1) At a conference this weekend (a fabulous 40th anniversary celebration for the Center for the Study of Women in Society in Eugene, Oregon), I heard Susan Sygall from Mobility International USA, a disability advocacy organization I was not previously aware of.
Susan showed this awesome international disability empowerment video.
2) Alexandra at feministing rips a new one (which it needs) for this ridiculous anti-rape underwear project:
Here are only two of her twelve probing questions:
How does this protect people who have an intimate relationship with their assailant?
What about all the forms of sexual violence that don’t require removal of underwear?
3) The always-incisive Melissa Gira Grant responds in Slate to a study claiming that fewer men are paying for sex:
Does the availability of a partner who will cook for you mean you stop going to restaurants? Does having a caring partner who listens to you complain at the end of the day mean you will fire your therapist?
I think it’s a mistake—but an understandable one given our culture and attitudes around sex—to imagine that people who buy sex do so because they don’t have access to sexual pleasure from anyone else, in any other way. That might be true of some people who buy sex or sexual services, but—like buying a meal or therapy—when many people buy sex, they are also purchasing the environment and circumstances and even expertise that come with that sexual experience. People buy sex to have a kind of sex that they might not otherwise have, or want to have, with their intimate partner.
I remember when this study came out in the 1980s, and it’s cool to see later work that refines it and makes it more practical.
Betty Grayson and Morris Stein … filmed short clips of members of the public walking along New York’s streets, and then took those clips to a large East Coast prison. They showed the tapes to 53 violent inmates with convictions for crimes on strangers, ranging from assault to murder, and asked them how easy each person would be to attack. … [E]ven among those you’d expect to be least easy to assault, the subgroup of young men, there were some individuals who over half the prisoners rated at the top end of the “ease of assault” scale (a 1, 2 or 3, on the 10 point scale).
The researchers then asked professional dancers to analyse the clips … They rated the movements of people identified as victims as subtly less coordinated than those of non-victims.
Two decades later, a research group led by Lucy Johnston of the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, … used a technique called the point light walker. … Using this technique, the researchers showed that even when all other information was removed, some individuals still get picked out as more likely to be victims of assault than others, meaning these judgements must be based on how they move.
… Recruits were given training in how to walk, specifically focusing on the aspects which the researchers knew affected how vulnerable they appeared: factors affecting the synchrony and energy of their movement. This led to a significant drop in all the recruits’ vulnerability ratings, which was still in place when they were re-tested a month later.
Thanks to Patti for the last link.