Weekly Feminist Reader

Happy International Women’s Day!

Go read coverage and commentary from Frau Sally Benz, Hoyden About Town, and Women’s eNews. Our Bodies, Our Blog has a great roundup. And there’s even more at the official IWD site. Plus, Renee has been doing an awesome series this week in which she interviews feminist/womanist bloggers in the run-up to IWD: Holly of Menstrual Poetry, Faith of Acts of Faith, Hexy of Hexpletive, Melissa of Shakesville, Loryn of Black Girl Blogging, Amanda of Pandagon, and Monica of TransGriot.

For the rest of the links, just the headlines today …

Questioning Transphobia: Transphobic Assault Outside Washington, DC Bar

Jezebel: All Hail the Checkout Girl (via Lauren)

Found in Mom’s Basement: 1971 ad for Republic steel wants to “talk women’s liberation”

Aunt Jemima’s Revenge: CNN Reporter Sean Callebs Plays at Living on Food Stamps for One Month

TAPPED: How the stimulus sells women short

Feministe: NYPD accused of raping intoxicated woman
Kay Steiger: Who takes over for Sebelius?
Michelle Obama Watch: British Paper Calls First Lady Obama “Lady Macbeth” Because They Didn’t Like The Toys She Gave PM’s Kids

MSNBC: Ditch the doll? Lawmaker out to outlaw Barbie (Plus: Dodson & Ross: If Barbie Was a Real Woman)

Yes Means Yes Blog: What it doesn’t mean (that Rihanna and Chris Brown are reportedly back together) Related: Shark-Fu has a caution about abuse.


Racialicious: Quoted: Tricia Rose on Fighting Sexism in a Community Assaulted by Racism (via Awesome & Fabulous)

Bitch: And in other comics-related news…graphic novel artist needed for Octavia Butler’s Kindred! (More at Racialicious)

The Pursuit of Harpyness: A Quick Review and Recommendation: That Pretty Pretty

TransGriot: Women Come In All Shapes And Sizes and Transgender Rights Updates

Sociological Images: Illustrating the Wage Gap Between Men and Women

The Women’s International Perspective: Cultural Stigma and Myth: Disabled Women in Kenya are Vulnerable to Sexual Violence

Female Impersonator: Women: Shameful and unclean (on the practice in Nepal of chhaupadi, or confining women who are deemed to be considered by society to be “unclean”)

The Curvature: Jim Beam Ad Remakes Even Worse Than Originals

Women’s eNews: Urban Girls Jump Into the Title IX Gap
Post Bourgie: Children of rape

Broadsheet: Women of Wall Street, on the street

Get Involved

Planned Parenthood: Help Save Affordable Birth Control AND TELL CONGRESS: DON’T DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Sign the petition: No Makeover for Dora!

Petition to Investigate Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Reign of Terror

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34 Comments

  1. Renee
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the linky love and I would like to throw out just a few more things I did this week.
    Why Pay Child Support When You Can Beat The Mother Of Your Child: Looking at domestic violence away from the celebrity of Chirs and Rihianna in the black community. Trigger warning on video.
    For Rent Whites Only: Looking at a case in Niagara Falls New York Where a Woman only want to rent to whites.
    Raised By Women: A Celebration of black motherhood
    The Antidote For Discrimination Is: A guest post examining the discrimination people who use service animals face.

  2. Renee
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Ooops forgot
    All The Baby Mommas In The House: Looking at why black motherhood is a problematized identity
    Chirs and Rihanna The Violence We Don’t Talk About: Looking at why we continue to ignore violence aimed at the black community. Most of the violence aimed at black women is inter rather than intra racial and any conversation is deemed to be demonizing black men.

  3. Adele
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Bad link for “All Hail the Checkout Girl”.

  4. MzBitca
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    two posts
    why the post-racial claims are dangerous right now
    http://mzbitca.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/why-we-think-were-post-racial-why-its-a-dangerous-desire/
    Why the way we word questions about domestic violence is important
    http://mzbitca.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/victim-blaming-poll-question-for-200-alex/

  5. Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This week in Evil Slutopia:
    We talked about the new movement started by women in Saudi Arabia to change the situation with lingerie shops, which are currently staffed only by men.
    We compared two vastly different celebrity reactions to the Chris Brown/Rihanna story (adding to the Top 10 Things We Wish People Would Stop Saying about it).
    And finally, we’d had enough after all of the news about him this week, so we finally just told Rush Limbaugh to suck it. (You too can support the cause, and of course we’re taking requests.)

  6. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    When will these imbeciles learn that attacking TOYS is not only a waste of time but lets everyone know how stupid they really are? Barbie isn’t a realistic depiction of women? Really? Next you’ll be telling me that Superman isn’t an accurate depiction of men, or that Mr Potato Head doesn’t represent what real vegetables look like.

  7. John
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Stephen Lewis on the UN’s massive failures with regard to gender equality
    I actually listened to the audio only version, which was also awesome.

  8. John
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    When will these imbeciles understand the significance of cultural context, and the ethical distinction between expectations of our daughters and expectations of our vegetables?
    Probably never.

  9. Logrus
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I really need to stop reading stories about the fucking pigs. How long is this kind of transgression gong to go on before people start taking personal acts of retribution out on the filth responsible and the other filth who shield them?
    These pieces of shit are no better than a cancerous growth and should be handled in a similar manner.

  10. Tsunade
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Callebs’ food stamps story is well-intentioned but poorly executed. First of all, he’s got a cushy job that builds his morale and psychological health. The crappy food he comes home to doesn’t bother him as much. Second, it’s just him – not a wife and children. Third, his attitude. “Gee, Whole Foods AND Marti Gras? It’s been tough!”
    I am glad that he’s doing it though. I hope that he’s supplementing this with real interviews with people who ACTUALLY live this way though. One of my friends is trying to go through college, has a serious eating disorder, her father is unemployed, and her family has just had to resort to food stamps :/ It’s not a pretty situation.

  11. transgriot
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link love!
    Some of the posts this week are:
    Where Do I Fit In?
    http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2009/03/where-do-i-fit-in.html
    If A Transwoman Can Play A Transwoman In Indian Movies, How About In Hollywood?
    http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2009/03/if-transwoman-can-play-transwoman-in.html

  12. Posted March 8, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    This week I wrote:
    The Right’s Favorite Scapegoat, about David Vitter’s attack on Planned Parenthood.
    Fuck the Pohleece, which is self-explanatory.
    And a rant about men who refer to themselves as “babysitters” re: their own kids.

  13. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    What ethical distinction is there to make? Boys don’t grow up to look like Superman dolls, girls don’t grow up to look like Barbie, and potatoes don’t resemble Mr. Potato Head. The idea of a government official trying to ban any of these toys on these grounds is idiotic.
    This representative is a nitwit. She and others like her are no different from Jerry Falwell complaining that the Teletubbies promote homosexuality.

  14. conductress
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Maybe next time try reading the actual article before assuming that the representative in question is a woman. Because, you know, men couldn’t possible care about the psychological well-being of their daughters. No– clearly it’s the work of a hysterical woman.

  15. Angela
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Happy Womens’ Day all.
    I wasnt sure where to write this and didn’t quite feel comfortable writing a community post but I had to share.
    This morning I was watching CBC News (the channel) and the two anchors were having a bit of a chat after a story on Barbie’s anniversary. One anchor (I don’t remember his name) raised a couple questions about how the doll had changed over time, and a few of the common self-esteem/beauty standard questions. The other anchor (don’t know her name either) tried to argue that Barbie presented an accurate and attainible beauty standard and created healthy self-esteem or something like that. This ticked me off a bit, I found it weird and somewhat offesnsive that she would say these things. Then, if it couldnt get any worse she said that psychological studies had been done to prove that this is what men were biologically supposed to be attracted to; and they had some subconcious magical power to assess waist to hip ratio to determine just how prime one’s child-bearing capabilites were.
    I am dissapointed to see something like this on CBC;it seems very insesitive to discredit the amount of image and body issues that people face and especially on a day like today. If she is going to be taking information from these “studies” perhaps she should mention some sources when shes broadcasting them on national television.
    Has anyone else seen this who saw this, or remembers enough about it to write a community post? I was thinking of writing a letter but I doubt I could write one very effectively, advice?
    There may be a video
    here

    The man and woman at the top of the page are the two anchors of this program; called CBC News Sunday.

  16. Ann
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Fixed! Sorry ’bout that.

  17. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Sorry if I got the state rep. and the author of the “If Barbie Was a Real Woman” article mixed up. It’s still stupid to be a concern troll over toys. I grew up just fine with my body even though I couldn’t do half the things my G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu Grip could, nor did I have a six-pack.

  18. Cicada Nymph
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    While I believe the motivation for banning Barbie comes from the right place I don’t believe in reality it is very realistic or would solve much. If there are no Barbies it seems other dolls would just rise to take her place, unless there is going to be a ban on all dolls with unrealistic proportions. Plus, even if their was, how would that prevent materialism or the value of beauty being taught? A reasonably proportioned doll could still come with makeup, shopping accessories, etc. I do believe I learned to value exterior beauty in women at a young age and see that in the five and four year olds I work with, but it doesn’t arise from just Barbie, but from the majority of products, movies, etc. aimed at girls. Even my “pretty ponies” and toy horses and dogs when I was little came with combs and bows. At the age I played with Barbie she never made me feel fat, her proportions were so unrealistic that I never saw them as attainable. Her legs are like towers! However, Barbie and all the other toys aimed at girls and shows I watched were harmful in that they did make me want to be a “beautiful princess” and value outer appearance in women and myself. I think the best thing would be if instead of banning one product their were more products not focused on appearance, materialism or superficiality for girls. I’m just not sure how we make that happen.

  19. Rachel_in_WY
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about how the used clothing that’s donated to charitable organizations ends up harming the textile and fashion industries in many African countries.
    I also wrote about the tweenification of Dora both here and on my blog, which got me a bunch of hate mail. Go figure. I would never have picked that to be a super controversial topic.
    And then there’s the topic of white guilt

  20. Feminist Review
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Thembisa S. Mshaka’s Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business will be available next month, and Feminist Review is giving FIVE people a chance to win a FREE copy of the book by entering our “What is Your Dream?” giveaway contest in honor of Women’s History Month. Click here for details.

  21. pepper
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    (assuming that you are male from the six pack reference)
    1. men are not socialized the same as females. not one bit. boys were told to be strong and manly, not focused on their bodies. girls have historically been raised to care about looking like barbie or other cultural standard. (though current trends are causing both male and female children to be more concerned with appearances.)
    2. children respond to toys and ideas in vastly different ways. just because you didn’t take the g.i. joe to heart doesn’t mean other males of your generation didn’t.
    3. i agree that it is dumb to ban barbie. it only glamorizes the appeal of barbie the same way hiding a playboy under a bed would make it much more exciting. plus, are they going door to door to remove all the older barbies? (i know the lawmaker knows this has no chance of ever becoming law but still…)

  22. Jessica F.
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    SarahMC, thanks for the link about men “babysitting” their children. It annoys me so much when people call parenting babysitting, as though the mother is the “real” parent and the dad is just along for the ride. I hear women complain all the time that they can’t leave their kids along with the father–why not? Is a grown man with a job and the ability to pay bills and successfully maneuver society really so incompetent he cannot care for a child?
    I was interested in a lot of the comments on the “All Hail the Checkout Girl” link. Many of them read like this: “People would say mean things to me when I was a checkout girl, and I just wanted to tell them I was in grad school!” This rubs me the wrong way–it’s as though they’re saying rudeness and condescension towards service workers are only unacceptable behaviors if the worker is obtaining higher education. These behaviors are unacceptable because the worker is a human being!
    And as a side note: people are rude in general. I’m a nurse, and you wouldn’t believe the things people think are acceptable to say.

  23. pepper
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    not the six pack, arg.. women can have six packs. i meant the g.i. joe reference.

  24. Rachel_in_WY
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I noticed some of those comments too. I work in IT while finishing my dissertation and teaching as an adjunct, and I’ve noticed before that I’m more irritated when people talk to me like this than I was when I was a high school student and undergrad working at Starbucks. For some reason, the IT person catches a lot of flack. I’ve checked that attitude on my part on a number of occasions, and always thought that it just shows that in spite of our best intentions, we internalize our culture’s attitudes about personal value based on education and salary level. Another reason we always have to be aware of our privilege and the attitudes we’ve absorbed concerning it.

  25. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    1. men are not socialized the same as females. not one bit. boys were told to be strong and manly, not focused on their bodies. girls have historically been raised to care about looking like barbie or other cultural standard. (though current trends are causing both male and female children to be more concerned with appearances.)
    In that case the problem is with society, not plastic toys. Boys are subjected to pressure about their bodies as well, only in terms of performance (fastest, strongest, toughest) rather than appearance. Not “measuring up” can not only lead to bad self-image but physical injury, but there’s no move by legislators to ban boys’ toys.
    2. children respond to toys and ideas in vastly different ways. just because you didn’t take the g.i. joe to heart doesn’t mean other males of your generation didn’t.
    Most kids realize that their toys (and the characters they’re based on) are not real. A boy who feels less self-worth because he’s not muscled out like G.I. Joe or the Hulk has problems, just like a girl who has lower self-esteem because she’s not seven feet tall with giant boobs and tiny feet like Barbie. But the problems have nothing to do with the toys.

  26. kristuna1
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting “What it doesn’t mean” in regards to Chris Brown and Rihanna. The other night during a hang out with some friends the very first response I heard was “She is so stupid.” I was beyond frustrated, and glad to find the topic being properly addressed here.

  27. pepper
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    look, if you don’t get it, then you just won’t.
    i am agreeing with you that there are many problems with how society treats girls and barbie is a symptom of society.
    HOWEVER, barbie reflects the absolute pinnacle of white privileged beauty. barbie is one of the many vehicles in which the skinny, blond, blue eyed stereotype is passed on. there are plenty of other dolls doing the same thing.
    look at dora the formerly amazing explorer. she used to be a strong role model. we are all waiting out the stupid marketing suspense to see what she has become.
    gendered toys are a huge problem in our culture. step back and take a look at all the studies done using dolls to show how children are socialized from birth.
    look at the pretty pretty pink kitchen sets marketed towards girls. are those harmless? are toy vacuum cleaners marketed toward boys? what message does that send? according to your logic the “girl” toy isle only affects girls who are dumb enough to take marketing to heart.

  28. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t know. My kid sister played with toy guns.
    Just because something is marketed for girls doesn’t mean their parents have to buy it. Even if the parents buy it, the girls don’t have to play with them -and many don’t.
    On the other hand, sometimes the kids just happen to like certain playthings whether there’s cultural baggage or not. Back in the 1980s when concern trolls whined about boys playing with toy guns (esp cap pistols), there was a movement to stop buying them. The boys responded by pointing fingers at one another and shouting “POW!”

  29. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t know. My kid sister played with toy guns.
    Just because something is marketed for girls doesn’t mean their parents have to buy it. Even if the parents buy it, the girls don’t have to play with them -and many don’t.
    On the other hand, sometimes the kids just happen to like certain playthings whether there’s cultural baggage or not. Back in the 1980s when concern trolls whined about boys playing with toy guns (esp cap pistols), there was a movement to stop buying them. The boys responded by pointing fingers at one another and shouting “POW!”

  30. Rachel_in_WY
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Your naivete on this topic would probably be dispelled if you spent even a couple of hours watching children’s tv, in which they are inundated with ads telling them what girls are supposed to like and what boys are supposed to like. Then there’s the attitude of teachers and other parents at daycare and preschool, and the gendered marketing that’s directed at kids in every store you take them into. Even the grocery store or the gas station. There’s a very clear, loud, and insistent message being pumped into little girls’ brains 24 hours a day, believe me.

  31. pepper
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    you won’t even take the time to think about how our girls are socialized. i am done.

  32. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I do know about the subject, but common sense tells me that socialization only occurs to the degree that the subject allows it. In the case of kids, it happens as much as the kids’ parents allow it. But even in that case, it has nothing to do with the toys.

  33. Newbomb Turk
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I think you have a point about societal pressure, but I think it’s every bit as likely that you’re putting the cart before the horse, just as those who resent the marketing of of certain kinds of food to kids are prone to do.
    Kids would still want to eat at McDonald’s whether the company had commercials with clowns or puppets aimed at kids or not. Kids like sweets and greasy, salty food -and did so long before fast food chains came along. I think it’s more a matter of McDonald’s or Mattel (makers of Barbie) giving people what they want, rather than pressuring them into wanting it.

  34. pepper
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Listen. Read something, literally anything on the women’s issues shelf, men’s issues shelf or sociology shelf then come back and have a conversation. Your ignorance of this topic is hanging out all over the place.
    “But common sense tells me that socialization only occurs to the degree that the subject allows it.” Socialization is a lifelong process. Parents play a role in the beginning (and middle and end) but they are not who made you what you are. People outside your family have a huge impact on how you view your self and society.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialization
    Here is a snip, you don’t even need to go to a book store.
    “Gender socialization and gender roles
    Henslin (1999:76) contends that “an important part of socialization is the learning of culturally defined gender roles.” Gender socialization refers to the learning of behavior and attitudes considered appropriate for a given sex. Boys learn to be boys and girls learn to be girls. This “learning” happens by way of many different agents of socialization. The family is certainly important in reinforcing gender roles, but so are one’s friends, school, work and the mass media. Gender roles are reinforced through “countless subtle and not so subtle ways” (1999:76).”

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