On the (Rest of the) Net.

Race and online dating. [Jezebel]

Hermione the heroine. [HuffPo]

Jezebel also writes in praise of “The Women of the Harry Potter Universe.”

Tavi Gevinson on growing into her beauty:

“I could pretend to be an archetype of a feminist superhero and say I never want to be a conventionally attractive person. But, while I have so much respect for the people who can say that truthfully, I’m not there yet… I admit to the basic human desire to be attractive…

“Maybe I liked my face. Is that not okay?” [The Style Rookie]

If the DSK case has taught us anything, it’s that “any deviation of the victim’s life from the concept of the ‘perfect victim’ is exploited and becomes the focus of attention, as has happened to the DSK victim. Ever had a drink? Been to a party? Been a little bit late to a meeting? Lost your temper? Tried to fight back? Lied to your friends about what’s going on in a relationship? Forgiven someone? Posted a Facebook photo of you hugging someone? Well then clearly YOU ARE A DRUG-ADDLED VIOLENT SLUT BITCH and that necessitates a billion more hearings to talk about how VIOLENT and SLUTTY and DRUG-ADDLED and BITCHY you are.” [Think on This]

Still with Strauss-Kahn, Bob Ellis airs his always controversial, archaic and small-minded misogynist thoughts on the “honeytrapping” of “good men”. [ABC The Drum]

“When Rape Victims Lie.” [Sasha Said]

And this wraps up the DSK portion of the program:

“… I have no sympathy, empathy or even good thoughts for Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Not just because of the rape accusations but also because of his betrayal of the socialist ideals he was supposed to uphold as a prominent member of the French Socialist Party. His ideals that went through the drain when he accepted to become head of the IMF, one of the most subjugating, neo-imperialist institutions imposed on the Global South.

“And now, of course, there is no longer a case against him. However, and this is where I’d like us to focus, there is no longer a case because, it is claimed, the victim lied on issues unrelated to the rape allegations. Let that sink in for a second: a woman who is an asylum seeker/refugee, who hails from one of the poorest countries on earth (where the IMF played a big role in promoting the prevailing poverty and economic hardships that afflict her homeland) was found to have lied in order to get on with her life.” [Tiger Beatdown]

Jokes about Casey Anthony: too soon? [Splitsider]

“So you want to move to New York?” Here are the realities. Not as grim as you might think, yay! [Yikes Machine]

“The World Map of Useless Stereotypes.” If they’d reduced the space allocated for New York, they might have been able to include Australia. Oh yeah, maybe they were playing up the stereotype of us being the forgotten continent of sorts. [Jezebel]

The Lion King promotes homosexuality? And nine other “crazy things” that have come out of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s mouth. [Think Progress]

Elitism in the public school system. [Persephone Magazine]

If global gender equality was represented by the FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup, this is what it would look like. [Jezebel]

Ten life lessons, according to Ja Rule. Hilarious! [Thought Catalog]

“If I Were a Girl,” also on Thought Catalog, is equal parts poignant and insulting. Interesting to get a guy’s point of view on what it would be like to be a girl.

Read what happens when “a teen… calls the Westboro Baptist Church” to talk about feminism! [Jezebel]

Waking up to the Leiby Kletzky murder crime scene. [Jezebel]

Sleazy News of the World-esque journalism has a place somewhere, right? [Gawker]

“Penis shaming.” [Rachel Rabbit White]

On “Writing Race.” [Zero at the Bone]

More on the should-we-tell-little-girls-they’re-pretty debate. [The Beheld]

Part two of Camilla Peffer’s “In Defence of Women Behaving Badly.” [Girls Are Made from Pepsi]

Men in crisis: “Digging deeper into modern Masculinity.” [Rachel Rabbit White]

Images via The Style Rookie, Buzzfeed.

UPDATED: Skinny-Shaming VS. Fat-Shaming.

This is a post that is constantly evolving, as the skinny- VS. fat-shaming debate is always growing and changing. Below, a snippet from Kim Powell’s News with Nipples, in response to Bob Ellis’ take on the ADFA sex scandal, which I linked to last week:

“The belief that women’s bodies are public property is all around us. News websites and tabloid mags are filled with body policing—’evidence’ of a baby bump, boob jobs, nose jobs, a hint of cellulite helpfully circled and ridiculed, weight gains, weight losses, muffin tops, what a ‘real’ woman should look like, skin and muscles in motion decried as freakish, etc etc. (My personal belief is that if you’re going to enlarge a photo of a thigh in motion and hysterically scream ‘See! Cellulite! Here! Here! This woman’s body is disgusting!’ then you need to include exactly the same photo of your own thighs. Fair’s fair. Sure, there are people who make a living from their bodies looking a certain way, but we all know the magazines insist the photos are digitally altered so frankly, they can fuck right off with their body policing.)”

More on this to come next week.

*

I originally wrote this article in December last year in relation to my mum and her weight problems.

Now, I’m updating with a comment my friend April posted around the same time:

“My mum is faced with the same skinny-shaming as yours. She gets called anorexic all the time. She has always been thin. Her bones have always been visible. And although she is of a rather small stature, her average weight of 42kg is well below the normal weight range. However, my mum doesn’t have an eating disorder or even a problem with food (if you don’t factor in her aversion to vegetables!). My mum put on quite a lot of weight when pregnant with me, peaking at a size 14. That is the biggest she’s ever been and it took a toll on her poor skin. The fact she has stretch marks or even wrinkles that have come with age do not affect her self esteem anywhere near as much as people pointing out her weight (or lack there of!). I don’t know if it’s ever brought her to tears but I have witnessed her get angry about it. There is only so much judgment we can take. My mum still has a womanly figure, with child bearing hips and thighs that touch. It’s what she’s been given and she’s learnt to live with it. But when it comes down to it, if people ever actually saw a real anorexic they would definitely see my mother’s au natural body in a different light.”

I’ve met April’s mum before, and can’t say her size was the first thing I noticed about her. Then again, I’m used to tiny mums!

But on the weekend I went to a part at April’s auntie’s house, which her mother also attended. Some comments about April’s mothers’ weight I overheard prompted me to republish this post, with an added musing: JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT COMMENTING ON SOMEONE’S FAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY OTHER NEGATIVE COMMENTS JUSTIFIABLE. If you don’t have anything nice to say (like, “You look great” or “Wow, you’ve got a lovely shape”), don’t say anything at all.

*

My mum is very thin.

She wasn’t always, though. In her late teenage years and early twenties, she was quite overweight. Dare I say, borderline obese?

Now, though, she’s tiny. At 52 years of age (and about 47kgs on the scale), she struggles to put and keep weight on.

She is constantly told how skinny she is by friends, family and even people she’s just met. If she were heavier, do you think people would be drawing as much attention to her weight; at least to her face? I doubt it (with the exception of the media if she were a public figure).

Why do people feel the need to objectify and vilify thin women—using their weight as a weapon against them? Is it because it’s un-PC to do so with a fat person? Because they’re jealous? I would tend to lean more towards the former.

I have received this treatment myself, and while my body is nowhere near the slight size of my mother’s, I do try to take care of it by exercising. And to offset the fattening effects of my sweet-tooth indulgences. (The other day I ate a whole block of Cadbury Top Deck. And another whole block the following day!)

I wasn’t always the size I am now, either. (Truth be told, however, I have always hovered around a size 12; now I’m just more toned and lean towards a size 10.) In high school, my weekends usually consisted of sitting on the couch watching Friends and Will & Grace and eating. I led a very sedentary lifestyle back then; the difference between me then and me now is the fact that I exercise to counteract hours spent at the desk (okay, I won’t lie; it’s usually the couch!) blogging, or evenings spent chilling out with some books, magazines, blogs and TV.

So what gives people the right to blatantly draw attention to a small frame to the inhabitant of that frame? Don’t get me wrong; inhabitants of a larger frame have attention drawn to them all the time. But we usually have the decency to not do it to their faces. I don’t know which is worse; personally, that kind of thing is water off a duck’s back to me. Because I come across as cold, aloof and feeling-less, people think I have emotions of steel and they can say and do anything they want to me. I can take a lot of shit, but people like my mother can’t. People pointing out her pin-thinness is a sore subject for her; it’s not like she wants to be that thin.

I think it comes down to a similar school of thought that slut-shaming belongs to. And that seems to be that women who sell their bodies out to succumbing to the ideal shape or to receiving sexual pleasure are at the mercy of ridicule from others.

In this day and age, we’re learning to accept the curves of a larger woman (but only as large as the advertising and magazine industry displays as acceptable). But when can we learn to accept that women do take care of their bodies, and shouldn’t be singled out for doing so. More importantly, though, when will we learn to accept that some people really just can’t put weight on, and they shouldn’t be targeted as succumbing to the narrow beauty ideal presented by society. Much the same way as overweight people shouldn’t be targeted for not succumbing to it.

Thoughts?

[News with Nipples] Bob Ellis & Believing You Own Someone’s Body.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] On the (Rest of the) Net: 6th May, 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] UPDATED: Skinny-Shaming VS. Fat-Shaming.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Body Image: Skinny-Shaming VS. Fat-Shaming.

Images via Holy Taco, Losing Weight Zone, Pink Sheep of the Family.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Porn star Stoya Tweets, “If you think pubic hair on a woman is unnatural or weird, you aren’t mature enough to be touching vaginas.” You go, girl!

Beware hot baths in winter: they can cause heart attacks!

Celebrities and mental illness.

I was absolutely disgusted by Bob Ellis’ take on the ADFA sex scandal on ABC’s The Drum Unleashed, comparing the unconsented filming of a young female cadet during sex to the girls discussing last night’s date on Sex & the City. Here are some choice excerpts:

“Let us imagine the girl agreed to be filmed, and then, afterwards, being mocked for it, and flabbergasted by the number of leering hoons who saw the film, made the complaint. Would that then occasion the sacking of her commanding officer, the court-martial of fifteen or twenty of her fellow recruits, and the bastardising of her lover?

“… She would have been mortified. She would have cursed for months the prurient observers of her bed games. She would have railed at them in the canteen. She would have sobbed on the phone to her mother. She would have attracted some sympathy. She would almost certainly have got over it… And she might… have married the boy.”

“… They, and we, should be careful when we attend too closely to what occurs in a bedroom consensually, and how we punish either participant.

“… Is the young woman, moreover, to be named, and acclaimed, and promoted, and hereafter entrusted with frontline command on some field of battle? Who would trust her in any high army position? Who would be sure she was truthful? Or sound of judgment? Or loyal? Or reliable under fire?”

To end, he makes sure we know that group sex didn’t occur, “as it sometimes does in traveling footballers’ motel rooms”, as if that somehow makes it okay.

Kim Powell writes in response at News with Nipples about Ellis’ assertion that (male) society owns female bodies, as he began the above piece by reminiscing about an old M.A.S.H. episode in which the shower Hot Lips Houlihan is using is lifted by a crane and the menfolk gaze at her naked body.

Girl with a Satchel posts a smashing review of Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

Vintage Gala Darling, circa 2005. Glad to see she hasn’t changed :).

“7 Reasons to Get Excited About the Royal Wedding”… one week later!

In relation, is Princess Catherine doomed to repeat the same fate as Diana? A royal comparison.

Also, “Jessica Rudd shines some perspective on the wedding and the Republic.”

Much to my chagrin, tanning beds are safe… for some things!

Sarah Wilson on private schooling:

“I know parents want to provide the best for their own kids… I don’t know that fancy pools and excursions to Tuscany make for a better education.”

“Things Fat People Are Told”:

“If a fat person defied any of these pronouncements in any way, they spoke of having their lives and experiences denied. They couldn’t really have low blood pressure. They couldn’t really be getting married.

“The hostility fat people experience is extreme. One woman spoke about being on an operating table for a C-section and having a surgeon mock her fat, suggesting they get rid of it while they’ve got her open. Another spoke of sitting in an ambulance while a police officer refused to believe she was raped. Others were told they should be happy to have been sexually assaulted. We heard about how transgender persons were belittled for being too fat to pass. We heard about fat people who were sick and were denied treatment until they lost weight. Fat mothers were told they were selfish for being fat because they would orphan their children. Or that their children would never love them. Or that they’d just ruin their children’s lives so maybe the baby should just die in the womb.”

Lisa Simpson would “totally be a Jezebel reader if she were human.”

Images via Jezebel.