Links from the Mind of Genevieve 11-22-08

Hey people, and welcome to my roundup.  These are some of the cool links I found this week…enjoy!

First off, from The F-Word…a display of one of my least favorite things to see: sexist rape-celebrating t-shirts.

From Feministing, an expose of how sexist Jean-Claude Van Damme acted towards a female interviewer.

From the Rachel in WY at the Feministing Community Blog, a fuck-you to the princess fad.

From Alas, a Blog, a video from The Onion about the Nice Guy complex.

From Cruella-Blog, a discussion of how annoying Facebook weight-loss ads are–and how to get rid of them (though the solution is rather annoying).

Tamaura Lomax at RH Reality Check discusses the historical and societal implications behind the sexualization of Michelle Obama.

Renee at Womanist Musings discusses how Prince’s “finding God” apparently consisted of finding a way to criticize gay people.

Mz Bitca of What a Crazy Random Happenstance writes about Tyra Banks’ offering of gender reassignment surgery to Isis King, the transgendered contestant on America’s Next Top Model.

Kate Harding of Shapely Prose discusses a fat-mocking advertisement.

Over at my own place, UneFemmePlusCourageuse, my thoughts on the world of modern comedy.

And just for fun, from Pajiba, the five most obnoxious literary fads.

Comments

  1. Ide Cyan says

    Common denominator of four of the five most obnoxious literary fads in the list list to which you linked: they’re all books or series of books written or created by women. Only the Da Vinci Code is by a man.

  2. says

    This is quite a fascinating batch!

    On the princess one, one thing that’s cool for the author is that at least her own daughter seems interested in bucking the social pressure and finding her own interests. I find the princess trend disturbing for the reasons she cites, but it’s easier to encourage more interesting/empowering storylines if your daughter herself is on board with you.

    I like the way the author of the Michelle Obama article explores a range of conflicting interpretations. I hadn’t seen articles about her “back”, but I have seen a bunch of new articles comparing Michelle Obama to Jackie Kennedy. That also is a confusing mixture of positive and negative for a lawyer like Michelle Obama. First Lady must be such a weird role to have to play — good luck to her!

    For the “nice guy” video, I didn’t get the impression that it was promoting the idea that beautiful women should date him (instead of jerks) because he’s so “nice” or that he was wronged by them or anything like that. Quite the contrary, it seemed to be saying that — since he’s not attractive and only offers conversation about video games — he’ll be perpetually disappointed if he only goes after women who look like models. Unlike those horrifying pro-rape “joke” t-shirts, I didn’t see the “nice guy” video as having that negative a message…

  3. Charles RB says

    I think I was happier being ignorant of the T-shirt’s existence. Jesus wept…

    Who’s supposed to be the audience for these? Where are they planning to go with them on? Because if it’s anywhere where they might want to pull, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Or, y’know, if they go anywhere where they might encounter someone who was raped. Which is anywhere.

  4. DNi says

    You know, as I was reading your article on modern comedy, I couldn’t help but think of that Jeff Dunham special that aired on Comedy Central the other week. It made me laugh a couple of times; he had this dummy that was a skeleton talk about how it thought it had scoliosis — really funny.

    However, the skeleton dummy in question is supposed to be a ghost of a radical Islamic terrorist. It was pretty damned appalling. He even went so far as to refer to the turban it was wearing as the “towel on [its] head”.

  5. Genevieve Dusquesne says

    DNi–
    It was actually an earlier Jeff Dunham special that made me start thinking about modern comedy in the first place. I happened to view it the same week I received the latest issue of Bitch in the mail, and the two converged in on each other and created an epiphany.

    And yeah, Dunham seems to have zero respect for Middle Eastern people. In the earlier special he was mocking suicide bombers with a fake-Indian accent. You’re not even targeting the right people, dumbass. He also has a tendency to ‘let’ some of his dummies say the most outrageous things, and then stand to the side with an idiotic grin on his face as if to say, “ain’t they just the cutest things ever?”

    Yeah. Really don’t like the dude. Not as if that can’t be applied to quite a lot of comedians, though.

  6. Genevieve Dusquesne says

    Also, Ide Cyan–
    I didn’t notice it when reading the original article. Personally, I disagree about Harry Potter being so annoying, and I disagree with the idea that kids who read Harry Potter don’t read other books as well–I was in middle school when some of the earlier books came out, and I watched classmates who had previously not read for fun branch out into other books between books 4 and 5. Also, the most male-centric of these fads is the one I find most annoying–The Da Vinci Code. (Particularly since most of the women I know who read chick lit know it’s fluff and don’t try to justify its literary merits; whereas when The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons became popular, the boys who loved them had to shove their literary merit down everyones’ throats. (One of my classmates even went so far as to tell me that one of Dan Brown’s other books, Digital Fortress, must be an accurate description of life in the NSA after I mentioned that my NSA agent cousin had told me it really wasn’t.)

    This kind of thing probably merits more discussion, though…

  7. MaggieCat says

    I thought there was a rule that you couldn’t have a list of annoying book trends without including one of or both Dean Koontz and Robin Cook. Apparently I was misinformed. Not that their books are entirely bad (not Cook’s anyway), but A: too many of them and B: the copycats who really up it to ‘too damn many to the power of infinity’.

    The Princess issue: This is something that really went right over my head for a long time. When it was just the individual characters like Ariel, Belle, et cetera being pushed it seemed fairly harmless but at some point in the ’90s when they started pushing the whole princess line it took on a weird cult like vibe to me. There’s a difference between liking individual characters and buying all princesses whole cloth because they are princesses.

    Maybe I missed it because I genuinely loved some of those characters when I was younger, while my Barbie had dinosaurs living in her Dream House. I think that’s what’s the most troubling to me: it’s not the princesses per se — there’s nothing wrong with occasionally wanting to twirl around in a sparkly dress or wear a tiara to dinner (not that I did that … very often) , and there are some good qualities to them in moderation — it’s the pretty sparkly princesses to the exclusion of everything else.

    Also, the very first princess that I ever followed whole-heartedly was the Princess of Power, which led to my running around for 4 or 5 years wielding a big freaking sword my dad made me. (My mother made him dull the point before I could have it. Apparently she “wanted [me] to grow up with both eyes. And it was the least we could do for the cat.” Darn parents, unintentionally undermining their child’s quest to conquer the neighborhood and rule with an iron fist.) So the princess and the ass-kicking not only don’t seem coded as mutually exclusive, but as an excellent combination.

    (And yes, I’m going to keep asking where this generation’s She-Ra is until I get an answer, damn it. Sparkly? Check. Tiara? Check. Flying talking unicorn? Check. Swords and beating up multiple opponents bigger than her? CHECK.)

  8. SunlessNick says

    Also, the most male-centric of these fads is the one I find most annoying–The Da Vinci Code. …the boys who loved them had to shove their literary merit down everyones’ throats.

    Hm, my views on Dan Brown pretty dim. The only thing the Da Vinci Code has going for it is that it did spark a resurgence of the secret history genre, which I do quite like.

  9. gategrrl says

    Ide Cyan, thank you for pointing out that open letter. I was just a kid during that part of the era, but I remember sexism as it was on my level of SF/F love.

  10. sbg says

    However, the skeleton dummy in question is supposed to be a ghost of a radical Islamic terrorist. It was pretty damned appalling. He even went so far as to refer to the turban it was wearing as the “towel on [its] head”.

    Someone sent me a YouTube link to this particular act, stating how fricking hilarious it was. As I watched it, I could hardly believe that 1) anyone would think it funny and 2) anyone would think I would think it funny. I was so offended I think it took me two weeks to speak to the person who sent it to me.

  11. sbg says

    Maybe I missed it because I genuinely loved some of those characters when I was younger, while my Barbie had dinosaurs living in her Dream House.

    Playtime with Barbie in my house ultimately always ended up in a bloodbath. No kidding. Most of the doll collection had blood (ketchup) stains all over.

    LOL. We were kinda sick kids, I guess.

  12. MaggieCat says

    Playtime with Barbie in my house ultimately always ended up in a bloodbath. No kidding. Most of the doll collection had blood (ketchup) stains all over.

    I was always getting yelled at for the disappearance of tissues/paper towels/etc in order to make paper mache casts for mine. I have no memory of how they were always breaking so many bones, but apparently ‘Barbie’ is a higher risk occupation than one would think at first glance. Heh.

    As I watched it, I could hardly believe that 1) anyone would think it funny and 2) anyone would think I would think it funny. I was so offended I think it took me two weeks to speak to the person who sent it to me.

    I still can’t help but look at the person who was under the impression that I would like the Borat movie funny. (I didn’t see it, but unless the promotion was seriously misrepresenting the material I can say fairly confidently that there is no way that would go well.)

    Comedy is one of those things that is so subjective (despite all predictions, I can’t stand either the UK or US versions of The Office which even I find kind of hard to believe) that even without the issue of truly offensive material it’s iffy to recommend it.

    But once you add in the privilege/obliviousness of not even understanding why someone else is offended it’s just a minefield. What people find funny and especially why they find it funny is a huge tipoff to other views they may hold but not admit to. I can only think of two or three comedians I would recommend without a list of qualifiers because so many people I once liked eventually crossed over to being trite and offensive.

  13. Babydraco says

    Ide Cyan, you’re right. I was wondering what a post by a man making fun of books he largely hasn’t read had to do with feminism but then I realized…oh…all these books except one are by women and all of them are known for having large female fanbases.

    Even “Da Vinci Code”- lots of women do think it’s badly written but they identify with the sentiments behind it (God doesn’t hate girls and think they’re dirty after all!) and a lot of religious men ridicule it based on those very sentiments, like ” sigh, here we go again, having to correct all those guillible, over emotional women who have fallen for this charlatan and his claims that Jesus would ever have committed such a disgusting act as having sex with his own wife.”

  14. gategrrl says

    I just th0ught it was hard to *get* through! How many people actually *read* through the entire book? C’mon-without peeking?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.