Links Return After Long Absence

Debbie says:

First we had website problems, then I was not collecting links, but now we’re back on track.

I love these “end the awkward” ads from Scope: About Disability, a British organization.

If you follow through from the ad to the quiz, you eventually get to this very useful basics list, great for people who don’t have experience with people with disabilities, and great for PWD who don’t want to keep answering the same questions all the time.

While we’re in quiz mode, this is the funniest, best-written feminist quiz/humor piece Laurie and I have seen in a long time, written by Heben Nigatu, Alanna Okun, and Jessica Probus, all staffers at Buzzfeed. It’s 64 questions long (and still worth the time)! Here’s a brief sample:

Have you ever:

  • Complimented a man as surprisingly “articulate.”
  • Referred to a movie that jacks off to men’s subjectivity as a “dick flick.”
  • Talked over a man in a meeting, because what does he know, right?

At least in our circles, the Hollywood-is-destructive conversation circles around what women have to do to their bodies to succeed, but men are hardly immune. Alan Bostick guest-blogged this topic for us many years ago, and if things have changed, they’ve changed for the worse. J. Brian Lowder writes in Slate about an article by Logan Hill for  Men’s Journal (quotations are from Hill’s article):

Now objectification makes no gender distinctions: Male actors’ bare asses are more likely to be shot in sex scenes; their vacation guts and poolside man boobs are as likely to command a sneering full-page photo in a celebrity weekly’s worst-bodies feature, or go viral as a source of Web ridicule. A sharply defined inguinal crease – the twin ligaments hovering above the hips that point toward a man’s junk – is as coveted as double-D cleavage. Muscle matters more than ever, as comic-book franchises swallow up the box office, in the increasingly critical global market. (Hot bodies and explosions don’t need subtitles.) Thor-like biceps and Captain America pecs are simply a job requirement; even “serious” actors who never aspired to mega-stardom are being told they need a global franchise to prove their bankability and land Oscar-caliber parts. …

There’s lots more (including a lot about steroids and human growth hormone), and it’s all worth reading, in an upsetting way.

Laurie has been reading Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People, which is high on my to-read list. This article about Iranians, by Alex Shams for the Ajam Media Collective, made her think of how Painter conceptualizes whiteness, and it is also thought-provoking in its own right.

As a light-skinned, biracial Iranian-American, however, the supposedly clear lines dividing White from [people of color] POC are a bit difficult for me to parse. On one hand, I almost always pass as just White, and rarely if ever experience the feeling of being targeted, singled out, or discriminated against based on my looks alone. Despite increasingly bushy eyebrows, my light skin tone has long ensured that I enjoy substantial racial privilege for my ability to pass as (fully) White.

Passing as White meant I looked like “the norm” and was never made to feel out of place, saw people who looked like me whenever I turned on the television, and never had to fear or suspect that negative experiences I had were a result of racism (among many other privileges I enjoyed). I knew for certain that my father’s ability to pass as a well-tanned White man had ensured his own ability to succeed professionally at a time when his Iranian name had closed many doors. I was sure of this because his ability to pass, as well as my own, meant that we were both “privileged” to hear the secret racist and Islamophobic comments directed towards others that happened in the lily-white boardrooms and classrooms that we each navigated.

And yet the more I spoke with White folks about race, the more I began to understand that many of my experiences of bullying throughout childhood were directly tied to my ethnicity in ways I hadn’t previously realized. As obvious as it now sounds, it had never occurred to me before that being harassed for supposedly being a terrorist or being called “Saddam” or “Osama” in middle school hallways was not a universal experience for American children, and that these experiences were not merely unpleasant but were in fact definitively racist.

Everyone with a conscience, and/or a heart, and any involvement whatsoever with the news, is concerned about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and the standoff with Boko Haram. Without in any way detracting from the important part (these girls are in dreadful danger!), this very thoughtful piece by Caperton at Feministe, looks at both sides of how “hashtag activism” interacts with local terror and cultural standoff.

What #BringBackOurGirls won’t do

  • Spur direct individual activism.
  • Give you a place in the tragedy.
  • Spread understanding.

What #BringBackOurGirls can do: Keep the eyes of the world on rescue efforts (or lack thereof).

Caperton expands usefully on each of these points.

Last but not least (except in the eyes of many scientists), George Dvorsky at io9 writes about a scientific paper by Malin Ah-King, Andrew B. Barron, and Marie E. Herberstein, “Genital Evolution: Why Are Females Still Understudied?” Dvorsky draws on a PLOS (Public Library of Science) blog post by Roli Roberts who summarizes the reason for the (quite significant) discrepancy between studies of vaginas and studies of penises:

a)      Biological: Female genitalia don’t vary enough to drive evolutionary change.

b)      Practical: They do vary, and do drive evolution, but are devilishly hard to study.

c)       Intellectual: They do vary and drive evolution, and can be studied, but the field is intellectually blinkered.

When I was growing up, we called this kind of argument:

a) I didn’t borrow it.

b) It was broken when I borrowed it.

c) It was in perfect shape when I returned it.

Most usual sources: Feministe, Feministing, io9, and Shakesville. This time, Kerry Ellis sent us the Scope videos, and nancylebov found the men-in-Hollywood article.