Links: Saturday, October 11th

October 11, 2014 Links 0

Three fluffy cats sit outside in the snow on a sunny winter day

Norwegian cats are so fluffy and awesome.

Today’s Links:

  • Reading while Latina – Ana Canino Fluit (@anacoqui on Twitter) talks about reading romance as a Latina and which tropes and themes she particularly enjoys.

    I am Latina romance reader and reviewer. Born and raised in Puerto Rico I have now lived nearly half of my life in the US Mainland and Canada. I have inter-married like so many Hispanics do, and I am raising my daughters to appreciate their multi-cultural (Dutch-Canadian & Puerto Rican) heritage. I am school librarian and I read and review romance as hobby. I read nearly all the romance sub-genres, everything from historical to science-fiction, although I tend to steer clear of inspirational and westerns. Romance like the rest of mainstream literature can be overwhelmingly white and while I am always thrilled to discover Hispanic authors and characters when selecting books to read I don’t limit myself to reading books written from a Hispanic point of view. But I do find myself looking for certain tropes, and story elements that in some way resonate with my experience of being a Latina. The particular tropes and story elements that appeal to me won’t necessarily appeal to another Latino or Latina whose experiences and background is different from mine but these are the tropes and story elements that I find reflect a bit of my reality.

  • Outlander and The Female Gaze: Why Women Are Watching – Jenny Trout breaks down how the Outlander miniseries shows sex and love in a way that resonates with female viewers.

    In further contrast from that HBO juggernaut, Outlander puts sexuality front and center, rather than utilizing a character’s attitude toward sex as shorthand characterization in regards to morality. Neither does it cheapen the value of sex in storytelling by using it as a constant backing track, as Game of Thrones has coyly done to entertain the male gaze during scenes of protracted exposition. Outlander approaches sex in a way that’s only shocking because it isn’t shocking at all. It’s non-violent, sensual, natural, and the woman is framed as more than an object for male pleasure. Female sexuality isn’t demonized, and engaging in sex doesn’t diminish Claire as a character. Outlander is the rare television drama that shows us a woman who is sexually experienced without being the villain of the piece, and a man who sees her desire and pleasure as a participatory experience, rather than an object to edify his own importance.

    It’s far too easy to suggest that it’s the repressed desires of bored housewives driving Outlander‘s success. Women know better. When presented with a complex, emotionally engaging plot and sensual content that doesn’t degrade or shame female sexuality, they’ll tune in, gladly. If the growing fan base is any indication, Outlander is the show that television has been needing for a long, long time.

  • The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women – This is probably preaching to the choir, but this multi-page article on how social media enables abuse aimed at women really goes into what an enormous and a complex problem it is.

    We, the authors, have experienced both sides of the experiment firsthand. In 2012, Soraya, who had been reporting on gender and women’s rights, noticed that more and more of her readers were contacting her to ask for media attention and help with online threats. Many sent graphic images, and some included detailed police reports that had gone nowhere. A few sent videos of rapes in progress. When Soraya wrote about these topics, she received threats online. Catherine, meanwhile, received warnings to back up while reporting on the cover-up of a sexual assault.

    All of this raised a series of troubling questions: Who’s proliferating this violent content? Who’s controlling its dissemination? Should someone be? In theory, social media companies are neutral platforms where users generate content and report content as equals. But, as in the physical world, some users are more equal than others. In other words, social media is more symptom than disease: A 2013 report from the World Health Organization called violence against women “a global health problem of epidemic proportion,” from domestic abuse, stalking, and street harassment to sex trafficking, rape, and murder. This epidemic is thriving in the petri dish of social media.

  • What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks – If you were looking for a GamerGate for Dummies, this is the post for you.

    Until recently, you might have lived a life blissfully unaware of the online #Gamergate movement. But last week, computing giant Intel pulled its ads from an independent game-development site thanks to the gaming lobby. Now that major companies are taking sides, it’s time to figure it out. Let us be your guides.

    What is #Gamergate?

    "#GamerGate" is an online movement ostensibly concerned with ethics in game journalism and with protecting the "gamer" identity.


    Even regarded generously, Gamergate isn’t much more than a tone-deaf rabble of angry obsessives with a misguided understanding of journalistic ethics. But there are a lot of reasons not to regard the movement generously.

  • Emma Watson? Jennifer Lawrence? These aren’t the feminists you’re looking for – Roxane Gay talks about how the media reacts when a young, pretty celebrity talks about feminism.

    I care about making the liberties that men enjoy so freely fully accessible to women, and if men or celebrities claiming feminism for themselves has become the spoon full of sugar to make that medicine go down, so be it.

    But it irks me that we more easily embrace feminism and feminist messages when delivered in the right package – one that generally includes youth, a particular kind of beauty, fame and/or self-deprecating humour. It frustrates me that the very idea of women enjoying the same inalienable rights as men is so unappealing that we require – even demand – that the person asking for these rights must embody the standards we’re supposedly trying to challenge. That we require brand ambassadors and celebrity endorsements to make the world a more equitable place is infuriating.

  • Playing With The Boys – High Heels and High Sticks talks about how NHL teams have invited women to practice with them and what these PR stunts mean for women’s hockey.

    When it comes to discussing women in the NHL, the most commonly agreed probability is that if any team took a chance on a female player, it would be a goalie. Forwards and especially defensemen are seen as well behind the male athletes. And maybe that’s true (something I’ll get to in a moment). But I don’t think the Ducks would have invited Knight if they thought she would be embarrassingly outmatched. It means they think she can keep up with the men for at least one practice. It also means, assuming the PR element is as strong as I think it was, that the Ducks see an interest among hockey fans in women players and value in pitting them against men as equals. It means that they are promoting women’s hockey to their own audience as well as the young players in their area (Knight’s practice was in conjunction with her guest-coaching the Lady Ducks, a girls’ team sponsored by the Ducks).

    This is progress.

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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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