Thursday, March 29, 2007

so the blogosphere went to the antiporn conference and all I got was this lousy t-shirt...

so let me get this straight - coupla hundred people spent a coupla days and whatever it cost for travel and meals to get together and discuss how we can all move on from the damaging Porn Wars of the 1980s "by reframing our thinking on pornography, especially in light of the important changes that have occurred in both technology and pop culture over the past two decades."

was any of that reframing actually done? or did everyone just get together to look at dirty slide shows?

Did people attend with the intention of developing an action plan of some sort, or try to get some questions answered? or did they attend for the sole purpose of sitting in a dark room with 100 or so of their closest friends and feel that shock - shock!- and horror! and fear! and disgust! and have that delicious, hair-raising, pulse-quickening sense of shared revulsion, shared outrage, shared pity, shared compassion, and feel that tremendous sense of group bonding against the terrifying monster embodied in image after horrible image, carefully arranged to slowly climb to a climax of ultimate deplorable degradation?

I mean, I wouldn't blame anyone if they did just go for the slide show. it must have felt great. exhilirating. cathartic. empowerful. like a fire-and-brimstone old-time revival meeting. Y'all must have felt like a real force to be reckoned with at the end of it all.

so, did you actually happen to get to the point of the conference, to wit:

What do such economic and cultural shifts mean for feminist theory and activism, and how can we rebuild a vibrant feminist movement that addresses the harms of misogynist images that help define our culture, our visual landscape and our sexuality?

was anyone able to actually answer that question? or did you get a little distracted?

and, while you're at it, did anyone proffer an opinion on what steps can be taken to really really eliminate those images, purge them completely, wipe them from our visual landscape? what can be done to completely obliterate that which you find offensive and damaging, and leave the world a safer place for women?

it occurs to me that no matter what great ideas can be employed, I don't think it's possible to keep the world safe FROM certain women, women like me for example.

women like me who, even after the knifepoint rape and the regular beatings and the general grinding into paste from all the humiliation and misery and bowel-curdling terror we've experienced, are nonetheless likely to say "oh, you just want to take a picture of my face looking out of a toilet seat? sure, whatever."

got a master plan for keeping the world safe from women like me? or do you have to sit through a couple more slide shows?

So, glad y'all had an amazing experience at the amazing conference. But unless y'all actually answered those questions, and more, I believe you did more to help yourselves than to help our poor downtrodden sisters.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Donna's questions:

1. A friend wins a vacation to a tropical destination and can bring half a dozen friends, you are one of them! You get there and are unpacking your swimsuit and your friend says that it won't be necessary, it's a nude beach. Are you thrilled, no tan lines, or horrified and nervous?

what, you mean I can run around a tropical paradise with no clothes on? sweeeeeeeeeeet. tan lines, schmanlines - I just hate clothes and look stupid in bathing suits. surf's up!

2. Is there any theme to your home decor?

oh, Donna, Donna, Donna - you are so droll. yes, my home decor has a theme, and even a theme song, to wit - Christina Aguillera's "Still Dirrty." all my stuff is second or third or seventh-hand, and just fucking filthy. I'm a slob and don't care about my surroundings. but we never argue about housework!

3. When was the last time you said something like, "Oops, well it seemed like a good idea at the time" and what was the "good idea"?

Marrying Mr. Abusive Ex. I guess that was almost ten years ago by now. Unless it was that time I...with the...oh, yeah, that seemed like a good idea at the time...

4. Do you have any irrational fears? Something you know you shouldn't really be afraid of or at least not to the extent that you are, for example spiders.

aah! bees! bees and wasps. and hornets. and teeth. and dentists. and failure. and confrontation. and being exposed as the fraud I know I truly am, totally undeserving of my great good fortune, deep down inside. and drowning. I could go on.

5. What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion?

who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?
seriously - well, love is better than nothing. without it we might as well be the walking dead.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I am in arrears, questions-wise. let me not be a questions-deadbeat!

Mamalujo is curious about the following:

1. When you were a "rock solid" 100 lbs. and five feet tall, what was your cup size?

gosh - you know, I don't really remember. maybe "B". maybe "C". I wasn't paying close attention. my mind was rather clouded by the obsessive burning desire for potatoes and the urge to go hide under a rock. those were dark, dark times, my friend.

2. How do signal to your husband that you're "in the mood"?

I say "hey, honey, how 'bout some 'married time'?" in a humorously-salacious tone of voice, accompanied by comically-insinuating eyebrows and some inappropriate pawing.

and then he rolls his eyes and says "God! I'm not a machine, you know! I have needs!"

and then he says "Only kidding...race you up the stairs!"

wanna know a secret? I'm often too shy to ask. no, really. isn't that funny?

3. What's your favorite homebrew recipe?

oh wow - we have a great recipe that my husband made up. we were aiming for, I think, an amber ale? maybe? Antiprince took great care to devise a recipe using the Tastybrew calculator, we cleaned the kitchen like it was a nuclear research facility, we did everything strictly according to directions. we bottled it with a minimum of bickering (god how we hate to bottle in our tiny kitchen), and let it sit in the basement for what seemed like forEVER. Then we invited an expert to our house to taste a bottle.

we opened a bottle for him and the cap shot across the room and almost broke a window. ke-POW! "remarkably clean fermentation," the expert said. (oh, I could have died of pride right there.)

he examined and compared and inspected and tasted and measured and swirled and consulted and considered and finally said "Well, it's not an ale. It's delicious, but it's not an ale. I think it's an English Brown."

and we were like "delicious? really? not poisonous? that is so cool." we were awfully proud.

OK - none of that is really the recipe, I realize now. Maybe Antiprince will stop by and comment with more details on that.

4. Have you ever spent the night in a cave?

ooh. why no. is it fun? should I get our sleeping bags? I bet it's awesome. do bats bother you or do they leave you alone? what about cougars?

5. Do you enjoy having your hair brushed?

why yes. yes I do. but I have a great lot of hair. someday I'll shave it all off and give it to charity wigmakers, and tattoo a big angry dragon on my head. but for now, I love having my hair brushed. aaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Twisty's got a fascinating thread going about the nature of femininity. Apparently a friend of hers is doing a project for her "Dress and Society" class, attempting to answer the question "what is femininity?"

Editorial note: originally, I claimed she had a fascinating discussion, which, upon further review, I have to say it ain't. A discussion, I mean. yet. but the comments thread is no less fascinating for its lack of discourse.

most folks are simply answering the question as they see fit: "femininity is blahbleeblah." but there are wildly nonconforming definitions thrown in among the rather expected contributions.

so, go for it. answer here if you're uncomfortable answering there. it won't count towards the project, of course, if you answer here, but it will make for interesting discussion nonetheless. Most of the answers there are sort of "Devils Dictionary" or "Wickedary" style atttempts at wit-n-snark, but there's a surprising amount of diversity.

and while we're at it, what is masculinity?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Belledame's questions:

1) How're things going with the silk piece?

well, it's silk pieces now...many pieces. many explorations, some successful, most not, some stalled, none finished...a little frustrating but yet compelling. the weight of the fabric makes it both gloriously lovely to touch and at the same time impossible to control. fun.

2) What's the last book you finished? What's next?

oh, hey - The Women's Room. I finished it last week. it was, um, long. As a period piece and influential work of fiction - most intriguing. as the gospel truth - not so much. But I finished it. Next up is Chuck Pahlaniuk's Diary, which I borrowed from Bimbo and started last night.

3) How do you usually deal with anger?

now, see, because you're asking that, I have a sneaking suspicion that you already know how I usually deal with anger - that is, usually I don't.

I will make headlines someday because of it. but I'm not tremendously forthcoming about anger. I am, generally speaking, far too fearful.

4) Dark chocolate or milk?

dark, beyond a doubt.

5) If you can persuade antiprince to get a dog or cat, what kind would you get?
oh, wow. jeez. at this point, I'm not sure I'm so fussy about breed. I'm more concerned with how the potential new family member would behave around our birds. Also, I hate high-pitched barking noises. any dog that does not make high-pitched barking noises would be welcome. of course, the furrier and bigger and more oafishly friendly the better...

AdequateDer's questions:

1) How does Hillary Clinton strike you?
like a handful of pudding to the solar plexus.
she does not represent me as a woman or me as an american. Hillary represents Hillary. which is great if you're Hillary. not so good if you're, say, me.

2)In the pantheon of feminist literati is there one person whom you feel is solidly in your corner or on your wavelength?
I'm-a think on that. it's a great question, and I want to make sure I do it justice. so I will return to this question shortly.

3)If you could play an instrument, what would it be?
the banjo, naturally - so I could make beautiful, chime-y, celestial-sounding tones like Bela Fleck. sigh.

4)What's the best restaurant you've eaten in? Or your favorite, if it widely differs...

best as in fanciest? best as in most delicious? best as in most consistent quality? clearly more information is needed. what do you mean by "best"?

5)Do you like snow?
Oh, question...
5) Why are teeth bad?
Oops! I'm gonna hear it...moving on...
5) Wanna see my spaceship?
I'm totally done for...

I don't want to talk about snow, or teeth. Good thing for you I am too much of a lady to slap you silly. however, I would love to see your spaceship. are you from a different planet?

In all seriousness...

5)Can friends be lovers? Can lovers be friends?

well, I sincerely hope so. otherwise I've been doing it all wrong.
I used to think that friendship (that elusive combination of respect, warm regard, affinity, fondness, shared interests, and all that undefineable other stuff) was not a requirement for twue luv. I was sadly mistaken. I have learned that I can't possibly tolerate engaging in romance with someone who doesn't inspire feelings of friendship.

On the other hand, maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My five questions from Renegade Evolution:

Where is one place in the world that you've always wanted to travel to?
The Michigan Women's Music Festival.
Why? well, that's complicated. very complicated.

Who is your favorite fictional character?
Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hands (or heads?) down. Sorry, antiprince - you know I love you and all, but if the Heart of Gold lands in the backyard I am outtahere.

Do you have a guilty pleasure TV show? If so, what is it?

oh, all TV is guilty TV. and you better believe I love TV. Generally speaking, the more lowbrow, dumbed-down and puerile, the better I like it. I've stopped being embarrassed about it. of course, I try to hide my unabashed affection for the idiot box by trying to claim a snooty faux-sociological slumming-intellectual academic interest: "oh, yes, I watch American Idol quite carefully, examining it closely to uncover the underlying sociological messages of the blahblahblah..." yeah, I'm pretty full of it. I just like TV.

Actually, I don't normally get into American Idol, but I am a slave to Project Runway. I find a lot to think about vis-a-vis our relationship to clothes, fabric, labor, creativity, the human condition - I loved the junkyard challenge a couple seasons back.

Last frivilous thing you bought for yourself?

probably lunch the other day. I didn't need to spend six bucks on a sandwich.

House or Caesar Salad?
Caesar. et tu?

Wanna play? just do this:
Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate!
You WILL update your journal/bloggy thing/whatever with the answers to the questions.
You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

all the news that gives you fits...of giggles...
From the fine folks at Yahoo news:

Cubans sneak ashore during US security drill

By Jane Sutton Thu Mar 8, 4:57 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - While hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agents intercepted imaginary Cuban migrants during a massive training exercise in south Florida, two boatloads of actual Cubans sneaked ashore on Miami Beach on Thursday.

Boaters dropped off 21 Cuban migrants at a popular nudist beach and left 19 others on another beach a few hours later, the Border Patrol said. Both vessels escaped.

"It's our belief that they were the result of organized smuggling," Border Patrol spokesman Steve McDonald said.

The Cubans arrived on day two of a training exercise to test "Operation Vigilant Sentry," the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's plan to halt a possible mass migration from the Caribbean. About 325 agents from 85 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies took part in the exercise, which ended on Thursday.

"We're not embarrassed at all," McDonald said. "It's not uncommon for them (Cubans) to have landings."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

ladies and gents, a personal note -

I have had it up to here with the following:

"Oh, no, you're okay, it's just your partner/husband/friend/person who resembles you is...well..."

"I didn't mean YOU! it's just your partner/husband/friend/person who resembles you is...well..."

"I have no problem with you, I just can't stand your blahblahblahblahblah..."

and dare I say, with just a hint of irony:
just shaddup already.

not because I disrespect your truth, or your voice, or find you beneath contempt on your best day (unless, of course, I also do), but because I just don't want to hear it anymore.

because the effort it takes to listen to you, to engage you, to privilege your point of view over my loved ones for even just a second, makes me a disloyal, rotten, totally suck-ass friend and a disgrace to my partner.

maybe before I learn to be an effective agent for change I have to learn to be a better person. So I'm done with that.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I usually pay no attention to studies, but this caught my eye:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Childhood obesity in the United States appears to be causing girls to reach puberty at an earlier age, for reasons that are not clear, a study said on Monday.

The report from the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital said a multiyear study following a group of 354 girls found that those who were fatter at age 3 and who gained weight during the next three years reached puberty, as defined by breast development, by age 9.

"Our finding that increased body fatness is associated with the earlier onset of puberty provides additional evidence that growing rates of obesity among children in this country may be contributing to the trend of early maturation in girls," (emphasis mine) said Dr. Joyce Lee, the lead author.

"Previous studies had found that girls who have earlier puberty tend to have higher body mass index, but it was unclear whether puberty led to the weight gain or weight gain led to the earlier onset of puberty," she added.

"Our study offers evidence that it is the latter," Lee said.

Earlier studies have found that U.S. girls are reaching puberty earlier than was the case 30 years ago, a time span during which rates of childhood obesity also increased, the study said.
In the study girls were classified as at risk for being overweight if their body mass index (a measurement of weight related to age and height) was between the 85th and 95th percentiles, and defined as overweight if the measurement was greater than the 95th percentile.

The researchers said that 168 of the girls were classified as being "in puberty" by the age of 9 and nearly two dozen reported having their first menstrual period by two years later.
Higher body mass index scores at all ages had a "strong association with earlier onset of puberty, the authors said.

The study was published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Earlier onset of puberty in girls has been associated with a number of adverse outcomes, including psychiatric disorders and deficits in psychosocial functioning, earlier initiation of alcohol use, sexual intercourse and teenage pregnancy and increased rates of adult obesity and reproductive cancers," the study said. (emphasis mine)

so...does this say "sixth-grade girls with big boobs are crazy drunk sluts" or is it just me?

(now if that doesn't spike my troll level, nothing will...)

Friday, March 02, 2007

why do I have so few male commenters?

why do I have no (obvious) "MRA" commenters?

am I scary somehow? maybe just too dull?

you'd think this place would be just the fertile-est of fertile ground, you know, with all that patriarchal dicksucking I do on a daily basis. but, nothing. nary a peep.



well, that's quite something!

someone and someone else found me thought-provoking. I am surprised and flattered. here I thought I'd been a major slack-ass lately. I had thought it was time to do another "goodbye, cruel blogosphere" post - that always seems to ensure that I will start posting with renewed vigor.

But nonetheless, someone thought I was thinky enough to tag me, so here we go.

The rules go pretty much as follows: 1) If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. 2) Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme, and claim their graphic doodah. Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking.

I bet you can all guess who I'm gonna tag. I am really too predictable for words...

in no particular order:

Bea. oh thorn in my paw, oh pea under my mattress! my thoughts coalesce around you as mother-of-pearl around a grain of sand.

Veronica. she's just my favorite li'l ol' smartypants. her blog is deep and broad and fun to read. I highly recommend the Nine Pearls Experience.

the fine folks at Feminist Critics. a good place to sharpen one's sword of rhetoric.

The great and powerful Ginmar. she provokes a thought or two, no question.

Rootie. why? because it's personal, that's why.

I think I read in the Wall Street Journal's obit of Alan Greenspan (or similar source) that Mr. Greenspan spent a large portion of his morning reviewing the "Liberal Press". When asked why, he said "well, if I spent all my time reading opinions I already agree with, I'd never learn anything."

words to live by.

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