrangle for these websites that I use and love. Thank you to people who help run conventions.

You're not hired, or fired, because most of you do this for fun-- without any kind of material compensation. I don't consider it your job to tell me about something that I could, after all, look up myself (but it would take a ton more time, and I might never find that awesome fic!). You do this to contribute to your community, and because you feel passionate about the things you like and love, and I appreciate and value that.

Just so you know, I would never fire you. ^_^
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
I am angry lately! Anger can be good, but also exhausting. I got into a tiff with Saeed Jones on Twitter earlier this week, and I am still upset about that. He is a popular Twitter personality, and LGBT editor for Buzzfeed. He was mocking women at the Met Gala on the red carpet. I criticized him for it; he said "The exit is this way." (I also made a storify.)

I guess I have high expectations for public LBGT figures. He's anti-racist, so I expect him to be feminist. I expect feminists to be anti-racist. I expect intersectionality from people. It doesn't happen.

I admit I might be wrong about the particular issue: criticizing famous women/the way they dress on the red carpet. But I don't think so.

I can see where people might think it's "punching up" type of comedy or making fun to snark at these women and their dresses, because they are actresses, musicians, etc, and they have a relative amount of money and power compared to the rest of us.

But women don't have power in the entertainment industry compared to men. Men hold the power there and as a feminist I want to support women who are trying to make it in Hollywood.

I also love women, so you know, it's fun to just like looking at women in pretty dresses, you know? I don't enjoy cutting them down.

sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
I said something tonight which seemed to surprise my friends, and now I feel the need to talk about it a little, so I'm laying it out here: I don't believe in the "obesity epidemic." I mean that I really don't believe it exists.

My essential reading for this is a 2005/2006 scientific article:

The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic? Paul Campos, et al. International Journal of Epidemiology.

Selections follow, but I suggest reading it all. It is scientfic, but readable, and a fantastic article that states the claims the claims the medical/scientific communities have been making, and swiftly knocks them down. For example:

Claim #2: ‘Mortality rates increase with increasing degrees of overweight, as measured by BMI.’—WHO, 2003 (p. 61)2

This claim, central to arguments that higher than average body mass amount to a major public health problem, is at best weakly supported by the epidemiological literature. Except at true statistical extremes, high body mass is a very weak predictor of mortality, and may even be protective in older populations.

Claim #4: Significant long-term weight loss is a practical goal, and will improve health.

At present, this claim is almost completely unsupported by the epidemiological literature. It is a remarkable fact that the central premise of the current war on fat—that turning obese and overweight people into so-called ‘normal weight’ individuals will improve their health—remains an untested hypothesis. One main reason the hypothesis remains untested is because there is no method available to produce the result that would have to be produced—significant long-term weight loss, in statistically significant cohorts—in order to test the claim.


The authors also speculate on social and political factors contributing to this moral panic:

In particular, organizations like the International Obesity Task Force (which has authored many of the WHO reports on obesity) and the American Obesity Association (which has actively campaigned to have obesity officially designated as a ‘disease’) have been largely funded by pharmaceutical and weight-loss companies.

Moral panics are typical during times of rapid social change and involve an exaggeration or fabrication of risks, the use of disaster analogies, and the projection of societal anxieties onto a stigmatized group.47,48

Public opinion studies also show that negative attitudes towards the obese are highly correlated with negative attitudes towards minorities and the poor, such as the belief that all these groups are lazy and lack self-control and will power. This suggests that anxieties about racial integration and immigration may be an underlying cause of some of the concern over obesity.49–51

Previous work indicates that moral panics often displace broader anxieties about changing gender roles.49,53 While this hypothesis deserves further research, a recent advertisement that ran in a major American newspaper suggests that this may be at play in the obesity panic. This advertisement blames ‘30 years of feminist careerism’ for an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes: ‘With most mothers working, too few adults and children eat balanced, nutritious, portion-controlled home-cooked meals.

However, other works suggest that some portion of the population's weight gain can be attributed to smoking cessation,56 which runs counter to the assumption that the country's weight gain is evidence of both moral laxity and a harbinger of declining overall health.
[bolding mine]


Jul. 8th, 2013 11:39 am
sasha_feather: "subversive" in rainbow colors (subversive)
1. Dustin Hoffman gets choked up over Tootsie. Interview from 2012, clip at the Mary Sue.

"I have been brainwashed."

2. I enjoyed this NY Times Magazine piece about a man who reinvented himself after getting fired from two famous rock bands:

A Rock and Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero
sasha_feather: "subversive" in rainbow colors (subversive)
The "Ehrmagerd" meme needs to die.

Perhaps it is making fun of the way certain disabled people talk, in which case it is mean-spirited and ableist. Perhaps it is making fun of Valley-girl speech, in which case it is misogynist and still mean-spirited.

I am not humorless: I love memes; I just think they work best when pointing fun at those in power, not those who already lack power. In other words, I don't like it when humor is use to reinforce existing oppressive structures.

Feel free to link this post.

Loved this

Mar. 7th, 2012 03:41 pm
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
It's from 2008

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
sasha_feather: Legend of Korra promo  (Korra)
Feminist Films that I Love: a hopefully continuing series
#1: Legally Blonde
#2: Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch (2002) is my favorite Disney film because of its strong story, excellent characters, humor, and themes. I was inspired to rewatch this film after downloading kuwdora’s VividCon vid Love Letter. It is the only Disney animated film I’d call a feminist film without hesitation, and that is largely in comparison to the other films I’ve seen, that rely on heterocentrist tropes and narrower definitions of family than this film does. But rather than tear those films down for their flaws, I’d rather concentrate on what I love about Lilo and Stitch:

--Found family. One of my favorite tropes! Stitch explicitly learns about family. "O'hana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten." I love how he learns from The Ugly Duckling

--Bodies: We see a variation in bodies, human and alien. I especially love the scene where Lilo looks at her wall of people photos and says, “Aren’t they beautiful?” She has pictures of all kinds of people on her wall. If you look at the way Nani is drawn, she has big, powerful legs, and relatively small breasts. Image at IMDb Nani, Lilo, David, and Mr. Bubbles are all people of color. We see bodies in action-- Nani runs a lot, uses tools and carries things; all of the family surf; David twirls and breathes fire; Lilo hula dances; and also there is hugging and singing. Stitch is constantly in motion, climbing, destroying, playing a ukelele.

--Domesticity. This in particular reminds me of Miyazaki films, which I’ve also been consuming lately: images of the house and household tasks, laundry, cooking, toys, books. This may be a far-out adventure tale, but it is one that takes place at home. And fighting! When Lilo and Nani fight, it is domestic and familiar. The way this film integrates science fiction with the everyday familiar is really quite remarkable.

--Lilo and Stitch are similar characters: destructive misfits, both in need of socialization, both in need of security, belonging, and love. Neither of them fit in, but they find family with each other.

--I like how everyone tries so hard in this movie, and yet still sometimes (often) they fail. That feels so true to life. Nani is trying as hard as she can but still failing. David and Lilo, and even Pleakley and Jumba, all characters trying really hard but still failing. Sometimes life just does not go your way.

--Consider the women/girls/female characters: starting with the grand Councilwoman, stately, imposing, this woman gets shit done. Lilo and her so-called friends, who are cliquish and catty just like I remember from my own elementary school days. Nani, who is responsible for a home, a job, a family, and who might like to have a social life sometime; who is desperately trying to keep her little family together.

--This film is feminist not only because we see women and girls doing a variety of things and getting to be realistic people, but also because we see male characters getting the same treatment: not having to conform to stereotypical male roles. Mr. Bubbles the social worker; David, the earnest friend with the surf board; and the male aliens, only one of whom (Captain Gantu) is ever villified. Pleakley seems kind of queer to me.

--It’s also worth pointing out that Stitch is a research project, thought to be a monster by his society, totally thrown away by people who were supposed to be responsible for him. I like what the film says about him, I like that Lilo is the one who sees something in him, one outcast to another, one lonely person in need of a friend. A movie about platonic friendship like this is often about male bonding or a boy's journey, but in this movie it's about a girl and a monster. And I like what the film is saying about science here, or creation-- what we create is out of our hands, unpredictable, autonomous. What do you get when you've created a monster? Maybe not a monster at all.
sasha_feather: black and white image of female general (lady general)
[Make up your own question!]
Women-Centric vids that you love

Around the Bend by [personal profile] danegen. A VividCon premiere this year. Multifandom.

Super sexy and awesome vid of women and their engines, women driving and flying, many women together, both fannish sources and real life images, current and historical. I love the song which was totally unfamiliar to me. A very empowering vid that cheers me up every time I watch it.

Ladie's Night by [ profile] counteragent. Multifandom.

A fun song with women dancing and having fun, and some images of men being impressed with them. What makes this vid stand out is all the unusual sources: His Girl Friday! Legally Blonde! Ugly Betty! Scrubs! Dr. Quinn! Along with some more "conventional" fannish sources. Two of the sources were movies I found kind of skeevy for one reason or another (True Lies and What Women Want), but this is the sort of vid that reclaims such movies for me, takes the source, cuts it up, analyzes it from the female gaze, turns it into something I can enjoy.

One Girl Revolution by [ profile] arefadedaway. Multifandom.

Women are awesome, fuck yeah. A gorgeous, stunning vid with tons and tons of sources. No power in the 'verse can stop me. I watch this one a lot.
sasha_feather: "subversive" in rainbow colors (subversive)
Day 15 - A vid (by someone else) that has defined a con or period of time for you

I have a crap memory for time, so not an easy question for me to answer. I'm going with On the Dance Floor (Too many dicks) by [ profile] sloanesomething. Star Trek reboot. A critique of gender representation.

This vid had just been posted when I attended Think Galacticon in Chicago in June 2009 (a leftist political SF convention). I was pretty hyper during that con, doing a lot of rapid personal processing in a relatively safe space, and it's weird to look back on that. I'm glad I had the con as a place to do that kind of thing. I remember excitedly talking about this vid to anybody that would listen. I still love this vid! It is great! And bascially, you know, nearly every Hollywood movie is like this-- I think it was [personal profile] coffeeandink said it is 5 men to every woman on the silver screen. Since my life is about 8 women to every man right now (yes, even at work), it's really weird to see so many men in my myths, especially because I am not very interested in men myself at all.

The vid has been talked about a lot:
Political Remix Video
A remix of the vid done to video game footage: Feminist Frequency

(eta; i forgot to unlock this earlier; now it is unlocked!)
sasha_feather: a head full of interesting things (head space)
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability by Susan Wendell
206 pages
Routledge Publishers

If you are at all interested in Disability Studies (DS), read this book. I felt like I had a kind, clear teacher and friend leading me by the hand through basic and advanced concepts in DS, especially relating to feminism and ethics. It is the most accessible and worthwhile academic text I've ever read-- I don't have a good track record for reading non-fiction books or textbooks, and I was riveted to this book. Partly this is because The Rejected Body speaks so directly to my own life experience as a person with a chronic illness. Susan Wendell also has a chronic illness, ME/CFS, which is what led her into DS from Women's Studies.

The chapters are as follows:

Introduction: she tells you what she's going to tell you, talks a bit about her own illness experience and finding disability identity, and--making me fall in love with her--clarifies her language use by, in part, defining scare quotes and why/how she uses them.

1. Who Is Disabled? Defining Disability
2. The Social Construction of Disability
3. Disability as Difference
4. The Flight from the Rejected Body
5. The Cognitive and Social Authority of Medicine
6. Disability and Feminist Ethics
7. Feminism, Disability, and Transcendence of the Body

My favorite parts:

*The pace of life as part of the social construction of disability. Those of us who need to think or move more slowly are thus disabled by society.

*Her use of the word "phemonenological". OK I just barely know what that means from my one philosophy class in college, but, swoon. I have been thinking about embodiment lately, brain-body duality vs. integration, and chapter 7 really gave me some grist for this mill. I am going to re-read it shortly, especially the section on pain. Basically, feminists have argued against mind-body duality for very good reasons: because it's been used against women's bodies. We've been invested in "Our Bodies, Ourselves". But for bodies that are suffering and in pain, there are reasons to want to transcend the body, and there is room within feminist frameworks to develop this. *mind explosion*

*The illusion of control. For PWD, we know that we do not have control of our bodies, and it is sheer luck that determines what happens, a lot of the time. Will I be in less or more pain today? Will I get some new illness? I have basically no control over these things, and I know it. And yet the society I live in is incredibly invested in the illusion of control to the point where it is part of the mythology of my country and my people, I think. As Wendell points out, this puts me at odds with the people around me, even in casual social situations where people talk about small health problems or things to do with their bodies. It's a disconnect.

There were so many other things that I am probably forgetting. I wanted to underline everything. I will definitely read this book again. I read it slowly to give myself time to process everything I was reading, but overall it's a fairly short and accessible book, just densely packed with great information and ideas.

Incidentally, one book she cites fairly often is Cheri Register's Living with Chronic Illness. My review of Register's book, post is from 2008. Most of her other citations are books/works I'm unfamiliar with.

P.S. I would love to discuss this book with people!
sasha_feather: art image of woman pilot (lady pilot)
I am doing that thing where you try writing the post you've been thinking about forever, in favor of not ever writing it. This post is about how Legally Blonde is a really wonderful feminist film. I've seen it many times and love this movie.

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair. 2001.
Witherspoon plays Elle Woods, president of her sorority at CULA, looking forward to getting engaged to her boyfriend Warner Huntington III, and majoring in fashion design. Her plans change when Warner dumps her for "someone more serious" and she decides to follow him to Harvard Law School and win him back.

This movie is funny, delightful, and surprising at every turn. Just when you think, oh, horrible sexist film (based on the marketing or basic story), it turns out to be a clever feminist story with very witty writing and sharp performances. Elle makes mistakes but they are the kind of mistakes that give her a steely resolve. She expects to find friends in her peers at law school, who turn their noses down at her, so she instead finds friends and allies in places you might not expect, across age, class, and gender divisions. It passes the Bechdel test easily because it focuses on Elle's career, several female friendships, and her general struggles and triumphs; her relationships with men are secondary. And yet it also acknowledges the existence of sexism and sexual harassment: there is an incident at her job that nearly causes her to quit, her co-worker is also casually mistreated in this same workplace.

There are a couple of things I would change. There are not many people of color in this film, particularly at the law school or CULA. There are gay people in this film (I am happy to say), but they do play up the stereotypes pretty strongly for the sake of a plot point or a laugh. The story also falls into the Victorian trope of coming-of-age story in which the heroine must end up with a man at the end. Sure, it's a good man, a kind and respectful one, but still, can't Elle stand alone at the end? I would like the movie better if she did.

The main impression this movie has made on me as a feminist is that it celebrates someone is what we might call "high femme", who embraces everything pink, is really into fashion, shoes, makeup, and celebrity gossip magazines, who is conventionally attractive (and cares about looks), loves her sorority, and has a little dog she carries in her purse. My own coming-of-age journey, finding my own identity as a woman, has largely been about rejecting these things and making fun of them. I am not highly femme, I resisted and still resist a lot of markers of femininity, and with that resistance came a certain derision of those who chose to participate in them. Growing into adulthood as a woman and a feminist has been about reconsidering this stance and respecting other people's choices. And this is what the film does for me. Elle is serious, smart, and powerful. She is a strong woman, a sympathetic one, a relatable one. I identify with her and cheer for her even when I am mystified by her love of pink sparkles and sororities. She is unapologetically herself, and that is something I want to be. Be yourself. Own who you are.

There have been a couple of moments in my life that I call "Legally Blonde" moments, where I encounter some woman who is perhaps blonde, very beautiful, probably petite, probably very femininely dressed. And so I automatically discount her a little, think that she and I have nothing in common, classify her in my head as someone I am not interested in getting to know. And then later, I am surprised, because it turns out she's a scientist or something else I find really cool, and we have many things to talk about. There was one woman in school with me like this, who told us she'd been in a beauty competition before coming to grad school. I had that reaction. How can she be serious, if she'd been in a beauty pageant? But she was very serious and smart. Society trains us to discount things that are coded as feminine. It is one of the strange looping side effects of misogyny. Because sometimes women are into these things (and only rarely are men into these things), we therefore think they are unimportant, frivolous, beneath our attention, just like women themselves.


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