“A beautiful young woman strides down the sidewalk alone, head down, hands drawn into fists. She’s walking fast, darting around huge men with black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest. “Kristen, how do you feel?” “Smile Kris!” “Hey, hey, did you get her?” “I got her. I got her!” The young woman doesn’t cry. Fuck no. She doesn’t look up. She’s learned. She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don’t speak. Don’t look. Don’t cry.”—
Jodie Foster, a former childhood actress herself, sticks up for Kristen Stewart in a piece up on the site today. “If I were a young actor today I would quit before I started,” she writes. “If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally.” Media, we suck sometimes. Let’s cut this girl a break, eh? (via newsweek)
This whole thing makes me wonder: Why is it that we Hester Prynne the hell out of women like Kristen Stewart and not men, like, say, Charlie Sheen? Why is promiscuity good for Sheen’s career and bad for Stewart’s? (Don’t tell me Charlie Sheen is a better actor. 1. Kristen Stewart is an underrated actress, and 2. I’ve seen deceased raccoons bring more energy to a performance than Sheen did on Two and a Half Men.)
And most importantly, when will we realize that our obsession with imagining celebrities (or anyone else) without empathy hurts both the observer and the observed?
I can remember speaking to a 12-year-old boy, a football player, and I asked him, I said, “How would you feel if, in front of all the players, your coach told you, you were playing like a girl?” Now, I expected him to say something like, “I’d be sad; I’d be mad; I’d be angry,” something like that. No, the boy said to me, the boy said to me, “It would destroy me.”
And I said to myself, “God, if it would destroy him to be called a girl, what are we then teaching him about girls?”” —
[#rape, #rape culture at the link] Shakesville: “My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.” (via golden-crescent)
Also, what are the girls learning from this shit?
Highly suggesting click through to read or view this whole speech if you can. Damn powerful.
It seems the new thing is to wander into our tag and act like both Elementary and Sherlock fans started this fight.
One group has hurled racist/sexist slurs. One group has made sure that we don’t have a single day in our tag without some assholes (yes, plural) saying something so fucking stupid/offensive that I have a hard time believing these are someone’s actual opinions and not trolls. And that one group, folks, is not Elementary fans.
False equivalencies are stupid and infuriating. All we’ve ever wanted was our tags to ourselves, so to every casual observer who decides to wander in, after we’ve been dealing with hate in our tag for MONTHS AND MONTHS, and say “lol both you all are to blame!!” can seriously fuck off. you honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.
I’m not saying every Sherlock fan is like this. They’re not. In fact, a lot of Elementary fans are also Sherlock fans. But there has been a segment of that fandom that has tried really fucking hard to make sure we can’t have fannish fun on tumblr, so fucking stop pretending it’s a two way street.
seriously, all we want is a functional tag that’s remotely a safe space. it’s not that big a request.
For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It
all women were bigger and stronger than you
And thought they were smarter
women were the ones who started wars
too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos
and no K-Y Jelly
the state trooper
who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike
was a woman
and carried a gun
the ability to menstruate
was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs
your attractiveness to women depended
on the size of your penis
every time women saw you
they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands
women were always making jokes
about how ugly penises are
and how bad sperm tastes
you had to explain what’s wrong with your car
to big sweaty women with greasy hands
who stared at your crotch
In a garage where you are surrounded
by posters of naked men with hard-ons
men’s magazines featured cover photos
of 14-year-old boys
tucked into the front of their jeans
and articles like:
“How to tell if your wife is unfaithful”
“What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate”
“The truth about impotence”
the doctor who examined your prostate
was a woman
and called you “Honey”
You had to inhale your boss’s stale cigar breath
as she insisted that sleeping with her
was part of the job
You couldn’t get away because
the company dress code required
you wear shoes
designed to keep you from running
And what if
after all that
women still wanted you
to love them.
- Carol Diehl
Why boys don’t read girls (sometimes)
When I do book signings, most of my line is made up of young girls with their mothers, teen girls alone, and mother friend groups. But there’s usually at least one boy with a stack of my books. This boy is anywhere from 8-19, he’s carrying a worn stack of the Books of Bayern, and he’s excited and unashamed to be a fan of those books. As I talk to him, 95% of the time I learn this fact: he is home schooled.
There’s something that happens to our boys in school. Maybe it’s because they’re around so many other boys, and the pressure to be a boy is high. They’re looking around at each other, trying to figure out what it means to be a boy—and often their conclusion is to be “not a girl.” Whatever a girl is, they must be the opposite. So a book written by a girl? With a girl on the cover? Not something a boy should be caught reading.
But something else happens in school too. Without even meaning to perhaps, the adults in the boy’s life are nudging the boy away from “girl” books to “boy” books. When I go on tour and do school visits, sometimes the school will take the girls out of class for my assembly and not invite the boys. I talk about reading and how to fall in love with reading. I talk about storytelling and how to start your own story. I talk about things that aren’t gender-exclusive. But because I’m a girl and there are girls on my covers, often I’m deemed a girl-only author. I wonder, when a boy author goes to those schools with their books with boys on the covers, are the girls left behind? I want to question this practice. Even if no boy ever really would like one of my books, by not inviting them, we’re reinforcing the wrong and often-damaging notion that there’s girls-only stuff and you aren’t allowed to like it.
I hear from teachers that when they read Princess Academy in class (by far the most girlie-sounding of all my books) that the boys initially protest but in the end like it as much as the girls, or as one teacher told me recently, “the boys were even bigger fans than the girls.”
Another staple in my signing line is the family. The mom and daughters get their books signed, and the mom confides in me, “My son reads your books on the sly” or “My son loves your books too but he’s embarrassed to admit it.” Why are they embarrassed? Because we’ve made them that way. We’ve told them in subtle ways that, in order to be a real boy, to be manly, they can’t like anything girls like.
Though sometimes those instructions aren’t subtle at all. Recently at a signing, a family had all my books. The mom had me sign one of them for each of her children. A 10-year-old boy lurked in the back. I’d signed some for all the daughters and there were more books, so I asked the boy, “Would you like me to sign one to you?” The mom said, “Yeah, Isaac, do you want her to put your name in a girl book?” and the sisters all giggled.
As you can imagine, Isaac said no.
This is where I feel called to fight sexism. in these moments where girl things are “stupid” for boys.
I can read comics and like superheroes, but he can’t enjoy books with a lead female or like dolls because THAT’S FOR GIRLS AND IT’S LAME.
No. Girl stuff is not lame. It’s just as cool as boy stuff, but sexism has put girl things in a category one step below boy things and that is unacceptable.
“One of the worst ways to stop someone from telling sexist jokes is to tell him the joke isn’t funny. He’ll assume that you’re humorless and that he needs to save the good stuff for the right audience. If you really want someone to stop telling sexist jokes, you need to tell him, “I don’t get it” and then step back as he tries not to say, “It’s funny because women are stupid.”— If This Isn’t From a Book, It Should Be (via gaircyrch)
awkward moment when everyone has boobs.
not my normal post. but i like this alot
Proof that sexism against women can exist within women. Stop the self-hate and body policing, everyone.
I know the two people’s chests in that last picture.
Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.
So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly. They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.
God, what a Mary Sue.
I just described Batman.
Wish fulfillment characters have been around since the beginning of time. The good guys tend to win, get the girl and have everything fall into place for them. It’s only when women started doing it that it became a problem.
TV Tropes on the origin of Mary Sue:
Notice the strange emphasis on female here. TV Tropes goes on to say that is took a long time for the male counterpart “Marty Stu” to be used. “Most fanfic writers are girls” is given as the reason. So when women dominate a genre, that means people are on close watch, ready to scorn any wish fulfillment they may engage in. This term could only originate if the default was female.
In fact, one of the CONTROVERSIES listed on the TV Tropes page is if a male sue is even possible. That’s right, it’s impossible to have an idealizied male character. Men are already the ideal.
In our culture, male tends to be the default. Women take on the distaff parts. “Him” and “mankind” are what humanity are, “her” and “womankind” are secondary. Yet this isn’t true for Mary Sue as a term. That name was created first. It was a Star Trek fic that coined it and the female desigination was likely a big reason it caught on. This female is name the default to use when describing idealized characters. Marty Stu and Gary Stu are only to be used if you’re discussing men specifically. Heck, there isn’t even an agreed upon term for them. So the only time female can be default is when discussing a badly written character, someone who is more powerful or important or liked than they should be allowed to be, someone the plot focuses on more than you would like, someone you don’t want to read about. Hmmm.
What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written? Who is it hurting? Men have baldly admitted to writing power fantasies and self inserts since the beginning of time. How many nerdy, schlubby guys suddenly become badasses and have hot girls chasing after them in fiction? See: Spiderman- blatant everyman who happens to stumble across amazing powers and catch the eye of a supermodel. Mary Sue is considered the worst insult to throw at a character as it renders them worthless. But since when are idealized characters automatically worthless? Aren’t all heroes idealized in some way? Don’t all heroes represent the author in some way? Aren’t these characters supposed to be people we look up to, people who represent human potential, the goodness that we strive for? Fantasy by nature is idealized, even the tragic ones.
If you look at the TV Tropes page for Mary Sue, it’s ridiculous. You can be a sue for having too many flaws, or not enough, for fixing things or messing things up, for being a hero or a villain. And of course, this is specifically pointed out as a trope related to the Princess and Magical Girl genres- genres aimed towards women are naturally full of Mary Sues. Magical girls are powerful and heroic and actually flaunt femininity as a good thing. They are a power fantasy designed for girls. So of course, a girl using traditionally feminine traits to dominate and triumph means she’s a sickeningly pure Mary Sue who makes everything go their way. Feminine traits are disdained and look down on, so when the positive feminine traits are prominent, the reader has an aversive reaction. How can a character be so feminine and triumph? She must be unrealistic, she must be badly written, because everyone knows it is impossible to be feminine and powerful.
Let’s look at what kinds of Mary Sues people will point to. People will claim a female character is a Mary Sue if she is a love interest. Put a female character within a foot of a male character, and people will scream “Mary Sue!” Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him? Fans miss the irony that this line of logic makes the male character seem more like the Sue in Question, as he’s apparently so perfect one has work for his coveted love and praise.
The idea that woman has to “earn” any power, praise, love, or plot prominence is central to Mary Sue. Men do not have to do this, they are naturally assumed to be powerful, central and loveable. That’s why it’s the first thing thrown at a female character- what has she done to be given the same consideration as a male character? Why is she suddenly usurping a male role? “Mary Sue” is the easiest way to dismiss a character. It sounds bad to say “I don’t like this female character. I don’t like that this woman is powerful. I don’t like it when the plot focuses on her. I don’t like that a character I like has affections for her.” But “Mary Sue” is a way to say these things without really saying them. It gives you legitimacy.
If a character is badly written, there’s generally something much more problematic than idealization going on. The plot will be dull and the character will perpetuate harmful stereotypes while other characters act oddly. For instance, Bella Swan is one of the only characters I’d even begin to classify as a Mary Sue, yet it’s not really her supposed Mary Sue traits that bother me. I don’t mind that she gets what she wants and everyone loves her, that she’s Meyer’s power fantasy. What I actually mind is that Stephenie Meyer has her perpetuate harmful anti-woman stereotypes- women need to be protected, women are shallow, women’s worth rests in desirability. That’s what’s actually harmful about her and worth discussing. I would criticize that rather than even get to the fact Bella got to be “too perfect and powerful”- that’s just a tiny, insignificant thing not worth mentioning in a huge pile of problems.
And that’s why I don’t call characters Mary Sue anymore. There’s really nothing bad about a power fantasy or wish fulfillment. It’s what’s fiction’s about. If one of my characters is called a Sue, I’ll proudly say “yep”, because that must mean that she broke out of that box a female character is supposed to be in. So I’ll go and say it: I love me some Mary Sues.
Women: They don’t like Superheros and they have no sense of humor
Work has been incredibly busy, hence, the sporadic posting this week. But there are few things I’ll post now and expand on later.
First if you haven’t read this post over on Moviefone run over before they delete it, bury it or worse.
As a quick recap, the article was a “girl” guide to watching to the Avengers if you boyfriend dragged you along. One would have thought an editor would have seen the TNT sparking off the article on the first paragraph:
As your boyfriend probably told you, “The Avengers” is hitting theaters this Friday. And you, dutiful girlfriend, are attending. But you hate action movies and you’ve never even read a comic book. (Of course, that’s not a slight against the girls who actually do read comic books — i.e. real fans, actual people with varied interests — but for this, let’s just go with the stock view of ladies, ladies!)
The shit hit the fan and the Moviefone, part of the Huffington Post empire (which also employs Laura Hudson, a “girl” as the editor of its comics site Comics Alliance …IRONY!) had to start spinning a like a gyroscope:
did you know you can’t “POP your cherry”? In this video i talk about:
what the hymen really is
how this myth is some sexist bullshit
and how to deal with your hymen the 1st time you have sex.
She is amazing.
I’m exceptionally pissed off that this is news to me.
I’m really fucking pissed off that I did not know this and it’s my own goddamned body.
I had a freaking kid and didn’t know this.
The only reason I knew this is because of the sex talk with my Mom I had about six months ago. It’s awful how many women don’t know this about their own bodies.
“Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.”—
Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)
She correctly suggested that silicon, carbon, and other common metals seen in the Sun were found in about the same relative amounts as on Earth, but that helium and particularly hydrogen were vastly more abundant (by about a factor of one million in the case of hydrogen). Her thesis thus established that hydrogen was the overwhelming constituent of the stars. When her dissertation was reviewed, she was dissuaded by Henry Norris Russell from concluding that the composition of the Sun is different from the Earth, which was the accepted wisdom at the time. However, Russell changed his mind four years later when other evidence emerged. After Payne-Gaposchkin was proven correct Russell was often given the credit.
Fuck the patriarchy.
Can I just say
that my issue with Taylor Swift is not a thing about “Oh, she can’t sing” or “Her music gets played on the radio too much” or whatever.
It’s that I find so many of the messages in her music so incredibly demeaning, and the fact that she claims to “speak for all the girls out there” makes me really, really fucking angry.
You want to speak for all the girls? Try writing a song about how it’s actually wrong to go after a boy who has a girlfriend, because that girlfriend is going to get hurt and your happiness isn’t the only thing that matters in the world. I’ve been that girl three times, and no matter how much you villainize that person, they still matter. Try writing about how there is more to life than kissing in the rain and finding roses all over your bedroom. If you want to be known as the singer-songwriter who reflects the actual experience of teenage relationships, try writing a song about a girl who loses her virginity to a boyfriend and it’s not that big of a deal, really, and nobody cries. Don’t, for god’s sake, invoke the virgin/whore dichotomy in your music videos and contribute to that standard in our culture. Don’t say you speak for all the freaks and outsiders in high school when you are a rich, thin, beautiful blonde woman who grew up on an enormous estate in Pennsylvania.
And don’t infantilize yourself to sell records or appease parents.
What really makes me annoyed is that so many people hold her up as some kind of paragon of class and grace. There is a difference between being a classy, graceful celebrity and actively acting like an eleven-year-old, with an eleven-year-old’s standard of what relationships and love are like. She’s a twenty-year-old woman, she doesn’t need to be photographed hugging a teddy-bear. And it also goes to say, in a way — if you’re not this kind of person, if you curse or smoke or drink or have sex, you’re not a “good role model.” Which is to say, basically, you’re not a good person. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think those are great criteria on which to judge one’s worthiness as a person. There is nothing wrong with being a homebody or a polite person or not being particularly interested in smoking or drinking, don’t get me wrong. But when it’s sold as a brand of superiority over other women, that’s when I start getting queasy.
But like I said, more than anything, I dislike this warped worldview she perpetuates where “true love” is a real thing and once you find your Prince Charming, your life will be perfect and you will sing and dance and kiss in the rain and get married on white horses and then go back and live in the house in which one of you (probably the man) grew up. That’s not real life. In real life, people lie. People cheat. (Though cheating is fine if the other girl is cheer captain and you’re, heaven forbid, on the bleachers.) People smack their spouses around and drink too much and the more that you pretend none of that will ever happen to you, the greater the likelihood grows that it will.
And I dislike that this kind of weakness and helplessness is being marketed to young girls under the guise of romantic songs and pretty dresses. There’s so much more to life than being a princess.
SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS
Whenever I try to explain my dislike of Taylor Swift, I’m always met with the same responses:
- I bet you don’t like her just because she’s popular.
- You’re just one of those bitter single people who hate love songs because they can’t get any. (This was back when I was single. Actually, no. I still get this.)
- You’re just jealous of her.
Internet, you know me so well. ;;
I don’t dislike Swift because of her music. I dislike her because of her internalized misogyny.
For many years, sex work was a solution. I could work and go to school. I could travel, live and work all over the world, participating in unpaid internships taken for granted as part of the undergraduate experience. As an undergraduate, I worked at two domestic violence shelters and as a rape crisis counselor. I went on to work in nonprofit development, grant-writing for a Somali women’s health organization in London, UK and, later, for a nonprofit that ran after-school programs for disadvantaged girls here in New York City, where I eventually made my home. In graduate school, I worked as a consultant for a high-profile feminist organization while also working as a research assistant in the Pediatrics Department of a public hospital. During this same time, I sold sex.
Sex work defines the people who do it like no other occupation. Associated with deviance, drug use, mental illness and disease, to be labelled a “prostitute” is to be cast as the lowest of the low. No matter the realities of our experiences, we are thought of as victims and as inherently damaged, either before or as a result of our profession. Sex workers are considered a danger to society, unfit for serious public service. Worst of all: once a sex worker, always a whore.
Eventually, for me, it proved to be too much. Despite all it had afforded me, sex work was a far from perfect occupation. The stigma associated with the profession only exacerbated the rigors of the work.” —
As I get older I’m realizing, more and more frequently, that George Carlin was wrong about a lot of things. A lot of things. But he was absolutely right about sex work. Selling is legal. Sex is legal. Why is selling sex not legal?
It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t change anything about you, other than your current employment situation. It’s filling the gap in a long-existing market, which is supposed to be exactly the sort of thing that capitalists and free-market advocates are all about. How do we live in a country that supports child labor before it shows support for a woman’s right to do what they damn well please with their own bodies?
Melissa Petro has two masters degrees, one of which is in Childhood Education, but she isn’t qualified to teach school children because she used to have sex more than some people? Or is it because she found a way to pay for her education that didn’t involve six-figure debt, thanks to a job without long hours. and didn’t interfere with the number of other projects she filled her life with?
Regardless, I call bullshit.
I really get stuck on how sex work is “selling yourself” but other service occupations are not. Of course, I sometimes forget that our society sees sexual access as ownership or whatever, which I guess explains why it’s selling myself if I let a client access to my twat, but not the rest of my body in any other service job.
This is so much crap. Our warped and fucked up view of sex is seriously not cool. It keeps people from having lives because apparently, to these people, their sex lives means that they’re going to be forcing the children to know all about their sex lives, as well as encouraging the children to have all the sex ever with no consequences.
Ceiling Metaphors Are Used For Systemic Change
When women complain about the glass ceiling, it isn’t so we can guilt or shame our bosses into a promotion. Nor is it a statement that my company (or my boss) must be sexist because I didn’t get that last promotion. Many women who complain about the glass ceiling don’t want to be a CEO - or perhaps already are one. Rather than being interested in personal gain the main goal is to see an end to the old boys club in corporate boardrooms.
Discussing the glass ceiling is about identifying the systemic problems leading to the lack of women in workplace leadership despite being present in lower positions. It’s about an education system that doesn’t give girls the same support as boys. It’s about double standards in the workplace. It’s about internalized societal messages that women can’t succeed in science or business and shouldn’t try. It’s about customers and clients that don’t respect women in positions of authority. It’s about workplace harassment that makes many women decide it’s not worth it. It’s about how the companies that do promote women to positions of leadership risk having their stock prices go down or otherwise being seen as less than other companies.
All of these issues have parallels with the cotton ceiling. Discussing the cotton ceiling is about identifying the systemic problems leading to the lack of trans women in queer women’s sexual spaces and relationship networks, despite being present in non-romantic/sexual queer women’s spaces. It’s about feminist community and training that doesn’t give trans women the same support as cis women. It’s about double standards that celebrate sexually empowered behavior in cis women yet call that same behavior “male privilege” or “rape-y” when trans women do it. It’s about internalized messages that no one will ever love a freak like you so you shouldn’t even try. It’s about trans women in queer women sexual spaces who are treated disrespectfully and told we’re disgusting. It’s about harassment campaigns against trans women speaking out on this topic (including publishing work and personal email and phone contact). It’s about being hit on by someone who’s really really into you but turns cold when you disclose trans status. It’s about how cis women who are involved with trans women are told they aren’t real lesbians.
The call to discuss the cotton ceiling is a plea for an end to the shame and coercion trans women - and our cis partners - face. The anti-trans feminist activists who frame the cotton ceiling as a shaming tactic to coerce cis women to have sex with trans women are purposefully misinterpreting the metaphor it is based on. They frequently accuse trans women and trans-supportive cis women of not having an awareness or understanding of feminism from the 70s and 80s, however, when they dismiss the ceiling metaphor as coercion and shaming or as insincere attempts at personal gain, they clearly are the ones who lack understanding of second wave feminism - or are choosing to ignore it.
“There was a slightly jarring moment when a fan asked the panel if there would ever be a female Doctor, and Steven [Moffat] pointed out it would be entirely possible, but then asked for a show of hands who would like to see that happen. This got about 50% of the audience raising their hands, but then he asked how many people would switch off the show if there was a female Doctor, and 20-30% of the fans put their hand up, to a certain amount of gasping from everyone else.”—
Anglophenia’s report from Sunday’s panel at the DW UK convention. Holy shit. (via nom-chompsky)
This shit makes me sick. 20-30% of the people not only felt that way, but they were so unashamed of their misogyny that they proudly raised their hands in public in support of keeping bitches in their place, as followers but never leaders. Girls the male Doctor makes decisions for, but never themselves occupying the Doctor’s role.
The fact that Stephen Moffat asked that question. Should surprise me.