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

Via Atheist Pinko Sluts, a refreshingly sane article on the myth of sex addiction:

In thirty-one years as a sex therapist, marriage counselor, and psychotherapist, I’ve never seen sex addiction. I’ve heard about virtually every sexual variation, obsession, fantasy, trauma, and involvement with sex workers, but I’ve never seen sex addiction.

From Penguin Unearthed, The efficient frontier of shoes

All bodies are beautiful. Right?

Haters gonna hate. Here’s how not to care.

On gendered language and talking about sexual violence.

Fat acceptance and the problem of health.

In the Sydney Morning Herald today: The great sex swindle: “There is little evidence of real differences between the male and female brains…”

Something extraordinary which a friend of Deb’s shared on Facebook – a murmuration of starlings.

‘Though perhaps it wouldn’t seem quite so beautiful if it didn’t have Pachelbel’s Canon playing in the background. What if it had creepy music from a horror movie instead?

And that’s it from me (Deb). I’m signing off from The Lady Garden, for work related reasons. Many thanks for Emma and Tallulah and Coley for their company: I’ve loved working with you. Also drinking with you from time to time. Ka kite ano.

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

Blue Milk has an excellent post on the controversy in writing about your children.

Julie Fairey of The Hand Mirror has a great column about the necessity of working to set a living wage in the NZ Herald: Pay fairly and all of society wins.

A comedian who gets it: misogynist jokes…. they’re not funny. And yes, we WILL send you straight to anti-feminist bingo if we need to.

Same old, same old, but with some data to back it up: “John” got better job offers than “Jennifer” despite having exactly the same qualifications. The data comes from science this time i.e. job offers to graduates in science who are looking for lab jobs. So much for “rational” and “evidence-based”.

Thank goodness for that! Via Feminist Philosophers, it turns out that looking at cute animal pictures increases productivity.

Something interesting to end the week. This somewhat stagnant looking pool of water? It’s Jacob’s Creek. I (Deb) took the photo this afternoon when we were on a day trip up the Barossa Valley.

Jacob's Creek

Jacob’s Creek

However, I could have spend much more time taste testing at Elderton’s cellar door – very yummy – and I was delighted to be able to go to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. She has a fabulous set-up and have the chance to go there, I recommend it, thoroughly.

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

Leading the week, the 56th Down Under Feminists Carnival, hosted by the fabulous Chally at Zero at the Bone. Chally has put together a tremendous set of posts by down under feminists – well worth your time making with the clickie.

Ouch! This has made me (Deb) think long and hard about my grammar-police tendencies: Literacy Privilege: How I Learned to Check Mine Instead of Making Fun of People’s Grammar on the Internet. H/T: BlueBec

Ms. Naughty talks about whether to call her work ‘porn’:

All the other things, the sexism, the dirty adult bookshops, the bad production values… they don’t haveto be what porn is about. That is bad porn. I want to make good porn. I want to take back the word from its unfortunate past and create something new with it. Even if that means I have to add extra phrasing – feminist porn, porn for women, new wave porn, female-friendly porn. The “p” word is what people type into Google every day. As long as we’re stuck with it, I want to own it.

What if we responded to sexual assault by limiting men’s freedom like we limit women’s?

A local coalition of religious leaders, concerned about recent studies showing that an average of 6% of men will commit a sexual assault during their lifetime, and that nearly all sexual assaults are committed by men on their own or in groups, are urging parents not to let their sons go out at night unless they are accompanied by a mother, sister, or trusted female friend.

Bob McCoskrie… marriage equality will lead to polygamy and THE WORLD WILL END! Blah-de-blah-de-blah. Click here if you really must read what he said. Or you could just read what our Coley said: On polyamory and marriage equality.

Something amazing, via Shakesville.

A new persective: Central Park, Manhattan

A new persective: Central Park, Manhattan

Story, and much bigger version of the picture here.

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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.

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Just one thing to read this week – it is immensely sobering, and sad, and triggering. A distressing post about what it is like being a woman in Delhi – “The Subjugation Capital”.

I love Delhi, the city. I love its wide, open roads, its wonderful architecture. I’ve made great friends in Delhi. I went to a wonderful school in Delhi. I’ve also suffered in Delhi. I’m one of millions of women with tales to tell of how Delhi has ground our self-respect and security to dust. General descriptions of harassment can’t adequately describe the horror a woman faces every day in the city. There isn’t a single moment when you’re walking its streets that you can think “I’m safe, I can breathe easy and enjoy the sunshine. What a lovely day!” If you have breasts, you’re fair game. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, how old you are, you can be a man’s property. You can be used for his gratification. You can be dominated.

Have you noticed how everyone is talking about “the Delhi rape victim”? I (Deb) have. She has been turned into a symbol, not a real person anymore. How about, “the woman in Delhi who was gangraped and beaten”? And now, even more sadly, the woman in Delhi who was raped and beaten so horrifically that she has died.

That’s all.

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

Eight reasons to end victim blaming. Speaking of, Jill and the Good Men Project. (trigger warnings for both those posts.)

Also, The Pervocracy on the Good Men Project and how most people don’t struggle not to rape (again, trigger warning.)

So when you hear all the totally plausible ways it could have been you, realize: nope, probably couldn’t have been. Most people don’t struggle not to commit rape. Most people don’t have trouble understanding sexual refusal. The vast majority of people go through drunken blunders and miscommunication and bad breakups without committing or being accused of rape, just as the vast majority of people don’t have trouble restraining themselves from torture or murder.

And QoT on the same issue: It’s just so damn difficult not to rape drunk people.

And whether or not it’s actually possible for projects like GMP to succeed. (I – Tallulah – think the part about it being tied to actual achievable policy goals is really important. And might be a way for these projects to work. Surely someone can come up with goals – even if not policy ones – that men’s groups can or should work towards?

In the wake of tragedies like the Newtown shooting, it is natural to seek answers for what caused it. While that is a difficult, if not impossible task, some of the ideas are batshit. Everything from the fact the US has excised God from its classrooms to, of course, the fact that teachers are normally women, and this wouldn’t have happened if there had been some nice strong dudes around to tackle the shooter.)

How to resist food-shaming around the holidays. Personally, I – Tallulah, again – intend to just tell people to bite me, but this is much more constructive.

Today in FFS, via Feminist Philosophers, it turns out that in Iowa you can be fired if your boss finds you too attractive. The seven judges who made that decision? All male.

I’m (Deb) exhausted. See you all on the other side of Christmas.

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

Underwear that admonishes to “ask first”? Picking on Victoria’s Secret? Using sexy knickers to create a conversation about rape culture? SO MUCH GOODNESS.

Balancing Motherhood and Work and Art.

More art: beauty and power and the male/artist’s gaze.

A woman’s beauty is supposed to be her grand project and constant insecurity. We’re meant to shellac our lips with five different glosses, but always think we’re fat. Beauty is Zeno’s paradox. We should endlessly strive for it, but it’s not socially acceptable to admit we’re there. We can’t perceive it in ourselves. It belongs to the guy screaming “nice tits.”

Thanks to Atheist Pinko Sluts for sharing this Dan Savage video. I’m (Emma) ambivalent about Dan Savage: some of what he says is brilliant, some is surprisingly dickish from such a smart guy. I don’t agree with quite everything he says here – I think some people actually are naturally wired for monogamy – but the overall drift is well worth thinking about.

Jill Filipovic in the Guardian takes apartthe argument that a generation of selfish singles is destroying the family.

When the traditional family model isn’t something that everyone is expected to personally sacrifice to create, we can construct and implement policies that benefit actual families, in all of their incarnations. When they are not a crass economic contract where financial support is traded for housekeeping and child-rearing but instead a unit based on love, respect and mutual support, marriages last longer. The conservative and religious promise that there is only one best way to live, one that requires temporal sacrifice and is justified solely by obligation but will be rewarded by happiness in the afterlife, but it doesn’t actually lead to good outcomes here on Earth.

I am the woman in your department who does all the committee work – queue hollow laughter from all my (Deb) female colleagues.

I hope the pre-Christmas frenzy is not too frantic for you, and that you are finding some time to relax, somehow… Feel free to share grumps, grumbles and celebrations in comments.

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

We’ve got a fantastic guest post here on The Lady Garden, which I (Deb) don’t want to get buried, so I’m linking to it here: Guest post: On harassment, conditioning and silencing. Content note: discussion of sexual violence.

The 55th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up at News with Nipples. 55th carnival! Huzzah!! It has a great selection of posts from down under feminists.

How to behave to your non-primary partners: (TLDR: Don’t be a dick.)

Our society lacks roadmaps for how to conduct ongoing relationships of varying depth/commitment in this space. When you’re not just seeking casual sex, but you’re also not seeking someone to live, share finances, and potentially raise a family with (a primary partner), it can be very hard to figure out how to honor your own needs and boundaries while respecting others.

Nick Cave Dolls – a trip into the irony free surreal with Robyn.

And in the Oh Good Grief files, PZ Myers puts up a commemorative post about the Montreal massacre (that’s where a man who didn’t get into engineering school walked into the school with a gun and killed 14 women and injured 10 more, because they were women), and “12 comments in, the thread becomes about whether the particular rhetorical trope PZ used to point out the continued existence of misogyny was fair to misogynists…

Over at The Hand Mirror, Luddite Journo celebrates Wellington’s fair going queer.

It’s December. Time for Christmas trees.

Pohutukawa Trees at Cornwallis Beach

Pohutukawa Trees at Cornwallis Beach


So how has your week been?

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

On being fat at the gym.

I expose my body to expose the fears of others–the fear of claiming space as a fat person, the fear of calling attention to a body outside the bounds of accepted perfection. The other day, I saw another fat woman in tiny shorts on the treadmill ahead of me–tiny shorts, the secret handshake of happy fats.

A new study on the mental health of porn actresses should (but won’t) put the ‘damaged goods’ theory to bed forever:

The present study compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Comparisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and drug use… In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group.

Clarisse Thorn has written a long and occasionally harrowing piece about the down side of being a kinky feminist.

But as I’ve written about feminism and S&M, I’ve also known the rules about what I get to write. I’m not sure how I internalized these rules, but I know them like I know my face in the mirror. When I write, I’m supposed to emphasize the emotional health of my relationships

Another thinky piece from a thinky feminist we love – Blue Milk writing at Daily Life on Meticulous Bohemia.

Andrew Potter described this perverse situation as “meticulous Bohemia” in his book, The Authenticity Hoax. A situation where you can feel like you are rejecting the materialism of the mainstream but be chasing the status of subculture. Where you can tie yourself in knots by self-consciously trying to perform an authentic sense of self, and where you resist advertising phoniness but then fall for any dubious product with ‘ethnic’ attached to it. Where you want to be different, just like everyone else, which is why every hipster around the world looks the same and all parents use the word ‘play-date’ now. The danger is that you can become obsessed with obtaining authenticity at any cost. And it never really existed.

The comments at Daily Life are… interesting. Blue Milk has an intro to the piece at her own place, and the discussion there is right on point.

The war on men. Sigh. You can probably write this by yourself. Women getting equality leads to sad men which is a bad thing so we should back track on this silly equality thing. Otherwise it’s plain that we just hate men. Whatever. The latest installment in this never ending series came from Susan Venker at Fox News. Our own lovely thinker Tallulah had a bit to say about it, as does Echidne of the Snakes: The new war on men. Women’s fault.

More on Gillard and Abbott: Is Abbott too sexist to rule?.

Mr Abbott said last month: “Never, ever, will I attempt to say that as a man I have been the victim of powerful forces beyond my control and how dare any prime minister of Australia play the victim card.”

Ms Gillard said: “I think it is actually a manifestation of deep sexism that you would say that if a woman raises her voice then that is her playing the victim as opposed to her standing up for her rights.”

FoTLG Friend of Marilyn writes about the sheer difficulty of getting the MSM to stop repeating myths about obesity: Untruths and Omissions.

Perhaps the most damage done by the news media on this topic is their refusal to accurately present the evidence on weight loss or engage with the evidence at all. Empirical data has shown weight loss attempts – whether through diet, exercise, lifestyle change, etc – to fail in 95% of individuals. Almost all individuals who attempt to lose weight are unable to achieve a meaningful (more than 10 kilos) and permanent (longer than 5 years) reduction in weight. And yet, this is rarely included in any story you see about obesity, fatness, dieting, etc. When was the last time you read a piece where weight loss was part of the story – and the 5% success rate was included? This glaring omission reinforces the belief that fat people could stop being fat if they simply tried hard enough. It reinforces the indignation of those with anti-fat attitudes, and the shame of those who have failed to reduce their body weight.

Your weekend funny: Capuchin monkeys fight for equal pay.

I (Deb) hope that you’re having a lovely weekend. Feel free to treat this as an open thread, for any chitterchatter you would like to share.

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

31 arguments against gay marriage. (And how to tell the person using them to STFU.)

Girl on the Net on Adverts for the Ladies: or, “I won’t buy your shit just because you painted it pink.”

Jill at Feministe talks about the importance of cool aunts and uncles. (They don’t have to be biologically related.)

The UN Population Fund has called family planning “an essential human right“.

Charlie Glickman talks about things men can do to not be creepy. There are some other great suggestions in comments.

It’s the constant testing of limits, whether that’s moving into someone’s personal space, touching them without permission, getting permission for one kind of touch and then moving past that, and so forth, that makes it creepy. It’s because they keep looking for ways to creep past the boundaries.

Marc Ellis (not that one) talks about his experience of coming out of the Masculinity Box.

As I worked to accept myself, I began to seek out advice on how to restore my marriage which has long suffered a break-down in communication. While I found advice on dealing with a spouse that did not communicate, where intimacy was lacking, and there was a desire for vulnerability and sexual satisfaction; nearly all of this advice was written for a woman.

Grantland sent a 25 year old dude to watch all 5 Twilight movies. In a row.

And in that moment, I was sure that Twilight had somehow taken me to another dimension. One in which Academy Award winners could be conjured from thin air to silently mock me during my quest.

On Caitlin Moran and cool feminism.

So much of what Moran says sound like it comes from a weird twilight zone of “feminism.” It’s a lot like those celebrities who say they support gay rights or a women’s right to choose, then make a point of scoffing, “But don’t worry, it’s not like I’m a feminist or anything!” Except in Moran’s world, she’s proudly proclaiming “YES I’M A FEMINIST!” while saying a lot of stupid shit so she can keep fitting in with the guys. Because this is cool feminism. Or something.

Christmas gifts for people you don’t really like.

Enjoy a bitchy fashion memoir? Grace Coddington is the shit.

Tomorrow is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. (Which really needs a better name.) Here’s a piece on violence against women in South Africa (obvious trigger warning.) Here’s one on women in Papua New Guinea. (ditto) (And what UN Women is doing in PNG.) Maybe it’s time to think about your dance moves?

To get the rest of your weekend off on a slightly more cheerful note, have you me Tama, the Station Master cat?

And because the Lady Gardeners like a parody….Fifty Shades of Chicken.