alithea: (Warrior River (made by brokenharlequin))
Mo & Erin made a thing -
Pride and Prejudice meets taking the piss out of the poor men who feel hurt by feminism. I knew I loved Lizzie Bennet :)
alithea: (Warrior River (made by brokenharlequin))
Yesterday was the first time my feminist hackles were raised at work. Depressingly, showing we are sometimes our own worst enemies, it was another woman who set them off.

We had a visiting scientist from the local hospital in for a meeting and afterwards she was in the office looking for someone to give her a demonstration of our software. Her ploy for achieving this was to simper at the room full of mostly male developers* and say "I'm a girl, I want pretty pictures."

Now I'm not anti using 'girl' in some contexts, I will merrily refer to myself as one despite being a married 34 year old with a PhD and a mortgage. However, a male-dominated professional work context is one situation I would never use it in. I didn't approve of her infantilising herself OR making out like she was too stupid to understand technical stuff (I don't know whether she has a PhD or not, but she's the new head of a microscopy project so she must know her stuff).

I've been lucky in this job in that no-one has patronised me or assumed I can't do technical things despite the fact I'm both female AND almost the only person without a technical background in the team. But still, I know enough other women in technical fields to know this is by no means typical, and this woman didn't know this lot like I do.

*I'm usually the only woman in the office but our American developer is visiting this week so I'm slightly less outnumbered than usual.
alithea: (Books)
Is it just me, or are the Dresden Files books a bit sexist? I started reading the Harry Dresden short story in Naked City* last night, having never actually got around to reading any of the novels as yet, and there's something a tad 'I'm a New Man, honest, *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*' about the tone of it somehow. Or maybe it's just me...

*Which I did buy solely on the basis that it has an Ellen Kushner Riverside short story in it that I hadn't read, set during and after Swordspoint, because I'm a hopeless Riverside fan girl like that ;)
alithea: (Starbuck bang (made by amiyuy))
Caught the end of Newsnight last night and the piece they were doing on whether the success of women at the Olympics (this Olympics has been all about the women in my opinion) and the wall to wall coverage of women athletes on the TV, will actually translate into greater exposure for them *after* the Olympics and improve equality of access, participation and sponsorship. I'm somewhat afraid to hope it will because I suspect I'm going to be disappointed, but if the shortlist for Sport's Personality of the Year isn't at least 50% women this year, there needs to be a *lot* of angry letters written to the BBC (although I'll confess I won't mind if Bradley Wiggins wins it, just as long as the women get the recognition they are due too).

Turns out that when it's women playing rather than overpaid idiots with attitude problems, I'll even watch *football* of all things, although I think handball still wins the 'most entertaining sport I've never seen before' award.
alithea: (Being human (base by ahlai))
or do people mostly submit a pile of rubbish to Postsecret these days?

There used to be some really moving posts on there. Today's offerings include 'I don't shave my legs in the winter' (me either, and I still go swimming and no-one has ever made any comment about it) and a man admitting he fantasizes about getting married.

Since when did not succumbing to stupid gender stereotypes constitute a shocking or moving secret? ETA: when rebelling against them has rather worse consequences than a bit of mild bullying at school, as Andrew points out in comments.
alithea: (We are all made of stars)
I was listening to The Life Scientific on Radio 4 this morning. The whole series has been fascinating but today's, featuring Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell was the best yet.

As someone who struggles with confidence in her work, hearing the great Dame confess to suffering Impostor Syndrome as a young PhD student in Cambridge was very comforting, especially given all she had already successfully battled through to get there. Hearing her describe how her parents had to fight for her to be taught science at secondary school, and how, as the only female undergrad in her year studying physics in Glasgow, the male students stamped their feet and wolf-whistled at her every time she entered the lecture theatre, made me realise just how lucky I am. The worst I've ever suffered is being occasionally treated like a secretary or my boss's PA by visiting senior academics, in a way I don't think would happen if I wasn't female as well as the most junior researcher present. Certainly I never witnessed any of the junior men being expected to take minutes, fetch drinks or organise hotel rooms for people. But I've never had anyone try to claim credit for my work - my supervisors and line managers have always been utterly fair in that respect, I've had 1st authorship of all the papers where I've done the bulk of the work.

Things still have a way to go though. Hearing male academics in her field still describing her as 'meek' today really illustrates that. You can't win as a woman - if you shout and scream about injustices, you get branded as an angry feminist with no sense of humour, or as irrational and hormonal - but if you don't get het up about things and just get on with it, you're 'meek' and don't want to rock the boat. Any woman who has achieved all she has done while being treated that way, is, as she said herself, a woman of steel. There isn't a meek bone in Dame Jocelyn's body. And, lacking in confidence though I may be, there isn't a meek bone in mine either.
alithea: (Mucha Fran&Katchoo)
cut for those who have no interest whatsoever in my bizarre little hobby of pretending to be someone else and having imaginary adventures )

Annoyingly (but unfortunately unsurprisingly), I put 'swashbuckling women' into google image search to try and find a suitable picture to make an Alicia icon for this post, and the only one where the women weren't half naked, or at least showing off bare legs up to their armpits, was the picture of Katherine from the front of The Privilege of the Sword :( And while I dig the green velvet musketeers suit, Alicia looks rather more like Salma Hayek. This is the most appropriate one I could find but she should have a flouncy shirt and a rapier in each hand, damnit!
alithea: (Starbuck bang (made by amiyuy))
It is actually reasonably sunny and pleasant today, and I finally don't have a headache so I should have been achieving something but instead I started noseying around here and, after watching the wonderful 'I'm proud of the BBC song' by Mitch Benn, got sucked into reading this discussion about the under-representation of women writers among the Clarke award winners in recent years and the subsequent posts on Torque Control, the Vector's (BSFA's critical journal) Editorial staff's blog.

Interesting stuff. I don't hold much truck with the whole 'women like/don't like this' line of argument (because I firmly believe most gender differences are social constructs) but they may have a point about a lot of what women write not being classified as Science Fiction - case in point being the Boy and I having an argument about whether The Time Traveller's Wife should be considered SF or not. I'll admit that I was arguing the negative but in my defense, I'm not a big fan of genre divisions in fiction and when forced into them I tend to go on feel rather than content. I, for example, would describe Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as an SF novel if someone was trying to establish whether they would enjoy it or not, and you'll never find Haruki Murakami in the SF&F sections of a bookshop. But I digress.

I was going to go through my reading lists for the past 4 years and work out what % of novels I read are written by women and how many of them are SF, but my laziness has outweighed my geekiness. Still, I am seriously contemplating following this 2011 Women of SF book club (substituting whichever Vorkosigan book I'm up to by then for Cordelia's Honor since I only just read it), and also quite possibly the sister Women of Fantasy book club too - lots of new stuff to discover there.

I'm trying to think what would be on my list of top 10 SF novels of the past 10 years written by women and I'm not sure I can come up with very many at all - the aforementioned Time Traveller's Wife is the only one from the example lists so far that I've even read! What would be on your list?
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
So a woman has finally won the Best Director Oscar and many of the most inspiring stories of bravery from the Winter Olympics featured women, but there are still plenty of issues we need to tackle, not least the high number of preventable deaths during pregnancy.

Ever onward.
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
I've been meaning to post about this ever since the campaign posters started appearing around my local area a few weeks ago, but a post on the Fword blog has just reminded me.

Rape Crisis Scotland are running a new campaign, This is not an invitation to rape me, aimed at tackling the frankly appalling attitudes towards rape in Scotland, for example as highlighted by this article following a survey last year.

There are 4 posters to challenge misconceptions around women inviting rape by the way they dress, by drinking, by being intimate, and by being in a relationship.

Let's hope it does some good.
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
The other night, I was watching The Daily Show mocking Nancy Palin over all her nonsense about the "Real" America, which apparently doesn't include vast swathes of the country and quite possibly a majority of the population, and then last night, Gok Wan was at it too, insisting that "Real" women are a size 14 in Miss Naked Beauty on Channel 4.

I didn't think it was a hard word to use correctly, but apparently I was wrong. Maybe that comes with being a fake woman.

Grrr. When will people get the fact that size acceptance should be about accepting that women come in all shapes and sizes...
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
Made it to swimming yesterday and feel much better for it. Managed my 40 lengths eventually, felt like an empowered feminist warrior woman by going hairy and not caring, and amused the life guard when he spotted me singing along to Alice Cooper on the sound system. I like the Saturday lifeguards' taste in music ;)

Have finally cleared the washing up back log today, while singing along to my Alice Cooper albums because I realised yesterday that I hadn't listened to them for ages, and am now looking forward to a chicken roast dinner, which smells rather good.


my bathroom wall is white! The ceiling needs another coat and the walls are going yellow, and then of course there's the woodwork to sort out, but this time last week ( and for the past 4 years) it was a mishmash of holes, filler, plaster and orangey pink paint so the white is a big improvement :)

Also, my new glasses are quite funky, although narrower than my old ones so I haven't quite got used to all the lines in front of my eyes yet.

A new low

Jan. 24th, 2008 05:43 pm
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
There's an advert for cosmetic surgery on my Facebook home page at the moment that says 'make yourself amazing'

That's a whole new level of bad and wrong, even for that lot. I've emailed them to complain, don't expect it will do any good but at least I've voiced my objection. The very notion that cosmetic surgery could possibly make anyone who isn't already into an 'amazing' person is just laughable, or would be, if it wasn't for that fact that I suspect there are people out there with such distorted self-image that they would believe it *sigh*
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
Series 3 of Veronica Mars is not very good, which is a real shame because the first two seasons were really fine. I am particularly put out at what they have done to Weevil, I would rather the character had just been written out than been betrayed so thoroughly :(

The second annoyance arrived in my inbox this morning, courtesy of an old school friend - one of those pernicious chain email things that plays on stupid stereotypes in a supposedly funny way:
only click here if you want to be thoroughly annoyed, or aren't offended by the notion that women should want to look like 12 year olds forever )
*I* am proud of my grey streak and I think bellies are sexy, thank you very much!

GRRRRRR. There was more, about men, but that was mostly just stupid, rather than promoting fascist beauty standards AND stupid.
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
Women are half the world's people
who do two-thirds of the world's work.
They earn one tenth of the world's income
and own one hundredth of the world's property.

- United Nations

Because women's work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we're the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it's our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we're nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we're nymphos and if we don't we're frigid and if we love women it's because we can't get a "real" man and if we ask our doctor too many questions we're neurotic and/or pushy and if we expect childcare we're selfish and if we stand up for our rights we're aggressive and "unfeminine" and if we don't we're typical weak females and if we want to get married we're out to trap a man and if we don't we're unnatural and because we still can't get an adequate safe contraceptive but men can walk on the moon and if we can't cope or don't want a pregnancy we're made to feel guilty about abortion and...for lots and lots of other reasons we are part of the women's liberation movement.

- ?? via [ profile] itchyfidget

The fight for equality isn't over yet, not even in the supposedly 'enlightened' West, and we need to remember that, but today let us also honour all the fantastic women we know, who inspire us everyday through great acts and small.

Here's to you, Ladies - I'm honoured to know you all!
alithea: (Red Inara (made by singingrl))
BBrrrr! It's amazing how a few days in a milder area makes you feel the cold back in the Frozen North, although it's probably as much because I'm tired as anything, straight to bed after BSG tonight! And a nice cuppa and chocolate in the meantime :)

I didn't have time to blog about it before I left on Friday but I was most gratified upon reading last week's New Scientist, to discover that there are people out there who actually agree with me regarding the percieved conflict between Science and Religion. For those of you who have missed the arguments around here about it, while I agree that some individual religious traditions, or at least some of their followers, are anti-science, I do not see an inherent conflict between being a person of science and a person of faith, and I get very frustrated when the rabid atheists (as i like to call them, as opposed to the perfectly reasonable 'believe what you like so long as it doesn't hurt anyone, and you don't shove it down my throat or expect me to live by your rules' atheists) rant about how no rational person could possibly believe in something that current science cannot prove ('cos no-one has a faith based on personal evidence, right?), and use arguments almost entirely based on the Abrahamic faiths' notion of God and Creation ('cos all religious people believe God is a man who sits on a cloud and created the world in 7 days and people in his image, right?). Anyway, John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, wrote the following while reviewing a book about Islam and Science:

If advocates of creationism or intelligent design lack intellectual rigour, then the militant Darwinists who attack religion while knowing virtually nothing of the immense varieties of religious belief and experience are no better.

The true conflict may not be between science and religion, but between science and monotheist faiths in which humans have a privileged place in the world.

Hear, hear!!

Finally, I was bemused to witness the amount of furore in the media over Britney shaving her head last week. As the TV news story I happened to catch progressed, she did come across as a bit of a mess, but to start with they seemed to be asserting that just the act of removing her hair must obviously mean she was having some sort of break down! Why, I wondered, is it so shocking for a woman to shave her head, or lose her hair for that matter, while bald men are just a fact of life? Turns out, I wasn't the only person wondering, and Women's Hour had a piece about it this morning, which was rather interesting listening. Despite finding it somewhat bemusing that lack of hair is such a strong statement for women in our society, I have to confess, I entirely empathise with Jenni and Prof Lisa Jardine, who found hair loss the most upsetting aspect of breast cancer. My mother was just the same, and putting myself in their place, I would be far more devastated to lose my hair, albeit temporarily, than my breasts (although in my case, that is heightened by the fact I have a very small chest and therefore have never seen my breasts as a fundemental expression of my feminine identity). I guess the importance of my hair to my identity, coupled with my control freak tendencies, make it abundantly clear why i have such an aversion to hairdressers!

As a side note, it was also interesting to hear, that while the cultural studies lecturer could appreciate nuns shaving their heads as an act of renunciation, she couldn't see Muslim women covering their heads as anything other than them being oppressed by men, which is maybe a somewhat bizarre dichotomy given that the nuns belong to religions ruled by men too...
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
What complete codswollup was Fay Weldon coming out with on Women's hour this morning??? Saying women can't be happy for more than 10 minutes at a time 'cos we're hardwired to fret about silly little things, and advocating lying to your partner and faking orgasms so you don't have to embarrass them by pointing out you could be enjoying yourself more???

Silly cow!

How can you build a fulfilling relationship with someone if you can't be honest with them? What's the point of having someone love you if you have to present a false version of yourself in order to gain that love??
alithea: (River (made by spiffy_themes))
It was on the news this morning that a vaccine for the two most common strains of HPV, which cause 70% of cervical cancers, has been 100 % effective in clinical trials and will soon for licensed for use in this country. A small piece on it was included in Women's Hour on Radio 4 - they interviewed a female professor who worked in the field, and a female columnist for The Independent.

The professor explained that since the vaccine is probably only really effective if given before the woman is exposed to the virus (through sexual contact), the vaccination programme will probably be targetted at 10-14 year olds, because although no-one wants to encourage underrage sex, it is a FACT that it happens. The columnist protested that it would encourage 10 year olds to have sex and was therefore unacceptable. This annoyed me enough; I mean I can see that you could make that argument for say, giving out condoms, but I really fail to see how giving a child a vaccine to protect her from cervical cancer later in life is going to affect her decision on whether or not she is going to have sex. Then the real corker comes out of her mouth (to paraphrase): "I would rather the NHS spent the money on a 'Just Say No' campaign to encourage abstinance than on this vaccination programme". In other words - I'm soo against underage sex that rather than acknowledge it will happen regardless of what I think, and act to reduce its potential consequences, I would rather condemn women to the needless death they obviously deserve if they make such a stupid mistake

Why oh why, do some people believe that ignorance equals innocence and is therefore a valid defence against all the supposed evils of the world????

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