Links of Great Interest 1/8/10

Wow. FeministLawProf highlights that the popular fantasy of the consenting sex work isn’t the one that johns are buying into. I’ve watched the first season of Secret Diary and wasn’t impressed. The blog and book it’s based on are much more realistic in terms of making the issues Belle faces (re: consent, being sex and sex-work positive, etc) accessible.

Some of the comments to this Jezebel article on hijab are very interesting. This article highlights some of the problems I had with the way it’s framed.

Cheap milk only happens because of cheap, undervalued labor. :(

More on the off our backs internet drama. Some good reflections on white privilege and feminism there. The whole kerblang might be a good example of narcissistic feminism.

Celie’s Revenge calls out Michael Eric Dyson for being a jerk.

Joan of Arc’s life story, narrated by Lucy Lawless.

Saw a lot of movies this break… 500 Days of Summer was cool, but at times problematic. Summer, the love interest, is quirky and cute, but may not subvert that Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. I did, however, like that she doesn’t marry Tom at the end, and that she doesn’t feel obligated to offer him an explanation. Sometimes relationships don’t work, and you learn from them, and then you find one that does, or you realize you don’t necessarily want one, and what the fuck business is that of your ex, anyways? Maybe I’m projecting. Anyways, Zombieland really delivered on the female zombie apocalypse survivors.

“Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded.” Riiiiiiiiiight. Obviously they haven’t seen this plus-sized fashion shoot.

Women activist bloggers in Yemeni are writing some powerful stuff.

Cuba, feminism, and fashion. What’s not to love?

Are you a whore, a real girl, or a human being? Think fast!

In Lee/Gendery, Bruce Lee is played by a woman.

Women’s rights advocates in Egypt are working on making abortion legal for rape survivors.

Obama’s appointed the first trans presidential appointee. Maybe this year will be better than the last.

Marion Keyes talks honestly about depression.

Should Will Smith play Captain America? Um…. GOD YES.

Nijireiki does an amazing response to Avatar in our comments.

People, I’m starting to think Avatar might be, like, problematic or something. Just a thought. Also, some of its fans might be dumb. Anyways,I wonder if Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker series would be any better? As I recall, it gets massively fail as it progresses.


  1. The Other Patrick says

    I hate websites that autoplay some music and I can’t immediately see where to stop it (the Celie’s Revenge link).

    I’m hesitant about Will Smith ever since I heard he was close to Scientology, but a black Captain America? Hell yeah, even if Smith does it :) And Lee/Gendary is an awesome idea!

    As to Avatar, I think my biggest disappointment is that even if you point out things for people, they still don’t accept it. In a role-playing forum I frequent, someone just posted an ad for new players, stating he wanted no homosexuals, and when asked about it, said that while everybody was free to do what they wanted, he just felt disgusted by homosexuals. And then people started praising him for his honesty, and how he was totally free to state his opinion and follow through on it, and all the goody two-shows who were irrationally criticizing him were overreacting. And even after a really, really long post explaining what the deal was, they refuse to see the issue.

  2. Anemone says

    I love that Avatar mash-up! I need to see FernGully now.

    As I was reading the Alvin Maker article, I found myself wondering what the reverse relationship would look like. I think it would involve an Indian going to white man’s university, mastering something, then disappearing into the white man’s world, where the accomplishment would quickly be discounted since everyone at that level has a degree or two. Or going back home and being treated like a traitor (an “apple”). I guess you can’t win when you’re in the oppressed group.

  3. Anemone says

    Oh, and yet once again Jeanne D’Arc is portrayed as being tall, thin and blonde as opposed to short, sturdy with black hair (which she was in real life). :p (This short sturdy brunette just needed to vent a little.)

    Did you see the link on the second article on hijab, to a new site called Burqa and Stilettos? Interesting imagery, there.

    And now to watch more mashups!

  4. says

    You know, my MAIN long-term objection to prostitution has to do with the attitudes it promotes among johns. Because even if you eliminated the abuses that force people into it and make them expendable, even if you made it a perfectly decent form of employment for those who like it, the whole system is based on the idea that men can rent women’s bodies out to one another.

    I’m convinced the whole concept of civilization is based on the idea that if you don’t keep men sexually satisfied, they get Sexshual Frustration! and then they go all Psychotic! and go on murder sprees and start wars and stuff. And to force the bitchez to put out so we can avoid this problem, for ages we had two options for a woman to earn her keep: marriage or whoring, both of which boiled down to “making my body useful to men with no consideration for myself as an autonomous being.” Of course, this logic fails at every turn: serial killers prey on prostitutes instead of screwing them and feeling better, married men engage in the most depraved abuses of wives *and* children, etc. But we continue blaming women and accepting the idea that it’s THEIR fault, and if only they were MORE sexually available, or would at least shut the fuck up when we FORCE them to be more sexually available, everything would be fine. Utopia achieved!

    I have issues with marriage as an institution* for the same reason – this whole system promotes the idea that women must service men or civilization cannot be achieved, because men must not be responsible for their own actions.

    *Not your marriage or any other individual marriage, dear reader – I just have a problem with the idea that marriage should be promoted as a social norm to which all healthy-minded individuals aspire and only weird, damaged misfits avoid.

    I’m so offended to discover the “fatties” quote was actually FROM the website, and not your facetious summary of what they were saying! I understand that if you sign up for a dating site *knowing* people are going to vote on whether you are superficially attractive enough to stay, you’re subjecting yourself to it and that’s your problem. But the founder’s response should have been roughly what I just said. His remark renders him unworthy of consideration by his fellow humans.

  5. Charles RB says

    The creepiest thing about the is that the move was apparently _prompted by the members_, not the company. That’s a pretty vicious site right there.

    • Louche says

      Yeah. Talk about “ew.” The “About Us” page on is like, “we’re not PC, we’re just honest. Oh, and democratic. And everything attractive, which incidentally doesn’t include PC.” Because, like, voting on whether outsiders can become citizens of the Nation of Beautiful People is totally power to the people. Wait, which people? Only the ones who are already in power, of course.

  6. says

    FWIW, farley’s research has been long criticized for severe methodological flaws, lack of research transparency, and hypothesis bias. a substantial portion of her research funding comes from anti-prostitution groups, as well.

  7. Anemone says

    AJ, where can we find these critiques? I’m aware of a male sociologist who is in favour of brothels who has critiqued Farley, because she has rebutted him (can’t remember his name), but other than that I haven’t seen anything detailed.

  8. Charles RB says

    A study of just 103 men does seem a bit low for a research study, so allegations wouldn’t surprise me. But other studies are cited as well, so it’s not just Farley pointing to this.

  9. Anemone says

    Actually, I think 103 is plenty if it’s representative. We were told in stats class to try and get 20-30 subjects for our statistical tests to be accurate. You only need more when you’re trying to get a representative sample of a small group inside the big one, like if you were looking for sexual orientation as a subgroup, or if only a few people felt one way. With this group the trend split about 50:50.

    Has this come up before? It sounds vaguely familiar.

  10. Charles RB says

    The site once mentioned a Canadian journalist who had researched johns and was reporting the same type of thing, you might be thinking of him.

  11. Anemone says

    The opponent Farley cites is Weitzer (see her article prostitution harms women even if indoors). The Canadian journalist is Victor Malarek and he tends to cite Farley and has co-written an article with her. I’m just wondering who else there is besides Weitzer (and some prostitutes) who critiques her research.

  12. Anemone says

    Charles, I did get confused and think you meant Malarek criticized Farley, since that’s what it sounded like in context. I was waiting to hear who else critiqued her besides Weitzer.

    When I said it sounded familiar, I meant talking about sample size. I’m sure it’s come up here before, but I have no idea which thread it would have been on. Doesn’t matter if no one else remembers, either.

  13. says

    Oh, I remember. It was in the discussion (polite term for it?) about the scientist who, if the press was accurate, talked to something like 160 people about whether sex was more fulfilling with or without a condom. It was another link post – I have no idea which one. I did criticize the sample size (if I can dig up 160 people who agree they’re much happier celibate, then may we conclude sex makes people unhappy?), but that was really the least of my problems with that one.

    That was the thread where that guy arguing against me tried to explain to the poor confused little me how stupid I was and how stupid I was making women look for not understanding that when a scientist goes looking for evidence that sex is more fun without a condom, I must not question whether science is really focusing on the most important issues facing humanity. Of course it is, because menz with lots of degrees is more smarterer than little ol’ me. 😉

  14. Scarlett says

    Oooh, I used to love Fern Gully. I was under the impression it was an Australian prooduction, though. (Given it has Tim Curry, Christian Slater and Robin Williams in the cast, maybe not though.) Having seen the mash-up, I do remember that it had a lot of the same themes as Avatar – guy goes into a foreign environment to exploit it for mankind, gets to know the locals, realises how wrong mankind is to go exploiting another people’s turf. Except in FG he goes back to his own kind having learnt his lesson to try and educate people not to mess with other people’s stuff.

    I think it was that the evil sprit guy was trapped in what I remember being/looking like a boab tree that makes me think it was Australian. Man, I am so going to try and find it now :p

  15. Patrick says

    Regarding the idea of casting Smith as Captain America: if they decide that the Marvel Movieverse’s Captain America is Isaiah Bradley (the hero of Truth: Red, White, and Black), then I’m all for it, but not if Smith is playing Steve Rogers.

    The article’s writer strikes me as someone who never really took an interest in Captain America, as I see the same attitude from those who never really took interest in Superman. Steve Rogers has a very distinct personality involving a great deal of self-reflection and moral questioning, which is why he’s hung up the shield several times and led an anti-registration resistance in Civil War. (As terrible as Civil War was, Marvel at least recognized that there was no way in hell Rogers would act to enforce a blatantly unconstitutional law.)

    Quite simply, I can see Will Smith in the costume. I can’t see him as Steve Rogers.

  16. Charles RB says

    re Fern Gully: it is Australian. Non-Aussies are in the cast presumably to make more $$$$$s (or $$$s in US dollars).

    re Captain America: I’m going to back Patrick on this. Also, because I’m petty, I’ll point out the article writer is wrong: Truth _wasn’t_ an alternate reality story, it was in continuity.

  17. SunlessNick says

    Quite simply, I can see Will Smith in the costume. I can’t see him as Steve Rogers.

    Christopher Judge?

  18. Scarlett says

    Thanks, Charles. I should have wiki’d it when I IMDB’d in :p Man, I must have seen Fern Gully a hundred times as a kid, because I was thinking about it today and detailed chunks of it were coming back even if though haven’t seen it in over ten years. I meant to get it out ‘cos from memory it has similar themes to Avatar but done better, except my feet were aching and the thought of walking the extra fifty meters to Video Ezy made me want to cry. I’ll do it on Monday :)

  19. says

    anemone – farley’s wiki page has several links to opposing views (and criticisms of farley in general) beyond weitzer. and weitzer’s critique of farley’s methodology here (pdf) is quite thorough and well-thought-out. (at least, to this former public health researcher.)

  20. Anemone says

    AJ, the first link leads to a critique of Farley’s book on prostitution in Nevada, which I can’t comment on because I haven’t read it. I’m aware Farley used to be a counselling psychologist (still is?), and took up research to help her understand what she was seeing in her clients. Her tone is more intense than more traditional academic researchers, and I can see how that would put people off. I had the same problem with my research on film content.

    I’m also aware that Farley, as a psychologist, always has the Milgram experiments, the Stanford prison experiment, and Stockholm Syndrome (etc.) in mind as she interviews people, so this is going to affect how much she takes what they say at face value. The 9 countries study used a previously established questionnaire on PTSD to establish an objective measure of how well subjects were doing. That’s peer-reviewed, and it’s damning.

    As a former minor-trafficked-into-prostitution, I tend to side with the abolitionists, because I think it is better to protect the vulnerable than to allow the ones who are safe to earn a living in this way. (Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any practical way to do both. Prostitution indoors without pimps is perfectly legal where I am, and that doesn’t seem to help prevent violence or trafficking.) My experience with sex workers who are against abolition is that they often seen to lack empathy for trafficked people – but those are the ones who show up on forums. I know others are torn. I think human rights outweigh freedom in this case. And because it’s a human rights issue, public health (STIs, etc.) is secondary, unless public health researchers also address psychological health and abuse issues?

    I won’t read Weitzer’s paper right now because he’s too much of a trigger for me. But he doesn’t seem to care about what happens to people like me, from what I’ve already read of him.

    I’d like to see critiques of Farley by psychologists, instead of just sociologists and sex workers.

  21. Charles RB says

    “My experience with sex workers who are against abolition is that they often seen to lack empathy for trafficked people”

    I did once see a blog by a sex worker that seemed to imply a lot of the worst bits of trafficking were blown up and don’t really happen to a lot of victims. That left me very suspicious.

  22. Anemone says

    AJ, I read Weitzer, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s true, and a lot of people acknowledge this, that it’s hard to get a representative sample. No one really knows how many prostitutes are voluntary and how many are trafficked. So?

    I really liked the link Maria posted because that kind of research shifts the focus onto the demand.

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