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15 July 2013 @ 03:42 am
I have a confession to make. I'm a bit embarrassed to make it, but it's time I did so.

I haven't really been all that sure about Amanda Palmer. Her public facade, her music. And then there's the whole she married a friend of mine and I've never met her thing.

But then Glastonbury happened this year. And The Daily Mail ... which is called The Daily Fail in the UK for a reason. Amanda had her costume bra ride up during part of one performance and all the Mail could write about was "OMG NIPPLE!!!"

Like this was new? New from a performance artist who often bares her breasts and other body parts as part of her art because, dammit, women's bodies -- no matter -- can be works of art. Well, it was news to them. This from the paper that can't stop writing about Kate Middleton's "baby bump" as if it's an appendage, not a human being (and not anything to do with her, god forbid, since she's just the "bearer." (grrrrr)

Amanda responded. In song. A waltz of doggerel verse. With special effects, so to speak. And now ... I pretty much am damn well sure about her. She is a lady after my own heart.

Amanda, I know you don't read this LJ, but know somehow that if Neil ever gets a chance to introduce us, it will be my privilege to meet an equally Certified Evil Woman, as I've striven to become over the years. Always keep 'em guessing, my mother taught me! She's the one who I have striven to emulate: One Hell of a Broad. And, you know, that's what you are, too.

The video response:


20 April 2011 @ 10:23 am
I know just about everyone has written about the death of actress Elisabeth Sladen, which hit the news last night when I was deep into my WoW playing and hanging with friends. I didn't read anything about it until after dawn here. And yet I feel compelled to write something about it, as many others seem to have also felt.

Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith was a role model, plain and simple. She appeared on Doctor Who in a time when women were still very much in the minority as positive, strong, yet still feminine role models in the media. The year 1973 really was still very much part of the 60s culture -- believe me, it's true; you had to have been there, guys -- and women didn't hold positions of power in business, in science, or even in (as portrayed in her role as Sarah Jane) news reporting. "Cub reporters" as girls were a new-ish variety of the species, often treated like a dog suddenly flying, if the "girl reporter" actually turned in real news.

An aside here --

This period was still rife with that sort of attitude. I remember it clearly. My mother was an insurance adjuster at Commercial Union after her divorce from my father in 1972; we were still living in the DC area, so I could continue my schooling and ballet. I remember her fights with her bosses as they refused at first to give her a real office, like the other adjusters had. Why? She was a "girl" [a grown woman with a teenager] and needed to sit with the other "girls" in the pool of desks in the main room. The secretaries. After they finally gave her an office, they refused flatly to allow her to let the secretaries type up her reports, as they did for the other adjusters. After all, she was a girl; she could do her own typing! Except my mother couldn't type worth a damn. I started to come in after school when I wasn't in ballet classes or rehearsals and did her typing for her, at all of age 13. Made me a hell of a typist. Though my mother's attitude was: "Dammit, I didn't want you to learn to type. I didn't learn deliberately -- that way any job I took, they had to treat me just like a man." Ah, Mom ... you were a hell of a role model, too.

But back to Lis Sladen --

Sarah Jane as a reporter was a perfect role for her: often overlooked as "just the girl in the room," she could get about the business of what she was there for -- being the Doctor's Companion, a strong, focused, intelligent, sharp, witty woman. The role model she presented for young girls like me was engraved on my growing spirit: I too could be like her. I didn't just have to be there to make the tea (something Sarah Jane categorically refused to do from day one), type up the reports for the men, or be "just the screamer" when things inevitably turned pear-shaped in my life (as hers always did with the Doctor -- though luckily the monsters in my life were never quite as scream-worthy as hers). I must note Sarah Jane did get frightened, did scream, when she was faced with certain monsters and situations with the Doctor, but she pulled herself up straight and screamed her way straight through to the other side. She didn't freeze, she didn't stop. She just kept going, no matter her fears.

And that, if nothing else, is what Sarah Jane meant to me, beyond anything else, by the time I got to start watching DW in the States on my local PBS station, somewhat delayed from the UK. Lis's portrayal of that young woman, and later, the older woman she had become, was that of a woman who kept on going no matter what. With or without the Doctor.

When I saw her return in School Reunion, I was crying openly by the end of the episode, not just because of her (what she thought was then final) goodbye with Ten, but because she was so magnificently Sarah Jane still -- age meant nothing to her, and time had been so very very kind to her.

Lis, I can never repay you for the hope you instilled in me as a young woman, the hope that the future held a life of being strong, self-willed, intelligent, and independent like Sarah Jane Smith. And most importantly, a life where I knew that no matter what happened, I could always keep going, screams aside, because if Sarah Jane could, I clearly could.

RIP, Lis Sladen.
Current Mood: sadsad
01 June 2005 @ 10:24 pm
Not satisfied with committing Stupid Writing Tricks last week, apparently John Tierney did it again, in an effort to defend his previous column about "why women aren't competitive" (see my last post, below).

Women wrote in. Many of them. Imagine the gall of them to tell Tierney that women are indeed competitive! What would they know about it? Did they send him solid research? Are they women?

Uh ... yeah.

Let it not be said that that, however, stopped Tierney from putting them right back in their places. Whatever places those are. (Apparently being failed Scrabble competitors and rock-star groupies are two of Tierney's top choices for women's proper, evolutionary-drive roles. Huh? Yeah, you heard me right.)

Anyway, Pandagon responds quite well, and I highly recommend reading her blog entry. Besides, this way I can sit back and concentrate on why I'm pissed off at someone at work who's doing Stupid Designer tricks and expecting me to tell her how to do her job (and teach software & basic design knowledge, for free) rather than getting all pissed off at Tierney by picking his column apart myself.

(Short pissed-off rant before I go: Why do these guys always fall back on using "evolutionary development" as an excuse for societal inequalities? Jaysus H. Chreest. And SCRABBLE? What's with Tierney and Scrabble? Talk about flogging a dead horse.... Clearly he felt it was necessary to prove all those women were wrong, who wrote in with research material proof that his previous column was utter hooey. And he proved it with ... Scrabble. Wow. I know I feel put in my place. Don't you?)

Go read Pandagon. What are you waiting for? For me to spell "khat"?

Hell, I can even spell "sesquipedalian" and know what it means -- and learned it in 5th grade at my all-girls school which taught me women can and should do anything. I'm now well into middle age and still think the same damn thing. So much for noncompetitiveness. Bite me.
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: the sound of Scrabble tiles clicking
"What Women Want" is an op-ed that appears in the New York Times today. It should have been named "What Women Don't Want: More Prejudice Based on Bullshit, Lies, & Misogynistic (Antilogical) Tactics." I'd go further to say that John Tierney's op-ed in the New York Times makes me positively joyful at the news last week that the NYT will cease providing their op-ed pages for free on the web.

I wouldn't pay a red cent to read more of Tierney's drivel, more or less pay $50 a year. In fact, I'd pay someone to =not= read it to me. Well, maybe. Thank god I won't be tempted to read one of his columns again after they close down the firewall to nonsubscribers soon.

In the meantime...

"What Women Want" (warning: NYT "we want to know who you are" registration required) is one of the biggest pieces of malarky I've seen in years. Does this guy understand the rudiments of logic? How about 21st-century science? Hell, how about 20th-century science?

Now, I'm not one to always rant about columnists who can't add two plus two and not come up with an answer such as "aquamarine," but this guy takes the cake. Call me picky. Call me a feminist. Call me a raving lunatic who insists people who report on scientific (even soft-science) research actually report the real results without misrepresenting it through a prejudicial lens to suit their own purposes. But Tierney went above and beyond the usual. If it makes me stop and rant at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night, then you know what I've read is way off the deep end.

He starts: Suppose you could eliminate the factors often blamed for the shortage of women in high-paying jobs. Suppose that promotions and raises did not depend on pleasing sexist male bosses or putting in long nights and weekends away from home. Would women make as much as men?

Are those the only two reasons women don't make as much as men in the same jobs, with the same knowledge/training, with the same tenure? Uh, I don't think so. Strike one, John. You've already proven you're an idiot. You probably think your girlfriend wants to go to Hooters with you. (Uh, no. If she says yes, she's saying it because she wants you to screw her tonight. She has already seen tits. She has a pair herself.)

The experiment he goes on to describe is deeply flawed (see the op-ed for details -- sorry, but I don't get my jollies from copying copyrighted materials, even from idiots like Tierney), and the logic emerges immediately to anyone who took undergraduate psych classes or just happens to own a pair of tits. Why did the women turn down continuing to lose/not-make-money in a second round of "competition" during the experiment? Here's my guess (and if you're a woman, or a man with a brain slightly bigger than John Tierney's, you're probably thinking the same thing): The women figured out that they made more money, faster, by working individually. They weren't turning down competition, they were turning down working in teams, where they didn't make as much money as fast or as easily.

The women, unlike the men, figured out the system.

And ain't that saying just about everything about women in the workplace.

But Tierney doesn't stop with misrepresenting the research's findings. No, he goes on: The men's eagerness partly stemmed from overconfidence, because on average men rated their ability more highly than the women rated theirs. ... the gender gap wasn't due mainly to women's insecurities about their abilities. It was due to different appetites for competition.

WHAT? How about, the men overrated their ability -- which is what many studies show happens across the board: Harvard showed in a great study just a few years ago that (no shit) the less ability someone had, the more highly they would evaluate their own ability.

And what was that about "wasn't due mainly to women's insecurities about their abilities"? So women are "insecure" if they don't overrate their abilities? What sort of bullshit is this? Tierney is paid to write this shit? I gotta get me a job like that.

His conclusion: "It was due to different appetites for competition." Uh, no, John. Women don't have different appetites for competition. They want they same damn limo rides, first-class tickets, reserved seating, board-room kowtowing, and generally huge salaries that the male CEOs of the world have. What they don't want is to be told that those jobs are landed only by men because "it's largely innate, a byproduct of evolution and testosterone."

Why do these guys always want to fall back on the "it's not women's fault they're weak or inferior ... they're made that way" routine? Didn't we get past that about, oh, a couple of decades ago? Hell, didn't we get over that by the time Queen Victoria proved she could arm wrestle Parliament? And win?

No, John. The desire to drink bad American beer at Hooters is a byproduct of testosterone. And you guys can keep it.

Tierney essentially concludes that he now has scientific data to back up his own personal theory of why he and all the other op-ed columnists of the U.S. media are raking in the big bucks for bullshit on this level, while only a small fraction of the same positions are offered to women of the same, or higher, caliber of writing ability and experience: The women in the experiment who didn't want to bother with a five-minute tournament are not likely to relish spending 16 hours a day on a Wall Street trading floor. It's not fair to deny women a chance at those jobs, but it's not realistic to expect that they'll seek them in the same numbers that men will.

No, John, we do seek those jobs. Some of us "girls" have been holding down management jobs in fields that are higher stress than Wall Street (no, really) and are making somewhere between 30-50% less salary/benefits/bonuses than males in the exact same positions with the exact same background, experience, training, and abilities.

We do those jobs, John. And we're still not being paid the same amount as the men. It's 2005, Mister John Tierney. Wake up and smell the prejudice.
Current Mood: feeling the burn
Current Music: the sound of misogynists spinning
25 March 2005 @ 12:04 pm
It seems like yesterday that a marvelously self-possessed woman spoke to my young class at the National Cathedral School for Girls in a one-on-one group of special sessions at the Rosedale campus's retreat rooms; today she turns 71.

Happy birthday, Gloria Steinem. At the tender age of twelve or so, you told me that women could and should be anything they wanted to be, that we have the responsibility to be strong women -- damn straight. Because of you, I've learned how to be, as my friend ginmar says, the Good Bitch (or, as my mother termed it, the Cool Broad).

Here's to many more years of you going strong.
Current Mood: reminiscent
Current Music: Radio Paradise goodness