Archive for the 'Our Innate Womanly Natures' category

A Blurb For Venker's "How To Choose A Husband"

We lived in a strictly gendered world. We relied on it for everything. And then the power went out of gender norms. Everything stopped working. We weren't prepared. Fear and confusion led to panic. The lucky ones made it out of the hedonistic cities. The government collapsed. Women took over, controlling their own fertility and stockpiling their own money. We still don't know why the power went out of gender norms. But we're hopeful that Suzanne Venker will come and lead the way.

With apologies to the showrunners of Revolution, which I love.

4 responses so far

Yogurt: It's a Woman Thing

[View the story "Yogurt: It's a Woman Thing, You Wouldn't Understand" on Storify]

Yogurt: It's a Woman Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

Storified by · Sun, Sep 09 2012 20:00:14

At 10:34 am on 9 Sept 2012, @Scicurious tweeted (really sorry, I can't figure out how to embed this tweet):

"Open letter to commercials targeting women: So true. I express my own uniqueness through feminine care products."

(The bolding is mine.)
You must go read that article NOW!
@GertyZ tweeted the same article and also replied to @Scicurious
Haha! But true. MT"@GertyZ: Open Letters: Open Letter 2 the People in Charge of Commercials Targeting Women. via @Zite"TSZuska
@scicurious doesn't everyone? BRING ON THE MINIVANGerty-Z
And we were all off and running!
@scicurious but the poor guys who keep getting rejected from the yogurt aisle? So sad!biochem belle
@scicurious enjoy it now. Someday, menopause. Then: no uniqueness, no femininity. Unless you eat yogurt.TSZuska
@scicurious Although those yogurt-eaters always look awfully young. I thing all that's left post-menopause is bone loss & hot flash meds.TSZuska
@TSZuska And wrinkle cream! LOTS of expensive wrinkle cream.sci curious
@scicurious Indian commercials include vaginal tightening creams, vaginal fairness & well, regular fairness creams. Jiwrajka
Well now, that's something to look into! I am certain I have not been nearly worried enough about my vaginal fairness.
@TSZuska @scicurious @kateclancy perhaps you've missed news that Poise has developed a whole line of menopause-related products #innovative?Lisa Hinchliffe
Depressingly, there will come the day when we all need something like a Poise pad, or worse. #oldagesucks But I am seriously not going to worry about "feeling confident" in my bladder leakage years with panty fresheners and feminine wash. There will be no equivalent of an Air Wick Stick-Up on the bottom of my pantaloons.

Let's change the subject.

@TSZuska I really pity all the guys who, according to the commercials, don't eat yogurt. That stuff is great!sci curious
@biochembelle @scicurious I'm starting a Men Can Eat My Yogurt support group. There's an entry requirement for each straight man.TSZuska
@TSZuska @biochembelle Is it like a hazing process for men who want to eat yogurt? Like they have to eat plain?sci curious
@scicurious @TSZuska Or require them to distinguish regular vs Greek, nonfat vs full fat by blind taste test?biochem belle
@biochembelle @scicurious Well I was thinking of making them prove they'd eaten something else, but that's good, too.TSZuska
@scicurious @TSZuska Though the dude from Burn Notice is apparently the only man who isn't stripped of his masculinity by eating yogurt.Kate Clancy
@KateClancy @scicurious @TSZuska and John Stamos. He's in a yogurt commercial. Greek yogurt. Manly yogurt. :DRadium Yttrium
@KateClancy @scicurious Always an exception here & there. Most men don't have the biological necessities to digest yogurt. #EvolutionTSZuska
@TSZuska @KateClancy @scicurious I've heard that they've got ways of shutting all of that down, though.Emily Willingham
@ejwillingham @KateClancy @scicurious If legitimately forced to eat yogurt, no gaseous bloating will result. It's a known scientific fact.TSZuska
@DrRubidium @SciTriGrrl @KateClancy @TSZuska You mean greek yogurt is MANLY?! I've been eating MANLY yogurt! HORRORZ.sci curious
@DrRubidium @KateClancy @scicurious @TSZuska but John stamos isn't eating the yoghurt, it's just who appears when women eat yoghurtNatC
You are safe, @Scicurious.  Still appropriately feminine!
@SciTriGrrl @KateClancy @scicurious @TSZuska I do remember him eating some, but he was also feeding a woman, which is just creepyRadium Yttrium
@DrRubidium @KateClancy @scicurious @TSZuska clearly I'm not paying sufficient attention to ads aimed at me. Whoops!NatC
AARGH! RT @scicurious: @DrRubidium @SciTriGrrl @KateClancy @TSZuska You mean greek yogurt is MANLY?! I've been eating MANLY yogurt! HORRORZ.NatC
Or......not.  That manly yogurt may have some biological effects on gendered behavior.
@scicurious @SciTriGrrl @KateClancy @TSZuska yes, I eat it and then start random street fights :DRadium Yttrium
@DrRubidium @SciTriGrrl @TSZuska @scicurious I eat it before roller derby bouts for MOAR TESTOSTERONE.Kate Clancy
And now, a semi-serious tweet...
@TSZuska @biochembelle @scicurious @Mom101 wrote a post about it. If memory is correct, the adverts we want don't do well in focus groupsScientistMother
@ScientistMother @biochembelle @scicurious @Mom101 i have been in focus groups. Ppl r anxious 2 get out & get their $$; herd mentality...TSZuska
@ScientistMother @biochembelle @scicurious @Mom101 one or 2 strong voices, everyone follows them. Drink coffee, get done, get cash.TSZuska
This, among other reasons, is why we have such crap-ass commercials.  This, and the undying belief that patriarchy sells. Because #evolution!
@TSZuska @biochembelle @scicurious perhaps @Mom101 could provide more info. She's pretty awesome about getting change in advertisingScientistMother
@scicurious @ScientistMother @TSZuska @biochembelle Oddly, that's the first McS essay where I've ever felt, "Seen it."Liz Gumbinner
@Mom101 @scicurious @TSZuska @biochembelle seen it bc others have said it before?ScientistMother
Sigh. Sometimes I get the feeling it's all been said before, a thousand million times.  Still, we have to say it again and again, and laugh a little along the way. 

3 responses so far

Pinkification: Robbing Girls of Self Worth

Sharon Astyk at Casaubon's Book has a post that is both a review of Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter and an insightful analysis of pinkification's effect on young girls, especially girls in the foster care system. You MUST read it. Here's an excerpt:

I have a theory about the pinkization myself.  Femininity used to be commodified by giving children the cultural markers of feminine WORK – little girls got toy kitchens, baby dolls, toy brooms, toy houses.  Domestic labor was what marked out womanhood.  This definitely sucked in some ways, if instead of the erector set you got a toy wash basin, and you really wanted the erector set, but the cool thing about it was that you told little girls that in some measure they were being defined by their competence.  Yes, it was a limited sphere.  No, the “you can’t have an erector set because you are a girl” is wrong.  But in trying to end the “the only work you can do is girl work” we replaced it with “girls don’t do anything different, so you have to define yourself in other measures – by how you look and what color you wear.”

Whoa.  I think she's on to something there. Remember that god-awful girls-n-pink-n-dazzle!-n-science video disaster?  The ladies in the video weren't doing any science.  But they were lookin' mighty good.

Read the post, the whole post, it is full of awesome.

4 responses so far

Every Little Girl Wants To Be A Cheerleader

Scicurious is a cheerhater.  How awful!  Science Cheerleaders is just a new kind of role model for young girls! Boo, you negative scientists and science bloggers!  Get over it!  It works!

Let me explain it to you.  As I understand it from reading Andrea Kuszewski's post, cheerleaders are there to support the team.  They aren't on the team.  They are typically attractive, and are supposed to do stunts to draw attention of the crowd to the team, and to the larger institution.  That is definitely a great role model for drawing young girls into science!

Scene: Friday lab meeting

PI:  "Jane, what results do you have to present this week?"

Jane: "Goooooooooo SCIENCE! "

PI:  "WTF?"

Jane:  "e to the x dy dx! e to the x dy! cosine secant tangent sine! 3.14159!"

PI: "WTFingF?"

Andrea asks, "[What is wrong with] being intelligent AND a sex object?"  And I answer, what is wrong  indeed.  If one has no problem with being a sex object in the first place, then it hardly matters if one is also intelligent. So it totally makes sense when Andrea implores

Feminists should be screaming at the top of their lungs in SUPPORT of [Science Cheerleaders]—strong, intelligent, independent, confident women who are trying to be good role models for young girls—showing them you don't have to give up your womanhood or your femininity in order to be a successful career person.

Right on!

Here's my top of the lungs scream in SUPPORT of Science Cheerleaders:

All girls love cheerleaders, unless they are (a) ugly hairy legged feminazis who can't get laid, (b) ugly hairy legged feminazi lesbian bulldyke ballcrushers, or (c) ugly sad pathetic uncoordinated wannabes who didn't make cheerleader in high school. It's a fact. Groups (a), (b), and (c) are at high risk of becoming scientists. This is unattractive and unappealing for dudes in science. Occasionally, a hot cheerleader sneaks through and becomes a scientist. In the interests of Dude Nation, it would be good if more Hot Babe Cheerleaders became scientists and focused on Looking Hot While Doing Science. In the interests of Women Who Support Dude Nation, it would be good to draw attention away from the gender non-normative aspects of doing science or engineering by emphasizing Hot Babe Cheerleaders Of Science - And You Can Be A Hot Cheerleader Sciencey Babe, Too! No ugly lesbians over here in nanotechnology, nosiree! Genomics is chockfull of pom pom waving blond bombshells in booty shorts! Rest assured, Science will not make you less of a Real Woman! Dude Nation will still want to fuck you up the ass!

Goooooooooooooo SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

36 responses so far

Gender Smog - Dell Version

Hat tip to reader James Ramsey...
What do women really need in computer? Because, what with our vaginas and all, our computing needs are so, so different from those of men. Thank the goddess Dell is looking out for us, with its helpful marketing strategy that emphasizes "color schemes, cases and dieting tips". Oh my god, I can accessorize my laptop? I must have died and gone to heaven! Here's a "Tech Tip" from the Della site (isn't that so cute??? get it? Dell, the real site, is gendered "guy", while Della is for us girls. I mean, who would want to buy a laptop from a guy site, right?):

Tools like Gyminee help you track workouts and reach your fitness goals. You can even map out new running routes via sites like Map my run. Improve your mood by listening to music, viewing pictures or even watching a movie. Some netbooks even offer an optional DVD drive

Yes, because women need MORE encouragement to focus on their bodies. Oooh, a DVD drive? How techie!
Pardon me while I hork up my lunch.
Last fall a Dell "back to school" catalog arrived in my mailbox and I almost blogged the cover. It showed a young girl in a sea of pink, holding a pink laptop. If this is the most creative marketing that Dell can come up with to reach the female consumer, I hope the company dies a swift painful death.

32 responses so far

Why Mama Bear's Porridge Is Too Cold

Over at Uncertain Principles, Chad frets about committing physics heresy via a reading of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to his young offspring.

The story may convey a useful moral message, but it's way off base on the physics.
After all, the Papa Bear, being the biggest, presumably has the largest bowl of porridge. Here, the story fits what we know about thermodynamics, as the largest bowl should take the longest time to cool, and thus should be the hottest at any time before the porridge bowls reach thermal equilibrium with their environment.
The description provided of the other two bowls, though, is not consistent with known physics. The Mama Bear, as the other adult, ought to have the second-largest bowl of porridge, which, in turn, ought to be the second-warmest bowl of porridge (assuming that equilibrium has not been reached). But the story says that this bowl is too cold! Meanwhile, the Baby Bear, who ought to have the smallest portion of porridge, has a bowl that is "just right," neither too not nor too cold. As the smallest bowl, though, the Baby Bear's porridge ought to be the coldest of the three (until equilibrium is reached, of course). There is no way for the bowls as described to have the temperatures described, while being consistent with the known laws of thermodynamics.

It's a hilarious post. To me anyway. For several reasons. One being I always was bothered about the porridge business as a child for essentially the same reason, though I wouldn't have called it physics back then, just common sense. Two, this part slayed me:

The only way that the story can make sense is if, for some reason, the Mama Bear has the smallest portion of porridge. In which case, this is a story with a very different moral than the original--it's a story about the oppression of the Mama Bear**, either because the patriarchy is forcing her to eat only the scraps left behind after her husband and child have had their fill, or because the unhealthy woodland media culture has saddled her with a negative body image, leading to an eating disorder.

Because when we were growing up, the joke in our household was that our mom would die if hot food ever touched her lips. She was always so busy rushing around making sure the food was on the table and that dad and we kids had everything we needed and had plenty to eat and she often went without to make sure we had enough and she would be jumping up from the table throughout the meal to get this or the time she settled down to eat the rest of us were half done and her food was cold. Which she ate along with her "special pop" (that's soda to you, bub) which was Fresca, "the light diet soft drink", which of course was supposed to help her lose weight and fit into the unhealthy woodland media culture (it was western Pennsylvania, you know) body image norms for females.
Methinks the Goldilocks story has a basis in patriarchal truth! Perhaps rather than worrying about Goldilocks's physics, Chad should just read his daugher Feminist Fairy Tales.

4 responses so far

Rethinking The Shoe Thing

I've been thinking a lot lately, and it seems to me that I spend way too much time puking on other peoples' shoes and not nearly enough time prancing about in my own fancy high heels. So this past weekend I did some shopping. Here's one result:
cherry pop.jpg
Let me tell you, Mr. Zuska is happy about this turn of events! I also got these:
purple pump.jpg
Of course, after an evening in those, I couldn't walk at all the next day due to my arthritic toes but it was all worth it, because I knew I had finally consumed my way into modern womanhood. I know this because I was reading Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office, a 1993 publication of the Cooper-Hewitt museum that accompanied an exhibit by the same name. And I came across this quote which explained it all to me:

A person articulates herself as female in part through the material objects and images that frame her daily activities. "Gender" is the set of behavioral norms and expectations that members of a given society attribute to the physical differences between women and men. In the words of anthropologist Gayle Rubin, who has analysed the difference between biological "sex" and cultural "gender," the making of a woman is a social process. Feminist studies of design and technology look at products, buildings, cities, and media in relation to women users. Although the built environment is designed largely by men, much of it is constructed with female consumers in mind; design thus contributes to the "making" of modern women.

I gotta tell ya, I am tickled pink to be articulating myself as female today!

27 responses so far

Why Can't Women Do Anything Great?

Yeah, I should be asleep, restoring strength for spending another day with mom. But I'm catching up on email and blogs and preparing for the upcoming Diversity in Science Carnival WHICH YOU SHOULD TOTALLY BE WRITING SOMETHING FOR - GET BUSY, NOW!
And in the course of all that I read this post by Stephanie Z which led me to Sheril Kirshenbaum's post (Goodbye, Sheril, we will totally miss you here at Scienceblogs) Where Are The Women With BIG Ideas?

I'd like to point readers to a recent piece from The Guardian asking 'Where are the books by women with big ideas?'

Books like Freakonomics, defining significant cultural or economic trends with a punchy title, never seem to be produced by women. But why?

Gah! Are we STILL talking about this????? Do people have no memories? Are they not able to do research?
Linda Nochlin. 1971. Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
It's the tiresomely enduring repetitive nature of this stupid crap that makes me a cranky humorless feminazi.
And in case you missed it, here's where I wrote about the application of Nochlin's brilliant work to the world of science.
Now goddammit, can we please stop having the same fucking conversation we've been having for the past half century (or more)?????
(oh hell, I just reproduced my old post here after the jump)

Continue Reading »

30 responses so far

The Problem of the Problem of Motherhood in Science

Over at Fairer Science, at the end of an excellent rant about the uselessness of one-shot workshops, Pat Campbell writes:

One other thing, if I see one more article about why there aren't more women in science that concludes "it's the children" I am going to run amuck. This one says "Women don't choose careers in math-intensive fields, such as computer science, physics, technology, engineering, chemistry, and higher mathematics, because they want the flexibility to raise children..."
Say what? Good to know that it's only the math intensive fields; so friends if you want a science career and a family go to the life sciences or the earth sciences or the agricultural sciences because it's just the math that makes science careers incompatible with family life, Who knew?

Meanwhile, one of my readers recently called my attention to the 12 March 2009 issue of Nature, which has a book review of Emily Monosson's Motherhood: The Elephant in the Laboratory. The publisher calls "the unique difficulties of balancing a professional life in these highly competitive (and often male-dominated) fields with the demands of motherhood [an] obvious but unacknowledged crisis--the elephant in the laboratory".
Is it really? Combining motherhood - combining parenthood - with a career in science is certainly no easy task, but is there, perhaps, an excessive focus on this as the issue for women in science? Is motherhood + science, in some ways, a red herring?

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50 responses so far

Women and Their Sexy Hawt Bodies: Reprise

So, to recap:
A couple of women are having a conversation, and the topic turns to tit-ogling. "No one should be staring at my tits in the workplace," they all agree. "That makes me uncomfortable, creates a hostile work environment, and constitutes sexual harassment! How difficult is it to look at my eyes? Staring and ogling is a threatening display of power enacted in a sexual manner. This isn't the Mad Men era. Haven't men figured out how to behave in a professional situation by now?"
A dude at the table next to them has been listening in and feels compelled to pipe up:

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83 responses so far

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