Links: Saturday, November 8th

November 8, 2014 Links 14

A simple hand-drawn comic in three panels. Top panel shows two cats eating kibble. Middle panel shows them scratching lines in the floor. Bottom panel shows them playing checkers with kibble on the grid their scratches made.

Animal comics with a twist

Today’s Links:

  • Srsly. – The LA Review of Books has a wonderful review of Mallory Ortberg’s book that made me want to buy the book immediately.

    The title Texts from Jane Eyre sounds a bit like the book will offer equal-opportunity literary skewering — it doesn’t necessarily sound like an forceful piece of feminist writing. But in fact, the book focuses its ridicule mostly on the behavior of self-styled male geniuses, both authors and characters, who childishly demand that their genius be catered to, coddled, and reinforced.

    Genius, of course, is not necessarily male, but Ortberg’s work makes us realize the extent to which the idea of genius — let’s mark it as Genius with a capital G — remains strangely masculinized; strikingly available to men regardless of their actual talent. The genre of the phone text, as I will discuss, becomes the form of text — text here in the literary sense — most able to reveal how social power and literary prominence align.

    Practically speaking, what this means is that Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre is not only a major work of bathroom humor reading, but also a significant contribution to feminist literary criticism. It is difficult to imagine another book that would both be a perfect stocking stuffer and an exemplary text for a seminar in literary studies.

  • TRAVELS IN ENGLAND 1782: Vauxhall – The History Hoydens posted an interesting contemporary account of Vauxhall Gardens in its prime.

    Here and there (particularly in one of the charming woods which art has formed in this garden) you are pleasingly surprised by the sudden appearance of the statues of the most renowned English poets and philosophers, such as Milton, Thomson, and others. But, what gave me most pleasure was the statue of the German composer Handel, which, on entering the garden, is not far distant from the orchestra.

    This orchestra is among a number of trees situated as in a little wood, and is an exceedingly handsome one. As you enter the garden, you immediately hear the sound of vocal and instrumental music. There are several female singers constantly hired here to sing in public.

    On each side of the orchestra are small boxes, with tables and benches, in which you sup. The walks before these, as well as in every other part of the garden, are crowded with people of all ranks. I supped here with Mr. S–r, and the secretary of the Prussian ambassador, besides a few other gentlemen from Berlin; but what most astonished me was the boldness of the women of the town, who often rushed in upon us by half dozens, and in the most shameless manner importuned us for wine, for themselves and their followers. Our gentlemen thought it either unwise, unkind, or unsafe, to refuse them so small a boon altogether.

  • Questions as WAM! Announces Twitter Collaboration to Address Online Harassment – Tech and startup culture commentator Shanley Kane weighs in with her concerns about Twitter’s approach to dealing with gendered harassment on their platform.

    Today, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) announced an “unprecedented collaboration” with Twitter to address online harassment. WAM!’s pilot program asks Twitter users experiencing gendered harassment to submit their experiences to the organization through a web form: “WAM! will escalate validated reports to Twitter and track Twitter’s responses to different kinds of gendered harassment.”

    WAM! will then work with Twitter to incorporate learnings from the program into its abuse handling.

    While it’s exciting to see new, concrete programs to combat online harassment — particularly ones that seek to address multiple aspects and intersections of online harassment — the news raises a few questions. Including: what is the true extent of Twitter’s engagement with the program? The online blog post and press release are somewhat vague, and don’t include a quote from Twitter, which would at least indicate vocal and explicit support. The community has been asking for clear commitment from Twitter to prioritize online abuse handling, and this doesn’t feel like clear commitment.

  • Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most – The knowledge is available for a wide-range of adaptive tech, but so long as disabled people are othered and deemed unprofitable, none of this tech will reach us.

    As the Internet of Things becomes an actual thing, more steps are being counted, more sleep patterns are being logged, more activities are being app-ified. What isn’t appearing in the data is much common sense or ambition. Instead, developers continue flocking to a saturated market filled with hipster pet rocks, devices that gather reams of largely superficial information for young people whose health isn’t in question, or at risk.

    It’s a shame because the people who could most benefit from this technology—the old, the chronically ill, the poor—are being ignored. Indeed, companies seem more interested in helping the affluent and tech-savvy sculpt their abs and run 5Ks than navigating the labyrinthine world of the FDA, HIPAA, and the other alphabet soup bureaucracies. This may be their own undoing, as there is a very real—and potentially lucrative—potential to shake up the healthcare system and frack the $2 trillion annual cost of chronic disease.

  • Heroes, Martyrs, And Myths: The Battle For The Rights Of Transgender Athletes – Parker Marie Molloy talks about the long history of transgender and intersex athletes while dispelling common myths.

    “All those hours driving and helping your daughter hone her natural skill; seeing her earn varsity playing time as a freshman—only to watch years of hard work and a chance at that Division I dream fall flat if a boy (who identifies as female) trumped her for her spot on the varsity team?”

    The argument is so wrong, so bizarre, and so offensive that it’s hard to know where to begin. Hell, it’s the plot of the movie Ladybugs. Leva obviously hasn’t noticed that in the states and districts with pro-trans policies, boys are not exactly lining up to dominate girls’ leagues. She is arguing that less competition means greater likelihood of success. While this is true, it ignores that the world is better if we can all compete. Competition, after all, is the point of sports.

    Unfortunately, Leva’s argument is also typical. The fact is, even as controversies like the one in Minnesota persist, there have been trans athletes for decades. And examination of the history of trans athletes in international competition reveals that for as long as trans men and women have been competing, bureaucracies and buffoons around the world have attempted to discredit them.

  • Julien Blanc, the ‘female attraction’ expert, glorifies sexual violence. The fewer seminars he holds, the better – If you’ve never heard of the PUA – Pick Up Artist – movement, this profile of one of its leaders is a good example of how disgusting and predatory it is.

    Julien Blanc, a “dating coach” working for US company Real Social Dynamics, is visiting Australia this week to host a series of pick-up artistry seminars.

    Through a program comprising online videos and in-person classes, the company has built a business model which preys on lonely desperate men, offering them the promise of female sexual attention through force when it doesn’t exist by will. The instruction and promotion of abuse and the total violation of consent is this company’s stock in trade.

    Blanc’s “PhD in female attraction” involves a disturbing fixation with physical violence. Blanc proudly posts photos across social media of him propositioning women in chokeholds using the hashtag “#ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld”.

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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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14 Responses to “Links: Saturday, November 8th”

  1. Des Livres

    Julien Blanc’s visa got cancelled and he was thrown out of Australia due to the nature of his work.

  2. Roslyn Hardy Holcomb

    Interesting how Parker Malloy managed to not mention that Fallon Fox fractured a female fighter’s orbital bone and left her with 8 staples in her head. Nor did he mention that this was unprecedented in women’s MMA. And coincidentally that woman happened to be a black lesbian, Tamikka Brents, because you know damned well he would never have beaten a white woman that way. Bottom line is, trans women competing against women might be fine in a damned pentathlon or some such, but in a physical combat? Hell no. They’re not going to be happy until some woman gets killed.

  3. Roslyn Holcomb

    Fallon Fox damned near killed a black woman and could have ended her career. Calling him a man is the LEAST offensive tem I could use. And yes, he is a man. There is no way in hell someone could be a male for nearly four decades, father two children and then suddenly become a woman. But since I know this is not tolerated on your blog I will desist in saying anything further.

  4. aragingquiet

    Your Comment Here…@Roslyn Holcomb: I’m a Black woman as well and I’m so disgusted that’d you claim to be defending Black women with your transmisogyny, especially when Black trans women are some of the most marginalized people and are often targeted for violence, even more often than Black cis women. Being terrible to trans people does fuck all the help me as a Black woman. You might as well own up to your bigotry.

    Anyway, what I came here to say was thank you Ridley for the link on wearable tech. I’ve often wished certain devices existed and were somewhere in the realm of affordable, but I guess marketing to the disabled isn’t trendy enough. Unless you can show how pitiful we are, I suppose.

  5. Roslyn Holcomb

    I’m not surprised that a black woman has bought into the trans cult. Actually this fact is what compelled my interest in the subject. To “educate myself” as they constantly admonish folk to do. There is no such thing as transmisogyny, just as there is no such thing as a 40year old man who takes horse urine and is suddenly a woman. And since you are a black woman, perhaps you can answer this question, why is it okay for men to “identify” as women, but whites can’t “identify” as black? Why is blackface an abomination, but ladyface is totes cool? I’m sure that like me you’ve run into plenty of whites who claim to be black on the inside. These people are routinely disparaged, yet men who do the same to women are disparaged. One is called appropriation, while the other is…appropriation.

    Why is the face of trans overwhelmingly black male (and we know how much this country loves a black man in a dress) when in fact most trans are well to do white males? Don’t you find that mildly concerning? Especially when so many trans advise black trans that they’re lucky and can pass more easily because black men and women are sooo similar. Yeah, that old black women are just dicks in drag myth live and in raciomisogynistic color.

    By their own self report data nearly a third of trans women work in STEM. Certainly that’s represented by the ones who have taken over all the formerly gay rights orgs. And black trans women are not more targeted for violence than black women. Trans folk keep a running list of their victims. By last count there have been fewer than a dozen this year. Do you want to hazrd a guess how many black women have been targeted for violence THIS WEEK!? And most trans victims of violence are in developing countries. I think Brazil has a third, whereas the US has something less than 5%. I tried to maintain a list of black women who were attacked, even when limited to intimate partner violence and north America only, the numbers were too staggering even to list. But, I’m not surprised you wouldn’t know that. All the blacks are men, and apparently the men are women, too.

  6. aragingquiet

    @Roslyn Holcomb: Roslyn, it’s obviously pointless to argue with you, Terfs tend to be very set in their ways. However, you are wrong about Black cis women being greater targets of violence. The lifetime risk of violence and murder for trans woc, vs their cis counterparts is readily available information. The reason you hear about more murders of cis women is that there are simply more cis women around, so even though the overall rate is lower, there are still more murders. I’m not very good with numbers, but even I can grasp it.

    Roslyn, I only have one question for you. What does denying trans women their womanhood do to help Black women? Because as far as I’ve been able to see, all it does is serve white supremacy. I’m not going to buy into your false dilemma of why gender doesn’t work like race, I’m a transracial adoptee, I know a thing or two about living in the intersections and very simply, race isn’t gender, just like it isn’t disability, or sexuality.

    Don’t treat me like I don’t know about being Black, I’ve done you the courtesy of not questioning your racial identity. I blog about race on a daily basis, and all sorts of other things, serious and not. By necessity I am forced to draw the reality of my racial identity into sharp relief when I do so much as think about my family, my disability, my sexuality. I am not less than you for my refusal to buy into easy bigotry.

    I’m done with you, you obviously don’t want to learn.

  7. Meoskop

    I have a lot of complex feelings on how trans-identity is represented in American culture. I don’t think it’s an accident that the face of transmen are generally white and transwomen generally black. I also agree that there are real questions to be addressed in athletics.

    I further believe that trans-identity is not an appropriation, although the hyper-gendered presentation of it can feel that way to some. I don’t believe many who “feel black inside” would willingly embrace the surgical and societal burden of assuming their named identity.

    Patriarchy definitely plays into why we see trans-women more aggressively asserting their right to space in female identified arenas. It’s difficult to discuss that without coming across as transphobic. I think it’s a conversation we (societally) need to have but I don’t know how to navigate it yet.

  8. Meoskop

    Regarding the above – I do not mean to infer that surgery is necessary or that by using the word “assumed” I am presenting gender identification as something falsified.

  9. Roslyn Holcomb

    Trans don’t have a womanhood and I certainly have no power to deny them what they don’t have. As for how black men running around claiming to be women hurts black women, well, if you don’t understand that, then nothing I say will change that. Not to mention the danger of these so-called gender identity laws that will make it possible for grown ass men, some of them sexual predators to be in spaces that were previously sexually segregated.

    And I repeat, most of the the trans women that are victims of violence are not in the United States or even North America. And most of them are in prostitution, and you know who else gets killed when they work in prostitution? Women. I know the numbers, I worked in social services with both populations and I can tell you the numbers aren’t even close.

    And nowhere at no time did I question your racial identity, frankly I don’t care about your racial identity. You brought it up, not me. And despite their constant use of black trans as a human shield most trans women ARE NOT black. They use black men to hide the fact that they are mostly white men exerting their race and sex privilege.

    I don’t know Meoskop, I do think a lot of these so called black on the inside white people would take a pill or have surgery were it available. Especially if it were as easily reversed as being a trans woman is. A couple of months off hormones and a haircut and they’re back to being men again, as though they were ever women in the first place. And, of course, the vast majority of trans women aren’t having surgery anyway, at least not what they call “bottom” surgery. Even in countries where it’s paid for by socialized medicine they’re keeping their penises at a rate of more than 80%.

    Look, I wouldn’t care one way or another if trans women wanted to run around in Liberace drag 24 hours a day. That would be their business. But, to assume that they have the right to call themselves women and tell me I’ve got to prefix myself with “cis” for their comfort? Fuck that. In what universe is that not a bunch of patriarchal bullshit? Why is it that women have to expand the definition of womanhood, and not men expand the definition of manhood? Why is it that they’re not constantly attacking the people who are in fact killing them? That is, men. Why is it that despite the fact that they claim their lives are in constant jeopardy the only thing I see them advocating about is toilets and lesbians not sleeping with them? And even more striking, despite the fact that they claim to be in such jeopardy that they must use female toilets, I have yet to find any record of a trans woman being attacked by a man in a toilet. You know who are attacked in toilets? Women, by men in dresses. Google it. There have even been cases where men have dressed as women for years in order to have access to children. It’s literally a threat to our lives not to know men from women. And there’s no way to know if a man dressed as a woman is a trans woman, or a pedophile trying to run off with our kid. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the midst of wiping my kid’s bottom I don’t have time to try to tell the difference. But with these gender identity laws if I run and get security because there’s a man in the toilet there’s nothing they can do. Any man who claims to be a woman can have full access. I don’t know about you, but that’s scary as hell to me.

  10. Ridley

    When the murder and suicide rate is what it is for trans women – black trans women in particular – this thread of cis women debating their humanity seems particularly cruel.

    I don’t disagree that people need a space to work out their feelings on a topic like trans personhood, but without a conversation partner who can speak from trans experience, this seems a poor place for it to happen.

    We don’t delete posts or ban users, but I’m going to ask commenters to not misgender trans people and to not debate their right to exist. I don’t know who reads this site and I would hate for a trans lurker to read comment threads like this that repeat the attitudes that get them killed.


  11. meoskop

    @Ridley: I agree. Let’s also make very clear that transgender identification is in no way equal to sexual predator. I want to bold that and underline it. These two things are nothing like each other.

  12. Nu

    That tech article is spot-on. Tech could revolutionize the healthcare industry in so many ways and for so many people, and it’s the industry most in need! Maybe regulation is daunting, but couldn’t it be simplified by working with gov?

  13. Roslyn Holcomb

    Please note that at no time did I debate trans folks right to exist, indeed, my initial posts were specifically about Malloy’s comments and the fact that they left out any mention of the fact that Fallon Fox damned near killed a woman and that Fox also negated to mention their gender issues prior to fighting two women, indeed this information was not disclosed until Fox was “outed.” While the IOC is forcing people with two X chromosomes who have ova and naturally high testosterone levels to receive some type of mysterious procedure in France, lest they be banned from the sport, they’re allowing people with Y chromosomes and testes to compete against women after just two years of synthetic estrogen. That reeks of sexism on a whole other level.