kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
SO. GROSS.

sexism, stunt violence that echoes actual violence, stunning lack of self-awareness, stupid pregnancy tricks, probably some other stuff too )

Okay, seriously, I have so much work to do tonight, but I was listening to that as I did the dishes and I really, really had to vent before I could possibly concentrate.
kate_nepveu: Text: "Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it." (feminism)

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here's the full booklet of Tests for Husbands and Wives on Flickr.

  • A husband who "Publicly . . . regrets having married" is only -1 (while "Helps wife with dishes, caring for children, scrubbing" is only +1).
  • Husbands using profanity is -1, while wives using it is -5; ditto "suspicious and jealous." Husbands have to get drunk for -5, while wives only have to drink; husbands have to be addicted to gambling for -1, while wives who simply gamble get -5.
  • Husbands carrying adequate insurance get +5. Does this mean life insurance?
  • "Writes on tablecloth with pencil"?
  • Huh. "Attends church" is +10 for husbands; maybe they go to Saturday evening services or late Sunday morning services, so the dutiful wives can still let them sleep in?
  • Finally, I am . . . not really sure what to make of the asymmetry in points WRT sex (husbands giving their wives orgasms = +20; wives who "react[] with pleasure and delight" to sex = +10). Or perhaps I just don't want to think about it that much.

By my quick tally, I am a Failure as a wife, but Chad and I both make Superior husbands. ([livejournal.com profile] telophase has said she's turning this into an Internet quiz, for those who'd rather not tally up their scores on paper.)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Still lots of discussion going on; this is just an attempt to highlight a few different aspects.

[livejournal.com profile] novapsyche describes why she took part and how she reacted to the original post.

[livejournal.com profile] synecdochic on "sex-positive", "getting-laid-positive," performative sexuality, and bystander consent.

[livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens on overlooked racial aspects of the "project" and subsequent discussions.

[livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur proposes the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program. One place for buttons and T-shirts is CafePress. Practical tips from kathryn_ironic in comments and shaysdays in a separate post.

And on a lighter note, [livejournal.com profile] nineveh_uk imagines the whole idea as a lost flashback from Strong Poison.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Trying to highlight interesting comments that I've seen, without being too repetitive of things people have already said in comments to my prior post (at least as they stood a few hours ago, before I went off to an appointment):

[livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink has links to good comments in the original post; in comments to her post, [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong succintly articulates the privilege behind the original post, and [livejournal.com profile] giandujakiss points out the broader context about what men and women are taught to want.

Also in [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink's comments, [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer notes the problems with the originators' choice of name, and says, "I suggest everyone start calling it the Public Domain Boobs Project. Mockery being a most excellent criticism."

In a comment to [livejournal.com profile] the_red_shoes's post, [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks points out not only the threat of the question but the way that people opposing it are being told they're unworthy of being heard.

[livejournal.com profile] springheel_jack sets out how this reinforcement of sexism stems from the basic libertarian fallacy.

[livejournal.com profile] hahathor proposes The Open-Source Knuckle Sandwich Project.

ETA 2: I also like the way [livejournal.com profile] misia phrases her Open Source Swift Kick to the Balls Project.

Finally for now, [livejournal.com profile] theferrett has edited his original post to say that people shouldn't do this and that the Open-Source Boob Project is dead. I have issues with the phrasing of his edit, but am glad of the practical statements in it.

ETA: on a tangent, [livejournal.com profile] veejane has smart comments about safety at cons. And now I'm really done for a while, possibly the night, honest.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

If you are a stranger, especially a man, perhaps especially in a group of other strangers who are men, and you come up to me and say, "You're very beautiful. I'd like to touch your breasts. Would you mind if I did?":

You will put me in fear.

Because you could be someone who will go away quietly if I say no (which I will). You could be the exiled gay prince of Farlandia, cursed to wander this Earth looking for the key to his return that can only be revealed by touching the breast of a willing stranger, and who isn't enjoying this at all. You could, in short, not be a danger to me.

But how am I supposed to know that?

How am I supposed to distinguish you from the person who says he's really just whatever, but is actually going to put emotional pressure on me, or make a scene, or stalk me, or rape me?

I can't. Because that would require a level of discernment and of trust that is not possible, by definition, in my dealings with a stranger.

And therefore, if you ask to touch my breasts, you will frighten me.

If your goal is actually to make a better world, I suggest that you use a method that doesn't involve putting women in fear.

(Also, I find it hard to believe you can create "the kind of world where [people can] say, 'Wow, I'd like to touch your breasts,' and people would understand that it's not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful," by going up to women, touching their breasts, and then going away. Among many, many other problems that are noted in the comments to the original. But that's secondary to my main point here.)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

My brother got married this weekend; I wish him all the best in his new family. Other bits about the weekend:

  • We learned that Chad's new car does very well in the snow, even if other drivers don't.
  • It's been a long time since I've spent that much time in a facility that permits smoking (which reminds me, our jackets are still in the dryer).
  • And I still really hate it when a man remarks on my physical attractiveness to Chad, while I am standing right there.

    (Chad has the perfect response, which is to say, "And she's smarter than me, too." Unfortunately, it tends to go completely over the heads of the idiots making the comment; also, it would work better if I could suppress my ritual denial of the statement, since I don't believe it's true, even though Chad insists on it regularly. In this case, though, I don't mind that he says it.)

In other non-news, everyone loves our dog Emmy. Background: we'd wondered for some time if the cleaning people let her out of her crate while they were here, because we'd sometimes find her crate only partly latched after. Sometime last month, Chad came home and found one of the regular cleaning people still here, so he asked. The guy said yes, sometime he let the dog out; she'd lie down outside the upstairs bathroom and keep him company while he cleaned. Which is very cute.

Anyway, this week Chad came home and found a bone in the dog's crate. A new bone, one we hadn't given her. While we did have a couple bones of this type in the kitchen, I am reasonably sure that the cleaner didn't take one of those: which means that one of the cleaning people went out and bought our dog a bone as a present. She is so good that near-strangers buy her stuff!

In literary news, Chad and I had this conversation over dinner:

KATE: . . . and I left Jack and Stephen in a very dangerous situation in my audiobook, but since it's only halfway through the book, I'm pretty sure they don't die.

CHAD: And also since it's book, what, thirteen of twenty?

KATE: Well, yeah.

CHAD: Unless they spend the rest of the series as zombies. Which might explain their popularity with sf fans.

Which is an AU challenge if I ever heard one (see also: "Francis Crawford of Lymond, the (Zombie) Master of Culter" (spoilers for Dorothy Dunnett's The Game of Kings)).

Finally, in my universe there was only the Puppy Bowl today and no other Bowl anything. Do not make comments to the contrary.

kate_nepveu: (con't from comment field) "that makes glass with distortions. --Audre Lorde" (International Blog Against Racism Week)

As a follow-up to my International Blog Against Racism Week post on M. Butterfly (link to day view to preserve spoiler cut), an article from Harper's Magazine on a Ukrainian bride-hunting tour: "A Foreign Affair". As David Henry Hwang did in 1988, the article points out the intersection of racism and sexism in foreign "mail order bride" companies, and also explicitly demonstrates the role of class: "the more miserable the place, the more capital a visiting man will have to leverage against his prospective wives; that was why we had left the United States for Kiev, and why we had left Kiev for Vinnitsa."

kate_nepveu: (con't from comment field) "that makes glass with distortions. --Audre Lorde" (International Blog Against Racism Week)

There has been some mention, in this week's posts, of the tangled set of issues that can come along with romantic relationships between white men and women of Asian descent. Being in one of those relationships, I felt like I ought to say something, but, well, anyone who's met either of us knows that Chad didn't marry me because I'm exotic and submissive.

(When I was at Northeastern, I did very briefly date a guy (who was, I believe, Hispanic) who was interested somehow in Asia—he might've majored in Asian Studies, I'm not sure. It gave me a very minor twitch to wonder if my Asian-ness was part of what interested him, but the topic never came up. Nice guy, but no click, and also I had absolutely no idea what I was doing—I swear, the only way I managed to get married was by skipping the dating part of things—which to this day I feel kind of bad about. Then again, I was at least as twitchy about the guy who I suspected was attracted because I was actually shorter than he was, so the feeling's not restricted to race.)

But the topic reminded me of M. Butterfly, a play by David Henry Hwang. I first read it in an academic summer program in high school, and hadn't re-read it until last night. For those not familiar with it, it was inspired by the story of a French diplomat convicted of espionage; he had passed information his lover of twenty years, a Chinese man pretending to be a woman.

Hwang's afterword sums up the issues involved in this scenario very well, so I'm going to quote from it at length, in two pieces: the ending first, as it doesn't have spoilers for the play and talks about the broader issues raised by that premise; and then the beginning, and my reactions, behind a cut.

From David Henry Hwang's afterword to M. Butterfly:

From my point of view, the "impossible" story of a Frenchman duped by a Chinese man masquerading as a woman always seemed perfectly explicable; given the degree of misunderstanding between men and women and also between East and West, it seemed inevitable that a mistake of this magnitude would one day take place.

Gay friends have told me of a derogatory term used in their community: "Rice Queen"—a gay Caucasian man primarily attracted to Asians. In these relationships, the Asian virtually always plays the role of the "woman"; the Rice Queen, culturally and sexually, is the "man." This pattern of relationships had become so codified that, until recently, it was considered unnatural for gay Asians to date one another. Such men would be taunted with a phrase which implied they were lesbians.

[Ed.: it jumped out at me, typing, that the taunts were labelling men as women.]

Similarly, heterosexual Asians have long been aware of "Yellow Fever"—Caucasian men with a fetish for exotic Oriental women. I have often heard it said that "Oriental women make the best wives." (Rarely is this heard from the mouths of Asian men, incidentally.) This mythology is exploited by the Oriental mail-order bride trade which has flourished over the past decade. [Ed.: this was written in 1988.] American men can now send away for catalogues of "obedient, domesticated" Asian women looking for husbands. Anyone who believes such stereotypes are a thing of the past need look no further than Manhattan cable television, which advertises call girls from "the exotic east, where men are king; obedient girls, trained in the art of pleasure."

In these appeals, we see issues racism and sexism intersect. The catalogues and TV spots appeal to a strain in men which desires to reject Western women for what they have become—independent, assertive, self-possessed—in favor of a more reactionary model—the pre-feminist, domesticated geisha girl.

[Ed.: class is probably lurking around somewhere, in that the ads are targeted at men with money to spare.]

That the Oriental woman is penultimately female does not of course imply that she is always "good." For every Madonna there is a whore; for every lotus blossom there is also a dragon lady. In popular culture, "good" Asian women are those who serve the White protagonist in his battle against her own people, often sleeping with him in the process. Stallone's Rambo II, Cimino's Year of the Dragon, Clavell's Shogun, Van Lustbader's The Ninja are all familiar examples.

Now our considerations of race and sex intersect the issue of imperialism. For this formula—good natives serves Whites, bad natives rebel—is consistent with the mentality of colonialism. Because they are submissive and obedient, good natives of both sexes necessarily take on "feminine" characteristics in a colonial world. Gunga Din's unfailing devotion to his British master, for instance, is not so far removed from Butterfly's slavish faith in Pinkerton.

It is reasonable to assume that influences and attitudes so pervasively displayed in popular culture might also influence our policymakers as they consider the world. The neo-Colonialist notion that good elements of a native society, like a good woman, desire submission to the masculine West speaks precisely to the heart of our foreign policy blunders in Asia and elsewhere. . . .

M. Butterfly has sometimes been regarded as an anti-American play, a diatribe against the stereotyping of the East by the West, of women by men. Quite to the contrary, I consider it a plea to all sides to cut through our respective layers of cultural and sexual misperception, to deal with one another truthfully for our mutual good, from the common and equal ground we share as human beings.

For the myths of the East, the myths of the West, the myths of men, and the myths of women—these have so saturated our consciousness that truthful contact between nations and lovers can only be the result of heroic effort. Those who prefer to bypass the work involved will remain in a world of surfaces, misperceptions running rampant. This is, to me, the convenient world in which the French diplomat and the Chinese spy lived. This is why, after twenty years, he had learned nothing at all about his lover, not even the truth of his sex.

M. Butterfly Afterword, spoilery section; my reactions on a re-read )

The play was adapted for screen and directed by David Cronenberg, starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone; I haven't seen it and don't know how it's regarded. The play takes place almost entirely within Gallimard's mind, in his memories and fantasies; this fits so well thematically that I suspect the less fantastic medium of film would fare poorly in comparison. At any rate, I think it's worth reading as an accomplished and humane drama; the political and sexual issues are inescapable, but not the only thing the play has to offer.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Really I shouldn't post a discussion question when I'm ferociously busy (like the last post, languishing for attention), but [livejournal.com profile] yhlee's post from partway into Throne of Jade prompted this thought (which is spoilery for the end of Throne) and it'll be stuck in my head all day if I don't post it:

The relationship betwen Laurence and Temeraire has been noted by many reviewers; it's primarily been the romance reviewers, that I've seen, who've pointed out that it functions the way a romance would in a romance novel. (I hasten to note, for those unfamiliar with the books, that the relationship is strictly platonic. In case people were getting their much-talked-about (for various reasons) books-with-dragons mixed up. Ahem.)

SPOILERS for the end of Throne of Jade )

So, discuss: ways in which the first two Temeraire books play out typical romance situations through human-dragon partnerships (not limited to Laurence and Temeraire). Are these transferred situations thereby commented on or transformed in any way? Laurence's experiences in the first book (particularly) have an effect on his own perceptions about gender; are there any less obvious ways the dragon-human relationships are commenting on gender? (Or are people worn out on Tiptree-ish discussions?)

There will, of course, be spoilers for both books in comments as well as above.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

On Saturday, I got up early-ish, had routine yearly blood tests and breakfast (too much breakfast, because I was nearly falling over with hunger by then), and then went to work. Moved a bunch of paper around, came home cranky, sat in the sun and read Thud! and felt better. (Yes, this is a pattern.) We had dinner in a new-to-us Indian place, called Karavalli (9-B Johnson Road, Latham NY 12110), which a colleague of Chad's had recommended. It's in a strip mall behind an outlet mall, so I have no idea how anyone found it, but it was terrific. I had chicken in an almond-cashew cream sauce, wonderfully subtle and fragant, and Chad had huge shrimp with cilantro and spices. At 5:30, when we arrived, there was only one other party there; by the time we left, there wasn't a free table in the place. We'll be going back there, probably with reservations.

I also spent a bit of time on Saturday musing on [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr's post about being a woman (will be friends-locked shortly). I was interested to realize that I have very little identity as either a woman or female: when I free-associate "being a woman," I come up with "dealing with a dumb-ass reproductive system"; when I do the same for "being female," I get "unavailability of useful clothing sizes" and "dealing with the occasional bit of sexism." That's it. Sexuality, body image, physical activity—those are separate things inside my head. Actually, the most obvious things about me to a stranger, my gender and my ancestry, are possibly the least important bits of my identity.

On Sunday, I did work I'd brought home; I apparently fell asleep mid-afternoon over my reading, pen in hand and binder in lap. I needed the sleep, but I think I slept in a way that put pressure on my jaw because I woke up with a nasty headache. And then I watched the Patriots play the Steelers—they ended up winning, but I wouldn't have put money on it during any time I was watching. Another ugly game, and Matt Light and Rodney Harrison both went out with injuries (Harrison is apparently gone for the season). I did wish I could find the camera earlier in the day, though, as Chad set up a toy roller coaster on the floor (to see if it would work as a class demo) and the dog laid nearby supervising. Terribly cute.

Today at 5:10 p.m. I saw a MOUSE in my OFFICE and said, "that's it, I'm outta here"—grabbed my bag and my coat and fled. I'd heard that we'd had problems with mice but had never seen one; I've always been careful about food all the same, but I shall be hyper-vigilant now, because I like not sharing an office, and certainly don't want to start sharing with vermin.

In other news, my browser of choice, Opera, is now ad-free for everyone, so I'll link to an older post about why I like Opera. And I've relaunched Outside of a Dog in Movable Type, finally, and I think it's spiffy. No new content at the moment, but I'll be working on getting rid of the backlog (I've been logging stuff as I read it recently, but there are things from a while ago that aren't up yet). The RSS feed (and therefore [livejournal.com profile] insidedog), inbound links, etc., all should still work.

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