Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hunting the great white elephant

Given that I am not especially employed at the moment, I haven't had to deal with a lot of Christmas formalities and "fun." But I still have some ranting to do. I hate hate hate white-elephant gift exchanges. I can't help but think of the schmuck working for slave-wages that made that silly widget, and I can't have fun at his/her expense.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just too far

"James Chartrand" seems like a huge jerk. There's been a story circulating the web about blogger "James Chartrand" coming out as a woman, complete with a sob story about how it was just the glass ceiling keeping her stuck at the level of mediocrity, and all of a sudden, she changed the name under which she published and found great success. She's been called an Uncle Tom for stepping atop the glass ceiling and watching the women milling around below her - and it's true. I don't necessarily think it's a big deal to access privilege without making sure it goes to everyone else who was wrongly robbed of it. It's slimy, but a girl's gotta eat.

Being wronged doesn't obligate you to protect everyone else from the same fate (Of course, it's not that simple. The classic example of this dilemma is women who don't report sexual assault. But lots of rapists are successfull prosecuted, and we still have an epidemic of rape.), but regardless of whether or not you've been wronged, you don't make thing worse for people (other than by perpetuating the original problem). It's a classic case of "Just because I'm black, it doesn't mean I have to fix your racism.)

As Amanda Hess of the sexist has reported, "Chartrand" engaged in some active misogyny with her online persona. Hess speculates that misogynistic jokes Chartrand made were in fact tongue-in-cheek jokes, given that the blogger herself is female.

Even in that case, the damage has already been done. Minstrelsy is as damaging to a group's reputation when they're the performers.

The thing that really twists the knife is that she made a coy attempt to come out without taking responsibility for the damage that James Chartrand inflicted against female writers.

Even when the story is extra-tidy and she's just a lady trying to get around the glass ceiling, people don't believe her, and loudly proclaim that discrimination against female writers is a myth.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Then take a left just before the old Patterson place...

I just got a press release from some Swedish sex-ed group (the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) presenting a new term for the hymen, in the hopes that it will help dispel some myths about female sexual purity. In English, they are going for "vaginal corona." I'm small-town enough to refer to places by old names, so I have a hard time seeing people really accept the change in nomenclature. Plus, the myths are part of an active agenda - like the press release says:
“The myths surrounding the hymen were created to control women's freedom and sexuality.
For more info, see Jessica Valenti's book The Purity Myth.

I'm pessimistic about this term's future, but I appreciate the effort. Also, check out the link above: there were a lot of things I didn't know about the "vaginal corona."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

There's no point in fighting biology

A study recently showed people who agree with a biracial candidate (who could that be?) as perceiving his skin to be lighter in color than those who disagree with him in general. If you were going to follow the general thrust of sexist evolutionary psychology, you could only conclude that it's just not fair to ask people to accept leadership from a dark-skinned person. But whaddya know, you haven't seen that kind of conclusion trumpeted in bad science writing.

Funny how it sounds totally ridiculous when applied to racial destiny, but people are all over biological/sociological destiny being directed by sex.

I'm just going off of that little blurb and my recollection of a story on the radio the other day, but I'm pretty sure the study didn't control for the race of the participants, so I'd take it with a grain of salt. Also, it's being published in PNAS, which is hardly prestigious.