Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vintage Sexist Ads

Great site, archiving 'vintage' sexism in advertising. Some of them, like the one below, seem, well, unbelievable.

Monday, December 05, 2011

"sisterhood is easier in winter"

Hugo Schwyzer on how miniskirts turn women into bitches.

"policing does tangible damage to women's relationships with other women."

"competitive "bitchiness" towards other women rests on the assumption that men are so unreliable that there's no point in trying to "police" their behavior."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Male Studies vs. Men's Studies

The Study of Man (or Males)
By Charles McGrath
The New York Times, January 7, 2011

Since Lionel Tiger is on the side of Male Studies, you know you don't want to be there. Young men are having problems, however. How to square this...?

According to Professor Tiger, the trouble with men’s studies is that it’s “a wholly owned branch of women’s studies.” ...The people in men’s studies, like those in women’s studies, take a mostly sociological perspective and believe that masculinity is essentially a cultural construct and that gender differences in general are fluid and variable... The male studies people, on the other had, are what their critics call “essentialists” and believe that male behavior is in large part biologically determined... Professor Tiger...worries that the changes that have allowed women to control their own reproductive process have unnaturally and disastrously altered the balance of power between the sexes... the male studies movement is less an expansion of that debate than a response to a specific crisis, the nature of which both sides agree on: academically at least, young men are in trouble.

Starting in grammar school, they lag behind girls by most observable measures, and the gap widens through high school and college. If males go to college at all, that is. College enrollment tilts at almost 60-40 in favor of women, and once enrolled, women are more likely than men to do well and to graduate.

There are a lot of explanations for why this is so. A popular theory, set forth in books like “The Trouble With Boys,” by Peg Tyre, and “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Hurting Our Young Men,” by Christina Hoff Sommers, is that grammar school classrooms have become excessively feminized, impatient with boys’ naturally boisterous behavior and short attention spans and inattentive to the way in which boys learn differently from girls...

Professor Tiger believes that by the time girls get to college, there is a Darwinian component to the achievement gap: women are aware of the divorce rate and the likelihood that they may raise children without ever marrying in the first place. “They’re studying for two,” he explained. “Guys just don’t have that sense, that inwit. That’s biology at its most essential.”

And then there are the various cultural arguments: that at least by some standards of masculinity, learning — reading and writing especially — is “uncool,” and that college campuses have become inhospitable to men, who now suffer from fragile self-regard. People associated with the male studies movement frequently bring up the date rape seminar now obligatory on most campuses. On their very first day at college, awkward young men are gathered into a room with their female counterparts and, the argument goes, made to feel like sexual predators...

Miles Groth, who teaches psychology at Wagner College and was host of the conference there last spring, says that what he hears all the time from male undergraduates on his campus is “I just don’t feel welcome here”...he has himself established a men’s center at Wagner, a small, private liberal arts school where only 36 percent of the students are men and a quarter of them are recruited athletes on scholarship.

Professor Groth’s courses examine what it means to be a man from the points of view of psychology, anthropology, literature and even movies. “Why the silence?” he said between classes one day. “Why hasn’t our generation been more vocal about what’s happening to our young men?” And then he partly answered his own question: “It’s the continuing myth of male power. If I as a man raise these issues I’m just raising that old specter of male power because I want to keep women under control.”

Guerilla Girls

Divisions in the Guerilla Girls. Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, May 30, 2005.

In October, 2003, on behalf of Guerrilla Girls, Inc., two of the original Girls, “Frida Kahlo” and “K├Ąthe Kollwitz,” filed a federal lawsuit against the on-tour and broadband entities, and against several of their former colleagues, including Gertrude Stein, charging them with, among other things, copyright and trademark infringement and unjust enrichment.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When is a man's bared chest obscene: if he has breasts

The cover of Dossier, bagged at Barnes & Noble and Borders. Read about it here.

(But was Barnes & Noble really guilty?)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

sexual assault fashion ads

This discussion relating the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case to broader issues of sexual assault, from Feminist Wire, is remarkable in particular for the fashion adverts that it reproduces. Please read the entire piece. But look at these ads! Some pertinent quotes from the article are below each one.

in the United States alone, every two minutes somebody is sexually assaulted. Over 90 percent of the victims are girls and women.

One in six women in the United States has been sexually assaulted; 60 percent of rapes are not reported. Almost all perpetrators, about 99 percent, are men.

sexual assault is neither an aberration nor an abrupt tear in the social fabric. It is, rather, a routine fact of social life.

Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, and Relish look pretty hip now, don't they?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't look butch in Dubai

Watch out, 'boyat'! (Boyat is the derogatory Arabic term for butch females in the UAE.)

Women who wear men’s watches, douse themselves in male deodorant and wear baggy gents’ clothes are at risk of arrest by undercover police at Dubai’s malls and college campuses.

Read more here.


Recasting the meaning of "slut." SlutWalk started in Toronto in April, and has migrated to the UK, and beyond.

An article in New Statesman discusses some of the logic behind the event: 'Young women, in particular, are expected to look hot and available at all times, but if we dare to express desires of our own, we are mocked, shamed and threatened with sexual violence, which, apparently, has nothing to do with the men who inflict it and everything to do with the length of skirt we have on...sexually active women deserve protection just as much as those whom polite society considers "pure".'

Can slut, like nigger and queer, be invested with new meanings?

Update, July 2, 2011: Katha Pollitt of The Nation weighs in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pakistan's Supreme Court rules: Pakistanis can opt for 3rd sex on their identity cards

This decision, reported by BBC News, is really groundbreaking. The video is excellent, and note in particular how Shahzadi recounts that as a young person, s/he realized that s/he wasn't either a boy or a girl. Note that in the West, the normative account of the "transgendered" is that he or she was trapped in the wrong body. Because of the existence of the social grouping and cultural category of the hijra in South Asia, it is possible there to imagine oneself as belonging to a "third" category.

I hope all those Westerners who love to congratulate themselves for the supposed "advanced" position of the West on matters gender and sexual will note that Pakistan has moved way, way beyond "us" in the question of the rights of the transgendered. Can you imagine the impact on the transgendered in the US, if they were stopped by the police, and their "third" status was recognized on the driver's license or the passport?

Here's the full report from BBC--but watch the vid:

(6 April 2011 Last updated at 08:52 ET)

Pakistan has taken the landmark decision to allow transsexuals to have their own gender category on some official documents.

The country's Supreme Court has ruled that those Pakistanis who do not consider themselves to be either male or female should be allowed to choose an alternative sex when they apply for their national identity cards.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steven Shaviro on Samuel Delaney's "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue"

I loved this book. Steven Shaviro captures its significance brilliantly in his review. Here's an excerpt:

"I don't think I have ever read any account of sex and sexual encounters (whether truthful or fictional, gay or straight or whatever) that has been so demystified-or perhaps I could better say, so clearheaded and refreshingly down-to-earth. Nothing in Delany's accounts is idealized by utopianism or burnished by nostalgia. But neither does anything ever appear sleazy or depraved (as is so often the case in sensationalistic accounts of sexual 'subcultures' written for outsiders). Delany implicitly rejects our culture's tendency to define sexuality, and especially non-heterosexual and/or non-monogamous sexuality, as being (whether for good or for ill) transgressive. Delany links sexual desire to the multifarious pleasures of the flesh and intellect, rather than seeing it (in the fashion of so many modernist and postmodernist visionaries) as a sort of metaphysical absolute. He is most of all concerned to underline the everydayness of a sex life that included multiple encounters with multiple partners in these venues. The emotional fulfillment and sense of community provided even by the most fleeting of these encounters is (or at least should be) not an extraordinary situation, but a basic experience of everybody's life."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gay Parenting in the South

"Parenting by Gays More Common in the South, Census Shows" by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, January 18, 2010

A fascinating article. Here are some excerpts: demographers sift through recent data releases from the Census Bureau, they have found that Jacksonville [Florida] is home to one of the biggest populations of gay parents in the country.

In addition, the data show, child rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region of the country, according to Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gay couples in Southern states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England.

The pattern, identified by Mr. Gates, is also notable because the families in this region defy the stereotype of a mainstream gay America that is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast...

Black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children, according to Mr. Gates...They are also more likely than their white counterparts to be struggling economically.

Experts offer theories for the pattern. A large number of gay couples, possibly a majority, entered into their current relationship after first having children with partners in heterosexual relationships, Mr. Gates said. That seemed to be the case for many blacks and Latinos in Jacksonville, for whom church disapproval weighed heavily...

About a third of lesbians are parents, and a fifth of gay men are. Advocacy groups argue that their children are some of society’s most vulnerable, with fewer legal protections and less health insurance than children of heterosexual parents.

Even so, their ranks have been mostly left out of national policy debates, because the Census Bureau did not conduct its first preliminary count of same-sex couples until 1990. This year, the bureau will count married same-sex partners for the first time.

Read the entire article here.