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The Heat is a buddy cop movie set in Boston starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. I thought it was really funny, and the humor does not rely on fat jokes (McCarthy is fat), fat stereotypes, sexual assault or harrassment.[1] There are some jokes based on appearance, and a lot of jokes based on class.

Normally I wouldn't see this type of movie in the theater but I did because wanted to reward the producers for making a film of this type that stars women.

There are spoilers in the comments.

[1]ETA: Add "against women". There were jokes about sexual harrassment of men.
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The OH and I are going on a cruise in May, but I have misgivings because of the way cruise lines are reported to treat some of their workers.
(beware the comments)

Linkspam via the OH: (self-explanatory)
I should probably keep my mouth shut about religions that I don't follow. So I'll just quote this.
at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome...the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.
The church’s liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus’ apostles were all male.


“If someone is washing the feet of any females ... he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics,” [canon lawyer Edward] Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog.
Strippers seek benefits:
As independent contractors, strippers' income comes solely from tips. Often, club owners' long list of fees take a big bite out of that too.
Hima B., a former stripper in San Francisco who is working on a documentary about strippers' labor rights, paid $5 "stage fee" for a six-hour shift when she started working in 1992....By the time she stopped working in 1999, she was paying $200 per shift....Sonja also paid stage fees, and more -- $80 for showing up late, $25 to dance one song and $60 for a half hour in a private room. Some strippers also have to pay DJs and other overhead costs like rent.
There are other professions where employees work for tips or have to pay for a spot -- like waiters and hairdressers. The difference is that these workers also earn wages.
Workers at The Lusty Lady, a San Francisco peep show, formed the Exotic Dancers Union in 1997. Soon after that, The Lusty Lady became fully owned and operated by its employees, who continue to vote on all business decisions.
"I get paid a little bit more than minimum wage hourly on top of my tips" said Victoria Privates, a dancer who started working at The Lusty Lady last year.
Being a target demographic: I had a membership on for a brief period and I had to get rid of it because I wanted to buy so many of the things they sold. (None of which I actually needed.)

trigger warning for descriptions of violence against women (advertising $fail) )
firecat: hothead saying "feh" "muh" "nist" (feh muh nist)
There was a controversy at Pycon 2013 in which a woman of color tweeted a complaint about the language some men were using. As a result, she and one of the men lost their jobs, and she's getting a metric gigaton of harrassment, which is still ongoing.

This op-ed says IMHO all the right things about it. I'm mostly putting it here so I can find it later.

The situation is well summarized here:

I'm not really in the mood to argue about whether the forbes op-ed is right, so I might be wielding an arbitrary ax in the comments section.
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via [personal profile] piglet

It's really good that people are talking about women's health and the effects of perfectionism, stress, poverty, and race. But I think this article conflates too many things and ends up being more on the "victim blaming" or "pitying" side and less on the "critical of society" side than it might intend.

It starts out by giving examples of privileged women who try to be perfect for their children and end up becoming sick. Then it goes on to say "The health risks associated with being a woman who does too much are even more pronounced for women of color." But the studies mentioned to support this claim didn't look at "doing too much." They seem to say that the poorer health of women of color is due to stress and poverty. Granted that a woman can cause herself stress through perfectionist tendencies, but if you're poor or a person of color, you don't have to be perfectionist or "leaning in" to be subjected to lots of stress. Society is capable of doing that to you even if you're trying to reduce stress in your life.

Then the article goes on to mention that women have more autoimmune diseases, depression, and anxiety than men. This might be partly due to biology (lower androgen levels, theorizes the president of the American Institute of Stress), but the article doesn't mention that there are likely diagnostic biases involved, or that women are more likely to seek medical care than men.

The author of this article has written a book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How Perfection Is Harming Young Women, which is about eating disorders. The first edition of the book was called Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body.


24 Jan 2013 04:58 pm
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Passing along some linkspam I got from the OH.

Assuming you think it's a good idea for abortions to be available to women who want them, even poor women, take your blood pressure medicine before reading this one.
Is Women's 'Retirement Gap' Really a Pay Gap?
By: Paul O'Donnell
Much is made of women's lack of engagement in basic investing, including investing for retirement. Reasons given range from a lack of confidence to a congenital fear of risk to a simple lack of information....But here's a reason that may be too simple to get much attention: It could be that women invest less than men because they don't have as much money.
The Google NGram now offers text from more books, and more parameters, including the ability to search for a term in British English or American English.
Musical instruments made out of trash and other recycled materials
More problems with the DSM-5, e.g., "Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: DSM 5 will turn temper tantrums into a mental disorder."
firecat: hothead saying "feh" "muh" "nist" (feh muh nist)
The second resolution passed by the board serves as the [Python Software] Foundation’s requirement that all Python conferences and related events create and apply a Code of Conduct. Without a code in place, the Foundation will not fund the event."
PyCon’s Code of Conduct is structured after one created by The Ada Initiative and others, available under the Creative Commons Zero license at
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I really enjoyed Skyfall. It's very cool that they made a Bond film where...
MAJOR spoilers )

I liked how they played with the various Bond tropes. Also it passes the Bechdel test handily.
firecat: man grimacing (grimace)

Here's an article about a heterosexual dating site where men sign up as "products," declaring themselves to have certain characteristics (for example: Flavor: Intellectual; Packaging: Skater;
Bonus Pack: Vegetarian) and women sign up as "clients" to "browse" and "buy" the "products." The idea is pitched as giving women more control over dating. I have heard that on most het dating sites, women rarely contact men, so I guess this is also an attempt to overcome that tendency.

I think the buy/sell metaphor is really offensive.

But the first thing I thought when I heard about the site was "Whee, now there's another online store where I can put things in my cart and not buy them."

A lot of the comments on the article say "OMG, can you imagine what people would say if there were a Superwomanket?" I guess the people saying that have never typed "escorts" into a search engine.
firecat: red panda, winking (winking)

I'm not crazy about the title of this article ("The Upside of Ugly"). It talks about a girl who was bullied for her looks, and whose cosmetic surgery was funded by a nonprofit organization that helps children with facial deformities. There's a before and after picture of her. In the before picture, her ears stick out and in the after picture, they don't.

I feel angry about this, but I think it's misdirection to feel angry at the girl for wanting the surgery or her mother for seeking it or the organization for funding it. I am angry that my society promotes the idea that the girl in the before picture is "ugly" and the idea that the best way to address bullying is to change the traits that are the target for bullying.

I somewhat like this quote:
There may be a bit of head-shaking over young girls going to drastic measures to feel beautiful, but we never seem to question the idea that feeling beautiful is a worthy goal in the first place. We should tell girls the truth: “Beautiful” is bullshit, a standard created to make women into good consumers, too busy wallowing in self-loathing to notice that we’re second class citizens.

Girls don't need more self-esteem or feel-good mantras about loving themselves—what they need is a serious dose of righteous anger. But instead of teaching young women to recognize and utilize their very justifiable rage, we tell them to smile and love themselves.
However, I don't agree with the "one-true-wayism" of the quote. I think it's fine to have "beauty" as an interest or hobby. Where I do agree with the quote is that I think pursuing beauty should not be a requirement.

I feel like I'm swimming upstream though. I fear that most people and societies will always rank attractiveness and will always be more accommodating to people who are perceived as more attractive.

(And just to completely negate everything I wrote other than the penultimate paragraph: I think the girl in the before picture is more attractive.)
firecat: gorilla with arms folded looking stern (unamused)

The ACLU is demanding that the Delhi Charter School in Delhi, Louisiana, end its policy of forcing students to get pregnancy tests (and kicking them out if they refuse).

After perusing the school policy manual, I also disapprove of the school's policy allowing corporal punishment of students, and I'm glad that "public display of affection" including "holding hands, hugging, kissing, leaning against each other" wasn't consider a "major infraction" at my school.

Edited to add: The school is changing its policy.
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Small medical tech companies have a hard time selling their products because of loopholes in Medicare laws.
Shaw’s retractable syringe hit just as these trends were converging. In fact, the year his product came onto the market, three of the nation’s largest GPOs merged to form a company called Premier, which managed buying for 1,700 hospitals, or about a third of all hospitals in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Premier signed a $1.8 billion, seven-and-a-half-year deal with Becton Dickinson. Under the agreement, member hospitals—among them Dallas-based Presbyterian, where Shaw would hit a brick wall—had to buy 90 percent of their syringes and blood collection tubes from the company. Over the next two years, BD landed similar deals with all but one major GPO. As a result, almost everywhere Shaw turned, he found hospital doors were closed to him.
This law is supposed to discourage sex trafficking, but the real consequences might be harmful to women:
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a new regulation targeting taxicab drivers who knowingly transport people who are engaging in prostitution....Critics of the law have pointed out that the new regulation might lead cab drivers to refuse rides to any woman who are suspected of being prostitutes or sex trafficking victims (based on their appearance and other factors).
The article suggests a better way:
There are many initiatives within anti-domestic violence movement that attempt to build community support for people who are in ongoing, long-term abusive relationships. One example of such strategy is anti-DV organizations partnering with cosmetology schools and practitioners to educate hairstylists and others in the field to become the first line of support and information referral point for victims of domestic violence....

The purpose of the partnership is not so that hairstylists can identify and report suspected abuse victims to the police; it is to build trust and rapport with the women, hear their stories, provide support and encouragement, and when a woman ready and willing, give her resources she needs to escape from violence. What I wish the New York City had done is to adapt a similar strategy to reach out to people in the sex trade through cab drivers, whether or not their circumstances meet the legal definition of “sex trafficking.”
So much for music companies' claims that they care about piracy because they want musicians to get more money: "any recovered funds will be paid to IFPI Sweden and IFPI London for use in future anti-piracy activities,” IFPI writes."
From the DUH files:
In 2007, South Korea temporarily mandated that all websites with over 100,000 viewers require real names, but scrapped it after it was found to be ineffective at cleaning up abusive and malicious comments (the policy reduced unwanted comments by an estimated .09%).
I can't wait!
What if every Olympic sport were photographed like beach volleyball? (Contains a lot of butt and crotch shots, obvs.)
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I failed to record the sources where I found these, but many are from [personal profile] andrewducker and [ profile] moominmuppet
"Old movies" are now movies made in the 70s and 80s, and in a couple of cases, 90s. Ghod.
Some Eagle Scouts are returning their medals in protest of Boy Scouts of America homophobia and religious intolerance.
Complete with equations! Now to get medical schools to also realize that days-long shifts aren't a good idea.
Video of lightning captured at 7,207 images per second
This is about how in the US and some other cultures, children are no longer allowed outdoors unsupervised.
"In the Sydney Morning Herald, a writer recently marveled at seeing children wandering unchaperoned all over Tokyo. When she worried to her Japanese colleague about the lack of adult supervision, he responded, “What do you mean, no adults? There were the car drivers, the shopkeepers, the other pedestrians.” In Japan, 80 percent of kids between 6 and 12 walk to school grownup-free."
Note: I don't judge any parents. But I wonder about the consequences of a culture where children are not allowed to have any time to themselves outdoors.
Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin. Includes the cover of an SF Masterworks version of The Dispossessed that strikes me as the most awesome bookcover ever. This interview also links to an article Le Guin wrote for Harpers in 2008 about reading:
MANATEE SUPERHEROES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes I agree, but that doesn't mean people who have survival needs going unmet are happy. So I hope no one uses it as an excuse to continue suppressing the minimum wage and promoting other underpaid work.
How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science

And can I just say that I'm disgusted people are criticizing the body of a female swimmer who has won multiple gold medals? (Leisel Jones of Australia). I'm not linking to any of the news articles about it because they quote body hatred, but you can quack it.
Fluoride lowers IQ, or does it? (How science is misreported, especially by people with an agenda.)
I approve.
Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London", if they give the impression of a formal connection to the Olympics.
Interesting article about the ramifications of various ways to legalize and regulate marijuana.
firecat: x-men wolverine showing claws (wolverine2)
The story as I understand it is:

Readercon has a zero tolerance sexual harrassment policy.

René Walling, a man who is a fandom celebrity, was found to have engaged in sexual harrassment at Readercon.

The Readercon board ignored their policy and decided to ban him for two years. They later clarified they meant at least two years.

(Roundup here.)

I only have this to say: It seems to me that if Mr. Walling sincerely regretted what he did, he would have accepted the Readercon policy as written rather than requesting or accepting an exception.
(This point is also made well here:

The only person who should have the power to say that an exception is OK is the woman who was harrassed. (On the other hand, it shouldn't be her responsibility to make that judgement.)
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Wiscon panel report: Class, Culture, and Values in SF&F
Tracks: Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction (Power, Privilege, and Oppression)

Class isn't just how much money you have or what work you do; it also involves cultural beliefs, values, and attitudes that are expressed in how you talk, what you do in your free time, and all sorts of less tangible elements. (See Barbara Jensen's book Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America, due out in mid-May.) The SF&F writing and fannish communities are mainly middle-class folks, which makes the class values of SF&F works mostly middle class, too. What works and creators explore classes outside the mainstream, white, European, middle-class value systems? What class markers tend to show up most, or least, often? Do these works show the non-middle classes positively? negatively? realistically?

Moderator: Debbie Notkin
Eleanor A. Arnason
Alyc Helms
Danielle Henderson
Rose Lemberg

[My notes aren't a complete transcription and may represent my own language rather than the actual words of the panelists. I welcome corrections. I did not identify all audience commenters by name. If you said something I paraphrased here and want your name to be used, please comment or send me a private message.]

[The book mentioned in the panel description, Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America by Barbara Jensen, is available at For a 20% discount use promo code CAU6.]
Read more... )
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Feminist Perspectives on Elder Care
Track: Feminism and Other Social Change Movements

Panel description
Like child care, the vast majority of elder care is done by women and is frequently unpaid. (When it is paid work, it is often paid extremely poorly.) Many WisCon attendees are dealing with elder care issues, either because they have aging parents, or because they are the aging parent. Are there political solutions we could be working toward? Are there pragmatic solutions we can share with each other? Are there new ideas (for caregiving, accessibility, communities, etc.) that we can offer as a shared vision?

twitter hashtag: #ElderCare

(I did not list most panelists' journal/blog info, for reasons of privacy; if you want your panelist name associated with your blog or journal, leave a comment or send me a private message.)
Criss Moody 
Janice Mynchenberg
L J Geoffrion [personal profile] ljgeoff
[personal profile] firecat
Naomi Kritzer 

I was a panelist and I was not able to take notes. This is what I remember, and I hope others on the panel and attending the panel —and anyone with questions or information—will contribute comments/resources.

During the panel I was wondering if it would be useful to create a DW and/or LJ community and/or mailing list for eldercare resources for people who are fannish and/or alternative in other ways. Thoughts?
Read more... )
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Body Acceptance: From All Sides
Track: Feminism and Other Social Change Movements

Panel description
Body love movements have been gaining momentum recently, but for many people on the margins, the discourse needs to be expanded. The current movement of body love fails to account for persons with disabilities, people of color, trans and gender nonconforming people, pregnant and postpartum people, and fat people, among many others. We aim to discuss how (and in some cases, whether) body love and acceptance apply beyond a purely gendered analysis and expand to nonnormative bodies.

Julie Hayes
s.e. smith
Tanya D.
E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman
Mary Ann Mohanraj
Moderator - Annie D Chen

Twitter hash tag: #BodyAcceptance

I have a paraphrased transcript of this panel, and will post it on request, but that doesn't seem like the most helpful way to present the good stuff about this panel. 

I also tried to write it up by making a list of all the inappropriate assumptions mentioned that people make about each other's bodies and attitudes, but that just depressed me after I had gotten to 22 items (which wasn't all of them). 

So here are my general thoughts and notes.
Read more... )
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I went to this because I've enjoyed the other Underworld franchise movies, especially the first and third ones (this is the fourth); it was co-written by J. Michael Straczynski (who did Babylon 5); and it had Stephen Rea in it.

Bechdel test: Strong pass
Action: 7 out of 10
Plot: 3 out of 10

minor spoilers; possible spoilers in comments )
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via [ profile] moominmuppet
"Reclaiming 'victim': Exploring alternatives to the heteronormative 'victim to survivor' discourse"

The article discusses the rigidity of societal narratives around people who have been subjected to violence. I quote from it below the cut-tag.
cut-tag )
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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows isn't the best movie ever, but I found it very entertaining. I'm not going to pay much attention to the reviews of M. LaSalle of the SF Chronicle in the future. (He gave it 1 star out of 5.)
spoilers ho )


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firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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