On the (Rest of the) Net.

Why didn’t we hear about the killing of 19 disabled people in Japan, the country’s largest mass murder since WWII? [Daily Life]

We should stop listening to Sonia Kruger. [Junkee]

Barack Obama is a feminist. As if we didn’t know that already. [Glamour, ThinkProgress, Time]

Renee Zellweger is the latest celeb to pen a scathing op ed on her treatment by the media. [HuffPo]

On Korryn Gaines’ death and why we should #SayHerName. [Fusion]

Without dead women, there is no online feminist movement. [Jezebel]

Kim Kardashian benefits from feminism without having to claim the term. [Buzzfeed]

The Olympics offers a reprieve from men’s sport. [Daily Life]

Further to that, how to write about female Olympians. [The Guardian]

SBS Zela has had its funding cut. Save the site so Australian women’s sport gets the coverage it deserves. [Change.org]

The inherent sexism of method acting. [The Atlantic]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

I wrote about Twitter as a tool for feminist connectivity. [The Vocal]

The objectification of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau isn’t sexist:

“You may be disturbed or annoyed by the shirtless photos and swoony responses to our new PM, but that concern shouldn’t come from a sense of worry that Trudeau will be hurt—socially, politically or personally—by this so-called ‘sexist objectification.’ Because that is simply not what is happening. It’s not as though Canadians will now see him as a vapid, slutty, airhead with nothing to recommend him but his pecs or as someone who got ahead through either fuckability or literal fucking. The reality is that these sexy pics and the fact that so many find him physically attractive serves to enhance his power rather than diminish it. This is because he is not a woman. He is a man. And a powerful one at that.” [Feminist Current]

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Presidential race, toxic masculinity reigns supreme. [Elle]

“Why aren’t we seeing more images of Kim Kardashian in business meetings or changing her kid’s diaper?” [Time]

The inherent sexism of emojis. [NYTimes]

The sexual politics of the “brogressive” and the Manic Pixie Dream Feminist. [Daily Life]

Why are so many white people identifying as Native American?

“One of the biggest reasons it’s been acceptable for white people to posture as Native is due to a certain romanticism about Native culture and people. ‘If you go back to the journals of Christopher Columbus,’ [Taté Walker, editor of Native Peoples magazine] said, ‘it references [Natives as] these free-spirited nature sprites who dance naked in the moonlight and their kids are running wild, and it just sounds so savage, but savage was a term for free.’ As colonialism spread across the continent, so did that idea of freedom, and ‘the idea that ‘Natives have it great, so let’s take it’ has become “Natives have it great, so let’s take it as an identity,”‘ Walker said.” [Fusion]

In praise of Vin Diesel’s Facebook page. [NYTimes]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

A diva is a female version of a gymnast, apparently. [Jezebel]

Is a man opening a door for a woman a sexist act? [MamaMia]

Gah! A young, attractive woman and her fanatical pro-life agenda. [Jezebel]

How to be an Olympic White Female. [Jezebel, via Feministing]

Do the Olympics offer an alternative to the female body we see regularly in the media, or is it just another opportunity to body-snark? [Time]

Rejoice! Jennifer Aniston isn’t a pathetic single woman anymore! [The Guardian]

Ricki-Lee is the latest “B-grade artist” to fetishise mental illness. [The Punch]

Stella Young writes about Peter Singers’ views on the killing—not aborting—of disabled babies—not foetuses. While he does raise some interesting points, I’ve written before that this kind of thinking trivialises abortion and the access to it we should have in this day and age. If a woman finds out she’s pregnant with a disabled foetus, she should have the support and means necessary to terminate if she feels that’s what she wants to do. I don’t think Singer would have these views if more women had access to safe, legal and unstigmatised abortion. Furthermore, I don’t think he’d have them if the lives of the disabled were valued more by society and they had more support. To say that parents have the right to kill their own disabled children after a set amount of time of attempting to care for them is to trivialise life itself: I’m all for a humane death over a painful life, but Young raises the point that babies don’t have the autonomy to make that choice. [ABC Ramp Up]

What the Spice Girls’ Olympic reunion means for girl power. [The Vine]

Image via The Daily.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Checkmate, Pro-Choicers, the latest in anti-abortion internet trolling. Good for a hate-read, not so good for logic. Ahh, pro-lifers, you odd little things.

How your birth control pill is contributing to water pollution and why you should pay for it. [Jezebel]

On plus-sized men, nude photos and male body image. [Jezebel]

The makeover as a patriarchal tool of oppression. [New Inquiry]

Stella Young on Daily Life’s feminist faux-pas embarrassing-crush countdown. [ABC Ramp Up]

Cutting off your misogynistic nose to spite your racist face: Clementine Ford discusses the two issues as they relate to the AFL. [Daily Life]

“Should Parents Be Allowed to Kill People Who Sexually Molest Their Kids?” Um, sure! While we’re at it, let’s kill that guy who cut us off at the intersection, and that woman who pushed in front of us in the lunch line. The article goes:

“Molesting any child is reprehensible, but taking advantage of a 4-year-old who has no awareness of what’s going on and no ability to fight back seems particularly deranged.”

I don’t disagree, but murder is a bit rich. Read the issue discussed further at Jezebel. [TIME]

Hey Christian Girl, for all your Ryan Gosling and associated conventionally-attractive-to-straight-women meme needs, with a religious edge.

What’s the male equivalent to Vagisil? Dick Douche? Dick Dip? Bacon flavoured Penisil? [psiakisterri, via MamaMia]

James Franco’s overly wordy take on Snow White & the Huntsman. [HuffPo]

Check out this mansplanation of what feminism’s really about. [Feminaust]

Book Review: True Blood & Philosophy by George A. Dunn & Rebecca Housel.

 

I bought this book last year around the time season three of True Blood was coming to an end, and the inspiration struck me to write a post on Sookie Stackhouse and feminism. Needless to say, that post has yet to come to fruition (watch this space next week), but I finally got around to reading the book in the past fortnight or so.

The great thing about the Pop Culture and Philosophy series is that you don’t need to be an avid fan of the topic each book deals with; most of the philosophical musings can be applied to everyday life. (I’m making a gross generalisation here, as True Blood & Philosophy is the first Pop Culture volume I’ve read!)

Anyone who’s familiar with the show and Charlaine Harris’ books will know that the way vampires are treated in the somewhat alternate universe of Bon Temps, Louisiana, is a metaphor for how gays and blacks have been treated for centuries.

True Blood and Philosophy delves into this throughout the book, but particularly in the “Eros, Sexuality & Gender” section, where the issue of “orientation” is raised: “Vampires seem to be unlike gays in that we can’t say that vampires are born that way… But there is still a parallel to being born either gay or straight, for once you become a vampire, there’s no returning to a human existence” (p. 98).

One way vampires and gays are different, though, is that “a homosexual predator” cannot “attack or coerce an unwilling person into homosexual acts”, whereas a vampire can take someone against their will (p. 99). You can’t “catch” homosexuality, but you can catch vampirism.

To take it a step further, there was a time when propaganda that the gays will give you AIDS was rife (some might argue that it still is), and were prohibited from participating in sports and other activities where blood could be spilled. This raises the question of the marginalisation of vampires in sports, as well as the use of their blood as medicine. (See “Coming Out of the Coffin & Coming Out of the Closet”, p. 93–108.)

My favourite chapter deals with the attitudes of humans towards vampires and vice versa, and how the way they treat each other amounts to the way non-fiction humans treat animals.

For example, Eddie Gauthier, the vampire whom Jason Stackhouse and Amy Burley take hostage and use as their own personal V vat, is a parallel for “the way millions of animals are treated every day on factory farms… Eddie, like the animals on factory farms, is exploited as a commodity with no regard for his suffering” (p. 36–37).

Furthermore, “… many… vampires actually regard human beings as lower forms of life ripe for exploitation, not much different from the way Aristotle and others regarded non-human species,” in “a classic example of speciesism” (p. 38–39).

Last year, I blogged about an article I read in Time, about how animals that we once thought to not be able to understand language, reasoning, fairness and pain, actually do experience these things. Vampires seem to have a similar attitude towards humans, whom they see only as a food source, and “incapable of feeling pain as we do”, according to the magister when ordering Bill to turn Jessica as punishment for killing one of their own to protect his “human pet”, Sookie (p. 44).

In a similarly intriguing chapter, William C. Curtis asks “can vampires be good citizens”?:

“Should there be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to require vamps to come clean about their past murders in return for a grant of amnesty? How should vampires be taxed, especially since they don’t need many of the services that government provides, like Social Security, health care, and education? Can they join, or be drafted into, the armed forces?… Will their vulnerability to sunlight be treated as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Can vampire convicts be sentenced to life in prison, or would eternal incarceration violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment?” (p. 65–66).

All these questions have been brought about by the advent of synthetic blood, allowing vampires to “come out of the coffin”, so to speak.

On this, an interesting footnote from the chapter “Un-True Blood: The Politics of Artificiality” by Bruce A. McClelland, refers to a 1927 study by Takeji Furukawa on the correlation between blood types and personality. Being a Japanese study, and the fact that synthetic TruBlood was developed by the Japanese; is there some connection? Or just a coincidence? The clot plot thickens…

A memorable event thus far on True Blood has been the introduction of Maryann the Maenad and her Dionysian debacle. “Let the Bon Temps Roll: Sacrifice, Scapegoats and Good Times” deals with the self-preservation of the Bon Temps residents in “not wanting to know what’s in the sausage”, as Lafayette Reynolds would say (p. 141–142). Or rather, not wanting to know what’s in Maryann’s “hunter’s soufflé”!

This ignorance is further symbolised by the black eyes of Maryann’s followers; they’re literally blind to her wicked ways (p. 142).

Of course this book is more suited to the True Blood fan, however it’s not a prerequisite. (I’m trying to force-feed my friend Laura this book in the hopes that she will cotton on to the sexy-smarts of the show. She’s doing the same to me with Mad Men.) Many of the thoughts discussed go much deeper than just Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries and vampirism, and it’s quite a thought-provoking—yet still light—book.

Related: Time’s “What Animals Think” Issue: August 16, 2010.

Is This The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius?

 

Unbeknownst to me until Saturday when a Facebook status alerted me to the fact, apparently our astrological signs are all out of whack and now I’m a Libra instead of a Scorpio. Oh no they didn’t!

According to the first half of this article on The Washington Post’s website, in the 2,000 years since the astrological chart was created, the gravitational pull of the moon has shifted the earth on its axis, thus pushing the zodiac signs back a month.

Well hell no! There is no way I am a Libra, who strives for balance and peace, and can be indecisive. Usually when I’ve made up my mind, that’s the end of it. And while I do desire a certain amount of balance in my life and try to resist change, I feel I embody the attributes of a Scorpio far more: passion, fierce loyalty, unafraid to voice opinions and will sting if crossed.

Libras do like a bit of gossip and to be surrounded by beautiful things, which I will admit to, however Scorpios are the most misunderstood and introverted sing of the zodiac, and I often feel misunderstood and crave “me time”.

I’m not a big believer in horoscopes per se, in that I don’t read what’s going to happen to me each day, as they’re pretty generic and never come true. However, I know a lot of people in my life who are Pisceans/Arians/Scorpios down to a tee, and astrology helps me to understand them and myself more fully.

But, I know there are a lot of people out there who think astrology is a load of mumbo-jumbo. Time’s description of a “new” astrological sign, Ophiuchus, should weigh the argument in the disbelievers’ favour:

“he is an interpreter of dreams and vivid premonitions.”

I’m sure he is.

In other skeptical blog posts, ComPost blogger Alexandra Petri writes on her predicament of going through life as a Pisces, and now finding out she’s an Aries (two polar opposites if ever there were!). (Two friends and my mother are lucky enough to be born on February 18th, which lies on the cusp on either side of Aquarius, no matter which chart you’re looking at.)

But, if you scroll down to the second half of the Post’s article, astrologist StarJack (take that for what you will!) says:

“The stars are markers that drift, but our main points of reference are not directly the stars. They are the equinoxes (both spring and vernal) and the solstices which altogether make the four cardinal points of the zodiac which in turn determine the signs. The stars help us locate those points which define the SIGNS of the Zodiac which remain constant in relation to the equinox point. The CONSTELLATIONS do move about and we take that into consideration when locating planets.”

So perhaps I do possess character traits from both Libra and Scorpio. Take, for example, the tattoo of a scorpion I want to get on the back of my neck (and have since I was about 16): it represents the stubbornness of not accepting that I might possibly be born under another sign, whilst it is also something pretty to look at, which is an inherently Libran quality.

Hmm, maybe I have my sun in Scorpio and my moon in Libra…

Related: The 10 Commandments of Work/Life Balance.

Elsewhere: [The Washington Post] New Zodiac Sign Dates: Don’t Switch Horoscopes Yet.

[Mystical Blaze] Personality Profile: Libra.

[Mystical Blaze] Personality Profile: Scorpio.

[Time NewsFeed] Ophiuchus: What All Sagittarians and Capricorns Need to Know About Their New Zodiac.

[ComPost] New Zodiac Sign Dates Are Ruining My Life! And What’s an Ophiuchus?

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

It’s a smorgasbord of Katy, Ke$ha, Britney and Gaga as Complex counts down “The 25 Greatest ‘Slutwave’ Songs of All Time”.

In other Katy and Ke$ha-related news, Feminist Music Geek critiques their acts.

Finally, closing off a Katy Perry heavy week, Jezebel ponders the similarities between “Firework” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”.

Sady Doyle on Charlie Chaplin’s paedophilia on film:

“I… kind of forgot, actually, that Charlie Chaplin was a pedophile?… Boy howdy, this movie sure didn’t!… It invites you to get off on this… We got a scene where the FBI tried to go after Chaplin for his dangerous left-wing activities, BY PERSUING STATUATORY RAPE CHARGES AGAINST HIM. “It’ll ruin him,” the evil right wing poo-hating US government cackles.”

Hmm… strangely echoes a certain left-winger accused of rape in the media at the moment…

Hermione Granger perfects her “judgemental badger” face.

“Empty Bellies Do Not Beget Genius”.

Now this is how “self-marriage” is done. Glee, take note.

Following on from last week, “Is Lara Bingle the new Paris Hilton?”

Is the antidote to “Taylor Swift’s Endless Reign” a Lindsay Lohan singing career revival?

Coco Rocha reveals “The One That Got Away”.

Gala Darling detoxes her closet.

MamaMia asks, “Do You Have Mother Issues?” Oh hell yes! And daddy ones, too!

More on why Gwyneth Paltrow is just that damn unlikeable.

JWoww’s heinous ex calls her pre-surgery body “deformed” by cellulite. Nice.

2010 was the year of the mistress.

In defence of May-December romances.

What does your ponytail say about you?