OK, so we can all agree that there is a lack of women in positions of power in the tech industry, right? Right. Well, according to Douche du Jour Michael Arrington, it's our own damn fault. In his piece for TechCrunch (charmingly titled "Too Few Women in Tech? Stop Blaming the Men.") earlier this week, he had this to say:
I'm going to tell it like it is. And what it is is this: statistically speaking women have a huge advantage as entrepeneurs, because the press is dying to write about them, and venture capitalists are dying to fund them. Just so no one will point the accusing finger of discrimination at them.
The silencing of trans people, and trans women in particular, in feminist spaces isn't just limited to discussions about pop culture, unfortunately. Cis voices are centered over trans voices consistently, and sometimes very dangerously, while trans folks are denied autonomy, identity, and even our own experiences.
Trans people are excluded from women's shelters. We are denied medical care. We are told that our opinions have no worth and value and are treated as 'fakers.' It's not just the mainstream media that misgenders trans people; I see it happening in feminist spaces all the time, along with prurient speculation about whether or not trans folks have had reconstruction surgery or what their 'real names' are.
"Death" fat, or "morbidly obese" people are going to experience more discrimination, more shaming and more insults than "in-betweenies" (those that fall somewhere between "normal" and "fat"). That's just the facts. There is privilege there, in being a smaller fat person, that must be acknowledged and interrogated. Words like "curvy, thick, chunky" are going to be applied to more smaller fat people than larger. These words are viewed as more positive than words that may be used to describe larger fat people such as "obese" and "blubbery." Of course, smaller fat people are not immune to the frat boy "fatass" drive-by shout out, but they're more likely to be viewed as sexually attractive (case in point: Sara Ramirez). Because of this disparity, there is sometimes dischord between different sized fat people, with the larger fat people accusing the smaller fat people of being privileged and not truly fat, and the smaller fat people lamenting the policing of fat identity. In a way, both sides are right.
Appropriation is often done in the name of a supposedly greater cause. Those in power tell us that we should wait our turn. They are working on extending a helping hand, it's OK for them to speak for us, because they need to speak for us to help us achieve liberation. Even speaking up about appropriation, whether in the form of cultural or ideological, is shouted down.
I brought up the old disability rights movement adage 'nothing about us without us' in a recent post. And the same should hold true for feminism. Instead of speaking for people, we should be centring the voices of the people currently relegated to the fringes. When the mouse speaks up to inform the elephant that her tail is being stepped on, it is the responsibility of the elephant to lift her foot. The onus is not on the mouse to wait for the elephant to move, to cut off her own tail to escape, to attempt to dig herself out.
Well, it's time to go back to school again. And you know how I know? Because of television commercials, which give me all the information I need on what it takes to be a cool kid these days. (Hint: channel your favorite High School Musical Version of Glee character, then press fast forward.)
I have, as mentioned, a rather personally fraught relationship with online dating. Catching too many of my supposedly monogamous partners using personal ads to cheat on me left me pretty thoroughly unable to commit to the process. And, when it comes down to it, you have to commit to the process: you are saying, in effect, that you wish to meet potential partners through a service we've all paid for in order to meet other potential partners. You have to accept that it's a perfectly acceptable way to meet someone, and to set down and just let go of your hang-ups about it.
Plenty has been written about the fat husband/hot wife dichotomy on TV sitcoms. The critique usually consists of disbelief that a fat man would be able to land a "hot" wife. Now, in these shows, like According To Jim, King of Queens and Still Standing, the behavior of the husbands is also often undesirable. But the main thing people seem to be outraged about is that the husbands and wives are not of commensurate attractiveness. These men are also often referred to as "ugly," and their "ugliness" appears to be directly tied in to their fatness. While the men on these shows are fat, I would argue that their looks are at the least average if not slightly above average. But, as has been demonstrated in the comments on this blog, people are often perceived to be less attractive if they are viewed as fat.
We need better representation for trans folks on television. Starting with more roles, a greater diversity of trans characters, avoidance of stereotypes, and, critically, getting transgender actors in these roles. There's absolutely no reason we shouldn't have empowering, awesome, interesting, complex trans characters on television. It's a pity that the organizations that claim to be pushing for just that are falling asleep at the wheel.
We're back again with another edition of On Our Radar—bringing you some of the most interesting things we read this week!
With the celebration of the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States in full swing this week, Womanist Musings' Renee Martin reminds us that not all women gained the right and access to vote in 1920.
Following lesbian cadet Katherine Miller's resignation from West Point due to her sexual orientation, Corey Kilgannon investigates the underground gay culture at the military academy for the New York Times.
On Jezebel, Dodai Stewart tallied up the number of black models in the September issues of fashion magazines.
Check out all the great posts in the "This is What a Young Feminist Looks Like" blog carnival!
All kinds of messed up: Sociological Images' Lisa Wade highlights an NPR report on a scale of evil developed by a forensic psychologist. The graphic used to explain this scale eerily matches the range of human skin color, with the darker the color being the worse the psychopath.
After Sally was caught masturbating on Mad Men this week, Feministe Guest Blogger Monica looks at the assumption that she must have been sexually abused.
On Racialicious, Bitch contributor Andrea Plaid writes on Montana Fishburne, the daughter of famed actor Laurence and a sex worker.
Carrie Polansky focuses on the popular discoursse surrounding disability and sexuality on Gender Across Borders.
One of my favorite sometimes cringe-worthy shows is Louie on FX. I've long been a fan of Louis C.K., while I will admit his humor is sometimes problematic. So his new show, naturally, is hilarious and sometimes problematic. I haven't had a big problem with it so far, but the last episode (I don't know what day it was actually on because I TiVo everything) was full of fail on so many different levels it's amazing. I'm not going to go into detail on every level of fail. Other sites have dealt with that. What I am going to go into is the very last part of the episode when the above screencap took place, because this is a blog about representations of fat in pop culture. Yes, Louis went there. He made it with a fat black chick. A very vigorous fat black chick.