Mind The (nonexistent) Gap

May 27, 2009

In the comments thread to this post, good ol’ Goggler dirtyrose left us a message clearly crying out for a good rant:

The View just did a segment about a study claiming that women are more depressed now than they were in “the good old days” of the 50s (which is a misconception and never existed the way people remember it…). It was some of the most anti-feminist crap I’ve ever heard and I was SHOCKED by it.

Crowfoot responded with the following, just as clearly crying out for a blogaround:

That stat is familiar – I think Shakesville had a post about that? Or was it Tiger Beatdown? In any event, if that statistic is actually true (which I have serious concerns about), do you think that it might be because while we are constantly told we’re all equal and shit, we’re still actually treated like meat-socks and/or children, but we can’t complain about that because we’re all so apparently equal and shit so we must just be over-sensitive. Also, we’re almost all of us working full time and still doing the lion’s share of the housework, so more exhaustion? Maybe?

As a compromise, I provide for your reading pleasure a blogaround of rants:

Tiger Beatdown did, indeed, cover this gem, in a typically hilarious post titled “IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Tales of the Backlash,” which begins thus:

Greetings! Are you aware of how sad – so sad! So prone to bleak despair! – all women now are, due perhaps to progress? Well, we are. Sad, that is! I read a study about it! It was full of SCIENCE. I even wrote about the SCIENCE, for The Guardian’s Comment is Free! Observe.

You may notice that the last word there is a quote; this is because Sady actually wrote at The Guardian but I loved her her Tiger Beatdown intro too much, so I quoted that one. Click either link (or both!) for the full-frontal Sady Awesome.

However, Crowfoot was right about Shakesville, too: SKM covered it in “Mini-Brooks Minds The Happiness Gap” — way to pro-actively steal my title-pun, Shakesville! A salient quote:

Douthat begins by accepting the premise that women’s happiness is falling worldwide. He then moves on to speculate about why that might be. First, he whips out the old high school debate tactic of bringing up the explanation he does not believe in order to shoot it down:

Again, maybe the happiness numbers are being tipped downward by a mounting female workload — the famous “second shift,” in which women continue to do the lion’s share of household chores even as they’re handed more and more workplace responsibility. It’s certainly possible — but as Wolfers and Stevenson point out, recent surveys actually show similar workload patterns for men and women over all.

I have not paid $5 to download the working paper, so I do not know if Wolfers and Stevenson do in fact claim that workloads are equal for men and women, or if their data are convincing. But notice that Douthat breezily dismisses the very concept of a second shift, without feeling the need to argue his point.

Incertus also did a great job for addressing the fact that a “happiness gap” doesn’t obviously stem from feminism as its cause, and in fa, in “Liberated Women Are Sad.”

It does not occur to him that the freedom to be honest and complain is actually a part of that revolution he’s talking about. “Being unpleasant” and “being unattractive” are heavy weaponry when used against a group of people who must make their way in the world by being pleasant and attractive, as opposed to by their intelligence, strength, and hard work. A woman in the 60s who sat down and said, “my life is unfulfilling and I am unhappy,” would have to deal with the consequences of “being that way.” A woman today has less to worry about. It’s even (almost) fully acceptable today (in certain circles) to complain about how motherhood sucks and having children ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. This is a case where freedom equals the ability to mention that you’re unhappy.

Now, Shakesville gave the hat tip to Language Log, a blog that I follow gleefully and which was my first source for this lovely story. “The happiness gap is back” features a collection of links on the topic, as well as the following graph and accompanying question:

Happiness1

And I’ll ask a simple question: What fraction of graphically and statistically literate people think that the right way to describe the data summarized in that graph is “In postfeminist America, men are happier than women”?

My final impression: gee, anti-feminists sure don’t need much to get all riled up, do they? We must be doing something right.

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The oh-shit-I-forgot-to-blog blogaround!

April 24, 2009

Well, it’s been several days since I’ve written, hasn’t it! Uh… oops?

My classes are rapidly progressing towards their ends, meaning I have lots of projects and impending exams. Since Tuesday I’ve been working on a 10-minute video for my Arabic class, which is due next Tuesday. It’s a group project, and while our script would have been simple as pie to film with a group of dedicated, experienced film students, and at least fairly doable with a group invested in working efficiently, it is, perhaps, over-ambitious for a group unwilling to commit to a production schedule. My time is occupied entirely with, for example, rearranging my entire day to accommodate one group member, whose only area of opportunity is 10:20am on Friday, only to discover at 10:25 that she has to go to class at 10:30. And then there is the group member who told me simply that she was never available at all, except that she did so by saying “well, Thursday is pretty busy, and Friday is iffy, Saturday is right out and so is Sunday, and then Monday I think I have something…”

I also, miraculously, film something on occasion, and even have brief opportunities to edit that footage. So far we have 2 minutes of our required 10, and while much of it is chronological it’s still pretty scattershot.

But I promised a blogaround! So here you go! Links! Which I have either tagged as “toblog” on del.icio.us or chosen to “share” on Google Reader! Have at it!

From The Angry Black Woman, we have “A Chocolate Coating to make the Bitter White Pill Go Down Easier,” a great article about how turning all the main characters white in the movie version of Avatar: The Last Airbender and then making some of the random background characters a mish-mash of “multicultural” races is still made of fail compared to maintaining the Asian culture of the show without adding white people or black people.

 

So in the name of diversity, the film’s producers are ignoring the diversity that was in the original cartoon — characters who evoked cultures as wildly disparate as the Inuit, Mayans, Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Arabs, Japanese, Tibetan, Ainu, and probably a dozen more. They’re replacing it with “Diversity: American Style”, in which all those ethnicities get lumped together into “one community” and stripped of agency, a few black and multiracial people get sprinkled on for flavor, and white people get the best parts and the most screentime.

I cannot begin to explain how revolted I am that black people are being used to justify this shit.

Because that’s the thing: there weren’t any white people in the original series, either. And clearly the producers were not OK with this, despite the many, many all-white fantasy worlds that already exist. So all their “diversity” bullshit is really just a cover for their primary goal, which was to shoehorn white people into this world. But the creepiness of this goal would’ve been far too obvious if they’d only inserted white folks, so they tossed in some other races too.

 

From Junkfood Science, we have “How we’ve come to believe that overeating causes obesity,” a fascinating historical account. 

… [P]eople, regardless of their size, who believe they have “overeating” issues are most often exhibiting completely normal, natural biological responses to starvation, hunger and weight loss — in developed countries, that means voluntary starvation, otherwise called dieting. Healthy people, whether naturally fat or thin, who aren’t dieting or trying to control their weights don’t have problems with “overeating.”

The biological reality of our weights and weight control, and the effects of dieting, were clinically demonstrated more than 50 years ago in what remains the definitive research on the subject. The findings in this famous study, revolutionary at the time, have been replicated in the most precise, complicated metabolic studies of food intake behavior, energy expenditure and the biochemistry of fat conducted by the country’s top obesity researchers.

[a huge portion of the post is omitted here, detailing the study and its implications. Read it in full here.]

The last part of the Minnesota Starvation Study revealed perhaps the most important effects. When the men were allowed to eat ad libitum again, they had insatiable appetites, yet never felt full. …

While it seemed the men were “overeating,” Dr. Keys discovered that their bodies actually needed inordinate amount of calories for their tissues to be rebuilt:

Our experiments have shown that in an adult man no appreciable rehabilitation can take place on a diet of 2,000 calories a day. The proper level is more like 4,000 kcal daily for some months. The character of the rehabilitation diet is important also, but unless calories are abundant, then extra proteins, vitamins and minerals are of little value.

In other words, they weren’t really “overeating,” it was a biological, normal effect of hunger and weight loss. The men regained their original weights plus 10%. The regained weight was disproportionally fat, and their lean body mass recovered much more slowly. With unlimited food and unrestricted eating, their weights plateaued and finally, about 9 months later, most had naturally returned to their initial weights without trying — giving scientists one of the first demonstrations that each body has a natural, genetic set point, whether it be fat or thin. Despite the fear that with unrestrained eating everyone would continue to grow larger, it isn’t true.

From The F-Word, “Why does the world love Susan Boyle?” I’ll skip to the part where she tells us why, because it’s awesome:

 

The world has responded fervently to Susan Boyle because we are all Susan Boyle. Her choice of songs — “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables — is not to be dismissed. We were once all “young and unafraid” with high hopes and lofty aspirations yet unsullied by a cruel and superficial world.  We’ve all experienced those metaphorical “tigers” that have torn apart our hopes and turned our dreams to shame. For an unfortunate too many of us, life has killed the dreams we dreamed. Yet when we listen to Susan Boyle, for a moment we are Susan Boyle, standing before a jaded, image-obsessed audience in a bad dress and clunky shoes, and yet being embraced anyway with open arms and accolades.  As Susan said of her childhood harassers, “Look at me now – I’ve got the last laugh.”  And as she laughs, we laugh, for Susan Boyle’s vindication is our vindication.

But the world doesn’t love Susan Boyle because she represents the common Everyman. The world loves Susan Boyle because she stepped onto that stage in front of a cynical public and the white-hot crucible of reality TV and she did it with the kind of unwavering dignity and extraordinary confidence in her self-worth and awesome talent that so many of us only wish we had.

And, finally, from Language Log we have “Debasing the coinage of rational inquiry: a case study.

 

A little more than a week ago, our mass media warned us about a serious peril. “Scientists warn of Twitter dangers“, said CNN on 4/14/2009:

Rapid-fire TV news bulletins or getting updates via social-networking tools such as Twitter could numb our sense of morality and make us indifferent to human suffering, scientists say.

New findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites are too fast for the brain’s “moral compass” to process and could harm young people’s emotional development.

As usual when stuff that people like is shown to be bad for them, the public apparently discounted these dire warnings. According to a poll reported at the Marketing Shift blog, when asked “Do social networks and rapid updates desensitize you to sad news?”, 74% said “no”, 13% said “maybe”, and only 13% said “yes”.

In this case, the public skepticism was a good thing, because the news reports were a load of hooey.

The timing of streams of information did indeed cause some public immorality in this case — but the guilty party was not Twitter or Facebook or TV News, but rather the National Academy of Sciences, in whose Proceedings the cited reseach was published. In accord with its usual practice, PNAS released the embargo for journalists a full week before the paper was available for other scientists and the general public to read. As a result, the news media could spread nonsense-pretending-to-be-science (almost) unchallenged for seven of those famous 24-hour news cycles.

And “nonsense” is far too mild a word for the way these stories described the research of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Andrea McColl, Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio, “Neural correlates of admiration and compassion“, PNAS, published online April 20, 2009.  I haven’t seen such a spectacular divergence between evidence and science journalism since the infamous “email and texting lower the IQ twice as much as smoking pot” case of 2005.

So, there you go. Four meaty posts that probably deserve in-depth responses, but, well, better something than nothing, eh? Look for more fascinating links in the coming days as I continue to be ridiculously busy! And leave your own in the comments!


Blogaround: The Transphobia Brouhaha

April 17, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with blogging feminists and transphobia/transmisogyny lately, and while there is a post percolating in my head, I thought I’d catch you all up with what I’d encountered on the subject:

The Feministing/Feministe Boycott
[1] Men in Women’s Bathrooms: Is Your State Next?: the Focus on the Family transphobia post with errant comment thread on Feministing*
[2] By Any Other Name: transmisogyny post with errant comment thread at Feministe
[3] Bathroom panic, it’s totally feminist: Queen Emily’s response to errant comments on Feministing.
[4] Very Necessary: Voz Latina’s call for a boycott of Feministe/Feministing.
[5] It’s Always About The Cis Women: Lucy’s post about both Feministing and Feministe.
[6] On Cis Supremacy, Feminism and Feministe: Cara’s response to all of this on Feministe.

The Dust-Up at Bitch, Ph.D.
[1] Teabag Me: the original post at Bitch, Ph.D.
[2] Ann Coulter Really Is A —-**, People: the response at Bitch, Ph.D.

Related to all the above
[1] Coordinating Body and Mind: Transphobia and Feminism: Miriam Heddy

Unrelated in theme, but good thoughts anyway
[1] The Art of the Apology

I have a few nebulous thoughts about all this, although I’m processing them (and checking my privilege several times over) before I get too long winded. I can, however, jot down a few things already:

  • Using misogynist language to insult anyone is never okay.
  • No one is perfectly feminist.
  • We live in a patriarchy, and it can poison all our interactions.

This post may be updated with new links, as I find them. I’ll note the last update of the post, thus:

Links last updated 7:03 EDT 4/17/2009.


*Which I apparently missed the first time. I have read the post but not slogged through the comments yet. Much work to be done before I can post on this.

** Yes, I censored this. It’s a triggering word for some folks. I’m still not 100% inured, myself.


The “feminism Google Alert” blogaround!

April 5, 2009

To provide myself with ample blog fodder, I maintain a google alert for the word “feminism,” but I’ve been putting off, y’know, actually blogging any of it. So! I present to you: posts about feminism!

First, the angry-making category (also known as the Darth Vader NOOOOs):

Anyone for a pink fairy cake? Be a goddess but don’t quit your day job.

Then a couple of weeks ago The Courier-Mail declared the rise of the young domestic goddess. “Housewives are back and baking, reclaiming the kitchen and returning to the ways of their grandmothers before them,” the paper, unencumbered by statistics, reported.

Ha! This looks like a good start! (emphasis mine). One of the things that really stood out to be in Faludi’s Backlash was the prevalence of articles reporting on “trends” that were, in fact, not trends at all, but wishful thinking. No surprise that it’s happening again! But wait… what’s this? An endorsement of this “trend”?

…I am glad we are moving beyond the drudgery mantra, where you are letting the sisterhood down if you speak about housework without using the word mindless and moaning about wet towels left on the floor. Was there ever anything modern and revolutionary about women volunteering to be martyrs then complaining endlessly about it?

Geez, misrepresentation, much?

In an article provocatively entitled “Women’s Liberation Through Housework”, Rena Corey wrote about how, growing up in the 1970s, she learned to view women who cared about housework with condescension. “A lot of girls in my generation took to heart this message of liberation from the perceived drudgery of housework and grew up to have careers that our mothers never even dreamed of. But apparently, even with the monetary and psychic rewards of paying jobs, we still yearn for that cozy, clean nest,” she wrote.

NOOOO! (Emphasis mine, again.) I promise you guys, I have absolutely no yearning to clean my kitchen.

Rethinking Feminism.

Rarely a good thing in a mainstream newspaper, but let’s see how it goes.

Media assault on feminism has now a reached a record “high”…

Yes…

…sadly those who support the movement have been caught up in their own web to take notice.

…NO!

Feminists chose their battle with haste. They jumped into the abortion debate with so much passion that other important issues were completely neglected. Work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, violence against women-issues of importance to today’s women do not seem to be a priority. As a result, young women do not see the feminist movement as something for them to be part of. They see it as a fistfight between the pro-choice and pro-life groups. In short, religious right has a serious advantage.

NOOOOO! Seriously, what the hell? Feminists don’t blog about work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, or violence against women? Who the hell has this reporter been talking to?

The no-casual-sex challenge: would you do it?

Yet despite how much feminism hoopla exists around the subject, and no matter how many times we are told that women needn’t be afraid of putting themselves out there if the chemistry is right, the lighting is good and he paid for her dinner (even if it is the first date, the first encounter or with a complete stranger), there are unfortunately some grave emotional consequences …

This is all thanks to a magical (yet detrimental) little hormone that gets released into our bodies when women do indeed do the dirty with a bloke that she mightn’t even have feelings for until the fateful night. It’s called oxytocin – otherwise known as “the cuddle hormone”. The way it works is this: even if she’s not that into him to begin with, she’ll inevitably start to have strong sentimental feelings towards the bloke she’s just bonked thanks to the surge of hormones racing in her blood and affecting her brain.

As former groupie Dawn Eden wrote in the Times Online while expounding on the subject: “Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.”

I would rant about this, if only I could stop projectile-vomiting. At least it’s horrific from start to finish– no awkward questions about how to categorize it! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been overwhelmed by the oxytocin released when I was messing around with Mr. Experiment With Bisexuality and I guess I have to go ask him to marry me now, or something. My “cuddle hormones” demand it.

——

Some in-between articles:

1960s pioneer Steinem: Every woman stands for feminist movement.

Don’t call her an icon of feminism or the instantly recognizable face of women’s liberation. Don’t even call her Ms. Steinem. Just call her Gloria.

Can you think of anything less feminist than insisting that Gloria Steinem be referred to be first name only, rather than by Ms. Steinem, the title she specifically invented so that women could be addressed respectfully? Augh! The article isn’t the worst of the lot, at least, since much of it is simply quotes from Ms. Steinem; those are good. Everything else, not so much.

Common Cents: Chivalry? A sandwich isn’t going to make itself.

Whenever the demon of nostalgia rears its nauseating head, it’s only a matter of time before someone points out “chivalry is dead.”

The next time this happens, stop whatever you’re doing, look them in the eye and say “good riddance.”

Traditional wisdom tells us to not speak ill of the deceased, but traditional wisdom is exactly what I’m speaking ill of.

Yeah! I like this guy! He’s a good ally!

Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’ll play the doorstop.

If anyone — regardless of sex — carries something heavy, I might take a second out of my day to help.

Some doors are more easily opened from one direction or another, and I might give a well-timed nudge when a stranger is on the wrong end of hydraulics.

To be clear, I do these things, not because I have to, but because I want to.

Yeah! Chivalry sucks, but basic politeness is fine.

And occasionally if I’m on my way to class — and an especially good-looking female follows — I’ll snap the door shut behind me and sing, “fatty, fatty, two by four, can’t get through the schoolhouse door.”

Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Huh? What? I’m actually sincerely baffled here. How does that make any sense?

Gentlemen, the next time you sense a girl wants you to take the check, lean back in your seat and pre-emptively thank her for treating you.

Have fun with it.

Wait a second… are you a jerk after all?

I don’t have time to split ponytails over which side of the sidewalk to walk on. If we go out to dinner, we’re splitting the bill.

If that makes me less attractive, then those unique, entitled snowflakes can all run back to their fathers.

The world has changed.

Adapt, or worthy males will select someone else.

It’s only natural.

Oh. Huh. You are a jerk after all. How disappointing.

Is Rihanna a product of feminism, or a victim of it?

This is a bad question to be asking. I am not sanguine.

Some critics don’t blame Brown, or Rihanna, but the culture of feminism. “We’ve so confused ourselves that now many teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown. Why wouldn’t they?” writes National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez. “He and Rihanna are equal, and we expect no more from men — in fact, we’ve conditioned a generation or two now to expect less.”

Is Rihanna the product of feminism, or a victim of it? RedBlueAmerica columnists Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk weigh in.

Bluuurgh. How is it possible that “men and women are equal” but “we expect less from men”?! Doublethink FTW! But let’s check out those two columnists:

Clearly, something is wrong with the culture when young people say that the young woman had it coming. There can be no doubt, however, that feminism’s futile effort to deny the differences between the sexes has had consequences.

Among those consequences is the widely accepted belief that girls can and should be a sexually aggressive (i.e. promiscuous) as boys. Another is the popular idea, born out by a national illegitimacy rate approaching 40 percent, that fathers aren’t necessary. Yet another is the trend among a subset of women to leave their husbands for other women.

I AM THROWING UP IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD.

Why is this article in the “in-between” section rather than the “angry-making” section? Well, it’s because our second columnist is a lot less of a raging douchebag than the first:

I don’t know why those Boston teens blame Rihanna for her beating. I know they’re wrong. And I know that feminists — informed by feminism — are the first to say so.

…Feminism showed us the beginning of a way out. It insisted that abuse victims not be blamed for violence done to them. It insisted that “no means no.” It insisted that a woman doesn’t give up her rights to safety and dignity once she signs a marriage license. And it insisted, most importantly, that women are not secondary, inferior beings. That last assertion, in particular, seems an obvious truth — and yet it has set off two generations of howling outrage from those who see the empowerment of women as the neutering of men. That anger, in turn, has been channeled into a bizarre effort to blame all of society’s ills on feminism.

I’m glad they included this dissenting view in the post itself, because otherwise I’m not sure I could have survived all the concentrated assholamine. (Check that link out too, by the way; it goes to I Blame the Patriarchy, an excellent antidote to antifeminism.)

——

Then, some stuff by actual feminists! So we can end on a positive note. 🙂

Forget feminism, films are still a male domain.

It has always been an unwritten rule in the film industry, both in Mumbai and the South, that when it came to the box office it was only the hero who mattered. If the film was a hit, none of the credit went to the heroine. While the actor dominated the film, actresses were expected to be content with a role that comprised of six to seven scenes with a few songs thrown in. To add insult to misery, heroines were also handicapped with a short career, — they had a career span of five to eight years when they could enjoy being at the top of their game — after which it was presumed they were over the hill, or were married with children. Of course, none of this applied to our heroes who, despite being married and having children —or for that matter — being on the wrong side of 40, continued to enjoy a career which spanned 20 to 30 years.

It’s fascinating (if sad) to get a take on the Indian film industry, and to see that Hollywood actually compares favorably some places. Feminism! We need you!

Islamic feminists distinguish Islam from Muslims.

Anyone attempting to take stock of the position of women in the Muslim world cannot help but be confused. One finds stories in the media all the time about injustices committed against Muslim women, such as “honour” killings, child marriages and discriminatory legal judgments in matters of divorce, custody and inheritance.

On the other hand, one also comes across stories about the remarkable strides made by Muslim women in education, career development and political activism in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Morocco and Turkey.

How can we make sense of such a dichotomous picture?

The answer is simple: by distinguishing the religion of Islam from the Muslims who practice it.

Those who study the Qur’an know that Islam elevated the rights of women beyond anything known in the pre-Islamic world. In fact, in the seventh century Muslim women were granted rights not granted to European women until the 19th century, such as property ownership, inheritance and divorce.

That said, Muslims who codified the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) into Islamic law did not succeed in expunging the patriarchy of the pre-Islamic world from their practices.

This distinction between the faith and the various manifestations of its practice is a subtle but extremely important one.

This is one of the more serious posts I’m linking to today. Read it. It’s good.

Grrl Style: Feminism — JK!

I have to confess, when I saw only the first line of this in my RSS reader, I was sure it would enrage me. Rarely am I so happy to be wrong.

I am so over feminism. I mean, honestly, who was I kidding with all that “women and men are equals” bullshit?

Thankfully, I’ve finally come out of my bra-burnin’ college phase and into a new realization: that women are, in fact, the weaker sex.

I have no idea who this gal is, but I love her.

History is the proof: Out of all of the United States presidents, how many have been women? None. Coincidence? I think not.

Girls are simply too fucking crazy and hormonal even to vote, let alone govern. To quote the great Brooke Hogan ruminating on Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous presidential campaign, “I think it’s kinda crazy that a woman is running, because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff.

“Like, I’m so moody all the time, I know I couldn’t be able to run a country, ’cause I’d be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, ya know?”

Hey! Whiny privileged college dudes! This is what satire looks like!

——

So there we have it! Two thousand, three hundred and eighty-three words on THE STATE OF FEMINISM TODAY. Wasn’t it a fun ride?

I only made it through, like, a third of the posts I planned to look at it, but whatever! Plenty of time to come back for seconds tomorrow!

If you’ve got any more links, leave ’em in the comments!


Menstruation and being trans: the blogaround!

March 25, 2009

I’ve been reflecting on this post of mine, and epsecially the idea that “Even women who do not menstruate have, thanks to our cultural expectations, a relationship with menstruation, positive or negative, that is both powerful and very, very real. So we should talk about it.” I realized I wanted to know more about the role menstruation plays in the lives of trans men and women. To the internets! Here are some of the voices I found:

Menstruating in the Men’s Room, from Coffee and Gender.

This week I am experiencing yet another aspect of transitioning that may confound a binary mind. I am menstruating in the men’s room.

Thoughts on Menstruation, from Tboy Jacky.

On June 6, the day before my transition party, I began my first post-testosterone period. I found it very ironic that I should be on the rag for a party celebrating my transition from female-to-male.

No More Ritual Bleeding, from Gender Outlaw.

Thanks to the wondrous effects of testosterone, I no longer experience monthly menstruation. Wow! I really wasn’t expecting this to happen so quickly—but NO complaints, it’s simply wonderful!

Auntie Flo is Not Welcome in Our House, although I am crampy, from Undercover Girl.

Today’s issue contains two articles about women’s health. There are certain events natal women have that transwomen can never, or at least not yet, experience – monthly periods and pregnancy. …

Menstruation and pregnancy are such salient experiences for natal women, we are likely quite interested in what those experiences have meant to them. And we should be interested in helping to make sure those experiences are at least not traumatic for the other women we share the planet with.

I actually found less than I expected. That may be my cis privilege making me assume that menstruation “should” be a big deal for trans folks (in which case, call me on it!), or it may just be that my google-fu is failing me. Either way, I need to get some more trans blogs in my RSS reader, stat! Any recommendations?


The “I promise I still blog here!” blogaround

March 14, 2009

I exercised today, and even though it was only ten minutes at a pleasant walking pace, well, I’m totally wiped out. I’m going to be trying to do the same every day– and even work up to more exercise!– but I might be a bit, well, absent.

So to tide you over, some great links from my RSS feed!

Newspapers and Thinkingthe Unthinkable

“It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem…Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.”

Women & Work

Quick Hit: It’s Almost as if Fat Tastes Good

The panel – which receives funding from the UK’s Margarine and Spreads Association – suggests that consumers use stronger cheese and low-fat polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated spreads instead of butter.

I’m reading this whole thing like, “Wait, isn’t the jury still out on butter vs. margarine? And hasn’t everybody heard that at this point? Why does this make no mention of that? OH I SEE.”

That little fun fact also makes this beauty make a whole lot more sense:

Nigella Lawson is criticised for using butter instead of margarine in her egg and bacon pie, with a single serving brimming with 36g of fat.

Yes, clearly butter is the culprit responsible for jacking up the saturated fat content of EGG AND BACON PIE. Remember to flavor your bacon pie with a “heart-healthy spread,” folks!

Tiger Beatdown: Adventures in Victorian Literature: Kelly Clarkson Version

The song of which I speak, performed by Ms. Clarkson, is entitled “I Do Not Hook Up.” It is a thoughtful examination of sexual politics, and also why boys won’t like you if you consent to have sex with them without extorting some promise of undying love and/or a wedding ring from them first! Let us perform some literary analysis of this groundbreaking piece.

The Salad Police

I have a very poignant sociological observation for you all, so get ready:

The sight of a fat woman eating a salad makes people lose their minds, and wallow in self-hatred.


The “I was happier before I heard of these people” blogaround!

March 1, 2009

Just in case you still had some faith in humanity.

Robert Anton Wilson – Writer, Woman Hater, from one of the most recently added blogs on my RSS feed, Screaming into the Void.

Whom I am unhappy to meet: Robert Anton Wilson.

Why:

These are the women in RAW’s “masterpiece”.  A young woman rescued from prostitution by an old man and who now shows her appreciation by being sexually ready for him at all times; the girlfriend of a counter-culture hero who talks only about how wonderfully he’s expanded her horizons by having sex with her; a whore who is portrayed as a bitter, sullen victim; wives of important men who are either boring or ugly and can’t even get them aroused enough to have sex; “skilled” prostitutes who can make world leaders have orgasms in a fairly short amount of time; a woman of color who loves a white man and feels lucky to have been “chosen” by him from her lowly position in the world even as she feels sorry for the burdens he carries by virtue of being a white man; a clueless, ignorant schoolteacher keeping down a deserving young white man; a repressed, frigid right-wing woman who surely would relax her politics if any man was bold enough to properly rape her into an orgasm; a cool, radical woman who aligns herself with the counter culture and who therefore (of course!) wants sex so much she practically FORCES it on young men around her; a repressed librarian; a woman who doesn’t even speak, being used merely as a sexual tool by satanists; and a dark-skinned woman who explains things to the poor ignorant white male lover, only to end up with her throat slit to help advance the plot.

Wow! Truly, “[w]ith all the passion of a religious crusader, Robert Anton Wilson is out to destroy all personal belief systems, to force every one of his readers to seriously question any and all thoughts they hold dear.”

Weekly Short Story Report: “A&P,” John Updike, from the ever-hilarious (and brilliant!) Sady at Tiger Beatdown.

Whom I am unhappy to meet: John Updike.

Why:

[An older woman] isn’t the last woman the narrator will denigrate over the course of “A&P”: in fact, every single woman in the story, including the bikini girls, will come under fire. Those three [bikini girls], however, exist in a different space: the inevitable criticism balanced with worshipfully purple prose about their bodies. They are desired and therefore spared, more or less. However, in order to praise them, Updike has to present each and every other woman in his fictional universe as inherently undesirable, ugly, and bad. He praises certain women as exceptional in order to degrade women as a gender, or maybe it’s the other way around; either way, it’s a narrative technique that Updike used over and over again in his work. And the women he praises at first usually turn out to be the most dangerous and terrible of all, as we shall see here, in due time.

Tiger Beatdown also has a number of other unpleasant people to meet, here and here (and elsewhere– she’s good at them!). Enjoy?

“Sex therapist” to women: Just close your eyes and think of England, from everyone’s favourite spinster aunt over at I Blame the Patriarchy!

Whom I am unhappy to meet: “sex therapist” Bettina Arndt.

Why:

“The notion that women have to want sex to enjoy it has been a really misguided idea that has caused havoc in relationships over the last 40 years.”

Yes. That is what she said.

Aaand my homework is calling me, folks. Everything I missed during my flu-incapacitated days, and more! How fun.

Do you know any other “good” people to introduce us to? Please, share your links in the comments!