Quick hit: a non-sexist sex joke?!

February 15, 2009

I think StumbleUpon has finally found me a sex-related joke that I don’t find offensive:

Four coworkers always golfed as a group at 7 A.M. every Sunday.

Unfortunately, one of them was transferred out of town, so they began talking about how they would fill out the foursome.

A woman standing nearby said, “Hey, I like to golf. May I join the group?”

They were hesitant, but invited her to play a round, after which they would decide whether to bring her in permanently.

They all agreed and she said, “Good, I’ll be there at 6:30 or 6:45.”

She showed up right at 6:30, and wound up setting a course record with a 7-under-par round.

The guys went nuts and everyone in the clubhouse congratulated her. Meanwhile, she was fun and pleasant the entire round.

The guys happily invited her back the next week and she said, “OK, I’ll be here at 6:30 or 6:45.”

Again, she showed up at 6:30 Sunday morning. Only this time, she played left-handed and matched her 7-under-par score of the previous week. By now the guys were totally amazed and they asked her to join the group for keeps.

They had a beer after their round and one of the guys asked her, “How do you decide if you’re going to golf right-handed or left-handed?”

She said, “That’s easy. Before I leave for the golf course, I pull the covers off my husband, who sleeps in the nude. If his pecker is pointing to the right, I golf right-handed. If it’s pointing to the left, I golf left-handed.”

Another member of the group asked, “What if it’s pointing straight up?”

She replied, “Then I’ll be here at 6:45.”

I think I like it because she is totally kicking all their asses, and they appreciate her skill. Normally this is when people (i.e., men) would be whining about ambitious bitches, but no! They ask her to join their group permanently, buy her a drink, and ask her her secret– almost like she was a real person! I also like it because it involves penises, sex, and a woman competing with men, but does not rely on any sexist stereotypes that I can see. Plus there’s no awkward shaming about the fact that she has sex, as far as I can see.

Or maybe my standards have just been unreasonably lowered? I mean, this is the caliber of humor I have as a comparison:

A fellow bought a new Mercedes and was out on the interstate for a nice evening drive. The top was down, the breeze was blowing through what was left of his hair, and he decided to open her up.

As the needle jumped up to 80 mph, he suddenly saw flashing red and blue lights behind him. “There’s no way they can catch a Mercedes,” he thought to himself and opened her up further.

The needle hit 90, 100… Then the reality of the situation hit him. “What am I doing?” he thought, and pulled over.

The cop came up to him, took his license without a word and examined it and the car. “It’s been a long day, this is the end of my shift and it’s Friday the 13th. I don’t feel like more paperwork, so if you can give me an excuse for your driving that I haven’t heard before, you can go.”

The guy thinks for a second and says, “Last week my wife ran off with a cop. I was afraid you were trying to give her back!”

“Have a nice weekend,” said the officer.

Ha, ha! No sensible man would want to spend time with or even see the woman he pledged to love forever! It’s funny because it’s true!

What do you think? Have I finally found an unobjectionable sex joke, or am I being too accommodating? Have you heard any good (or terrible!) jokes lately? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Reusable Cover Art, reusable females

February 1, 2009

Yes, I know I’ve said before that one shouldn’t use “female” as a noun; don’t worry, I’m doing it on purpose and in an ironic way. You’ll see why in a minute, but first check out this page, brought to me by StumbleUpon: Reusable Cover Art.

Scroll through the whole thing. Yes, really, the whole thing! It’s OK if you start skimming a little, I did too; I just want you to see how many there are.

Okay, done? Great.

At first I found this site interested from the perspective of a graphic designer. I thought it was fascinating seeing how different people came up with such different (or such identical!) covers by working from the same images. How fascinating, I thought, that cropping and color balance can convey such different moods!

But then I noticed a couple other things. For one, these pictures were almost exclusively of women. I originally chalked that up to the fact that a lot of them are very old paintings (public domain!) and the “classics” in art tend to do a lot of lady-ogling. (Hence the need for the Guerilla Girls.) But that’s not true of all of them. And there’s something else going on, too.

Let’s take a look at those lovely titles!

First, woman-as-property, with the bonus that a woman’s identity is defined solely by the man she belongs to:

  • So-and-so’s daughter: 5
  • So-and-so’s wife: 2

Then, how about some hot and spicy virgin/whore dichotomy?

  • Saints and ladies: 6
  • FILTHY WHORES, uh, “courtesans” and other sexy times: 9
  • Mary Magdalene: 3

Minimizing women’s personhood by referring to them by nothing but their job title:

  • “Courtesans” etc: 4
  • Maids and slaves: 2
  • Queens: 1
  • Other employment: 0

Other random statistics:

  • References to love: 3
  • References to stars: 3
  • Dudes pictured: 14
  • Ladies pictured: 83
  • Ladies pictured with their boobs totally showing: 6
  • Dudes with their nipples totally showing: 2

This is out of a total of 90 books, so that those 9 books about “courtesans” make up 10% of all the books featured. And those are just the ones that tell you up-front that they’re about ladies having sex to get stuff (probably quite important stuff– like shelter– but still, you know, not totally consensual.) Looking at these covers, I’d bet you that about 75% of these spend a lot of time talking about ladies and sex (possibly for stuff, at least indirectly). (A note about my use of the word “courtesan”– I think it is a totally ridiculous word that sugar-coats sex work to make it seem glamorous and fun and not at all ever unpleasant like prostitution. I don’t distinguish between prostitution that happened in the past and prostitution that’s happening now, hence the scare quotes.)

What does all this tell us? I mean, not a lot. It’s a pretty random group of books. I just sort of found it on the internet. If we wanted to talk about current trends or something, I’d go out to Barnes & Noble, photograph all the books they have on their main “these books are awesome!” display, and pick them apart. (Note to self: go to Barnes & Noble, and see what they have on display…). It would be Bad Science to suggest that these totally random books somehow Prove Something.

But I do think they’re interesting, especially the way that there seems to be some kind of “agreement” that a certain image shows a Certain Kind of Woman. Like, clearly THIS woman is a wife:

reusablecovers02And THIS woman is a “courtesan”:

reusablecovers04

And THIS woman is a daughter (or a murder victim, funny how well those go together):

reusablecovers032Take a look at that far-left one again, actually. Tom Wasp gets his whole name, first and last, but the woman– who is apparently important enough to be on the cover!– is just a generic “stunner”? This is really a classic case of a woman being “central” but still not important or self-determined the way a man would be. It’s the concept I tried to show with the current header image: the woman is in the center of the composition, so many people would say that there’s nothing to argue with, feminism-wise, but she’s being physically supported by the men around her and (due to my intentional cropping) she has no face, giving her less personality than the men around her and even than the camel. So it is here, and with many murder mysteries with female victims: sure the plot has a woman in the middle of it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s feminist-friendly. Often it means the opposite.

But getting back to the book covers, I wanted to think about how we define women into these categories based on their images. I think it has to do with how much body they’re showing, how much face they’re showing, and how the image is centered. I’m not sure quite how all the aspects go together, though. I’d like to take some of the images and see if I could get any of them to look like a wife in one instance, daughter in another, and “courtesan” in a third. A couple of these novels have already gotten started:

reusablecovers01Josephine Bonaparte isn’t looking too wifely in the first one… until you compare it to the second. Something about the way they zoom in on her body, crop out her face, and take her name out of the title… this is definitely something I’m going to want to look into more methodically.


The terrible sexist “humor” blogaround!

January 31, 2009

Not feeling very angry these days? No worries, the Internet can help!

I’m sure I’ve posted before about my addiction to the web application StumbleUpon, and its infurating inability to distinguish between stuff that is funny, and stuff that is terrible and makes me lose faith in humanity. I forgive it– it is only an algorithm, after all, and it is unfair to ask a computer to understand humor even in the sci fi days in which we live– but sometimes I just have to blow off some steam.

Here are some terrible “jokes” StumbleUpon has sent me to! Read them, and never feel like laughing again!

Manly Jelly Bean Flavors: gotta make candy less gay somehow, or men will be turned into ladies just by looking at them too long! And no one wants to be a lady!

Perfect Days for Him and Her: this is mostly here because the image at the top just always makes me laugh, in that lol/sob way. Ditto for the recurring phrase: “bending over showing her growler.” (Can you guess whose “perfect day” that is?)

Sex and Calories: this one started off so well, with the following “gem”: “Removing her clothes: With her consent – 12 Calories. Without her consent – 187 Calories.” Ha, ha! Rape sure is good exercise!

What goes through your mind when someone says, “Let’s go for a drink?”: Lady brains are so emotional and complicated, and also it’s weird that they spend so much time in the bathroom! Thank god you’re a man! No, really, that’s the actually punchline. They write it out and everything. Thank god you’re a man.

The 8 Most Sexually Explicit Snowman Photos: also known as the 8 most bizarrely misogynistic snowman photos.

Lucky Son: I pay lip service to loving my gay son no matter what, but mostly he exists to fulfill the narrative purpose of totally outing your sons, thereby making you look like idiots for praising them.

Before Marriage/ After Marriage: marriage sucks and wives are terrible! It’s funny because it’s true!

The Dog House: marriage sucks and wives are– wait, didn’t I just do this one?

Adam and Eve, the gay version: I really have no idea what the fuck is supposed to be going on here.


Geeks are Sexy

January 15, 2009

So, StumbleUpon brought me to the Cutest Star Wars Tusken Raider Doll Ever! (it didn’t have much competition, but this is still an impressive creation). In doing so, it brought me to GeeksAreSexy.net.

sexygeeks

My first thought was, “Damn right we are!”

My second thought was, how is this even possible? No, really, look: she’s sitting on the very edge of that chair…but it’s got wheels. Wouldn’t it slide out from under her? And there’s no way she’s supporting herself with her feet, they’re hardly even touching the floor! Plus, wouldn’t her back get sore, sitting ramrod-straight like that? And how can she even see the screen from that far away?! What geek would choose to sit like that?

Well, maybe she’s trying to get around the fact that with a skirt that short, and a leather seat, her thighs are going to get hot and sticky mighty quickly if she sat normally…so then the question is, what geek would choose to wear clothes that make true geekery impossible? I mean, there’s no way she can use the computer for more than ten minutes in that position, let alone settle in for the sort of eight-hour internet binge I can go on other people go on.

Oh, what’s that? She’s not really supposed to be a geek? She’s just eye candy for the real geeks, who are obviously men? The laptop is just an accessory to make her hotter to the intended audience? Oh, okay, that makes a lot more sense.


The look-over-there blogaround! Woooo!

January 11, 2009

Nothing to see here, folks! I’m still in the middle of setting up my classes, my new apartment, and my job(s)! Today, I got my apartment and moved the first shift of stuff in. Yesterday, I completed my 8-hour training for Kaplan. Tomorrow, I attend four classes (with ten minutes between each to run across an unfamiliar campus!) to figure out which ones I want to continue to take. I am only beginning to scratch the surface of these monumental tasks. I must still acquire hours, and then learn the ACT (which I’ve never even seen!); prove to the bureaucracy that I have the prerequisites for the classes I want, and actually enroll;  and then I’d like to turn the water on at my apartment. I have so much shit I need to get done on top of everything else, but the combination of job, school, and apartment are keeping me so busy I am actually drinking coffee. I hate coffee.

So. Look! Things that made me giggle! This counts as blogging, right?

Rocket Punch: hells yeah!

Lolcats!

Flowcharts!

He finally did it!

College really isn’t necessary!

Indiana Jones!

Bananaphone Red Phone!

Atheists!

Cupcake Cakes!

Joke that won’t be as funny if I give you a clue!

Sometimes, stumbleupon is nice to me.

Good night!


Books that changed my life; or, the importance of “kid books.”

September 25, 2008

I found this article on StumbleUpon and it really rang true with me. The idea is that the books we read as children can change our thinking more profoundly than any books we read as adults, because when we are young we are looking to books to explain how the world words. Sure, we can still learn things from books as adults…

“But when a 14-year-old gushes that the Twilight series are the best books she’s ever read in her whole life, it’s easy for grownups to forget that this is not necessarily hyperbole. At that age, we haven’t heard any clichés, and even dumb ideas are new.”

It made me think a lot about the books I read as a kid, and how they shaped my expectations of the world. I started with Little House on the Prairie (because the main character was named Laura just like me!), then read every Trixie Belden book (who was like Nancy Drew with brains instead of boyfriends), followed by every Wizard of Ox book, and those books by the guy who did “Half Magic,” but the best, by far, were Tamora Pierce’s books. I found them when I was 10, maybe, and I read every single one over and over again. I still buy everything she writes, even though it’s too young for me. I also read Harry Potter starting when I was 11, and loved the fact that I was always exactly the same age as Harry.

Now, I can see a pretty clear pattern here. Little House on the Prairie, Trixie Belden, and Tamora Pierce’s books are all dominated by strong women. The Wizard of Oz and Half Magic series are about 50/50 gender-wise, even among the kick-ass adventurous heroes. Pierce’s books and, surprisingly, the Oz books were very racially diverse as well. Harry Potter is the only one that doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors (I think it probably passes somewhere in those hundreds of pages, but female friendships were not given much screen time at all, making it compare very unfavorably to the others.)

And so, when I was looking to books to figure out how the world was supposed to work, what made someone a bad guy or a good guy, what was fair and what was unfair, when I was creating my ideas of normal— this is what I was reading. Is it any wonder I’m a feminist these days? (Is it any wonder I’m supremely disappointed by the sexism rampant in the world?) It’s what my books led me to expect.

Ralizing this about myself has also given me a newfound respect for “kid’s books.” I’ve been bemoaning the fact that Tamora Pierce still write YA fiction, since I want her to do something for me, something I can really sink my teeth into. But now that’s the last thing I want– I want her to keep writing great books for young teens, so that the next “me” still has wonderful, world-changing books to look forward to! I’d enjoy a denser Pierce book, but it wouldn’t matter to me the way that a YA book would matter to a younger girl. And although, since she’s a self-declared feminist, I want to hog her all to myself, I think it’s more important that she continues to reach out to kids and show them her beautiful picture of normal.

What books did you love to read as a kid? Would you say they’ve had an impact on who you are and how you see the world today? What other books would you recommend to younger kids?

I’m sticking by Tammy. If you know anyone of the right age– boy OR girl!– do them a favor and give them one of her books at your next opportunity. They come in quartets (and doubles, these days) so pick the first of any set and you won’t regret it.


What the hell?! Or, why I have trouble with humour.

September 15, 2008

It’s unspeakably difficult to find something that’s funny enough to make me laugh without also being bigoted enough to make me want to SCREAM. The longer it’s funny, the more likely it’s going to send me into a rage by the end.

(The Daily Show won my undying love simply by NOT using jokes that relied simply on the notion that being female, gay, or transgendered was inherently awful. I haven’t watched much ever since I’ve been too broke to buy it on iTunes, but back when I had money, I dedicated a whole day of my week-long New York trip to be able to see a taping. That’s how bad it is.)

What brought this on? THIS! It’s cute and funny and something that really rang true with me, until suddenly, at the end, for no reason whatsoever, it goes completely transphobic! Why?!? Why do you do this to me, StumbleUpon? Why doesn’t common decency screen these things out? Seriously, who thinks it OK to say that, let alone illustrate it and put it on the web? I mean, what’s the punch line? “Ha ha, he used to be forced into acting ‘male’ because he has a penis, but now we’re all going to mock him for being a man in a dress, since obviously he doesn’t know what gender he really is”? “Ha ha, he just made every future doctor’s visit into a nightmare, and increased his chances of being murdered to 1 in 4”? Or is it just “Ha ha, now he’s no longer a human being, so we don’t have to treat him with respect any more”?

When I’m not so tired, I’ll dig up the links I have in mind for those “jokes.” Ugh.

Seriously, though, everyone…the only trans person I’ve ever met (who was out to me, anyway) stole my girlfriend, and I still know better than to engage in or condone transphobia.

And AAAGH! WordPress’ spell-check doesn’t even recognize transphobia! Is that how rare it is to recognize that people are people, regardless of their genitals or gender identity, even if those don’t match? What in the world does that make intersex folks, in people’s minds? (AAAAAGH! Intersex isn’t recognized either!)

I’m going to bed! I can’t handle the world when I’m this tired and it’s this stupid.