Links: Wednesday, July 30th

July 30, 2014 Links 13

A white man, wearing only a pair of blue and red Superman briefs, frames his beer belly with his hands and smiles at the camera in the style of maternity portraiture.My wife didn’t want to take maternity pictures, so I hired a photographer and took her place…

  • Extended Review: Fit By Rebekah Weatherspoon – Our Rebekah got a glowing review over at RT and I’m going to link to it because I can if I want to and because it sounds like an awesome book.

    What starts out at Violet’s quest to drop some weight turns into soul searching, courtesy of Grant pushing her to identify what in her life is making her unhappy — her weight or something else? I loved this development in the story, and I appreciated the message. It’s ok if you want to change your body, as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons. Violet has to take a step back and examine her life, and figure out what those reasons are.

    I was impressed by so much in this story, but ultimately what impressed me the most was how rich the story was for a novella. I felt satisfied by a complete story at the end, and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, relatable contemporary romance.

  • “I Have A Cultural Studies Degree” Is the New “I Have Black Friends” – Suleikha Snyder linked this on Twitter and dear good lord did a lot of this look familiar.

    Even outside the glossy bubble of a liberal arts institution, I hear and read people touting their degrees in Cultural So-and-So and Community Blah-Blah-Blah as proof that they couldn’t possibly be part of the problem. There was the man with the International Studies degree who told me I have no reason to be angry when people ask me where I’m from — that my anger was “blinding me.” There was the woman who, in the same conversation, tried to make the argument that white people asking me where I’m from isn’t an example of othering. How was she sure? Because of a class she had taken. Here I was, a real human being in the flesh, telling her how I felt, and yet the echoes of her required readings and well researched essays drowned me out and made me feel small. There was the friend of a friend who, when I called him out for racial stereotyping, explained that he was only making a joke. He was allowed. Because he took a history class about race relations in America. He got it.

  • The problem with Weird Al’s ‘Word Crimes’ – Old news, I know, but I really liked what this post had to say about language prescriptivism being a bunch of privileged BS.

    Anyone transgressing these constraints is denounced in the song as stupid and incoherent, a moron, a clown, a dumb mouthbreather, told they were raised in a sewer and should get back to preschool and out of the gene pool. Spastic used as an insult is less problematic in the US, and Yankovic has graciously apologised for including it. But the song’s hostility, ironic or not, is unpleasant and will give licence to grammar cranks and bullies for years to come.

    There is a popular ideology that upholds standard English as a superior form of the language. This view comes from unacknowledged privilege, it is historically and linguistically naive, and it can be socially toxic.

  • I Tried Cosmo’s Lesbian Sex Tips and They Were Terrible – I wonder sometimes if Cosmo’s “sex tips” feature isn’t actually a long-running troll job.

    In honor of Cosmopolitan’s historic step forward, my partner and I decided to try some of their “mind-blowing” positions. We had our reservations, of course. Cosmo’s sex tips, as any devoted reader knows, have always been more performative than practical. I can confidently guess, for example, that no woman has ever followed the advice to “dip your breasts in edible body paint,” suspend yourself over your man, and paint his body with your pendulous breasts as if he were the Sistine Chapel and you were some sort of sex-starved, upside-down Michelangelo.

    We asked ourselves: Would Cosmo’s lesbian sex tips be just as terrible as Cosmo’s straight sex tips? Probably! But with two vaginas and plenty of time on our hands, we had nothing to lose. Our experiment would either end in laughter or arousal, we told ourselves, and we’d have fun either way. Pants were removed, chairs were put in place, laptops were strategically positioned on the edge of the bed, and we got to work.

  • The New Yorker’s Skewed History of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism Ignores Actual Trans Women – Michelle Goldberg – the Brooklyn gentrifier who wrote that awful “toxic twitter feminism” piece for the Nation – is back with an awful piece on trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) and transwomen. This article and a post by Julia Serano, who was quoted in the piece, show how Goldberg shaped the evidence to paint a sympathetic image of TERFs while making trans activists appear aggressive and combative.

    Media coverage of transgender issues has increased rapidly in the last few years as trans people have made larger and louder pushes for relatively basic rights and recognition. Unfortunately, as ground is gained in the fight for trans acceptance, the opposition to that progress only grows more louder and more aggressive. This is visible in Michelle Goldberg’s latest piece for The New Yorker, which investigates the conflict between trans-exclusionary radical feminists and the transgender population. Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence, uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of harassment and attack that the the trans community has endured at the hands of radical feminists.

  • Cops accuse FL woman of child neglect for letting 7-year-old son walk to the park alone – Children are much more likely to be molested by a family member or family friend, but “stranger danger” still reigns supreme.

    Police in Port St. Lucie, Florida arrested a local woman and charged her with child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to walk to a park on his own, WPTV-TV reported on Monday.

    “My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day,” Nicole Gainey was quoted as saying, adding that she paid a bond of nearly $4,000 before being released from jail.

    Gainey’s arrest this past Saturday afternoon was allegedly precipitated by an encounter between her son, Dominic, and someone at a local public pool. The boy was walking past the facility at the time on the way to Sportsman’s Park, about half a mile from his home, carrying a cell phone his mother gave him to allow her to check up on him.

    “They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and they called the cops,” Dominic told WPTV.

  • Twitter can fix its harassment problem, but why mess with success? – This article argues that Twitter hasn’t “failed” at protecting users so much as accepted that their harassment is worth the increased engagement.

    “As far as Twitter is concerned the ideal anti-harassment policy is just effective enough to prevent [Anita] Sarkeesian from leaving while simultaneously permitting thousands of people to enjoy harassing her every day. In this way Twitter doesn’t need to engage directly in the Charles Foster Kane-style yellow journalism of its predecessors; it reaps the same rewards (while incurring very few of the risks) by allowing users to do so on its behalf.”

    Quit Twitter before you’re hard, quit Instagram before you’re soft
    In other words, the value of Twitter is such that people like Anita Sarkeesian can’t easily leave without losing a large amount of her community and voice. By withholding tools that would allow targeted individuals like her to manage who contacts her and how, as outlined above, Twitter drives up engagement. The people organizing the abuse are creating value for Twitter, there is no reason to stop them from doing so.

  • Flamingo Rampant Book Club! – Here’s a Kickstarter that seems relevant to our interests.

    Welcome to the Flamingo Rampant Book Club! Over the course of a subscription year, we will send you six BRAND NEW books – one every other month, each written specifically for this book club. These books will celebrate the great and wide variety of LGBTQ2S kids, families, and communities. That means when our books feature lesbian mums or gay dads, they get storylines: travels, adventures and mysteries to solve, rather than entire books pointing out that we exist. That means fully half of our books every year will center Black, Latin@, Indigenous, First Nations, Asian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and mixed-race people and cultures instead of making them minor, one-line characters – and these books will be written by people of color. It means our books will celebrate gender-independent kids and adults as their whole selves, however they identify. It means Flamingo Rampant books will uplift and affirm families that include extended relations or relatives of heart or choice.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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13 Responses to “Links: Wednesday, July 30th”

  1. Roslyn Holcomb

    Hmmm, I’m no expert, but from my very brief encounter with trans activists on Twitter, I’d say they ARE combative as all fuck. They sent the flying monkeys after me for saying in the mildest of terms that I don’t like being called a “cis” woman. Even after I explained that as a black woman from the Jim Crow south I’ve spent my entire life fighting to be seen as a woman and have earned the right not to be prefixed. I was told to check my privilege, because we all know black women are just bubbling over with privilege, especially over white males. So no, I don’t have a problem at all with the notion of trans being combative, because they are.

  2. Ridley

    @Roslyn Holcomb: Well, TERFs routinely doxx transwomen, call their employers/families/business associates to out them, stalk them on Twitter, etc., etc. None of this got mentioned in the article.

    As for what you mention, being trans doesn’t exempt anyone from whiteness, and some white trans* folk could do with a bit of the intersectionality they demand from others. That’s always struck me as more of a function of white privilege/anti-blackness than from being trans. I see a similar thing from white disabled people, who seem to love to jump in black women’s mentions and scream “ABLEISM!”

  3. Roslyn Holcomb

    I can’t really comment on any doxxing, as I haven’t seen it, though I have been called a TERF, (along with some other ugly names, and yes I consider TERF a slur and “cis” to be even worse, especially when they’re screeching “fuck you cis girl” at you) even though as a married het woman who believes marriage is beneficial to women (at least black women) I don’t think I can be a radical feminist.

    And yes, I agree that it’s an issue of anti-blackness, especially since I was informed that they didn’t have to respect my request not to be called “cis” since I was privileged. I went from being mildly supportive to being downright alarmed at this development. And the more I read about it, the more alarmed I get. But bottom line is, I thought the article was pretty balanced especially since from what I’ve seen both sides seem to have problems with it, which usually is to the good.

  4. Meoskop

    I mostly keep my mouth very shut on trans issues because I don’t want the drama. But I support Roslyn’s words, except I did think the article was slanted to overly excuse the TERF side. I have seen hateful actions by TERF and trans alike, leaving many of us caught out.

    Gender conflict is a very complex and personal issue. While I do believe strongly in alternate orientation, I don’t personally support gender definition being binary. The experience of being biologically female is not the experience of being biologically male. Nor is feeling you are in the appropriate body the experience of feeling you are not. Conflating the two into “We are all men/women” is to erase a multitude of experiences, needs and abilities in the name of equality.

    I’m often bothered by the very femme (or conversely, butch) presentation of trans image and how that feeds into societal messages of presentation for cis image. To parse language to the point where we say “by men who can get pregnant” is a leap into the bullshit abyss I haven’t taken. Which makes me a TERF despite supporting equal rights on all levels (including facility access) for people who identify as a gender other than their medically assigned one.

    I also don’t think we can ignore how differently power dynamics play out. Trans men born as female are less likely to agitate for inclusion into fully male spaces, possibly because of the expectation of physical danger. Trans women born as male are less receptive to cis-women not wanting a physically male body in their spaces. I can’t say that because a physical male identifies as female that the danger I feel in certain circumstances is erased by a female gender identification. (I understand that transgendered people are often targets of extreme violence)

  5. Meoskop

    While I’m being unpopular tonight – I’m familiar with Port St Lucie and it’s not Stranger Danger that is likely to have had the concerned person calling the police – much of PSL is unsafe for adult pedestrians, much less children. Combining difficult road conditions with a high percentage of senior drivers? I wouldn’t let a 7 year old walk anywhere but across yards.

  6. Las

    @Meoskop: ” parse language to the point where we say “by men who can get pregnant” is a leap into the bullshit abyss I haven’t taken.” Complaints about using the word “vagina” when talking about abortion was where I gave up. Like you I’m all for equal rights, but being called a TERF over bullshit like that…I’m just refuse to engage.

  7. Ridley

    Well, the way I see it is that it costs me nothing to use trans-inclusive language while not using it makes trans* and genderqueer people uncomfortable. “I was on your side until you yelled at me” sounds like classic derailling, honestly, so I can’t really agree with that.

  8. Las

    Vagina, though? It bothers me because it wasn’t that long about that a congresswoman was reprimanded for saying the word vagina while talking about abortion, but now we can’t say the anatomical name of the body part that people who seek abortions have because it makes us TERFs.

  9. Meoskop

    We should stop using the phrase “natural hair” because some white women with very curly hair who do not straighten it feel very strongly that they should be able to join natural hair communities and discuss curl texture, despite the genetic differences between caucasian and black hair types. It upsets and excludes them. Or, in other words, when discussing something like abortion? Team vagina.

  10. Ridley

    @Las: The pushback was against naming a pro-choice campaign “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas”, not against using the term vagina in general when discussing abortion. I disliked it because I didn’t like reducing women down to vaginas (“A Night of a Thousand Uteruses” would irk me too), and transmen and genderqueer people felt excluded by it and abortion activism in general.

  11. Ridley

    You know what, enough. Three ciswomen do not need to be debating what language is “good enough” for trans*/genderqueer people’s comfort.

  12. cleo

    That article on Cosmo’s lesbian sex tips had me giggle-snorting in public.

    And thanks for RT review – Fit sounds like something I might enjoy.