but-but-but . . . he’s a BRILLIANT ARTISTE!

September 28, 2009 at 10:29 am (feminist thoughts)

as if all the headlines about roman polanski being arrested in a “sex case” (it’s not sex, it’s rape) weren’t bad enough, now france’s minister of culture is standing behind polanski, saying that “‘he wants to remind everyone that roman polanski benefits from great general esteem’ and has ‘exceptional artistic creation and human qualities.'”

of course! we shouldn’t prosecute him for raping a 13 year old girl because he makes good movies! movies that people like! and he’s such a fine, upstanding guy, surely we don’t want to tarnish his reputation! also, this will totally prevent everyone from enjoying his films, which is just unfair to the viewing public.

there may be plenty of reasons why polanski’s arrest could be problematic, not least of which is the victim’s concern that every time polanski makes headlines it drags her and her family into the spotlight again. but the fact that polanski is a talented filmmaker is not one of them.

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you’ve gotta be kidding me

September 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm (feminist thoughts)

*trigger warning*

yesterday, during milan’s womenswear fashion week, the audience was stunned as a bloody, half-naked model stumbled onto the runway and collapsed.


turns out, it was all a stunt. the model and an audience member who “rescued” her were shooting a scene for a film called “dolls,” by french filmmaker salvatore arimatea.


many believed that the model had actually been stabbed, and rushed to her aid. in a video of the stunt, seen here, many in the audience can be seen covering their mouths and staring in horror (of course, just as many kept right on snapping photos).

erin donnelly, who wrote about the stunt for stylelist.com, notes that this stunt is part of an ongoing campaign associating fashion with violence, from lady gaga’s bloody, hanging body during the mtv video music awards to women posing as murder victims on “america’s next top model.” her take on it, however? “[I] detect the beginnings of a “boy who cried wolf” situation. Stay away from those sharp objects, girls! You may not be so lucky next time.”


i’m not sure what bothers me more: the stunt itself, or donnelly’s response to it. can’t formulate a more coherent argument right now.

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you learn something new every day . . .

September 7, 2009 at 11:10 am (drivel, fun with linguistics)

a group of turkeys is called a raft.

a baby turkey is called a poult (like “poultry”).


a raft of turkeys.


a poult.

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my hilarity for the day

June 28, 2009 at 10:02 am (drivel, feminist thoughts)

i saw this ad on a website i was browsing and did a double-take.

Picture 3

who the WHAT now?

yes, i watched the video, and yes, it IS a cartoon instructional on how to shave your junk so your johnson looks bigger, and yes, gillette is really trying to sell more razors by encouraging dudes to shave their crotches.

it’s also a bit interesting that both this ad and the stupid “mow the lawn” video ad for women use botanical metaphors, but only the one directed at men comes right out and says “shave your groin.” also, the assumption that men need instructions, but for women hair removal is just innate knowledge. and finally, why is it that the men’s ad posits an actual reason to shave the groin (to make the penis look bigger), whereas the women are supposed to “mow the lawn” because . . . it just makes them happy and feel like singing?

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this just in

June 26, 2009 at 8:23 am (feminist thoughts)

a.o.l. home, reviewing a new line of “plus-sized furniture,” declares that “plus size clothing is commonplace.”

um, yeah, right.

to the author of that article: i direct you to pretty much any post ever on shapely prose. thanks.

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misogyny in boards studying

June 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm (feminist thoughts, health & medicine)

as if studying for the u.s.m.l.e. wasn’t icky enough, i came across this today:

In tabes dorsalis, the patient’s pupils will constrict (“accommodate”) when the patient focuses on a near object, but will not constrict (“react”) when exposed to bright light. This is referred to as “Argyll Robertson pupils.”

what’s so wrong with that? oh, THIS:

Argyll Robertson pupils are also known as “prostitute’s pupils” because “they accomodate, but do not react.”

GET IT? ba-dum-bum-ching-SOB. :(

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better (a week) late than never :)

May 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm (drivel, feminist thoughts)


i had a delightful surprise as i read the boston sunday globe last week: the “brainiac” section of the globe’s “ideas” blog (tagline: “illuminating thoughts from the world of ideas”) covered melissa mac-yoo-uhn’s recent shakesville post on the “venus of hohle fels”!


it was so randomly fabulous to see the work of one of my favorite bloggers in actual, physical newsprint. :)

full text:

Melissa McEwan, of Shakesville, was scanning headlines online when she came across coverage of the 35,000-year-old ivory carving of a female form that may turn out to be oldest works of representational art yet found. Given the form’s zaftig proportions, McEwan thought the sculpture offered a nice counterexample to our own culture’s obsession with hyper-fit female bodies.

McEwan counts herself among the plus-sized who are either erased or mocked in pop culture. “Look like anyone you know?” she typed as she forwarded a photo of the carving to her partner.

She thought the carving might awaken people who pondered its social meaning to the realization that three-percent body fat has not always, in the history of homo sapiens, been a non-negotiable requirement for female pulchritude.

Then she saw the headline the BBC had placed on its story: “Ancient Man Sculpts a Grotesque Vision of the Human Form.”

Grotesque? By all accounts, the sculpture was intended as a celebration of the female body. The BBC, to its credit, did wind up changing the headline to something more neutral.

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the wisdom of ballet class

February 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm (feminist thoughts)


“this (points to mirror) is a tool, not a personal judgement.” –my ballet teacher

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susana trimarco, international woman of courage

December 3, 2008 at 8:43 pm (feminist thoughts)

on april 3, 2002, 23-year-old maria de los ángeles “marita” vernon left her home in tucuman, in northern argentina, for a doctor’s appointment. she never returned. authorities believe she was kidnapped and forced into an international prostitution ring.

in the six years since marita’s disappearance, her mother susana trimarco, now 54 years old, has fought tirelessly to bring her daughter home. she has risked her own safety by going into dangerous brothels and meeting with violent pimps in search of information, and her fearless contention that members of the government were complicit in marita’s disappearance has made her the target of several death threats.

while susana’s efforts have not yet brought marita home, they have still yielded many successes. susana lobbied hard for argentina’s first national law against human trafficking, which finally passed earlier this year. she also started a foundation in honor of her daughter, fundación maria de los ángeles, which in its first year of operation has already rescued over 350 trafficked women and children. on the foundation’s website, susana describes the foundation’s purpose in her own powerful words:

“As is public knowledge, in April of 2002 María de los Ángeles was kidnapped by a net of criminals dedicated to human trafficking with sexual exploitation purposes. Looking for my daughter I discovered this horrible underworld and was able to rescue more than 140 victims. Each one of these rescued girls is now feeling vulnerable and in extreme need. This is the product of unimaginable humiliations they suffered in the hands of these criminals. This is why, in order to help them in a proper way, I have organized a Foundation that provides integral assistance for these girls, young ladies, and women.”

susana’s work has also helped to bring awareness of human trafficking into the argentinian mainstream. in march, a telenovela based on her life premiered on the argentinian t.v. network telefe, and it has swelled in popularity ever since. susana, who collaborated with the show’s producers to tell her story, is “delighted that the show has been able to bring this topic to light, because no one ever talked about human trafficking in argentina before.” actress soledad silveyra, who plays the character based on susana, agrees, saying that the role is “an enormous responsibility.”

buoyed by the telenovela’s success, susana continues to travel around argentina in search of her daughter, educating people about human trafficking as she goes. last year on “international womens’ day” (march 8th) she also traveled to washington, d.c. where condoleeza rice presented her with an “international women of courage award” from the u.s. state department. later this year, susana will travel to spain to educate politicians in the e.u. about the issue of trafficking.

throughout all her trials and successes, susana continues to raise marita’s daughter micaela, who is now 9, and remains hopeful that marita will one day return. “marita is a wonderful and caring girl,” she says. “my life will be completely absorbed with this fight until she is back and safe.”


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the “perfect” female politician: no family!

December 3, 2008 at 10:58 am (feminist thoughts)

cnn’s campbell brown has a commentary in her “no bias, no bull” section which highlights two of life’s truisms: 1. sexism is alive and well in the political arena, and 2. unaware politician + nearby microphone that isn’t turned off = BAD.


the unaware politician in question is ed rendell, governor of pennsylvania. at the national governors’ conference last month, a lectern mic caught rendell opining on obama’s choice of arizona governor janet napolitano to lead the department of homeland security:

“Janet’s perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it.”


wow. and here i thought that to be “perfect” for the job of director of homeland security, one would have to have extensive experience, thorough political knowledge, diplomatic skills, a strong work ethic, honesty . . . but no! apparently, all you need is to have a lot of time on your hands. and that, for a woman, means not having a “family.” because, obviously, if you’re fulfilling your duties as a wife and mother, there’s no way you could possibly have time to do anything else; and if you’re NOT fulfilling that role, then you must be sitting around picking your nose all day. without a husband and kids, what else could women possibly do with their time?!

brown, in her commentary, points out that being unmarried and childless would never be cited as a good reason for a male politician to take a position, much less as the basis for him being “perfect” for the job. in fact, for male candidates, these qualities aren’t even brought up. furthermore, brown notes that both current secretary of homeland security michael chertoff and his predecessor tom ridge are married and have two children.

the more things change . . . the more they stay the same. :-/

edited to add: shakesville has picked this up too.

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