Links: Saturday, September 6th

September 6, 2014 Links 2

A brown and black spotted house cat runs in a cat-sized hamster wheel set up in a living room with white walls and a hardwood floor.

Some Genius Designed A Hamster Wheel For Cats

Today’s Links:

  • The Man and the Hero – I’m not really a fan of the terms “alpha” and “beta” as terms to describe romance heroes and this post hits on some of the things I dislike about them.

    Yes, I know romance novels are all fiction. I just worry sometimes (even independent of my husband’s reading, which does put a whole different spin on things) about that whole Alpha-Beta spectrum as an essentially patriarchal tool. Even without knowing the specific views of the researchers on the wolf studies in the 1950s that yielded the language we now use, whether male or female, there were certain assumptions about gender roles underlying work undertaken in that time period. Alpha meant in charge, a leader, an enforcer. Beta meant access to inferior or no mates, secondary access to food and a constant struggle to attain Alpha status. That whole paradigm assigns value to Alpha status. Plus the way the Beta distinction as it is now used by the PUA (pick-up artist) and men’s rights communities seems to enforce that idea. The only greater insult than calling a man a Beta is calling him feminized or referring to him as a woman.

  • I Allowed People to Mispronounce My African Name for 25 Years – A second-generation African-American woman talks about the evolution of how she told people to pronounce her name.

    In a recent interview with the Improper Bostonian, Emmy Award-winning star of Orange Is the New Black Uzo Aduba recalls telling her mother of a childhood desire to be called “Zoe,” a name more easily pronounced than her given Nigerian name, Uzoamaka. Aduba’s mother offered the following reply: “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

    Like Aduba, many first-generation African Americans have straddled dual identities with their names as a tipping point. I am no exception. Despite my Ghanaian parents’ urgings, I allowed and encouraged my name to be mispronounced as “Mamie” instead of “Mame” (mah-may) for nearly 25 years. I was named after my paternal grandmother, Mame Manu, but by the first grade, I dreaded my teacher’s daily roll call.

  • Girls Speak Out Against Sexist School Dress Codes – The way dress codes are talked about and enforced makes my skin crawl. I know short shorts look unprofessional, but, FFS, save the commentary about causing a “distraction.” Your middle-aged man shame boner is your problem.

    #Iammorethanadistraction is just one facet of a greater movement among young female students. Young women are fed up with being pressured to curate their appearance and, by extension, others’ potentially lecherous thoughts about them—especially when young men are so much less likely to be called out for dress code violations.

    When Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois, banned leggings and yoga pants, 13-year-old Sophie Hasty spearheaded a petition to reverse the ban. The Evanston Review reported that a horde of young girls showed up wearing leggings in protest, holding signs that read, “Are my pants lowering your test scores?” In a letter to the Haven administration, parents wrote, “Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boys’ bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men… If the sight of a girl’s leg is too much for boys at Haven to handle, then your school has a much bigger problem to deal with.”

  • Game of moans: the death throes of the male ‘gamer’ – This is sort of a long read, but it’s an insightful look at the history of “gamer” culture and how it’s brought us embarrassing debacles like #gamergate

    Thus the ‘gamer’ was born. Not just a person who plays videogames, but someone who lives and breathes videogames. Someone who can bond with other gamers over their shared appreciation of gameplay. Someone who will boast about how quickly they can finish Super Mario or how much better this game is from that game. Someone who will, most important of all, continue to purchase a certain kind of game.

    From the mid-80s onwards, the ‘gamer’ identity was created and cultivated as a particular target consumer base through gaming magazines and marketing. For the nerdy kids that could self-identify as gamers, it was something to embrace, something to be, and, for the videogame publishers, it was a known, homogenous group that can easily be marketed to. They were sold an identity, they took it, and it persists today: ‘I’ve been a gamer my whole life.’ Or, alternatively, think of how many people feel the need to caveat any comment on videogames with, ‘I’m not a gamer, but…’ The imprinting of a ‘gamer’ identity was so complete that those who aren’t gamers felt unable to comment on games.

  • I want a movie where… – An autistic person shares their thoughts on the enlightened caretaker/bitter cripple trope and why it sucks.

    …a disabled person’s anger at their caregivers is viewed as justified, rather than displaced anger and self-pity regarding the fact that you’re disabled at all.

    Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Passion Fish.

    Which, by the way? When I complained (years and years ago) about caregiver neglect/abuse/incompetence on an autism forum where most people did not have caregivers? A “helpful” person recommended that movie to me, told me I’d like it and find it useful.

    The basic story is about a paraplegic woman who keeps having problems with caregivers and firing them, until she gets one caregiver (a Magical Negro, IIRC) who “sees through” her anger and recognizes it as self-pity over being disabled, and then proceeds to get her to quit drinking and become a happier person and all this shit.

  • All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog – Mallory Ortberg takes on the comment sections on food blogs.

    “I didn’t have any eggs, so I replaced them with a banana-chia-flaxseed pulse. It turned out terrible; this recipe is terrible.”

    “I don’t have any of these ingredients at home. Could you rewrite this based on the food I do have in my house? I’m not going to tell you what food I have. You have to guess.”

    “I don’t eat white flour, so I tried making it with raw almonds that I’d activated by chewing them with my mouth open to receive direct sunlight, and it turned out terrible. This recipe is terrible.”

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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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2 Responses to “Links: Saturday, September 6th”

  1. Meoskop

    Ah, the clothing thing. Which, interestingly enough, is most stringently enforced on my kids in 4th and 5th grade, including the principals (different schools) stressing “I am talking to YOU, ladies!” While the boys are just told to tie their shoes.

    It’s escalated to requiring shorts and leggings or leggings under your knee length skirt. It is absurd and (I have pointed out) pedophile thinking.

  2. Roslyn Holcomb

    That one about the recipes is a scream. I love to cook and share recipes, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me in an accusing tone that theirs didn’t taste like mine, even though they didn’t follow the recipe.

    As for the dress code thing, I think clothing fashions for kids are too damned sexual all around. I can’t tell you how many shirts I’ve come across that say “stud” or some other inappropriate slogan, while shopping for one of my young sons. And I’ve seen the same while shopping for little girls in my family. No way in hell should pants that say “juicy” across the bottom come in a size 4T!

    Leggings are not pants and should be worn with a dress or a tunic length top. Unfortunately, from what I’ve observed, few people got that memo. I see young women out in leggings with crop tops. Knowing teens as I do, I suspect that’s what happened at this school. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want to see anyone’s ass or camel toe.

    The problem for me is the rationalization. Girls are not responsible for boy’s (or grown men’s) thoughts or behavior. Cover up your ass. Not because it might make an old man horny, but because your ass should not be exposed in public.