Tag Archives: women

Sexist Language Which Just Won’t Go Away

1. non-working MOTHERS

Chet’s father was employed in the postal service and became a middle-class, senior supervisor. Despite his dad’s relative affluence, with seven offspring to feed and educate and a wife who did not work, there were still many times in Chet’s childhood when he was hungry.

- Affluenza, by Oliver James

The second sentence above annoys me, even though it comes in the middle of a rant about materialism with which I agree, because a woman with seven children works, dammit. She doesn’t do PAID work, and she doesn’t ‘work outside the house’. Although Oliver James is arguing that women should be paid for motherhood because it’s as worthy job as any other, he does the cause no favours by employing this ‘mother doesn’t work’ language. There are genuinely people around who believe that being a mother is not a form of work, but simply a relationship. Until everyone realises that mother, particularly to very small children, is an occupation and not just a family relationship, the status of stay-at-home mothers is unlikely to improve.

Mothers, themselves, can often refer to themselves as ‘unemployed’, when in fact the true definition of ‘unemployed’ should not be extended to mothers who have a full-time job caring for the young, not unless they’re registered job seekers who hope to then employ an outsider to work in loco parentis for the day shift. (Which is not a value judgement, by the way, on mothers who choose to do just that.)

My suggestion: … with seven offspring a a wife who did not do paid work…

That said, The Very Concept of a ‘Working Mother’ Is Sexist Crap.

2. ‘OUR WIVES AND MOMS’

Stop calling us ‘wives and moms’ is from Salon, regarding President Obama’s tendency to talk to men, rather than to women directly, about their wives, mothers and daughters.

Wives and Moms

I Am Not Your Wife, Sister or Daughter. I Am A Person from Belle Jar

This article is a little different — it’s another tale of a man who gender-swapped online to prove his theory that women have it easier than men on dating sites — but the commentary is about how so very often men seem to need to experience sexism for themselves before they believe women. From FTB. I believe the language around how men sometimes talk about women — as wives, mothers, daughters — reflect how difficult it is for men to imagine what it’s like to not be a man.

3. ‘OLD LADY’ AND OTHER GENDERED WORDS USED AS INSULTS

It’s been around forever. Or at least since 1964.

“Tea used to be considered a beverage for sissies and old ladies. However, nothing could be further from the truth.” excerpted from To The Bride, 1964.

I’m sure every man here has, at least, once been called a girl as an insult. And every woman here would have overheard it. Maybe you’ve even wondered, as I have, why being a girl, or being a sissy, is such an insult. Likewise ‘old woman’.

Not A Girl

Because girls and boys hear this message pretty much every. single. day. Adult me hears it every. single. day. Here’s yesterday’s sexism, from my Facebook feed (because you can’t choose your friend’s friends).

facebook-sexism

Call the bastards on it.

The Sissy Boy Experiment. Why yes, there was such a thing.

4. ‘FEMALE DOMINATED’ WHEN DESCRIBING PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Michio Kaku gave a talk called “The World in 2030″ which I should have found fascinating but which I instead found infuriating, not least for his assertion that ‘The Internet is now female’. Why? Because 51% of internet users are women and girls.

This reminded me of the question ‘Why Do Female Authors Dominate YA Literature?‘ posed by The Atlantic. Answer: They don’t. Ladybusiness pointed out that if women made up 40% of any other area in life then everybody would be congratulating women for almost achieving equality.

Let’s hit ‘female dominated’ on the head in relation to anything close to 50/50. This obfuscates the unfortunate fact that women are still far, far underrepresented in almost everything important, well-paid and influential.

The Big O: Between Ellen and Everyone’s Mom, Oscar Night Turned Into Ladies Night is from a feminist website, but no, more women at the Oscars does not a ‘femme fest’ make.

5. JOURNALISTS POINTING OUT ‘ABSENCES OF GROOMING’ WHEN REFERRING TO FEMALE SUBJECTS

The Guardian recently reported on Lionel Shriver’s latest book. It’s not unusual for reporters to describe the way a subject dresses and acts, and that is true of both men and women working in creative industries, even when a photo is attached to the article.

What’s different about the way women are treated, however, is that first it seems mandatory to mention a woman’s appearance when a man’s appearance is more likely to be mentioned only if his image is unusual. Second, it seems okay to talk about what a woman hasn’t done (according to the journalist’s expectations) rather than what she has done to create a brand or a particular image for herself. In Lionel Shriver’s case, her lack of make up is worthy of comment:

But Big Brother, like Kevin, can only serve to fuel the cult of personality that has grown up around Shriver, a figure of fascination whose makeup-free complexion has become the female equivalent of Tom Wolfe’s statement white suit.

These are not equivalents. The difference between Shriver’s ‘makeup-free complexion’ and Tom Wolfe’s ‘statement white suit’ is that Tom Wolfe wore the white suit precisely in order to be different — he could have chosen to wear a regular office suit, and might therefore expect the white one to become his signature, to his benefit — whereas the choice for women seems to be ‘either conform to society’s very high expectations of you, spending valuable time in the bathroom, and money on overpriced cosmetics produced by companies with dubious ethics’, or we’re going to build it into your image for you.

In short: we are still talking about women’s beauty failures, even in ostensibly feminist articles such as the one in The Guardian.

In an article on Margaret Atwood from Quill & Quire:

Wearing an oversized suit and sensible shoes, she curled her mischievous smirk on cue, first under an archway of stone skulls and cherubs at the University of Toronto, then while leaning against a café wall – she’s done this a thousand times.

Is the suit oversized because it’s not showing off her figure? Should she be? There’s something rather condescending about describing a woman’s shoes as ‘sensible’, because it connotes a certain school ma’amishness which would not be an issue for an older male author, also choosing flat shoes (I presume), over high heels. Have you ever heard a man being described as wearing ‘sensible shoes’?

make up

This is what makeup free looks like

But of course English speakers have an Anglo history chock full of inequalities, so let’s not keep looking or we’ll have to start speaking Esperanto. Oooh, hang on.

Related: No Make-up: Why so brave? from The Hoopla

6. BITCHES, TARTS AND OTHER GENDERED INSULTS

This is a weird one, because you could argue that a gendered insult is no worse than a non-gendered one. You could argue that the word ‘asshole’, for instance, usually refers to men. Women are more likely to get ‘bitch’ than ‘asshole’, perhaps.

But I do have a problem with bitch, especially since so often it refers to a woman who is not liked, as if she should be likeable, and the gendered nature of that insult implies that she should be likeable because she is a female.

Also, I like dogs. I don’t think dogs should be used as insults.

If I run a meeting efficiently, I’m less likely (compared to a man) to get thought of as a “strong leader,” and more likely to get thought of as a “bitch.”

Makeup, mobility and choice: the things you don’t have to do from Geek Feminism

Women Are Bitches, from The Rumpus.

WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING WHEN YOU CALL ME A BITCH

How we signal our displeasure to someone matters, because it is in our attempts to cause harm that we reveal how we really feel about who they are. I take “bitch” more seriously than other insults because it attempts to use a piece of my identity – my femaleness – as a weapon. Reclamation projects aside, we all need to carefully consider when and why we take aim with a B-bomb.

7. FEMALE DOCTORS, MALE NURSES, MAN-WHORES ETC.

I have a problem with the humorous term ‘manwhore’ because embedded in that word is the assumption that only women can be real whores. Everyone else needs a hyphen. Also, why does the word ‘manwhore’ have a humorous ring to it whereas ‘whore’ does not? Centuries of sexual repression in women, I guess. Too soon to start joking about that? Yep. I reckon.

Related: What’s in a name?—The Controversy Over “Manholes” from Inequality by (Interior) Design

They’re not Ladyblogs, they’re blogs.

I’m not sure this particular problem will evaporate anytime soon, since Google translate has a gender problem.

I’m sure there are plenty of married women reading this who are very happy that they switched from ‘Miss’ to ‘Mrs’ but I think the distinction needs to go away. Women’s value should not be determined first on her relationship with a man.

Seealso : Ms, Miss, Mademoiselle … why titles for women matter from The Conversation and Why words like manorexia, murse and manscaping are dangerous from Role Reboot

8. Women ‘Stealing’ Other Women’s Boyfriends

Winona Ryder Plotting To Steal Johnny Depp Away From Amber Heard

I know, I know, that one is from Frisky and is therefore *ironic*, and you personally probably stopped doing this after high school if you ever did at all, but it’s amazing how often women are thought to have somehow done something to repel or attract a man, treating him as an object without emotions and actions of his own.

Angelina Jolie … answered the question about whether she stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston by bluntly stating she had plenty of lovers and didn’t need to steal another woman’s man. Almost ten years later, she’s still a polarizing topic of conversation.

- The Difference Between Bad Girls and Bad Boys from Role Reboot

9. USE OF ‘HIS’ AS IF THERE’S NO OTHER WAY OF REFERRING TO PEOPLE IN GENERAL

In his preface to the 1986 version of The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins writes:

I am distressed to find that some women friends (fortunately not many) treat the use of the impersonal masculine pronoun as if it showed intention to exclude them. If there were any excluding to be done (happily there isn’t) I think I would sooner exclude men, but when I once tentatively tried referring to my abstract reader as ‘she’, a feminist denounced me for patronizing condescension: I ought to say ‘he-or-she’, and ‘his-or-her’. That is easy to do if you don’t care about language, but then if you don’t care about language you don’t deserve readers of either sex.

Richard Dawkins is an expert in several important areas, but masculine privilege, equality and inclusiveness are not among them. This was demonstrated much more recently (2011) in Elevator-gate. If only the feminist who advised Dawkins on his language use had given him more practical tips. These days, reading the books of Richard Dawkins, with his abundant use of the impersonal masculine pronoun, I feel like I;m on a timetravel trip to an earlier, outdated time. This is unfortunate. I can’t understand why an otherwise intelligent man, whose grasp of language is otherwise impeccable, can’t work out how to make use of the plural pronoun to avoid the impression that the history of evolution included only male rats and monkeys.

See: Using Sensitive Language: Sexism And Sentences With They, His, And Her from Writer’s Relief, as well as The Use Of Gender-Neutral Language In Your Writing

Why you dislike singular ‘they’, from John E. Macintyre at The Baltimore Sun

Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen: A country tries to banish gender from Slate

The After Deadline blog points out many examples of gender neutral ‘they’ in modern journalism and argues that ‘they’ will win out in the end.

10. BIKINI-READY

While men are increasingly told that they need a ‘beach body’ and suchlike before going out in summer, that message is still pretty limited to men’s health magazines. Women, on the other hand, have trouble avoiding the message because it seems to pervade every type of media aimed at women.

Here’s how to get yourself bikini-ready: Go to the damn store and buy yourself a bikini. Buy it in your size. Put it on, go for a goddam swim.

Beach Body

from The Fat Grackle

11. SO EASY EVEN YOUR GRANDMOTHER COULD DO IT

Here are some grandmothers who probably kick your hack ass.

***

In a recent role, the (male) editor scolded me for lifting heavy reference books off shelves; for swearing, and for drinking vodka and diet coke rather than wine at media events held in pubs, all solely on the basis that this was not what women do. Then I was instructed to ‘brighten’ contributor pages with pictures of young female writers, creating the illusion of a 50:50 ratio of men and women when the real proportion was 90:10.

- from The F Word

I was very happy to see Lisa Kudrow’s character on Scandal call a journalist on this kind of gendered bullshit recently, and when we see this kind of speech in fiction, it helps inreal life:

“Are you saying that Governor Reston is sexist?” the interviewer asks her.

Yes. I am. And it’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender. It’s everyone, yourself included. The only reason we’re doing this interview in my house is because you requested it. This was your idea. And yet here you are, thanking me for inviting me into my “lovely home.” That’s what you say to the neighbor lady who baked you chocolate chip cookies. This pitcher of iced tea isn’t even mine. It’s what your producers set here. Why? Same reason you called me a “real live Cinderella story.” It reminds people that I’m a woman without using the word.

***

Why words matter, a comment at GMP.

Women and Talking

women-talking

It’s ‘common knowledge’ that women talk more than men. That’s why comics like this one are gendered thus:

How To Deal With a Movie Talker

If you’re hankering for an opinion which espouses every stereotype in the book, check out the rantings of this fool.

Except we don’t. Women Don’t Talk More Than Men, So Why Do People Say We Do? (from Slate).

The problem with everyone saying women talk more than men, is that in certain situations women can get to feeling bad about saying anything at all. So let’s quit it with the ‘women are verbose’ jokes. Any joke based on an error of fact has no basis at all, and only serves to perpetuate false stereotypes.

In fact, I’d like to see an end to ‘women are X’ jokes, and also to ‘men are X’ jokes. Comedy requires more talent and originality than that.

See also:

Pockets. I want pockets.

My husband’s secret superpower is locating the whereabouts of eggs in the garden. Whenever a chicken decides to change her laying spot it always seems to be my husband who finds them. Recently he sidled in through the ranch slider carrying over a dozen eggs in the pockets of his shorts, which he had found in the very darkest recess of an outside cupboard.

I said he was carrying over a dozen eggs. IN THE POCKETS. OF HIS SHORTS. (And another few in his hands.)

How many female-pants have you seen in regular stores which would allow a woman to fit a dozen eggs in her pockets? When cargo pants are in fashion you might find something with pockets in, but cargo pants are not in fashion. (I have checked the chain stores. Nope, not in fashion.)

Last season I accidentally bought a pair of shorts with FAKE POCKETS. I didn’t think to check for authentic pocketedness because I have enough to double-check and worry about in my life without adding that to the list, but next time I buy a pair of pants, I must remember to plunge my hands into any pocket openings, because although these shorts have ZIPS on the pockets, the zips lead to nowhere. These are the cul-de-sac analog of the pocket world. A mugger would be most disappointed. This is possibly the first time I have empathised with an imaginary mugger.

Zipped pockets would be particularly useful for me because I like to carry gadgetry on my walks, and I have had to change out of one pair of track pants and into another pair simply because I haven’t got a single pocket in which to carry my iPod. Those things get sweaty if you carry them in your hand. Which is also a nuisance, and men wouldn’t put up with it.

Why are pockets not prioritised in women’s casual wear? Why? No one wears track pants for the high fashion, do they?

Here’s a headline for you: An iPhone Case For Moms Questions The Value Of Portability. Take a look at that thing. It’s ridiculous. It turns your phone into a 1980s brick.

In this way, women are conditioned our whole lives to prioritise almost every single thing over practicality and personal comfort. High heeled shoes, pocketless track pants, hairstyles which require product and/or styling-time in the mornings… the list could go on.

Enough is enough.

That ridiculous phone holder wouldn’t fit in my bag. My over-the-shoulder bag is the same one I was using 10 years ago, before I was with child. And when it wears out it will be replaced with exactly the same model. It’s a very small black ‘transit pouch’ from Kathmandu and it only holds my own shit. No one, not even my own kid and certainly not my own husband can pass off their own crap for me to ‘transit’ into my mum-bag. Nope, because I will not own such a thing.

I even bought one of these bags for my mother-in-law, and apart from the fact we sometimes nick off with each other’s, it makes a great gift for the practical woman in your life.

I highly recommend downsizing in the bag department. Here’s the rub: my husband doesn’t own an over-the-shoulder transit pouch. He’s done nicely his whole life without carrying a bag. Pockets. If I had more damn pockets in my pants — not to mention skirts — I would gladly ditch the bag.

Related: Mothers reveal the weirdest things in their handbags, from Cafemom

Women And Science

science toys for boys

See: Einstein’s reply to a little girl who told him she wanted to be a scientist, quoted by Brain Pickings

what does it do

You probably saw the headline a while back which told us that Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Scientific American summed it up nicely and explained its importance.

You may have heard various arguments to justify the paucity of women in top science jobs. They were summed up nicely by Lawrence Summers, details of which can be found at the Lawrence Summers entry at the Geek Feminism Wiki. There were lots of people talking about it.

Geek Feminism Wiki also has the following lists:

Here’s an interesting podcast between Kim Hill and British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell in which these two educated women talk first about star dust and then about Bell Burnell’s career in science as a woman.

A female science professor at a large university explains how she became an invisible woman. (Anyone else experience this lately? I was ignored at our local bank when I went in with my husband to set up a joint business account, for our joint business, and again just a few weeks ago when a man came to the house to talk manly thinks with the man of the house: solar panels. I walked off after a while. He told my husband he ‘Hoped he hadn’t upset his wife.’)

Ada Lovelace Day was created to increase the visibility of women in scientific fields.

Where Girls Do Better Than Boys In Science, from Mother Jones, from which you should draw the conclusion that scientific aptitude is cultural, not innate.

Female students just as successful as males in math and science, Asian-Americans outperform all, from e! Science News

How Cultural Stereotypes Lure Women Away From Careers in Science, Time Health and Family

Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical, from Feministing

Why We Need More Geek Girls Like Willow from Bitch Media. Also, because this is what little girls see all over the damn place:

girl book boy book

Harrods, you suck.

And let’s not forget, so do little boys.

Institutionalised sexism is why special effort needs to go towards equal gender representation on things like science panels. We’re constantly told by People Who Know Things that this is very hard, since women are equal but different. Yet over at Skepchick, UAJamie explains in a very logical and reasonable way how it’s not actually hard, starting first by Proving and Quantifying Sexism. Also, other organisations have done it. Here’s how Etsy grew their numbers of female engineers by almost 500% in one year.

Here’s a telling graph, from Explore. It hasn’t always been thus!

The rapid decline in girls’ enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and math classes – and how to fix it.

Here’ is the Periodic Table Of Elements drawn as people women. Cool stuff, shared by The Mary Sue

Editor fills a gap in science coverage for women, from News Observer.

See also: The Double X Science website.

Women Who Changed the World Through Science: Rachel Zimmerman from Science Blogs

And this, from The Problem With Highlight Beauty Along With Brains, at Life As An Extreme Sport:

So apparently Business Insider thought that they would do the world a solid and highlight the fact that scientists can be attractive, sexy people, too. … Business Insider is trying to cast this list of sexy scientists as some sort of outreach list – people who are sexy, who make science sexy. The problem is, it’s alienating as fuck. Suddenly, there’s one more area of life to be judged by looks rather than anything else, and for many people, especially many women, science has been a refuge where brains are what matter (or at least what matter first). Unlike many areas of life, in science, what you can do matters more than how you look.

Where Have All The Role Models For Girls Gone? from Shelley Emling. Fortunately io9 has published at least ten (fictional) female scientists we wanted to be when we grew up.

The Finkbeiner Test for determining any sexist bias in a newsitem about a female scientist, because ” You’ve seen these profiles, of course you have, because they’re everywhere. The hallmark of “A lady who…” profile is that it treats its subject’s sex as her most defining detail. She’s not just a great scientist, she’s a woman! And if she’s also a wife and a mother, those roles get emphasized too.” from Double X Science. Here’s more commentary on The Finkbeiner Test from National Geographic. And then The New York Times Failed Miserably in its obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill.

Women In Science: Women’s Work from Nature, who do acknowledge that, ‘there is still much to do to achieve gender equality in science’. Here it is quantified. See also these women who combine childcare with science careers — an article which definitely does not pass the Finkbeiner Test, but unfortunately articles such as these are still necessary. We’ll know gender equality has been achieved when they’re not, or when we see articles about how men manage to combine families with science careers.

Women and Science: A New Conversation from Nancy W Mendoza, who wrote an MSc dissertation in 2005 about the under-representation of women and science. “I worry though that parents and children are still not teaching daughters to believe in themselves and be confident in their interests and their intellect. Toy shops are still segregated, playground chatter still focuses on what’s okay for boys and what’s okay for girls.”

CNN asks Why are there still so few women in science and tech?

Opening A Gateway For Girls In Tech from NYT.

Portrayals of women in science(y) films from Girls, Interrupting

Women love science! What a surprise, from The Independent

How Children Learn Scientific Thinking From Their Parents: ‘parents of girls tended to be more absolutist when talking about morals than were the parents of boys. In contrast, boys’ parents were more absolutist when talking about global warming than the parents of girls.’ — Research Digest

Top Ten Gifts To Empower Girls: Science Is A Girl Thing, from Toward The Stars

How to Encourage Girls to Enjoy Science and Math

American women are leaving academic science, including the social sciences, in alarming numbers. from The Pink and Blue Diaries

WOMEN WHO CHANGED SCIENCE NOW BEAUTIFUL MINIMALIST POSTERS from The Mary Sue

The Job You Never Realised You Had from The F Bomb

How Hollywood Helps Deter Women from Computer Science from Jezebel

Links On Beauty

1. My Body Gallery – what real women look like.

2. If you can’t work out whether you’re an apple, a pear or an hourglass, relax. You’re none of the above.

3. 10 Reasons your “Ugly Vagina” is Normal and Gorgeous.

4. The young women at Beauty Redefined are working to promote the idea that ‘You are capable of more than being looked at’.

5. The Beheld: a feminist blogger writes about the significance of the ways we present ourselves. I especially like this post: ‘Why Hearing “You’re Beautiful” Makes Me Freeze‘.

6. Cameron Russell’s TED Talk: Looks Aren’t Everything — trust me, I’m a model, in which Cameron Russell fully acknowledges her ‘beauty privilege’. This had me thinking that when insecurity is coupled with beauty (very often) one’s own privilege probably isn’t even acknowledged.

7. Beauty Redefined, in which two sisters study beauty in sociological terms and campaign against impossible beauty standards set by the media.

8. Are Beauty Standards Higher For Men Now? from Slate (Hint: Yes, but it still doesn’t compare to what women face.)

9. Getting The Body You’ve Always Wanted from Hairpin

10. Creating The ‘Before Body’ from Sociological Images, which offers links to other sites going into the numerous ways in which the images we see have been signficantly Photoshopped. This one turns that trend on its head a little and shows us how in ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures, the ‘before-body’ has also been Photoshopped.

11. Stop Being Afraid Of Your Body from Paleo Digest

12. Adios Barbie: The body image site for every body.

13. Challenging Unrealistic Images Of Beauty from Simone Says What

14. Beauty regime change: the lost art of NOT looking good at The Guardian

15. Politics Of Beauty And Pleasure from TSP

16. Panic Over Pretty from Spilt Milk

17. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”. From A Dress A Day

18. The Science Of Beauty, a collection of books and quotes at Brainpickings

19. ‘Lookism’ is a word which describes judging people based on their Beauty or lack thereof. There is an op-ed piece in the New York Times about this, kicking off with that almost unbelievable case in which a dental assistant is fired because she’s too distracting.

20. THE RUMPUS SATURDAY ESSAY: ME BE PRETTY ONE DAY from The Rumpus

21. The beautiful face is the perfectly average face, from The Diet Doctor

While it’s nice to think everyone is beautiful, only a select few are able to be Beautiful. Denying that there is such a thing as a Western Beauty Standard means that by default you’re denying that such a thing as Beauty Privilege exists. Which means by extension you’re denying the fact that people who are not Beautiful face discrimination. And discrimination can’t be ameliorated unless we first acknowledge that it exists.

Women and Shopping

my-superpower

I’m sorry Zulily, but shopping is not a super power, any more than wearing Victoria’s Secrets will empower me as a woman. Nah-uh.

One of my favourite lectures of late is the witty, sarcastic, call-it-like-it-is Rebecca Watson, speaking at Skepticon.

Ooh, and here are two very cool people in conversation: my favourite interviewer Kim Hill, with Rebecca Watson, in a conversation called ‘Girls and Shopping’, in which she also talks about ‘Elevator-gate’.

Related

With psuedoscience as recent history, I’m unlikely to pick up the book called Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping, but The Beheld has quoted a thought-provoking something from it in the post ‘The Impermanance of Beauty Work‘:

I’d never considered the ephemeral quality of beauty work… until it came up in a book I’m reading called Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. The author studies consumer behavior in the minutiae, working with teams that silently survey shoppers in retail settings. According to the book, when men grocery shop for produce, they tend to pick up the first, say, head of lettuce their hand lands on, and drop it in their cart. Women, however, are more likely to pick up the head of lettuce, examine it for suitability, checking out several different heads before deciding upon one. I recognized myself in this (why pay for a subpar avocado when there could be a perfect avocado next to it?!), but I really recognized myself in the author’s explanation: “Women…have traditionally understood the importance of the impermanent world—cooking a meal, decorating a cake, fixing hair and makeup.” Stereotypical, yes. But will you really be that surprised when I tell you that of the 16 students in my class at pastry school, 15 were women?

I can admit the possibility that women get stuck with the chore of shopping because women are well conditioned to accept that the fruits of traditionally female labour are by and large ephemeral, needing to be done all over again tomorrow. (Except for child-rearing, which is the most important job in the world, and somewhat permanent in nature. That’s why preschool teachers around the world get paid so handsomely, AMIRITE?!)

Links On Women And Film

1. Feminist Frequency – a series of thought provoking video logs. Set aside a few hours.

2. Reel Grrls – whose mission is to cultivate voice and leadership in girls at a vulnerable age in their development. Participants don’t just drop into a computer lab after school — they develop lasting relationships with women filmmakers and learn skills that propel them to leadership roles… A model to be replicated in every country.

3. The Iron Lady, an Anti-Feminist Film? from Culture Mom. I have yet to see this film myself, but I do know that Margaret Thatcher herself neither liked nor identified as feminist. Margaret Thatcher was a woman, sure enough, but she operated as a man in a man’s world in order to get by. This is what got her there in the first place. Should we really expect this to be a feminist film?

4. The Best Female-Directed Films of 2011 from Indiewire, because there are still very few films directed by women. Five percent, to be precise. That’s why we still need these lists, unfortunately.

5. The Rise Of The Female-Led Action Film from The Atlantic: “The three best-reviewed female-led action movies in recent years—Salt, Hanna, and now Haywire—are completely original properties, with strong, well-written female leads to match. These movies have a contemporary, refreshingly progressive tone that speaks to the changes in the genre.

6. This one’s about women on TV: Fall’s Women Friendly TV Line-up, from which I’d like to take an excerpt, because it may apply equally to film:

It is said that TV is our culture reflected back at us and in many ways, is a reflection of mass desires, wants, and selves. Apparently this means that women only exist in two dimensions. One is the stuff of male ego dreams, the burping, slurping, raunchy, politically incorrect and racist joke throwing gal who loves beer pong and thinks, “All chicks are crazy! What are they, on the rag or something?” The other exists in a polished world, where everything is sculpted, sprayed, and made to perfection, their narratives only existing to serve and please, smiles on their faces, all while secretly having sex with married men as a means of liberation. All white. All thin. All pretty. Straight, relatively privileged, all vying for the same old male attention.

7. And why are there still so few films about women for women? See this article from Indiewire for some anonymous (honest) thoughts from those at the top.

8. Women directed films of 2011, linked by The Mary Sue