Links: Thursday, September 25th

September 25, 2014 Links 1

Gustav Klimt painting "The Kiss" which is a stylized view of a man kissing a woman where her neck appears to bend at an odd angle.

Women Who Want To Be Alone In Western Art History

Today’s Links:

  • “everyone was doing it then so nobody thought it was wrong” – MedievalPOC goes in on “that’s just how it was” and how that’s used to excuse the way things are today.

    What we have here is a near-terminal case of “Things Were Just Like That Back Then”. There is a enormous cultural concept of the past as a cesspit of bloody-minded violence, oppression, exploitation, and nonstop existential horror that was supposedly so commonplace that no one would bat an eyelash at seeing their neighbors rent limb from limb as a matter of course on a Wednesday morning.

    The thing I find so frustrating is that shaking people loose from the idea that history is a line graph that goes “things were really bad, then became better!” is almost impossible. I’m not just talking about non-academics, either…academics and historians can be even worse about it. It just isn’t true. Depending on what societies and eras you’re trying to draw comparisons to, violence is much more “normalized” NOW than it was in the past.

  • Why I’m Not Really Here For Emma Watson’s Feminism Speech At the U.N. – Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous explains how Emma Watson’s much-praised speech entirely underwhelms.

    Telling men that they should care about gender inequality because of how much it hurts them, centralizes men and their well-being in a movement built by women for our survival in a world that degrades and dehumanizes us daily. This is problematic for the same reason telling white people that they should end racism because racism “holds us all back as a society, so eradicating it will help you, too,” is problematic.

    Firstly, because even if that’s true, it does nothing to create solidarity. I have never met a white person who decided to take on anti-racism work because of the negative effects of racism on white people. Literally, never. And I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who genuinely supports feminist ideals because of the ways they benefit men first. If I did know people like this, I wouldn’t like them. I’d question why the often brutal oppression of people of color and women and especially women of color wasn’t enough to get them interested, but having an epiphany about the ways men and/or white people are kinda also hurt by these constructs because “something something society and also men should be able to cry, too” made them jump right on board.

    Secondly, because it ignores just how much men do benefit from gender inequality. (They really do, Emma!)

  • The complicity cost of racial inclusion – Julia Carrie Wong explores how whiteness has expanded to include certain Asians and what that means for them.

    It may be disconcerting for some people to recognize that the boundaries of whiteness can shift. The ubiquitous boxes we check on applications and census materials might lead us to believe that race is determinate. But race is a social construct, not a scientific fact: American whiteness was an ideological creation to rationalize the enslavement of Africans and the extermination of native peoples. As David Roediger argued in “The Wages of Whiteness,” racial antagonisms helped solidify 19th century American class structure. In subsequent generations, whiteness was expanded to meet the needs of our changing population and the U.S.’s imperial interests abroad. Throughout our country’s history, special privileges (such as voting and land ownership) have been reserved for those who were considered white.

    For the past 50 years, Asian-Americans have been the so-called model minority — the minority group held up by politicians and the media to demonstrate the potential for success for people who aren’t white. It is no coincidence that this narrative arose alongside the black power movement in the 1960s. Asian-American success over time became a rhetorical bludgeon used to deny the real and ongoing effects of institutional racism and white supremacy on African-Americans. Ronald Reagan, for example, called Asian-Americans “exemplars of hope and inspiration” while denouncing black women on welfare. The existence of Asian-Americans was a way to deny the significance of whiteness and the hardship of exclusion from it.

  • The NFL’s Domestic Violence Problem and Our Race Problem – Jessica Luther talks about the role race has played in the response to domestic violence perpetrated by NFL players.

    Football, because it employs so many black men and is so popular, reflects a skewed racialized image of violence back into our society. Ben Carrington, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas who specializes in sports and race, told me that often “race is the trigger for society to express their moral outrage about another issue.” (In this case, interpersonal and domestic violence.) In fact, he says, when a crime is perpetrated by black people, that “helps to make us more angry because of what [the alleged perpetrators] look like.” Kaba echoed this. She told me she’s “dubious to the reaction to [these cases] versus the reaction to white men in the league who commit violence,” because when it is black men we are discussing, there are implications of these men being “inherently violent,” and that makes for an easy leap to “they should be locked up, we need to manage and control them.”

  • How Many Women are in Prison for Defending Themselves Against Domestic Violence? – In a world where the justice system is rarely just, emphasizing police and prosecutors in efforts to combat DV/IPV is doomed to fail its victims.

    Why does she stay? Why doesn’t she leave? Those questions come up frequently in conversations about domestic violence. They also become key legal questions in self-defense cases. But leaving is often the most dangerous time for people in abusive relationships.

    In Sin by Silence, a documentary about survivors incarcerated for defending themselves, sociologist Dr. Elizabeth Leonard explained that a battered woman is 75 percent more at risk of being killed after she leaves. She stays at that increased risk for the next two years. Feeling as if he’s losing control, batterers generally increase their level of violence. “Leaving does not stop the violence,” states Dr. Leonard, in the film.

    Each woman I spoke with told me that it was her life or his. She knew that this last attack was the one in which her loved one was making good on his promise to kill her. “You know that this is the end,” one woman told me. “You see it in their eyes that they’re going to kill you.”

  • Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car – You know that evil empire that plucky heroes rebel against in SFF? That’s the US these days.

    Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

    But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.

    The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

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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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