Equality & Diversity
More links (I really need to stop collecting them and just post them as I find them).
How to Write a “Political Correctness Run Amok” Article
A handy 'how-to' guide for writing articles about 'political correctness gone mad' stories. It's an angry piece by someone who has clearly had enough.
But if instead of engaging in . . . smart and necessary conversations, you’d rather just write the flip-side of the “Internet outrage machine” article — where instead of stoking outrage about people who have allegedly committed acts of sexism, or racism, or transphobia, and so on, you instead stoke outrage about the people who are protesting these potential acts of sexism, or racism, or transphobia, and so on . . . then fuck you.
‘Political correctness’ doesn’t hinder free speech – it expands it
A great article with a self-explanatory title.
But here is the thing: white students parading around campus in blackface is itself a silencing tactic. Telling rape victims that they’re “coddled” is a silencing tactic. Teaching marginalised people that their concerns will always be imperiously dismissed, always subordinated to some decontextualised free-speech absolutism is a silencing tactic.
Framing student protests as bratty “political correctness gone mad” makes campuses a hostile environment for everyone except for students who have no need to protest.
Equality and Diversity
5 horrible, sexist things the patriarchy demands of men
A nice example of how the patriarchy hurts men as much as it hurts women.
Sorry, conservatives, but denying the gender wage gap is “truly delusional”
An interesting interview with the co-authors of a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. Two highlights are that one reason the wage gap is decreasing is that men's wages are falling, and that even when all the factors you can think of are taken into account, still 40% of the wage difference between men and women is 'unexplained' (i.e. explained by sexism).
Paid Leave for Dads: A Feminist Issue
An article on a report that found that if you give men paid paternity leave, surprise surprise, they'll take it. There's more to it than that, so still worth a read.
Calling Bullshit on the Men Who Think the Pay Gap Is a Myth
A nice UK-centric article on the pay gap. I love this bit in response to the claim that women don't like doing the 'difficult' jobs,
But it's also displaying the most fundamental ignorance of the historical and systematic demeaning of women's labor—i.e. that woman have traditionally worked as unpaid carers to everyone around them. Manual labor is an undeniably hard grind. But do you know what else is? Cleaning shitty diapers. Especially the shitty diapers of your 80-year-old mother. And probably after you've finished working a six-hour shift at Walmart, done all the shopping, picked the kids up from school, and made dinner.
America loves a single dad: When was the last time a single mom became a viral hero just for raising her kids?
The title says it all.
Brad Pitt’s first time: Before Angelina Jolie and “By the Sea,” Pitt had never been directed by a woman — and these top actors still haven’t
The dire state of women in Hollywood.
As a report from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film indicates, 93 percent of film directors are male—meaning that if an actor works on an average of one project each year, he’s likely to work under a woman every 14 years.
Equal Pay Revolution: How Top Actresses Are Finally Fighting Back
A good article to read with the previous one, on how pervasive sexism is in Hollywood.
“People with more experience are paid more,” says Nancy Dubuc, president-CEO of A+E Networks. “The problem is that the industry continues to give a disproportionate number of men the opportunity to gain that experience, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that men earn more than women.”
I don't normally do two quotes, but I love Toni Collette and love this quote so couldn't risk it being missed,
Toni Collette, who headlines the drama “Miss You Already,” puts it more bluntly: “It’s a fucking sexist industry,” she says. “I don’t understand why genitalia makes a difference. Creativity is creativity.”
There's an all-female Ghostbusters – how about a male Thelma and Louise?
The final in a trio of articles on Hollywood. This time looking at the stories being told. I really enjoyed this because it gave me one of those 'I've never thought of it that way, but you're right' moments.
Hollywood is remaking male buddy movies with all-women casts – but the fact the opposite trick wouldn’t work shows masculinity is movies’ default setting.
Kitchen Design Doesn’t Trap Women In Sexist Stereotypes; It Frees Them
Not the typical intersectionality article, but one abou the intersection of women and design. In this case, kitchen design but it also goes through a lot of other things. I never realised the pedal bin was designed by a woman (to be honest, I'd never thought about it being 'designed' at all.
Hard labour: the case for testing drugs on pregnant women
Another atypical intersectionality article. This time the intersection of pregnancy and medicine. Unsurprisingly, many drugs aren't tested on pregnant women but what are they to do if they need them?
Like many women with chronic illnesses, she found herself facing an agonising decision. On the one hand, Heidi feared what the pharmacopoeia might do to her developing daughter. “It was a lot of medication to be taking, and it’s a risky thing to be doing,” she says. . . . At the same time, however, she worried about what might happen if she went off her meds and the depression returned.
The Troubling Trendiness Of Poverty Appropriation
An interesting look at cultural appropriation and how choice is a key factor in privilege.
[A 'trailer-trash' bar is] but one example of an entire hipster movement . . that has brought with it an ethos of poor-culture appropriation and the “re-invention” of things that have largely been tools of survival for poor, disabled, working class, and/or communities of color for decades.
Why the Fuck Are Middle-Class Parents This Overwhelmed?
A counterpoint to the previous article.
“You basically just always feel like you’re doing a horrible job at everything,”
Interviewing One Odd Gamer Girl: A Conversation About Disability and Gaming
Proper intersectionality - gaming, feminism and disability. A great interview with a fascinating person!
My experience wouldn’t be better if I could hear. My experience would be better if game developers appreciated that there are numerous deaf and hard of hearing players and took us into consideration when making games.
Science and Academia
Male and Female Brains
A really nice explanation of brains and sex.
"We show there are differences, but brains do not come in male and female forms. The differences you see are differences between averages. Each one of us is a unique mosaic.”
There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about
I had a hellish time during my (failed) PhD. I ended up on antidepressants and felt like a failure for a long time so this article really struck a chord.
“Academia is understanding, but perhaps too accepting, that everyone has problems,” says Jane. “Just because many people do have mental health problems, it’s not ok that that’s ‘how it is.’”
The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About
It's not telling us anything we don't know, but could be a useful link for some men who aren't aware that this is, to a greater or lesser extent, the lives of most women. One bit stood out in particular,
It’s walking through the parking lot of a big box store and politely saying Hello when a guy passing us says Hi. It’s pretending not to hear as he berates us for not stopping to talk further. What? You too good to talk to me? You got a problem? Pffft… bitch
It made me realise that I adopt exactly the same technique when going past chuggers on the street. Head down, pretend to ignore. So, at least there's some transferable skills that come out of all of this!
Who needs Maxim when you can hate women on Reddit and 4chan?
The news that two 'Lads' Mags' have closed down is not good news.
The truth is that lad mags can’t compete in the age of the internet. Today, a young man awash in anger at the discovery that women are allowed to make their own choices, even about sex, doesn’t need to buy some cheeky magazine that tries to leer women back into their place. He can go straight to the Internet, where the misogyny is unvarnished, participatory, and free.
Why is Britain’s minister for women writing feminism out of history?
I wish I had been this eloquent when I was an A-level student!
In terms of feminist campaigns, this may not be the biggest issue. But these small things matter. Because, when you erase women from the curriculum, you teach boys and girls that women’s work is not important, that the contributions they made are not as valuable. If you start this drip-feeding early then you invite the sexism, inequality and misogyny that women are still experiencing today.
“Our protesters came in for abortions”: Fear, slut-shaming, Planned Parenthood, and the truth about right-wing religious hypocrisy
A look at abortion in the US.
the message is not getting out that likely around 40 percent of American women have had abortions, even though, a very large segment of this population is pretending they didn’t–and are even actively working against that right for others.
Wow, that's a comprehensive list! Thanks, Fishnut!
Men Take Paternity Leave Far More Often When Their Child Is Male
A really depressing article reporting on a study that found that men are 50% more likely to take paternity leave when they have sons than when they have daughters.
Let’s call everyone “they”: Gender-neutral language should be the norm, not the exception
I'm definitely with this article. I use 'they' or 'them' a lot, especially when I don't know the gender of the person I'm referring to or, increasingly, when it really doesn't matter.
Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence
Another really depressing article listing the lifetime of low level (and some high level) sexual harassment one women has experienced.
No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong [UPDATED]
A short primer on the difference between a fact and an opinion and what happens when your opinion conflicts with facts.
Meet the First Wives Club
I'm starting to find myself drawn to stories of unsympathetic people who nevertheless have legitimate points. This is principally about a group of women fighting their millionaire husbands for a share of their wealth following divorce but speaks to a larger issue of the courts allowing rich people getting the better of the courts while allowing poorer people to be screwed.
How Talking to Undergraduates Changed My Mind
Are students becoming mollycoddled babies who are scared of everything, or is there a serious issue surrounding harassment in universities?
IBM pulls #HackAHairDryer campaign admitting it 'missed the mark'
Why are companies always doing this? Good intentions give way to tone deaf implementation.
Research conference disinvites scientist for being pregnant like a conference of idiots.
Because when you get pregnant you can no longer be trusted to make decisions for yourself.
IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Was Trolled and Fat-Shamed by One of My Male College Students
"I realized that shame is tricky and ugly. It requires permission. But, of course, the trouble with the patriarchy is that women aren’t always in charge of their permission. Sometimes, it’s taken from them."
How to be a fan of problematic things
"most texts have some problematic elements in them, because they’re produced by humans, who are well-known to be imperfect. But it can be surprisingly difficult to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about it, as many fans do. We need to find a way to enjoy the media we like without hurting other people and marginalised groups."
The Feminist Asylum That Redefined Women's Mental-Health Treatment
If you treat people with mental illness like they're people they can get better. Who knew (?)
The Unexpected Argument Some Feminists Are Making for Keeping Women Out of Military Combat
I don't know if I agree with the argument, but it's interesting and worthy of consideration.
The Word Is “Rape”
An important article that notes the depressing frequency that non-consensual sex, particularly with minors, is referred to a 'sex' in news articles rather than the more accurate term 'rape'.
The Serial Swatter
A terrifying article about the use of 'swatting' to terrorise people. Police seem to have a hard time prosecuting, why they can't be charged with terrorism (it is designed to terrorise), or at the very least wasting police time, I don't know.
How people with disabilities are being excluded from academia, often due to the most fundamental issues like access to buildings. Infuriating to leave, far more so to have to live it.
Parents: Reject Technology Shame
I love this article. I hate the whole luddite approach to technology some parents adopt.
Beer, Queer? Thoughts On Beer and Gender
A beer company came out with a 'transgender' beer (I've read the explanation several times but still don't understand). On the positive side, it prompted an interesting discussion about trans identify and trans allies.
They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist
A beautifully written piece on how damaging cultural appropriation can be.
My white teachers and my white classmates told me over and over again they simply didn’t believe a Chinese person would ever talk the way my characters did when workshopping my stories, but heaped lavish praise anytime my white peers wrote stories set in countries they’ve never lived in, narrated by people whose experiences of racism they never personally experienced.
“Picture yourself as a stereotypical male”
A really interesting article on the impact of stereotypes.
White Privilege Weariness
"My weariness is rooted in realizing how often starting the race conversation with white privilege automatically centers the experience of white folks."
America’s white working class apocalypse: What’s really driving its rapid demise
The relevance of this to the forum is a bit oblique but I think it has an important point that people who feel their privilege (especially when they have never seen it as privilege) is being threatened can turn really, well, nasty.
“God hates Renoir”: He sucks at painting, and this is why you should care
Another left-field article but it raises interesting questions.
An a couple of fun articles that have no real relevance except that they're sciency and really interesting.
The digital “Monuments Men” are fighting the devastation of ISIS
Archaeology for the 21st century.
What It's Really Like To 'Walk' In Space
Interviews with real astronauts talking about walking in space. Heart-stopping stuff!
Chris Hadfield meets Randall Munroe: ‘Are we alone in the universe?'
One of the best conversations I've read in bloody ages. This bit in particular has really stuck with me,
There’s a chance now, especially with the level of literacy that we’ve achieved in the last 25 years, and the decrease in infant mortality – we’re at the point now where we are not wasting very much human potential. The brightest minds in the world are at the point, now, where almost all of them can access the sum knowledge of the world. That’s pretty exciting, the self-accelerating nature of giving knowledge to people who have the ability to crack it and turn it into new inventions and ideas.
What a wonderful idea, and it could really be true if we can stop this stupid exclusion of people from fields based on non-relevant issues such as their gender, race or sexuality.
Women do better at maths tests when there are no men around:
Women in small groups do better if they're in the majority:
More interesting articles:
Men Explain Lolita to Me
Best first line of an article I've read in a while:
It is a fact universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of an opinion must be in want of a correction.
It's a good article (and a bit of a follow-up to this one by the same writer) that explores the value of reading,
I was arguing not that everyone should read books by ladies—though shifting the balance matters—but that maybe the whole point of reading is to be able to explore and also transcend your gender (and race and class and nationality and moment in history and age and ability) and experience being others.
Interview with Marlon James, winner of the Man Booker prize
He sounds like an interesting guy but what I really liked was how minorities and women were seen to only be able to write about their experiences while 'mainstream' authors are allowed to write about anything by virtue of having an imagination. It's well worth a read.
The Poisonous Beauty Advice Columns of Victorian England
An interesting piece looking at the poisons women used to meet the ideals of beauty in the Victorian age. It ends by asking if things are really that different these days.
Hollywood’s despicable whitewashing continues: This bland Keanu Reeves cop thriller started as a diverse, female-centered bilingual drama
The title says it all really, but it's an interesting, if depressing, look at how interesting stories are made forgettable due to the belief that those interesting ones won't be commercially viable. (What I find most hilarious is that the article describes an analysis system that rates the 'bankability' of stars and lists only Will Smith and Johnny Depp as bringing guaranteed returns. Given that Depp was listed as the most overpaid actor this year and I can't remember the last decent thing Smith was in, I think the system needs some refinement!)
A study of gender pricing in New York City
Stories of this study have been making the rounds recently so you've probably seen at least one, but this is the source. Women pay over the odds for all sorts of products, not just beauty. They found that women pay about 7% more for products.
The Infamous Reddit “Ask a Rapist” Thread Is Now the Subject of a Research Study
Another title that says it all, but it links to the research (published in the journal Psychology of Violence) and gives what seems to be a decent background and explanation of the findings which are that (from the Salon article) "Garden-variety cultural sexism lays the foundations for extreme violence against women".
A Social Justice Argument For Spoiler Warnings
Spoiler warnings are an intersectional social justice and accessibility issue. For example, I am rarely able to experience media right away. I don’t get to see movies when they come out because I work a lot of hours, I’m a student, and I’m usually totally broke. Spoilers are a constant reminder that I’m too poor to have the benefit of seeing movies opening weekend (or even in the theater usually), too poor to watch shows on cable, or too poor to read books right away. Helping me to avoid spoilers by labeling them helps me to experience media the way people with more money and time than me get to experience that media.
Online sexism is so out of control that we can no longer ignore it
An opinion piece by Yvette Cooper that made me a bit angry as it listed a lot of ways women have been abused (mainly online) but she seems to have no ideas about how to combat it other than a meaningless 'let's reclaim the internet'. Fine, great. Um, how?
New Zealand prime minister John Key criticised for 'rape joke' stunt
Rape is funny if it's about prison rape(!)
An unbelievable story of rape
Another story that's been doing the rounds recently but well worth a read. A woman says she was raped, forced to recant, was prosecuted for lying and then, guess what, the rapist is caught after having attacked multiple other women.
What's terrifying is how the original victim wasn't believed by those around her because she didn't behave in the ways they 'thought' she should, oh, and that it sounded like something out of 'Law and Order' so therefore it was all made up. Words fail me.
NSW Police accused of failing alleged domestic violence victim
It's not just the US that screws over victims of violent assault. Aussie police only investigated a domestic violence case after being shamed on social media saying (despite the women being so badly injured she was admitted to hospital) that it was her word against her partner's.
Interview with Natascha McElhone
A typical interview made more interesting by this bit,
People talk about “strong female roles” as if a strong woman is the only desirable kind to play. I sort of shy away slightly from that term now … It conjures up images of women with shoulder pads marching through offices shouting at people, like in Network or something. You want to play someone who’s got a story to tell – it could be a deeply flawed human being, a very weak human being. It’s not about necessarily playing strong people, but people who are complicated – human. They’re not just there responding or reacting to the actions of a man …
Man Who Claimed He 'Fell' and Penetrated Teen Is Cleared of Rape Charges
This happening in England. England!
El Salvador: where women are thrown into jail for losing a baby
Abortion by wire coat hanger is not a thing of the past in America
Yep, women are having to improvise abortions despite them being legal because access is so limited. . .
Planned Parenthood Sues Ohio After AG Claims to Have Found 'Fetal Remains' in Landfill
. . . due to reasons like this. Well, because bigots keep coming up with stories like this which means that PP struggles to keep centres open.
On Setting The “Universal Sex Difference” Bar Way Too Low
A nice takedown of some research claiming that men and women are neurologically 'different'.
It’s Not Foot in Mouth Disease
A great article that tears apart the usual apologetic/justification that companies (in particular) use to justify the lack of women.
the problem is not that he misspoke. The problem is that the idea that women are not as good is so deeply embedded in the mind of so many people in positions of power, that it is not even recognized. It’s a belief system that leads one to automatically and without awareness, connect “women” with “lower standards” and “woman as good as a man” with “the exception.”
The Profound Emptiness of ‘Resilience’
But where ‘‘resilience’’ can suggest new avenues for civic infrastructure — admitting that disaster can’t always be diverted and shifting the focus to survival strategies — it is indistinguishable from classic American bootstrap logic when it is applied to individuals, placing all the burden of success and failure on a person’s character. ‘‘It’s pretty much the same message that’s drummed into us by Aesop’s fables, Benjamin Franklin’s aphorisms, Christian denunciations of sloth and the 19th-century chant invented to make children do their homework: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,’ ’’ the social scientist Alfie Kohn argued in an op-ed article in The Washington Post. ‘‘The more we focus on whether people have or lack persistence (or self-discipline more generally), the less likely we’ll be to question larger policies.’’
The truth about Serena & American Pharaoh: Here’s the real reason why the comparison is so insulting
Sports Illustrated have a Sportsperson of the Year and this year they named Serena Williams. Pretty uncontroversial, you'd think, but some people felt that a horse, American Pharaoh, should have won (somehow missing that however wonderful horses are, they're not people) and they feel that the only reason Williams won was because she's black and it's just a big case of affirmative action (nothing to do with the fact that she's one of the best tennis players out there, male or female). The article looks at the underlying racism that has sparked the outcry.
A load more links:
No extending abortion act to Northern Ireland, first female leader says
I can't get over Northern Ireland's attitude to abortions, it's terrifying. It's as if Northern and [Southern] Ireland have a competition to see who can be worse for women. Also related is this article, Northern Ireland medics fear prison over abortion advice.
Pro-choice Irish women go public on being 'exiled' by need for an abortion
Given that what they have done is illegal, these women are incredibly brave for going public. I still find it strange that Ireland can legalise same-sex marriage but still can't give women bodily autonomy.
Female WWII Pilots Not Allowed Rightful Burial at Arlington National Cemetery
Title says it all.
Breastfeeding Women's Nipples Are up for Grabs, Says New Hampshire Legislator
There's so much of this story that makes me angry. From the fact that a New Hampshire bill proposes to punish women who "purposely expose the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place" (a behaviour also known as a potential common consequence of breast feeding). It gets better, as a Republican State Representative used the comments section of a Facebook post to explain his reasoning for supporting the bill, saying,
"Who doesn't support a mother's right to feed? Don't give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it's a woman's natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than [sic] you should have no problem with a mans inclantion [sic] to stare at it and grab it. After all... It's ALL relative and natural, right?"
I don't know what's worse - the sentiment or the spelling!
US hospital sued for denying patients contraception surgery
Competing with Northern Ireland for screwing women is the US where hospitals seem to be predominantly Catholic (ah, the joys of privatised healthcare) and would rather that their patients died than give them treatments or medications that might, god forbid, give them some control over their reproductive organs/cycles. And it seems it really is about reproduction and just has a side affect of harming women given that they also won't do vasectomies, according to the article.
Do men really understand what childcare’s about?
A really good article on childcare and how the different expectations for men and women have evolved and are perpetuated.
All that propaganda about women being “naturally” good at empathy and care work is so well-honed that men have convinced themselves it’s the truth. We’re not really oppressed; we’re just so full of love for others we can’t help ourselves.
Chris Gayle fined in Big Bash League reporter 'sexism' row
No, a televised interview is not the right time to ask someone out. What I liked about this particular article on the story is that it included quotes from the club that suggested that they really understood why what he did isn't acceptable (unlike Piers Morgan).
How to make a rape joke
This is an older article but still worth reading. It's got a lot of really food stuff, but this bit in particular stood out,
This fetishization of not censoring yourself, of being an "equal-opportunity offender," is bizarre and bad for comedy. When did "not censoring yourself" become a good thing? We censor ourselves all the time, because we are not entitled, sociopathic fucks. Your girlfriend is censoring herself when she says she's okay with you playing Xbox all day. In a way, comedy is censoring yourself—comedy is picking the right words to say to make people laugh. A comic who doesn't censor himself is just a dude yelling.
The End of the Desistance Myth
Desistance isn't a term I was familiar with but seems to mean kids who say they are trans but then change their mind. It seems that there's a stat out there that says that 84% of kids change their mind but according to the article, this stat is flat out wrong, being based on terrible research. The problem is that the statistic is being used by anti-trans activist to prevent trans children from getting the help they need.
6 Absurd Ways Modern Medicine Fails Because Of Sexism
A good listicle that highlights how sexism harms both sexes.
The real reason there are no women of colour in 'Suffragette'
I enjoyed the film (though I thought it was a bit prosaic in its presentation) but this article makes a very good point - that I think modern feminism also have an issue with (and what the whole intersectionality aspect is trying to correct) - that suffragism was primarily a white women's cause. This interview with bell hooks has some interesting stuff on this issue.
Gina Rodriguez's Tribute to Rita Moreno Reveals Struggles Actresses of Color Share
A good example of why diversity is important (and something I'll come back to in a minute) and it highlights that it's not just about getting actors of different ethnicities on the screen, but about giving them a diversity of roles.
Alicia Vikander: ‘I made five films in a row before I had a scene with another woman’
Most of it's just gushing waffle but towards the end the article gets interesting. I particularly like this bit,
I don’t think so much about whether I’m playing a strong person or not – it’s not that the character needs to be loud or straightforward,” she elaborates. “It can be a fragile, flawed person, but if they have enough dimension, and depth that you understand them even at their weakest, that’s a strong character to me. Then you have something to play, and play with. It’s about not being ‘the girl’.”
Star Wars has a white woman and a black guy as leads so the interwebs have erupted with anger from MRAs but there's also been a lot of interesting articles using SW as a jumping-off point for some broader discussions. A couple of articles that caught my eye were,
What No One Said about Rey (Star Wars Spoilers!)
Here is a character who is competent and capable without having to also be sexy and gorgeous. Here is a character judged on her abilities and her drive and not on her looks. And there is something absolutely beautiful about that.
John Boyega Attracts New Nigerian Fans to Star Wars
This is the article I alluded to earlier.
Kemi Williams, now 50, has been a Star Wars fan since she saw the first film when she was 12. However, she feels that the effect the franchise had on her was limited, because she could never see herself or anyone like her in the films and it was “always white people putting these things out.” Seeing Boyega gives her hope for what Star Wars can now offer her children and grandchildren.
Companies with Women on Their Boards Do Better—And Not Just Because They Know Shampoo
The crux of this article is that diversity creates profits. I've recently read The Silo Effect by Gillian Tett which explains how silos (when departments become isolated from each other within an organisation) cause many problems, in large part because the departments affect each other but if they isolate themselves then how they do so becomes unclear until they have already done so, often negatively. Another problem with silos is that they exacerbate groupthink as new ideas are hard to come by and those who have them are ostracised because 'we don't do things like that here'. Both the article and the book show that diversity of thought is most easily gained by diversity of person and that diversity benefits the organisation.
Author Ann Leckie explains why she has signed Mary Robinette Kowal’s Convention Accessibility Pledge.
Claims that arranging in advance to have some ramps or lifts on standby is just too much trouble or expense are, frankly, claims that the needs and comfort of members who need them just don’t matter to you.
Study: Elite scientists can hold back science
Max Planck famously said,
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
This article covers research putting this to the test, and found that Planck was onto something.
Why So Few? Unconscious Bias II
The wonderful Women in Astronomy Blog has another great article. This is the last in their series detailing the 2010 report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
First, women in these “masculine” jobs are often judged to be less competent than their male peers, unless the women are clearly successful in their work. But when a woman is clearly competent in a “male” job or position, she is often judged to be less likable. Because both likability and competence are needed for success in the workplace, women in STEM fields can find themselves in a double bind.
Lazy, drunken, promiscuous, rude ... why the UK loves to hate young white men
An interesting article on how young white men are stigmatised and the consequences of it.
My feminine, compulsive “sorry”: I apologize for everything from having an opinion to taking up space
I don't know whether I say 'sorry' a lot because I'm a woman or because I'm British but whatever the reason, it's really hard to stop (sorry).
Last one for today,
Pretty girls get better grades: Attractiveness does affect women’s scores — but not men’s
I don't know what to make of this. From the description of the paper, the methodology is robust as you could make it. They found that online students did not show any effect but students who physically attended lectures did. The researchers don't know if it's because pretty students get more attention from their lecturers or if they're marked more easily. If it's the latter then it suggests that blind marking be used (I think it is for exams in most places already but I don't know about coursework), if it's the former then I don't really know how you'd correct for that. One positive is that the grade changes are really tiny, so it's hard to see what real impact they would have overall (i.e. unless you were right on the border between grades it's unlikely to have any effect).
Verizon appears to be doing it right, supporting groups that help women in STEM rather than pulling an EDF and trying to control the narrative:
More stories . . .
On Going Off My Depression Medication During Pregnancy
Similar to this article that I linked to a while ago, a personal story from the author who went of medication for severe depression when trying to conceive and how being off them affected her ability to care for her child. Heartbreaking and frustrating that women are being forced to chose between their mental health and the physical health of their children.
I Confronted the Doctor Who Missed My Cancer
Long story short: a woman has pain, goes to doctor, doctor can't find a reason, tells her to go away. Turns out she had cancer. There is a long central section linking to a mass of research and articles describing how women are routinely thought to be exaggerating pain. It reminded me of an article that I think Suw shared elsewhere, My Doctors Said My Crippling Menstrual Pain Was “Fine” which described the years of pain one woman suffered while trying to convince doctors that there was something actually wrong with her.
Norwegian Cruise Line Quietly Removes Employee Access to Emergency Contraceptives
No reason given, they just don't want their employees having access to contraception any more.
Women in a Man's World
Professor Fell In Love With His Grad Student — Then Fired Her For It
A stunning (but seemingly not uncommon) lack of professionalism.
Famous Astronomer Accused Of Sexual Harassment At His Previous Job, Too
This story has been doing the rounds so this is one of many articles about astronomer Geoff Marcy.
Female F1 driver would not be taken seriously, claims Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie doesn't explain why a female driver wouldn't be taken seriously, we're just supposed to accept it. I used to love F1 but it was the sexism that drove me away. I realised there was no good reason why women couldn't be drivers and the fact that the only time you saw women on the track was as those pit babes in their bikinis got too much. I really hope that once Ecclestone's grip on the sport finally ends it can move into the 21st century in ways other than just the technology of the cars.
Low paid workers $10,000 worse off under Turnbull parental leave cuts: research
Australia gets in on the act of screwing over wormen.
What an MP accused of playing “the pregnancy card” in Parliament reveals about workplace sexism
A brilliantly bitter article,
Rather than accept the basic rule of sex equality, which is that a woman can be human or female but never both, unscrupulous women have been finding loopholes to exploit. They get themselves into positions of influence by masquerading as short, penis-less men and then, once they’re safely ensconced, they reveal the horrifying truth: at the end of that hole between the legs one still finds an actual uterus.
Against the “pipeline problem”: Elissa Shevinsky on getting women and minorities into tech
An interesting approach to getting businesses to recognise their unconscious bias in their hiring practices. The book also sounds really interesting (if depressing).
Why I won’t shut up about misogyny and the left
This reminded me of the article I linked to previously (How to be a fan of problematic things - the link for which appears to have died) about how you can still support/enjoy something while find things that require criticism.
'It's the micro inequities that do the most damage': astrophysicist Jill Rathborne on biases in the world of science
An interesting interview with Jill Rathborne on science and the challenges that women and minorities face.
Virginia GOP bill would require schools to verify children’s genitals before using restroom
The fixation some people have with other people's genitals astounds me. That fascination has no extended past adults to children to a disturbing extent. What I don't understand is what is so arousing about restrooms in America that makes everyone's thoughts apparently turn not to relieving oneself but to sex. Personally I think it's time we did away with gendered bathrooms. My local comprehensive has open-plan bathrooms - a semi-circle of cubicles which can be used by anyone, with a fountain-handbasin. It was apparently designed to stop bullying by preventing kids from being able to hide and pounce on others. I don't know if it works but there's certainly a lack of graffiti (I go to talks which are held in the school on occasion).
These Men's Rights Activists Are Suing Women for Meeting Without Men
A perfect example of why MRAs aren't interested in helping men, but are focused on harming women. (Or just completely missing the point. They sued clubs who did deals for women (free entry/free drinks etc) seemingly unaware that clubs use these promotions to get women in, knowing that where there's women, men will follow. It's not a sophisticated approach or one I necessarily condone, but it makes financial sense from the clubs' perspective).
Media and The Arts
Men praised for competence
An article complaining about how men routinely get praised for being merely competent
The Razzies aren’t fun anymore: The snarky answer to the Oscars has become a pointless, tone-deaf, self-important sham
There's been a lot written about the Oscars recently and how it's failed to nominate any actors of colour for the second year in a row but this is the only thing I've seen on the Razzies. Like many who enjoy schadenfreude I like the Razzies but I have to agree with this article, and I think picks up on a more common theme that people are extremely willing to recognise when women and minorities fail, but far less willing to recognise when they succeed.
Kate Winslet Is So Right About Women In Film
A retrospective on a year of fantastic films about and starring women, and a lament that they are being largely ignored in favour of what sounds like a rather grim testosterone-fuelled film (The Revenant).
The Force Awakens, Mary Sue & Female Wish Fulfillment Tropes
Rey has been called a 'Mary Sue' because she's a capable woman. This article explains why that term is ridiculous in this situation.
Why Finn is the Best Character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A nice paen to Finn.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ John Boyega and the Importance of the Unlikely Hero
Another article extolling the virtues of Finn. What I like about both these articles, and the character than inspired them, is that he's not a typical alpha-male hero, which makes him more interesting - see? Diversity is good!
J.J. Abrams Says It’s “Preposterous and Wrong” That Rey is Being Excluded From Star Wars Merch
Rey was left out of merchandise for fear of 'spoilers' according to Hasbro. Luckily Abrams is speaking out against such stupid decision.
Varsity Basketball Players Raped Teammate and School Let Team Keep Playing
A horrifying tale (trigger warning for rape) but, as with so many of these stories, it's not what happened that the most horrifying part, but people's reaction. I don't understand how school sports teams have so much power that they can commit violent assault and not only expect to get away with it, but seem to actually get away with it in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. You really get the feeling that this is truly the tip of a massive iceberg.
It's not okay to blame parents of child sexual assault victims
One of those articles that seems to be stating the obvious and you wonder why it even has to be said, then you read it and realise that there's a lot of people out there who don't realise that it is obvious.
Channel Seven reporter's hug of weather presenter sparks Chris Gayle comparisons
Sort of a follow-up to a story I linked to recently. Another presenter thought that it was perfectly acceptable to hug a new colleague on air without her consent. He's apologised and she's downplayed it (unsurprisingly) but how are things like this allowed to happen so often?
One to make you grind your teeth then punch the wall:
Apparently, the real reason that women are held back in the workplace is them. Because we are, of course, all to blame for our conditioning.
It just made me scream 'WTF' over and over again! It seems like Cracked has a much better understanding of why women are held back, somehow managing to counter every argument of that Fortune article without even trying.
I know. It is infuriating that people, especially women, still have this attitude that all women need to do is be more, well, like a man and all will be well. Totally ignoring all the research on unconscious bias, for example....
. . . and the fact that women are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Stand up for yourself and be called a bitch, stay quiet and be considered a doormat. Either way, you're not getting that promotion.
Heroic Girls: Representation of women in popular culture:
Oxford Dictionary Of English Accused Of Using Sexist Definitions
It turns out that the definitions used by the ODO (Oxford Dictionary Online) are often sexist - for example, using 'rapid feminist' as an example for rabid, or 'shrill women' when describing 'shrill'. It's one of those things that once you see it, you can't unseen it.
A dictionary entry citing ‘rabid feminist’ doesn’t just reflect prejudice, it reinforces it
An interesting opinion piece on why the dictionary definitions matter.
Linguists Analyze Every Disney Princess Movie, to Somewhat Depressing Results
It's generally accepted that the 'new' Disney princesses are an improvement on the originals but when you look at the films more closely it's not so cut and dried. When you look at the amount of time that women actually speak in the films, the old ones do much better, and it largely seems to be down to the fact that the supporting characters have become predominantly male in the newer films.
Smiling slaves at story time: These picture books show why we need more diversity in publishing, too
Kids' books make slavery look pleasant and no-one noticed the problems with that until after the book had been published.
11-Year-Old 'Sick of Reading About White Boys and Dogs' Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks
“For young black girls in the U.S., context is really important for them—to see themselves and have stories that reflect experiences that are closer to what they have or their friends have,” Marley’s mother, Janice Johnson Dias, tells the Philly Voice.
Penguin ditches degree requirement for job applicants
A great idea but I don't know how it works in practice.
White women of publishing: New survey shows a lack of diversity behind the scenes in book world
The Diversity Baseline Survey by Lee and Low found that,
At the executive level, publishing is 86 percent white, 59 percent female, 89 percent “straight/heterosexual,” and 96 percent normatively-abled.
That women are 59% at the executive level and yet 'chick lit' is still seen as less worthy than tomes written by men just goes to show how powerful our male-biased culture really is.
Should authors be paid to appear at literary festivals?
A discussion of research that showed that less than 5% of authors at British literary festivals were BAME. The lack of payment for appearing perpetuates.
. . . the money demanded by writers for festivals is not a sign of greed. It is a sign of necessity. They are not charities. They work for a living. Have you ever tried to get a plumber to work for exposure?
Idris Elba to warn MPs over lack of diversity on British television
". . . when you don’t reflect the real world, too much talent gets trashed. Thrown on the scrapheap. Talent is everywhere, opportunity isn’t. And talent can’t reach opportunity.”
British Cinemas Need To Do Better For Black Audiences
How films with black actors don't get the distribution that they deserve and how it leads to the impression that black stories aren't worth telling.
The Shaming Of Robert De Niro
A look at De Niro's recent career showing how a loss of diversity in the types of films being made, and ageism preventing decent roles, means that he's forced to either retire or perform in sub-par films. While it's hard to feel sorry for someone who's been so successful, it's indicative of a wider problem in the industry.
Gillian Anderson: I Was Offered Half Duchovny’s Pay for ‘The X-Files’ Revival
A good article/interview on a great actor marred by the realisation that even though she's as much (if not more) of a draw than Duchovny, she still got offered half his salary to come back to the X-Files.
“Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”
Quantifying Podcast Diversity
A critique of an article looking at podcast diversity which found that most podcasts are by white men (the critique doesn't reject the results, just questions some of the methodology which may affect the figures, if not the overall conclusions).
Skeezy Music Publicist Heathcliff Berru Called Out on Twitter for Sexual Harassment
Perhaps the most disappointing is finding out that women still feel behooved to remain silent on these incredibly horrifying issues. It’s yet another imbalanced power dynamic at play between those with control and those without.
The Little Pink Pill That Sparked a Feminist War
A wonderfully nuanced article on the recent FDA approval of a treatment for low sexual desire in women. It's quite long but is really worth the time.
No, Body Shamers Don’t ‘Help’ Women Like Selena Gomez to Slim Down
Selena Gomez is just the hook to an interesting article that examines whether body shaming helps people lose weight. Short answer - no it doesn't. Longer answer - it actually looks to have the opposite effect.
It’s “Dear Fat People” for TV: New “Fit to Fat to Fit” show oozes contempt, disguised as empathy
I HATE the idea behind this programme. Katie Hopkins (professional enrager) did something similar a while ago but both shows completely miss the point that purposefully and rapidly putting on weight is in no way akin to being 'naturally' overweight. Asking anyone to suddenly and dramatically up their food intake is going to result in them hating it, it doesn't matter who they are or what size they are to start with. It gives no insight into what it's like to be overweight and minimises the effort it takes to lose that weight - returning to your 'natural' shape is far easier than trying to attain a new one.
“Abortion Is Not a Decision We Regret"
I think it’s time that people hear these stories so that they know that abortion is not a decision we regret. Our abortions were vital to our continued physical health, mental health, families, and careers. People need to know that we’re not a bunch of irresponsible, feckless murderers. We’re women you know and love, women you see on the street every day, women you work with.
New study sheds light on what happens to women who are denied abortions
Important work reveals something that anyone with half a brain could figure out, that women who are unable to get a wanted abortion have poorer outcomes. Specifically,
The upshot was that turnaways who kept their children had far fewer positive goals for the future than their counterparts who received abortions.
Wanted Pregnancies and Unwanted Abortions
A very sensitive critique of comments saying that women don't abort for financial reasons (when research shows that they do).
We need to remember that the choice to abort is not the only choice women can lose—that they can also lose the choice not to abort.
After Cologne, we can't let the bigots steal feminism
How Europe suddenly acknowledges rape when it's foreigners committing it - an excellent examination of how sexism and racism have intersected following the sexual assaults in Cologne.
7 Everyday Ways Neurotypical People Are Privileged – And Often Don’t Even Know It
A powerful article. The bit that really stuck out was,
Horrifyingly, every time a disabled person is murdered by their parents, the media prints a story sympathizing with the parents’ situation.
Worse yet, many disability organizations and parents of disabled children express their sympathy, not for the murdered disabled people – but for their murderers.
10 Defensive Reactions to White Privilege That Make No Damn Sense – But Are Super Common
A great list of arguments - and swap a few words out and it can be applied to other areas of privilege as well. This one in particular brought back a lot of memories,
‘I Don’t Have This Experience, So It Must Not Be True’
Why America’s Top LGBT Group Is Losing An Argument Over Bathrooms
An in-depth look at why transgender issues are failing to gain traction in US law. It's all about the bathrooms (as per usual).
If Your Feminism Requires a Vagina, It Is Bullshit
An impassioned plea to stop focusing on genitals and listen to people.
Who Gets To Take Part In The Menstruation Conversation?
Healthcare from a (primarily) trans view, showing how hard it can be to reconcile biological sex with gender and how bias from healthcare practitioners can make getting help much more difficult than it should be.
‘I was violently attacked but my case was dropped because I had been drinking’
The title speaks for itself, but the article goes deeper and shows how the law is failing victims of assault. The most shocking part is, for sure, this,
One former social worker, now working for Victim Support, told me about her own experience a few years ago: “My partner decided to try to kill me with an axe. The initial police officer was great, the Public Protection Unit was great, but I was called from the police station by the custody sergeant, who said they needed to release my then husband on bail and would I be able to receive him back into the house? I said: ‘Of course I can’t, he tried to kill me with an axe.’”
Junior doctors hit out at column blaming the 'feminisation' of NHS for causing out-of-hours crisis
Dominic Lawson believes that all those pesky women who want to work part-time so they can look after their kids are the reason there aren't enough doctors to go around. He sees the solution as being not having female doctors - I see the solution as being to stop part-time work being almost entirely the domain of women.
Nicola Sturgeon Brilliantly Shut Down This Male Journalist’s Comment About Her Clothes
I loved this!
Welcome to Davos, Where Even a Push for Gender Equity Mostly Involves Lots of Men
It's DAVOS 2016. And even though it was called out on it's lack of women a couple of years ago, things haven't improved (and I'd just like to note that offering an extra ticket if companies bring a woman is pretty much the very definition of tokenism). The article about this year's conference is quite restrained but really highlights how completely fucking useless business is at recognising the problems and doing something real to fix them.
A video about the program features a male narrator opening with an statement that sounds like he’s observing an exotic species in the wild: “Women,” he murmurs. “They provide one of the biggest opportunities for growth.”
A much more sarcastic take on the situation was made by Buzzfeed.
Sex toy company launches public masturbation booth where “busy,” “overworked” men can relieve stress mid-workday — but where’s the booth for women?
A short story but one we've seen so often - tech is designed for men but forget that women exist. Admittedly, I'm not sure how many women would use a 'public masturbation booth' but, then again, how many men would? Seems to be more of an advertising gimmick than a real thing, but that's no reason to ignore 50% of the potential market.
Male Survivors Of Sexual Assault Speak Out
A painful article on how 'toxic masculinity' creates a situation where men struggle to come to terms with sexual assault.
When women earn less than men they are far more likely to get depressed
The risk of women who make less money than men developing an anxiety disorder is more than four times higher, said the study by researchers at New York’s Columbia University who compared women and men with matching education and work experiences.
Why disregarding motherhood and women’s bodies won’t help feminism
A long read but worth it. There's so much good stuff here, although I started to disagree a bit at the end when it started to feel all a bit Freudian. However, the good far outweighs the iffy. A few choice quotes:
I don’t want to be just some female, like an animal. I want to be a person, like a man.
As far as history is concerned, men did the things that matter because the measure of whether something matters depends on whether it was done by men.
We’re not choosing between liberation and oppression; we’re just deciding how we should be packaged for consumption, wholesale or in pieces. Woman remains a piece of meat – would you like her organic or factory farmed?
Check Your Girlfriend's Hysteria With Fredrick, a Repulsive Period-Tracking App for Men
The app has apparently been removed from the app store, but the fact that this was thought to be a good idea in the first place makes me want to weep.
Unnatural selection: sexism in conservation
A depressing open letter from a 13 year old girl describing the online sexual harassment she endured since she was SEVEN just for being interested in birds and conservation sparked an awesome open letter explaining how unconscious bias and internalised misogyny create cultures that make it so hard for women.
You can be one of the 'good guys', horrified at the behaviour of other men; you can be a woman and a staunch feminist – it doesn't matter. Unless we work on it, really hard, we all make assumptions about people based on their gender; I catch myself doing it all the time. Internalised misogyny affects the way I feel about my own intelligence and abilities, too, but learning to be aware of it helps me to stop it affecting the way I act. The point is, telling yourself 'But I'm not sexist!' is not enough.
“Never date a girl who posts half naked slutty selfies”: Revel in the mind-bending, hilarious hypocrisy of #ShirtlessShamers2016
Revel in the hypocrisy!
I Didn’t Realize I Internalized the Male Gaze – Until I Was Sexualizing Women
A confessional from a lesbian who,
knowingly and willingly participated in the gross objectification of other women and, thus, turned into a person I can only describe as a total and complete douchebag.
Deciding Whether To Report Harassment In Science
Janet Stemwedel documents the perils of reporting harassment in science.
Students who are training to become scientists are not just gaining knowledge and skills, but they are working to become members of a knowledge-building community. This can require self-confidence that it is hard to summon under the best of circumstances. Finding that self-confidence is even harder when it is unclear that the scientists training you regard you as a future colleague, not just a prospective sexual conquest, or when they seem to weigh the scientific future of a harasser as more important than that of the person he harassed.
Australian of the Year David Morrison pulls no punches in first speech
“the standard you walk by is the standard you accept” guy, former chief of army David Morrison, has been awarded Australian of the Year, and uses his first speech to pledge to continue work on countering domestic violence.
At USC, women now outnumber men in video game design graduate program
A really good article looking at the women who like and design video games.
"We live in a culture where the first impulse is to have a male main character, to assume a male gaze on the screen," says Tracy Fullerton, a game designer and professor who oversees the program. "That's got to change. Young women need characters to have as role models. ... It's important. The more that games become a key medium, the more important it becomes for this to happen."
Avoiding Gender Bias In Reference-Writing
A brilliant and hand infographic to give guidance to referees when writing references. Should be distributed far and wide.
Phil Plait's Forward to the book Lady Science
A really good forward from a man who actually seems to get it, and makes an interesting point about focusing on pioneers,
While it’s important to acknowledge these women and their accomplishments, there’s a series of subtle problems with doing that as well: It spends a lot of energy and effort on only a select few women, it pushes aside the accomplishments of other women in that field who may not have received the spotlight, it implies that there were few or no women before the one woman who “made it,” and it still categorizes women into a subset of history that could be labeled “other.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) will not tolerate harassment at grantee institutions
Bloody good show.
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