Random feminist rant

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 02:00 pm
elettaria: (Default)
I am so very fed up of giving my details over the phone and being asked, "Is it Miss or Mrs?" without the option of Ms, or of being addressed as Mrs by default, regardless of what I've asked them to call me. I rang the Financial Ombudsman today and was greeted with this yet again. I'd actually rung to point out that they'd got my address wrong, but since they added this to having addressed the letter to Mrs even though I'd said firmly on the phone that it was Ms, the guy ended up getting a little lecture on how it's frankly rather offensive to categorise women by their marital status whether they like it or not (and also that if I'm Mrs, then I'm committing adultery and I don't think my partner would be too happy about it all). His excuse was that if he started asking, "Is it Miss, Mrs, Doctor, Reverend..." the list would go on for ever. He just didn't seem to get that Ms should be the default. It's 2009 and this problem occurs more often than not.*

So today I look at the news and encounter Female medics "to outnumber male". Ponderings on gender in the medical profession, and a little poll )

Random feminist rant

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 02:00 pm
elettaria: (Default)
I am so very fed up of giving my details over the phone and being asked, "Is it Miss or Mrs?" without the option of Ms, or of being addressed as Mrs by default, regardless of what I've asked them to call me. I rang the Financial Ombudsman today and was greeted with this yet again. I'd actually rung to point out that they'd got my address wrong, but since they added this to having addressed the letter to Mrs even though I'd said firmly on the phone that it was Ms, the guy ended up getting a little lecture on how it's frankly rather offensive to categorise women by their marital status whether they like it or not (and also that if I'm Mrs, then I'm committing adultery and I don't think my partner would be too happy about it all). His excuse was that if he started asking, "Is it Miss, Mrs, Doctor, Reverend..." the list would go on for ever. He just didn't seem to get that Ms should be the default. It's 2009 and this problem occurs more often than not.*

So today I look at the news and encounter Female medics "to outnumber male". Ponderings on gender in the medical profession, and a little poll )
elettaria: (Rock badger)
[livejournal.com profile] angevin2 has put up a voice post in which she sings a ballad about Daphne and Apollo, sounding very lovely I may add. It has inspired me to come up with a Plan To Save The Planet.

For those whose mythology is patchy, the god Apollo took a fancy to Daphne but she wasn't interested. He pursued her, she ran away, and since he was catching up and she was getting desperate, she called to the virgin goddess Artemis for help. Artemis obligingly turned her into a bay laurel tree.

If we changed it around and made it the would-be-rapist who turned into the tree, to make it fairer, and this happened every time someone tried to commit a rape, think how great it would be. There would be fewer humans, nicer humans, and lots more trees, thus solving in one stroke the problems of overpopulation and deforestation.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard has pointed me to the latest silliness from the evangelical movement, with further eloquence here and here. I'll bet you that somewhere there is a kinky club where people are wearing those t-shirts in not quite the spirit they were meant to be worn. EX-HYPOCRITE is deliciously ironic all on its own, anyway, and EX-FORNICATOR has such a fine ring to it. Which reminds me that "fornicator" comes from the Latin for "brothel", which in turns comes from the Latin "fornix", meaning "arch", as in prostitutes lurking in doorways. (Study Juvenal at A-level and you get to learn all about where the prostitutes of different nationalities hung out in ancient Rome.) If language had developed a bit differently, "fornicator" could mean "builder" today.
elettaria: (Rock badger)
[livejournal.com profile] angevin2 has put up a voice post in which she sings a ballad about Daphne and Apollo, sounding very lovely I may add. It has inspired me to come up with a Plan To Save The Planet.

For those whose mythology is patchy, the god Apollo took a fancy to Daphne but she wasn't interested. He pursued her, she ran away, and since he was catching up and she was getting desperate, she called to the virgin goddess Artemis for help. Artemis obligingly turned her into a bay laurel tree.

If we changed it around and made it the would-be-rapist who turned into the tree, to make it fairer, and this happened every time someone tried to commit a rape, think how great it would be. There would be fewer humans, nicer humans, and lots more trees, thus solving in one stroke the problems of overpopulation and deforestation.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard has pointed me to the latest silliness from the evangelical movement, with further eloquence here and here. I'll bet you that somewhere there is a kinky club where people are wearing those t-shirts in not quite the spirit they were meant to be worn. EX-HYPOCRITE is deliciously ironic all on its own, anyway, and EX-FORNICATOR has such a fine ring to it. Which reminds me that "fornicator" comes from the Latin for "brothel", which in turns comes from the Latin "fornix", meaning "arch", as in prostitutes lurking in doorways. (Study Juvenal at A-level and you get to learn all about where the prostitutes of different nationalities hung out in ancient Rome.) If language had developed a bit differently, "fornicator" could mean "builder" today.
elettaria: (Lobstrosity)
Government considers banning free drinks for women. I should mention that I don't drink, never have, and have never even seen the appeal. So I'm having to think my way through this more than most people would, and may miss something obvious.

I see no problem with banning free drinks in general. The British public does not have a constitutional right to freebies. In the area of drinking it probably does cause a lot of trouble, and would reduce drinking a certain amount if it were stopped. I don't think the pubs would lose money - people are more likely to give in and buy the extra drinks than they are to stop going to the pub - so there shouldn't be a problem there.

What I can't understand, and what is left completely unexplained in that article, is the gendering. Read more... )
elettaria: (Lobstrosity)
Government considers banning free drinks for women. I should mention that I don't drink, never have, and have never even seen the appeal. So I'm having to think my way through this more than most people would, and may miss something obvious.

I see no problem with banning free drinks in general. The British public does not have a constitutional right to freebies. In the area of drinking it probably does cause a lot of trouble, and would reduce drinking a certain amount if it were stopped. I don't think the pubs would lose money - people are more likely to give in and buy the extra drinks than they are to stop going to the pub - so there shouldn't be a problem there.

What I can't understand, and what is left completely unexplained in that article, is the gendering. Read more... )
elettaria: (Scrimble)
Headline of the day: Chickens "unlock allergy secrets". As [livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea said, damned clever chickens.

Other snippets from the news, both cheery and less so )

[livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea and I have started watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which is by the West Wing folks and shows it in some odd ways. As well as borrowing several of the cast, crew and the font for the credits at the end, the last episode was basically "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" done in the studios of a comedy sketch show. At which point misplaced early modern filth comes in! )

Now that we have the internet back, we've been catching up on Doctor Who. Spoilers for "The Unicorn and the Wasp" and "Forest of the Dead" )
elettaria: (Scrimble)
Headline of the day: Chickens "unlock allergy secrets". As [livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea said, damned clever chickens.

Other snippets from the news, both cheery and less so )

[livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea and I have started watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which is by the West Wing folks and shows it in some odd ways. As well as borrowing several of the cast, crew and the font for the credits at the end, the last episode was basically "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" done in the studios of a comedy sketch show. At which point misplaced early modern filth comes in! )

Now that we have the internet back, we've been catching up on Doctor Who. Spoilers for "The Unicorn and the Wasp" and "Forest of the Dead" )

Assets, are they?

Friday, 25 April 2008 03:28 pm
elettaria: (Default)
If you haven't heard about the Open Source Boob Project scandal yet, go to [livejournal.com profile] the_red_shoes' post here, where you can catch up. Many people have said much of the stuff I'd have said myself and phrased it beautifully - and may I mention in passing how delightful it is to see good quality feminist crit coming from a straight man - so I thought I'd add a few different thoughts.

There's an image from [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's original post which keeps nagging at me. It's his description of the first random woman they groped. Obviously he's objectifying her to within an inch of her life, and the sadly common assumption that anyone with her "assets on display" is asking for it is the reason why there are judges who rule that "it can't have been rape, she was wearing jeans", but it's not just that. I think it's the idea of her as some sort of Amazonian figure, striding along with her magnificent bosom proudly on display, a challenge to all red-blooded males and especially the ones who were so awfully traumatised in school because the women they wanted wouldn't sleep with them (something which must be far, far worse than, say, the sexual harrassment which happens with varying frequency to every woman past puberty). The post is generally full of this so-called admiration of women (well, I'm inferring "women", actually he seems to be using "breasts" as a synecdoche for "woman"), even awe, and of course the chap feels that it's a form of respect and can't understand why we're all objecting to it.

Part of the problem is, I think, a kind of pedestalisation. Read more... )

Assets, are they?

Friday, 25 April 2008 03:28 pm
elettaria: (Default)
If you haven't heard about the Open Source Boob Project scandal yet, go to [livejournal.com profile] the_red_shoes' post here, where you can catch up. Many people have said much of the stuff I'd have said myself and phrased it beautifully - and may I mention in passing how delightful it is to see good quality feminist crit coming from a straight man - so I thought I'd add a few different thoughts.

There's an image from [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's original post which keeps nagging at me. It's his description of the first random woman they groped. Obviously he's objectifying her to within an inch of her life, and the sadly common assumption that anyone with her "assets on display" is asking for it is the reason why there are judges who rule that "it can't have been rape, she was wearing jeans", but it's not just that. I think it's the idea of her as some sort of Amazonian figure, striding along with her magnificent bosom proudly on display, a challenge to all red-blooded males and especially the ones who were so awfully traumatised in school because the women they wanted wouldn't sleep with them (something which must be far, far worse than, say, the sexual harrassment which happens with varying frequency to every woman past puberty). The post is generally full of this so-called admiration of women (well, I'm inferring "women", actually he seems to be using "breasts" as a synecdoche for "woman"), even awe, and of course the chap feels that it's a form of respect and can't understand why we're all objecting to it.

Part of the problem is, I think, a kind of pedestalisation. Read more... )
elettaria: (Gay penguins)
I've just finished reading Carol Shields' Happenstance, a novel written in 1980 which features a woman who is attending a quilting conference in Philadelphia during the course of the novel. During this conference, a psychology/art history lecturer who has obviously never picked up a needle in her life gives a Freudian interpretation of quilting which is even funnier than the Freudian analysis of Alice in Wonderland in Atwood's The Edible Woman. Apart from being hilarious, it does give a great example of what happens when academics get too far away from the reality of their topic.

Quilting Through the Freudian Looking-Glass: A New Interpretation )

Joking apart, I'd be interested to hear what other people think about textiles, gender and meaning. Working with fabric is a sensuous pleasure, and I've seen a few rather sexy quilts, though generally not the traditional geometric patterns discussed above, not to mention that quilts are practical things and often intended for general family use or for children. (My grandmother, on the other hand, made a number of weavings which are quite ridiculously vulval in shape.) I'm keeping an eye open for literature which discusses needlecraft, for example Atwood's Alias Grace which manages to combine quilting and murder, Susan Glaspell's short story "A Jury of her Peers" which combines the two even more strongly, or Donoghue's Slammerkin, this time about dressmaking and, er, murder. (And sex!) There's a lovely Carol Ann Duffy poem I've managed to dig out again (a former tutor ran off with my copy of the volume it's from, The World's Wife) on Penelope ).

I occasionally wonder how someone could have done what Penelope reputedly did: promised that she would remarry when she'd finished making a tapestry, sewed in the day, and unpicked her work at night. I can't think of anything more frustrating than constantly destroying your own work, never allowing it to progress - and tapestry is slow, slow work, you might cover a few squares inches in a day. Perhaps she would unpick a part of the tapestry, then sew something different in its place, so that the work was constantly shifting, motifs leading to first one thing then another? A lovely image for multivocality.

cross-posted to my journal, [livejournal.com profile] quilting and [livejournal.com profile] literary_theory
elettaria: (Gay penguins)
I've just finished reading Carol Shields' Happenstance, a novel written in 1980 which features a woman who is attending a quilting conference in Philadelphia during the course of the novel. During this conference, a psychology/art history lecturer who has obviously never picked up a needle in her life gives a Freudian interpretation of quilting which is even funnier than the Freudian analysis of Alice in Wonderland in Atwood's The Edible Woman. Apart from being hilarious, it does give a great example of what happens when academics get too far away from the reality of their topic.

Quilting Through the Freudian Looking-Glass: A New Interpretation )

Joking apart, I'd be interested to hear what other people think about textiles, gender and meaning. Working with fabric is a sensuous pleasure, and I've seen a few rather sexy quilts, though generally not the traditional geometric patterns discussed above, not to mention that quilts are practical things and often intended for general family use or for children. (My grandmother, on the other hand, made a number of weavings which are quite ridiculously vulval in shape.) I'm keeping an eye open for literature which discusses needlecraft, for example Atwood's Alias Grace which manages to combine quilting and murder, Susan Glaspell's short story "A Jury of her Peers" which combines the two even more strongly, or Donoghue's Slammerkin, this time about dressmaking and, er, murder. (And sex!) There's a lovely Carol Ann Duffy poem I've managed to dig out again (a former tutor ran off with my copy of the volume it's from, The World's Wife) on Penelope ).

I occasionally wonder how someone could have done what Penelope reputedly did: promised that she would remarry when she'd finished making a tapestry, sewed in the day, and unpicked her work at night. I can't think of anything more frustrating than constantly destroying your own work, never allowing it to progress - and tapestry is slow, slow work, you might cover a few squares inches in a day. Perhaps she would unpick a part of the tapestry, then sew something different in its place, so that the work was constantly shifting, motifs leading to first one thing then another? A lovely image for multivocality.

cross-posted to my journal, [livejournal.com profile] quilting and [livejournal.com profile] literary_theory
elettaria: (Default)
Somewhere between the Pyrenees and the Alps there once lived a nobleman by the name of Thogas. He had a wife, children, a fine house and so much wealth and pleasure that he had every good reason to be content with life. Apart from one thing. He was subject to great pain beneath the roots of his hairs. The pain was so severe that the doctors advised him to stop sleeping with his wife.

Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron, Story 54.

We're having quite an interesting discussion about a peculiar TV programme called "Virgin School" in [livejournal.com profile] king_laugh's journal here, if anyone wants to jump in. Topics for discussion here in mine, prompted by a variety of sources:

* Prostitution - should it be legalised?
* Sexual surrogacy - useful? creepy? unprofessional? a great idea?
* Virginity - what does it mean, and do we like the concept in the first place?
* Should vibrators be available on the NHS?

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