Monday, August 16th, 2010
Even during crazy weeks when I’m up to my eyeballs in work, Fringe shows and social appointments, I still manage to read piles of stuff on the Internet. Here is a sampling of the most interesting things I’ve stumbled upon this week.
Feminism & Women
- What does the word “sexualization” mean, how is it being used, and how is it affecting girls and teenagers? I think this is an entirely valid commentary on how slut shaming has become an integral part of our culture. “‘Sexualization’ is a troubling piece of cultural shorthand. It suggests that sexuality is something that is done to young women, rather than something that they can own and control: that they can never be sexual, only sexualised.” It’s easier to take girls and women to task for dressing provacatively than to address rape culture and violence at its core. This is a word with cultural nuance that both makes females the victim and simultaneously blames them for it.
- I asked the wonderful Heidi Anderson for some sex positive links on Twitter, and she responded by creating this fabulous sex positive link roundup! Includes dozens of sites and blogs, with clear indication of which includes SFW and NSFW content. So far I’ve only had the time to go through a few of these, but what I have is excellent. Thanks Heidi!
- There’s been a lot of response to this comic from Penny Arcade, including a post on the Geek Feminism Blog about Classic Conditioning and how it affects rape culture on why this comic is problematic. While I grant the point, I tend to agree more with this article on Pandagon that takes greater offense on the follow up non-apology apology comic which absolutely does makes light of rape.
- Feminism helps everyone, not just the women, and men are affected by patriarchal ideas too.
- What does a “real” feminist act like? The idea that all feminists are the same, think the same and act the same makes being a feminist all the more frustrating sometimes. We don’t all agree — in fact, some of the biggest feminist battles are being fought between women who identify as feminists. Look. You can’t pick us out of a line up. We don’t dress a certain way or act a certain way or believe in the same things. We are, as all people, individuals first and our individual experiences make up who we are, including our feminist perspective. Also? In my experience there is a direct correlation between people who use words like “feminazi” to describe feminism and the lack of knowledge they actually have about feminism, its history, and the myriad of different opinions and degrees of opinions it manifests.
Science & Technology
- Melinda Wenner Moyer talks about how women aren’t properly represented in many scientific studies and how that endangers women and limits our scientific knowledge.
- Science is showing that differences in male and female ability is more to do with socialisation and social expectation instead of genetics. I have long suspected our highly gendered culture makes up most of the difference: if we are surrounded by a culture that teaches us explicitly and implicitly from birth that boys have better spatial skills and girls are more emotionally intuitive, it isn’t a wonder expertise in those skills tend to break down by gender. We learn who we are by living in the world and taking cues from the culture around us, and mostly we do what we’re taught we’re supposed to be good at.
- The plural of anecdote is not data, and good science often isn’t sexy. Great article in the Edmonton Journal on how anecdotes make lazy research and aren’t often a good basis from which to make important decisions.
- Interesting article on how Star Trek: The Next Generation imagined the iPad 23 years ago. It’s fun to think that choices made by a television props department largely on the basis of cost have inspired actual technology, from the flip phone to the iPad.
- The Canadian federal government is getting rid of the compulsory long-form part of the Canadian census. I have not done as much reading on this issue as I would like. I also don’t know what specific questions the long form covers that the short does not and where those questions have been useful in the past. Hmm….
- Here’s a great and informative article about designing websites to be friendly for colourblind users that includes a little of the science behind what being colourblind is and isn’t. Informative and helpful.