Syllogismism

No Way

Posted in Language by Dizzy on August 25, 2008

Oh dear GAWD, please tell me they didn’t just follow Michelle Obama’s speech with “Isn’t She Lovely” and then a little quip from satellite hubby saying that she looked cute.

Way to turn a powerful, inspiring woman into a harmless, silly, weak, pretty little statue, all in the blink of an eye.  Nice job.

The Sunday Funnies: A New Series

Posted in Pop Culture by Dizzy on August 24, 2008

Remember the comics section in the thick ol Sunday newspaper, all full-color and fabulous? Dude, I loved the Sunday funnies. I so looked forward to lying on my tummy on the living room floor for hours, eating bowl after bowl of fake Lucky Charms, laughing at jokes I didn’t get and trying to understand what the hell Bloom County was about. The comics made great wrapping paper too.

Anyway, I don’t know about anyone else but I could really use some new Sunday Funnies. Welcome to the 2008 Feminist version.

RIP: I’m Sick of Your Insane Demands

Posted in My Favorite Feminists by Dizzy on August 21, 2008

Erica Barnett, of the Feminist blog “I am Sick of Your Insane Demands” has apparently let her domain name expire. I sincerely hope this doesn’t mean the end to her blogging career.  Erica was insightful and provocative and always had something interesting to say.   Her awesome blog was one of the few on my blogroll and I  always clicked as soon as there was new stuff to read.   She was, among other things, my go-to girl on PETA and Hillary Clinton and I will miss her terribly.

Erica, if you’re reading, come back! We need your voice.

My reader list gets shorter

Posted in My Favorite Feminists, Pop Culture, Women's Bodies by Dizzy on August 19, 2008

Maybe I’m coming in a little late to the game and there’s already a whole bunch of incisive commentary about Pandagon’s ads.  I’m new to that site, having just discovered the Google Reader iPhone app and gone batshit crazy on adding every femblog I could think of to it,  so pardon my ignorance to the backlash,  if one indeed exists.

So what the fuck?  When did popular feminist blogs start being okay with ads using the faux-frightened,  finger chewing women wearing only t-shirts to sell clothes and a naked Pamela Anderson to promote PETA, one of the most mysogonistic organizations to ever curse the planet?   “Watch as this sexy icon lays it all out in this very graphic video.”   Clever bait and switch, except not.  Vile and disturbing and profoundly disappointing.

That’s the kind of shit I expect to see on just about every other kind of website in the universe – liberal and conservative and ecommerce and catholic and movie review and cooking tips and music downloading and nutrition and world news, whatever.  It’s everywhere.  But on a feminist blog? Are you freaking kidding me?  Is nothing sacred? Nothing at all?  Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing the writers at Pandagon are trying to change about the world?

I actively avoid sites/blogs that use this kind of imagery to sell or promote.  It ain’t easy, I tell you what, but I do it because seeing that stuff a thousand and one times per day makes my hands shake and puts me in a funk that’s getting harder and harder to shake off.  Of course I realize that I can’t entirely avoid provocotivey positioned ladies on the porn-addled,  man-is-the-default-user innerwebs, and I’m more than adept at clicking away when I see it, but I honestly expect that the sites that I’ve designated in my little reader as Feminist will not actually contribute to the woman-hating horseshit I presume they’re rallying against.

For heck’s sake, Pandagon. I hope you get your priorities straight.

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Patriarchal gasses released; Humans go extinct

Posted in Mysognistic Bullshit, Pop Culture by Dizzy on June 17, 2008

You know the world’s gone to shit when opera singers feel like they need to get gastric bypass surgery so they’ll have a better chance at getting parts.

Slimmed-down soprano Deborah Voigt, back at London’s Covent Garden four years after bosses fired her for being too fat, says opera, like other forms of entertainment, is increasingly obsessed with looks.

The 47-year-old American accepted an invitation from the Royal Opera House to return to the same production she was dropped from in 2004 when the casting director felt she would not suit the “little black dress” he envisaged for the part.

The decision sparked heated debate in the world of opera and beyond about the importance of artists’ appearance. Voigt shed 120 pounds with the help of gastric bypass surgery and is back as Ariadne in Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos.”…

Voigt said she was initially upset at being dropped by the Royal Opera House, although she now understood she would have looked out of place in the stylized ‘Ariadne’ production.

Potential perk: “when the fat lady sings” is no longer part of the lexicon.

Potential bummer: Women increasingly starve themselves to infertility and death and the human species rides into extinction. Robots and aliens blame the End of Man on woman.

On a not-unrelated note, has anyone seen The Happening?

The dire consequences of not eating breakfast

Posted in TV, Women's Bodies, Women-Blaming by Dizzy on April 26, 2008

This story actually made me laugh out loud rather riotously at work. I think I startled my cube mates.

So, according to Science!, if a woman takes really good care of herself and eats the right food, when she finds herself great with child she will be rewarded with a bouncing baby boy. Regularly skimping out on breakfast? Eating junk food? Sorry lady, you’re stuck with a girl. And it’s your own damn fault. Now go to your room and don’t come out until you’re ready to breed properly.

Oysters may excite the libido, but there is nothing like a hearty breakfast laced with sugar to boost a woman’s chances of conceiving a son, according to a study released Wednesday.

…a low-energy diet that skimps on calories, minerals and nutrients is more likely to yield a female of the human species.

Beside racking up a higher calorie count, the group who produced more males were also more likely to have eaten a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12.

Fifty-six percent of the women in the group with the highest energy intake had sons, compared to 45 percent in the least-well fed cohort.

Ah, so much snarking and blaming to be done, so no brainpower to be thinking or desire to be typing. It’s beautiful out there and I have some veggies to plant!

Just one thing: 54% to 45%? That’s your “more likely”? Is that statistically significant enough to warrant a press release? Even if it is, the research methods seem pretty sketchy here. I’m skeptical about the methods, assumptions, and results of all gender-focused Science!, but the studies that rely entirely on daily self-reporting are especially suspicious and less than credible.

The odds of an XY, or male outcome to a pregnancy also went up sharply “for women who consumed at least one bowl of breakfast cereal daily compared with those who ate less than or equal to one bowl of week,” the study reported.

Great. Can’t wait to see the Special K commercials after that gets out.

Notes from a night of the TV

Posted in Pop Culture, TV, Women's Bodies by Dizzy on April 24, 2008

1. Does Kelly Ripa really expect us to believe that she runs home and cooks macaroni and cheese for her family after hosting a nationally televised morning talk show and then doing 6 other gigs? Ok, let’s say that’s even possible. Why is she doing this? Hubby Mark isn’t working these days, is he? I haven’t seen him since his All My Children days 10 years ago. I’d like to see the commercial where Mr. Ripa talks about the demands of supporting his wife’s career while taking care of the family and home. WAY more compelling.

2. Top Chef is the most gender-egaliatarian show on TV. Talented chefs compete against each other to make the best dishes with nary a mention of what gender is supposed to be like this and like that. No female chef is coined “the hot one.” None of the women talk about being a “girl winner” of Top Chef. (See The Biggest Loser for comparison). And there is no reason to believe that this competition isn’t entirely about the chef’s body of work and not the chef’s body. Love it. (For the record, I feel the same about the competitors on Project Runway, but the fact that they’re making outfits for rail-thin models and are consistently befuddled when presented with regular-woman-size challenges sorta negates its feminist goodwill).

3, Do the powers-that-be at Law and Order and CSI think that the raped and tortured and dead women will remind us of how dangerous it is to be a woman and we’ll proceed accordingly? Or do they know that TV watchers at large actually prefer to see women raped and tortured and dead as opposed to, uh, alive?

4. From The Office: “Yeah, I have a lot of questions. Number one: How dare you.” Ha! Kelly makes me laugh. Everybody on The Office makes me laugh. I love this show.

Oh How I Love Thao

Posted in Music & Art by Dizzy on April 23, 2008

I can watch this video over and over and still get chills at different moments every time. God I love this.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

visit Thao’s imeem page posted with vodpod

Enlarging the Space vs. Changing the System

Posted in Being a Feminist, Feminism, Sex, Women's Bodies by Dizzy on April 22, 2008

I’ve been trying to figure out sex-positive feminism for a while now, I’ve read a bunch about it, but ever since this Twisty post and this post at Rage Against the Manchine I’ve been preoccupied with figuring this shit out.

I’ll admit that I’m a total n00b when it comes to this topic – it took many years of considering myself a feminist before I could meaningfully articulate what that meant to me, so understanding and being able to take a side on all the controversies ostensibly existing inside the feminist sphere is this whole other level of challenge.

What I do know is that this sex-positive feminism thing has never sat well with me. I suppose it’s partly because my sexuality isn’t really that important of a thing to me and expressing it isn’t anywhere close to the top of my list of things to do in a day. Sex is fun sometimes and the freedom for women to be sexual is paramount, but I don’t understand the preoccupation with needing to turn and be turned on. Maybe other women understand feeling sexy and having orgasms as an important part of their identity and their mission. Okay, that’s fine. I’m not against sex, just a little sex-neutral (as defined here)

But now I’m realizing how much sex-positive feminism rankles me, mostly because the mainstream world seems to think it’s the cool young sexy fun and entirely non-threatening part of the whatever Wave we’re riding these days. And also because it has the word feminism in it. (And from this point on, I will call it sex-positivity).

I dunno, but trying to make misogyny work in our favor doesn’t feel like any kind of a feminist movement to me. I know that women as a class do this every second of the day for various reasons and at all levels of oppression, but doing it is one thing. Calling it a feminist movement just because some women choose it/enjoy it/feel sexy and empowerfulled because of it – well, that feels like delusion.

Female sexual empowerment in the form of lap dances and porn parties and hawt women making out for the sole purpose of titillating the menz as a path towards gender equality? Whatever. I think true sexual empowerment would look a whole lot different than a 16-year old boy’s Tila Tequila-inspired spank bank and from where I sit, equality has very little to do with sex. Gender equality, or as I like to envision it, gender devaluation, would have to come before any meaningful sexual empowerment for women.

I read this today, which is from John Fisk’s book on the politics of popular culture via an essay collection called “Third Wave Feminism and Television”:

Radicalism’s “progressiveness is concerned with redistributing power within these structures (family, work, education) toward the disempowered; it attempts to enlarge the space within which bottom-up power has to operate. It does not, as radicalism does, try to change the system that distributes power in the first place.”

So first of all, I guess that means I’m radical, because everything that I believe can be done to combat the woman-hating that presents itself in the form of CSI and 14 year old girls cutting themselves and bikini babes on boat-selling websites and 13-year old pregnant FLDS commune wives – they all revolve around changing the system entirely and most certainly NOT around believing that the solution to the problem of mysogny is to make it work in my favor.

Anyway, the Fisk quote makes sense to me. Sex-positivity may be considered a progressive movement because it’s attempting to give a form of power to a traditionally oppressed class. Feminism, on the other hand, wants to change the system that distributes such power and not simply redistribute it.

OR… the alternate way to read this is that it’s all under the feminist umbrella, but the progressive faction is defined by its so-called female sexual empowerment and the radical sect is concerned with making sexual empowerment of women moot because there would be no distinction among gender-specific power and roles in the sexual sphere.

Aw shit. I don’t know what to think right now.

I can’t reconcile myself to calling sex-positives anti- or non-feminist because I just can’t believe that the feminism I believe in is the only thing that can truly be called feminism. That makes me uncomfortable. But I also can’t embrace sex-positivity as a feminist movement because it goes against so much of what I think feminism is. So much of what I feel it is.

All I know for sure is that feminism is a fight and sex-positivity feels to me like an admission of defeat. It’s like the back door to the club with the sketchy dark twisted hallway that distracts you with all its mirrors but then stops at the velvet-roped dance floor where the burly bouncer tells you to go back to the mirrors and check your makeup.

ETA: I realize that sex positivity encompasses far more than the Pussycat Dolls characterizations I’ve made here. I know that it’s about sexual agency and subverting the patriarchy via personal choice and liberation from conventional notions of femininity and female sexuality. That said, I still think that the belief that it’s possible for a woman in a patriarchy to become a sexually empowered subject by choosing to embrace misogynistic objectification is what results in things like Girls Gone Wild being considered the new feminism.

Ma Nature, why do you let these fools define you?

Posted in Misogyny, Women's Bodies by Dizzy on April 16, 2008

Good Mothers are nurturing. They suckle, groom, and protect. Bad Mothers lose interest in satisfying the demands of their children and go off and do their own thing.

Yeah yeah, nothing we haven’t heard before.

But now Science! has proof that Bad Mothers have something seriously wrong with them. They’re not just weird and self-absorbed, they’ve actually got a mental illness, for chrissakes.

By comparing the good mothers to their less attentive relatives, the group has found that negligent parenting seems to have both genetic and non-genetic influences, and may be linked to dysregulation of the brain signaling chemical dopamine…

Child neglect has devastating consequences, Auger says, and the natural occurrence of maternal neglect within this mouse strain offers a powerful opportunity to investigate the biological and behavioral bases of maternal neglect…

Next, Auger says, “We hope to understand in greater detail the basis of naturally occurring neglect and provide treatment paradigms to these animals to restore natural maternal care of offspring.”

Let’s hope that shit’s treatable! Cuz lowered knows there’s nothing worse than a mother who refuses to suckle and groom her own damn kids while babydaddy is out re-planting his seed/being listened to/drinking Pabst with the boys.

Why I’m so pissed off about this article right now;

1) The immediate editorial judgment of what is good and what is bad when referring to the behavior of mice.

2) The glaring lack of comparison data on father mice, despite repeated use of the word “parent” and “parenting”.

3) The inference that mice behavior is completely transferable to human behavior without question, even though humans, ya know, use verbal language and have complex political and cultural structures and stuff.

4) The assumption that Bad mothering may benefit from “treatment paradigms,” which will inevitably be offered by ginormous pharmaceutical companies as a solution to the problem of women who work and women who date women and any woman who doesn’t feel up to providing constant, unappreciated care to another human being entirely dependent on her for survival and the ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.

5) The not-so-inferred-but-totally-stated idea that “good” mothering is what is natural and deviations are unnatural, as in fully against the irrefutable laws of nature that humans have no choice but to abide by.

Okay, any Science! project that tells me what Mother Nature herself has decided for me based on some assumed but yet to be proven ability to make babies simply REEKS of patriarchy ball sack. These kinds of seemingly innocuous and supposedly well-intentioned studies about women (let’s save the children!) are what make up the substantial body of work that keeps us out of the way so that men can carry on with the business of being fully realized human beings.

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