Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Another drive by: Trillian Edition
(These aren't our screen names) (Also, I'm only hogging all the posts as a form of procrastination from my thesis, whereas Manafanana is actually writing hers at the moment).
[20:09] OutcrazyOphelia: It's too bad that the repressive dialogue about sex prevents the media from really looking at this crime perpetuated through the medium of sex
[20:11] Manafanana:That's a good point! I wonder how the public discourse might be changed to shift the stigma from sex/rape itself onto the perpetrators?
[20:12] OutcrazyOphelia: that would require a direct confrontation of patriarchal social mores that deem women responsible for every heterosexual sexual encounter, wanted or otherwise
[20:15] Manafanana: The problem is that the most direct and effective way of confronting these issues is to change the attitude in the media, which is one of the primary sources of sexist rhetoric to begin with. Perhaps it might be more effective to pursue more legislative efforts first? *thinks for a moment* This is a difficult problem with not a single solution.... What do you think?
[20:16] OutcrazyOphelia: Hm legislative efforts would entail acknowledging the problem, which governments are unwilling to do
[20:16] OutcrazyOphelia: all the talk of basic human rights flounders when it comes to men harming women which is normalized
[20:20] Manafanana: Maybe we could do some research on other countries that have significantly lessened the presence of sexism in their societies, such as the Netherlands or Sweden. Any of their methods would have to be adjusted specifically to address the gender, race, and class issues unique to the United States, but it may be a helpful starting point or resource for ideas...
[20:21] OutcrazyOphelia: That would require the acknowledgement that race, age, health, wealth, and appearance have anything to do with gender
[20:21] OutcrazyOphelia: this may take time
[20:21] OutcrazyOphelia: let's not even get into how black on black crime is functionally invisible.
[20:23] Manafanana: It certainly may take time. But we have to start somewhere. Perhaps you and I could approach the issues from two seperate angles, and then compare notes in order to better understand the complexities and challenges of the issue at hand.
This just in, celebrities have the audacity to eat
I didn't realize that getting caught eating or the results of eating were embarrassing, I guess if you're a woman, you're supposed to be embarrassed for being caught ingesting sustenance. The rest of the photos are just bad shots, which I'm sure there are hundreds of, which is why the best ones get into the glossy magazines and the not so good get used in the tabloids as evidence of everything from pregnancy to eating disorders, to secret inner turmoil.
How are poorly done pictures embarrassing for the celeb in question, and why the immediate focus on "hee hee, these women are/did eat"?
Hate to blame the manocentric maleocracy, but they seem to be responsible for this one. I mean is it a coincidence that most of the paparazzi are men? (I think the male gaze theory is shenanigans, but you have to think, who is taking the photos and what message do they send).
Drive by tale of interest
While there is increasing evidence that obesity raises the risk for certain cancers, obesity is apparently a factor in whether or not women go for screening tests. The text of the article refers specifically to white women, noting that there was no similar study of black women--but says that their weight has no affect on their testing rates.
"Our review doesn't tell us why larger women are not getting screened as frequently for these cancers," Cohen said. "It only reveals the trend. We think this pattern should be studied more thoroughly. And in the meantime, some additional effort should be made to reach women at increased risk of cancer because of their body size and encourage them to get screenings that could save their lives."
I'd place my bet on fat shaming as the reason. Every time I went to my general practitioner, I'd get a speech about my weight--despite the fact that it wasn't fluctuating, I was eating normally, and my blood pressure was fine. I was getting lectured for having the audacity to be fat and need a vaccination shot or a yearly check up. I've seen study results that suggest that non white women tend to have better body image. Speaking in generalities, this would mean that their weight may not factor as heavily into their body image, and furthermore that fear of embarrassment due to body size may not factor into medical decisions. Although these are generalities, it's interesting that the article does not even consider variant ideas about body image and attractiveness, or even embarrassment as causes of the disconnect between black women and white women as well as women who most need the screenings not going for them.
Pregnancy in the workplace
Pregnancy related discrimination claims have apparently taken a 40% jump from a decade ago.
"While employers can indeed fire, lay off or refuse to hire pregnant women, they can't single them out for worse treatment -- and they must be able to prove they held men to the same standards or asked male job candidates comparable questions."
"To succeed in a claim, a woman generally must be able to prove an adverse action was motivated by her pregnancy or her status as a mother." This quote has been interpreted to mean that women should inform their bosses of their pregnancy through some written medium. Ideally, it would provide proof that the employer was aware of the pregnancy in case of any untoward treatment that requires reporting.
I'm torn over this. Pregnancy discrimination is generally sneaky. It's rare to find an employer who will flatly state that pregnancy is why you're being fired, demoted, etc. It is more usual to say assign new projects that the woman will be unable to complete, or suddenly decide that her performance is no longer up to snuff. The article itself provides an example of a woman who returned from maternity leave to find that her position had been "dissolved" when in actuality it had been given to a woman without children--and she was given a new unfamiliar position in which she floundered. Informing an employer about a pregnancy is just assurance that your case may have a better chance, but no guarantee that you won't suffer discrimination and possible job loss.
On the one hand, you may be giving advanced notice allowing your employer to discriminate against you, on the other hand, you'll have proof and some sort of redress if this discrimination happens. Of course, proving employment discrimination is notoriously difficult, so who knows if proof will help the hypothetical case. Pregnancy and maternity leave is treated as this inconvenient irritant that comes with hiring women of child bearing age. It isn't okay to ask women if they are married/plan to become married in job interviews, but they're expected to disclose the status of their uterus just in case the employer decides they'd rather not have a pregnant worker/one missing for 14 weeks post birth. We're talking about the symptoms of basic gender based discrimination. However, piecing together a redress for this situation isn't easy, I mean, how much protection should pregnant women receive? Should maternity leave be paid? How long should maternity leave be? Furthermore, who should bear the cost, individual businesses or the government? I'm not sure of the answers but the questions should be posed, considering women are losing their jobs for...being women.
One last thing: If fathers were more able to take paternity leave, would the stigma of parenthood continue to affect women’s jobs in the same way? Rather, would there be a stigma to parenthood in the first place?
Another last thing: What if you report the pregnancy, and end up miscarrying? I suppose it would be your duty then to inform them of your lack of impending parenthood too.
I'm still thinking on this, so there will probably be more later.
Originally spotted at Alas a Blog
Friday, March 28, 2008
Terrorists in nipple jewelry: What will they think of next?
After her jewelry set off a hand held metal detector, Mandi Hamlin was told that she couldn't board the plane until she removed the jewelry. From the picture on the news article, she had barbell style jewelry which can be hard to take off with ease, which is apparently where the pliers come in. The TSA claims that she could have just opted for a pat down, while Hamlin says that she was not offered that option, obviously. (I think a pat down is more reasonable than taking out body jewelry in what seems like an unhealed piercing). I've heard it circulating that Hamlin had a navel piercing, but I can't confirm. The reasoning behind the incident is a fear of female terrorists hiding things in "sensitive areas", so of course the response is to ferret through every vulva and nipple until the war on terrorism is over. It's bad enough to have to flash your nipples to someone just so they believe you're not packing C4 and shrapnel, but now you have to pull the jewelry out too, and from the descriptions given, it was painful. Their response was to snicker, which doesn't sound anything like the dignity and respect they claim to give to those with piercings in "sensitive areas". I can only imagine what happens if someone has genital jewelry, do they whip out the gloves and start inspecting vulvas to make sure there's no hidden dynamite?
On another note, the article has some issues, "pierced breasts" left a funny mental image, and I'm not sure why they had to work in that her lawyer represents Heather Mills as well.