firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I left this datapoint in [personal profile] selki's journal. (She said that the word "guy" isn't "some sort of modern gender-neutral salutation". Let me be clear that I completely respect this viewpoint.)
"Guys" or "you guys" has a completely gender-neutral connotation to me...but only when used as a second-person plural pronoun, the same way people use "y'all" or "youse". It feels wrong to me to address or label a woman or girl as a "guy" or to say "Those guys over there" when referring to a mixed group or a group of women/girls. But I'll comfortably say "OK, you guys..." even to a group of all women.

This isn't modern; I've been doing it my whole life and I'm over 50. I grew up in Michigan; I wonder if this is a regional usage.

In contrast, "dude," "men," "mankind," and "he/him" have a male-only connotation to me, although I can hear other people use "dude" in a gender-neutral manner. (I can't do that with the other words.)
Thoughts? Datapoints?

I also use "y'all," "youse" (but they don't feel like "my language"; they feel like I'm stealing them from other people's language), "peeps," and "folks." ("Peeps" feels modern to me, and "folks" feels old-fashioned.)
firecat: male and female crossed out, other written in (gender other)
For some reason I came to the attention of the company which is an online marketplace for products that it deems ethical. Its Wikipedia article says it offers ethical products in six categories: Eco-Friendly, Organic, Fair Trade, Animal-Friendly, People-Friendly and Social Change.

I care somewhat about the ethics behind products I buy so I went to look at the web site. You have to sign up before you can look. You can sign up with your Facebook account or with an email address. If you put in your email address, you are required to specify your gender and choose whether you care most about "rights," "environment," or "animals."

I guess I'm naive to expect that a company that is supposed to care about ethics, rights, and social change would have a clue that gender isn't binary and that gender isn't any of its effing business.
large-ish image with f-bomb inside )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
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... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From Sherlock to Sheldon: Asexuality and Asexual Characters in SF/F
Track: Feminism and Other Social Change Movements

Panel description:
We're all familiar by now with the sexual orientations homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual. Much less discussed are asexuals, persons who do not experience sexual attraction. This panel discusses what asexuality is and is not, and proposes ways for authors to explore this overlooked orientation in their characters. Is it enough that a character has no on-page sex life, or should asexuality be more positively portrayed? Asexuality in real-time fandom and asexual characters in fiction and media may also be discussed as time allows.

Jed Hartman
Liz Argall
K. Tempest Bradford, moderator
Rebecca Marjesdatter [I didn't catch her last name], who suggested the panel, but didn't sign up to be on it because she wasn't sure she'd make it to Wiscon. The panelists asked her to be on the panel because two assigned panelists were missing.

Tempest said that mostly the panelists would talk and for the last half hour there would be time for audience q's and comments.

[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 most audience commenters by name for privacy reasons. If you said something I paraphrased here and want your name to be used, please comment or send me a private message.]

Read more... )
firecat: fat cat wearing a necklace (
The following is excellent collection of quotes criticizing the concept that trans people need to "disclose" their gender history to people they are dating or thinking of dating.

(Hm, I need a gender icon.)
firecat: man screaming with hand over face (screaming facepalm)
I expect this UPI article will be all over my reading list but I have to put in my own pocket change before I even go look.

It's annoying that they are being all gender-essentialist about it, but if they're going to be that way, it's good that they are acknowledging that women feel more pain, because usually women's pain is downplayed and ignored.

But then they manage to downplay it anyway. "Let's treat the emotions." Let's get a woman living with pain to say "it's all about just not caring whether you have pain." And not once is it mentioned that maybe we should believe women who have pain, and give them pain medicines to manage their pain.

"Pain different for women, men"
ATLANTA, Aug. 13 (UPI)
(Full article quoted. Emphasis mine.)
Chronic pain is more intense and
lasts longer for women than men and a higher proportion of women
suffer from diseases that bring such pain, doctors say.
Jennifer Kelly of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine
in Georgia says women have more recurrent pain and more disabilities
from pain-causing illnesses such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid
arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome, CNN reported Friday.
Hormones could be one reason women bear this burden of pain,
Kelly said, noting the menstrual cycle can be associated with
changes in discomfort among women with chronic pain.
Pain also can have long-lasting consequences, studies show.
Women who suffer menstrual cramps have significant brain structure
changes compared with women who don't, one study found, while other
studies have revealed abnormal brain structure changes in people
with disorders such as chronic back pain and irritable bowel
Women tend to focus on pain on an emotional level, worrying
about how it will affect their responsibilities, whereas men focus
on the sensory aspect, Kelly said, urging doctors to help women deal
with negative thoughts
that can make a painful situation worse.
One woman who suffers from arthritic conditions agrees
patients with chronic pain need help changing their mind-set about
"Part of what helped me was switching out the model in which
I had to be pain free to be happy," Melanie Thernstrom says.
"Realizing I can have some pain, just like it can be raining outside
and I can be happy
-- it's all a matter of what level the pain is
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
...and having an interactive kiosk at city hall instead of a human receptionist is probably a reasonable way to save money.

But did they have to gender it?
"Carly appears in the center of a monopoly-board screen that offers a menu of city departments and services. The Virtual Receptionist is designed to greet visitors and provide much of the assistance a human used to offer.

Residents can access the kiosk via the touch screen monitor, by tapping on the icons that surround her, gaining access to valuable information including department phone numbers and directions to the many city hall offices. In addition, when you click on Carly she begins talking and explaining what services are on the first floor and the second floor, and what services the city provides.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I listened to an audio production of Calculating God, narrated by Jonathan Davis. There's an interesting intro by Robert J. Sawyer that explains what he was trying to accomplish by writing the book.

The novel intertwines three stories: massive spoilers, also a lot of nitpicking )

When I read a few stories in a row that are highly regarded and that leave me annoyed at what I perceive are pretty serious flaws both in the storytelling and in the ideas being explored, never mind the sexual politics, I start to wonder whether I really ought to be reading science fiction at all. Maybe I am too nitpicky to enjoy it. Maybe I should just not read any fiction at all.

I usually eventually read a book I like and get over that attitude.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
These are the Wiscon panels I'm on. I've never been on a Wiscon panel before. I would welcome any comments about these panel topics and any ideas you would like to see addressed at these panels. And if you're at Wiscon I hope you come, but if there's something else fascinating going on at the same time, I hope some of you go to that instead, so I can find out what happened!

Romancing the Beast
Sat 4:00 - 5:15PM, Conference 4
Moderator: Vito Excalibur. Panelists: Catherine Cheek, Stef Maruch, Heidi Waterhouse, Janine Ellen Young

Paranormal romance almost always features the hero as a paranormal being and the heroine as an ordinary human. How does this resonate with gender relations and power relationships in our society? And is it emblematic of women seeing men as Other?

I wanted to be on this panel because the disparity has always bugged me. To give an example that has nothing to do with paranormal romance, I refuse to see Cyrano de Bergerac in any form because I'm not aware of any gender-reversed version.

Dealing With Your Male Answer Syndrome
Sun 10:00 - 11:15AM, Assembly
Moderator: John H. Kim. Panelists: Suzanne Allés Blom, Moondancer Drake, John Helfers, Stef Maruch

Although it's not absolute, there's a strong tendency among masculine people to always want to have the definitive answer for everything, even if they don't necessarily know. In panels and elsewhere in life, it can be hard for men to admit they don't know things. Why is this? How can men deal with the pressure (either internal or external) to always have the right answer? How do women and other non–masculine folks deal with Male Answer Syndrome? If you think the answers to all these questions are obvious, then you need to come to this panel!

I wanted to be on this panel because it's All Answer Syndrome All The Time at my house...and the XY person in the relationship is not the only person participating. So I have experience from multiple sides. I also have funny stories and techniques that you'll want to know about!

Wish Fulfillment in Fiction
Sun 2:30 - 3:45PM, Assembly
Moderator: P. C. Hodgell. Panelists: Beth Friedman, Anne Harris, Stef Maruch, Caroline Stevermer

What is the role of wish fulfillment in fiction? If you're a writer, what personal wishes do you want your stories to fulfill? Are they the same ones you want to read about? How do our fictitious wishes affect our everyday dreams?

I wanted to be on this panel because I fundamentally don't get wish fulfillment fiction, and I think that has something to do with why I find it difficult to write fiction, so I hope to provide an alternate viewpoint and I also hope it will shake something loose.

The OH is envious that I get to be on a panel with P.C. Hodgell. (He isn't going to Wiscon this year.)
firecat: gorilla with arms folded looking stern (unamused)
I just tried signing up again for Second Life. The first time, quite a while back, I gave up early in the process because I couldn't find a "last name" that I liked among the offered choices. Today I got farther into the form, but I ended up not signing up, because the form required me to specify a gender.

Why the fuck does SL care about my gender identity???
firecat: gorilla with arms folded looking stern (unamused)
I just tried signing up again for Second Life. The first time, quite a while back, I gave up early in the process because I couldn't find a "last name" that I liked among the offered choices. Today I got farther into the form, but I ended up not signing up, because the form required me to specify a gender.

Why the fuck does SL care about my gender identity???


firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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