Shared posts

16 Apr 15:43

Sexy vlogger Aydian Dowling could become first trans guy on the cover of Men’s Health

by Maya Dusenbery
Aydian DowlingTrans fitness vlogger and activist Aydian Dowling is currently leading in a landslide in Men’s Health’s “Ultimate Guy Search.” If he wins the contest — to find a guy who is “fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example” — he’d become the magazine’s first trans cover model. 

Dowling, who runs a trans clothing company and a bodybuilding YouTube channel geared toward trans people, told the Daily Beast, “It would be so life affirming to just know that the man that I set out to be is somebody that people think is a good man. To break those stereotypes, but still be a man. Feel pride in masculinity, but not putting down femininity. That would be so important to me.”

Whether you’re casting a vote for Dowling because it’d be awesome to have a trans guy on the cover of a mainstream men’s magazine or simply because of those ridiculous iliac crests, you may do so here.

 Header image via

15 Apr 17:14

Darband, Auburn for Persian Food

Fergus Noodle

I love how she's always hanging around Auburn

Darband in Auburn is a casual and simply outfitted Persian restaurant on Rawson Street in Auburn. The menu is filled with reasonably priced dishes from as low as $3 to the princely sum of $22 for a selection of juicy kebabs. The star here is undoubtedly the rice and there are two stand outs: a dill flecked rice with broad beans and a jewel-like celebration rice with saffron and barberries.
12 Apr 14:15

The Problem with Patriotism

by Lisa Wade, PhD

14By Tom Gauld.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

13 Apr 17:33

20 Dishes & 2 Hours Eating The Menu at Tim Ho Wan, Chatswood!

Tim Ho Wan, the famous Hong Kong dim sum restaurant has hit Sydney and if the queues are anything to go by, Sydney siders are already familiar with the Michelin starred chain and what it has to offer. Chatswood is the first branch in Australia to open and seats 100 people, all clamouring for a chance to try Chef Mak's signature barbecued pork bun or freshly made dim sum. But guess what? There's a way to avoid that queue and sink your teeth into a barbecued pork bun without waiting...
07 Apr 17:18

Tartine, Mascot for French Open Sandwiches & Lasagna Jaffles!

Fergus Noodle

LASAGNA JAFFLEESSSSSS

Mascot's Tartine serves up French style open sandwiches out of a charming and eclectically designed cafe on Gardener's Road. Former fine dining chef Anthony Telford and his partner Amy Kirchoff have designed a welcoming space with nothing on the menu above $10. Tartine toppings include Chicken, mayonnaise, fennel pollen, fat rocket on sourdough; shredded beef, crispy onions, gruyere, chives or pulled pork, parsley, chives with each batch of coleslaw freshly made.
30 Mar 04:22

Business Portraits Sydney

by Elise
Fergus Noodle

If anyone wants to do some portraits that represent their personal brand I'm down

I really don’t like the term “head shots”, to me it conjures up visuals of stiff bodies, forced smiles and boring white backdrops. That is why our time together to capture some relaxed “Business Portraits” will leave you excited to be receiving gorgeous promotional images that reflect your personality and your business. When used across your website and social media they will help you stand out above the rest.

Natsai Mutema

Business Portraits Sydney BOOK NOW!

 

 

The post Business Portraits Sydney appeared first on Le CoCo Portraits.

03 Apr 13:47

Race, Criminal Background, and Employment

by Gwen Sharp, PhD

Flashback Friday.

Having a criminal record negatively affects the likelihood of being considered for a job. Devah Pager conducted a matched-pair experiment in which she had male testers apply for the same entry-level jobs advertised in Milwaukee newspapers. She gave the assistants fake credentials that make them equivalent in terms of education, job experience, and so on. Half were Black and half White.

One tester from each pair was instructed to indicate that they had a past non-violent drug possession offense. Pager then collected data on how many of the applicants were called back for an interview after submitting their fake applications.

The results indicate that getting a job with a criminal record is difficult. Having even a non-violent drug offense had a significant impact on rates of callbacks:

Pager

What was surprising was that race actually turned out to be more significant than a criminal background. Notice that employers were more likely to call Whites with a criminal record (17% were offered an interview) than Blacks without a criminal record (14%). And while having a criminal background hurt all applicants’ chances of getting an interview, African Americans with a non-violent offense faced particularly dismal employment prospects. Imagine if the fake criminal offense had been for a property or violent crime?

In addition, according to Pager, employers seemed to expect that Black applicants might have a criminal record:

When people think of Black men they think of a criminal. It affects the way Black men are treated in the labor market. In fact, Black testers in our study were likely to be asked up front if they have a criminal record, while whites were rarely asked…

African American men face a double barrier:  higher rates of incarceration and racial discrimination.

Originally posted in 2009.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

03 Apr 17:22

Thai Pothong, Newtown

Fergus Noodle

NQN and I cannot be friends as Thai custard is the best!

Thai Pothong is somewhat of a rarity in Sydney's dining scene having being open for 20 years. Open in 1995 on busy King Street where there is no shortage of Thai restaurants, it serves classic Thai cuisine as well as having a gluten free and vegan menu. Popular dishes include betel leaf prawns, golden egg pastry tartlets, prawns choo chee, a range of cocktails and a large list of Thai sweets.
29 Mar 14:35

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015 [17]

by Susan Thye
Fergus Noodle

Packet scones from the CWA? Also sadly Webz and I missed the corgis, they were last Friday :(

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  ChocolateSuze cheese on a stick
I absolutely love the Royal Sydney Easter Show! It’s a nostalgia thing with childhood memories of fairy floss, the bright lights of the rides and the massive amounts of junk food consumed. The main reason that I go is that my most favourite food in the world can be found- deep fried cheese on a stick! Yes it’s bad for you but c’mon you’re at a carnival, how can you resist the call of fried foods on a stick?

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Deep fried cheese on a stick
Mmm cheesy :D At $5 a pop they’re not cheap but then again, it’s pretty much a given that everything here is pricey. Oh and you might as well get a lemonade ($5) too because walking around seeing stuff is mighty thirsty work!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  coke in a boot
Or you can get a soft drink in a ridiculous boot ($12).

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Corn
The usual suspects are back, like the corn stall where you can get juicy corn on cob slathered in butter and doused in salt & pepper plus the guarantee that you will get corn kernels stuck in your teeth no matter how carefully you gnaw away.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  strawberries
I didn’t eat here but I always love staring at how pretty in pink their stall is!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Twisted Fries
The music at Twisted Fries drove me batshit bananas while standing in the line! It’s the same let’s twist again song over and over and over and wow if I had to work there or in the general vicinity I would seriously invest in ear plugs. But hey their fries are pretty amazing, golden and crispy and just begging to be drowned in your sauce of choice.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  wood chopping
I had deliberately planned on going to the Easter Show on Saturday which was the day that everyone had to vote and we had also arrived just on 9am which meant- NO FRICKEN QUEUES! Seriously it was the best day ever! We got seats everywhere, there were barely any crowds which meant no rage issues! Past years I’ve barely seen the wood chopping because it’s always been too packed!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  pigs and piglets
Then we headed over to check out the cattle and were amused to see them being groomed with a vacuum cleaner, passed the alpacas and onto the pigs and their piglets.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Farmyard Nursery (entry via Food Farm)
The Farmyard Nursery (entry via Food Farm) was awesome and freaking massive! It was a little unnerving how all these animals were just roaming around looking for pats and a feed- you can buy cups of pet food for $1. There were baby lambs, goats, ducks, chicks, puppies and bunnies!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  ducklings
Nawww so fluffeh!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  hatching
What species is this? You breed raptors?? Lol my bad that’s a Jurassic Park reference :P

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Sydney Royal Horse Competition at the Spotless Stadium
Checked out the Sydney Royal Horse Competition at the Spotless Stadium.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Dinosaur Ice World in the Davidson Plaza
The Dinosaur Ice World in the Davidson Plaza was pretty fun esp for Noods who’s a bit of a dinosaur lover hehe there was a bit of queue to get in but the line moves fast and there’s an area where the kids can have a go at chipping away at a ‘fossil’.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Dinosaur Ice World in the Davidson Plaza
Life-sized Woolly Mammoth!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Sydney Royal Beer and Wine Garden
Break time! We were near the Sydney Royal Beer and Wine Garden and were going to do the beer tasting except we’d tried all the beers so settled for getting a glass or two from Matilda Bay.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Turkey legs at Bodean’Z’ BBQ Grill
The smell of meats drew us over to Bodean’Z’ BBQ Grill…

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  giant turkey leg ($12)
Behold! A giant turkey leg ($12)! Reminded me of Six Flags in LA! They also had pork hocks and those things were massive!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  oysters
Headed over to the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome and got a half dozen oysters which were plump juicy specimens.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  District Exhibits
After buying a whole lotta jerky and biltong we ogled the meticulously placed fruit and veg displays at the District Exhibits.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  District Exhibits
Seriously, these displays must takes ages to make!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Country Women’s Association Tearoom
And then onto the Country Women’s Association Tearoom where all the money raised by the volunteers at the CWA throughout the Show goes into rural and regional parts of Australia.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  CWA scones
The CWA scones ($5) are always so light and perfect! And then I find out later that they actually use packet mix and I felt my belief in the system shattering… Although to be fair to pump out that many scones to feed everyone is pretty insane. Edit: yes the volunteers use packet mix but apparently the CWA send their recipe to a supplier who pre-mixes the dry materials, which they bring in packets to the Show.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Lion Cake decorating
Not sure if this is a recent thing but fyi all the cake, jam and biscuit displays have moved to the Arts and Crafts Pavilion. How amazing is the detail on this one!?

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  showbags
Then off to the Showbag Hall where there seem to be an endless amount of Frozen, Home and Adventure Time bags available. I scored the Pacman bag because it came with an awesome towel woohoo!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Mega slide
Over on the games and rides side I was so fricken amused and impressed that someone has finally put a freaking ESCALATOR for the giant slide! No more trudging up the stairs like plebs!

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2015-  Clowns
Aaaand that’s it for another year! I will see you again my beloved cheese on a stick! The Sydney Royal Easter Show is held 26 March – 8 April 2015 at the Sydney Showground in Sydney Olympic Park. Get there early (gates open at 9am) to avoid the queues!

ChocolateSuze received complimentary entry tickets to the Sydney Royal Easter Show but paid for all food, rides and games.

30 Mar 14:35

Anita Sarkeesian and the Workings of Power

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

I saw her at All About Women and surprised at how small she was.

Sociologists are interested in the workings of power. How is inequality produced and sustained? What discursive and institutional forces uphold it? How are obvious injustices made invisible or legitimized? Why is it so hard to change hearts, minds, and societies?

How does all this work?

Earlier this month, a sliver of insight was posted. It’s a clip of a speech by Anita Sarkeesian in which she reveals what it’s like for one person to be the target of sustained, online harassment.

In 2009, Sarkeesian launched Feminist Frequency, a series of web logs in which she made feminist arguments about representation of women in pop culture. In 2012, she launched a kickstarter to fund an ambitious plan to analyze the representation of women in video games. This drew the attention of gamers who opposed her project on principle and thus began an onslaught of abuse: daily insults and threats of rape and murder, photoshop harassment, bomb threats, and a video game in which her face can be beaten bloody, just to mention a few examples. Last fall she canceled a speech at Utah State University because someone threatened to commit “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if she went on. It’s been brutal and it’s never stopped.

So, is this power at work? Has she been silenced? And has her larger project – awareness of sexism and misogyny in video games – been harmed?

I’m not sure.

As an individual, Sarkeesian has continued to speak out about the issue, but how she does so and with what frequency has been aggressively curtailed by the harassment. In the four-and-a-half minute clip, with the theme “What I Couldn’t Say,” she talks about how the harassment has changed how she engages with the public. I offer some tidbits below, but here’s the full clip:

She explains:

I rarely feel comfortable speaking spontaneously in public spaces, I’m intentional and careful about the  media interviews I do, I decline  most invitations to be on podcasts or web shows, I carefully consider the wording of every tweet to make sure it is clear and can’t be misconstrued. Over the last several years, I’ve become hypervigilant. My life, my words, and my actions are placed under a magnifying glass. Every day I see my words scrutinized, twisted, and distorted by thousands of men hell bent on destroying and silencing me.

How she gets her message across has been affected as well:

[I cant’ say] anything funny… I almost never make jokes anymore on YouTube… I don’t do it because viewers often interpret humor and sarcasm as ignorance… You would not believe how often jokes are taken as proof that I don’t know what I’m talking about… even when those jokes rely on a deep knowledge of the source material.

And she feels that, above all, she’s not allowed to talk about the harm that her harassers are doing:

I don’t’ get to publicly express sadness, or rage, or exhaustion, or anxiety, or depression… I don’t get to express feelings of fear or how tiring it is to be constantly vigilant of my physical and digital surroundings… In our society, women are not allowed to express feelings without being characterized as hysterical, erratic bitchy, highly emotional, or overly sensitive. Our experiences of insecurity, doubt, anger, or sadness are all policed and often used against us.

A youtube search for the video reveals a slew of anti-Sarkeesian responses were published within days.

——————–

Sarkeesian’s revelations put an inspiring human face on the sacrifice individuals make to fight-the-good-fight, but also reveal that, in some ways, her harassers are winning.

That said, their grotesque display of misogyny has raised Sarkeesian’s profile and drawn attention to and legitimized her project and her message. That original kickstarter? The original call was for $6,000. Her supporters donated almost $159,000. The feminist backlash to the misogynist backlash was swift and monied.

Ever since, the abuse she’s suffered as an individual has made the issue of both sexism in video games and online harassment more visible. Her pain may have been good for the visibility of the movement. I wonder, though, what message it sends to other women and men who want to pursue similar social justice initiatives. It is a cautionary tale that may dampen others’ willingness to fight.

The battle is real. The gamers who oppose Sarkeesian and what she stands for have succeeded in quieting, if not silencing her and have probably discouraged others from entering the fray. But Sarkeesian’s cause and the problem of gamer misogyny is more visible than ever. The fight goes on.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

24 Mar 17:29

Lions, Tigers and Bears at Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Canberra!

The newest attraction at Canberra's National Zoo is Jamala Wildlife Lodge, a unique and exhilarating accommodation experience where overnight guests get to stay in luxurious jungle bungalows with a difference. For just on the other side of the (thick) glass may be a tiger, lions, cheetahs or brown bears. It is a sought after experience for birthday groups and families with a waiting list of several weeks
28 Mar 13:03

Indo Rasa, Kingsford

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

Avocado juice with chocolate syrup

If you’ve always been unsure about what to order at an Indonesian restaurant, Indo Rasa is the perfect place to start figuring it out. The pictorial menu – that’s 61 shots spread over 11 pages – makes order-by-pointing a much more accurate exercise. In the uni student/cheap eats haven that is Kingsford, Indo Rasa is one of the fancier-looking restaurants on the strip. And by that we mean
28 Mar 14:33

A Quarter of College Students Think that Love Brainwashes Women

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

I don't even understand the question?!? I guess I'm brainwashed

According to a survey of 1,387 students in Sociology 101 classes at a large west coast university,  25.8% of college students “somewhat” or “strongly agree” that romantic love brainwashes women. Another 20% could be convinced.  Interestingly, the numbers were similar for men and women, though women were a bit more likely to agree.

8

Data from “Hey God, is that You in my underpants?” by Roger Friedland and Paolo Gardinali, published in Intimacies: A New World of Relational Life.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

27 Mar 14:10

Instagram bans photo for showing menstruation

by Alexandra Brodsky

What violates Instagram’s community guidelines? Periods, apparently. Instagram has an ugly history of policing bodies. Over the last year the social media site has come under fire for banning images of women’s pubic hair — even though, according to Mic, Instagram has tolerated men’s pubic hair.

This week, Instagram told visual and spoken word artist Rupi Kaur that her self-portrait violated the app’s community guidelines. Her crime? The photo, which you can see below, shows Kaur with a small period leak.

rupi kaur

 

The photo is gorgeous — but apparently periods, like women’s pubic hair, offends Instagram’s misogynist sense of propriety. In taking down Kaur’s photos, Instagram promotes a long tradition of shaming people who menstruate, most but not all of whom are women, as though their bodies are naturally dirty. Kaur wrote on her Tumblr:

thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified…

After Kaur spoke out, Instagram restored her photo, but its claim of an “accidental removal” rings hollow. Instagram doesn’t need to correct one mistake; it needs to shift how it understands bodies.

You can find more of Kaur’s photos from this series at www.rupikaur.com.

 

26 Mar 17:56

Photos of the Day: Swedish dads on parental leave with their kids

by Maya Dusenbery
Samad Kohigoltapeh, 32, construction engineer, with his twins.

Samad Kohigoltapeh, 32, construction engineer, with his twins. (Photo credit: Johan Bavman / Moment / INSTITUTE)

There is a mythical place where new parents get 480 days of paid leave for every child they have. And though it might feel like it to those of us here in the US, counting ourselves lucky if we get a single paid day off at all, this place is not, in fact, a fantastical utopia in a parallel universe. It is simply a country called Sweden that decided to enact a policy to make it so.

Under Sweden’s policy, 60 of these 480 days must be used by dads (in straight couples) or else they’re lost, and some lawmakers are pushing to make the split even more equal. Perhaps even more than the generous maternity leave, this incentive for dads to take time with their kids seems to be a boon to women and the goal of gender equality (and to the economy too.) Women’s incomes and levels of self-reported happiness have increased, divorce rates are down, and, as the New York Times reported a few years ago, “a new definition of masculinity is emerging.”

Still, though most Swedish fathers take some of their leave, a minority use all their 60 days, and only 12 percent share the total leave time 50-50 with their partner. While home with his own son, Swedish photographer Johan Bävman was surprised to realize that “we are actually not so equal as we think we are in Sweden, despite how Swedes often pat themselves on the shoulder and are so proud of their gender equal system and so on.” He created the photo series Swedish Dads to highlight men who decided to stay home longer than the average, “to hear why they wanted to be home with their children and what they hoped to learn from it.”

Check it out — if you can deal with the envy better than I can.

(h/t Buzzfeed)

Header image: Jonas Feldt, 31, job centre administrator, with his kids (Johan Bavman / Moment / INSTITUTE)

24 Mar 15:45

Report finds 80 percent of anti-Muslim attacks in France are against women

by Mahroh Jahangiri

A few days ago, Germany’s highest court finally struck down a state law that had banned women from wearing headscarves in classrooms. But the decision, a victory after more than a decade of legal and public debate, is sadly an isolated sign of optimism within an increasingly bleak picture of Western countries marginalizing Muslim women for the way they dress. 

Earlier this month, France’s women’s minister expressed support for a university-wide headscarf ban, arguing: “I’m not sure the headscarf is part of higher education.” (The fact that she is the country’s secretary for women’s rights is particularly awkward.) Her comments came as former president Nicolas Sarkozy proposed banning female students from wearing headscarves at all French universities. In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed to criminalize the face-covering this month, asking the House: “Why would Canadians, contrary to our own values, embrace a practice…[that] frankly, is rooted in a culture that is anti-women?” A poll released over the weekend suggests that 70 percent of Canadians support his sentiments.

Germany’s ruling striking down such bans proves what many of us already know: that criminalizing the way women dress is unconstitutional and violates the rights of women to freedom of expression and religion. But recent studies highlight even more violent effects of this marginalization. A report published last month by Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, reveals that 80 percent of the “rising” anti-Muslim acts which occur in France are carried out against women. Eighty percent.

If that’s not enough to make you sick, Newsweek notes:

[T]he term ‘acts’ covers a huge range of hostile actions…which include: Spitting, general abuse, pulling and tearing at the niqab and the hijab, plus dog feces being thrown at women, as well as bottles from passing cars and people shouting things like ‘Muslim whore’ ‘Muslim bitch’ or ‘Muzzie’.

While Islamophobic attacks in France have increased dramatically since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, violence against Muslim women is not new nor particular to France. Data shared by The Guardian last year also suggested that Muslim women in the UK face more hate crimes than their male counterparts: four out of five victims attacked in the street were women wearing an Islamic covering. Both reports demonstrate that Muslim women are targeted for their visibility. As Fiyaz Mughal of the think tank Faith Matters explains to Newsweek, “Visible women are the ones that are targeted at a street level. This means that women who wear the hijab are the ones that are sometimes targeted for abuse and those who wear the niqab suffer more anti-Muslim hate incidents and more aggressive assaults.” Both reports also show that perpetrators are overwhelmingly young, white men.

I would be curious to see if anyone has compiled data on the gender imbalance of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States, but I’m guessing that trends here would be no different. In a piece here last month, I pointed to the Chapel Hill shootings as an example of gender-based violence against Muslim women (and criticized white feminists for ignoring such violence when perpetrated by white men). Newsweek quotes Texas A&M Professor Sahar Aziz similarly condemning the deafening silence about these increased attacks from French feminists who had celebrated the 2011 ban on full face veils.

While a ban on Muslim head coverings is nowhere near the same thing as anti-Muslim attacks, both are rooted in a similar hostility. Clearly, we need to have a meaningful discussion around Islamophobia and gender-based violence. Perhaps a place to start might be recognizing the role played by the policing of Muslim women’s wardrobes.

Header Image: Vox

21 Mar 14:23

Chart of the Week: The Breadth of European Colonization

by Lisa Wade, PhD

This is a map of the countries Europe colonized, controlled, or influenced between 1500 and 1960. The purple is Europe. The orange countries are ones never under European rule. Almost the entire rest of the map — all the green, blue, and yellow — were dominated by Europe to some extent. “Influenced” is pretty much a euphemism and often not all that different than outright domination.

15

Max Fisher, writing at Vox, summarizes:

There are only four countries that escaped European colonialism completely. Japan and Korea successfully staved off European domination, in part due to their strength and diplomacy, their isolationist policies, and perhaps their distance. Thailand was spared when the British and French Empires decided to let it remained independent as a buffer between British-controlled Burma and French Indochina…

Then there is Liberia, which European powers spared because the United States backed the Liberian state, which was established in the early 1800s by freed American slaves who had decided to move to Africa.

More details and discussion at here.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

19 Mar 17:27

Eating Edinburgh, Scotland

Fergus Noodle

I really really wanna go back to Scotland

When I first put up images of my trip to Scotland on [Instagram](https://instagram.com/notquitenigella/), people would comment "I love Scotland!" which is something that had never happened before with other countries. And by the end of our trip, had you asked me what I thought of this gorgeous country, I would end up saying the exact same thing. Come along with me on my trip to Scotland to celebrate 2015, the year of food and drink, starting with the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh.
19 Mar 19:29

Revenge of the Sealion: GamerGate’s crusade against blocking

by Katherine Cross

The right to speak freely is a right often confounded with other, more nebulous, unenumerated rights. Many, particularly online, conflate the right to speak with the right to be heard and the right to a platform. 

But it gets more vicious than even that particular level of entitlement. Imagine, if you will, someone pinning you against a wall and screaming in your face, pushing their weight against you to prevent you from leaving. Only when they’re satisfied will your violent interlocutor release you, at a time and manner of their choosing. Is this what free speech looks like? To some petulant internet users the answer appears to be yes.

***

Over the last several months the reactionary, anti-feminist GamerGate movement has been pared down to its most extreme elements, still capable of organising harassment against the movement’s pet targets in spite of their vastly reduced numbers. GamerGate is now reduced to an almost pitiable recycling of their “greatest hits,” periodically resurrecting old targets and memes when they need inspiration to carry on for yet another tedious day.

The latest track on GamerGate’s golden oldies collection is the Good Game Autoblocker, or ggautoblocker, a tool developed by programmer Randi Harper that automatically blocks the vast majority of GamerGate’s Twitter activists. The tool was loathed by GamerGate from the moment it was publicly released and their rage found a new crescendo when the International Game Developers Association included it in a list of resources to combat online harassment (it is also worth mentioning that IGDA executive director Kate Edwards has been a frequent target of GamerGate as it leaves no prominent woman in the industry untrolled).

Bear in mind that what the ggautoblocker does, in practise, is prevent GamerGate tweets from showing up in ones mentions; it simply makes it harder for GamerGaters to use Twitter to contact you as an individual but otherwise inflicts no harm on anyone. It’s victimless.

But there is renewed rage about the autoblocker because, inspired by game developer Mark Kern, a newfound supporter of the movement, GamerGate wants to try to actually ban the tool and sue Randi Harper for “defamation.” In what universe does this make sense? Apparently some GamerGaters feel slighted by the supposed implication that every person blocked by the script is a misogynist harasser.

A particularly amusing thread on the GamerGate Reddit hub, Kotaku In Action, shows one user proposing to use nothing less than the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to take down ggautoblocker. The rest of their post is dedicated to using what amounts to spammers’ tactics to circumvent peoples’ Twitter blocks.

An example of attempted block evasion. Also, no, that doesn’t actually work.

It should almost go without saying that during this pathetic farrago the banner of free speech has been waved until its edges frayed.

What offends GamerGaters about the autoblocker, aside from the fact that a woman found a technical solution to a social problem, is that it denies them the ability to impose themselves on targets. The idea that the women, people of colour, and queer folk who’ve comprised the majority of GG’s targets might be able to curate their online spaces and have certain discussions only with those of their choosing is repugnant to many GamerGaters. In the absence of genuine legal recourse, the worst thing you can do to a bully, harasser, or troll is ignore them after all.

Further, individual GGers are offended at the suggestion that they should be “lumped together” with the toxic elements of their movement. They’re polite and just want to debate, after all; they are the Socratic interlocutors, while nebulous others are the real harassers. How dare Randi Harper and her autoblocker conflate the two! But the reality, for those of us who have been living with this for the last several months is as follows.

  1. GamerGate has offered nothing new under the sun ideologically. The “argument,” devoid of meaningful content as it is, was had in September and October of 2014. GamerGate was heard and most people decided they were not buying what GG was selling. The implication that some great ideological reckoning is yet to occur is absolute nonsense.
  2. Journalistic ethics, the ethics of crowdfunding, political content in game reviews, the nature of the gaming community, and so on are discussions that are ongoing and happening quite productively in a number of spaces. Blocking GamerGate is not about silencing contributions to that discourse as much as it is about blocking toxicity.

    Sealion Comic

    Comic by David Malki of http://wondermark.com/, the work of art that gave us a perfect new phrase.

  3. “Polite” GGers, defined as those who do not explicitly swear or use slurs, nevertheless harry the people they target because they do not take no for an answer and come in packs. The phenomenon of “sealioning”– barraging a target with politely worded but interrogating questions asked in bad faith– gained a name under GamerGate because of how common the tactic was.
  4. The proof is in the pudding. Everyone who has activated ggautoblocker, myself included, has seen a marked improvement in the nature of our Twitter mentions. It has made gaming Twitter a somewhat safer, more manageable space for the women and minorities GG has made it their business to attack.

For months I resisted using the ggautoblocker because I was leery of handing over judgement and control over who I blocked to a pre-existing list so long that I could not conceivably check every single account. I wanted to do exactly as GamerGate wished– judge each person I interacted with as an individual and block or not block as needed. Never mind the fact that I was attacked many times over by individual GGers who felt my block was unfair, thus driving more aggression my way from their friends. Hilariously, many GamerGaters assumed I was using ggautoblocker when I really had only just blocked a handful of people manually.

I finally relented after GamerGate dug up my deadname and began using it against me on Twitter.

ScreenShot746

The blanked out name at the bottom is my old name. Originally posted on a thread about me on 8chan, GamerGaters took to using it on Twitter.

Enough was enough, and surely it was my right to decide that.

Also, who wants to see this in their mentions all day?

This is Ralph, leading muckracker of the GamerGate movement whose website Ralph Retort has begun to specialise in outing trans women. Other great hits of his include posting disturbingly detailed pictures of Brianna Wu’s home on his site. The Randi referred to here is Randi Harper.

 

This gentleman is a writer from the staunchly pro-GG gaming site Tech Raptor.

To GamerGate, doxing a trans woman and weaponsing their birth names is “free speech.” This also serves as a useful example of the “polite” disingenuous apologism I mentioned earlier.

GamerGate explains their dogpiling and aggression by arguing that their targets, myself included, are “public figures” who should expect feedback. While this repeats GamerGate’s favourite rhetorical slippage of conflating harassment with something noble, even on its face it’s more than a little strange because it’s precisely through being attacked by GamerGate that their targets became public figures in the first place.

Their own obsessive scrutiny becomes moral justification for more of the same.

Could anyone be blamed for using an admittedly blunt instrument to try and break that terrible cycle? Do we not have the right to choose who we talk to? Portraying this jury-rigged, last ditch attempt at victimless self defence as some grand assault on freedom of expression feels perverse considering that the GamerGate movement has, itself, striven to silence and drive out critical voices again and again. Often violently.

More than a few women online have pointed out that GamerGate’s mentality on this issue is similar to men who street harass, who catcall a woman and are then incensed when she ignores him, sometimes going as far as following the woman, touching her, or attacking her long after she made clear she wasn’t interested. GamerGate seems to be perfecting the digital version of this terrifying harassment. Indeed, it often seems they wish to pin us down and shout at us until they’re satisfied.

But this has been going on for nearly seven months. Who knows when that’ll be?

17 Mar 22:08

Pandan Pancakes

by Lisa Manche
pandan pancakes

I'll always be thankful to Steph and Karen for introducing me to Malaysian food. I don't have the fond childhood memories of homemade Malaysian food growing up that they do, but I crave it in the same way I do my Mum's bolognese sauce. It's comfort food - everything from drinks to curries, to noodles and sweets. And after all these years, it's still our favourite way to catch up - over mugs of teh tarik and plates of hokkien mer or char kway teow.

pandan pancakes

While I made these pancakes a couple of weeks ago, life got in the way of me actually sitting down to write about them. But I think things happen for a reason, and maybe it's a weird coincidence that a few days ago I saw some uber cheap flights and within a few minutes had booked a much-needed holiday to Malaysia. It's not until later in the year, but it's so nice to have a holiday to look forward! I can't wait to get back to Penang and eat all my favourite things again!!

I've cooked with pandan a couple of times before and always loved the crazy vibrant green colour. The Tres Leches cake is still one of my favourite cakes ever. Pandan has a delicate floral taste that goes really well with coconut, and works in all manner or baked goods, ice creams and other desserts. If you haven't tried it, I'd really urge you to track it down at your local Asian supermarket and give it a go!

pandan pancakes

These pandan pancakes have been in the back of my mind for years now. Pandan waffles are a favourite every time I go to Cabramatta, and I thought the flavour would also work really well in a pancake. Instead of maple syrup, I doused them in gula melaka, a palm sugar syrup and piled berries and coconut chips high on top.

The recipe is super easy - just a small adaptation of my favourite pancakes that I make all the time. But here's a quick tip - to maintain that green colour, cook them more slowly and without butter in the pan so they don't start to turn brown as they cook. Try it with the kids, they will love the novelty of neon green pancakes!

pandan pancakes


Pandan Pancakes
Makes 10

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons pandan extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Berries, coconut chips and gula melaka syrup (optional) to serve

Sift flour, baking powder and sugar together in a medium size bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg with the buttermilk, milk, pandan and vanilla extract, then whisk the milk mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth.

Heat a small non-stick frypan over medium-low heat. Add about ½ - ¾ cup of the pancake mixture. Make sure your pan does not get too hot, you want to maintain the green colour and not let the pancakes turn brown. This means cooking them a little more slowly than normal. When small bubbles begin to form over the pancake, carefully flip it over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Repeat with the rest of the pancake mixture. Serve with palm sugar syrup, berries and coconut chips

pandan pancakes

16 Mar 14:00

Children, Chores, and the Gender Pay Gap at Home

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Girls do more chores than boys and are less likely to get an allowance in exchange for their work. When they do, they are paid less.

Research projects on children’s time use find that boys do 43 to 46 minutes of housework for every hour that girls do. When asked to list the chores they do, girls list 42 percent more chores than boys. Girls are as likely as boys to participate in outside chores and more likely to clean their own rooms, help prepare meals, and care for sibling and pets; the only thing boys report doing more often than girls is basic housecleaning.

3

Another study by the children’s magazine Highlights confirmed the finding: 73 percent of their girl readers reported being assigned routine chores, compared to 65 percent of their boy readers. Girls spend more time on chores than they do playing; the opposite is true for boys.

Not only are girls more likely to be asked to help out around the house, they are less likely to get paid. The Michigan study found that boys are 15 percent more likely than girls to get an allowance for the chores they do. And when they do get paid, they get a lower wage than their brothers. Male babysitters get paid $0.50 more an hour than females. Girls do 35 percent more work than boys, but bring home only $0.73 cents on boys’ dollar.

The gender pay gap starts early.

Cross-posted at Pacific Standard.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

15 Mar 14:00

Just for Fun: Flipping the Script on the Asian Girl Fetish

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Well done, Joy Regullano, well done:

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

12 Mar 14:38

Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless

by Lisa Wade, PhD

I encourage everyone to go read this very smart and very sad essay from Alex Andreuo at The Guardian. It’s a condemnation of defensive architecture, a euphemism for strategies that make the urban landscape inhospitable to the homeless.

They include benches with dividers that make it impossible to lie down, spikes and protrusions on window ledges and in front of store windows, forests of pointed cement structures under bridges and freeways, emissions of high pitched sounds, and sprinklers that intermittently go off on sidewalks to prevent camping overnight. There is also perpetually sticky anti-climb paint and corner urination guards, plus “viewing gardens” that take up space that might be attractive to homeless people:

Here are some examples from a collection at Dismal Garden:41b 1c 2311

Here’s a picture of anti-encampment spikes featured at The Guardian:

1

Andreuo writes of the psychological effect of these structures. They tell homeless people quite clearly that they are not wanted and that others not only don’t care, but are actively antagonistic to their comfort and well being. He says:

Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…

If the corporations have turned to aggressive tactics, governments seem to simply be in denial. They offer few resources to homeless people and the ones they do offer are insufficient to serve everyone. Andreuo continues:

We curse the destitute for urinating in public spaces with no thought about how far the nearest free public toilet might be. We blame them for their poor hygiene without questioning the lack of public facilities for washing… Free shelters, unless one belongs to a particularly vulnerable group, are actually extremely rare.

He then connects the dots. “Fundamental misunderstanding of destitution,” he argues, “is designed to exonerate the rest from responsibility and insulate them from perceiving risk.” If homeless people are just failing to do right by themselves or take the help available to them, then only they are to blame for their situation. And, if only they are to blame, we don’t have to worry that, given just the right turn of events, it could happen to us.

Cross-posted at Pacific Standard.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

11 Mar 13:32

Why Lesbians and Gay Men Don’t Share Space

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Last month’s edition of Contexts had a fascinating article by Amin Ghaziani titled Lesbian Geographies. Most of us are familiar with the idea of a “gayborhood,” a neighborhood enclave that attracts gay men. It turns out that lesbians have enclaves, too, but they’re not always the same ones.

Here’s the frequency of same-sex female couples (top) and same-sex male couples (bottom) in U.S. counties. Census data tracks same-sex couples but not individuals, so the conclusions here are based on couples.

7

What are the differences between where same-sex female and same-sex male couples live?

First, Same-sex female couples are more likely than their male counterparts to live in rural areas. Ghaziani thinks that “cultural cues regarding masculinity and femininity play a part.” As one interviewee told sociologist Emily Kazyak:

If you’re a flaming gay queen, they’re like, “Oh, you’re a freak, I’m scared of you.” But if you’re a really butch woman and you’re working at a factory, I think [living in the midwest is] a little easier.

If being “butch” is normative for people living in rural environments, lesbians who perform masculinity might fit in better than gay men who don’t.

Second, non-heterosexual women are about three times as likely as non-heterosexual men to be raising a child under 18. Whatever a person’s sexual orientation, parents are more likely to be looking for good schools, safe neighborhoods, and non-postage stamp-sized apartments.

Finally, there’s evidence that gay men price lesbians out. Gay men are notorious for gentrifying neighborhoods, but data shows that lesbians usually get there first. When non-heterosexual men arrive, they accelerate the gentrification, often making it less possible for non-heterosexual women to afford to stay. Thanks to the gender pay gap, times two, women living with women don’t generally make as much money as men living with men.

Or, they might leave because they don’t want to be around so many men. Ghaziani writes:

Gay men are still men, after all, and they are not exempt from the sexism that saturates our society. In reflecting on her experiences in the gay village of Manchester, England, one lesbian described gay men as “quite intimidating. They’re not very welcoming towards women.”

Cross-posted at Pacific Standard.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

11 Mar 17:29

La Mama del Gelato Anita, Chippendale

Fergus Noodle

LET US GO

Originally hailing from Israel, La Mama del Gelato Anita or "Anita Gelato" specialises in over-the-top, rich combinations of flavours in their gelato. All gelato is made on the premises and the number one best seller is the Cookieman, a crunchy, chocolatey mix of chocolate, hazelnuts, meringue and biscuit that has to be tried to be believed. The unlimited frozen yogurt bar features 54 different hand made toppings.
11 Mar 21:00

Thursday Tipples 07 / Passionfruit and Kaffir Lime Lemonade

by Lisa Manche
passionfruit kaffir lime lemonade

Happy Thursday, friends! I've been to the beach more times in the last 2 weeks than I have during the whole summer. I was very serious when I said I aimed to get in a few more beach trips before the autumn weather sets in for good. I'm very lucky to have some beautiful beaches just a few minutes walk from home, and a freelancer's schedule that sometimes allows a spontaneous afternoon beach adventure!

Work has been busy lately - which is super awesome - but I find that my creativity suffers on those days that I don't get out of the office for some fresh air. No two days are ever the same, but when I can get a walk or a beach trip into my day, I definitely feel so much better for it.

passionfruit kaffir lime lemonade

After walking back up the hill after a swim, I get home feeling super hungry and thirsty. This Thursday Tipple is inspired by the end of summer and some of my favourite ingredients at the moment. My housemate and I always have lemons in the house, always. We recently bought a kaffir lime tree...and called him Lenny. Tell me I'm not the only one who names their plants?! I found some absolutely beautiful passionfruits at the Bondi farmers markets on Saturday morning. And of course, who doesn't love vodka and rum ;) I just knew all of these great flavours would work really well together in a drink.

passionfruit kaffir lime lemonade

I made a simple syrup infused with our home grown kaffir lime leaves, and added it to a boozy lemonade spiked with vodka and spiced rum. It's a really pretty drink and I love the look of the passionfruit seeds, mint and kaffir lime leaves. It's got a kick, but it's refreshing and super easy to make for a crowd in a pitcher or punch bowl. You can play around with the ratios of the different ingredients, adding a little more of the kaffir lime syrup for sweetness, because with the lemon and passionfruit, it can be a little tart. Experiment and find the combination that makes you happy!

passionfruit kaffir lime lemonade


Passionfruit and Kaffir Lime Lemonade
Serves 2-3

Kaffir Lime Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, bruised and crushed
Lemonade
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 4 passionfruits
  • 2 shots vodka
  • 2 shots spiced rum
  • Soda water or lemonade (like 7up)
  • Ice, mint leaves and kaffir lime leaves, to serve

To make the simple syrup, place caster sugar, water and kaffir lime leaves into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat and boil until slightly thickened and syrupy. Cool to room temperature, which allows the leaves to infuse into the syrup. You can make this in advance.

Pour lemon juice, passionfruit pulp, vodka, rum and sugar syrup to taste into pitcher and give a little stir with a long spoon. Add ice, soda or lemonade, mint and kaffir lime leaves. Taste for sweetness and add more syrup if desired. Serve immediately.

09 Mar 14:25

Who Farts? And Who Cares?

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

I always gotta poop alone

Sociologists Martin Weinberg and Colin Williams wanted to know. They and their team interviewed 172 college students about their habits and concerns about farting and pooping. They published their results in an article called Fecal Matters. They discovered that everybody farts and everybody cares, but not everyone cares all the time or equally.

They separated their results by gender and sexual orientation. When they asked people if they were worried that the hearer would “feel disgust,” heterosexual women were most likely to agree and heterosexual men the least, with non-heterosexual men and women in the middle, but flipped such that men were more worried than women.

2

Heterosexual men were the most likely to think it was funny and the most likely to engage in “intentional flatulence.” Almost a quarter said that they “often” did so, whereas only 7 percent of heterosexual women said the same. “Guys would say it’s raunchy and then say ‘Nice one,’” explained one heterosexual guy, “because if it’s strong it’s more manly. You know, because women would not try to clear a room with a fart.” Heterosexual women felt like they were violating gender norms if their farts were stinky: “The worse it stinks,” said one, “the nastier they think I am.”

Heterosexual women were the most concerned that it would affect their relationship with the hearer. They were also the most likely to do things to reduce the likelihood that others would detect their bathroom activities, like go into another room to pass gas or let their stool out slowly to avoid a kerplunk. Two thirds said they would wait until they were alone to poop and only women reported flushing repeatedly to ensure that the sights and smells of their defecation had disappeared.

As a counter example, one of the heterosexual men interviewed said that the only thing he was willing to do to protect others from his bathroom activities was close the door.

Non-heterosexual men were an interesting conundrum. They were as likely as heterosexual men to think that the hearer would think it was funny, but the least likely to engage in intentional flatulence and the most likely to make sure that when they poop, they do so alone.

Non-heterosexual women were also a conundrum. They were the least likely to think the hearer would laugh at a fart, but second only to heterosexual men in the practice of farting on purpose to get a reaction.

This study is a great example of what social scientists call doing gender, modifying our behavior to conform to gendered expectations. Generally, women are expected to have better control of their body, to be more polite, and to avoid offending others. All of these things are consistent with being more discreet with farts and poops.

The interesting data from non-heterosexual men and women may be explained by the conflation of sexual object choice and the performance of gender. It’s not universally this way, but in the U.S. today gay men are feminized and lesbians masculinized. This is a stereotype, but also gives non-heterosexual men and women some permission to deviate from gender rules. As one non-heterosexual man explained:

Only around people that I’m regularly naked with would I be comfortable with them knowing what I was doing in the bathroom. I’m on the self-prescribed “pretty pill”—where you don’t fart, sweat, burp, or use the bathroom… I learned it from my diva friends.

Similarly, some non-heterosexual women may feel a little less pressure to be as girly or girly all the time.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

10 Mar 14:16

Changing the Bad Reputation of Buses

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

No it is because there are hardly any bus lanes and so the bus is always hopelessly late.

Look closely. Which would you rather ride?

2 (1)

Transport scholars David Hensher and Corinne Mulley asked this question of residents of six cities in Australia. They included these ultra modern examples and also photographs featuring less modern trains and buses.

They found that people overwhelmingly preferred trains to buses, even though the modern bus has a dedicated lane just like the train and identical boarding and fare collection procedures.

16

We associate trains with romance and leisure travel or hip, urban places like Manhattan. In contrast, buses bring to mind traffic, exhaust, and being exhausted after getting off from a second job.  Members of a focus group organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, had these things to say:

I’m ashamed to tell that I am taking buses…In Europe, I wouldn’t. But here, they would think, “Did he lose his job?”

The shame factor is majorly big.

I’m just saying that when I was in L.A. and I was in the car and just looking in at the bus…the people getting on….it just seems scary…

The bus has a bad rap.

But the authors found it wasn’t that simple. People from cities with better bus service tended to feel a little better about buses. If someone had recently had a good experience on a bus — like getting a seat for the whole trip — they felt better about buses. In fact, riding buses made people like buses more. People who rode more often had a better opinion.

Basically, give people good buses, good bus routes, and good service and they will come to love buses.

So, the authors argue that cities shouldn’t let the bad reputation of buses stop them from providing and improving bus service. Often buses are a better choice than trains. Bus routes are cheaper to get started and easier to change. High frequency and dedicated lanes can make them as efficient. So, if a bus is the right thing for the city, don’t give the people what they want, show them.

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.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

09 Mar 13:30

Chinese police detain feminist activists ahead of International Women’s Day

by Nancy Tang

Ed. note: This post was originally published on the Community site.

Brace yourself for the irony: #Beijing20 is trending on Twitter in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing (when Hillary Clinton delivered her “women’s rights are human rights” speech.) But right before International Women’s Day 2015, police across China detained vocal, young Chinese feminist activists.

Maizi

Li Tingting (Li Maizi) protests against the misogynistic 2015 Chinese New Year Gala, wearing a shirt that says, “This is what a feminist looks like” in Chinese. (Photo courtesy of anonymous friend)

On the evening of March 6, 2015, leaders of the Chinese feminist community were taken into police custody or put under house arrest in at least three Chinese cities: Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. Police detained these feminists, who are all in their 20s or early 30s, on the grounds of “creating disturbance” (寻衅滋事.) According to the accounts by friends and colleagues, police broke into their apartments without arrest warrants. In addition to detaining at least ten activists, the police confiscated their phones, laptops, and other means of communication and documentation of activism. As of Sunday evening (March 8) Beijing time, five feminists remain in detention with no contact with the outside world or access to their attorneys.

Why were they detained?

The feminists had planned to publicly rally against sexual harassment on buses in Beijing and Guangzhou for International Women’s Day. The charge under which they were detained, “creating disturbance,” has been repeatedly used by the Chinese state to detain, arrest, or harass civil rights lawyers, liberal intellectuals, and civil society/human rights activists during recent months of intensified censorship and crackdown on civil liberties.

In November 2014, since Zheng Churan (Datu) was denied exit by the Chinese customs, her friend carried a large photo of Zheng and protested on Zheng’s behalf  at the Beijing+20 CSO Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Zheng’s weibo)

In November 2014, since Zheng Churan (Datu) was denied exit by the Chinese customs, her friend carried a large photo of Zheng and protested on Zheng’s behalf at the Beijing+20 CSO Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Zheng’s weibo)

Some commentators speculate that the “Two Sessions” underway (the Chinese legislature’s annual meeting) might explain why the feminists were taken into police custody, and expect that they will be released once the legislative sessions are adjourned. If we accept such analysis, which has validity in the Chinese one-party system that prioritizes stability above all else, the absurdity is beyond comprehension. On the one hand, Chinese state media celebrates women legislators and new anti-domestic violence legislation, which are both important; on the other, the state is so afraid of young, vocal feminists that they must be detained right before International Women’s Day, so as to assure the smooth running of national legislative sessions.

Who are the feminists detained by the police?

LI Tingting (李婷婷, pseudo-name Li Maizi, 李麦子) is a Beijing-based young leader for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights advocacy. She works for Beijing Yirenping Center, “a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social justice and public health” that battles disease- and disability-related employment discrimination. Li has been the leader of campaigns to raise awareness on domestic violence, gender discrimination, and homophobia in China. The pinned post on her weibo (a popular Chinese micro-blogging site similar to Twitter) account before the detention commemorates the third anniversary of “Occupy the Men’s Room,” a provocative campaign advocating for unisex restrooms in urban China.

Waiting

Wei Tingting holds a sign that says, “Because of love, zero tolerance of discrimination against AIDS patients.” (Photo courtesy of anonymous friend)

WEI Tingting (韦婷婷, nicknamed Waiting) is a Beijing-based advocate for public health, LGBTQ rights, and AIDS awareness. She works for Beijing Gender Health Education Institute (BJGHEI), an NGO focusing on the “issues of gender, sexuality and sexual health” in China. Her last post on her weibo account, dated March 5, says, “is it a good idea or not, to put oneself in a place of danger?”

ZHENG Churan (郑楚然, pseudo-name Datu or “giant rabbit”, 大兔) is a Guangzhou-based, 25-year-old feminist activist. She has publicly protested against sexual assault on college campus, employment discrimination against women, and the fact that rape of Chinese girls is considered “prostitution” rather than rape. In November 2014, Zheng was set to attend the Asia Pacific Civil Society Organization (CSO) Forum on Beijing +20 but was denied exit at the Chinese custom. (See photo) Her personal profile on her weibo account says, “The comments that make one uncomfortable are helpful tools that prompt one to leave one’s safety zone.”

WU Rongrong (武嵘嵘) is a feminist working for a Hangzhou-based women’s advocacy group. She has been active since 2005 and has worked on legal cases addressing violence against women in China. Her health is in bad condition; and her family has been trying, but so far has failed, to deliver medicine into police custody.

WANG Man (王曼) is a Beijing-based feminist. Her weibo handle says ,“Wang Man [dedicated to] eliminating poverty.” She has publicly spoken against gender discrimination in Chinese college admissions and has long been an advocate for women’s economic empowerment.

What will happen to these feminists? What will happen to Chinese feminist activism?

The feminists’ lawyers have been trying to locate them in the past 48 hours. The police have denied that they have detained them. According to their lawyers, these feminists might be “interrogated three times a day,” sometimes “with late-night or even all-nighter interrogations” which “are the most frightening.” Since they have been missing for more than two days now, the level of danger they face is considered “elevated” by the feminist community.

Wu Rongrong (left) and Wang Man (right) were both detained by police in Hangzhou and Beijing respectively. (Photo courtesy of anonymous friend)

Wu Rongrong (left) and Wang Man (right) were both detained by police in Hangzhou and Beijing respectively. (Photo courtesy of anonymous friend)

Many Chinese feminists have written in their personal wechat (a popular Chinese mobile text and social media) platform, “This is a day marked by humiliation and sorrow.” While it is hardly surprising that women’s rights would fall short in a country where civil liberties are at risk, this is a day that should anger feminists across the globe. Chinese women, more than 600 million in number, make up about one tenth of humanity. This is a day marked by humiliation and sorrow for all of us.

Li (left) and Wei (right) dress up in bloodstained wedding gowns to raise awareness on domestic violence in China. Their signs: “Why are you still silent about intimate  violence around you?” and “Love is not an excuse for violence”. (Source: artintern.net)

Li (left) and Wei (right) dress up in bloodstained wedding gowns to raise awareness on domestic violence in China. Their signs: “Why are you still silent about intimate violence around you?” and “Love is not an excuse for violence”. (Source: artintern.net)

How can a feminist ally inside or outside of China help?

  1. Spread the word: share the news coverage and these Feministing profiles of the Chinese activists.
  2. If you speak Mandarin Chinese and/or are based in China, please call the police bureaus. The Beijing bureaus (where Li, Wei and Wang are detained) can be reached at +86-10-82588210/82519110 (海淀, Haidian bureau) or +86-10-62275110/62210111 (太平庄, Taipingzhuang bureau)
  3. Protest and speak out against sexual harassment, since the missing feminists were planning to do so themselves on International Women’s Day, which might have led to their detention.
  4. Sign the petition “Calling for Beijing Police to Release Chinese Feminist Activists Detained before International Women’s Day” by emailing your signature to nvxingjiayou@gmail.com (Format: Name, Gender, Location, e.g. “Nancy Tang, She, DC”)
  5. If you have legal expertise and/or political connections within China and are interested in helping out, please contact the author by tweeting at @NancyYunTang.
10 Mar 22:59

まるです。

by mugumogu

同じ帽子。
はなが似合わな過ぎるのか――
Same hat.
Hana, unfortunately you do not look good with it.

はな:「こんなの趣味じゃないし。」
Hana:[It's ok. I do not like this.]

まるが似合い過ぎるのか。

まる:「なんでも似合ってしまうのですよ。こればっかりはどうしようもありません。」
Maru:[I don't like this, too. But I wear everything well.]