Archive for August, 2010

Rape in Congo

Posted in rape on August 25th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Rape in Congo

Yeah, when I think about sexual violence on a mass scale, the phrase “several women” is exactly the way I conceptualize it too. Last time I checked, “several” isn’t typically used to refer to a three-digit number.

Rape as a weapon of war is absolutely horrifying. And it seems like such an insurmountable thing, so big and terrible that it is easy to feel helpless.

Hysteria

Posted in film, vibrators on August 25th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Hysteria

I got quite excited (teehee) when I heard about an in-the-works movie about the invention of the vibrator, titled Hysteria. Then, I saw the phrase “romantic comedy set in Victorian London”. Ladyboner killer indeed. Somehow I can see it going horribly wrong, although I will remain optimistic.

Why was I never taught “princess manners”?

Posted in gender stereotypes, kids, What the what? on August 25th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Why was I never taught “princess manners”?

I’m not going to beat around the bush here; I am not even slightly cool with this . Just watching those videos made me cringe and groan. Everything about them, right down to the music, is like a shitstorm of gender-stereotype reinforcement.

If a girl choose princesses, or a boy choose warriors, then ok. But do you think they get a choice? I wouldn’t bet on it. What if a girl doesn’t want to be a princess, or a boy a warrior; there are no other choices, and they will most likely end up shunted into the ‘appropriate’ one (through pressure from parents or friends, or to avoid being the one who is left out; and I don’t think ‘neither of them’ would be seen as a valid choice). This kind of thing is based on stupid, narrow conceptualizations of what is ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ behaviour and roles, and what ‘real’ girls and boys are like. And not only is it founded upon shitty stereotypes, it serves to reinforce them (and normalize them too!). So it’s a twofer, really. Plus, you get lots of extra play time hammering home those messages while the children’s brains are nice and impressionable, and while they might not be getting any other message to provide alternative perspectives. Brainwashing all around.

Hoovering is my preferred form of contraception

Posted in Abortion, down with the kids, hoovering, Shortland Street on August 25th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Hoovering is my preferred form of contraception

Funny how, when reading this, I can picture the writers of Shortland Street latching onto this thinking that they were on the cutting edge of teen – I’m sorry, I mean youth– slang, and dropping it casually into an episode. Although they did just have their abortion plot line, so wont be due another one for a fews years yet. I guess they will just have to stick to having people call each other bints and nongs for now.

Blubber diet sounds good to me

Posted in diets, What the what? on August 25th, 2010 by steph – 2 Comments

Crazy fad diets are morbidly fascinating to me. The lengths people will go to when desperately trying to fit in with a shamefully limited standard of socially-sanctioned acceptability can be scary indeed. I already wrote about a super healthy sounding diet regime consisting of 500 calories and top ups of homeopathic form of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) per day. Others of interest:

  • The Inuit Meat-and-Fat Diet In 1928, celebrated arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson outlined his proscribed diet, which he based on his time spent living with the Inuit. Like the Inuit, whose diet has long been a source of fascination to scientists, he recommended everyone subsist on fish and blubber regardless of geographical locale or body type – or, lacking blubber, meat and fat. Exclusively.
  • The Tapeworm Diet Among the vilest of all known diets, the Tapeworm Diet was – maybe – an urban legend that still persists. Word was, stars of the 50’s were able to get their hands on a capsule that set a parasite loose in your body and caused dramatic weight loss; there was some antidote pill that prevented one from dying. When opera diva Maria Callas lost a dramatic 65 pounds, rumor had it the tapeworm diet was her secret. Others just thought she had a tapeworm due to her propensity for eating raw liver. Yes, some people still talk about “swallowing the worm.” They should be avoided.

  • The Vegetable Oil Diet: In the early 60s, obstetrician Dr. Herman Taller advanced a novel dieting theory: eat as much as you want, and wash it down with vegetable oil. (Dispensed via pill.) Calories Don’t Count was a national bestseller – even though, technically speaking, they do. The FDA later charged Taller with just peddling safflower oil and he was convicted of mail fraud.
  • and who could resist trying this little beauty
  • The Sleeping Beauty Diet: You’ve heard that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain…doesn’t it follow that if you sedate yourself and sleep for days, you’ll get really thin? Some folks in the 1960s thought so; and anyone who’s read Valley of the Dolls will recall that it’s how Neely O’Hara gets showbiz-slim..
  • Insaneville diets I have heard of or known people trying:

    Kimchi diet, where you pretty much just eat kimchi. I suppose this is a sort of cousin to the cabbage soup diet, but with some spiciness thrown in there (and, as ladymags tell us, spicy food aids weight loss!)

    Slimming teas, slimming shakes, etc. I was in a pharmacy the other day and a group of young women were asking the woman behind the counter about the slimming shakes, and one of them asked if she could just eat breakfast and then only have a shake for lunch.

    Eating shit-tons of celery, because apparently celery has negative calories (the calories in it are burned by all the chewing you have to do!). I have been told this by a friend, who was not joking.

    The ‘lemonade’ or lemon diet: mixing up some lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water and pretty much using that as your food source. Also called the Master Cleanse, and technically a fast because you aren’t really getting enough nutrients. Downsides? Glad you asked! Feeling lethargic, depressed, lacking focus, dizziness, nausea and the possibility of death. I was once asked to do this diet with a friend as her “diet buddy”. Yeah nah.

    General starvation-based diets. You know, some sort of no breakfast or no lunch or no dinner, or only eating a handful of popcorn for lunch, type thing.

    The babyfood diet. After all, babies aren’t fat, right? So just do what they do! Oh, except for that whole being much much tinier than an adult and needing less food to survive thing…

    All up, this shit sounds like a pretty good way of punishing your body. You know, that thing you live in and experience the world through, and only have one of. But desperation and feelings of inadequacy are pretty fucking powerful motivators. As one of the Jezebel commenters pointed out, this is one of the most popular diets of them all:

    The Shame Diet: Popularized before record keeping existed, the shame diet involves forcing women to hate themselves and deny themselves the foods that give them pleasure. Practiced by both men and women, usually on women, but occasionally men and even animals. So popular, it’s been used in old Hollywood, modern Hollywood, Broadway, Buckingham Palace, and even the White House! Celebrity Fans: Pretty much all of them.

    (Edit: I realize I sound like some sort of condescending super-human who has never been susceptible to stupid societal pressure to do crazy shit to my body. That is most definitely not the case. I write this post because I have been fully in the throes of this stuff, and loathe it).

    Onwards, to the future!

    Posted in facebook on August 22nd, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Onwards, to the future!

    LadyNews is keeping up with the kids, and now on Facebook! Hooray for social networking!

    Check us out here.

    “Keeper” and “changer” sound so dirty…

    Posted in Feminism, marriage, name changing on August 22nd, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on “Keeper” and “changer” sound so dirty…

    Apparently 77-95% of women (a large range in estimates there depending on the study, almost 20%!) change their names when they get married. This surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t have. I suppose I assumed that because I personally wouldn’t change my name, that quite a lot of people I know (who are quite similar-minded) wouldn’t either. But I suppose it is seen as the norm for many people, and not something that there would even be a question about. The only married friend I know is a “changer”. Growing up, I always thought I would be because I hated my last name (and being teased by a boy with the last name McDonald-Bates; a name ripe for the mocking itself). It never crossed my mind to just get a legal name change; probably the idea that one grows up and gets married was such a ingrained concept to me (and many others…) that  I never considered any other method of name change. But at some point I got used to my name as it is, and I like the sound of it. Also, doing what I do, job-wise, means I am carving out a name for myself, and, as is brought up in the article, this can bring up the issue of “brand protection”.

    It can be a surprisingly touchy issue; some people view a woman who chooses not to change her name as not being loyal or devoted enough to her husband. (A man isn’t expected to change his name to prove his loyalty or anything like that. Surely the whole process of getting married is kinda sorta meant to be symbolic of loyalty anyway, but whatevs. People also get all ‘think of the children!’ and collapse on their fainting couch worrying about what last name any children of the couple would have.

    One of the things I noticed in this article is that not changing your last name is framed as the feminist choice, and something one would only be motivated to choose because of feminism (we feminists are always bucking tradition and norms!). But that’s misleading, because not only does it paint “keepers” as feminists (and we all know what that means: deviants, stirrers, all kinds of naughty bad things), but it paints “changers” as being women who are brainless, tradition-following sheep (but in a good way!). And I think either keeping or changing can be the feminist option here, because the feminist choice is actually having a choice and exercising it.

    We just need someone with balls

    Posted in The Onion on August 21st, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on We just need someone with balls

    An Onion blast from the past:

    Man Finally Put in Charge of Struggling Feminist Movement’

    Mama grizzlies

    Posted in Mama grizzlies, Sarah Palin on August 20th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Mama grizzlies

    Sarah Palin. Mama grizzlies. Rebuttal video involving women in bear outfits.

    Anyone sticking it to Sarah Palin is a friend of mine. Although I have to admit, the original Sarah Palin promo video where she talks about being a Mama Grizzly has background music that makes me have a sarcastic little dance in my seat, like any ad with cheesy music. So for that reason I do love watching it.

    I normally just caress the wine bottle when I’m eating dinner with a dude

    Posted in Cosmo? Is that you?, sexxxxy, The Frisky on August 20th, 2010 by steph – 5 Comments

    Generally I quite enjoy The Frisky; it’s fun, and picks up on feminist issues that I see on other feminist blogs/sites that I read. However, I was a bit underwhelmed by a post last week on ‘How to Eat Sexy’. In case you are curious, how you do this is:

    1. Eat small bites, because it makes your lips look bigger

    2. Choose foods that are good to eat with your fingers (strawberries, grapes, chocolate) because this brings another sensory element into play.

    3. Make eye contact, so the person you’re with knows you want him in your mouth like the piece of food you are eating.

    4. Let the food linger on your lips, savouring it.

    5. Share your food with him.

    6. Keep a napkin handy, so if you make a mess doing a sexy food move you can clean up like a lady.

    7. “Food For Thought. You don’t need a banana, lollipop or any other kind of food phallus to make it hot. And sometimes those items are a little too obvious. I would argue that regular, everyday food is better. It’s more of a surprise than the pressure of “I’m licking this to turn you on.”  When it comes to eating seductively, it’s all you. You can make anything, including any food, sexy”.

    8. “Swallow”. Make sure you chew and especially swallow. There’s a lot in the swallow; don’t try to hide it. No turtlenecks allowed”

    9. No slurping, burping, or making noise, even when sipping wine.

    10. “Look like you’re enjoying it. Duh. Although, taking it to the whole ‘When Harry Met Sally’ sandwich level is too far. Stay cool”

    As one of the commentors on the article said,

    When I started reading The Frisky, it made fun of Cosmo. Now, it IS Cosmo. What the f**k happened, Frisky???

    My thoughts exactly. I don’t pretend to believe that The Frisky is super heavy, all the time serious stuff, but this is more Cosmo than I have come to expect. Look like you’re enjoying it? What about ‘if the food is good, feel free to express your enjoyment visibly’ ?