Two things occurred to me as I compiled this carnival. The feminist blogosphere is much, much larger than I thought (and all too eager to write on feminism and pop culture), and some of you may have finally convinced me to check out some comic books. Put away Teen Beat, fire up your blogrolling doodad, and note that the next carnival will be on Gendergeek on February 8. The submission address is emma AT gendergeek DOT org.
General topics are organized alphabetically, posts listed in no particular order.
Abortion Clinic Days answers why abortion clinics became necessary even though GPs and OB-GYNs perform and performed abortions in their private offices.
Lingual X gifts us with this snarky take on women’s access to abortion and contraception: The Lysistrata Campaign to Save Roe v. Wade. Make love, not war, indeed.
In “The Legacy of Secrecy and Shame,” Aspazia travels to meet the family of an abortion-rights pioneer, and explores the effects a father’s profession and activism had on his son and daughter.
Philoillogica writes a fantastic post on seeing Gunther Von Hagens’ “Body Worlds,” the famous display of plastinated cadavers in artistically cavalier positions, and remarks on the making of these bodies stripped of skin and fat into everywoman and everyman. One of the defining moments comes when she views a plastinated body of a pregnant women, fetus intact, and notices the horror registering on the faces of the other patrons. Further, the other female displays are given specifically gendered names and respresented as the ur-mothers of us all, leaving the author to observe, “Once again, the default body is male, and as I leave, I wonder whether Von Hagens’ endorsement of Renaissance anatomists also includes their adoption of Aristotelian ideas of female inferiority.” In other words, the exhibition is worth the money, but it’s inherently patriarchal. Awesome post.
When an advice columnist gets a letter explaining how a man just can’t get hot and bothered by his wife when she’s sloppy on shaving her legs, the proper advice is not to a) buy her a gift certificate to a spa waxer, or b) shave them for her as some sort of erotic play. No, the correct advice is for hubby to take a cold hard look at his prejudices and get the hell over it. More on beauty, power, and fashion at the Daily Troll.
Jen writes about what it means to be a feminist with an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating habits. The social forces of beauty mythology and Victorian-era self-control are tied up with women’s virtue, and even though we know this is problematic, to say the least, we still find ourselves subject to the forces of the society that made us.
One African Woman discusses how women’s successes and failures become representative of all women, while men are perceived as succeeding or failing independent of gender representations. By being born female, and further she argues by being born a black woman, one loses “The Right to Err. The Right to be Wrong Sometimes. The Right to not be Perfect.”
The Fabulous Miss Rose paints a complicated philosophical picture to illustrate her wonderment with what happens when we take away the larger structures that we identify with — what are we?
This first link isn’t about blogging, but it is of definite interest to blogging feminists. M, who broke the story to the blogosphere about the derogatory terms on the entry for “women” in Wikipedia, challenges the notion that criticizing Wikipedia is criticizing open source media and exposes the nasty replies she got from those in the industry who insisted that it was legitimate open source knowledge in its then-current form. Thankfully, the wikipedia has since been changed to include the terminology under “Misogyny.”
Women and Blogging, Part 72. Literally. Christine Hurt expands on why this question ceases to entertain her mental processes, like the rest of us who are tired of insisting we do, in fact, exist and that we don’t, in fact, suck.
Ann Bartow discusses the relative importance of blogging under one’s real name and blogging under a pseudonym, especially as feminists who are constantly under the struggle to prove our credibility and spread our values and stories.
JhKim writes about A Brother’s Price and the use of gender role-reversal in novels: “Done poorly, gender role-reversal can be a simple tract against the sexism in other stories — pretending it can ‘get back’ at men by oppressing fictional male characters. The story is the gender role-reversal, with no purpose beyond its single gimmick.” Done well, this genre can be quite effective at exposing some of our misconceptions about gender norms.
Liz Henry explores gender and genre, pointing out the multifacted ways in which we are able to approach a text and how authors rarely fit into a perfect mold for concepts of particular literary genres. Where is our female Dante, Heimingway, Shakespeare? Are we looking hard enough or are we not willing to open the canon? Fantastic post.
Liz, while reading A Place in the Sun? Women Writers in Twentieth-Century Cuba, comes across a passage on women and translation that she finds particularly apt: “My aim is to enter into dialogue with the texts to which I had access, to examine their multiple layers of meaning, to communicate their discursive universes to other readers, to create ripples. It is, perhaps, the greatest and riskiest form of cooperation with a writer.”
Spanglemonkey shakes her head at the James Frey controversy, the corruption of realism, and is reminded how the birth of the novel was feared to expose young women to the carnality of sex.
In the same post, Maryanne praises a fantastic book about Egyptian women during the change from British rule to Nasser’s government and describes a woman she knows whose illiteracy will never allow her to read it. This lyrical post discusses, in part, the women Maryanne has come to know since she moved to Egypt.
The blogger at Angry For a Reason looks at burlesque from a feminist perspective. On one hand you have a veritable body acceptance movement. On the other hand, you have well-meaning leftists wrapping heavily political messages in glitter and pretty girls. Can this be reconciled with feminist ideals?
Femme Feral takes down Ben Affleck, the smug little monkey, when he insists that English women aren’t attractive because they get sloppy bikini waxes. What? No, really: What? This post covers the topic of public and private bodies with a range of pop culture references. Great stuff. And all the more reason to hate, hate, hate Ben Affleck.
Elayne writes about growing up a geek girl and being brought into the fold of comic book fandom and the awkward gender interactions she has had with male comic book fans who are unsure how to handle sharing their interests with a woman. Luckily that world is changing as women artists and comics about women are moving up on Ye Olde Scale of Coolness.
THE BEAT at Comicon writes what it feels like for a girl, a post described by Elayne as the seminal post on women and sexism in comic book culture.
Ragnell does a visual and narrative examination of two characters, Alix and Helligan, in the comic book series Bulleteer, and how the sexualization of the female representations serve as visual foils. Upon further examination, interesting classical narratives of the foils’ representations are revealed. Good stuff.
Being completely ignorant of the comic book/graphic novel world, my interest was piqued when I heard about a recent controversy when notable artist Lea Hernandez announced she would no longer look for work in comics. (Her Livejournal with all the commentary is here.) Many people wrote on her public departure from the industry because of the rampant sexism she was tired of enduring. Fascinating stuff.
Melchior provides a good summary of the Hernandez controversy, underscoring that her departure was not about one sexist comic book published by Frank Miller, but about the entrenched sexism in the industry, specifically how artists are directed to represent the female form and character.
Long time comic book reader Shelly, in response to the controversy, says she isn’t bothered so much by the objectification in the medium, but in the inequality in accommodating the straight woman’s gaze.
Laura is conflicted about her comic book fandom. On one hand she loves the medium. On the other, she’d rather not give money to a sexist industry, especially since many in the industry are surrounded by a wall of protective silence, making it that much more difficult to know where her money is going.
Kalinara has some hope for the industry. She isn’t surprised by Frank Miller’s sensationalism, he was the writer of Sin City after all, and she reminds fellow comic book readers that women have been gaining visibility and popularity in droves and that to boycott the industry hands the power, and the power of objectification, back to those who perpetuate sexist narratives. Also take a look at this deconstuction of female character stereotypes in manga.
As the author makes her way through the local shopping mall during Xmas season, she is a fish suddenly noticing water. Tr1c14 whips out her camera and starts snapping pictures of the sexist hell that attempts to propel our compulsions to buy, where women are sexy bimbos or nags meant to charm women (women!) into buying their products. Bonus for the “get your girl in five easy steps” display at the end.
This title is too perfect: An “extreme V-string” marketed to 11 year olds with “love pink” printed on it by any other name would be as icky. Should teen girls be shopping at Victoria’s Secret? Should Victoria’s Secret be marketing v-string panties to preteens? Do you know what a v-string is? Does it bother you any more if you know the line of panties we’re talking about is called PINK (available in a wide range of colors perfect for an attractive camel toe known to seduce the opposite sex)? Calling John Derbyshire.
I can’t be a rose in any man’s lapel.
Ancrene Wiseass posts a brief conversation on the status of being single, because you know our womanhood is based completely on the rank of the man in our lives, sez patriarchal heteronormativity. Especially to our families.
At Philobiblion, Natalie writes about a WWII pamphlet from the GI roundtable series that asks “Do You Want Your Wife To Work?” and the surprisingly radical statements given by the American government that we would never see today.
TW at Wee Hours concedes and buys her daughter a game called “Dream Life,” a vapid little thing about dating, crushes, and shopping aimed at little girls. Not only is she surprised at her own reaction to it, it opens her daughter up to a conversation about her expectations for the future.
Mamacita, bless her, drew up a SupremeQuest map for Alito with directions on how to get to SCOTUS, already. This is way, way better than MapQuest.
Uma at IndianWriting tells a story about a woman who would be made into a doll by Indian media both before and after her death. The woman’s name, Gudiya, means “doll” in Hindi, all too convenient a metaphor for femininity.
Laura Barcella sent me an interview she’s done with Lisa Carver, former author of Rollerderby, the masterpiece of indie zines known for showcasing dark photographs of her friends posed like corpses next to interviews with Courtney Love and Liz Phair. Interesting stuff, especially because I’m attracted to gritty memoirs. (No Frey jokes, please.)
In response to the essay on vaginas by Daphne Merkin (heh), Holly writes in praise of the dreaded C-word, how this “dirty” word does what most other names for the girly bits do not — it actually includes the vulva. Hilarious: “So that’s right: I’m one of the few people–if not the only person–to say c*nt at Sunstone, in front of an audience that included 75-year-old Mormon men. An audible gasp of astonishment rose when I said the word, and a few people strode from the room in outrage, but I kept right on going. I’m used to pissing off Mormons.”
Clare at Ink and Incapability dissects the horribly sexist coverage of high-profile women in the weekly news. Just so we’re clear, feminism is responsible for female teachers screwing their students; Gillian Anderson is only a worthy actress if she’s H-A-W-T hot; and a contestant in the Big Brother house is nothing if she ain’t naked, charity and activism aside.
Muse and Fury dissects what’s wrong with an article on feminism in THIS magazine, “the leading alternative Canadian magazine of politics, pop culture, and the arts.” The editor of the magazine remarks that the magazine has never gotten so much hate mail for an article, but “Feminism For Sale” gives a sweeping overview of second wave feminism, doesn’t acknowledge much past the 1970s, and declares feminism is losing its steam. Right. No wonder they got hate mail.
Laurelin takes down yet another anti-feminist columnist in the UK Times, and I swear I can’t get enough of these kinds of blog posts.
BookDrunk looks at the Observer’s new “Woman” rag and finds it lacking. Apparently we need to be reminded that our worth is dependent on our fashion sense. Elizabeth Hurley says so.
The F-Word is also irked by this new magazine, expecting it to be closer to Ms. than Vogue. Such is the women’s magazine pulishing industry.
Madman in the Marketplace remembers Silent Scream, classic anti-choice propaganda that tried to shift the focus of the abortion debate away from the health and needs of the woman to an exaggerated concern for the fetus, and warns us of our own silent screams as the “monsters cloaking themselves in Hallmark platitudes” take over women’s reproductive rights in all corners of the world.
MetroKitty is irritated that a female sci-fi/fantasy role model is too much to ask if your woman is anything other than the hero’s love interest. She concocts a new take on an old classic, The Lady of the Rings. Would we watch it?
Morgaine writes a long, thoughtful piece on Kinsey, repression, and the current court system after watching the biopic about the sexologist. Reminded of the use of repression as a tool, she draws parallels between the repressive atmosphere of Kinsey’s time and the conservative backlash beating against us today.
Norbizness offers a snarky take on women’s mental health in classic cinema. Thousands of mentally unstable French starlets are waiting by the phone around the clock to talk to you!
Amanda writes on the struggle to suspend disbelief while watching King Kong. Considering moviemakers’ desperate attempts to get us to buy totally irrational relationships, I’m glad I have zero urge to see this movie. Whatsoever.
This radical feminist take on Logan’s Run points out that in the years immediately following Roe v. Wade a woman’s bodily autonomy was a privilege granted to her by a man. Has this really changed? More cool game theory on this blog.
DED remembers the Bond girls after watching a Bond retrospective in which several of the actors discuss when they went from being “girls” to “Bond women.” And of course, there is always the requisite patriarchy-lover who insists “girl is sexier!”
Lucky White Girl analyzes “El Crimen Ferpecto,” a Spanish satirical comedy making fun of consumerist culture. What happens when you have an otherwise good movie that stinks of good, old-fashioned sexism? Feminist analysis!
The post Aluta, from Feminist African Sister, is absolutely poetic on the absurdity that is the negative status of womanhood.
Pregnancy and Parenthood
Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.
– Emma Goldman
Suki writes on the status of abortion pill providers in Australia. With attitudes like this prevailing, it ain’t pretty.
Antonia writes on having respect for teenage mothers and their children. At what point do we stop perpetually punishing teen moms?
Literary Mama posted on a Darla Shine book about how hawt and cool it is to return to 50’s style domesticity, and lo, Shine responded. LM revisits her post now that she’s almost done with the book and challenges Shine to consider what it means when we tell women to “stop trying to change the system, and to embrace it, almost competitively, warts and all.”
Sean writes about the prevalence of women in physics and the egotism and sexism entrenched in the sciences. In a related post at the same blog, Clifford writes about the presence of black scientists and a recent BBC program on the existence of a Black Middle Class.
Kate at Cruella-Blog writes about the rise in rates of casual sex and, ahem, the rate of common sex positions. Specifically the kind that feels good, i.e. most positions.
Austion at About.com, writes about the new book on women’s sexuality and religion, Controlling Women, Controlling Sexuality: Christian Attacks on Sexuality. Because all things fundamental begin and end with sex. Specifically the kind that feels good.
The Countess discovers the cure for the human cold: wild, screeching monkey sex.
Sara at F-Words discusses female libido after looking at the recent NYT article that follows the general arc for stories about women, aging, and sex: “old and oldish women still like having sex and they’re talking about liking it, some people think old ladies are too gross or fragile for sex, and some of these people who think this are old ladies.”
Charlie also writes about libido, specifically what happens when your libido is much different than your partner’s and how big pharma attempts to handle this sexual disparity. Incidentally, Charlie blames the patriarchy.
Sukanya discusses India’s rape capital, Delphi, and its social effects on the agency of the female population despite India’s large number of female politicians and figureheads.
The Happy Feminist’s widely discussed post on how rape victims often fail to grasp that they themselves have been raped deserves to be read again. And again.
Andrea writes about a billboard she and her partner saw that effectively blames women for not taking enough precautions against stranger rape. When fear is employed enough, fear becomes a method of control.
Blakademic writes a fantastic analysis on the white/other binary in The L-Word, and how the most visible pop cultural medium for American lesbians is caught up in the same old tangled web of race, sexuality, gender, and otherness.
Degrassi, the show that claims to “go there,” never quite goes there when one of the main characters gets pregnant and has an abortion. Mickle explores the differences between Canadian and American audiences and why said character’s problem simply disappears. *poof*
OtherMag discusses two new shows that seem to be emulating Our Lady of Buffy, Veronica Mars and Doctor Who. “The problem is, to duplicate Buffy, you need to give your protagonist super powers. And that requires some thought on the part of the would-be imitators. The ways the shows’ creators deal with this issue say a lot about how they approach gender roles.”
Andrea is irritated at the tone-down-the-gay advice Tyra Banks gives a lesbian model on America’s Next Top Model while flanked by two camped-out Cinderellas. “Don’t shove your sexuality down other people’s throats,” says Tyra. The irony, it kills.
Another Tyra post (this cracks me up — I’ve seen the show twice and it is excrutiating to watch) takes the new talk show host to task for calling Hugh Hefner an icon of sexuality for the world.
Incidentally, I took break from writing this post to knit in front of the tube and lo, what was on but the Tyra show. She and Naomi Campbell were making up after fourteen years of mutual feud — it was a tearjerker, folks.
Lynn at Noli Irritare Leones writes a three-part series on abortion and television. The absolute must-read post takes off from an article written about the social discomfort surrounding leftist reviews of Brokeback Mountain. Take the article, remove “homosexuality,” replace with “abortion,” and get, “I get tired of the way the news and entertainment media find it difficult to discuss abortion without propagandizing. And some of the loudest conservative voices on abortion issues are just about as bad.” See posts two and three as well.
Astarte’s open to this discussion on women and gaming immediately grabbed me: “I make bad assumptions every now and again, just like every other human being on the planet. My most recent bad assumption was that if I talked about fairness in the representation of men and women in video games, I’d get a crowd that was more agreeable than if I said something along the lines of ‘Put some clothes on those women!’. Boy, was I wrong.”
Andrea Rubenstein looks at the kind of girl power found in video games and, surprise!, finds that women characters’ primary power is tangled up in their representational beauty. “Is this ‘power’ that of a true kind or is the phenomenon of women kicking ass a way to co-opt female power and bring it back firmly under men’s control?”
Thank you, thank you for contributing to this carnival and indulging my need to see feminist analysis of pop culture. I have added many to my already-exploding blogroll and look forward to seeing what everyone writes in the future. Readers, take your time and make it through these posts. I am encouraged and impressed by the feminist voices in the blogsphere.
The next carnival will be on Gendergeek on February 8. The submission address is emma AT gendergeek DOT org.