Links of Great Interest 2/12/10

Those grannies are awesome… but possibly not as awesome as an octopus.

OMG JOHN MAYER WHY DO YOU SUCK??? Even US magazine questions your judgment. Celie’s Revenge points out that black women getting fucked by white men isn’t in and of itself a sign of an anti-racist agenda.

Looks like Rushdie was plain old wrong.

Good god. I’m glad Amy’s lawyers are so agressive about demonstrating that consuming child porn revictimizes the child.

Heh, some of our trolls/spam comments are really all about the MANSPLAINING.

Wench sounds like a great book.

Belle du Jour offers some advice.

I think this article is pointing out some good-ally-FAIL rhetoric.

Yay! A black women’s wiki for SF/F!

Anders Loves Maria is FINALLY OVER omg. Here’s the first strip. Seriously, it became the strip I loved to hate, with its total lack of any sympathetic female characters and constant love-fest for Anders (a douche-bag) and Bjorn (who I think hooked up with Maria back when she was in HS and he was already a fully legal adult).

THIS is what a feminist poet looks like.

Feminism, poetry, and body love!

I realized my poetry in praise of women’s bodies was too vague, too non-specific. I spent too much time decoding the love of fat women in other people’s poetry. Adrienne Rich referring to her lover’s “generous thighs;” Neruda calling his wife “luna caliente”—translation: “hot moon,” i.e., a woman round as the moon and on fire within. I had been writing in the same poetic code when I wanted was to scream, “Fat girls are delicious!” in a way that those in the know could throw up their arms and shout: “Testify, sister!” and unbelievers could shake their heads slowly, waking from a hazy dream of thinness and deprivation.

All I’m saying is that I am OBSESSED with Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift’s songs are STUPID. One of our readers totally knows this and suggested we add:

to our list of links. Love it!


  1. The Other Patrick says

    I am *so* torn about Lady Gaga. Is she a genius or just a hollow popstar who happens to hit the right tone? I don’t like her music and yet I am fascinated by it. And I love not knowing what to think about her, i.e. she doesn’t seem to come pre-package by media hype as “New Sweetheart” or “Dirty Girl” or whatever.

    As for the burqa/niqab thing, I’m not sure about the article. I mean, it’s a complicated issue. On the one hand, I don’t want to regulate what people can or should wear – and that’s the winning argument –, but on the other hand, some proponents of a ban make it sound as if one supported wife abuse and women’s oppression if one allowed burqas or niqabs to be worn. And I personally know of women who are or were forced to go out veiled, and I think the reason for that clothing (which is, to my knowledge, not part of the Koran) is ridiculously stupid (and patriarchical). And yes, talking to people who have their whole face covered makes me queasy, because I take a lot of cues about others from their facial expressions – and because such a veil always implies possible oppression.

  2. Anemone says

    The French approach to this burqa thing really bothers me, because it comes across as so patronizing. They’ve already banned modest muslim bathing attire at swimming pools. (Note: I have no idea of the situation here in Canada. Are we just as bad?) Personally, I like it better when people cover up, and also I tend to need to cover up myself in the sun because of my skin, so I don’t like it when there’s pressure not to. I can understand concern about women being oppressed, and seeing the burqa as a symbol of this. I liked that the article pointed out that the burqa itself is not the problem. I know there are women who seek out modest clothing because they like it. There was a thread on where to find this sort of clothing on an autism forum I was on a while back. And the Iranian friend I had who was scornful of women who wore traditional Islamic dress was scornful, not concerned about them. Would people talk about this the same way if the subject were high heels?

    I’m a feminist and I like Taylor Swift’s music. I also like Lady Gaga’s music. I don’t watch the videos and don’t care about them. It really bugs me when feminists try to speak for all of us when they talk about what 15-year-olds ought to care about. I didn’t think about sex back then. I certainly didn’t want it. All I cared about was whether people would like me or not. It bugs me when feminists tar girlie girls and women as inferior. This is how feminism got a bad name. (Well, one way. There was slots of slurring from the opposition, too.)

  3. sbg says

    I am *so* torn about Lady Gaga. Is she a genius or just a hollow popstar who happens to hit the right tone?

    Ironically, I could see me really, really like Gaga if only she’d give up the stupid costumes and “edgy” vids. I know, I know. That’s what makes her, her. Unfortunately, to me it comes off as trying too hard and, well, she’s not really groundbreaking.

  4. says

    I have read some interesting critiques of Taylor Swift, but I have not been happy with the one linked here. It’s filled with a lot of random asides that are basically teen girls: so stupid! and silly!.

    For example:

    “Listen up; if I ever get my life together enough to reproduce other life forms, they will not be joining Taylor Nation – they will be brave, creative, inventive…..” [Because young women who like Taylor Swift are, of course, not brave, creative, or inventive.]

    “Swift’s songwriting is as thematically ambitious as a 15-year-old’s LiveJournal, which is to say, like a 15-year-old’s LiveJournal, it never strives for thematic weight or challenges ideas not already covered by Sweet Valley High or The Children’s Illustrated Bible.”

    Because 15 year olds both a) write stupid shit, hey! and b) have a monopoly on writing stupid shit! Just ask everyone who works in the publishing industry. All the bad stuff comes from teenagers!!!! /snark

    “Mothers love this package, and teenage girls are hypnotized by her simple songs & pretty hair & propensity for crying on her instruments.”

    Gosh, those teen girls who like Taylor Swift sure are stupid, aren’t they?


    There are ways of critiquing Taylor Swift without lashing out at teen girls.

    Not to mention I have a hard time with the idea that Lady Gaga is a freak based on how she likes to dress. I do not believe for a moment that Lady Gaga could get away with anything she does in her videos if she were not a conventionally attractive blonde white woman. I think if she attempted to do exactly the same thing, with exactly the same skills, but looking differently, she would be held up for ridicule, or only talked about in terms of how “brave” she is.

  5. napthia9 says

    Oh! Anders loves Maria! I’d be interested in your further thoughts on that, because there are definitely weird gender things going on there, but I’m not sure I agree that the male characters were treated more sympathetically than the female characters were. (Although they certainly didn’t face as many negative consequences to their problems!)

    • Maria says

      In AlM I think the male characters are presented as sympathetic and redeemable, and the female char. are all static, crazy girls driven by their emotions. In that way, the ending is perfect. Batty Tina kills herself, Mommy Maria dies, and little Maria has 3 dads — Anders, who cheated on her mother, was a pedophile (b/c how old was L’il Shit?), and hit the friend of the girl who tried to intervene when his advances to her friend got to far; Bjorn, who deliberately damaged Maria’s art application to college and had sex with her when she was a teen; and Maria’s brother, who began a sexual relationship with their foster sister Tina and blamed Tina when it went sour. Okay. Fine. That’s great. They get to live, when all the major female characters die. Fine.

      But then, what REALLY pisses me off, is that the characters with unresolved storylines are generally female. Like, the mom/daughter pairing where both lusted after Anders? Maria’s other, earlier pregnancy? WTF is up with Anders’ mom? Ish like that.

      Plus, in the course of over a 3 yr strip, you couldn’t pass the damn Bechdel test? WTF is that about?

  6. meerkat says

    Strange that the edenfantasys link is all about how sexy (larger) bellies are and yet only has pictures of acceptably thin women (one with the article, one ad at the bottom, one ad at the top but it doesn’t show much below the neck; the ads might be randomized so maybe they don’t count).

    • Maria says

      No, I think there’s a gap between what it’s approvaable to say (curves/roundness is sexy) and what it’s acceptable to WANT (curves, round bodies). I mean, if you want to see porn featuring BBW or BBM, it’s considered borderline kinky.

  7. meerkat says

    Huh? The photo of the woman’s belly with the fan counts as porn so the model can’t be fat or it would be kinky porn? I think I am missing your point.

    • Maria says


      Uh, no, what I said was that pics of BBW and BBM count as kinky/deviant porn, meaning that they’re not “normal” desires. That’s where the gap between discourse (what people say they want) and material culture (the evidence or traces of what they want).

      What I am saying is that if, in order to see BBW or BBM in porn on a site like XTube, RedTube, YouPorn, or Red Light Center, you have to specifically select it (versus having it be part of the normal, default selection), it’s seen as a deviant desire.

  8. Jen says

    yeah I think Taylor Swift is alright, I wouldn’t listen to her music but I’ve seen her in interview and she’s only 18 or something, just a sweet and down to earth girl as far as I can tell. maybe she’ll get better when she matures but her lyrical content is not any more offensive than most pop music.

    • Maria says

      Hey Jen! The link is actually more focused on Swift the pop phenomenon vs. Swift the sweet girl. Her lyrics aren’t more offensive, true, but not all pop sweeps a variety of awards shows, which the author was highlighting as troubling.

  9. Charles RB says

    Two I found on the Guardian: feature on genital mutilation and a consultant gynaecologist who does FGM reversals

    And there’s University College London study on juries – – which reports: “The report also found that despite a perceived low conviction rate in rape cases, defendants are more likely to be found guilty of the offence than for some other serious charges. In the cases observed, 55% of defendants were convicted of rape, compared to 47% of attempted murder, 48% of grievous bodily harm and 48% of manslaughter.” Which was pretty surprising.

  10. says

    I don’t know enough about racial politics in any country but the US to comment, but if rape convictions beat attempted murder/aggravated assault (our equivalent to GBH, I think) over here, I would expect to find that most of the convicted were men of color accused by white women. That wouldn’t shock me.

  11. Charles RB says

    Well, that’s the other thing: “There is no evidence that juries are more likely to convict a black or Asian defendant than a white one, it found. Researchers studied verdicts at Winchester and Nottingham courts, where juries are frequently made up of entirely white jurors, and concluded that race had no impact on verdicts. Rates of conviction vary substantially according to offence, with some of the most serious offences such as manslaughter having the lowest conviction rates.”

    Now it’s possible that the research has missed things, and of course jury decision wouldn’t stop non-white men being sent to court more than white men. But it’s interesting result: racism and victim-blaming over rape, which do exist, aren’t significantly affecting the verdicts. Severity of the case (and sentencing) and lack of direct evidence, on the other hand, have an impact. (Direct evidence is not that surprising: there’s less room for doubt)

  12. says

    The bit you quoted is incredibly vague. They don’t explain at all how they looked at the numbers to conclude that juries are no more likely to convict men of color than white men. The next sentence suggests they looked at the possibility of WHITE jurors being more likely to convict men of color, but that’s not necessary to my premise: women jurors are more likely to vote Not Guilty because they need to oppress the victim to feel like “It can’t happen to me.” I’ve heard that jurors of color are often harder on accused people of color than white jurors, perhaps also for the purpose of distancing themselves from the accused with whom they could be lumped in, demographically?

    It IS an interesting result if it’s accurate, but this feels like the sort of study where it’s a simple breakdown of stats, so I’d like to see better explanations of how they broke them down before accepting it as true.

    And I don’t doubt that one of the biggest hurdles to rape convictions is the issue of there often being no physiological or evidenciary way to distinguish sexual assault from consensual sex.

  13. Charles RB says

    Found out the report itself was online – according to the appendix (“BME” shorthand for “black and ethnic minority”):

    “This analysis is in three stages. Section A5.1 examined whether juries at different courts tend to be more or less likely to find BME defendants guilty compared to White defendants. The A5.1 model looks at the likelihood of guilty jury verdicts versus not guilty jury verdicts on the basis of offence type (Blackstone’s), defendant ethnicity and court. Part of this analysis was then used to allow difference between jury verdicts for White and BME defendants (from the model) to be compared to BME representation in the court catchment area population (A5.2 and A5.3).”

    Professor Thomas is, however, focusing on white juries on non-white defendants (as studies on that all focused on US juries and not UK* ones). That said, both all-white and mixed juries were used in case simulations for the study: a male on trial for actual bodily harm, with the defendant & victim’s races being different for different juries. Each jury was asked whether they thought the defendant would re-offend, and the results turned out to be uniform (it wasn’t seen as likely) despite the race of the juries, the defendant, or the victim.

    Assuming Thomas didn’t make a basic error somewhere and/or had bias (the Ministry of Justice did facilitate the study), that indicates a whopping big difference between this country’s juries and the US – bigger than I’d expected.

    * Actually, I was wrong initially – this is just a study on English and Welsh juries, not the UK as a whole. Scotland and Northern Ireland could be different.

  14. says

    that indicates a whopping big difference between this country’s juries and the US – bigger than I’d expected.

    That may well be. From what you’ve dug up now, the methodology seems sound enough. There are other questions I would like to have seen posed – i.e., what was the race of the accused? But as far as it goes, it sounds like a decent study.

    I really don’t know enough about race politics in the UK to speak intelligently on them, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a big difference between our nations. This discussion on false rape convictions in the US links to some studies:

    In summary, those studies find that most falsely convicted men are black, not the Nice White Boys TV assures us are always gettin’ accused by Angry Lying Bitches. From this, I’ve begun to suspect: what if it’s actually quite easy to convict a black man because we’re conditioned to believe they’re all violent beasts, but it’s much more difficult to convict what appears to be a Nice, Tidy White Guy because we’re conditioned to think they don’t go around doing beastly things? (Also, the quality of an affordable lawyer comes into play, of course.) That could balance out to a decent conviction rate (I don’t know what our conviction rate is – I’ve never seen clear numbers on that), but an abysmally unsatisfying state of affairs all the same.

  15. Charles RB says

    re race of accused, it cycled between white, black, and Asian (meaning Indian, Pakistan etc). On racial politics on general, I did assume we weren’t as bad as the United States – whole lot of evidence and anecdotes point to biiiig problems there, like the studies you mention – but I didn’t think the gulf was that massive. We do have our own racial problems, after all.

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