Open Thread: Lighthouse

Hosted by a lighthouse and waves

Leaves of Grass
“From Montauk Point”

I stand as on some mighty eagle’s beak,
Eastward the sea absorbing, viewing,
(nothing but sea and sky,)
The tossing waves, the foam,
the ships in the distance,
The wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps --
that inbound urge and urge of waves,
Seeking the shores forever.
··· Walt Whitman

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!

~ Kristycat

(Please remember NOT to "reply" to other comments - just post a new comment, to avoid nesting. Thank you!)

Feminism: Alison Weir on Cultural Misogyny

[Content Note: Murder, Domestic Abuse, Misogyny, Infidelity]

I've been reading this month -- slowly, as I've been sick, and it's a really long book -- Alison Weir's "Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley" which is about the murder of Queen Mary's husband (Lord Darnley) and who may have been responsible for his murder. (It's a contentious subject among some historians.)

Without getting bogged down in background, Queen Mary made a controversial marriage with Lord Darnley which she soon thereafter regretted on the grounds that he was, among other things, a cheating asshole. She began to spend less time with him and more time with her secretary David Rizzio, whom she may or may not have had an affair with. Either way, her husband used the rumor of the supposed affair as an excuse to murder Rizzio and very possibly tried to indirectly murder Mary in the process, probably hoping to rule the kingdom after her death.

Mary had all the necessary evidence to prosecute her inconvenient and understandably-hated husband for treason and murder, but she couldn't politically do so because she believed (probably correctly) that anything short of a reconciliation with her murderous husband would make the world think that she had been unfaithful to him, that his murder of Rizzio was justified, and that her unborn child was illegitimate and therefore not fit to inherit the crown. Her reputation could only be cleared if he reconciled with her and acknowledged the baby as his when it was born. Weir notes:

But the prestige of the Crown, as well as Mary’s reputation, had suffered as a result of Rizzio’s murder, which had also signalled an end to the Queen’s pro-Catholic policies. The fact that Darnley had taken such drastic action against his wife gave rise to suspicions that he had had just cause. Furthermore, the rift between the royal couple was now public property, which in itself was a scandal.

Given the embarrassment that now overshadowed her marriage, Mary had to embark on a damage limitation exercise. She could quite lawfully have had Darnley executed for treason, but she needed to ensure that there were no doubts as to the legitimacy of her child, [...]

This declaration of innocence on Darnley’s part was not just for his own benefit, but also to protect Mary’s reputation. For, if her husband had not instigated or approved Rizzio’s murder, there would be no grounds for suspecting Rizzio of any impropriety with the Queen.

I've noticed that in several places, Weir obliquely refers to the culture 'back then' (in different but similar words) to allow the audience to distance themselves from this widespread misogynistic attitude that a violent husband must be justified in his choices in light of his wife's presumed bad actions. Nor do I blame Weir for making this distinction; she's writing history, not feminism, and in a climate where any assertions on her part that the values of back then look an awful lot like the values of right now would almost certain result in backlash and derailing from her actual topic. So I understand why she avoids such an assertion.

But I will not avoid such an assertion. I absolutely live in a culture where it is routine for violent men to be sympathized with and even coddled by the justice system on the grounds that their female victims must have caused or earned or triggered violence in their husbands. I live in a culture where we extend numerous benefits of doubt to men who abuse women, but condemn on the flimsiest of pretexts women who are abused. And I live in a culture where women victims of male abusers are frequently invisibled from the discussion of their own victimization in favor of a focus on the poor, beleaguered man responsible for their death.

It's depressing -- and telling -- to read about back then and realize how very similar it is to right now

Metapost: Blogger Update (03/28/2013)

Here is your weekly Stylebot / Stylish code update for the Blogger interface.

Feminism: I Never Say The F-Word

[Content Note: Misogyny, Conservative Cultures]
[Repost Note: This is a repost of an article that previously appeared on Shakesville.]

I'm a feminist.

It may not seem like a secret: after all, I post it on my Facebook page, on my Twitter account, and on my website. I comment on feminist sites, am part of moderation teams for feminist sites, and almost all of the writings on my blog are feminist in nature. To the online community and my online friends, the fact that I am a feminist should be no shocker.

But in real life, in what I like to call "facespace", I never say the F-word, I never call myself a feminist.

Open Thread: Passover

So it has come to my attention that we are right smack dab in the middle of Passover week!

(I don't have a cool picture, sadly, because the public domain picture site I usually go to has zero-count'em-zero free pictures for Passover. As an experiment, I searched a few other holidays around this time of year. It also had zero free pictures for Ostara, Equinox, Nowruz, and Honen Matsuri. There were five pages worth of free pictures for Easter though. Hrm.)

Anyway.

Even though I'm not Jewish, I have fond memories of Passover. Our "best friend family" (as in, me and the daughter were best friends, our brothers were best friends, our mothers were best friends, and our fathers... tolerated each other) was Jewish. And as a kid, having your best friend follow a different religion from you was, yes, educational and enlightening and all that, but the MOST important part was: DOUBLE HOLIDAYS!! So we all got together to celebrate Passover and Easter and Hannukah and Christmas.

My memories include: sitting on the front step while J and A taught us how to correctly say various Hebrew prayers. Trying to make sandwiches from matzo crackers. The sticky-sweet taste of Manischewitz wine, which to this day I'm convinced the grown-ups had us drink in order to convince us that we didn't like alcohol. My friend's dad cracking the same stupid joke every year ("Oh, those poor little matzos!") when the matzo ball soup was served. (...Give it a minute.)

And the fleeting sense, during quieter moments, that I was being given a rare glimpse into something old and sacred and completely different from my own traditions.

Open Thread! What, if anything, does Passover mean to you? If you're not Jewish, have you ever had the chance to celebrate it, and if so, under what circumstances? Do you feel any strong connections to holidays or traditions that are not, strictly speaking, "yours"? (For whatever you choose to mean by that.) What other holidays are going on around this time of year that we should know about, and how does one celebrate them?

 ~Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder! Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread. This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread. When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!

Narnia: Cabbages or Books or Instruments

[Content Note: Violence, Slavery, Hostility to Reproductive Rights, Kink]

Narnia Recap: In which Caspian asserts kingly authority.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 4: What Caspian Did There

When we last left our heroes [sic], they had marched through the streets in full armor with drawn swords and had physically assaulted the castle doorkeeper for failing to take off his hat in the presence of a king whom he presumably didn't even know existed, given that there hasn't been a Narnian kingdom in some thousand years or so.

Open Thread: Fresh Fruit! (and Veggies)

Hosted by a fruit stand
So I discovered the local farmer's market.

I am currently having way too much fun finding new fruits and veggies to try myself and feed my family.  I'm finding out though that apparently my "range" for fruits and vegetables is very limited - there's a LOT out there that I've just never even been exposed to before.  Do I like them?  Maybe.  I don't even know how to cook them though, so I'm not sure how to find out!  But I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to try, especially if it's a) not a high-risk for allergies, and b) able to be pureed, as pretty much anything I buy is going to be fed to a baby sooner or later :)

Open thread!  Are there any farmer's markets or similar things near you?  What are they like?  What are your favorite fruits and veggies?  Anything you've discovered recently that you never thought to try before?  What's the most "unusual" (however you define that) fruit or vegetable you've tried (and how did you cook/prepare it??)  Where do you prefer to buy your produce?

~ Kristycat

Monday Reminder!  While I have fun coming up with pretty pictures and/or interesting “prompt” questions for open threads, you aren’t limited to those!  These threads are open - go wild, talk about whatever moves you!  (Just remember that this is still a safe space, please!)


Film Corner: The Proposal

[Content Note: Dubious Consensual Kissing, Unemployment, Sexual Harassment]

You know what would be a super funny movie to take your mind off the shitty economy, horrifying unemployment rate, stagnating wages, rising cost of living, and the awesome federal sequester? A movie about an overbearing boss forcing an employee to marry hir! (But it's totes okay, because the boss is a chick and the employee is a dude! What a fresh twist from a male writer! It's funny how writing under a female pen name is supposedly edgy and clever when many women are pressured to write under a male pen name in order to sell their work!)


Rewrite time! 

Hero: I'm not gonna marry you.

Heroine: If you don't, you'll be on the street, all alone, looking for a job.

Hero: No. Okay? First I'm going to report you for sexual harassment. Given the circumstances of this case where you are an aggressive woman boss in a toxic society where men would be disinclined to give you the benefit of the doubt anyway, and given that our supposed relationship was never known to anyone else or even alluded to in any way, and given that the timing of your announcement was very obviously calculated as a solution to your immigration issues, I very much doubt that things won't go in my favor.

It will be uncomfortable for me, and no doubt I will experience really disgusting pushback from sexist men who believe I should have just 'took what was offered' and other really horrible framings, and I am validly angry at you for putting me in a position where I have to face unemployment or a sexual harassment report, but I will nevertheless do so if you force me to. And, frankly, I may choose to do so anyway, given my genuine concerns that you may try this with someone else -- I'm going to have to do a personal spoon assessment and think about it before acting, because my self-care is just as valid as personal activism.

I do sympathize with your immigration difficulties and I'm sorry that the United States has such ridiculous policies in place, but if you want to stay here on a marriage clause, you need to find someone who will consent to marry you, and not attempt to force this on someone else. That isn't humane, it isn't respectful of my feelings and boundaries as a person, and it's not funny.

Feminism: Bathroom Police

via Ron Medvescek (Arizona Daily Star):

A House panel will consider legislation today to make it a crime to enter a public restroom designated for one gender or the other if you are "not legally classified" on your birth certificate as a member of that sex. The measure, SB 1432, also would apply to showers, baths, dressing rooms or locker rooms marked "men" or "women."

For the record: these laws are wrong.

These laws are wrong because they enforce a binary gender, and harm genderfluid and intersex people rather than letting them decide what bathroom they want to use in a given situation based on the circumstances and their level of personal safety.

These laws are wrong because they enforce an assigned-at-birth or legally-classified gender, and harm trans* persons whose gender may not match those documents for whatever reason.

These laws are wrong because they are steeped in fear that people in the bathroom, dressing room, or locker room might feel private sexual attraction to the other people there, and are therefore phobic towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and pansexuals.

These laws are wrong because they cause immeasurable harm to disabled people and their caretakers, mandating that people who require help in the bathroom or dressing room or locker room must only be accompanied by same-gender caretakers, which is an undue burden placed on people who already have to navigate a lifetime of undue burdens.

And these laws are wrong because they provide not an iota of benefit: bathroom rapes are not magically prevented by the addition of a "No Boys Allowed" sign on the womens' restroom. Placing the responsibility for man-on-woman bathroom rape on the shoulders of trans women is mendacious, hateful, transphobic bullshit.

It needs also to be said: it's not just right-wing Republicans who are endorsing these laws. This is an intersectionality issue, and it's one on which a lot of cis straight people are failing on. And that's a problem.

Feminism: Mark Hurst on Google Glass

[Content Note: Invasion of Privacy, Stalking]
[Repost Note: This is a repost of an article that previously appeared on Shakesville.]

Creative Good—The Google Glass feature no one is talking about:

Now pretend you don’t know a single person who wears Google Glass… and take a walk outside. Anywhere you go in public – any store, any sidewalk, any bus or subway – you’re liable to be recorded: audio and video. Fifty people on the bus might be Glassless, but if a single person wearing Glass gets on, you – and all 49 other passengers – could be recorded. Not just for a temporary throwaway video buffer, like a security camera, but recorded, stored permanently, and shared to the world.

Now, I know the response: “I’m recorded by security cameras all day, it doesn’t bother me, what’s the difference?” Hear me out – I’m not done. What makes Glass so unique is that it’s a Google project. And Google has the capacity to combine Glass with other technologies it owns.

...Ten years from now, someone, some company, or some organization, takes an interest in you, wants to know if you’ve ever said anything they consider offensive, or threatening, or just includes a mention of a certain word or phrase they find interesting. A single search query within Google’s cloud – whether initiated by a publicly available search, or a federal subpoena, or anything in between – will instantly bring up documentation of every word you’ve ever spoken within earshot of a Google Glass device.

This is the discussion we should have about Google Glass. The tech community, by all rights, should be leading this discussion. Yet most techies today are still chattering about whether they’ll look cool wearing the device.

Neat! I'm sure that this feature won't adversely affect people's privacy, and I'm confident that any information collected through these features will never be misused by the federal government, large corporations, or internet hackers. I'm sure any fears to the contrary are completely overblown. 

And here is the thing: I wasn't really following the Google Glass development, given that I have no intention jumping on another Google product after having been burned by Blogger accessibility issues and Reader being closed down this summer. But Mark Hurst's post at Creative Good has pretty aptly demonstrated that even if I never use Google Glass, that doesn't mean I won't be affected by it.

Open Thread: Creativity

Hosted by arts and crafts

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun”  - Pablo Picasso

Wish me luck tomorrow, guys - I have a booth at my very first craft fair!


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!

~ Kristycat

Film Corner: The Bounty Hunter

[Content Note: Kidnapping, Gun Violence, Bondage]

If you've ever fantasized about getting back at your ex-spouse by violently kidnapping them, stashing them in a car trunk, handcuffing them to things without their consent, threatening them with a gun, and forcing them to pretend to be attracted to you in order to survive, here is the movie for you. At least, based on this absolutely stellar film trailer:


Rewrite time!

Heroine [being placed in car trunk]: You can not be serious!

Hero [sic]: I'm dead serious!

Bystander: Um, excuse me. I can't help but notice that you are kidnapping a woman in broad daylight. Now, I could assume that you have the "right" to do so, either through social ownership of this woman through patriarchal means or through legal ownership of this woman through laughably antiquated bounty hunter laws, and that because of that "right" I shouldn't intervene.

However, I do not subscribe to patriarchal world-views and I do not think that just because something is legal is it therefore right or moral. I am therefore going to leverage social pressure [Insert Numerous Concerned Citizens] to ensure that you let this woman go. We will then detain you here, again using social pressure, while she is free to leave the area and get far away from you. If she solves any crimes in the meantime, I'm sure that's only for the best for our society. Considering that even you yourself do not believe her to be a legitimate threat to society worthy of drastic measures such as gun violence and kidnapping, I think you'll decide on reflection that our approach is for the best.

And if you don't: fuck you. 

Feminism: Tournament of Book Heroes

Half-Price Books is hosting a voting poll to determine the "bravest" character in science fiction and fantasy. I like HPB, but this tournament strikes me as problematic in a couple of ways. One thing that stands out at me is that they broke out "heroes" and "heroines" (#BinaryGender) but the tournament name and tagline refers to "heroes" as the best (#NormalizationOfMaleGender). I expect more.

Also: I question some of their choices for the 16 fantasy heroines. Notably, Bella Swan is up against Selene from Underworld. Yeah, that Selene.

@ comicvine.com

I'm not sure how we can even go about comparing apples and oranges like that, but setting that aside for a moment, I'm not sure how Bella Swan is even a notable example of "bravery" such that she needed to be on this list. It seems like she, and quite a few others, were ushered in by virtue of their "popularity", which brings me to some larger points:

I want to point out that at least 3 of the fantasy heroines are children when first introduced to their audiences (Arya Stark, Hermione Granger, Coraline), with 5 more being young adults (Bella Swan, Buffy, Sailor Moon, Mulan, Daenerys Targaryen), whereas at least 11 of the fantasy heroes are grown men or seem to be coded as such, if I understand correctly (Aragorn, Rand al' Thor, Roland Deschain, Conan the Barbarian, Indiana Jones, He-Man, Gandalf, Harry Dresden, Westley, Tyrion Lannister, Bilbo Baggins). I feel this framing reinforces a problematic idea that a male fantasy hero is a man but a female fantasy heroine is a girl. (And preferably a sexually inexperienced girl, because sexually experienced women are totes scary!)

It is also very much worth noting that -- as best I can tell -- all of the female fantasy heroines are pale and light-skinned, and most of them are cis and heterosexual. (#DiversityMyAss) This is a problem, and reinforces the idea that there's no point in writing black or trans* or intersex or genderfluid or QUILTBAG characters because they won't be picked for awards. (Instead of acknowledging that awards and marketing frequently drive sales.)

I want more diversity in my fiction, and I want more diversity in my fiction polls.

(Hat tip goes to Sarah, who is consistently awesome on Twitter and you should totes follow.)

Fat Acceptance: Launder That Fat Away, Ladies!

[Content Note: Fat Hatred, Racism, Classism]
[Repost Note: This is a repost of an article that previously appeared on Shakesville.]

So, there is a study going around the internet which makes the totally-fresh and completely-new claim that American women are fat because we spend all day working at desk jobs and all night watching television to unwind, as opposed to fifty years ago when life was just like Leave It To Beaver and women never worked outside the home and spent all day wrestling with forty-pound vacuum cleaners:

One reason so many American women are overweight may be that we are vacuuming and doing laundry less often, according to a new study that, while scrupulously even-handed, is likely to stir controversy and emotions.

..."Fifty years ago, a majority of women did not work outside of the home," said Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and lead author of the new study.

So, in collaboration with many of the authors of the earlier study of occupational physical activity, Dr. Archer set out to find data about how women had once spent their hours at home and whether and how their patterns of movement had changed over the years.

Right off the bat, I'm just going to set aside the whole problematic aspect of using the words "a majority of women" when what was actually meant is "a portion of the population, composed predominantly of upper-class, wealthy, married, white women" when discussing what kind of work women did or didn't do in the 1960s. I'm just going to put a little pin labeled "racist and classist assumptions" and set that to the side over there.

I'm additionally going to set aside the ridiculously terrible science of measuring one tiny aspect of the differences in the lives of American Women Of The 1960s versus American Women Of The 2010s -- specifically, how much time they report doing housework -- and using that one tiny aspect to try to explain a supposed trend of weight gain as though a correlation between the two implies any sort of causation and as though there cannot possibly be any other difference between these two groups of people, and as though controlling for those differences (which totes don't exist anyway!) is so much optional nonsense. And additionally as though self-reporting surveys are the epitome of accurate scientific measurement. I'm just going to stick a little pin labeled "horrifically soft science" in that bundle of awful and set it off to the side with the other.

And I'm also going to set aside the laughable choice of meticulously measuring how much time a selection of women spent on "housework" while deliberately choosing to ignore time spent doing childcare activities, as though the work done by women homemakers consists entirely of "cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry" and nothing else and as though the time that modern women save as a result of technological advances in laundry methods isn't and couldn't possibly be reinvested into other types of active housework beyond "cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry". That one is getting a little pin called "mendacious bullshit" and set off to the side with its cousins.

So, okay? I'm just going to put all that to the side for just a moment.

Because I want to share this anecdote from Barbara Ehrenreich (who I want to acknowledge is totally problematic in places, although that's not on-topic for this thread), who actually worked as a professional housekeeper as part of her research for her book Nickel and Dimed, and who specifically noted how painful and physically damaging housework can be:

So ours is a world of pain—managed by Excedrin and Advil, compensated for with cigarettes and, in one or two cases and then only on weekends, with booze. Do the owners have any idea of the misery that goes into rendering their homes motel-perfect? Would they be bothered if they did know, or would they take a sadistic pride in what they have purchased—boasting to dinner guests, for example, that their floors are cleaned only with the purest of fresh human tears? In one of my few exchanges with an owner, a pert muscular woman whose desk reveals that she works part-time as a personal trainer, I am vacuuming and she notices the sweat. “That’s a real workout, isn’t it?” she observes, not unkindly, and actually offers me a glass of water, the only such offer I ever encounter. Flouting the rule against the ingestion of anything while inside a house, I take it, leaving an inch undrunk to avoid the awkwardness of a possible refill offer. “I tell all my clients,” the trainer informs me, “‘If you want to be fit, just fire your cleaning lady and do it yourself.’” “Ho ho,” is all I say, since we’re not just chatting in the gym together and I can’t explain that this form of exercise is totally asymmetrical, brutally repetitive, and as likely to destroy the musculoskeletal structure as to strengthen it.

And I want to take a moment to note how truly contemptible I find the suggestion that activities which can destroy womens' bodies and which have been traditionally used by a misogynist society as a tool to oppress women and prevent them from gaining financial independence, social support networks, and meaningful work -- You can't hold a job, honey, because then how would the house get clean? -- should be held up to the reader as something that women have a responsibility to do in order to become more attractive and more healthy and above all more socially acceptable to the larger community.

That is some contemptible garbage.

(Hat tip to Shakesville Shaker Danielle.)

Feminism: The Hazards of Distancing

[Content Note: Misogyny, Hostility to Reproductive Rights]

Myself on the hazards of using distancing language in response to specific suggestions:

I would like to point out something else that bothers me. Simply eliding Liss' actually-pretty-specific-list into a vague "Advice for Decent Human Beings" has -- whether Myers meant to do so or not -- effectively moved the conversation away from the actual content of Liss' suggestions.

One of those suggestions -- one that matters a very great deal to me -- was Institute a zero-tolerance policy for misogyny in your comments. No slurs, no misogynist narratives, no questioning women's agency. To the best of my knowledge and observation, this policy has not been implemented at many major movement atheist blogs.

To the best of my knowledge and observation, this policy has not been implemented at Dr. Myers' own blog. I say this because in Myers' own linked post to Liss', an extensive "should women be allowed bodily agency" conversation occurred in the comments there and is still available to read in all its potentially-triggering glory, six days later.

This is not a criticism of Dr Myers -- he is free to run and moderate his blog however he chooses. But if he genuinely believes that Liss' 18 suggestions for making spaces more inclusive of women are the bare minimum for being a decent human being, then he is not meeting that minimum. Yet by reframing Liss' words, by criticizing the scope of her post title, and now by clarifying that he didn't mean the words he said in the way they are generally meant, we have effectively stopped talking about the unsafeness of spaces where womens' agency is up for constant debate.

And we have reached that point in the conversation precisely because we stopped talking about Liss' actual advice and instead summed it up in a pithy-but-meaningless "just be decent!!" platitude. I think that's unfortunate.

Reposted here because I am all in. When a privileged person asks a marginalized person how they can make a space more welcoming, their response should not be reframed, should not be generalized, and should not be helpfully summed-up, because to do so inevitably redirects the conversation away from the words of the marginalized person and puts the focus on the reframing of the privileged person. This is silencing and denies marginalized people a voice, whether it's intentional or not.

And the correct response to having this pointed out is not to argue out intent, but to say I didn't know that, I do now, I won't do it again, I apologize. It's that simple. 

Open Thread: Yay, Spring!

Hosted by spring blossoms

Happy Vernal Equinox!  Today is the first day of Spring!  Go celebrate by spending some time outside and looking at the beauty of the world reviving!

If you're Pagan, today is also Ostara.  Go celebrate by dyeing some eggs, lighting some candles, possibly petting some bunnies if you know any!

If you're not, today is also Fred Roger's birthday.  Go celebrate by meeting someone new in your neighborhood and looking for a way to make someone else's day better!

Open Thread!  What, if anything, does March 20 mean to you?  Are you planning anything today, or is it just a normal Wednesday?  (Even if it's just a normal Wednesday, are you doing anything fun today?)

~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!

(General reminder - when posting comments, for ease of navigating the comment section, please remember to NOT use the reply function, just post a new comment - thanks!)

Twilight: My Brand of Appropriation

[Content Note: Addiction, Disability, Rape, Injury]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 13, Edward and Bella spend the weekend alone together in the woods.

Twilight, Chapter 13: Confessions

When we last left our star-crossed couple, Edward was explaining how he constantly wants to rape kill eat Bella using food metaphors. (Chris has a fantastic post on why this is utterly unimaginative of Edward.)

Fringe: Acting Emotionally

[Content Note: Sexism]

From an episode of Fringe, a television show best described as a blend between X-Files and 4400:

I understand that you think I acted too emotionally. And putting aside the fact that men always say that about women they work with, I’ll get straight to the point. I am emotional. I do bring it into my work. It’s what motivates me. It helps me to get into the headspace of our victims… See what they’ve seen. Even if I don’t want to, even if it horrifies me. And I think it makes me a better agent. If you have a problem with that, sorry. You can fire me. But I hope you don’t

~ Olivia Dunham, Episode "The Cure" [content note for link: human medical experimentation].

This series has not, for the record, been especially feminist-friendly for the first six or so episodes I've watched. (Which doesn't make it bad, but my point is that it's no Elementary.) But I loved this quote so much that I had to fist-pump the air when I heard it because: THIS.

If you think a woman is being too emotional about something, check your bias about women.
And if you think a woman is being too emotional about something, check your bias about the situation.

Melissa McEwan writes a lot about being emotional about feminist issues and about how emotion-or-lack-thereof does not magically indicate objectivity. Earlier this month she wrote:
... I take no shame in defending and being emotional about (these are bad things now?) challenging the policing of women's choices. I am defensive and emotional on behalf of women who do not change their names. I am defensive and emotional on behalf of women who do change their names. Because I don't care what choice you make: I care that you do, or don't, have a choice.

I appreciate a television show that stars a female investigator challenging the narrative that all women are emotional, or that men are more emotionless about crimes that disproportionately affect women (as has been the case in this show so far) because of Magic Maleness rather than because they are automatically less effected by the crimes they are investigating by virtue of being that much further removed from the victims. And I appreciate also that the quote challenges the assumption that being emotional is a bad thing, and for reframing the issue to point out that emotion can actually be a useful and legitimate tool when it comes to profiling criminals and their victims and preventing further crimes from occurring.

I am emotional about feminist because my body, my circumstances, and my position require me to be. I won't apologize for that, nor will I affect the framing that it's a bad thing.

Open Thread: St. Patrick's Day

Hosted by shamrocks


Happy day-after-St. Patrick's Day!

I have a weird relationship with St. Patrick's Day.

On the one hand, I grew up believing myself and my family to be Irish.  (That may still be true - we haven't traced all paths back yet - but to be fair, the only one we have traced back turns out to be Welsh instead.  Still, I identify a lot with my "Irish heritage," whether or not it actually exists.)  I love Celtic myth and Celtic art; a day where I have an excuse to listen to Irish music and drink Irish whiskey and wear my Boondock Saints shirt is absolutely wonderful in my book.

On the other hand, I'm also Pagan.  And St. Patrick, assuming he actually existed at all, was no friend to Irish Pagans.  In most explanations I've heard for the story, the "snakes" he drove out of Ireland were actually the Druids.  He doesn't really seem like someone I'd want to celebrate, even if the trappings surrounding his day are pretty fun.  (I've actually read suggestions for similarly-fun celebrations Pagans could do on the same day, so we don't lose a cool holiday - my favorite was the Bacchanalia.)

On the other-other hand, I have a kid now, and the last thing I want to be is that mom who says "You can't celebrate this fun thing, because it's against our religion."  I had too many friends as a kid who had to deal with that sort of thing, and it always struck me as doing religion wrong.

...But on the other-other-OTHER hand (...wait, how many hands do I have now??), all the St. Patrick's Day celebrations and live music performances in our area are at bars.  So I don't think I really get any Good Mom Points for bringing my child to them, even if they are cultural.

Open Thread!  Did you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?  If so, how; if not, why not?  Do you have any holidays you feel like you probably shouldn't celebrate (but do anyway)?  What aspect of your ancestry do you most often choose to identify with (and do you think that would change if it turned out you didn't actually have any ancestors from there?)  Do you have any new and interesting facts about St. Patrick that can redeem him somewhat from a Pagan point of view?  (And not just casting doubt on his actual existence; heck, half of this whole blog is about discussing fictional characters.  If Paddy is fictional, I still think it's worth discussing whether or not he's worth celebrating!)

~ Kristycat

Monday Reminder!  While I have fun coming up with pretty pictures and/or interesting “prompt” questions for open threads, you aren’t limited to those!  These threads are open - go wild, talk about whatever moves you!  (Just remember that this is still a safe space, please!)

Deals: The Hangman's Daughter

Today's Kindle Daily Deal is the Hangman's Daughter books for 99 cents each. Note that the Audible narration can be added for 1.99 after the Kindle books have been purchased.

Metapost: Disqus Update (Deux)

We are still looking into alternatives, but I believe we may be stuck with Disqus due (in part) to the fact that there is no good way to export/import between competing commenting systems at this time. As I am firmly opposed to losing the comments on this board, that has limited our options tremendously.

On a plus note, I have figured out how to turn the Disqus ads off and have done so.

Thank you for your patience as we struggle with this change.

Update: There is now a "link to Disqus comments" link on each thread which will jump you back to the top of the comment form. The speed of this process will vary for the individual, but it seemed a good optional addition to have since the comment box is now sandwiched between the post and the comments instead of at the bottom of the page.

Metapost: Disqus Update

I am tired.

I have spent literally all day trying to get the people at Disqus to do one thing, and that has been to help me fix the Disqus-to-Blogger comment back-sync on their end so that I can explore more migration options because pretty much nothing accepts Disqus comments as an import.

Unfortunately, because Disqus migrated everyone on earth to their new system last night, they've been swamped with emails and tweets and have only been able to tell me that they're "taking a closer look into this". I don't know if that means they're looking at my problem specifically, or or multiple people are having problems with the back-sync or if they're just thinking about whether they'd like to address this someday.

So yay.

The options, as I can see them, is to either (1) stick with Disqus and learn to live with their comment threading (as they've strongly stated several times now that they really, really don't want to change it) or (2) migrate to Intense Debate. There is a demo board up here. Here are some concerns:

Intense Debate Pros: 
- Nesting is less painful for me to read.
- Comment box is at the bottom, like nature intended, and there is less of a temptation to use "Reply".
- Downvotes can be turned off.
- Upvotes do not mess with the order of comments.
- CSS customization is allowed, but how flexible it is I do not know.
- There are smileys.

Intense Debate Concerns: 
- There is still nesting, it's just less horribly painful for me to read. Example.
- There does not seem to be a support team or at least not one that has responded to my emails. (Note that this is also a problem with Disqus.)
- There either isn't mobile commenting/moderating or I can't figure out how to turn it on. (Note that this is also a problem with Disqus.)
- Migration could mean losing some comments; potentially the last 4,000 comments which are still not back-synced to Blogger.
- I don't know of a Recent Comments widget for this system. 

Disqus Concerns: 
- The comment box is trapped between the post and the first comment, which makes it hard to find if you want to add to the existing conversation. Example.
- Upvoting/Downvoting affect comment order from mobile devices (and for new commenters who don't know how to change the default sorting).
- Downvoting cannot be turned off, despite being an anxiety trigger for many. 
- I literally cannot read the threads without getting really painful headaches.
- The comment notifications sent to the moderators are poorly formatted and hard to read now.
- Em and Strong are not supported in Disqus, and this is an accessibility issue for some. 
- Disqus has implemented ads at the bottom of the page some of which may be triggery. (Such as weight loss ads on the fat acceptance posts.)

General Concerns: 
- Comment moderation is now harder to accomplish in both systems. Specifically, moderators can no longer moderate from the same page as the discussion -- we have to go to a whole 'nother panel to make edits, like adding content notes. This means, frankly, that comments which used to be borderline on the edit-or-delete conundrum are now going to be deleted rather than going through a bunch of panels to fix.
- Comment flow is now harder to follow in both systems. We'll have to rely on people to remember to not "Reply" to comments.
- OpenID has been disallowed as a login for both systems, which sucks mightily.
- Mobile commenting and mobile moderating are not very functional in both systems.
- No robust support for both systems.

I think that pretty much sums up the situation and the decision I'm facing. It sucks.



On a side note: I have been dealing with this literally all day and I didn't sleep last night for real anxiety over this. There have been times today when I have felt like just throwing in the towel and not blogging anymore because I feel so frustrated and anxious about having my community physically barred to me over this accessibility issue. I'm deeply frustrated that so many online businesses are so cavalier about information processing disabilities, and I hate-hate-hate my body right now. And that is not conducive to stress mitigation. I just had to get that off my chest.

I want to also note that every member of the moderation team has been amazing supportive through this and I love them all so much. Thank you.

Open Thread: Dancing

Hosted by the Dancing House
“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”  - Rumi

Was this just an excuse to post a picture of a building getting its groove on?  Pretty much.

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!

~Kristy

Metapost: Disqus 2012

[Content Note: Anxiety Attacks]

Disqus has migrated us without warning to the Disqus 2012 system, as they are retiring the Classic Disqus interface. I cannot read nested comments without severe pain because of my information processing disorder. Here is a tweet.


I've literally been crying all evening since this happened at Shakesville because I've just been physically barred from the two safe space communities I had: Shakesville and here. I cannot begin to convey how frightening and triggering this experience is for me right now -- I'm literally having an anxiety attack as I type this.

I and the other moderators are looking into alternative commenting engines, which will take time and may turn out to be an added monetary expense to the blog. Please bear with us through this and please be extra-nice to the moderators during this time as we are all very stressed by this. Thank you.

Metapost: Disqus Tweets

Today Disqus pushed their 2012 interface to Shakesville, and are claiming that they plan to push to everyone soon. (They claim to have sent all site owners emails, but I've not received one.) Disqus 2012 is basically godawful. The issues we're seeing on Shakesville include (but are not limited to):

1. No way to flatten comments; all comments are nested/threaded now.
This is bad for people who have certain information processing disorders.

2. No way to turn off the new "downvote" option.
This is bad for people who have certain anxiety triggers.

3. No way to comment and/or moderate from mobile devices.
This is bad for people who can't reliably access the site from work.

If you've been following this blog for even a cursory period of time, you'll note that all those categories apply to me, the blog mistress. Which means that 2013 is potentially going to be a super-fun year for me! Except only not.

If you are on Twitter at all, and if you have the time and spoons to help, please retweet Melissa's tweets to DisqusHelp. If we're going to have a chance at addressing these issues, the burden is apparently on us to convince Disqus that the user base needs these features, and I think we have a better chance piggy-backing on the Shakesville change-over tonight than to do this all over again in a month (or whenever) with Ramblings.

Thank you in advance.

Film Corner: Battleship and White Male Privilege

[Content Note: Privilege, Gun Violence, Robbery, Sports Violence, Racism]

People, it is time to talk about white male privilege and how it is being used as a "default" form any time a licensed movie comes down the pike in search of a plot. Because I am sick of it.

We watched Battleship this weekend. And: Okay? I knew it would be bad going in. Seriously, if anyone responds to this post saying it's Battleship what did you expect of course it would be bad then they are going to be introduced to Hektor the Moderating Dog, because yes, I knew it would be bad. But I expect more from my Bad Movies than white male privilege leaking all over the place; I was hoping for nothing worse than campy dialogue and silly CGI. And I won't apologize for holding movies -- even Bad Movies -- to a higher standard than this.

Disability: My Body, To Love and Hate

[Content Note: Disability, Body Talk] 
[Repost Note: This is a repost of an article that previously appeared on Shakesville.]

One of the fun things about having a disability is how my words are constantly policed in relation to it.

In public spaces, I'm not supposed to talk about my disability because it makes people uncomfortable to hear about all the ways in which I am disadvantaged and they are privileged. Talking about my disability can sound too much like complaining, or like I'm blaming them for not having to deal with the daily struggles that I cope with. And sharing what it's like to live with a disability can be overwhelming and upsetting, so I'm frequently expected to keep all that stuff to myself. I'm supposed to be silent on the subject.

Open Thread: Blarg I Am Sick

Hosted by a woman with a cold

This is a last-minute open thread, and I apologize for that.  I wanted it to be something cool and interesting, but I have been hijacked by sick - not even a cool interesting sick (does that exist?  I'm going to pretend it does), just the mundane kind of sick where your face melts off and your brain tries to escape through your sinus cavity and it feels like you're trying to swallow a mouthful of burrs.

So instead, you get an open thread about the common cold!  Whee!!!  Fun fact: did you know that the common cold was already kicking around making people miserable in the 16th century BCE?  Yup!  It was first described in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, the oldest known medical treatise.  And now you know!

Interestingly, Wikipedia's whole exhaustive list of possible cold treatments, both medical and traditional, pretty much boil down to one big "...Maybe? *shrug*"

Anyway.  Open thread!  Remember how sick days were fun as a kid?  Wouldn't it be nice if it were like that again?  What's the weirdest home remedy anyone's ever recommended you try for the cold?  Did it work?  Are there any lesser-known treatments you and your family swear by?  Do you tend to deal with minor illnesses by powering cheerfully through them, or do you (like me) hole up in a comfy chair with a box of tissues and some tea and glare at the world until you feel better?  I would ask more questions about being sick, but all the ones I can think of are gross and probably shouldn't be answered.  Come up with better questions!  Then answer them!  Do my work for me, mwahahahaa!!!

...no, I'm not on cold meds, why do you ask?

~Kristycat


Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!



Narnia: The Dirty Bourgeois

[Content Note: Violence]

Narnia Recap: In which Caspian asserts kingly authority.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 4: What Caspian Did There

Chapter 4 -- which my meme-goggled eyes cannot see as anything other than "I see what Caspian did there" -- is a strange chapter because on the one hand I think it is very prettily written but on the other hand it is packed to the gills with unfortunate implications. Much like the rest of Narnia, I realize, but in an interesting microcosm. 

Metapost: Blogger Update (03/12/2013)

Here is your weekly Stylebot / Stylish code update for the Blogger interface.

Open Thread: Oz

Here is your Oz open thread. I haven't seen the movie or read the books, but both Shakesville and Jezebel have interesting things up about it. Spoilers abound herein.

Open Thread: Squeaky Frog!

Most of the internet has seen this by now, but if you missed it - or even if you've seen it already but need something to make you smile - please enjoy this video of a desert rain frog.

Deals: Narnia

Today's Kindle Daily Deal is all the Narnia books for $1.99 each.

(Note: If you're interested in the Audible versions as well, note that there are two versions of The Silver Chair and only one is linked. See below.)


Note that once you own the Kindle versions, the Audible versions are price-reduced to $4.99 each.

Feminism: Names and Society

[Content Note: Bullying, Homophobia, Transphobia]

So for everyone who isn't obsessively following me on Twitter, there was a Thing this weekend. And the Thing basically went like this:

Step 1. Jill Filipovic wrote a piece for the Guardian about women changing their names when they marry men. The title and subtitle of the piece were:

Why should married women change their names? Let men change theirs

Your name is your identity. The reasons women give for changing their names after marrying don't make much sense

Resources: Why Indies Should Not Use Elance

So recently I needed some HTML and CSS work done on my blog template, and I picked precisely the wrong time of the month to ask my friends who speak the language fluently enough to do what I needed done because they were all busy with other projects. No problem, I thought, I'll just find a freelancer online. After all, that's kind of what I do, tapping indie artists to do indie work for me at indie prices. I have a whole page and everything.

What I didn't understand at the time, though, is that there's a fundamental difference between tapping someone through, say, DeviantArt to do work for you via Paypal versus using Elance, and that difference largely revolves around the fact that Elance feels that you owe someone money (and by extension Elance, because they take their cut) whether they do any work for you or not. And while this business method may work great for people with lots of cash jingling in their pockets, it's not such a great system for indies.

So here's a run-down of my no-good awful terrible shitty experience with Elance.

Deals: Angel Falls

Angel Falls, which you will remember me pre-enjoying massively as an ABNA excerpt favorite here and which was the subject of an indie author interview here, is now finally available for pre-order here.

Since this was one of five impossible things that could have made me feel better while laboring under the Martian Death Virus, I'm pretty pleased to see this today. And after I share this, I'm going back to bed.

Open Thread - Cheese

Hosted by wheels of cheese

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” 
- G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions

Open Thread!  Correct this unfortunate deficiency!

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!  (May or may not be cheese-related!)

~ Kristycat

Recommends: Tropes vs. Women

Several of you have asked when this will be available, and it's available now!

Recommends: Amadi Talks

I'm pretty sure that this is my Most Retweeted Tweet ever, and it is in response to this article.


I feel pretty okay with that.

I am a woman who changed her name at marriage -- twice! -- for complex social reasons that I would like to see meaningfully discussed and addressed rather than being told that my reasons were nonsense and that part of feminism is being "fundamentally opposed" to a choice that I and many other women knowingly make for their own protection in a misogynist society. I think we can have that discussion about society without judging women for making that potentially very painful choice.

Nor do I think it is valuable to approach this conversation without acknowledgement of the fact that many men do attempt to take their wives' names in marriage -- and have been legally discriminated against for doing so. It is not helpful to obscure that context or to invisible those men who are being discriminated against by the kyriarchy by removing them from the discussion and framing the issue of name changing as nothing more than a choice that either party in a mixed-gender marriage can make with equal social pressures and legal tools on either side.

Nor do I think it in any way appropriate to insist that one's name is one's identity, or that it "situates [one] in the world" for eternity. That sort of thing should be confined to I-statements, and does not mesh with ally-intersectionality for a number of different groups: trans* persons who do not believe their name reflects their self, people from abusive families who do not wish to be tied to that family through a shared name, and numerous other marginalized groups who have the right to reject any framing that insists that the name given them at birth is part of their intrinsic identity.

On a related subject, you need to go read this from Amadi at Amadi Talks because it is amazing.

Writing: Indie Savvy (Reviews and Reviewers)

Ana's Note: This is a piece in the ongoing Indie Savvy series.

Reviews

So you’ve written the best book ever, but now it’s just squatting on its blank Amazon listing page, naked and reviewless, and you just know that the reason people aren’t buying your book is because you don’t have any reviews up. What do you do?

What I strongly recommend that you do is to tread very carefully here. Customers do not like to feel deceived or swindled, and a number of badly-behaving indie authors have unfortunately poisoned the well when it comes to self-publishing. If you appear to be engaging in deceptive practices or bullying reviewers — no matter how pure your intentions may be — the backlash can be epic and painful. Believe me when I say that a few 1-star reviews are the least of your worries when it comes to marketing your baby.

Film Corner: Good Luck Chuck

[Content Note: Fat Hatred]

If you're not getting enough fat hatred and toxic messages about marriage being the ultimate goal for all women everywhere in your romantic comedies, then here is Good Luck Chuck to fix that for you!


Remake time!

Random Female Character: You're a lucky charm! You have sex with someone, then they find their true love. Isn't that how it works?

Male Protagonist: You know, that may be so. But while I have no issue with recreational sex, whether in general because I don't judge consenting adults or specifically in my own personal life, the fact remains that I do take issue with and am personally uninterested in sex where I would be actively being used for this supposed benefit, nor am I interested in having sex with women who do not genuinely want to have sex with me as a person as opposed to wanting to have sex with me as a concept, i.e., a "good luck charm". 

Male Buddy Character: Still, don't you think you should test this on a totally undesirable fat woman?

Male Protagonist: No. The experiment would be meaningless, since I reject the idea that any human being is unlovable simply because they do not conform to mainstream standards of beauty, so if she married after having sex with me, that would not be proof of anything. Nor would her not marrying be an indication of anything; it is toxic to assume that all human beings desire a sexual soul-mate, or that such a discovery should universally result in marriage.

Furthermore, I am completely contemptuous of the idea that I should use her sexually in order to test something about myself. Even if she consents to the sex itself, my decision to use her as a litmus test would be deeply dehumanizing to another person, and would make me profoundly grody. I would rather live my life choosing to respect others and expect respect from them in return, than to use others and to encourage them to use me in turn -- a choice that I think more profoundly affects my worth as a human being and my chances of finding a soul-mate (if that is, indeed, what I desire) than anything else.

Open Thread - Machines

Hosted by a machine

Our machine overlords are one step closer to global domination - they've begun counseling people on their life choices.

The worst part is that they're pretty good at it.

Open thread!  Have you ever gotten a piece of advice from a machine (or other "non-sentient," in theory, entity) that was disconcertingly appropriate to your life?  If you did, would you be inclined to trust the machine, or would you suspect that it's trying to destroy you?  Do you welcome our eventual robot masters, or are you already planning to join La Resistance?  Or is this perhaps no more sinister than it appears on the surface - an attempt, perhaps, on the part of the machines to demonstrate that they have our best interests at heart, that human and machine can one day live as brothers?

~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!

Review: A Distant Mirror

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
by Barbara W. Tuchman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Distant Mirror / 9780307793690

I selected this book for a book club discussion, not realizing that it's ~700 pages long rather than ~400 pages long. Whoops! However, this is a completely awesome book and everyone had a ball reading and discussing it, even if several members weren't able to finish on time, and I recommend it highly as a fun and fascinating, as well as wonderfully researched and sourced, look into 14th century culture.

Twilight: The Food Analogy

[Content Note: Rape]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 13, Edward and Bella spend the weekend alone together in the woods.

Twilight, Chapter 13: Confessions

When we last left our star-crossed couple, Edward was explaining how he constantly wants to rape kill eat Bella.

Open Thread - Cat Cafe

Hosted by a fluffy kitty!

OMG OMG OMG YOU GUYZ!!!  They are opening a cat cafe in London!

Apparently this is a Thing in Japan, along with bunny cafes.  The concept is simple: it's a regular cafe, with coffee and pastries and things, but inside are a bunch of friendly cats who will come up and interact with the guests.  Anyway, recognizing a niche (because apparently a lot of people in London live in apartments and can't have pets - any Londoners want to comment on whether or not that's accurate?), entrepreneur Lauren Pears started a fundraiser on Indiegogo, was successful, and is now opening one herself :)  According to the Indiegogo site, the cats are all adopted (presumably from shelters), and some of the start-up costs include appropriate medical care for the cats, a cat play area, and adequate time for the cats to settle in and get comfortable before being inundated with people, so it definitely sounds like it's a good deal for the animals at least.

The responses I've seen so far have been fairly polarized - either this is the BEST THING EVAR, OMG or the idea of cats shedding in your coffee and poking their noses into your ├ęclairs strikes you as fairly gross.  (Oddly, from what I've seen, allergies do not necessarily affect which side you fall on - several of my friends with cat allergies have responded with enthusiastic variations on IT WOULD BE WORTH IT!!!)

Personally, I have two cats at home.  One is madly in love with my husband; the other is madly in love with my roommate.  Both ignore me.  So I get all the cat hair in my food, etc., without all the affection - so yeah, I'd totally be there if this opened anywhere near me!

Open Thread!  Would you go to a cat cafe if there were one in your area?  Why or why not?  Are you a cat person, a dog person, an iguana person, a person person, etc.?  What "cat-friendly" features would a cafe like this have to have for you to be confident the cats were happy with the arrangement?  Are there any businesses in your area that have "kitty greeters"? 

~ Kristycat

Monday Reminder!  While I have fun coming up with pretty pictures and/or interesting “prompt” questions for open threads, you aren’t limited to those!  These threads are open - go wild, talk about whatever moves you!  (Just remember that this is still a safe space, please!)

Film Corner: Snow White and Trust Tropes

[Content Note: Rape, Violence]

I've dropped a few hints in the past about being a complete sucker for fairy tale reboots, what with buying any fairy tale reboot book I can get my hands on, regardless of genre, as well as writing a whole novel on my own reboot version of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale in order to suss out my conflicted thoughts on the Disney version as well as the original feminist text.

So obviously it was just a matter of time before I rented "Snow White and the Huntsman". And, well, color me underwhelmed.

Metapost: Ill

(Yeah, I know it looks like a 3. Ah, well.)

I was up all last night with back spasms, and this morning I rolled out of bed with a seriously sore throat and one of those sick-headaches that usually portends bad things. I was hoping that a nap, a hot shower, and some oatmeal would clear it out, but I'm still feeling under the weather, so I figured I'd let everyone know.

Fortunately, we have awesome moderators now, so everyone be super nice to the mods while I'm taking (another) nap. I haven't asked them, but I'm pretty sure they all like cookies. I'm partial to oatmeal raisin ones, myself.

Homemade Cookies by Yana Ray

Feminism: Feminist Lenses

[Content Note: Misogyny, Racism]

We've talked before about how feminist activism changes the way some of us look at things. Many of you have told me, in both comments and emails, that the habit of looking through feminist lenses at things like Narnia and Twilight has helped you to look with feminism at other things, too. (And I always love hearing how my writing has helped people grow and change in ways they are pleased with.)

We've also talked about how painful this process can be, when suddenly an old, comfortable, beloved thing looks wrong and problematic under a new light. And I think part of what we struggle to do here, week after week, is to strike a balance between being able to enjoy things for the enjoyable stuff in them versus being cognizant of the problematic issues inherent therein and being able to address and speak to those things, if only to ourselves.

Metapost: FYI

Because apparently this needs to be said.

If you're sitting there thinking to yourself: "Self, is it appropriate for me to compare a woman blogger I have never met and who speaks extensively about abusive relationships and about her own experience in an abusive marriage to an 'abusive spouse' on the grounds that she has a strict comment policy in her space in order to keep herself and others safe and to maintain self-care and I just plain fucking don't like that and want to be allowed to say whatever shit I want without being asked to take my shit elsewhere?"

The answer is no. No, that is not appropriate. For fuck's sake.

Open Thread: Masks

Hosted by a painted face

“I believe in my mask-- The man I made up is me
I believe in my dance-- And my destiny”
- Sam Shepard

“Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life.”
- Fernando Pessoa

“Nothing is more real than the masks we make to show each other who we are.”
- Christopher Barzak

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!
 
~ Kristycat