Month: September 2012

Facebook and the “12-year-old Slut” Meme

Earlier this week, I had barely finished writing Cameras, Consent and Conservative Rapeyness here, when this petition came across my desk: “Please sign to remove 12 Year Old Slut Memes from Facebook.” One of the offending page’s profile photo is of a pink-lipped and pouty child (she looks a lot younger than 12) wearing a tank top that reads “I love COCK.” Now, this page doesn’t openly advocate violence against anyone. It is, in essence, the virtual equivalent of street harassment. But, it is a case in point of how, whether real or virtual, photography serves to exponentially magnify the effects of subtle and real violence.

Let’s stop attacking AIDS researchers, yeah?

Look, I’m critical of circumcising male babies because of the bodily autonomy issues, but maybe don’t play fast and loose with the scientific facts? And don’t torpedo the success of a very important book just because it includes ten pages on a public health policy that you dislike? Circumcision helps to reduce the risk of HIV infection. In places where HIV infection is widespread, that may make circumcision good public health policy — that’s what a lot of international health organizations think, anyway. Or it might not — it might be that the moral and ethical implications of removing a piece of a baby’s sexual organs trump the health benefits, even in places where we are literally talking about the difference between life and death. I don’t actually know. I am generally in favor of “do not permanently fuck with your kid’s body without his or her consent,” extending from circumcision to pierced ears. But when it’s a procedure that has been shown to have very few negative side effects but offers a 70% reduction in the likelihood that you will contract HIV? In places where the HIV rate is depressingly high, and where preventative tools like condoms may not always be readily available? The calculus changes.

Cameras, Consent and Conservative Rapeyness

Women deal with violence or its threat all the time. Women who defend themselves make people pause, however. Violent women, especially, disturb people. They upset the “natural order” and cause no small amount of unease. If a woman’s defense of herself enters the courts, well, that is always enlightening for the degree to which male norms are revealed to permeate the justice system and she is either re-victimized, criminalized or pathologized for defending herself. Now, in an interesting modern twist on old themes, enter the camera and its intensifying and catalytic effects – both real and metaphorical.

Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical.

UC-Davis professor and perennial noticer of gender imbalance at conferences Jonathan Eisen received an e-mail invitation and call for submissions to the 2013 Winter Q-Bio Meeting: Quantitative Biology on the Hawaii Islands. Nice, right? Sun, science, slate of speakers almost exclusively composed of dudes. (On the plus side, Dr. Lahav, at least you’ll never have to wait in line for the bathroom.)