Last week I wrote about how–despite their supposed libertarian principles–Wall Street and Silicon Valley firms (most notably, Chase and Amazon) had embarked on systematic campaigns of discrimination against sex workers, seemingly intent on expelling sex workers from the financial system. I concluded that discrimination propelled by market forces is no less reprehensible and no less deleterious in its consequences than discrimination driven by personal prejudice. And, I argued that we should hold accountable those who let a commitment to profit trump their commitment to fighting discrimination.This weekend–almost as if to make a spectacle out of how vicious the campaign against sex workers has become–WePay took the unfathomably callous action of cancelling a fundraiser for Eden Alexander, a porn performer who experienced some very serious and acute health issues and was in desperate need of financial assistance to pay medical/personal care bills. Alexander tweeted the cancellation notice that she received from WePay:
What is perhaps most shocking about this tragedy is that it illustrates how readily we dehumanize sex workers. Whether it is the doctor (who reportedly dismissed the severity Alexander’s condition, assuming it to be the product of drug abuse) or WePay shutting down her donations page because she is connected to the production pornographic content, institutional policies and practices reduced Alexander (as they do all sex workers) to being nothing more than her work. Unfortunately, this too often how stigma works. From the perspective of this institutionalized stigma, you can’t be a sex worker and a person in need of medical treatment because when you’re a sex worker, you are only a sex worker. A person’s humanity is flattened and they are seen only as their stigma.
This is seriously some awful bullshit.
If you ever want to see patriarchy and rape culture in action, compare how many of your female friends have covered up the webcam on their laptop v. how many of your male friends have.
In a 2009 study for the journal Women’s Studies in Communication, Holland argues that the disparity in the media’s treatment of Jackson and Timberlake reinforced long-standing stereotypes about black female sexuality. She suggests the vilification of Jackson in the media followed the tradition of “the jezebel” stereotype, a characterization of black women as voluptuous and sexually insatiable that was historically used by white slave owners to justify abuse of female slaves.
Holland analyzed 200 news article about the Super Bowl controversy and found that more than half of the stories only mentioned Timberlake’s involvement in passing, while a third of them didn’t even mention Timberlake’s role in the reveal at all. The stories instead emphasized the nakedness of Jackson’s breast and relied on passive language to describe the exposure, as if Jackson herself pulled her top off, or as if her breast had a mind of its own. One notable example came from The Washington Post, where Tony Kornheiser wrote, “What Janet Jackson did was bizarre, deliberately flopping out of her costume like that."
- Erases female fandom nerds out of the equation almost entierly, presenting the idea that women don’t go to comic book stores, arcades, conventions, or other fandom based activities (you know, because being a nerd is totally male exclusive/that space is entirely for men) WOMEN CAN APPARENTLY BE SMART OR SOCIALLY INEPT BUT U’LL NEVER SEE 1 HAVE A LORD OF THE RINGS MARATHON LOL.
- Patronizes male nerds as a lot of pathetic dweebs that have absolutely no social conditioning and are terrified of women.
- Places female characters in emotionally abusive relationships with male characters (Sheldon/Amy is disgusting and terrible, Howard’s treatment of Bernedette is even more disgusting because he doesn’t even have the excuse of having aspergers). The show completely strips said male characters of any sort of responsibility over their actions and plays up their controlling, selfish behavior as something quirky and funny as all of the girls respond at the end of the day with an OH YOU!
- One character only exists to be the butt of racist jokes. One character only exists to be the butt of aspergers jokes.
- Laughs at the idea of loving nerdy/fandom stuff as opposed to laughing at the situations the characters get into or laughing with nerds (see: community). There is literally a laugh track moment after Sheldon says he found his N64.
- Treats it’s non nerdy main female character with a mixture of slut shame-y, idealized object of desire grossness and using her to make the point that being nerdy = being a freak (making you feel bad for her and angry that she’s used as Chuck Lorre’s mouthpiece about why being a nerd is so St00pid)
- Leaves no room for other “kinds” of nerds. In a day and age when nerdy interests are actually fairly chice, it’s strange that every nerd on the show is portrayed as pathetic and socially inept.
- Seriously you’d think this show was written in the 1960’s
- Im pretty sure that Chuck Lorre has this idea in his head that all nerds are white males with coke bottle glasses that got thrown into dumpsters in high school and think that girls are either 2spooky4u or unattainable sex objects meant to cater to their whims and desires.
I tried to watch one episode of BBT.
I got about 5 minutes in before changing the channel.
It was absolutely horrible.
At the South by Southwest Interactive festival in March, I attended a talk titled “Adding Value as a Non-Technical No Talent Ass-Clown.” It was given by Matt Van Horn, a 28-year-old executive at the social-media company Path. Path had generated a lot of buzz at the tech and media confab; it was recently valued at $250 million.
A crowd of about 100 was packed into the conference room, overflowing into the aisles. Van Horn stood stiffly in the center of the room, clipboard in hand, boyishly hip in a grey blazer, expensive-looking jeans, and eyeglasses with flashy white stems. He began with a story about chasing down a job at Digg, the once popular bookmarking site, shortly after he graduated from the University of Arizona. He said he’d won over Digg’s elusive cofounders by sending them “bikini shots” from a “nudie calendar” he’d put together with photographs of fellow students posing in their swimsuits.
Van Horn continued with some tips for hiring managers: He cautioned against “gangbang interviews”—screening prospective employees by committee—and made a crack about his fraternity’s recruiting strategy, designed to “attract the hottest girls” on campus. He seemed taken aback when nobody laughed. “C’mon, guys, we all know how it was in college,” he muttered.
Geek/nerd culture has always had a strong undercurrent of misogyny. I’m not surprised by this new trend one bit.
Although this was originally a quote about females in science, it’s a good way to answer assholes who say “Why are you making such a big deal out of such a small thing?”
And this is the right wing’s view on sex in a nutshell: We’ll deny funding for sex education, we won’t help fund contraception, but you’re irresponsible for not taking care of it yourself.
The Right Wing decided it wanted to play Monday Morning Quarterback with my lady parts this year. It seems like an odd choice for a recreational activity, especially since there’s no legislative or medical reason to suddenly introduce radically restrictive and dangerous legislation on women’s health and bodies. Maybe someone should introduce them to Pinterest instead.
Here are our Top 10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Attacks on Women’s Rights (just in the last 6 months!)
- The Blunt Amendment. Reasonable religious exemptions weren’t enough for Roy Blunt. This amendment would have allowed your employer – not your doctor - to decide what kind of health care you could get based on his or her own personal moral or religious convictions.
- The All-Male Birth Control Panel, or the Man Panel. Congressman Darrell Issa convened a panel to discuss the coverage of birth control – but refused to include any women.
- Susan G. Komen Foundation defunds Planned Parenthood. Komen opted to cut off funding to the largest provider of reproductive health services in the US because of their new VP’s objection to a mere 3% of their activities.
- Rush Limbaugh Calls Sandra Fluke a Prostitute and a Slut. After Sandra Fluke stood up for women everywhere, Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves and called her a prostitute and a slut for speaking out in favor of birth control coverage. He also said she should have to put videos of her having sex online to compensate the taxpayers who “are going to pay for your contraceptives.” Classy.
- Forced Trans-Vaginal Ultrasounds. Republican legislators in Virginia invited the commonwealth into the exam room when they proposed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an invasive, medically-unnecessary vaginal probe before their procedure.
- Texas defunds Planned Parenthood. Under Governor Rick Perry, the state of Texas banned funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortion services. In the end, though, this fight has only served to hurt low-income women looking for breast cancer screenings, birth control and pap smears.
- Women in the Military Should “Expect” to be Raped. Responding to a 64% increase in the reports of rape and violent sexual assaults in the military, Fox News pundit Liz Trotta responds, “What did they expect?” She goes on to say that there is a bureaucracy of people to support these women who are being “raped too much.”
- Foster Friess Suggests Women Put Aspirin Between Their Knees. Rick Santorum supporter, Foster Friess, reminisced about back in his day when ladies put aspirin between their knees for birth control. Back in his day, people also died of polio.
- Santorum wants to deny birth control coverage because he thinks it’s available and affordable. Despite the fact that most forms of birth control still require a prescription and 1 in 3 women have reported struggling to afford birth control. Santorum feels there is no barrier to access, so it shouldn’t be covered by insurance.
- Mitt Romney doesn’t understand a woman’s reproductive system. Romney has publicly supported “personhood amendments,” which would ban abortion by declaring life begins at conception. When asked about how this affects birth control, Romney seemed to be completely unaware that hormonal forms of birth control stop implantation, not conception and would be banned under any personhood amendment.
And it’s only the middle of March.
Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminists devoted to fighting against sexism within the visual fine art world internationally. Started in New York City in 1985 to protest gender and racial inequality in the art world, members are known for the gorilla masks they wear to keep their anonymity.
See more of their posters here. I just read about them in an article and thought they were awesome.