30 March 2015 @ 09:25 pm
Holidays with The Walking Dead  
Two more glorious weeks of Easter holidays lie ahead and I'm surfacing from work once more. I haven't touched the pile of student papers yet at all.

I haven't even glanced their way.

Crocky and I have taken a short trip across Germany and I've knitted a lot while watching The Walking Dead, but that's about it. I've backdated seveal posts about the trip with photos and notes with memories.

Short thoughts on TWD )

I'm going back to doing drop stitches on my Gyre cardigan now. 
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
Current Mood: lazy
20 May 2013 @ 02:48 am
Book: Scriber  

Ben S. Dobson, Scriber
A Fantasy story about medically trained historian Scriber Dennon Lark who is living in the country after destroying a priceless religious artefact and losing the trust of the Academy. When people under a zombie-like-influence attack several villages, Cpt. Bryndine Errynson fetches him to investigate the past of their kingdom and the origin of the strange influence.
I have not finished this book yet, but I'm in love. Bryndine is a miracle. She is a strong, masculine, tall, a trained soldier, gruff and vulnerable and amazing. Both characters are flawed and I can't remember when I've been as impressed by a character as I am by Bryndine, though presented with burly soldier girls whom the author doesn't instantly turn into someone wanting to bone the male lead I'm easy to please and quite excitable. And this book is not too expensive, the Kindle edition comes at under $4!
Current Mood: hopeful
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
Current Music: Guided by Voices: Queen of Cans and Jars
09 March 2013 @ 02:43 pm
The fight between good and evil as told from the refreshing POV of two angsty built white dudes in their twenties. So. Um. Who is this show for?

It's as though they marinated an eighties cop show in current slash fandom for a while and this is what came up. There are these two angsty brothers in their tweens who fight demons, and angst about the (dead) women in their lives, go to hell, and angst, and get tortured, and angst, and torture others, and angst, and kill boatloads of innocent people, and angst. Later on, they acquire an angelic side-kick, and the show seems to be fully aware of the slash potential, at least I find it hard to explain away the way scenes between these three are filmed otherwise.

Much like in most corners of manslash fandom, there just are no female main characters in the show, and if there are women, they are used as bait, as window dressing, as a cause, as a reward, and usually to scream because they can scream at a higher pitch. Every female character is a "bitch" or a "whore", and they all come between the brothers and therefore ultimately need to be destroyed. But they are demons, so that is fine.

The series seems to be aware of the fact that it has a fandom, but also seems to think that they're a bunch of overexcited morons. So... is this aimed at self-loathing or ~self-ironic~ white female slash fandom or really misogynistic white gay men (and neither seems unlikely, given that the series seems to imply that one of the male leads is bisexual)?

Internet, please explain. 
Current Mood: confused
23 November 2012 @ 07:45 pm

This show disappoints me. I want to like it, but there are so many things off. First of all, the story, dear Lord. If this were alternate universe Gilmore Girls fanfiction I would refuse to read it because the premise is so out there and unrealistic. 

In Bunheads, a former ballet dancer character made to sound and also almost to look like Lorelai and who works as a showgirl marries a dispisable love interest stalker creep. He changes his will to leave her everything before he expires, forcing her into running a dance studio with a hippy version of Emily. This version falls flat in my eyes because there is no universe in which you can be a high-strung ballet teacher AND a hippy AND Emily Gilmore. 

I am so confused at the choices the team made on this show. They have so many members of the GG cast that it is very hard to  get used to their new characters, although in most cases I found I didn't have to worry, because they are the same characters, Star's Hollow had its name changed, Kirk has opened a coffee place and Gypsy is taking dancing lessons. 

The things I really liked about Gilmore Girls are still in there somewhere, but I am finding it really hard to deal with the lack of diversity in the cast, the astonishing whiteness and the classism of this show. I think they were going for a diversity in body shapes, but that's also where it stops - and I suppose, for this to even be aired, this is where it has to stop. The standards+1 new thing-innovation rate can't handle anything more than mildly diverse body types in teenage dancers, and thus they all have to be white and middle class, I imagine.

And I was hoping that this would be obvious as a shortcoming to Amy Sherman-Palladino, too, but she doesn't seem to. In fact, her behaviour and reactions are a prime example of the ways in which middle class white feminism has always and is still continuing to fail WOC and people from other social strata.  

If Shonda Rhimes, WOC producer of Grey's Anatomy, says: "Hey @abcfBunheads: really? You couldn't cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?"

And your response is to take it as a personal attack rather than pretty justified criticism of ABC's policies and respond that: "I’ve always felt that women, in a general sense, have never supported other women the way they should…I think it’s a shame, but to me, it is what it is. [...] I wouldn't go after another woman. I, frankly, wouldn't go after another showrunner., you are getting things wrong. She also goes on to say, "[The show] is about strong women and strong voices, and it is hard to put that on the air." 

I believe her, but how hard is it, really, to realise that she is putting it on air at the expense of other women? 

Current Mood: contemplative
18 November 2012 @ 12:11 pm
  • Did I miss something or do Hogwarts teachers really always collect every single students' homework? When did they have time to correct that lot? Is there some sort of autocorrecting quill? Where can I get one? I have the feeling that I'm spending my whole life correcting and preparing exam papers for my students.
  • I attended a course for teachers on Tuesday. It was a sort of inter-cultural sensitivity training. It sucked. We had a lot of people there who went to deal with their own relatives from different countries - to help them integrate - or to get an idea of how to deal with muslim students. It was obvious this was not going to go well when someone said after an empathy-building exercise "I'm still wondering how those people feel. This is not that hard to deal with!" - That's because it's an exercise at a seminar and not daily experience, my good man. 
  • RealSocialSkills is easily one of the best tumblrs out there. From their blurb: "Social skills education often fails to teach people with disabilities vital skills, and just as often actively teaches anti-skills.
    At the same time, people without disabilities fail to develop fairly basic social skills needed to treat people well. This blog is an attempt to explain and teach both kinds of these neglected skills."
  • Skyfall - god Lord. Went downhill after the unnecessarily trippy intro (did they blow the entire special effects budget on that?) - unsurprising, given the race issues and misogyny that feel as though they're directly from this franchise's golden age and that we're being forced to look at Daniel Craig's inexpressive mug for two hours. Not even mother figure Judi Dench made it work and I was well past caring about her character towards the end because it was obvious that this movie was all about reasserting the ultra masculine white patriarchy at the expense of everybody else, though it was so over the top at times that I'm still wondering if this is meant to be ironic, and without knowing the other CraigBond movies I find it hard to tell. 

Cur for weightloss talk. )
Current Mood: calm
19 February 2012 @ 10:22 pm
I'm usually late with recs and such, so scroll past if you have seen these already. 

1. Tigerbeatdown: "G. R. R. Martin is creepy" - putting into words what I've thought about the series for years. It's one of the series that I get as 24/7 kinkster Fantasy series, but not as mainstream Fantasy without the niche SSC context or a warning label. 

2. If you haven't updated your knowledge in 2009 what you learned about female reproductive anatomy at school is probably outdated and not as awesome as reality

3. McGonagall and Umbridge, a new piece by ~ehay. Her Minerva's cheekbones are as delightful as ever. 

4. If you haven't already, check out The Half-Life by *Sigune, a watercolour portrait of Snape. 

5. Though I'm not a Snarry fan I can recommend Cordiality and comfort of my new home, which has amazing light. 

6. ~LadyMacbeth1755 has the four heads of houses as silhouettes here

7. I'm late with this rec, but if you haven't already, drop everything and read In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning by [ profile] atdelphi, which is hauntingly beautiful and powerful. 
20 September 2011 @ 08:48 pm
The Secret Life of the American Teenager  
Lessons learned from the show:
1. If you have unprotected sex, you WILL get pregnant.
2. If you have protected sex, you WILL get pregnant.
3. If you use condoms, they WILL break.
4. If you are on the pill AND use a condom AND have lots of sex, you WILL get pregnant.
5. Girls don't know what masturbation is until they're fifteen.
6. Having an abortion at fifteen is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE THING.
7. Having a baby at fifteen will make you SO HAPPY. 
8. Being a teenage mother will totally unite your fighting parents AND attract lots of cute guys! 
9. Women belong into the kitchen because they're just GOOD at it.
10. Having a baby at fifteen means your friends will be dying to spend more time with you.   
11. Divorce is WRONG and you WILL get back together. And the best thing about this: you'll have another child! 
12. You cannot keep a secret in High School, EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYTHING.
13. Teenage dudes will fight tooth and nail to keep their children and get custody, so don't worry, you won't end up raising the kid alone. 
14. It is less likely for people to have a baby if they are married adults taking the same steps to avoid pregancy as teenagers. 
15. If you sleep around a lot before you have a child, your child will be a stillborn preemie. 

Who is funding this show?

I suppose it's good that there is a show that focuses on how having a baby at fifteen is NOT the end of the world and that there are teenage boys who really enjoy fatherhood, but seriously? Having an abortion at fifteen is fine, too, if you don't feel you can handle the responsibility of raising a child just yet and want to focus on, you know, not being a child yourself. 

In the real worlds, babies are not magical plot devices who can fix everything that's wrong in your life story. 
Current Mood: awake
31 July 2011 @ 08:10 pm
Hunted: The Demon's Forge  
Since I'm house sitting, I have the fortune to peruse my brother's steam library, and this game was among them. There will be spoilers in this post, so if you don't want to read about the ending, please don't read this.

To sum up- the gameplay is repetetive and annoying, and the story - all you need to know about the priorities of this game with regards to story and fully fleshed, three-dimensional characters can be gauged pretty much by looking at our heroes: 

I mean, seriously. Read more... )
01 May 2011 @ 07:28 am
Book challenge (backdated)  
Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett.
A reflection on holidays sparks a revolution in the counterweight continent and Rincewind is thrown in the middle of it.
Even though this was the first book I read in the Discworld series I did not read this one more than twice. Reading it now I can see why. The grey horde, much as I love the idea of aged heroes kicking butt, really make me extremely uncomfortable because of the "pillage, plunder and rape, hur hur hur"-aspects of it.. Rape is not funny. Killing is not funny, and in other novels, this seems to be clear to him as well.
Current Mood: disappointed
12 April 2011 @ 12:34 am
Nichts: Was im Leben wichtig ist, by Janne Teller. (Nothing)
When Pierre decides that nothing in life is worth living for, his classmates want to convince him otherwise and start collecting things that mean something to them. What starts innocently with favourite comic books quickly spirals out of control as people are required to give up more and more important things until it ends in excavating bodies, cutting off fingers and, inevitably, rape. Of course. But it's still a very good book and captivating.

Unter Verdacht, by Joyce Carol Oates (Big Mouth and Ugly Girl).
When a joke goes wrong Matt is suspected of having planned to blow up the school. The only one who does not believe that is Ursula, sports star and outsider no one likes. Haven't finished this one yet.

Die Lebensfahrt auf dem Meer der Welt - der Topos, by Christoph Hönig.
A book on the topos of life as a sea voyage and the world as that sea, something of a guided tour through different periods with different texts and analyses of what they make of this topos, how they use it and how it changes over the years. Ever since I read Crossing the Bar and listened to a lecture on it by Professor Haas, who was one of the best speakers I have ever heard I've had a soft spot for this topos and enjoyed encountering it elsewhere subsequently (like in Gregorius).
My Gender Workbook, by Kate Bornstein.
Very practical, hands-on introduction to gender, workbook-style.
Haven't finished this one yet but had a good time with the articles and the way they're written as well as the questionnaires. The interludes do feel gratuitous at times, but they don't bother me, it's still very informative.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Holds what the title promises: a guide on how to win friends and influence people, or rather,  how to modify your interpersonal skills so as to facilitate that.
Ever since I saw the thread in the Slytherin forum on CS back in the day I've been wanting to read this book. I bought it now that covering communication with my students is imminent and it's enjoyable to read.

The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss.
This one deserves a bigger review. I did have a good time reading it, but the longwinded pointlessness of vast part of the middle (Felurian. Oh god did that ever end), some flaws in the setting (would Bast really have sat there for six hours and listen to Kvothe talk about the fairy realm without comment? Hard to imagine) and the increasing level of NiceGuyness of the main character made this hard to enjoy - regardless of just how much I looked forward to this. I liked how the world opens up and still love the magic system, though I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable at the moral framework of our hero (slaying old ladies begging for their lives is not ok even if you think that they were conspiring with rapists, especially if it's likely that they were forced to play along themselves, asshole). The amount of times in which the Rule of Cool is used to make something work also baffles me. All in all enjoyable, but there are things that are off.

The Lucifer Effect - How Good People Turn Evil, by Philip Zimbardo.
This one centres pretty heavily on the Stanford Prison Experiment. Again not news, but the conclusion he draws and what he extrapolates about similar scenes from Guantanamo is still worth a read.

Das Milgram-Experiment, by Stanley Milgram.
An account of the experiment. A classic. I've read it before, and I keep being amazed and terrified at the results.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney.
Greg's adventures as a small boy in Middle School. A typical story about a non-stereotypically male hero type whose sidekick inevitably has to be even less stereotypically masculine to affirm them, or something. I can't really say I am care that greatly, but I watched Wonder Years enough in my teens to recognise the narrative enough to sympathise. My students love this book so I gave it a read.
Current Mood: tired
26 March 2011 @ 12:54 pm
Awesomeness over at BioWare  
You've all probably heard it already but I'm still slightly gobsmacked at the amount of sense written by this BioWare person (much better write-up over at ontd_p here and sf_d here).

What happened is this: they put out a game in which the fe/male main character can be romantically approached by both male and female NPCs. And everybody sees what's wrong there, clearly not enough content for exclusively straight males! But FEAR NOT, STRAIGHT MALE FANS!

One straight dude takes it upon himself to let BioWare know that they've neglected their main demographic, straight males (emphasis mine):

I'm not surprised, but what did floor me was the reaction of the company. Rather than say things on the lines of "but it's cheaper that way" or "focus on the F/F romance, it's hot", Daivd Gaider talks sense about privilege (with costliness thrown in, though, sadly):

Not that this makes me more likely to buy the game which still sounds pretty failtastic for various reasons, but this is nice.
Current Mood: sleepy
06 March 2011 @ 08:02 pm
Work ethic  
It took me eight to ten hours to prepare the first double period I'm teaching tomorrow.

The person who's going to give me my mark in my final exam will pay a call. Still.
hours? Phew. That's not the only lesson I'll be teaching, either, and I've taken nearly as much time to prepare the other double period I have. Looks like I ought to start working on being more efficient.

I think I'm doing something wrong, and I'm not sure how I'll ever manage to tackle a 26-hour week, correcting essays and all, if  I'm taking this long to prepare lessons, but it also occurs to me that I've never had as much fun doing something for this long, so things are good. And it's spring and the sun shone into my window the entire day and I talked to my brother on the phone and I'm reading My Gender Workbook and life is good.

Currently, I'm rewarding myself with "Best of Ms Hardbroom" videos on YT and I must say, there's nothing finer. ♥

Apart from the fact that Crocky'll be over in a few hours.
Current Mood: pleased
30 January 2011 @ 01:36 pm
Gender lessons learned from English textbooks  
Oh, Greenline. I used to love you and I still think you're better than Cornelsen. Still, what on earth ARE you people thinking?

This is the supplementary material that people find on your homepage - a unit on what it's like, being a teenager, including ~voices of teens~ and their view on gendered and gender stereotyped hardships they have to deal with ("Girls are more supportive of each other", "girls are more superficial", "boys don't cry", "boys want sex").

This starts badly enough with this: 

Nice use of colour coding and of stereotypes, there. Also, how are teenagers even supposed to know whether they're "true" or "clichés"...? Scientists aren't sure about this, what good does it do to do a fact-free, gut-feeling based discussion on this? Then, at the end of the texts that follow and which aren't much better (well, the authors are young, I thought), there's this:

Now, Klett, Is this really what you want to teach your kids? These "facts"?

It's also fun that observations based on gender seems to be the only case left in which it's fine to use stereotypes as the basis for any discussion, and it's also not even encouraged to specifically look at differences between those social groups - it's been a while since students were encouraged to draw a table listing the differences between black and white people, for example.
Current Mood: annoyed
23 December 2010 @ 07:46 pm
Are You A Kissing Book? Part II  
It seems that the best chance of finding books about women without love plots is when searching among YA novels and historical novels involving royal, crossdressing characters hell-bent on learning how to fight, as long as they can keep their hands off servants and mentors, that is. Not entirely surprising, but sad.

The books below, judging by summaries and reviews, have good chances of not containing love plots.
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Understood Betsy - orphan Elizabeth Ann leaves her sheltered city life for a life on her aunt's farm and its various chores, which she rapidly grows to love too much to leave again.
  • Allan Frewin Jones' Warrior Princess series: Branwen, aided by faithful former slave Rhodri, becomes a warrior princess and defends her home and hearth against the Saxons. I'm foreseeing Branwen/Rhodri, but who knows.
  • Astrid Lindgren's Ronja the Robber's Daughter - in spite of her family history, Ronja does not want to become a robber, neither does Birk, the son of her clan's closest enemy. They flee and their families have to work together to find their children.
  • Donna Jo Napoli: Hush. Irish Princess Melkorka and her sister Brigid are sent away for safekeeping when a plot on her family is threatening her life and are captured by Russian slavers instead. They try to keep their royal birth secret by not speaking. Upside: no love plot, downside: gangrape.
  • Rebecca Tingle's version of teen Æthelflæd, The Edge of the Sword. King Alfred's teenaged daughter Æthelflæd is not happy with the prospect of having to marry an older ally of her father, even unhappier with her bodyguard, but learns how to fight and protect those close to her gladly, which soon becomes necessary.
  • Theresa Tomlinson's Wolf Girl. Wulfrun's mother is accused of stealing a neclace and Wulfrun sets out to prove her innocene.
Other loveplot-less books:
  • Michael Ende's Momo- Orphan Momo live s in a ruined amphitheatre. When everyone she loves start falling prey to the Men in Grey and their timesaving bank, she steals their life time back. German classic really eveybody should read.
  • Annika Thor's Sanning eller Konsekvens (Ich hätte nein sagen können)  -Nora doesn't like the way her class, especially rich Fanny, are mobbing big-chested Karen, but finds out to what lengths even she herself will go to get her best friend Sabina back, who is best friends with Fanny these days.
Current Mood: chipper
21 December 2010 @ 11:10 pm
♥ Recs ♥  
In my quest to find loveplotless books about strong heroines an anon, [ profile] therealsnape and [ profile] holyschist came to my aid with these recs: 
  • Anne McCaffrey: Dinosaur Planet series (which, according to the Amazon review section seems to be about a male and a female character who do have some sort of romance plot, though, so I'm not sure I found the right book here), Freedom series (I seem to recall that the main point was the love plot between the male and the female lead in some kind of female slave scenario, but it's too long ago since the friend who read the series told me about this one, so I might be mistaken), and the Harper Hall trilogy (the first of which sounds delightful - a musician and dragons! It seems that only the first two of this trilogy are meant to be for the challenge, though, since the third one is about a male character). 
  • Katherine Kurtz: The Legends of the Camber of Culdi (Camber being an Earl make this rec somewhat of a puzzler for me, though the Deryni series does sound interesting, being "set in a land analogous to medieval Wales" with magic - though maybe Anon meant a specific volume, like In the King's Service, for example, which appears to be about an Alyce); Legacy of Lehr which I think I remember seeing at some point during my my cat phase. 
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley: Darkover novels centered around the Renunciates, basically  -the Renunciates being a group of matriarchic Amazons who revolted against the norms of their feudal society. Not being familiar with the Darkover series I'm not sure I could understand later instalments without prior knowledge, though. I'll try to get hold of the books from one of the MZB completist I know. Anyway, the recs: Hawkmistress!, The Shattered Chain, it's sequels Thendara House and City of Sorcery.
  • Ellen Kushner's The Privilege of the Sword - coming-of-age story about Katherine becoming a swordsmistress and coming to terms with the intrigues and plots at her uncle's court.
  • ? Tanya Huff's Valor books - military space opera on an infantry division from a staff sergeant's PoV. - Valor's Choice does have the heroine falling in lust with her Lt. at the very beginning of the book in a scene reminiscent of the Grey's Anatomy pilot and keeps having romantic thoughts about the superior under her care throughout the book, so I don't think this qualifies.
  • Karen Cushman's medieval YA  (like Midwife's Apprentice - Alys, née Beetle is apprenticed to a midwife )
  • Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix - Ai Ling goes on a quest to free her father and find her destiny after discovering she is telepathic.
  • Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan - alternate history version of WWI - fleeing prince Aleksander's and dressed-as-a-boy airman Deryn Sharpe's paths cross and they experience the outbreak of WWI. Not solely about a female character, but the book alternates between their views. 
  • Marie Rutkowski's Cabinet of Wonders - Petra Kronos goes on a quest to Prague to get her father's stolen eyes back.
Current Mood: excited
18 December 2010 @ 01:08 pm
Character meme stolen from various  
The Rules:
Don't take too long to think about it.
Fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books, comics) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

  1. Granny Weatherwax
  2. Minerva McGonagall
  3. Ms Hardbroom (from the Worst Witch series)
  4. Elphaba
  5. Ronja Robbersdaughter
  6. Sherlock Holmes
  7. Hazel (from Watership Down)
  8. Spock
  9. Alfred J. Prufrock
  10. Severus Snape
  11. Brutha (from Small Gods)
  12. Pater Brown
  13. Havelock Vetinari
  14. Dirk Matthies (from Großstadtrevier, a German series about a team of police officers fighting crime in Hamburg's red light district)
  15. Jane Eyre
Given the fact that I disliked reading books about female characters until my late teens because of the abundant and inescapable love plots (after that I realised they were inevitable because female characters Have. To fall. In love.) it's great to see that there are so many female characters who do make the list.

EDIT: characters that I had to cut or forgot about... )
25 September 2010 @ 12:56 pm
Join The Challenge.  
Crocky and I like reading books together, and we are always on the lookout for books likely to make the Bechdel-Wallace-test, but lately, especially when it comes to Fantasy, even those that make it leave me dissatisfied. It's not only that there are hardly any books with and about strong female main characters, it's that as long as the female characters are older than eleven, they usually MUST. FALL. IN LOVE.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love love. I love being in love. I do not, however, enjoy reading about people finding love and engaging in activities related to courtship. Which is what seems to be the only thing going on in most love plots. And there really does not need to be a love plot in every single book. They rarely ever add anything to the plot and they rarely ever influence characters in a realistic way, and tend to be as exciting to read and varied as people making sandwiches. They tend to be tacked on, without point or purpose, just because it apparently is a part integral to the experience of being a woman to fall for a man - any man - because lesbians don't exist, and god forbid female characters get a plot without throwing a male love interest into the mix somewhere, because there might be riots in the streets and people will protest in front of publisher's houses with torches and pitchforks.

Because Crocky has similar inclinations, we started searching. And searching. And searching. Thus, the challenge came about.
It does not sound like much, but try it, and you'll see what I mean.

 [ profile] niaseath joined it, spent an hour in a book shop and couldn't find one single book that made it. I must be reading the wrong Fantasy books, because without the odd Discworld novel and the Worst Witch series, which is for young children, and a couple of books by MZB, I've drawn a blank. There are slightly more titles that come to mind outside the genre, but it's only a tiny fraction, and that's usually because the main character is considered to be past datable age or too young.

Granted, there are also few books about men without a love plot in them, but how many can you think of that do exist?
That's more than none, right?
19 July 2010 @ 12:21 pm
Art and Harm  
There are such a lot of discussions on art and violence these days which make my skin crawl so much I can't speak about them coherently and this probably clouds my judgement on them. Still, I'd like to say this: art can be harmful to people who didn't consent to be a part of it.

Recent sexual violence in what people say is art, trigger warnings )

If people use one oppression as a ~metaphor~ for another that is harmful to the party whose experiences it exploits to express yourself. It's the limit of freedom of expressing yourself - the moment your freedom touches that of another person and you take on their voice to speak about experiences you made, and I'd like to see more self-limitation at work.

I guess the question I'd like to put to people who argue that things like these are important enough to be made regardless is if they consider the message or artistic value of this particular piece to be more important than the problematic content and exploitation of others and why.

Because I don't see it.
25 June 2010 @ 05:33 pm
"slut shaming" in NSM  
As a hobby linguist I've been curious about Goddard's and Wierzbicka's natural semantic metalanguage/semantic primes as an L2 teaching and learning tool for a while, and I've been trying to apply it to various concepts I've encountered so far with varying success.

The notion of cultural scripts I find particularly interesting, and I've been trying to apply those to some cultural scripts of our own.

Here's some example of cultural scripts:  )

Here's a table of semantic primes (Goddard, 2002): 

So what does that give us for "slut shaming"?

I got something like this: 

[people think like this:]
I want to say you are a bad person. Because of this I say you do things with your body and many other people's bodies.
It is good to do things with your and one other person's body, but not many people's - that makes you a bad person.
I want people to know that I know this is bad.
You are a person to whom I can say, "You are a bad person", and you cannot do bad things to me because of this.
People will think it is true if I say to you,
"You are a bad person, and you are doing bad things with your body"
I want you to think that you are a bad person.
...which leaves out the gendered double-standard, and its still pretty choppy. I wish we'd have had courses on this at uni, though they probably wouldn't have done me any good, given that I'm not a linguist.

Anyone have any ideas?
Current Mood: curious
17 June 2010 @ 09:46 am
Size, dieting and sin: Jean Kilbourne on Advertising  
Advertising featured in my brother's oral exam, and for some completely weird reason they never discussed what types of images are used to advertise - female bodies or parts thereof. These weird gender blinkers made me curious - with something as omnipresent as using female, heavily sexualised bodies to sell (other) objects, how can they really arrive at any kind of solid analysis of any kind of advertising, especially in ads about alcohol...?

Crocky and I soon discovered Jean Kilbourne's oeuvre on women in ads through her "Killing Us Softly" series focusing on women in advertising. She also has a documentary on thinness in advertising called "Slim Hopes", and what I liked especially about that "Slim Hopes" is the connection she draws between thinness and moral purity, especially virginity. She has some really neat examples of how the metaphors that used to surround sexuality and moral is now associated with eating because both of those "appetites" have to be controlled.

Some of her main points from the study guide:
« Food & Advertising »
  • Food and diet products are often advertised with the language of morality. Words such as “guilt” and “sin” are often used to sell food.
  • Sex is frequently used to sell food. Many ads eroticize food and normalize binging. These ideas support dangerous eating disordered behaviors.
  • Thinness is today’s equivalent of virginity.
  • Women are shamed for eating, for having an appetite for food.
  • Control is often associated with thinness in advertising.
  • The obsession with thinness is related to the infantilization of women and the trivialization of women’s power.
  • Prejudice against fat people, particularly against fat women, is one of the last socially accepted forms  of prejudice.
  • Women are sent the message that they shouldn’t eat too much, that it is appropriate to eat only a cereal bar for breakfast, and that they gain power and respect by controlling their bodies. When advertising for food is examined in conjunction with the prevalence of extremely thin models, we discover a recipe for disordered attitudes toward eating.
Jean Kilbourne.

She also almost quoted Granny Weatherwax ("There's no greys, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.")

« Objectification  »
“Women are constantly turned into things, into objects. And of course this has very serious consequences. For one thing it creates a climate in which there is widespread violence against women. Now I’m not at all saying that an ad… directly causes violence. It’s not that simple, but it is part of a cultural climate in which women are seen as things, as objects, and certainly turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.”
Jean Kilbourne.

Hardly news, but the documentary/talk is entertaining and interesting to watch even in spite of the annoying watermark and the miniature size.
I can't wait to see if one of our libraries has it.
Current Mood: calm
04 June 2010 @ 12:23 pm
Going Postal Part II  
Ok, readers of Discworld novels. [Poll #1574185]

Going Postal Part II )
Current Mood: busy
01 June 2010 @ 07:01 pm
IDK, maybe this is hard? Someone tell me.  
OK, maybe this is harder than I thought and not as much a matter of common sense.

Let's imagine you are having a fight with someone and they suddenly really, really do not want to have a conversation with you that moment. Now imagine they are walking away from you.

At this point, how do you react?

- physically pull them back towards you and keep them there.
- let them go away and try again later.

From the position of the person trying to get away, what do you think is the preferrable option?

EDIT: are there any circumstances that make this believable behaviour that you'd be comfortable with and wouldn't make you go "wtf was that", as long as we're still talking to characters who are equals?

I can't believe that this is something that's an issue with adult film makers when filming scenes in which two non-abusive heterosexual adults who are in a relationship are having a heated discussion.

01 June 2010 @ 05:54 pm
To quote Hartmann: Herre, des wundert mich.  
I have to admit, this abstract really leaves me wanting more and raises some questions, especially about what the point of this is, really. It may be my headache, but I really feel as though I'm not getting something here.

Sexuality scholars have noted the historical connection between appearance and gay or lesbian identity. However, as the social landscape for lesbian women and gay men has shifted over the past forty years, little research has documented how such changes influence gay and lesbian individuals' appearance choices as they form, manage, and maintain their identities. To explore the impact of this "post-closet" (Seidman 2002) era on the identities and appearances of lesbians and gays, in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty individuals, aged eighteen to thirty. Findings suggest that while most people use appearance to attain a sense of authenticity after "coming out," achieving a feeling of authenticity in gay and lesbian spaces presents unique challenges as individuals come under scrutiny by the community.
David J. Hutson‌.

1. Post-closet era. Post. Closet. Era.
2. How, pray tell, do you "use appearance to attain a sense of authenticity"...? I mean, I'm guessing here that they're aiming at the struggles that femme women face to "look gay enough" in the eyes of some people and the backlash that butch women get for "embodying a negative and harmful stereotype", but I'm still left with the feeling that I need to find myself a pansexual outfit ASAP. Maybe some bisexual pants? Does that mean that Crocky has to cut her hair? I just... yeah.

Also, I am not sure why they went for a qualitative study here, and I'd really appreciate if someone enlightened me. And also, the point of this. So twenty people say that they use their appearance to signify their identity ~authentically~. And now?
Current Mood: confused
29 May 2010 @ 08:39 pm
Girls aren't allowed to get angry.  
Google Reader threw a wobbly the other day and flooded my feed with posts from the past, which allowed me to catch up with stuff I hadn't seen back in the day. I missed this post at Genderbitch's: "For the Uninformed: Privilege, Perspective and The Little Things That Jab" - and I assume that a lot of you have already seen this, but if you haven't, do go and read it, it's great (as well as the post it replies to, "The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck" over at Shakesville). 

I'm especially grateful for this part:
For the Uninformed: Privilege, Perspective and The Little Things That Jab

I am mtf trans (obviously from the blog title XD). I was born male bodied and I transitioned to female bodied. Unlike a lot of trans folk (who viewed things through the lens of their identities as a different gender and therefore wouldn’t have had problems with how they were treated for the same reasons as others would) my identity hasn’t really played a huge role in the lens I apply my own experiences. This was mostly because I came to the realization about why I hated the male structure I had very late in the game (I actually assumed it was normal to hate having a penis XD) So I consider myself formerly a guy who figured out that he needed a female body (due to dysphoria) and therefore was better off as a girl (identity and sociologically wise) for practicality sake. This is atypical, so don’t expect all trans folk to have the perspective I do on gender.

Which means I experienced male privilege as male privilege (instead of being transformed into transphobia by the lens of identity) and I experienced the loss of male privilege (as I myself transformed from hormones and whatnot.)

It was a shock, I will tell you. As a person perceived as a guy by society, I was not constantly challenged, stereotyped, joked about and pushed down. There were some small things. Depictions of guys in tv were sometimes irritating. Occasionally there were jokes about the dumb guy stereotype. And there were constraints on self expression for guys that were a bit irritating. But even if I violated those rules, I usually could tell opposition to piss off or criticize my criticizers right back and everyone thought that was an utterly natural thing for me to fight the silly claims from people, even if they didn’t agree.

Post sociological and HRT transition. What was an occasional flow of jokes, jabs and attacks became a torrent. I was bombarded. Television was filled with all sorts of stereotypes, attacks, mockeries of women. Pressure to conform was harsher and more persistent (instead of just guys calling me a fag for having long hair and wearing toe socks it was now everyone calling me a weird dyke or telling me that I need to femme out more for wearing guys cargos and t-shirts with a faux military jacket). And my attempts to dispute that pressure, my responses at all really (even the nice ones) were now regarded as me being a bitch, a harpy, a “feminazi” or being unreasonable. Whereas before, people disagreed and discussed with me, now, they simply dismiss it completely.

I was shown, completely (and perhaps embarrassingly) how little perspective I had on what society does to women. And that is why I understand how insidious privilege is. It is silent, it is crafty, it sneaks up on you, latches on and makes it impossible to even question it without seeming nuts. And there’s the problem. We aren’t nuts.

This shit is real.
- Genderbitch.
Current Mood: grateful
29 May 2010 @ 01:59 am
Good things, dumb things, bad things.  
Good: Mrs Homophone 2010 can pronounce a TH now. No one had explained to her before that the "th" is a lisped s, and now she gets things right at least when she's reading. Her speaking is still largely TH-free, but her reading has improved absolutely beautifully. It's weird how people can imitate speech impediments without problems (I made her read an entire page while "lisping"), and then get it right (and made her re-insert the "s"s afterwards), and the level of improvement completely knocked me out.

Dumb: I swear I'm a good, inconspicuous businessdyke when I'm at work. I don't run around all "LOOK AT MAH RAINBOW BRACELET!", but things follow me and I can't help it. I teach three teenage boys on Fridays, they're between twelve and fourteen. Today, my students invited me to join their masculinity affirmation ritual. )

Bad: One of my students failed his exam and I don't really know why. He was doing so well, and even though he still has obvious gaps, nothing prepared me for the total wreckage of his last exam; he's not doing himself justice in the content, and the language is all over the place. He can't even bear to look at the paper and he's really demotivated.
Current Mood: tired
14 May 2010 @ 09:19 pm
Ok, it's Axe, so I probably shouldn't be surprised. Still.  
So tell me, internets, what could anyone possibly find fucked up about this?

(EDIT: It's an animation of a faceless, thin, white, long-haired woman in really, really, really short hot pants and heels walking down an aircraft carrier. If you click on the animations, you get to drag her towards the camera by her belt, watch her do cartwheels, and even shoot rocket-deodorant bottles at her, exploding her clothing:


I thought these posters that are plastered all over Hannovers were bad enough, but this? 

Bloody hell.
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Current Mood: annoyed
11 May 2010 @ 12:34 am
Five Dead Movie Mothers  
If I was a heroine in a story in whatever medium I'd never, ever want to have children. That seems to be the safest way to either be disposed unceremoniously before the story even starts, or to die for my offspring, while, or shortly after my offspring are born. While having a daughter has mothers dying in childbirth to make way for the evil stepmother (especially in fairy tales), having sons seems to doom mothers to tear-jerky demises saving said sons from their future nemises.

These are the five dead movie mothers that drove home this point to me most in chronological order.

1. Bambi's Mother (Mother)

Cause of death: bullet.
Reason: tries to divert some hunter's attention from her son.
Role: I don't think she's more than an end-of-innocence boost for the story, really.

Littlefoot's Mother ("Mother")
Cause of death: dino bites. 
Reason: saves her son from his nemesis-to-be.
Role: again, she seems to be little more than a reason to kick off the plot, and an extremely tear-jerky red-shirt to show how very very dangerous Sharptooth is.

3. Quasimodo's mother (nameless)

Cause of death: brained on the stairs of Notre Dame.
Reason: wants to save her son, instead gets wrongly accused of her son's nemesis-to-be and killed by him, though by accident.
Role: underlines how very heartless Frollo is and to show that our hero's mother, whom he never met, didn't abandon him but really cared for him. Another pointless tear-jerk moment.

4. Harry's mother (Lily Potter, née Evans)
Cause of death: killing curse.
Reason: dying instead of her son, who is about to be killed by his nemsis.
Role:  supplier of backstory, subplot and hero's special superpowers. And secondary villains' love interest, much like: 

5. Leia and Luke's mother (Padmé Amidala)
Cause of death: a... broken heart? Having been chocked by her recently converted husband? I never figured that out, and I'm not sure I want to.
Reason: underlines how truly evil her husband is?
Role: dead love interest, mostly - and she's still better of than Shmi, who, in terms of plot, seems to be Reason for Revenge as well as tear-jerker.

Who is your favourite dead movie mother?
Current Mood: calm
21 April 2010 @ 11:12 pm
This'll go nicely with my stress-induced bingefest  
Big women like sexy underwear, too? And there are ads for that underwear? Neat, I thought.
How did the network react? "Omg, it's a fat person in underwear, cover your eyes! Take it down!"

This is the ad in question:

Also, this post about going to the OB/GYN while fat made me incredibly angry. It shouldn't have, after all the other nice stuff I've heard about people's GYNs (sexual harassment, violation, humiliation, scare tactics into submitting to a procedure, dismissing concerns and pain as "this doesn't hurt, ever, so pull yourself together" etc., and that's just the people I know offline).

Yes, I get it. Fat people ought to blob along elsewhere and not subject themselves to the innocent eyes of other people (even though, as junkscience claims, this will make perfectly thin women worry about their body image so deep, deep down that even they themselves don't realise). Yeah. I'll go do some homework and let my lifesaving chocolate nuts prepare me for boobquake.
Current Mood: annoyed
21 April 2010 @ 11:33 am
Not being an Apple user I have to admit that I never got Apple Apps, and I'm kinda hoping that this is a bad joke and the only reason that our broadsheet press picked up on it is that they're as tech-illiterate as their readers (me being one of them, occasionally), but.

Just. Wat.

Getting Flirty

Improve your flirting by decoding her micro expressions. If you know what she thinks, you know what to do!

- 3 Micro Expression Training Games: Death Match, Speed Flirting, Flirter’s Paradise (train your speed, accuracy and vigilance)
- Over 120 photos of emotional expressions from a professional “Getting Flirty” photo shoot with 6 international models
- Show your proficiency in the Champion’s Test and receive your own certificate with your photo and name
- Huge Training Camp with detailed description of each facial expression
- Solid scientific background

Kudos on the assumption that all men are heterosexual and idiots who can't read facial expressions or, failing that, can ask for clarification.

Yeah, I'm procrastinating.
Current Mood: procrastinating
20 April 2010 @ 10:34 pm
Quote of the Day  
«The sort of comments you never see here»
"And in everyday life... men have it much worse IMHO. Women are much pickier about male beauty than men are about women. Seriously. Men get a bad rap."

This is a common myth. You see, men imagine themselves less picky about looks because they don’t even see the women they reject. Trust me. I’ve gone out to bars looking hot and gotten hit on. I’ve gone out to the same bars looking frumpy and had guys knock me down to get to the hotties – they don’t think of themselves as having “rejected” me because they’re too busy running over me while in pursuit mode. Something to think about, guys: as long as we have this stratified system in which men generally pursue and women generally reject or accept, a man’s refusal to pursue a given woman is equal to a woman saying “No” when asked on a date.
Jennifer Kesler at The Hathor Legacy.
17 April 2010 @ 11:11 pm
The Single Mother's Manifesto  
JK Rowling on single mothers, poverty and politics in the UK.

from: «The Single Mother's Manifesto»
Yesterday’s Conservative manifesto makes it clear that the Tories aim for less governmental support for the needy, and more input from the “third sector”: charity. It also reiterates the flagship policy so proudly defended by David Cameron last weekend, that of “sticking up for marriage”. To this end, they promise a half-a-billion pound tax break for lower-income married couples, working out at £150 per annum.

I accept that my friends and I might be atypical. Maybe you know people who would legally bind themselves to another human being, for life, for an extra £150 a year? Perhaps you were contemplating leaving a loveless or abusive marriage, but underwent a change of heart on hearing about a possible £150 tax break? Anything is possible; but somehow, I doubt it. Even Mr Cameron seems to admit that he is offering nothing more than a token gesture when he tells us “it’s not the money, it’s the message”.

Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150”, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

How many prospective husbands did I ever meet, when I was the single mother of a baby, unable to work, stuck inside my flat, night after night, with barely enough money for life’s necessities? Should I have proposed to the youth who broke in through my kitchen window at 3am? Half a billion pounds, to send a message — would it not be more cost-effective, more personal, to send all the lower-income married people flowers?
JK Rowling.
22 March 2010 @ 10:11 pm
Gender and household chores  
Not a big surprise, really, though the study (German) is ten years old, and I don't know anything about the methodology or details on the sample they used for this study, as they don't go into detail in the article this table was included in.

(Translation mine)
Current Mood: impressed
15 February 2010 @ 10:47 pm
Help me out here.  
"I don't hate people with vaginas, I don't think that possession of a vagina is inextricably linked to any particular trait or that people with vaginas are somehow inferior to people with penises, or any of that nonsense. But when it comes to sitting directly next to a vagina itself for about twelve hours? No way. I really, really don't like them - the shape, the smell, the actions performed...and I don't see what's wrong with saying that. If someone were to say that they hate penises - and I know many women, gay and straight, who have - that would hardly be something unbelievable. The US as a whole is incredibly squeamish about asses, something I certainly like in a sexual context, and it's fairly common to hear people talk about 100% hating anal sex. Why is it that the vagina is the one part that no one's meant to hate, even if they don't fancy girls?"
Am I the only one who thinks that this is ...problematic?

[ profile] fabfemmeboy said this in a post on RPatts quote on how he "really hates vaginas" and how that meant that he was totes gay (rather than, you know, an idiot).

Many applaud this sentence as funny and think that this is only a harmless, if hyperbolic statement of his discomfort - like "I hatre cucumber" (and really? My reason for being uncomfortable during that particular photoshoot really would not have been the nekkid people around me - there were much better reasons for that).

To me, this seems to disregard several facts completely, such as the broader context of how society sees vaginas (as I pointed out, this is made most apparent to me in the different use and implications of derogatory terms for both penes and vaginas), how this isn't just a harmless ~preference~ and how sexual orientation is really not defined by your relationship with a set of genitalia.

Current Mood: confused
10 February 2010 @ 10:58 pm
DSM-V. Oh shi-  
The first drafts of the DSM-V are out.

I can't say that I wouldn't have expected some of what's in there. Still. WOW. 

Let's start with something positive: I'm glad they're including Binge Eating as an eating disorder now. That's a good thing. I'm torn on Non-Suicidal Self Injury and wonder why they didn't also list this under paraphilias.

Other than that... Wow.

Let's begin with the fact that they've chosen to dispense with listing "distress" in their criteria as a measure for whether something is a disorder or a mere deviation from an abstract norm. I am not sure what is going to take its place - the way things are looking now, there is no telling where the boundary between clinical condition and deviation from the norm lies, really.
Zucker suggests that the likelihood of social ostracism is supposed to be the boundary for the norm here for his field, and my impression is that it will be really down to the estimation of the psych rather than the patient whether they have a condition that ought to be cured than the patient's distress with their situation.

Nearly all of the criteria regarding GI in children  that aren't related directly to the child's experienced gender still don't make sense and are deeply rooted in sexism, though the change in terminology is a good one. WTF is "typical masculine/feminine clothing" for children? What's wrong with cross-gender roles during fantasy play? WTF are "toys, games, or activities typical of the other gender", and what's wrong with rejecting games considered "appropriate" for your own gender?
Also, the shift in focus when it comes to the basis of this diagnosis from Gender Incongruence in adults does not make any sense to me - if behaviour appropriate to a person's gender is irrelevant in adults, why enforce it in children to this degree?

Zucker's paper... where to start. I am not an expert and I'm probably missing many things that are noteworthy, but there is still enough that is really anoying. He fails gender 101 ("if there was a social reason for girls to want to be boys, the same reason would apply to boys wanting to be girls"), it's creepy how he has as test subjects of one study comprised 500 boys who were referred to his clinic and only 79 girls - which to me seems to speak volumes of the inherent sexism of the entire enterprise and the femmephobia it engenders - his insistence that GID is a condition that ought to be cured by changing the individuals gender expression because that will cause their problems to disappear because they won't be socially ostracised anymore... there is so much that's troublesome in that paper, but his insistence that if you fix yourself, your situation will be better because your peers will react more positively to you is probably one of the least sensible I have ever heard. Would he maintain that that's applicable to other condition that cause children to be ostracised by their peers, I wonder?

Gender policing is creepy and superfluous, and it doesn't get better if people start even earlier with this nonsense. I want more freedom to experiment, especially for boys, not less. Most of my childhood friends presented with at least for of these criteria, in girl's cases five. I want back what I had when I was younger. More androgynous clothes for children, more toys that were coded as androgynous rather than marketed towards a specific gender, more room for experimenting. When I was small, nearly all of the male friends I had in kindergarten played more with their dolls than I did - my best friend, a boy called Sebastian, had a dolly that he used to take along everywhere and that was usually integrated into our games, usually in the role of his baby. Most of the girls I was friends dressed in androgynous clothes that would be perceived as "boy clothes" today because they're not sexualised, they played with androgynous and toys coded as "for boys" today, many had more friends who were boys than friends who were girls, and we all wore trousers with tears on the knees. I haven't seen any of that during my internship in kindergarten, and it's a fucking shame.

Edit: another thing I'm wondering here is what the benefit of having those extra criteria at all. I can't imagine that there many people who say that they don't feel their assigned gender is correct for shits and giggles, so surely, that ought to be enough for the medical gatekeepers...?
I guess I ought to shut up about this. I'm a cis ex-psych minor and really not informed enough to join the discussion of these issues.

So. Paraphilias.

The paraphilia-related changes in many areas actually seemed to make things worse rather than improve them. They apparently want to make a distinction between paraphilias and paraphilaic disorders - one being merely ascertained for study purposes, the other being diagnosed.

Not sure what the benefits of ascertaining something in a medical context are, especially in a Diagnosis Manual for Disorders, but fine, if they must. Still, the change in the wording for this is failtastic: for masochism, for example, according to the revising people, the difference between "real, not simulated" harm and ... well, harm, simulated or not, is pointless enough to just drop it altogether. Which means that  a lot more people now ought to go see a therapist, because there is no difference between sexual games and reality any more, if I'm reading that correctly.

Also, we have "autogynephilia" (and the continuing absence of autoandrophilia as well as notes to whether ciswomen experience autogynephilia, which they do) rear its ugly head again under "transvestic fetishism". As far as I can see from Blanchard's paper there is no reason for the inclusion of this "condition" at all, really, apart from Blanchard's own fucking creepy obsession with studies on the sexual fantasies of trans women.

Also, asexual people need to get their heads checked, and so do people who don't enjoy being penetrated, or those people who just like their vanilla sex too much.

Who else needs chocolate cookies?

EDIT: and I'm still trying to get my head around the necessity to list the symptoms of healthy paraphilias in a diagnosis manual for disorders under the title of the disorder it's supposed to diagnose, and I'm still drawing a blank.

Can anyone help me out? I must be missing something here and I hate that.
Current Mood: exhausted
05 February 2010 @ 10:26 pm
The Smurfette Principle  
I don't have a very high degree of literacy when it comes to animated media, but this video I found via the Hathor Legacy still made interesting points with regards to prototypical (usually male) characters in animated media and their female token counterpart(s). Tread carefully, it does have issues.

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Current Location: Oststadt, Hannover
Current Mood: interested
05 February 2010 @ 01:15 pm
In case you didn't know: Sex and Singing  
«Die Kunst des Singens»
Junge Mädchen, bei denen man annehmen kann (ich würde nicht einmal weiblichen Kolleginnen raten, in solchen heiklen Dingen Fragen zu stellen, geschweige denn Männern!), dass sie noch keinen geschlechtlichen Verkehr hatten, verfügen meist nicht über vollklingende Töne zwischen dem F im Brustregister und dem C oder D im Mittelregister. Diese Töne sind fast ausnahmslos schwach.
Victor Funk, 1963 (and apparently still an authority on this today o.O) S.79f
"Young girls who can be expected not to be sexually active (I wouldn't even recommend female colleagues to ask questions in these delicate matters, let alone male colleagues!), usually don't have full-sounding tones between the F in their chest register and the C or D in their middle register. These tones are usually weak without exceptions."
- Victor Funk
«Die Kunst des Singens»
Da der Einfluss, den der Geschlechtsverkehr physisch und psychisch auf Frauen ausübt vollkommen individuell ist, sollte man hier auch keine allgemeinen Regeln aufstellen: fühlt sich eine Frau oder ein Mädchen glücklich ohne Geschlechtsverkehr, sollte man nicht erwarten, dass sich eine Veränderung in ihrem Geschlechtsleben auch auf ihre Stimme günstig auswirken würde - mehr geht ja den Gesanglehrer nicht an. Mit allem Nachdruck aber sei hier festgestellt, dass, gleichgültig wie sich der Geschlechtsverkehr in einzelnen Fällen bei Frauen auswirkt, er nie imstande sein kann, gesangtechnische Mängel zu ersetzen.
Vikor Fuchs, S.180.
Which is roughly:
"Due to the fact that the physical and mental influence which sexual activity has on women is completely individual, the application of general rules is discouraged: should a girl or a woman feel happy without sexual intercourse, no one should expect that a change in her sexual life would have a positive influence on her voice - and the singing instructor is not to concern himself with anything else. It should be emphasised that, regardless of the effect sexual experience has on women in individual cases, it can never be expected to replace proper singing technique. "

Good to know that singing instructors offering a extra help with that after lessons is discouraged.
Current Mood: amused
03 February 2010 @ 12:56 pm
Petition: Berücksichtigung der sexuellen Identität in Artikel 3 GG  
Ich bin mir zwar immer noch nicht ganz über die Sinnhaftigkeit offiziellen Onlinepetitionen unseres Bundestags im Klaren, aber hier ist sie trotzdem, hoffentlich bringt sie etwas.

Also, hier könnt ihr sie finden, und darum geht es: 

"Der Deutsche Bundestag möge beschließen ...Änderung des Grundgesetzes (Artikel 3 Absatz 3 Satz 1)"
Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle, Transgender, transsexuelle und intersexuelle Menschen sind in unserer Gesellschaft auch heute noch Anfeindungen, gewaltsamen Übergriffen und Benachteiligungen ausgesetzt. Einfachgesetzliche Diskriminierungsverbote haben die rechtliche Situation der Betroffenen zwar verbessert. Die fehlende Berücksichtigung in Artikel 3 Absatz 3 des Grundgesetzes (GG) wirkt sich aber bis heute negativ auf die gesellschaftliche und rechtliche Situation von Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen, Transgender, transsexuellen und intersexuellen Menschen aus. Ein ausdrückliches Verbot der Diskriminierung aufgrund der sexuellen Identität im Grundgesetz schafft eine klare Maßgabe für den einfachen Gesetzgeber. Letztlich steht es für das deutliche Bekenntnis, dass Gesichtspunkte der sexuellen Identität eine ungleiche Behandlung unter keinen Umständen rechtfertigen können.
Hans-Werner Sperber.
Current Mood: hopeful
19 January 2010 @ 06:27 pm
Realität der Diskriminierung in Deutschland - Vermutungen und Fakten  
Has anyone already seen this? It's a project hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin on discrimination. From their home page: 

The Reality about Discrimination in Germany - Assumptions and Facts
Discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation is a social reality. Reliable information about characteristics and fields of discrimination however is scarcely available. The aim of our research project is to collect empirical data on discrimination in order to provide a factual basis for further legal and political debates. The results of our research are intended to raise awareness for discriminatory practices and patterns in German society.

And in German: 

Realität der Diskriminierung in Deutschland - Vermutungen und Fakten

Benachteiligungen aufgrund von Alter, Behinderung, Geschlecht, Hautfarbe und ethnischer Herkunft sowie sexueller Identität sind gesellschaftliche Realität. Die unterschiedlichen Arten und Häufigkeiten von Diskriminierung sind jedoch bislang wenig untersucht. Ziel unseres Projekts ist es, diesen Forschungsstand zu verbessern und dadurch die Informationsgrundlage für zukünftige rechtspolitische Diskussionen zu erweitern. Unsere Ergebnisse sollen zur Sensibilisierung gegenüber diskriminierenden Verhaltensmustern und zu deren Abbau beitragen.
They're asking people to submit anonymous accounts of discrimination they experienced or witnessed here; you can do so in German, French, Polish, Russian, or Turkish.

Report away!
Current Music: Audioslave - Be Yourself
Current Location: Hannover, Germany
Current Mood: calm
14 January 2010 @ 10:59 am
[ profile] herongale: Reality is reality and fiction is fiction  
That's part of what you said. It is not that simple. Fiction exists in the real world, and influences real-world people. This is not an issue of "some people" not being able to distinguish between fiction and reality. Even if everybody were able to do so, this would still be an issue. Language influences people. Fiction influences people - and not just those mythical creatures who can't distinguish between fiction and non-fiction accounts - and a strong version of my claim here is that no one can.

Your claim seems to be that since because fiction is fiction, it is somehow less harmful, because it can't be taken as seriously and it is not reality. But how much of what you write is fiction? What you write is informed by your real-world experiences, too. Are houses fictional? No. Is it fictional that people have heads and arms? No. Is it fictional that gay people exist? No. What else is fictional, what mirrors your own experience with gay characters? There is no way to draw the line, even for people who are very well capable of distinguishing fiction from reality.

The narratives you come across organise your thinking, and if you come across one particular narrative over and over again, it is difficult or even impossible not to have that part of your narrative enter your brain and become the definitive narrative. This is my problem with a majority writing a minority. M/M, as I am told, is a genre by and for straight women - it influences their narrative of what gay men are like.

It is common knowledge that advertising is fiction, and still it is as commonly known or suspected that advertising can have a very direct negative effect on the self-esteem of women. Fictional stories in which women are presented as flat characters only there for the gratification of men, like porn movies, are questionable, because they present men and women alike with scripts of sexuality that are unrealistic, but still change the narrative of what sex is "supposed to" work like. This is not conscious, no one sits down and goes, "Oh, I'd like to watch a movie in which women are objectified right now!". That, in parts, is the problem, and if this were what people are doing, this would be less problematic.

Now, with the stories written by straight women and informed by their experience as straight women which are about gay men, the problem I see is that they start replacing the narratives of and by gay men about gay men for the women who read these stories (simple because there are so many straight women who write these kinds of stories - from my experience, though this might be wrong, even more than queer women). There are, as it is, many negative stereotypes of gay men permeating the media which are influencing people's narratives of what a gay man is. This is another one that cannot ever be accurate. So yes, I believe that all stories written my people who are not a member of a minority about a minority are appropriative to some degree, and I believe that romance stories which strongly focus on an idealised version is especially appropriative.

What I want?
I want more self-reflection, self-awareness and critical thinking skills for both readers and writers.
I want people to examine their own reasons for writing what they are writing, and
I want readers to examine for what reason they are reading it.
I want genres about minorities to be dominated by those minorities instead of majorities - I want more original slash fiction about gay men to be written by gay men than by straight women.
I want the story of the minority people write about to be the definitive story.

I want you, [ profile] herongale, to ask yourself, "why am I writing slash? What does it do for me that other genres don't? Why do I find the tales of two men together more interesting than others? Why is it ok for me to appropriate another person's experience for my own ends?"
And I want your readers to do the same.

I'm genuinely curious what people say here, by the way. I know that there are reasons that are therapeutic writing-related, but I am curious what other reasons there are.

And I am not saying to anyone that they are not allowed to write whatever they want, because of course they are, but I don't want them to get away with it easily if it seems that they are writing about an other without reflection of why they feel it is appropriate to do so.