link farm #10: easter easter

The Intensive Step-By-Step Guide to Relaxing is exactly what you need to this weekend

The Intensive Step-By-Step Guide to Relaxing is exactly what you need to enjoy this Easter weekend to the fullest

In other news, here’s a small sample of the some of the Internet I have been enjoying this week!

Dissent Unheard Of Ashe Dryden unpacks some of the techniques typically used to silence people who speak up to promote and protect diversity. Focused on the tech sector, but applicable pretty much anywhere.

Why we should give free money to everyone Turns out the best way to spend money on the poor might be to give money to the poor. Unconvinced? Read this great article by Rutger Bregman of Decorrespondent about consistent success of basic income experiments.

My Breakup with Exercise This personal account from Leah of Talkin’ Reckless is a really good reminder that everything in moderation – including exercise – is the best way to live a sustainable healthy and happy life.

We’re not here for your inspiration A reminder from Stella Young that disabled people don’t exist to put your problems in perspective, nor to illustrate your cloying motivational posters. Most of them are just trying to get through the day, just like their able-bodied counterparts, and no matter what Scott Hamilton says, they don’t owe you a good attitude.

These Female “Privileges” Suck It’s no secret that I’m a fan of a good takedown, and this one from Sophieologie is a particularly satisfying annihilation of Thought Catalog’s latest puerile listicle. Sidenote: does anyone else feel sad that the once-useful concept of privilege is now deployed solely for the purpose of mudslinging, by people who have no idea what it actually means?

Glamour and Glitter, Fashion and Fame! And A Bunch of Dudes In Charge A live action Jem and the Holograms movie, you say? YAY! A creative team entirely composed of dudes and the original (female) creator entirely shut out from the process, you say? Less yay. Kitty of Red Lemonade explains. With GIFs.

The Body Is Not Gender: Laura Jane Grace Of Against Me! Interviewed Lovely thought-provoking interview with the lead singer of Against Me! about her transition process, her deeply personal new record and the reactions from her fans.

Your Map is Racist Q. When is a map racist? A. When Greenland is as big as Africa and the equator has mysteriously shifted downwards so we can see more of Europe.

On Colbert and White Racial Satire: We Don’t Need It In the wake of the #CancelColbert tweetstorm, Mia McKenzie cuts through the bullshit (as usual) and asks: what exactly white racial satire is doing for people of colour, and is it really helping more than it’s harming?

RELAXING: AN INTENSIVE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE “You probably think of relaxation as an unattainable dream, if not just a myth altogether. Adhere to this guide with precision and get ready to experience the most rigorous relaxation of your life!

“The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion” A fascinating series of accounts from physicians and counselors who have provided abortions to anti-choice women; in some cases, women who turned up to picket the clinic the day after the procedure.

because history or something, part I

He's probably pissed off because Ygritte is far too sassy for a lady living in Ye Olde Generic Medievale Tymes

The King of the Ice Zombies also has a lot of opinions about historical accuracy in fantasy.

OK, Internet. New Game of Thrones just started, and I know we’re all very excited.[1] Before the deluge of internet commentary really begins, I think this is an appropriate moment to have a chat about the relationship between fiction and history, and more specifically the relationship between the fantasy genre and the specific periods of Euro-centric history from which it tends to borrow heavily. I have a lot of thoughts on this subject, so this will be a three part series. Starting with Part I, which asks the question: What do we mean by historical accuracy?

It’s a tale as old as the Internet. Someone writes an article about a book/film/game/ interpretative shadow-puppet musical from the fantasy genre and says, “Hey, I really like this thing, but I would like it more if the women were not being sexually assaulted quite so constantly and the brown people were not costumed entirely in Generic Tribal Chic.” And then, without fail, a deeply indignant nerd type will pop his head over the parapet of the comment box and let forth his ancient war cry: “BUT HISTOOOOOOORY THEREFORE YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVAAAAAALID!!!”

It may seem like I’m overstating for effect here, but this exact exchange just happened on a recent post from Media Diversified. Shane Thomas made some excellent (and, at this stage, well-worn) points about Game of Thrones and its race problems. This attracted the attention of one intrepid commenter, who didn’t bother to read the whole post but nonetheless left a long comment – equal parts condescending and clueless – which boiled down to, “The Mongols existed at some point, therefore Game of Thrones can’t be racist.” In his response, Thomas acknowledges that he is aware that history is indeed a thing, but the fact that history is extremely racist does not give a modern TV show set in a fictional world a free pass to also be racist.

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link farm #9: variety bag

Twitch Plays Pokémon was basically the logical conclusion of the Internet.

Twitch Plays Pokémon was basically the logical conclusion of the Internet. source: kotaku

Hi everyone! The fields of the link farm have lain fallow for a while, but they shall be all the more fertile for it and a new crop of feminism shall grow strong and abundant in the furrows of this newly-ploughed metaphor.

That is to say, the draft email where I keep interesting links (Iol, what are bookmarks) has become nothing short of unwieldy, so here’s a bumper crop of stuff I read recently (or not so recently) that I found thought-provoking. All of it is articles. In no particular order:

The Twitching of Democracy – Could Twitch Plays Pokémon hold the answer to reinvigorating our broken systems of democracy? I have no idea, but fortunately my friend Tadhg decided to grapple with that very question in his latest blog post.

Rage Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum – Women in general, and particularly feminists, are often accused of overreacting or being excessively angry in response to relatively innocuous things. Kameron Hurley does a great job of explaining that a) seemingly isolated incidents are often “blown out of proportion” precisely because they are not isolated incidents and b) anger is actually a necessary tool for changing the status quo.

What, So I Can’t Even Act Like My Subordinate Coworkers Only Have Their Jobs Because They’re Hot Anymore? - In case you are unfamiliar with Bad Advisor, she scours Internet advice columns for the most bizarre and clueless of questions and then responds with exactly what the Letter Writer wanted to hear. It’s all gold, but this is particularly on point. Warning: unprecedented levels of snark.

Should “potential fathers” have any say in abortion? - A thorny issue, but this is why I love reading Aoife O’Riordan on reproductive rights; she brings a level on incisiveness and clarity that I would never arrive at on my own and her conclusions always center the needs of the pregnant person above all else. And as a fellow native of a country where abortion is illegal except in the most extenuating of circumstances, her insight is valuable to me on a personal and political level.

Bi-Erasure and The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank may not have identified as bisexual, but the fact that her diary was originally scrubbed of homoerotic material prior to publishing is symptomatic of a society that is still profoundly uncomfortable with fluid sexuality. Solomon Wong illustrates how this relates to modern bi-erasure and why young bi people need more mainstream narratives that acknowledge their existence.

Lupita Nyong'o as mohawked Storm is the best fancast ever. (source: Geek Outside)

Lupita Nyong’o as mohawked Storm is the best fancast ever. source: Geek Outsider

Bros before Rogues - Nicholas DiSabatino asks if the X-Men franchise – despite reams of excellent source material – is getting steadily worse at portraying women as well-rounded characters… or indeed, portraying them at all. (Hint: Yes.)

Why Marketers Fear The Female Geek - Disruptive innovation is one of my favourite marketing concepts. It basically means ripping up the rule book and throwing all the data out the window in order to capture (or recapture) a brand new market through bold and original strategies. And this, argues Anjin Anhut, is exactly what videogame companies need to do if they want access to the wallets of the fifty percent of the population they’ve been systematically alienating for the past few decades.

The Night I Kissed A Rapist – In this simple personal account, Jan DeVry explores her firsthand experience of discovering that a rapist can be a well-liked, charismatic man with whom you have strong chemistry.

Seeming Female: Gender in Digital Space – So at this point we all know that Fake Geek Girl is largely a myth, the fever dream of an adult nerd with a subconscious desire to punish all women for that one time a hot girl ignored him at summer camp. But the always excellent Foz Meadows posits an interesting theory: what if she does exist? What if she exists and what if she is a literal invention of male gamers? “What if the respective myths of the Fake Geek Girl and Fake Gamer Girl are actively being perpetuated, not through the whore-user predations of evil ladies, but because a cynical, sexist subset of male geeks are using stereotypical, strawman portrayals of women to manipulate their peers?” It sounds far-fetched, but the numbers add up and the performance of gender in digital spaces is a strange and elusive beast.

burning jobbridges

Ireland has many good bridges, but the National Internship Scheme is not one of them.

Ireland has many good bridges, but the National Internship Scheme is not one of them. source

This is a longer and substantially less polite version of an article I wrote for an internal publication in an organisation (not in Ireland) focused on labour rights where I am (lol) an intern (but a paid one!) But also not lol, because JobBridge is a trainwreck and needs to be scrapped immediately.

What is this bridge you speak of?

JobBridge is a national internship scheme set up by the Irish government, in response to high levels of unemployment caused by the spectacular crash of the Celtic Tiger economy in 2009. To qualify for the scheme, you must have been unemployed and receiving state welfare benefits for at least three months. If you secure an internship, you will be paid an extra fifty euro per week on top of your current benefits. The employer pays nothing, and may even be eligible for financial incentives. The total time you could potentially spend on the scheme is 18 months, divided over two or three internships. Which seems like an awfully long time considering that internships, by their nature, are intended to be temporary learning experiences that aid transition into real work.

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the chromosomes will out. or something.

Feminist propaganda Lego advertisement from the 1970s

Feminist propaganda Lego advertisement from the 1970s

James Delingpole recently wrote an article called “Why it’s not sexist to say boys should never play with dolls“. I have to ask: is it just me, or are the James Delingpoles of this world getting more and more frantic in their efforts to shove gender roles back into neat little boxes marked Male and Female?

Because to me, interrupting a group of young women during a discussion of their career plans to ask them if they want to settle down and raise a family… that sounds like the behaviour of a floundering man. Delingpole admits that he did this deliberately in part to undermine their “zappy” headmistress, and then brags about in his article as though he’s scored a point for… well, for who or what exactly is unclear. Whatever Delingpole was trying to achieve by recounting this anecdote, he succeeds admirably in coming across as smug, clueless, priggish and thoroughly out of his depth when confronted by a room of bright young women who expect to enter the world as equals to men.

“Does this make me sound like a complete sexist pig?” asks Delingpole, as though a modicum of self-awareness might make it not so.

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frozen: a tale of two sisters

Frozen fan manip. source: could not find one apart from Pinterest, help me out if you know!

Frozen fan manip. source: I could not find out who made this. Let me know if you know

Redundant spoiler alert: ALL THE SPOILERS.

Prior to the release of Disney’s Frozen, I highlighted the fact that it was getting some pretty bad pre-release press from fellow feminist pop culture bloggers. The Feminist Fangirl wrote a post about how the original female-centric fairytale appeared to have been gutted in favour of yet more bland princess fare. Then, the lead animator put his foot in it by making some poorly thought-out comments about how it’s really difficult to animate female characters, because they have to show emotion but they also have to be pretty, so sometimes they just end up all looking the same. Nightmare, am I right?

When Frozen was released, I deliberately resisted reading any reviews until I’d seen it for myself, although the general background buzz on the feminist blogosphere indicated that it was a lot better than expected. And having eventually seen it, I have to agree. Frozen is a feminist movie.

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link farm #8: essay binge

Link farm! Hello! Here are some the best things I have read on the Internet in recent weeks. But first, above, one of the best things about Beyoncé dropping a fourteen track visual concept album earlier this week (no biggie) is that this amazing TED Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is getting some much deserved extra spotlight, since Bey sampled a large section of her speech in the track “***Flawless”.

On Defending Beyoncé: Black Feminists, White Feminists, and the Line In the Sand (article) This piece by Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous is one of my favourites from the eruption of OMG BEYONCÉ IS SHE A FEMINIST!? that promptly ensued in the wake of the album.

The Feminist Selfie (article) “Selfie” is the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year 2013, but is the rise of prolific self-portraiture – aided by webcams and smartphones – a feminist statement or tasteless narcissism? Can it be both? ChaosIntended makes an excellent case for the selfie as a feminist reclamation of the way women perceive and portray themselves.

What The Fluck (multimedia essay) This is a long and fascinating piece. It starts off talking about Tamara Mellon, creator of Jimmy Choo, but then expands to encompass some huge ideas… media, celebrity, public vs. private lives, corruption, politics and ultimately a call for new forms of journalism that can actually penetrate the giant financial power structures that run our world today.

My Abortion (article, content note for graphic descriptions of abortion) Brilliant journalism from Meaghan Winter at NY Magazine, reporting twenty-six abortion stories from twenty-six different women across the United States. There is no room for politics, but there is a full gamut of emotions – trauma, relief, nonchalance, fear, sadness, regret, gratitude – and some beautiful, heartbreaking moments that remind you that every single woman who has had an abortion is full and complete human being with a whole life of past choices and future prospects weighing on her decision.

Besides, the Internet is teeming with modern and practical redesigns Wonder Woman's outfit that retain all of the classic iconography of the character, such as this offering from Phil Bourassa

Besides, the Internet is teeming with modern and practical redesigns Wonder Woman’s outfit that retain all of the classic iconography of the character, such as this one by Phil Bourassa

I still don’t want to see Zack Snyder’s take on Wonder Woman (article) Charlie Jane Anders brilliantly articulates her (and my own) anxieties about Zack Snyder introducing Wonder Woman to the big screen and why he is not the director to catapult the world’s most iconic female superhero into the 21st century. Also, to save you reading the comments, they are full of “Wonder Woman will never work in movies because her origin is so messy and her costume is dated!” You know, as though screenwriters and directors have no creative license or agency to work around those things.

Loving your body and ending obesity (article) One of my favourite things about Emily Heist Moss is her ability and determination to find middle-ground on issues that have become so polarized that communication has all but broken down. In this article, she highlights that creating space for fat women to love themselves and promoting healthier lifestyles on a broad societal level are not opposing, or even mutually exclusive goals. And it’s not just that we can do both, it’s that we must do both if we ever want to see real change.

No Girls Allowed (visual essay) A comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing history of the rise of videogames that specifically charts the role of marketing in the evolution of the medium from family-friendly group entertainment to unrepentant boys’ club. Essential reading for anyone who still thinks companies “just make what sells!” Hint: they don’t, and marketing department don’t tailor their output to the whims of customers, but rather work hard and smart to create and control consumer demand.

Your Ability to Can Even: A Defense of Internet Linguistics (article) I love language! I love the Internet! I love The Toast! I love that online spaces are generating a whole spectrum of playful new ways to express ourselves through subversive grammar, memes, GIFs and typographic peculiarities. This article, I mean I just can’t even askkewefs abtklwvrqheqhljqv wow so linguistics

Media and Social Justice 10: How To Consume Responsibly (article) The first of a fantastic 101 series from Be Young & Shut Up. Part Two is for creators and Part Three deals with critique, and all three form a comprehensive answer to that most pressing of questions faced by socially-conscious nerds; how can I be a fan while acknowledging that the things I love have problematic elements?

Feminists are not responsible for educating men (article) I have linked to this before across my various social meedjahs, but since I’ve had this conversations several times, drunkenly, in meatspace, in recent weeks, it bears posting again here. Go forth, well-intentioned men of the world, and read. And then restrain yourself from cornering me at the Christmas party to bombard me with enlightened questions along the lines of “Why don’t women just get over it?”*

*This is an actual thing that an adult man said to me during a “rational” discussion about feminism.