Author Archives: jfpbookworm

Baby, it's Cold Outside

[Crossposted to My Vox blog.]

Via Majikthise, Brad Hicks has a good analysis of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

There’s not much more I can say about the analysis, but the responses in comments are quite interesting, particularly in how the song is defended. It’s illustrative of the ways in which the status quo with respect to rape and consent gets defended. Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Popular Culture, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics | 12 Comments

Great Moments in Jurisprudence

[Crossposted to my Vox blog.]

Plenty of people have commented on the Missouri rape case where a judge decided that once penetration had been consented to, there really wasn’t any crime.

And as plenty of people have pointed out, this is a monumentally stupid ruling.

(Trigger warning.) Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence | 3 Comments

You Make Me Feel So Young

[Crossposted to my Vox blog.]

Just when I was starting to feel like I was getting old, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services comes through and treats me like a kid again:

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

Up to 29? Heck, even if we don’t take the usual tactic here of focusing on the endpoint, the average age of the cohort they’re including is 24. Most unmarried 24-year-olds are going to be either in the workforce or higher education – presumably at that point they’ve merited a little autonomy? Continue reading

Posted in Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics, Sexual Health | 5 Comments

I <3 NY

[Crossposted to my Vox blog.]

It’s been a while since I’ve heard good news on the reproductive rights front – it’s been abortion bans and “conscience clauses” for so long.

Yesterday the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision in Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany v. Serio upholding a provision of the Women’s Health and Wellness Act which requires all but a narrowly defined category of religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraception if they provide prescription drug coverage. Continue reading

Posted in Religion, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off


[Crossposted to my Vox blog.] Amy Gahran has a good post up about apologies and why they’re necessary. The post was sparked by Amy Alkon‘s advice column about cheating, entitled “Along Came Polyamory.” Understandably, many polyamorous folk were miffed at … Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse | 11 Comments

What To Do When You Screw Up

(…and we all screw up at some point.) [Crossposted to my Vox blog.] From Hugo Schwyzer‘s post on the Valenti/Althouse incident, after he himself got called on an offensive comment he made: For the record, I will happily pose for … Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse | Comments Off

Yet Another Take on the Althouse Incident

[I’ve got a new blog on Vox, with these posts and a few others. Commenting, unfortunately, requires registration to the service, but I’ve got a few invite codes for it. Come visit.]

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this weekend over Ann Althouse‘s treatment of Feministing‘s Jessica Valenti.

(I’m not going to call it “Boobiegate.” It’s been over thirty years since Watergate; can we stop framing everything in terms of the Baby Boomers and let that go the way of Teapot Dome?)

What It Was About

The short version: Ann Althouse responded to this photo of Bill Clinton with several bloggers by making an vague allusion to the Lewinsky scandal.

Let’s just array these bloggers… randomly.

(As other folks have pointed out, the bloggers were arrayed not “randomly” but in terms of height.)

The first commenter, Goesh, picked up on it:

Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?

The woman in question, Jessica Valenti of Feministing, takes offense at being reduced to an element of a joke:

The, um, “intern” is me. It’s so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait…

And it all snowballs from there as Ms. Althouse gets defensive:

Well, Jessica, you do appear to be “posing.” Maybe it’s just an accident.

Jessica: I’m not judging you by your looks. (Don’t flatter yourself.) I’m judging you by your apparent behavior. It’s not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don’t know why people who care about feminism don’t have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don’t assume you’re the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog….

She goes on to create a whole new post, entitled “Let’s take a closer look at those breasts“, in which she writes:

Sooooo… apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible?

Maybe it’s just overexposure to comics, but I don’t really see that as anything more than standing up straight, turning to make sure she’s not blocking out Mr. Clinton, and smiling. Other people, especially those commenters who identify themselves as Ms. Valenti’s age or younger, seem to see it the same way.

After that post draws 500 comments’ worth of ire, defensiveness and trolling, she washes her hands of the whole deal with one more post:

I’m surpassingly sick of this comments thread from yesterday, and I’m not even going to read all the commentary on other blogs. The immense tiresomeness is actually undermining my will to blog this morning.

I don’t mind an intense, verbal fight about ideas, but this wasn’t that. This was, every time you expressed a substantive idea, the answer was, essentially, “Stop looking at my breasts.” (I’m picturing an SNL sketch based on that concept, and like the usual SNL sketch, it goes on way too long.)

Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender issues, Politics | 6 Comments

Harlan Ellison's "Apology": Sorry I Rubbed You the Wrong Way

(I’ll be away for the next few days at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto. If anyone else will be there and wants to meet up, drop me a line. As far as I know, Harlan Ellison won’t be there.)

Dora has written a great post on the subject of Ellison’s behavior at the Hugo Awards. If you haven’t read it already, stop reading this and go read that one first.

She linked to Ellison’s apology, which was the sort of non-apology I’ve gotten used to hearing from public figures when they don’t understand that they did anything wrong. Continue reading

Posted in Books, magazines, etc., Feminism, Gender Caste, Popular Culture | 12 Comments

Sexism on a Plate (Classism, too)

“I’ve had it with this m*****f***ing sexism on my m*****f***ing plate!”

Over on Feministing, Sailorman recently commented about an entry on The New York Times “Dining & Wine” blog concerning the increasingly infrequent practice of giving menus without prices to some patrons at restaurants. (Feministe has commented on this as well.)

The actual practices described varied from automatically giving a woman a menu “sans prix” when she dined with a man, to providing price-free menus only on request for people who wanted to treat a family member or business client.

I was most surprised at the comments to the blog entry, which leaned heavily on the side of bemoaning the loss of “class,” “chivalry” and “old world style” involved with this practice. Continue reading

Posted in Classism, Gender Caste | 7 Comments

Feminist Video Games?

This is disappointing.

I’ve seen Beyond Good & Evil and The Longest Journey cited as exemplars of “feminist video games”, but not much beyond that.

Of course, there’s the larger question of what would make a game good from a feminist perspective. In addition to being good from a gameplay perspective, I’d say such a game would include female characters who are full agents in the game world, and who are treated as subjects rather than objects. I think a variation of the Mo Movie Measure applies as well, in that female characters should interact with other female characters in ways that aren’t centered around men. Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Video Games | 23 Comments