susanreads: People of pallor against racism: text on brown gradient (anti-racism)
... well, the best at-a-glance commentary on the dickery in question that I've noticed, anyhow.

This might be a strange topic for my first post in months, and I've got a horrible cold and had a very bad night and thought posting was a few levels of engagement above what I'm currently capable of; but I saw this and it got my brain in gear. Posted on someone's tumblr that I follow by RSS (not being on Tumblr), I've traced it to its source, which is Monday's chainsawsuit comic.

I don't know whether it's embeddable; there's a feed here, [syndicated profile] chainsawsuit_feed (which has a lot of other things on it as well as the comics; also, sometimes NSFW). Transcript by me:
1) Two people, the one with a self-satisfied grin says "well i think that all lives matter".
2) The person with the self-satisfied grin is holding a fire hose. "we should care exactly equally at all times about everything".
3) There are two originally-identical houses, one of which is on fire in a major way. The person with the fire hose, saying "all houses matter", is hosing down the house that isn't on fire.

Unusually for the internet, Kris Straub's commentariat mostly seem to get it, though as you go further down that becomes less so ...

(Since I'm not on Twitter, I wouldn't know what they were talking about if I didn't follow This Week In Blackness. Panel 0 would be the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
You know how the oil industry's determination to get at every last barrel leads to disaster? No, not that one; I'm thinking of a situation that's been going for some time with less mainstream publicity, and where the "developers" have no intention of stopping, and with environmental racism written all over it - oh wait, that would be the Niger Delta.

The one I'm thinking of is in Canada, encroaching on indigenous land, and an "unconventional" source of such diffuseness that it wasn't worth exploiting until comparatively recently. We seem to be approaching Peak Oil, and unfortunately, the companies' reaction is not to diversify into less harmful technologies, but to exploit sources that are even more damaging.

Video and transcript below cut )

Further reading ...
More about tar sands:
No Tar Sands
Support for BP tar sands resolution at Ethical Consumer blog: 15% of shareholders either supported the resolution or abstained (strong for a resolution of this type) on a resolution asking BP to report on the financial, social and environmental risks associated with tar sands extraction.
Tar Sands threaten caribou extinction at Ethical Consumer blog

BP, the Deepwater Horizon spill and environmental racism:
Crude Violations by s.e. smith at FWD/Forward

More about RBS' funding of the oil industry, and action against them by Climate Camp:
How RBS funds ‘dirty oil’ at The Herald Scotland, via Liberal Conspiracy

(I meant to post this yesterday but had problems with my computer. I'm sure there was something relevant happening then that I meant to link to, but if I don't post this now it might never get done.)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Contains spoilers )

Would I watch more?

You bet I would! I might make tut-tut noises or threaten to throw something at the screen while watching, but I'll definitely watch. Just ixnay on the racism, and give the women more to do, yeah?
susanreads: People of pallor against racism: text on brown gradient (anti-racism)
I decided to give Misfits another chance, now that it's on terrestrial C4 - which makes the logistics easier, and implies that somebody thinks it's good - and someone in comments elsewhere said they deconstruct the stereotypes by the end of the series, and it's not me that's going to be hurt, so: episode 1. not exactly a spoiler )
susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
It's just like the Everready bunny, isn't it? Now we come back to cultural appropriation, from a different direction.

I've got a rotten cold and don't feel up to a detailed argument, so have an outline:

1: Oh, for crying out loud.

2: Original slash is, to a first approximation, written by and for women. Many - the majority, I believe - of the authors are het cis women. The stories are romance, erotica, or both.

Slash has the potential to be subversive, but my mostly-secondhand impression is that it usually isn't.

3: Gay fiction, as it was called in my day (LGBT is what the Lambda Literary Foundation are calling it; other acronyms are available), can be any genre. Its defining characteristic is featuring characters of minority sexuality and/or minority gender, from the viewpoint of someone who knows what they're talking about, unlike the stereotypes we're usually confronted with in the mainstream media.

LGBT fiction might just be written as a romance, detective story, western, SF story etc. with a protagonist the author can relate to, but promoting it as LGBT fiction is inherently political.

4: 2 and 3 are not the same thing.

If slash writers want to win awards, they should roll their own.

In the first post I read about this, Willow disproved a well-meaning but unfounded argument.

[ profile] likespring calls out some of the nasty things being said (includes quotations of racism and general cluelessness; I'm using it as a guide to what not to read in the linkspam)

linkspam masterpost
susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
Remember that anthology of "Mindblowing SF" by white guys? Via Graham Sleight's review at Strange Horizons, I've found an excellent essay on this and two other recent instances of white boys' clubs: Is It Something in the Water? by Athena Andreadis in Astrogator's Logs.
In the vast majority of cases, non-male non-whites are overqualified for whatever position or role they are chosen to fill.  The tokenism excuse has been obliterated countless times ... I think that true equality will come when non-white non-males can be as mediocre as white men.  And when that time comes, I guarantee you that the quality of mindblowing anthologies won’t budge.
So, I have a new blog to read! Athena writes about science, science fiction and culture.

Also in ongoing discussions: unusualmusic has a roundup of reactions to the leaked results of the sex testing of Caster Semenya. There's a lot of links I don't want to follow there.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
In case anybody hasn't heard yet: the winner of the women's 800m final at the Athletics World Championships, Caster Semenya of South Africa, is being put through a full battery of "sex tests" by the IAAF.

The supposed justification for sex tests is to do with "masculine advantage", the biological difference in musculature etc. between "typical" men and "typical" women that's correlated with the men's world records being faster, higher etc. than women's (also correlated: a whole lot of societal expectations and other environmental differences). Sex tests used to be mandatory, until the 1990s. The decision to test Caster now is apparently based on the following:
•"She burst onto the international scene out of nowhere" ... but she was in the World Junior Championships last year, which means they had plenty of time to make discreet enquiries if they wanted to.
•"She doesn't look feminine" ... I'll come back to that one.
•"She can't be a woman, she's too good" ... not what they say, but what I hear them implying; I remember that a British paralympian was reclassified so that she'd have had to race against women with more mobility, because her times had improved and somebody claimed she couldn't be as disabled as all that. It's one of those Catch 22 things, where women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good, but if they really are good, they get their status challenged. The World Championships is supposed to find women who are better at their events than other women, right? Also, Semenya didn't break the world record; if I've understood correctly, someone with a similar build set a faster time last year, without having her "gender" questioned; but she was white, and the appearance thing is at least partly about that.

I don't know what I would have thought if I'd first seen Semenya in the lineup for the final without having already heard people talking about the challenge to her eligibility. As it was, she looked androgynous to me, which is a good look in my book, and also not unusual among track athletes. Part of why I see her that way is because I've only seen her dressed for the track, which evens out most people's personal gender performance except for hairstyle. Her hair is in cornrows, which is apparently not considered a feminine style ... by people who are looking for European/White beauty standards. Another part of why I see her as androgynous is that I'm polluted by those racist expectations too; I'm not used to her features and her hairstyle. I'm not immune to the media constantly telling me that women are of no account unless they have big bouncy boobs and long flowing locks. I'm sure Black women have to work twice as hard to be thought half as womanly (and also that my analogy is full of holes).

The experts involved in the testing include a psychiatrist. Now some of the other stuff is offensively intrusive, but that plain doesn't make sense. Nobody who isn't a frothing-at-the-mouth bigot has accused her of consciously cheating; the "concern" is that her natural hormone levels might give her an "unfair" advantage, a purely medical consideration. What's the psychiatrist for?

I first commented on this at the F Word (as Legible Susan).
The racist appearance standards involved are being discussed at What Tami Said.
The sex-segregation of sports, including ones where there isn't an obvious performance difference, is included in this open thread at Shakesville. Rana's comment "Indeed, I suspect that some of the reasons that sports are sex-segregated is to spare men the possible humiliation of losing to women" reminds me that in the early days of competitive ice-skating, a woman came second and they promptly changed the rules to exclude women, adding the women's events decades later if I recall correctly. That thread also includes women who have high testosterone levels for medical reasons pointing out that it hasn't helped them become world-class athletes.
Mindy at Hoyden about Town points out that athletes of both sexes are routinely tested for steroid abuse but only those competing as women have their identity questioned.

(Edited to fix a typo)


susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)


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