The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Sharing the love

Things we liked, or didn’t like, from around the internet this week.

Who do you wear makeup for?

Of course! Of course we should make sure that women obsess over their appearances above all else, hate their bodies, and spend their lives running from aging and then pretend that this conversation is all about ‘judging women’. SHUT UP WORLD. This argument is the same one that derails every single conversation about prostitution. “Stop judging me!” ensures that every conversation about male power and sexism is personalized into an “I choose my choice!” concept of female empowerment and twists ‘choice’ into something completely personal and devoid of social and political context.

(I, Tallulah, would point out that I sometimes wear makeup as a defense. Red lipstick is my battle paint. I’m aware that is still buying into cultural tropes about beauty, but I do do it for me. Because it makes Me feel better. That’s not so much “I choose my choice” as “I recognise the patriarchal paradigm in which I live, and I am choosing to indulge it to take what strength I can from it”.

On short skirts and consent and grey areas. (trigger warning.)

Shakesville’s Today in Fat.

But the worst thing is that it didn’t get any better when I left, when I supposedly became free to express myself in whatever way I wished. My happiness at now being able to wear jeans (they had been outlawed for being “too Western”) turned into glee at being able to wear short skirts, low-cut tops, whatever I wanted. But now, again, I was not allowed my own sexuality and instead, that of others was thrust upon me.

My own sexuality is whatever makes me feel aroused, and because I’m a unique individual, the things that turn me on won’t always turn the next woman on.

Strong Female Characters (can we retire that phrase yet?) in real life.

The New Statesman reviews The Year in Sexism.

The US Violence Against Women Act expires. Lest we feel smug, let’s remember what’s happened to rape crisis and counselling services in New Zealand, shall we?

Penny Red on Rape Culture:

Rape does not have to be a fact of life. It is not your responsibility to be cautious, to restrict yourself, to be quieter and better-behaved so that men don’t rape you. If you choose to live your life in fear of male violence, nobody will think any less of you – the fear is pertinent and legitimate, and sometimes there are grave consequences for women who talk too loudly and flirt too much and take too many risks. Yet there are also consequences for those who don’t.

This is pretty great parenting.

The new feminism:

Meanwhile, it is hard to tear the feminist blogosphere away from endless debates about the sitcom Girls and whether “ladyblogs” are, in fact, feminist. A heavy focus on reproductive rights is necessary, but it crowds out much else. Domestic work more often refers to the division of work between career ladder-climbing husbands and wives than to full-time domestic workers. The online world of feminist commentary has made a diversity of voices available, but navel gazing often predominates.

Some great posts and articles on bodies and size and fat. On Feminist Philosophers, what say you found a magic pill for weightloss? Would you take it, even with all the nasty side effects? And via Feminist Philosophers, a link to a post on Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty: On feminist philosophy and weight loss. The post discusses an article in feminist philosophy journal Hypatia: if you have access to a university library, you may be able to track down the article. A quote from the article:

“I realized that maximizing my ability to move, quickly, effectively, strongly, was entirely conducive to my feminist aspirations and
activities. I wasn’t aspiring to skinniness or frailty, just the opposite: I wanted to bring strength and vigor to whatever struggle I chose. I wanted to get to my fighting weight.”

The New York Times discusses a recent study which suggests there is a lower mortality risk for people seemed to be overweight. And Echidne has an extended discussion of the study, and of the New York Times article: On Fat And Mortality. The Recent Meta-Analysis.

What makes the debates about fat so very nasty is the moral, even prudish tone. Being fat is seen as a behavioral problem, as a form of moral failure, as one of those deathly sins: greed or gluttony, made manifest. It’s one of the human vices one cannot hide the same way one can hide, say, cruelty or avarice. It’s viewed as ugly. Fat people have no willpower! Fat people are greedy! Fat people are Lesser Than Us Thin People.

All that is over and above any medical arguments about overweight or obesity. It’s the moralizing zeal of others which truly hurts anyone labeled overweight and the odd assumption that one can make those moralizing comments openly because, after all, being fat is bad for you.

11 responses to “Sharing the love

  1. caycos January 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    There has been a fair amount of conversation and consternation amongst my friends in relation to that iphone contract for the 13 year old.

    The first point is that it’s not really a ‘contract’. Some of the rules are not usefully enforceable – eg Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire – how do you judge if that line has been crossed? It’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t belong in a ‘contract’.

    And then some of the points also aren’t reasonable – eg Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos – some things people just have to learn for themselves.

    We have also had conversations on the porn point. Porn is almost unavoidable on the web, and a 13 year old boy is probably not going to be going out of his way to avoid.. Surely something about respect and consideration might be more useful?

    Finally, there is a contradiction between points 3 and 14 – does he have it with him or not??

    Overall, calling it a ‘contract’ isn’t a great way to approach it. How is the kid to know whether a particular action is going to get him in trouble? And he’s 13 – is he also responsible for what his friends send him, or what they do on the phone when they inevitably borrow it or he gives it to them to look at?

    I like a large number of the sentiments in the ‘contract’, but I don’t think it’s useful as a guideline for a 13 year old given a new phone with the threat of it being taken away if he doesn’t stop to smell the roses (without taking a picture of them first).

    • Thomas Beagle January 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      I’d have thought a site like the Lady Garden would have been more sympathetic to the increasing privacy needs of a 13 year old too. Surely that’s the age you should be starting to back off, not asserting your right to see everything they see and do.

      • Deborah January 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

        Hmmm…. I hadn’t read that link until now. I agree with a lot of the sentiments in many of the rules, which basically say, be a decent person, and at the very least be polite, and look after this expensive piece of equipment, but some of the rules are, well, dubious.

        We’ve talked about a heap of those issues with our teenager, but left it to her to regulate her own behaviour. Her phone goes to bed with her, as does her newly acquired (and saved for herself via babysitting, sacrificing her clothing allowance etc) iPad. (I can always flick the modem off if I think that she really ought to be going to sleep.)

        Apparently, or so my girls tell us, we are quite permissive parents, in comparison to their school friends. Gotta have their own space. And the opportunity to learn, for themselves.

        Re The Lady Garden having a view about how to raise 13 year olds, I suspect that we have at least 8 views between us (that’s a minimum of 2 each), and there is no “house” view.

        • Valis January 7, 2013 at 4:06 am

          The Lady Garden may well be a group of different authors, but you’ve clearly stated that there are a set of values that the blog is dedicated to advancing, and I also thought that those values wouldn’t have promoted stomping on anybody’s privacy rights, thirteen years old or not.

          • tallulahspankhead January 7, 2013 at 6:22 am

            Oh, For Fuck’s Sake. First of all, I put that story in the links, and I do not, for a second expect Emma, Coley or Deborah to agree with it. The “values” we espouse here have to do with feminism, and we clearly state, if you’ve read the “about” page that we have diverse opinions.

            I am nobody’s parent, and thus probably shouldn’t have used the line “good parenting”. What struck me about that article was not the privacy issues – while she says she will have the password, there’s no indication she’s going to be reading his every text message – but the fact she wanted to start a conversation about the appropriate use of the iPhone.

            Suggesting a 13-year old boy think about whether it’s “intelligent” to send a picture of his genitalia has nothing to do with whether or not people might like to see them, but the wisdom of sending such a picture. Consent issues with that kind of behavior aside, there is any number of stories about young people doing things like that, and having the picture shared far and wide. Learning for yourself is all well and good, but in cases like this?

            The teenagers that I know say that “cyber-bullying” is a very real thing, that they face all the time. I remember what it was like to be a thirteen year old in the days before cellphones, and life was hard enough then. I can’t imagine what it must be like now. So yeah, I’ll applaud a parent who wants to talk to her son about what having an iphone means, and how to use it well. But then, I’m no one’s parent, so what the fuck would I know?

          • Deborah January 7, 2013 at 7:14 am

            Nicely said, Tallulah.

          • Emma January 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

            It was obviously a good link to put in, because it’s sparked a discussion.

            And there’s a lot of good in it. But the phrase “having a conversation” is probably the core of my issues with it. Handing down a bunch of rules isn’t ‘having a conversation’. Conversations go two ways. Sit down with your kid and draw up the contract between you. Give them a sense of ownership and input. Teenagers are, in general, far more responsive to at least trying to do this, even if they end up just grunting when you suggest things.

          • Valis January 8, 2013 at 12:48 am

            “Handing down a bunch of rules isn’t ‘having a conversation’.”


    • Emma January 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Yeah, this is pretty much my problem with it. Even as guidelines rather than rules, that kid has no way of knowing if he’s contravened a lot of them. They’re just too fluffy. And rules for Good Behaviour should in no way be specific to the phone. Don’t be a dick in any format or forum.

      My partner and I are far more accepting of our teenagers’ need for privacy than this.

  2. Valis January 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I like the bit where she implies the only people who want to see pictures of others private parts don’t have “high intelligence”.

  3. Isabel January 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I thnk the thing I dislike most (aside from her jolly-dictator tone) is the implication that any of these ideas are new to her kid or specific to a particular device. My kids (who are a little younger than 13) don’t have smartphones yet but they have had access to various internet and communication devices pretty much all their lives. We have had conversations about how to be safe online and how not to be a dick for longer than they can remember. They don’t need a special contract for a new bit of kit just a continuation of those old and ongoing conversations.

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