Suffrage Day

Posted in New Zealand on September 18th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Suffrage Day

Happy Suffrage Day, y’all! Time to think about all the amazing people who fought for women’s right to vote, and also to think about how far we still have to go when it comes to women in New Zealand politics.

And, to the people who thought that voting would take women out of their natural sphere of home and family: the decline of New Zealand’s women into pants-wearing, beer-drinking, liberal, boner-killing feminists is probably because we let ladies take part in elections. Surely I’m not the only one who celebrates voting on election day with a large beer, pre-maritial sex, and some shrill feminist tirades?

Calling it a “va-jay-jay” is being frank and honest?

Posted in fail, Uncategorized on September 15th, 2011 by steph – 4 Comments

Apparently people these days are more laid back about their bodies, so now the ads used to sell us stuff to fix what’s wrong with our horrible bodies are now more “frank” and “downright shocking”.

This article describes the business of selling vagina-related products: no longer do we have tampon ads with women in white skirts twirling on the beach- now the ads make fun of that! Feminism has won the war, everyone!

The problem is, apparently this trend is great because we’re all talking openly about our you-know-what’s, and people aren’t embarrassed about it anymore; however, these products that are being touted often rely on shame and misinformation to get women to buy them. Summer’s Eve, one of the products mentioned, not only have they used terrible ads full of racial stereotypes, but what their product boils down to is something to sort out your stinky vagina because it’s gross and also needs a little help to do that. So, preying on the shame someone feels about their vagina: check. Misleadingly suggesting that the body doesn’t actually do this job itself (which it does) and might need help: check. A woman who helped create the “talking hand” ads said in the source article

“We’re really excited about having that kind of publicity and coverage. A month ago nobody was talking about feminine hygiene,” says Zahnen, who added that Summer’s Eve learned through research that women were ready to have frank discussions about their bodies.

“We just wanted to be sure that the conversation is focused on celebrating and empowering women.”

That shit is not empowering. You could argue that the choice to give your vagina some “extra help” or not is personal, which it is. But it also doesn’t occur in a vaccuum; it occurs in a world where women are conditioned to worry about whether their junk smells weird or not, and be afraid that someone (a sexual partner, for example), might be grossed out be their body and smell. So don’t give me this “empowering” bullshit. More like empowering women to spend more money trying to ‘fix’ themselves. You can’t just throw the buzzword “empowering” into a statement and actually make the product something that empowers people. Also, the idea that people never really used to talk about feminine hygiene? Well, I don’t know if it was talked about or not (given that I wasn’t alive), but there are a fuckload of vintage douche ads that suggest we have always been pretty preoccupied with touting this stuff to women. Vag shame isn’t new.

 

And seriously, the idea that we’re all so open and honest now, and not scared of calling a spade a spade when it come to vagina-related stuff, is kind of ridiculous when in the same breath you talk about “va-jay-jays”,  a celebrity’s favourite “vagina tattoo” (ouch! How do you get a tattoo needle up in there?), and also at one point call it “the area” (yes, I’m sure they got sick of writing “vagina”, but “the area” is so damn vague – are we talking about a body part, or a location on a map?). If we still don’t call things what they are, are we really so hugely empowered and free of our embarrassment?

Photoshop disaster

Posted in photoshop on September 14th, 2011 by steph – 4 Comments

Yesterday I was checking out the Hannahs website (as you do when you realise “shit, do I even own a pair of sandals? Summer is coming up!”), and the whole front page was a promo for the “Kardashain Kollection” of shoes coming soon to Hannahs. I have zero interest in shoes “designed” by a Kardashian, however my attention was grabbed by the photo used to advertise the upcoming shoe collection

 

 

My first impressions: what the fuck is this shit? What the hell is going on with the head/face of the Kardashian on the left? It isn’t just me, right? That shit is messed up. Like her face is pasted onto her head really low or slightly to one side, or her smaller head from one photo is pasted onto her larger neck and body from a different photo? I do not know what it is, but something is not right. I’m not hating on the woman – I’ve seen photos of her where she looked regular and like her head was actually attached to her neck; no, this stinks of photoshop fail.

 

And the more I looked at it, the worse it seemed. Even the heads of the other two women  seem ridiculously  ‘shopped: none of the heads look like they’re actually attached to the necks, but rather kind of hovering in front of the necks and in a slightly lower  position than they should be- this is especially bad with the head on the right. And the edges of the neck in the middle are all fuzzy and blurred!

Everytime there’s some awful photoshop disaster in an photo used for an ad campaign, I always think “why didn’t someone point out how bad it looks?? Surely someone noticed; it’s so obviously horrible!”. Why would you choose to promote your product with such a fail image that looks like someone’s first attempt ever at editing a photo? Maybe the level of photoshop retouching (and stuff like using heads from one photo and bodies from another, to get just the right look) has desensitized people to the point where it really isn’t obvious anymore, and that’s why you see photos with hilariously  (and poorly) whittled waists and people say “oh, what do you mean that picture looks like a hot mess; it looks perfectly normal to me!”. Or maybe the inexpertly attached  head look is just what they were going for- I don’t know, I don’t really keep up with what is considered hot and sexy these days.

 

“Manity sizing”

Posted in fail on September 10th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on “Manity sizing”

“Manity sizing”. Oh hell no. “VANITY SIZING” IS ALREADY GENDER NEUTRAL PLEASE STOP DOING THIS MEDIA OUTLETS EVERYWHERE OR I WILL HULK OUT ON YOU FOR SERIOUS.

If I read “he-cession” (and “he-covery”), “murse”, “mandals”, “guyliner”, “Bro-zilian”, or any other awful attempt to dude-ify a regular word that needs no dude-ifying (except for the reason that the foolish media people a) think they are clever and b) think that guys are scared if something doesn’t refer to them directly it’s a girl thing and will therefore emasculate them), I will probably smash multiple desks with my head.

Weight Watchers the solution to the obesity crisis?

Posted in scientatious on September 8th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Weight Watchers the solution to the obesity crisis?

This morning I read about a study out in the Lancet medical journal that compared weight loss (over a 12 month period) on a standard weight-loss program (provided by a family doctor/primary health care provider) to weight loss with Weight Watchers. My first thought was “oh, so people lose more with Weight Watchers? Well fine, but the real question is was their weight loss maintained?”. I assumed this would be answered at some point in the article. I read on, learning about the “obesity crisis” and how bad it is worldwide, and how this study shows that Weight Watchers is a “robust intervention” that can be generalized across other developing countries, and so on. And nowhere did it mention what happened with these people’s weight after the 12 months. Nor did the original study seem to look at that either. I remembered reading somewhere people get pretty darn excited about weight loss studies, but that there is really very little to suggest (based on research) that initial loss is maintained, and that looking at participants after a longer period of time has elapsed (say, 5 years) dramatically reduces the apparent success of weight loss programs. I can’t remember where I read this- maybe it was something by Leslie Kinzel or Kate Harding- but the person who wrote that also added that no wonder so many studies of weight loss interventions just don’t track participants after 6 months or a year or two: after all, that weight loss in the initial period is genuine, and they’re looking at loss not maintenance, right?

But I think it’s pretty damn disingenuous to have a huge spiel about how this new research suggests that Weight Watchers could be the solution to the “obesity crisis” (and therefore the associated diabetes, heart disease, cancer, whatever “epidemics”) but to not even be able to show that the program manages to make obese people permanently not-obese. Surely if the program is unsuccessful at helping people maintain their weight loss, it wont be these awesome tool with which to end obesity, because people will just end up putting the weight back on again. So a good study -one that wants to make the sweeping statements made by this one- would actually look at follow-up weight after the initial 12 month program trial. And why wouldn’t you want to do that if your program is so great and successful and actually works- it would only make you look good. But, as the blogger who I have forgotten (sorry!) would say cynically, there’s probably a reason that studies of weight-loss programs (especially ones funded by the company who runs the program, as this study was) don’t do long-term follow up on the participants.

Taxis, and walking home at night

Posted in New Zealand on September 5th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Taxis, and walking home at night

As we ladies know, walking home at night is a sure-fire way to get raped. “Don’t do it, ladies!”, screams society. And here we have a story of women being refused by taxi drivers and told by them to walk. I suppose you could argue that because there were three women walking together, they would be “safe” walking, but seriously. If something happened while they were walking (because taxis refused to take them), do you reckon someone would say “well, why were you walking home at night?” (or, after hearing that taxis refused to take them, “you should have flagged down every taxi you could until one accepted your fare”- even though they might have been there all night waiting for that to happen) ?

Catfight

Posted in fail on July 27th, 2011 by steph – 6 Comments

Did the author really have to call this fight between two women a “catfight”?? Even the title calls it a fist fight. SIGH. More importantly, the author forgot to tell us how much hair-pulling and scratching occurred. Did either of the women have her shirt ripped off??

“Feminism is anti-evolution”

Posted in fail, Feminism on July 21st, 2011 by steph – 4 Comments

I’m at home after having a wisdom tooth removed, and so not really in the mood for blogging, but one thing is causing me more pain and discomfort than the tooth extraction has: this horrible opinion piece, “But I’m a Feminist and I love chivalry!”. Sorry, I mean “Should chivalry be stopped?”. The entire thing is terrible, and is a great example of a bad opinion piece, but all I can really muster up the effort to ask is: do you think the men quoted in it (Ned, Tom, Jed, and Kent) are really just dudes the author made up (“Ned”, “Tom”, “Jed”, and “Kent”) to put forward her various perspectives on the issue but also include a man’s view? While reading it I was reminded of being a teenager reading Cosmo- pages and pages of sex tips and “what I like in a woman” quotes from men named Dylan, Sam, Jack, Christian, and I was fairly certain that rather than finding 50 new guys to provide opinions every issue that the author just made up a bunch of quotes and attributed them to fictional guys. Either that or asked the people in the office to make up silly shit (“My girlfriend wore her used thong as a scrunchie and it was super hot!”) and made up a bunch of guy names for their “sources”. So when I read that Ned, a “30-something finance guy” thinks that “From an evolutionary perspective, I’m meant to do the physical stuff because I was born stronger than her, and because she is busy with the children or whatever. Opening a car door is a tiny manifestation of that.”, it reeks of the Cosmo treatment to me. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe that the men quoted in the article are for real…

 

Assimilation and “when in Rome”

Posted in fail, New Zealand on July 5th, 2011 by steph – 2 Comments

Ugh. Just ugh. “Veiled woman kicked off bus”. If you want to know the reason for my “ugh”, just read the comments. All 300+ of them.  What got ot me most was how many people were spouting variations on the “if you come to our country, you have to fit in!” theme. Blend in, adopt, adapt, assimilate, when in Rome, abide by our rules, be like us. Many commenters are saying that if they went to Saudi Arabia they would be respectful of dress codes and cover their arms and legs etc, so obviously when people from over there come here they should abide by our “culture”. I hadn’t realised that a uncovered face and hair were a root aspect of our culture, so that’s me schooled. Not just an issue of politeness, decorum, general ettiquete (e.g. removing caps indoors), but a fundamental element of “Kiwiness”. Basically, there are an awful lot of people who are using the “respect Kiwi culture!” line as a substitute for “blend in with us or don’t complain when you suffer the consequences”. And that is a pretty hateful and nasty attitude.

“Women hate hard work” and other stereotypes

Posted in New Zealand on June 26th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on “Women hate hard work” and other stereotypes

Good news, everyone! Kerre Woodham has explained to us the REAL reason for the wage gap between men and women. Fuck Alasdair Thompson’s explanation that it’s due to periods and babies; Kerre knows the real reason: it’s because women don’t want to earn as much as men!

What does gender pay parity really mean? If women aren’t earning as much as men, quite often it’s because they don’t want to.

They don’t want to put in the hours and the weekends and the stress and the politics that are involved in clawing your way to the top of your field.

WE ARE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT CEO’S, KERRE. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WOMEN AT ALL LEVELS OF THE CAREER LADDER. And major fail by comparing apples and oranges; the wage gap isn’t the difference between what John Key earns and what a women who cleans offices earns. The gap is between men and women doing the SAME JOB who are equivalent in things such as experience, qualifications, etc. So the number of women getting to the tops of their fields is not what this is about – although it is a interesting issue in it’s own right.

I would be more ranty about this, but this steaming pile of women-bashing garbage with no actual evidence or stats to back it up is classic Kerre Woodham, so I can’t really be surprised or taken aback. In fact, I think that from now on whenever someone uses baseless speculation and anecdotes based on tired stereotypes to offer up the solution to an issue, especially if it involves women or poor people, I’m going to re-name that “pulling a Kerre”. You hear someone saying that rape victims aren’t to blame, but really women should be careful about what they wear? They just pulled a Kerre.