Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

Danny continues his fascinating discussion of profiling.

A transwoman is turned away from a women’s shelter after being interrogated about how she pees. This is hugely offensive to everybody, not only the transgender community. Since when is a person considered a threat just because they have a penis (even if they identify as female)? Why should women at the shelter feel traumatized by the presence of a transwoman among them? This is egregious, folks.

A promotional image of a Playboy bunny made out of hundreds of naked models. Trust it to Playboy to drain all eroticism out of naked people. They look like larvae. Bleh. (And I bet this will be the most visited link of all I provide here. :-)

The insane folks who keep insisting that Sarah Palin faked her last pregnancy are now creating weird rumors about Beyonce’s pregnancy also being faked to prove their theory about Palin. No, I don’t see the logic either.

The natural birth is like anorexia and neither is feminist.”

Is a career at quaint college for you?

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success.

You know what caused the collapse of the British Empire? No, you only think you do. The leading presidential candidate for the Republican party (or as I call him, the Republican flavor of the week) says it was the NHS.

Redefining rape.

2012 will see an American election between Mitt Romney and President Obama, and the winner will be whichever one of them manages to best avoid questions about Social Security.  Unless by November we are finally at war with Iran, Social Security will be the only topic worth discussing, which means we’ll be discussing gay marriage.”

The survey of 195 expectant mothers revealed they believe there is a 56.2 per cent chance of an uncomplicated birth, which means a baby being born without the use of forceps, suction cups, caesarean section or induced labour. The data. . . shows the chance of having a medically uncomplicated birth is 21 per cent. A further 30.7 per cent said they believed women would have uncomplicated births without needing sutures. The actual figure is 8 per cent.”

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide facilitates a sexual assault on an American businesswoman in Finland. I’m recording the name of this hotel chain here to make sure I never travel to one of their facilities. The story is egregious, people.

Myriad prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs reflect a widespread tendency to sweat the small stuff, a failure to recognize time-honored sources of happiness, and a reliance on material acquisitions that provide only temporary pleasure.”

More men worry about their body shape and appearance – beer bellies, “man boobs” or going bald – than women do about how they look, according to research.” I don’t know about “more”, necessarily, but it is undeniable that worrying about one’s appearance has nothing whatsoever to do with gender.

I’m addicted to salads, which is why I’d read any post that has the word “salad” in it. For instance, check out this great post on how to get yourself to eat salads, if you are not a huge fan. The post made me so ravenous that I immediately devoured a huge salad.

An interesting contribution to the debate on whether newspapers should engage in regular fact-checking.

Can Canada hope to become a world leader?

A hilarious post with funny photos of road signs. OK, I know it doesn’t sound hilarious when I describe it but the post is very very good.

A letter to Canada’s Stephen Harper that many of us would love to write in response to his recent efforts to destroy the gay marriage in Canada.

This blogger is spreading nasty lies about Kindle Fire. Yes, you totally can buy anything on Kindle without a credit card. My husband has never had a credit card in his life and he doesn’t have a problem buying anything for the Kindle. And Amazon’s customer service is truly the best in the universe. And you absolutely do not need to purchase the Prime to use the Kindle Fire. You can purchase it if you want (with your debit card, like I did) but the device has a bizillion uses without the Prime. Kindle-haters make my blood boil.

For academics: how to write every day. VERY good, useful, completely realistic advice. Since I started following this blog, my academic productivity skyrocketed.

A priceless parable about the value of politicians’ promises.

According to some folks, seeing women as fully in control of their sexuality is actually offensive to women: “The assumption of woman as an autonomous actor, fully in control of their own agency, sexuality and bodily autonomy is to ignore the structural forces at work.” This is supposed to be a feminist piece, folks. Truly, no patriarchal ogre can be as offensive to women as some pseudo-feminists.

Yet another way Facebook spies on you. What a lovely company, that one.

Let’s all root for Amazon Fresh to succeed and become ubiquitous, people! What a sorely needed service.

And my favorite post of the week: “One of my biggest issues with liberal discourse on societal problems is its proclivity to diminish or erase entirely the concept of human agency. (Some) liberals talk as though society just makes people do things without them actually processing information and deciding how to act on it.” This is exactly how I feel.

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27 comments on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. “The assumption of woman as an autonomous actor, fully in control of their own agency, sexuality and bodily autonomy is to ignore the structural forces at work.”

    Right. Assuming that women can make their own choices is ludicrous indeed!

    This, however, I disagree with:

    “Myriad prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs reflect a widespread tendency to sweat the small stuff, a failure to recognize time-honored sources of happiness, and a reliance on material acquisitions that provide only temporary pleasure.”

    As I’m sure you know if you’ve read my blog, prescriptions for antidepressants also reflect the tendency of people with a medical condition called depression to want to kill themselves. They saved my life. I don’t “sweat the small stuff,” I don’t particularly care about making money or buying things, and I adore my friends and family and devote lots of time to them. None of this helped me.

    Thank you for linking to my post!

    • “They saved my life. I don’t “sweat the small stuff,” I don’t particularly care about making money or buying things, and I adore my friends and family and devote lots of time to them.”

      – I’m sure that you, of all people, approached your decision to take medication very carefully. Many people, however, don’t. They often think that depression and feeling sad or unhappy are the same thing. I think that medication should not be the very first thing people turn to whenever anything makes them unhappy. Depression and sadness are not the same thing. Which I know you know, of course. :-)

      • You’re right on those points. However, given that many people who DO need medication still have a lot of trouble gaining access to it because of stigma and financial concerns, I’m very wary of all this anti-medication speech that’s been going on. This is exactly the sort of crap my parents must’ve read as they insisted to me that I should just “snap out of it,” right up until they found out I’d been cutting myself and contemplating suicide.

        Sure, these articles may prevent people who don’t need medication from being put on it needlessly. But they may also prevent people who DO need medication from being put on it. Ultimately, only two people are able to make that decision–the patient and the psychiatrist. Some psychiatrists suck. But all that means is that we should be advocating for better training and more emphasis on ethics for psychiatrists, not that we should be advocating against medications that can save lives.

    • **“The assumption of woman as an autonomous actor, fully in control of their own agency, sexuality and bodily autonomy is to ignore the structural forces at work.”
      Right. Assuming that women can make their own choices is ludicrous indeed!**

      Up until 20 years ago in the UK, legally, married women could not be raped by their husbands – sex with your wife without their consent was not a crime. In such a situation many, many women believing that if they did not consent to sex, they would be forced, would acquiesce thinking it the lesser of two evils. Similarly many women give consent to sex for reasons other than desire, because the withdrawal of consent would leave them in a bad place.

      Its not that women cant make their own choices, its that they don’t make those choices just as they please, and to ignore the structural factors that are at work, influencing and shaping women’s choices is to deny the potential for changing them.

      • I don’t get this. Women nowhere on this planet make their own choices because there was a law in the UK 20 years ago?

        I also wonder, could men be legally raped by their wives under the law you quote? Or was any sex act between husband and wife deemed consensual, irrespective of who forced it on the other partner?

  2. A transwoman is turned away from a women’s shelter after being interrogated about how she pees. This is hugely offensive to everybody, not only the transgender community. Since when is a person considered a threat just because they have a penis (even if they identify as female)? Why should women at the shelter feel traumatized by the presence of a transwoman among them? This is egregious, folks.
    This goes to show you that people get very associative when it comes to violence. I can understand women who are abused by men not wanting to be around men but abused women not wanting to be around penises (exception: sexual violence)? Odd.

      • Well you see penis = man therefore everything.

        There’s this idea going back to at least the 70s or whatever that transgender women are secret men trying to infiltrate women’s safe space and bring women back to patriarchy by reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles and other subtle trickeries. I don’t know where all the people with gender issues are finding time to hatch such a conspiracy but basically as you can see the premise for hot new sitcom “Work It” was lifted right out of Janice Raymond polemics.

      • “There’s this idea going back to at least the 70s or whatever that transgender women are secret men trying to infiltrate women’s safe space and bring women back to patriarchy by reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles and other subtle trickeries.”

        – I still find it completely unbelievable that some people would persecute transgender folks (to the point of outing them sometimes) in order to promote supposedly feminist values. It’s just bizarre.

  3. That story about the hotel made my jaw drop. I come from a family that was largely in the hotel business, and I cannot imagine anyone with a drop of common sense in concierge doing such a thing.
    My family were also once Starwood elite club members. If we still were, I would write them an angry letter. But now, in this life as a poor college student whose primary source of sleep when travelling is couchsurfing,org, I’ll remember this about Starwood later in life.

  4. The widespread prescription of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications is troubling to me. I think its ubiquity keeps people from taking seriously those of us who have struggled with depression. It increases the belief that depression isn’t a real problem because anyone with a little “sadness” can procure a prescription. This makes it sound as if depression isn’t a big deal. I spent quite some time resisting the idea of trying medication because of that phenomenon. I thought, “If it’s just a little sadness, then I don’t really need medication. I can just get over it.” Then I felt inadequate because I couldn’t “just get over it.” While I support prescribing medication to those who need it, I believe that it should be given out more discriminately.

    • That’s what I’m saying here, too. Egregiously over-prescribed and trivialized. Autistics are routinely handed anti-depressants in lieu of a “treatment” for autism. Mind you, these people are not depressed. They are just autistic. And since there is no “cure” for that, why not just hand them an anti-depressant, right? I’m sorry but this is wrong. The boundaries of depression should not be stretched to include people who just happen to have a different neurotype.

      And it isn’t just that. Somebody I know contacted campus health services because she thought she was developing an alcohol addiction and wanted to explore how this could be addressed. She was handed an anti-depressant scrip and sent on her way in matter of minutes. I have many stories like these, and they are not good.

      • Ugh. That is horrible. I think the over-prescription also leads to the impression that anti-depressants are a cure-all, that an anti-depressant should make someone 100% better. It doesn’t work that way, at least not in my experience (nor did I expect it to). People who have that idea might find themselves disappointed when they still have the same feelings even with medication. They take it to get rid of sadness, but they still feel sadness. Perhaps a bit of self-reflection would be more worthwhile.

  5. via Rubin Reports I found this link on Muslim Brotherhood:

    By the way, MEMRI has done something that any Western media outlet (highly financed, highly staffed) or think tank could have done during the last year but didn’t. It just went to the official Muslim Brotherhood website and translated some of the many antisemitic, anti-American, and extremely radical articles there. Note that this is an official site and nothing goes on it unless it meets the group’s ideological and policy requirements. To coin a phrase, a translation is worth 10,000 words of blather about “moderate Islamists.”

    http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5992.htm

  6. bloggerclarissa :
    I don’t get this. Women nowhere on this planet make their own choices because there was a law in the UK 20 years ago?
    I also wonder, could men be legally raped by their wives under the law you quote? Or was any sex act between husband and wife deemed consensual, irrespective of who forced it on the other partner?

    No, what I am trying to say is that power structures outwith that particular interaction bear down on whether women consent. Until 2009, rape under Scots Law was penile-vaginal, so no, men could not be raped by their wives.(but could be sexually assaulted)

    • Once again: how does the fact that marriage in many Western cultures presupposed consent to sexual activity both for men and women a while ago define the incapacity of women to make their own sexual choices today?

      I also want to reiterate that the consent to sex as something implied in a marriage derives from a Christian attitude to sexuality in marriage and does not discriminate in this on the basis of gender. In Christianity, both the husband and the wife are enjoined from refusing sex to their spouse.

      • Well…20 years is only a generation ago. A woman in her 60s who married at 20 would have had 20 odd years of being unrapable, just because the law has changed doesn’t mean that those years of conditioning just wither away, so she “consents” to sex she doesn’t want because she feels it is expected.

        But it was really just an example of an external power structure which influences a womans consent in a situation. Other examples might be a level of prior sexual activity (although she didnt want full intercourse, social narrative says that any sexual activity is consent, therefore she “consents”), or fear (although she agreed to stay the night, didnt want sex but she feared going home alone in a strange place so “consented”), or even just politeness (he has been kind enough to put her up so the least she can do is put out)

        None of the above is rape, but its not true consensual sex either, but we have no words for that grey zone where sex is not desired but consented to because of external pressures.

        You cant just ignore those external structural powers, because if you do you have no possibility of changing them.

      • “A woman in her 60s who married at 20 would have had 20 odd years of being unrapable, just because the law has changed doesn’t mean that those years of conditioning just wither away, so she “consents” to sex she doesn’t want because she feels it is expected.”

        – Just a woman or a spouse of either gender?

        “Other examples might be a level of prior sexual activity (although she didnt want full intercourse, social narrative says that any sexual activity is consent, therefore she “consents”), or fear (although she agreed to stay the night, didnt want sex but she feared going home alone in a strange place so “consented”), or even just politeness (he has been kind enough to put her up so the least she can do is put out)”

        – Again, how is any of this gender specific? Or are you suggesting that nobody is capable of determining whether they want to have sex?

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