My puppy Bird.
My puppy Bird.
fergusnoodle posted a photo:
At the turn of the 19th century in the U.S. and Europe, it became wildly popular — and that’s an understatement — for ladies to wear feathers and whole taxidermied birds on their hats. One ornithologist reported taking two walks in Manhattan in 1886 and counting 700 hats; 525 of which were topped by feathers or birds. Buzzfeed has a collection of vintage hats featuring birds; here are some of the ones that were most stunning to me:
At the time, not many people thought much of killing the birds. Europeans and their American cousins “didn’t believe they could put a dent in an animal’s population.” Birds seemed to be an “abundant, even inexhaustible” natural resource. So take they did. Millions of birds all over the world were harvested for hat makers for years. The Fashioning Feathers blog offers this example:
A single 1892 order of feathers by a London dealer… included 6,000 bird of paradise, 40,000 hummingbird and 360,000 various East Indian bird feathers. In 1902 an auction in London sold 1,608 30 ounce packages of heron… plumes. Each ounce of plume required the use of four herons, therefore each package used the plumes of 120 herons, for a grand total of 192, 960 herons killed.
Ornithologists started to sit up and take notice. One estimated that 67 types of birds — often including all of their sub-species — were at risk for extinction. Not only were birds killed for their feathers, they were killed when their feathers were at their most resplendent. This meant killing them during mating season, interrupting their reproductive cycle and often leaving baby birds orphaned.
A campaign to end the practice began. In Europe the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds targeted women. They launched a sexist campaign accusing women of supporting the heartless slaughter of birds. Fashioning Feathers includes this image from a pamphlet titled “Feathered Women” in which the president of the Society calls them a “bird-enemy.”
Virginia Woolf went for the jugular, pointing out that — even though the image shows a woman swooping down to kill a bird — it was largely men who did the dirty work of murder and they were also the ones profiting from the industry.
Ironically, middle class women were at the forefront of the bird preservation movement. They were the rank and file and, thanks in part to their work, in the U.S. the movement led to the formation of the first Audubon societies. The Massachusetts Audubon Society organized a feather boycott, angering hat makers who called them “extremists” and “sentimentalists.” Politicians worried out loud about the loss of jobs. Missouri Senator James Reed complained:
Why there should be any sympathy or sentiment about a long-legged, long-beaked, long-necked bird that lives in swamps and eats tadpoles.
Ultimately the Massachusetts Audubon Society succeeded in pushing through the first federal-level conservation legislation in the U.S., the Lacey Act of 1900.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
The map below is an interactive available at the World Atlas of Language Structures. It represents an extensive, but not quite comprehensive collection of world languages. Each dot represents one. White dots are languages that do not include gendered pronouns. No “he” or “she.” Just a gender neutral word that means person.
The colored dots refer to languages with gendered pronouns, but there are more than one kind, as indicated by the Values key. The number on the right, further, indicates how many languages fit into each group. Notice that the majority of languages represented here (57%) DO NOT have gendered pronouns.
The map at the site is interactive. Go there to click on those dots and explore.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Image credit: “Make Me a Sammich”
Recently, the National Women’s Political Caucus announced that the organization would present a “Good Guy Award” to the infamous faux feminist Charles Clymer, who used to run the “fastest-growing feminist page on Facebook,” Equality for Women. The NWPC’s press release reads, “We salute men who stand up for women’s rights, especially men like Charles who are so vocal about feminism…. We are excited to celebrate him as a Good Guy at the EMMAs in October.’”
The existence of the Good Guy Award is of a piece with the relentless impulse to center men in all things, including feminism. Last month the White House unveiled the It’s On Us campaign to carve out space for men to fight rape. (Were men lacking space before?) Around the same time, Emma Watson in her #HeForShe speech formally extended an offer to invite men into the gender inequity fight because it hurts them too. (In decades of activism, had we just forgotten to ask them to join us?) Just last week, Iceland announced a “men only” conference on women. (Because what the world really needs is one more space where women are excluded from decisions made about, on behalf of, and impacting us.) Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous summed up my feelings: “Telling men that they should care about gender inequality because of how much it hurts them, centralizes men and their well-being in a movement built by women for our survival in a world that degrades and dehumanizes us daily.”
Charles Clymer is most decidedly not a Good Guy. The evidence isn’t hard to find. Multiple female moderators of the now-defunct Equality for Women page reported that Clymer regularly lashed out at them, violently. One woman, who asked that male moderators of the page “remain aware of the fact that authority over women is a male privilege, and that male allies should be very careful about not turning themselves into the ‘voice of feminism,’” received this response from Clymer: “Here’s a good question: what the fuck have you done for women’s rights, lately, other than troll the page I created? …Please accept my invitation of hide-and-go-fuck-yourself.”
Fed up, victims of Clymer’s abuse and their allies took to Twitter in the #StopClymer hashtag several months ago. Others circulated a petition, asking The Huffington Post to drop him as a freelance blogger.
If the NWPC read enough about Clymer to decide to give him the Good Guy Award in the first place, they also inevitably must have read enough to know that they shouldn’t.
What I find most upsetting is that the NWPC should know better. Theirs is an organization devoted to boosting women’s participation in politics, which means they must understand, on some level, sexism and misogyny. They’re feminists, part of the fam, so to speak. And yet still they decided to support and reward this man—a slap in the face not only to his victims but to all of us who have been in the trenches fighting alongside them.
Of course, this isn’t the first time (or the last) that abusers have been embraced in feminist communities. On my friend’s campus, the local student anti-rape group continues to allow an abuser to remain an active member, thereby preventing the abuser’s victims from participating in what should be a space for them. At a nearby college, a perpetrator received school funding to create an exhibit on campus anti-rape activism, despite the fact that the college’s women’s center (and Title IX coordinator) had received reports that this individual had assaulted multiple younger students. These perpetrators’ positions as very visible activists and feminists—the campus hero, the Good Guy—have not only allowed them to avoid suspicion and seek out new victims but also have made it that much harder for their victims to come forward at all.
Why do we allow abusers to remain in our activist spaces? Why is it that we give them awards, funding dollars, and platforms from which to access more victims? Why don’t we seek to hold them accountable like we would anyone else (recognizing that accountability can look like expelling a perpetrator from a community altogether, or engaging with them in transformative work, or something else entirely)? We’re the organizers on the ground fighting violence—in every community but our own. Why is it that the politics we practice in our work don’t seem to make it into our personal lives?
Sometimes it’s a question of protecting survivors, fearful of their powerful abusers, who don’t want to come forward or be outed as such. Other times it’s a matter of protecting ourselves, recognizing that it’s not always safe to come forward, that it can be more dangerous for some of us to speak out than others.
But more often I wonder if there’s something else at work—an exhaustion, perhaps, that keeps us silent and complicit (are there only so many battles we can fight?). Or a nagging fear of acknowledging that our communities—our support spaces, our organizing groups, our people—could be infected with the same misogyny we spend our days fighting everywhere else. A fear that patriarchy exists in the bodies of those we know and love, in the allies, the activists, the Good Guys. A recognition, painful perhaps, that survivors and perpetrators don’t split neatly along a binary, the one all angelic and good, the other evil and bad. That violence is much closer to home, that it has the face of a friend, the name of a fellow fighter.
Alexandra once wrote that, to end violence, we “have to disrupt the whole body, and though all men can help, most won’t want to.” Change won’t be palatable and easy. It’ll take persistent effort to stop fetishizing the concerns of men in feminism, to stop congratulating them for meeting a bar we’ve set so low. It will be painful to acknowledge the proximity of violence, the presence of patriarchy in the bones of our brothers and in the faces of our friends. And it will hurt to recognize our own complicity, our endless excuses for the Good Guys, as such.
To end the violence will require nothing short of revolution. That revolution starts with us.
Here’s a doozy in the theme of the racial wealth gap: households headed by white people who dropped out of high school have greater assets than those headed by blacks and Latinos with college degrees.
At Demos, where Matt Bruenig posted this graph, he writes:
The median white family with an education level below high school has a net worth of $51.3k, while the median black and hispanic family with a college degree has a net worth of $25.9k and $41k respectively.
You’re better off being a white high school dropout than a black or Latino college grad. Ouch.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
I wanna go on a donut tour
I heart donuts. What’s not to love about donuts?! Cakey or fluffy, raised, filled or even the cruller, I love them all! The boy and I escaped to Melbourne for the weekend where I plotted to hit all the donut places that I’d seen so much about on Instagram. There were spreadsheets involved. Google maps too. It was epic. So below are all the donut places we hit, in the order that I liked. Ready? LET’S GO!
Doughboys Doughnuts (The Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen St, Melbourne) is the winner and tops my list as the donuts are made with free range eggs from Gippsland and butter from Warrnambool, fried in batches and are hand dipped to order. They’re located just outside of the Queen Victoria Markets, look for the signs for Fancy Hank’s BBQ (but uh I would not recommend the BBQ…)
It’s kinda funny how they look like they’ve just set up shop randomly but they’ve got their donut making down to a science! Check out the display of what flavours are available for the day and pay at the register and salivate as they dip and top the donuts as you wait.
I’d chosen the Salted Caramel ($5.80), the Maple Bacon ($4.80) and the PBJ ($5.80) and they are all GLORIOUS. The salted caramel was my fave- rich, sweet with a hit of salt and a bit of crunch from the caramelised buckinis (google tells me it’s activated buckwheat hmm ohhkaay) followed ever so closely by the maple bacon with a light maple syrup icing and crunchy bacon pieces. Noods was enamoured by the PBJ with peanut butter and a boysenberry jam dip topped with roasted hazelnuts and walnuts. The boysenberry jam was sweet but the pb brought it down a notch.
It was a sunny day so we sat outside on the deck and the combination of fluffy donuts with a sneaky cider was just perfect and a memory I want to hold onto until someone opens a licensed donut store in Syd :P While paying more than $5 a donut did sting a little, they were pretty damn awesome donuts. Donuts that I will have dreams about.
Shortstop Coffee & Donuts (12 Sutherland St, Melbourne) is second only by a whisker, mainly because they sell out of donuts super early and it takes a LOT of effort to roll out of bed early enough to tram over and queue for donuts. Hey it’s the holidays! I value my sleep!
This is the sight that greeted us when we arrived just past 10am. THE SIGHT OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND BROKEN DREAMS. I mean yes, we could have pre ordered but the minimum order was 9 donuts and I wasn’t about to spend 45 smackeroonies on donuts when I had an epic donut list to get through.
Luckily they did have a couple left of the Banana and Chocolate Hazelnut ($4.50) and the Red Velvet ($4.50). I had my heart set on other flavours but wasn’t willing to leave without trying something and I’m glad we did because the banana & chocolate hazelnut was da bomb! I’m a sucker for hazelnuts and this combination just worked, the banana taste was exactly like fresh bananas and not the nasty lolly that I just can’t abide. The red velvet is definitely for the sweet tooths out there and probably not the best first thing in the morning lol oh and sidenote they only do two types of coffee: black or white.
We were almost done eating when we saw a guy pick up his pre ordered boxes of donuts. That’s right, boxes. The dude had at least 6 boxes! Anyways one of the boxes was incorrect so the staff put the contents of the box back on display and my brain freaked out because behold, the Peanut Butter and Jam ($5) and the Apple, Bacon, Honey & Thyme ($5)!!! That bacon one? INSANE. I loved that the icing was apple instead of the usual maple so it wasn’t mega sweet and the bacon bits were super crunchy. Couldn’t detect much thyme flavour which was good for me because I have issues with thyme. And the pb&j was cray cray, the donut was fluffy and light, filled with house made jam and dunked into a chunky peanut butter glaze.
Tivoli Road Bakery (3 Tivoli Rd, South Yarra), formerly MoVida Bakery was pretty incredible. The bakery had a gorgeous fitout with freshly baked bread lining the shelves and all manner of delicious treats under the glass cabinets. But I was here for one thing: DONUTS! We’d visited on the first day of our Melb trip but got there too late but I was determined to visit and managed to convince our cabbie to swing by on the way to the airport :D
One of each please! Salted Caramel, Lemon Curd, and Roché ($5 each). The donuts here are worthy of the hype, fried dough pillows of happiness they were! The salted caramel was amazing as expected (because really how can you go wrong with salted caramel) but it was the lemon curd donut that blew my mind. It was zingy and zesty and set the tastebuds alive and wanting more. The roché was good, chocolatey and tasty but not really as amazing as the other two.
Candied Bakery (81A Hudsons Rd, Spotswood) is dubbed the Australian bakery with an American twist. There’s lamingtons aplenty, stacks of giant cookies and of course donuts! On offer that day was a jam donut but I only had eyes for the special- THE S’MORE DONUT!
This S’more Donut ($3.80) was everything I’d hoped for and more! The donut itself was light and fluffy with pockets of rich chocolate, smothered in toasted marshmallow and topped with crunchy graham crumbs. Yes it was sweet and bordering on cloying but well, it’s a s’more!
Next stop: Cobb Lane Bakery (13 Anderson St, Yarraville), a tiny 16 seater cafe in a suburban area out west. There’s giant loaves of fresh bread and baguettes, coffee a-brewing and a dine in menu buuut we’re here for the donuts! The Salted Caramel ($4.50) is a must order, the caramel is darker with an incredible richness and leaves me beaming through the sugar crystals all over my face.
The Peanut Butter and Blackcurrent Jelly ($4.50) isn’t as epic as the Salted Caramel and feels a tad on the oily side possibly because of the uber creamy peanut butter filling. The blackcurrent jelly does help to cut the richness but yeah the salted caramel donut wins.
The American Doughnut Kitchen (Queen St, Queen Victoria Market Melbourne) is a bit of an institution, pumping out hot jam doughnuts since 1950. After wandering through the markets picking up cheeses and cured meats to snack on we always end up here to ogle the glorious donut making process right before our eyes.
Jam Donuts (80c each) are always piping hot with a generous coating of sugar and filling of sweet jam. Normally we would buy 5 for $5.50 but Noods was suffering from donut overload and refused to let me buy more. Party pooper.
Walker’s Doughnuts (26/2 Elizabeth St, Melbourne) is another place I always visit whenever I’m in Melbs, not so much for their donuts but for their half pound chocolate eclair stuffed with whipped cream. One for the attack of the late night munchies with a side of Lord of the Fries :P
Olympic Doughnuts (51 Irving St, Footscray) is a bit out of the way in the burbs and gone are the days of their iconic ramshackle caravan and instead is a boring grey box. But the iconic dolphin pumping jam into the donuts is still there!
The Jam Donuts (80c each) are a little misshapen but are fresh from the fryer. The sugar coating on the donuts were a bit sparse and I wasn’t really a fan of the jam filling as I found it a bit too runny and with a weird artificial taste. But eh it’s a donut.
Aaaaand that’s all folks! The end of my epic donut eats. I hope Sydney follows suit and opens up some donut stores soon! If you guys know of any more donut places to hit in Melb or know of any good ones in Syd hit me up in the comments!
Fatu Kekula (Photo credit: John Bonifield/CNN)
This is what resilience looks like. Fatu Kekula is a 22-year-old Liberian nurse-in-training who saved three out of four relatives who were struck by the Ebola virus. Unable to get them treatment at a hospital, Kekula spent two weeks caring for her father, mother, sister, and cousin on her own. Without any professional protective gear, she improvised her own system using trash bags and successfully avoided becoming infected herself.
CNN reports that “international aid workers heard about Fatu’s ‘trash bag method’ and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can’t get into hospitals and don’t have protective gear of their own.” As UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe said, “Essentially this is a tale of how communities are doing things for themselves. Our approach is to listen and work with communities and help them do the best they can with what they have.”
Her father says of the daughter who saved his life: “I’m sure she’ll be a great giant of Liberia.” No doubt.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.
When an email begins with “I’m a somewhat-camera-shy father to a baby boy named Fox..” I knew this shoot wasn’t going to be my every day family shoot. Disappoint it did not!
Fox is every bit as cool as his name, and every bit as cheeky & cute as his nickname of Weasel. Yes the Fox is also called Weasel, can’t wait for baby #2
So.. Fox kicked off the day by NOT napping for mum and dad, REBEL! but it’s ok we perked him right up with his, well documented, first taste of ice cream! And possibly first taste of coffee?? We don’t know!
Plenty of laughs balanced out with adorable moments. This little charmer I could photograph all day, even without his nap he was all smiles and cute giggles. My world is a happier place for meeting this gorgeous family, thank you for inviting me to capture Fox before he “turns into a non-photogenic monsterchild before his first birthday”, yes my email correspondence with Dad was just as hilarious as the morning at the park itself.
When I was in grad school studying sociology of agriculture, one thing we talked about was organic agriculture and the difference between “organic” and “sustainable.” Most consumers think of these words interchangeably. So, when many people think of an organic dairy farm they imagine something along the lines of these images, the top results for an image search of “organic dairy farm”:
So happy! So content! And, we assume, raised on a small family farm in a way that is humane and environmentally responsible. Those, are, after all, two of the things we expect when something is defined as “sustainable”: it is environmentally benign and humane. We also usually assume that workers would be treated decently as well.
But there is no reason that those elements considered essential to sustainability have to have much to do with organic agriculture. Depending on who is doing the defining, being “organic” can involve very little difference from conventional agriculture. Having an organic dairy mostly just requires that the cows not have antibiotics or homones used on them, eat organic feed, and have access to grass a certain number of days per year. In and of itself, organic certifications don’t guarantee long-term environmental sustainability or overall humane treatment of livestock.
A great illustration of how little the modes of production on organic farms may differ from conventional agriculture is the Vander Eyk dairy. It is an operation in California with over 10,000 dairy cows. Here are some images (found here and here):
As the caption to the last image makes clear, the Vander Eyk dairy had two herds on the same property, but segregated from one another: the majority of the herd produced conventional milk, while 3,500 cows produced organic milk for sale under the Horizon brand:
In 2007 the Vander Eyk dairy lost its organic certification for violating the requirement that organic dairy cows spend a certain amount of time on pasture. They had cows on pasture, but they were non-milking heifers, not cows that were being milked at the time. What we see here is that the label “organic” doesn’t guarantee most of the things we associate with the idea of organic or sustainable agriculture (and in cases like Vander Eyk, may not even guarantee the things the label is supposed to cover).
This isn’t just in the dairy industry. As Julie Guthman explains in her book Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California, many types of organic agriculture include things you might not expect. For instance, organic producers in California joined with other producers to oppose making the short-handled hoe illegal – the bane of agricultural workers everywhere (and most infamously associated with sharecropping in the South in the early 20th century) – because they want workers to do lots of close weeding to make up for not spraying crops with pesticides. So, though we often assume organic farmers would be labor-friendly, in that case they opposed a change that agricultural workers supported.
Many organic crops are grown on farms that are the equivalent of the Vander Eyk dairy; most of the land is in conventional production, but a certain number of acres are used to grow organic versions of the same thing. Often the producer, which may be an individual farmer or a corporation such as Dole, isn’t very committed to organics; if a pest infestation threatens to ruin a crop, they’ll just spray it and then sell it on the conventional market rather than lose it. They may then have to have the land re-certified as “in transition,” meaning it hasn’t been pesticide-free long enough to be declared completely organic, but many consumers don’t pay too much attention to such distinctions.
The Vander Eyk dairy — and lots more examples of large containment-facility operations selling to Horizon and other brands at the Cornucopia Institute’s photo gallery – are interesting examples of how terms like “organic,” “green,” and “eco-friendly” don’t necessarily mean that the item is produced according to any of the standards we often assume they imply.
Originally posted in 2009.Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
(Illustration credit: iMediaEthics)
Sixty US veterans from the Truman National Security Project have written an open letter to Fox News’ Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld over their oh-so-funny jokes about Major Mariam Al Mansouri, the female UAE pilot who led airstrikes in Syria.
”[B]efore you jump to the standby excuse that you were ‘just making a joke’ or ‘having a laugh,’ let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase ‘boys will be boys’—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow servicemember; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.”
Bolling has apologized for his ”boobs on the ground” comment, while Gutfeld maintains that his crack about how Major Al Mansouri can’t park the jet was just “misinterpreted” (and he thinks she’s awesome for “blowing up those heathens” because, oh my god, that’s something that they actually say on Fox News.) You see, he makes “very hacky jokes knowing they are hacky” and that’s what makes them funny, in case you haven’t heard that justification approximately one million times before.
Maya sometimes forgets Fox News exists and then gets depressed all over again.
From the opinion:
“Model Mayhem is a networking website, found at modelmayhem.com, for people in the modeling industry. Plaintiff Jane Doe, an aspiring model who posted information about herself on the website, alleges that two rapists used the website to lure her to a fake audition, where they drugged her, raped her, and recorded her for a pornographic video. She also alleges that Defendant Internet Brands, the company that owns the website, knew about the rapists but did not warn her or the website’s other users. She filed an action against Internet Brands alleging liability for negligence under California law based on that failure to warn. The district court dismissed the action on the ground that her claim was barred by the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), 47 U.S.C. § 230(c) (2012). We conclude that the CDA does not bar the claim. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.”
Read the full opinion here.
One press account notes:
…Summarizing that history for a three-judge appellate panel Wednesday, Judge Richard Clifton noted that the law generally “protects websites from liability for material posted on the website by someone else,” In reviving the case of an aspiring model named in the court record only as Jane Doe, however, Clifton noted that her “claim is different.”
Doe sued Internet Brands Inc. dba ModelMayhem.com in Los Angeles for negligent failure to warn.
She said the company knew but failed to warn users that two men, Lavont Flanders and Emerson Callum, would scan the website to lure victims to the Miami area for bogus modeling auditions, then drug them, rape them and film it to make a porno.
The 9th Circuit found Section 230(c)1 inapplicable Wednesday because Doe does not seek to hold Internet Brands liable as the publisher “of content someone posted on the Model Mayhem website, or for internet Brands’ failure to remove content posted on the website.”
“Flanders and Callum are not alleged to have posted on the website,” the decision continues. Doe instead alleges only that her attackers contacted her through the site by using a fake identity. She seeks to hold the company liable for failing to warn her about how the men used the website to lure in rape victims.
“The duty to warn allegedly imposed by California law would not require Internet Brands to remove any user content or otherwise affect how it publishes such content,” Clifton wrote. “Any obligation to work could have been satisfied without changes to the content posted by the website’s users.”
The company “would simply have been required to give a warning to Model Mayhem users, perhaps by posting a notice on the website or by informing users by email what it knew about the activities of Flanders and Callum,” he added.
“Barring Jane Doe’s failure to warn claim would stretch the CDA beyond its narrow language and its purpose,” the 13-page ruling continues. “To be sure, Internet Bands acted as the ‘publisher or speaker’ of user content.”
The judges also emphasized that the company has “specifically denied substantially all of the allegations, including that the assailants contacted plaintiffs through the website.” …
Source: Here, at Maclean’s.
In 2009, Benoit Denizet-Lewis wrote in the New York Times that youth were coming out as gay, bisexual, and lesbian at increasingly early ages. Coming out in middle school, though, often prompted parents to ask the classic question: “But how do you know you’re gay?”
The equally classic response to this question is, “Well, how do you know you’re not?” The response is meant to bring questioners’ attention to the invisible norm: heterosexuality. It’s a sexual orientation, too, and if a person must somehow determine that they are gay, then the same must be true of heterosexuality.
Of course, most heterosexuals simply respond: “I always knew.” At which point the gay or bisexual person just nods smugly. It’s very effective.
In any case, I was reminded of this when I came across a Buzzfeed collection of “painfully funny secrets” children think they’re hiding from their parents. A few of them were romantic or sexual secrets kept by four-, five- and six-year-olds.
I’m not saying that any of these secrets actually mean anything about these children’s sexual orientation, but they might. The first crush I can remember was in 2nd grade. His name was Brian and we cleaned up the teacher’s classroom after school in exchange for stickers. I never looked directly at him, nor him at me, but he was soooooo cuuuuuuuute!
Anyway, it’s interesting to me that parents have a difficult time believing that their children might have a pretty good idea who they like. The signs of their sexual and romantic interests start early. Then again, if parents are looking for signs that their children develop crushes on the other sex, it’s likely easier for them to see. The invisibility of heterosexuality as a sexual orientation can make it, paradoxically, impossible to miss. While the non-normativeness of homo- and bisexuality can make these orientations invisible.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Last year, the Department of Education opened an investigation of the University of Chicago after a complaint alleged that gender-based violence and harassment were rampant on campus, and that the University was doing little to stop it. Yesterday a group calling itself the UChicago Electronic Army (UEA) provided a good case in point. The UEA hacked the University of Chicago MODA fashion website in order to send a threatening message to campus survivors, activists, and allies:
UEA’s message, which is no longer online, was a response to the release of the Hyde Park List. As Dana reported on Monday, “concerned citizens” posted the names of several “people known to commit varying levels of gender-based violence” at the school. (After initially being removed by Tumblr, the site was back up for a time yesterday but is down again now. Based on a spokesperson’s statement to Jezebel, it seems the university asked the organizers behind it to remove it.) Singling out the activist they believed to be responsible for the list, UEA claimed to be keeping the “community safe from people who publicly accuse other people of committing varying levels of gender-based violence without any proof whatsoever.” Because nothing just screams “innocent” like using intimidation and, um, actual rape threats to silence survivors who speak out.
I personally can think of no better case for naming and shaming than UEA’s reaction to the list. Although more and more brave survivors–on campus and off–are coming forward to tell their stories these days, we still have a tendency to speak of gendered violence in the passive voice. We hear from “survivors” and learn what they survived but only rarely know who exactly inflicted that violence. We increasingly know the faces of “abused women” but not those of their abusers. We talk so damn much about the 1 in 5 women raped during their lifetimes. But they weren’t raped by some abstract “rape culture”–they were raped by actual individual people. Some of these people made one mistake, but, research shows that many of them go on to commit the same abuse again and again.
The fact that the perpetrators of gendered violence so often remain nameless allows us to indulge in the comforting myth that they are “other people,” monsters that we don’t know. They’re not. They’re our family members and our friends. And, too often, they remain our friends. As Alexandra has written before, serial offenders are often well-known in college communities–after all, you hardly need an official “rapist list” to spread the word on smaller campuses–but still are only rarely socially ostracized. I think the discomfort many feel about efforts like the Hyde Park List likely stems in part from a nagging fear that someone we love could end up on such list. But that’s exactly why naming names is so important–as long as it’s easy to look away, we’ll never really and truly grapple with the fact that gendered violence is a cancer, not a contained infection, in our communities.
And it’s also important because it exposes the lie that “everyone” agrees that gendered violence is a bad thing that “no one” condones. In fact, as UEA’s hostile response shows, there are people–actual individual people–who are deeply threatened by the idea that rapists and abusers should face consequences for their actions.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.
In the wake of giving a very mild speech about feminism and men’s role in it at the United Nations, Harry Potter actress Emma Watson found herself threatened by the 4chan messageboard with a release of nude photos supposedly hacked from her computer. But the countdown clock website at the center of this mess, entitled “Emma You Are Next,” had a surprise for everyone when it hit zero: the whole thing was, apparently, a hoax by a marketing firm called Rantic. Confusion proliferated: was the entire thing made up? Were the comments on 4chan fake? How deep did the rabbit hole go? Who or what was Rantic? Indeed, the website itself seemed to furnish an answer.
As of this writing, it now displays a strongly worded letter to the President Barack Obama, enjoining him and the world at large to “#shutdown4chan,” claiming the “Emma You Are Next” clock was a hoax meant to draw attention to 4chan’s criminal leaks of celebrity nude photos. It’s endorsed by Rantic CEO Brad Cockingham. Yes, really. The letter even says the hacking is a “clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored.” Curiouser and curiouser.
In truth, it’s a matryoshka hoax, you might say. Rantic itself isn’t real, and this fake campaign to shut down 4chan is but another attention-grabbing stunt wrapped in the previous one. According to Business Insider:
“Rantic Marketing is a fake company run by a gang of prolific internet spammers used to quickly capitalize on internet trends for page views. The group goes by a variety of different names. Collectively, they’re known as SocialVEVO, but as the Daily Dot reports, their names are alleged to include Jacob Povolotski, Yasha Swag, Swenzy, and Joey B. The only known video footage of the group is a rap song about pickles that they used dubious spam techniques to make incredibly popular.”
And so it goes.
In the wise words of Sean O’Neal at the AV Club, “Everyone on the Internet needs a time out.” But I tend to be the stubborn sort who tries her damndest to pull silver linings from the messiest, trolliest of cyber-vomit clouds, so let’s give it a shot.
One thing that can be taken away from all this is that threats are “real” to their targets even if they turn out to be hoaxes. After all, we can understand that a threat to kill someone can have a terrible psychic impact on the target even if the person making the threats has no intention of making good on them. It is precisely the Schrodingerian quality of not knowing that makes these things so torturous.
Threats of this particular kind—attacking Emma Watson because she gave a feminist speech—also have a terroristic effect on any woman in a similar position. Being threatened for speaking out as a feminist is neither new, nor rare, and events that target a celebrity in this way have the effect of scaring thousands or millions more. They serve as constant reminders to women, in particular, that speaking one’s mind in public is to incur the wrath of mob justice.
The internet makes crowdsourcing such attacks easier than ever; the buy-in for mobbing is lower than it’s been at any point in history, and the threat made against Watson was entirely believable because of how 4chan has been at the center of mass sexist campaigns like GamerGate and the leaking of other celebrity nude phots. The hoax would not have gained traction without the faith and credit ensured by past events.
Being a public figure of any sort, regardless of one’s gender, carries a terrible price these days since we are all made to stand before the flaming open vents of social media as a condition of our work. Men and women alike have noticed that the internet is often a furnace of furious and often hateful personal invective lobbed up at anyone with a platform. But for women and feminists the threshhold for being attacked is much lower; it takes less exposure, less reach, less celebrity to be deemed worthy of hate-mobbing. Sometimes the biggest targets are women few people had ever heard of prior to the harassment campaigns against them. I’ve watched friends who are only well known in very narrow activist circles get struck by waves of directionless harassment that come from nowhere and everywhere at once.
One poster on 4chan’s /pol/ board wrote, according to Jezebel,
“4chan holds Emma in high esteem, and while most of us would fap like crazy to real nudes, it’s not us hacking the cloud.
Thanks for listening. Oh, if by some rare fluke Emma Watson is reading this – many on 4chan respect what you’re doing as a moderate, balanced feminist and we don’t hate you like we hate the SJW’s”
No one person can truly speak for a hivemind, naturally, but it is not hard to find similar sentiments sprinkled across the internet: online denizens setting themselves up as arbiters of who is the right kind of respectable woman and/or feminist, and who is not. The implication, of course, is that for those who do not pass the test all the layers of Hell await. But as I said, no one person can speak for a hivemind, and in a society that holds women to such impossible standards, some group, somewhere will find us wanting, even if others praise us for our supposed moderation.
I myself was praised by some disingenuous people as the “right kind” of feminist because of my stance on what’s been dubbed “toxic activism.” I did indeed break with orthodoxy to challenge shibboleths like the absolute application of “the tone argument” or concepts like “intent isn’t magic,” and some outsiders and even anti-feminists seemed pleased with me for this, though I was certainly not seeking their approval. Perhaps most infamously to some, I even won the approbation of feminist writer Michelle Goldberg, who proceeded to use my words and those of other women of colour to frame an article scapegoating black women on Twitter for the toxicity we had described.
A few months later, however, and I now find myself on the other side of the line again, deemed a “social justice warrior” by angry young men in the gaming community who are currently trying to bully outspoken feminist and queer writers out of the world of video game criticism and journalism. Suddenly I am once again the evil radical who needs to be punished by the merciless will of the mob.
The “high esteem” the anonymous 4channer alludes to is a fleeting thing indeed.
I’ve often called this kind of cyber mobbing “the monster with a thousand faces,” for it does act as a thoughtless mass of Lovecraftian proportions and horrors whose will and reasoning seem nearly inscrutable to the rest of us. It is a constant companion to women online—and our allies as well; men will find themselves beset by similar horrors if they speak up in defence of women, especially those deemed by that 4chan mentality to not be worthy of “high esteem.” Disapproval does not earn you disagreement; instead, it yearns for your very destruction.
It is what made the “Emma You Are Next” countdown so believable. Meanwhile, petty abuse from that thousand-faced monster carries on against many people you have never heard of, with no headlines to mark its occurrence. This specific countdown was a hoax; the culture that created it is all too real.
This place smells rad as hell
Maru is going to be at the cat film festival!!
In the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China lives a small ethnic group called the Mosuo. Among the Mosuo, romantic and family life are separated into different spheres by design. Children are usually raised in the home of their maternal grandmother with the help of their mother. She may maintain a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship with the father but, unlike in the West, this is considered separate from her role as a mother.
The role of the biological father is discretionary. There is no word in their language, in fact, for husband or father. A father is allowed, but not required to provide financial support and he is usually permitted to visit the mother and their child(ren) only at night. They call it “Axia” or “Walking Marriage.” The children’s primary male role models are usually their uncles, who remain under the authority of the children’s grandmother as they live under her roof.
A 78-year-old grandmother with her family (from Gender Across Borders):
From the Mosuo point of view, separating marriage from the raising of children ensures that the vagaries of romance do not disrupt the happiness and health of the child and its mother. Nor can the father wield power over the mother by threatening to withdraw from the marriage. Meanwhile, because the family of origin is never eclipsed by a procreative family, the Mosuo system reduces the likelihood that elders will be abandoned by their families when they need support in old age.
“Think about it,” writes an expert at Mosuo Project.
Divorce is a non-issue…there are no questions over child custody (the child belongs to the mother’s family), splitting of property (property is never shared), etc. If a parent dies, there is still a large extended family to provide care.
This way of organizing families is an excellent refutation of the hegemonic view that children need the biological father to live under their roof (and by implication, to be their patriarch). You can learn more about the Mosuo in the documentaries The Women’s Kingdom and The Mosuo Sisters.
Dr. Jonathan Harrison earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Leicester, UK. His research interests include the Holocaust, comparative religion, racism, and the history of African Americans in Florida. He teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University and Hodges University.
Man and Woman
by ALEX CARNEVALE
Camille Claudel was only 18 when she met the greatest sculptor who ever lived. Auguste Rodin was 24 years her elder, and it was the first time she had ever been to Paris.
As a means of attracting students, Rodin visited a group of young artists at the rue Notre Dame des Champs. At the time, he could barely make his rent, and often had to beg his contracted students to pay their bills. Under Rodin's instruction Camille excelled as both a model and an artist. He was especially attracted to her limbs; casts of hands and feet were often the first things he showed his apprentices. He began consulting his new muse about every aspect of his work. The two would go on to collaborate on a number of projects that would bear Rodin's name alone.
By 1885 Rodin was completely obsessed with his young assistant: her feminine form, her unfamiliar accent, the mere scent of her. Initially, their affair was kept quiet, as Rodin continued his 20-year relationship with a woman who he also sculpted, Rose Beuret. Several biographies of Rodin exclude Camille altogether; one calls her "la belle artiste." She still lived with her parents, and her lack of accessibility was a major part of her charm for the older man.
Rodin was a help and a hindrance in Camille's quest to finding herself as a young woman. In a questionnaire offered in a playful journal titled "An Album of Confessions to Record Thoughts, Feelings, Etc", she wrote the following:
Your favorite virtue I don't have any, they are all boring.
Your favorite qualities in a man To obey his wife
Your favorite qualities in a woman To make her husband fret
Your favorite occupation To do nothing
Your chief characteristic Caprice and inconstancy
Your idea of happiness To marry general Boulanger
Your idea of misery To be the mother of many children
Your favorite color and flower The most changing color and the flower which does not change
If not yourself, who would you be? A hackney horse in Paris
Your favorite poet One who does not write verses
Your favorite painters and composers Myself
Your favorite heroes in real life Pranzini or Truppman
Your favorite heroines in real life Louise Michel
Your favorite heroes in fiction Richard III
Your favorite heroines in fiction Lady Macbeth
Your favorite food and drink De la cuisine de Merlatti (love and fresh water)
Your favorite names Abdonide, Josephyr, Alphee, Boulang
Your pet aversion Maids, hackney drivers, and models
What characters in history do you most dislike? They are all disagreeable.
What is your present state of mind? It is too difficult to tell.
For what faults have you most tolerance? I tolerate all my faults but not at all other people's
Your favorite motto. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The first time Camille left their cozy arrangement in Paris was a vacation to the Isle of Wight with her best friend. Free of her life in Paris and her intrusive family, she was on her own for the first time. She told her friends, "I have never had so much fun in my entire life."
Left to his own devices, Rodin was lovesick and upset, and he did not find his girlfriend's letters at all reassuring. He told her, "Don't let me be hurt like this by waiting too long." Their principal disagreement was over other women - Rodin's obsession with the female gender was all consuming. His friend Octave Mirbeau once said of him that "he could do anything, even a crime, for a woman." Once at a dinner with Monet he stared so forcefully at his host's daughters that they all left the table.
Unfortunately for Rodin, Camille decided to postpone her return to present one of her sculptures in Nottingham. She wrote him a savage letter that began, "You can believe I am not very happy here; it seems that I am so far away from you. There is always something missing tormenting me." This kind of behavior naturally only intensified Rodin's desire for her. In one of his typical lovesick letters, he wrote,
My poor head is very sick, and I can't get up any more this morning. Last night, I wandered (for hours) in our favorite places without finding you, how sweet death would be and how long is my agony. Why didn't you wait for me at the atelier? Where are you going? To what suffering have I been destined? During moments of amnesia, I suffer less, but today even the relentless pain remains. Camille my beloved in spite of everything, in spite of the madness which I feel impending and which will be your doing, if this continues. Why don't you believe me?
I abandon my Salon and sculpture. If I could go anywhere, to a country where I would forget, but there isn't any. Frankly, there are times when I believe I will forget you. But, in an instant, I feel your terrible power. Have pity, cruel girl. I can't go on, I can't spend another day without seeing you. Otherwise the atrocious madness. It is over, I don't work any more, malevolent goddess, and yet I love furiously.
My Camille be assured that I feel love for no other woman, and that my soul belongs to you.
I can't convince you and my arguments are powerless. You don't believe my suffering. I weep and you question it. I have not laughed in so long. I don't sing anymore everything is dull and indifferent to me. I am already a dead man and I don't understand the trouble I went through for things which are now indifferent to me. Let me see you every day; it will be a generous action and maybe I will get better, because you alone can save me through your kindness.
Today of course she would immediately post that on tumblr.
Mere expressions of love alone would not be enough to win Camille over. She was not involved enough to give herself over to a womanizer without some assurances. Eventually, Rodin was moved to draw up the following bizarre contract.
In the future and starting from today 12 October 1886, I will have for a student only Mademoiselle Camille Claudel and I will protect her alone through all the means I have at my disposal through my friends who will be hers especially through my influential friends.
I will accept no other students so that no other rival talent could be produced by chance, although I suppose that one rarely meets artists as naturally gifted.
At the exhibition, I will do everything I can for the placement and the newspapers.
Under no pretext will I go to Mme.... to whom I will not teach sculpture anymore. After the exhibition in May we will go to Italy and and will live there communally for at least six months of an indissouble liasion after which Mademoiselle Camille will be my wife. I will be very happy to offer a marble figurine if Mademoiselle Camille wishes to accept it within four or five months.
From now until May I will have no other woman otherwise the conditions of this contract are broken.
If my Chilean commission comes through, we will go to Chile instead of Italy.
I will take none of the models I have known.
We will have a photograph taken by Carjat in the outfit worn by Mademoiselle Camille at the Academie, day clothes and possibly evening clothes.
Mademoiselle Camille will stay in Paris until May.
Mademoiselle Camille promises to welcome me to her atelier four times a month until May.
After the contract was signed, the momentum of the relationship shifted. Having agreed to her master's wishes, he possessed all the power. Camille deeply feared Rodin taking other women into his bed, especially the models that posed for him. Things were further complicated by the fact that Beuret, the mother of Rodin's son, found out about his concubine and began to loathe Camille. In response, he moved his mistress into an apartment near the Eiffel Tower.
The affair slowly fell apart after that. The last straw was Claudel's miscarriage; paranoid about the promises her lover had broken, the next decade found her destroying her own artwork and tearing down the presumably yellow wallpaper of her apartment. Although doctors would argue she did not belong there, at her brother's request she would spend the last thirty years of her life in an asylum five miles from Avignon.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.
"I'm A Mother" - Perfume Genius (mp3)
"Fool" - Perfume Genius (mp3)
We gave this John Oliver segment on the Miss America Pagent a shout-out in the DFCS yesterday, but, goddamn, it deserves its own post. Feminist critiques of beauty pageants are certainly nothing new, of course, but Oliver’s absolute incredulity that Miss America is still a thing in 2014 is really charming and contagious.
Dispensing with the absurdity of an event in which a “fully clothed man stand[s] in front of a line of women in swimsuits awaiting judgement, he goes on to fact-check Miss America’s assertation that they provide $45 million in scholarship funds for women every year. It turns out that number is wildly misleading–and yet, sadly, the pagent’s claim to be the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women is actually accurate. Oliver helpfully shout-outs a few other women’s scholarship funds that do not require applicants to certify that they have never before been married or pregnant and then waltz around in a bikini in order to compete.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.
Splice ice blocks DO taste like Yakult
Women in the U.S. have made some monumental gains at work. We’re now at least half the labor force and more women today are middle- and upper- managers in corporate America. Even so, I wasn’t surprised to discover that women have not (yet) made similar inroads into high-level corporate crime.
Rather, it’s “business as usual” when it comes to who is responsible for orchestrating and carrying out major corporate frauds.
For the American Sociological Review, Darrell Steffensmeier, Michael Roche, and I studied accounting malpractices like security fraud, insider trading, and Ponzi schemes in America’s public companies to find out just how involved women were in these conspiracies. The Corporate Fraud Task Force indicted 436 individuals involved in 83 such schemes during July 2002 to 2009. We read and recorded information from indictments and other documents or reports that described who was involved and what they did.
I expected the share of women in corporate fraud to be low – definitely less than the near-half that are women among (low-profit) embezzlers arrested each year– like your bank teller or local non-profit treasurer. However, I was surprised that women corporate fraudsters were about as rare as female killers or robbers – less than 10% of those sorts of offenders. Of the 400+ indicted for corporate fraud, only 37 were women.
Most of these frauds were complex enough to require co-conspiracy over several years and a criminal division of labor. Often, women weren’t included at all in these groups. When they were, they were nearly always in the minority, often alone, and most typically played rather small roles.
The Enron conspiracy, for example, led to over 30 indictments; three were women and each played a minor role. The five women indicted among 19 in the HealthSouth fraud were in accounting-related positions and instructed by senior personnel to falsify financial books and create fictitious records. Martha Stewart, rather than criminal mastermind of an insider trading conspiracy, committed “one of the most ill-fated white-collar crimes ever” in which she saved just $46,000 after receiving a stock-tip second-hand from her broker.
Women were almost never the ringleader or even a major player in the fraud. Only one woman CEO led a fraud – the smallest fraud we studied – and two women with their husbands. One reason surely must be that women are not as often in positions to lead these schemes. However, even when we compared women and men in similar corporate positions, women were less likely to play leadership roles in the fraud. Is there a “glass ceiling” in the white-collar crime world?
What most surprised me, however, was how little the women benefited from their illicit involvement. The wage gap in illicit corporate enterprise may be larger than in the legitimate job market. Over half the women did not financially gain at all whereas half the men pocketed half a million dollars or more. The difference in illicit-gains persisted even if we compared women to their co-conspirators. Males profited much more. Women identified “gains” such as keeping one’s job.
Even when women are in the positions to orchestrate these frauds, it’s likely that the men who initiate these conspiracies prefer to bypass women, involving them in minor roles when need dictates or when trust develops through a close personal relationship. And women hardly initiated any schemes. Women business leaders tend to be more risk-averse and apt to stress social responsibility and equity, perhaps making corporate fraud unlikely.
So, would having more female leaders reduce corporate crime? We don’t know, but we think it’s likely. Women executives tend to make more ethical decisions, avoid excessive risk-taking, and create corporate cultures unsupportive of illegal business practices. Time will tell if, on the other hand, women moving up the corporate ladder increasingly adopt a wheeler-dealer, “dominance at all costs” corporate ethic.
Some may be a little disappointed that women either cannot yet or do not exercise their power over others to illegally advance their business (and personal) interests as men have been doing for generations. There are moments when I catch myself “rooting” for a more successful pink-collar offender – and examples exist. However, when I consider the destruction and havoc wrought on the U.S. economy and so many peoples’ lives by these financial crimes, I am reminded that this is not the way in which I hope women wield power when business leadership roles are more equally shared.
This posts originally appeared at the Gender & Society blog.
Jennifer Schwartz, PhD, is an associate professor of sociology at Washington State University. Her research focuses on the gender and race demographics of criminal offenders, violence, and substance abuse.
This series of pictures is from a San Francisco Chronicle article about flash mobs, or “an international fad, partly anarchistic, partly absurdist, in which a mob of participants suddenly materializes at a public place, engages in odd behavior [like pillow or shaving cream fights] and then disperses.”
This last picture is of Martin Condol, one of the city workers brought it to clean up after the revelers. He is the only worker to be included in the photographs — appearing in two images of the 20 — despite the fact that the article was specifically about the problem and expense involved in cleaning up.
Though many of us see such workers in our everyday lives, they are very rarely made visible in news accounts of the world. Even when they’re relevant, news producers seem to prefer to show the faces of happy white people to those of the men and women whose hard work keeps cities, businesses, and families flourishing.
Originally posted in 2009.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Completely fed up with all dealing with misogynist, entitled customers, bartender Laura Ramadei decided to make an example of Brian Lederman, a Manhattan hedge-funder who responded to her inquiry about whether he and his friends needed anything else–you know, doing her job–by groping her butt and asking if he could take her “to go.”
Here’s an excerpt from her awesome open letter:
I deal with incredible amounts of entitlement, condescension, and drunk nonsense. And at a bar, it is impossible to ignore the fact that misogyny is alive and well. I can’t tell you how many times people have treated me horribly and I’ve memorized or photographed the names from their credit cards, fantasizing about internet revenge. But every time I’ve been tempted in the past (even after verbal attacks, physical affronts, or sexual harassment) I’ve stopped myself and let it go.
So congratulations, Brian! You’ve done it! You broke this tired ass camel’s back. And though this is obviously a public shaming, I truly don’t mean this as an attack. Maybe – just maybe – via the intimately connected internet world, my post will reach you, and you’ll learn something about how hurtful and upsetting a small comment or gesture might be. Or at the very least, maybe a Facebook passerby will read this and more deeply consider how they treat women, how they treat servers, and/or how they treat other people in general. And thank you. Without your inspiration I wouldn’t be quitting my job today, and endeavoring a better chapter of my life.
The New York Post reached out to Lederman for his response to Ramadei’s letter. Unsurprisingly, he takes umbrage at the accusation that he’s a sexist ass-groper. But not because he isn’t one–”I’ve grabbed plenty of girls’ asses in my life” he says. It’s just that he categorically denies grabbing Ramadei’s. As for the oh-so-hiiiiilarious joke, he proudly confirms it. (The full line was apparently: ”I would like you to go with nothing on it.”) In conclusion, he called Ramadei “that fucking cunt” and said he’d “make sure she doesn’t get another job in New York City.”
Because, as everyone knows, nothing helps your case when defending yourself from charges of sexism more than calling a woman a cunt.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.