Petty, annoying crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes in. If I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m going to be pissed and miserable. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like these are all about me, and it’s gonna seem like everybody else is just in my way. Thinking this way doesn’t have to be a choice – it is my natural default setting. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who or what is really important, then you probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable.
But if you learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know the other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow consumer hell experience not only as meaningful but as sacred, on fire with the same mystical force that made the stars. Not that the mystical stuff is true. The only thing that’s true is you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This is the freedom of real education – you get to decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.
And in case you thought those women’s issues were only large in scope in the developing world, take a look at these stats from RAINN and the stories in The Invisible War. (And then in case you wanted to double check the numbers in that GAO report, here is the graphic extracted from the long PDF.)
I thought I’d post this after seeing a run-down of Ashley Judd’s aborted attempt to run against Mitch McConnell. Personally I think she could still do it.
American political culture would never allow Judd to be as eccentric or outspoken — and, at times, provocative and controversial — as she wanted to be, both on and off the record. In the end, that culture wrote the story of Judd’s career long before she could write it herself.
It’s interesting to consider Obama’s recent comments about Kamala Harris’ appearance in relation to the Judd brouhaha. A study (PDF) emerged that showed that mentioning a woman’s appearance at all has a bad effect on her poll numbers, whether the comments are positive or negative:
Any description hurts Jane. And any non-neutral description, even a positive one, just kills her. This is why even a complimentary comment like Obama’s is both inappropriate and damaging in a professional setting. It primes people to think of a woman’s appearance, and that’s apparently enough to keep them from thinking about her actual qualifications. You will be unsurprised to learn that this effect is strongest among men.
But interestingly, if she vocally pushes back, the numbers go the other way:
But the real point of the survey — and the most salient fact that came from it — is that pushing back on the comodification of a female candidate’s beauty can be just as impactful as the criticism itself. Some respondents heard a defense from Jane Smith, saying, “My appearance is not news and does not deserve to be covered. Rarely do they cover men in this fashion and by doing so they depict women as less serious and having less to offer voters.” When they heard that, their votes flipped back. Indeed, Jane Smith gained her first lead of the entire campaign.
This seems to suggest that Judd would have a chance at the seat if she fought back vocally enough. But I can see why she might not want to subject herself to this amount of scrutiny and invasion of privacy. I would assume that mentioning any topic related to sexuality, including rape, has this same effect, but perhaps the truth is that sex is a different, more dicey realm, and that there is no way to counter the negative impact of such comments, even if you are vocal, even if you were the victim, and that is why Judd decided against running.
After contrasting Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz, after explaining the Bechdel test, he cites the stat in the Times that 1/5 US women have reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and wonders if gender roles in movies have a lot to do with this:
That’s a lot of sexual assailants. Who are these guys and what are they learning? Are they absorbing the message that a male hero’s job is to defeat the villain with violence and then collect the reward, which is a woman who has no friends and doesn’t speak?
…I want fewer quests where my son is told, “go out and fight it alone, and more quests where he sees it’s his job to join a team – maybe a team led by women – to help other people.”
I think the explanation is that, for one, many of these crimes are perpetrated by repeat offenders, and two, that for the most part, men who assault or hurt women don’t actually don’t believe that what they are doing is assault or rape. Take a look at the long, long but incredibly intelligent discussion about Schrodinger’s Rapist (also and also) for a couple of examples of men who think of themselves as “nice guys” and do not even understand that they are doing anything disrespectful. In that case, they seem completely unaware that women have any choice about who they talk to or allow near their person.
There is something in the messages we all receive that makes a certain portion of men not able to comprehend why they should comply with a woman’s wishes when it conflicts with their own convenience and interests. I suppose that could be a larger problem of self-centeredness that has nothing to do with gender, but it’s especially bad for women and it’s sometimes so subtle that no one realizes what’s really happening.
A museum installation consisting of a 100-ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The 100-ton jack pushes two large timbers against the bearing walls of the museum. Each visitor to the museum must pass through the turnstile in order to see the exhibition. Each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately if enough people visit the exhibition, SAMSON could theoretically destroy the building. Like a glacier, its powerful movement is imperceptible to the naked eye.
After gathering each morning at the Little Brown Mushroom headquarters in St. Paul, we’ll have regular outings around the Twin Cities. Participants should have their own transportation. Housing is not provided.
The gathering will be led by LBM team: Alec Soth, Carrie Thompson, Galen Fletcher, Ethan Jones, Brad Zellar and Jason Polan. We are inviting photographers, writers, illustrators, designers or anyone interested in visual storytelling to apply. While social awkwardness isn’t mandatory, it is encouraged.
Deadline to apply: 4/15
Fee: none, but yikes, travel gets costly by itself
Agh, now for application dread time. At least I qualify for the social awkwardness…
I am Jin. This blog is a scrapbook of shiny things. I live in San Francisco. Reach me at email@example.com. My portfolio is here and the Tumblr I recently started to play around in is here. I've also recently started shooting the occasional pack of Instax.
Reagan for President posters from 1980 and 1984 (Part I: California Sublime, Part II: Desert Requiem) I heard the phrase “Redwood Curtain” for the first time in Arizona. Coincidentally, Maria’s daughter had just finished a half-year internship at Redwoods National Park north of the Bay and she explained that the curtain refers to the [...]
Chris Floyd (Part I: California Sublime) The Desert Border Last September I drove out to Tucson to scout out the issue and rode along with Maria and her daughter as they drove along the backroads around the Arizona-Mexico border. Maria belongs to a volunteer non-profit organization called the Samaritans, who ride out with medical supplies [...]
The Mountains Declare His Glory, Thomas Kinkade “After completing my recent plein air study of Yosemite Valley, the mountains majesty refused to leave me,” Kinkade wrote in June 2000 on his web site. “When my family wandered through the national park visitor center, I discovered a key to my fantasy – a recreation of a [...]
Charlie Mansfield The last photo is a view of Shiprock that I found while searching the net trying to confirm one of my own photos of the formation. These were apparently part of a 1966 light plane flight by Louis Maher and Charlie Mansfield. There are many other photos ranging across the Colorado Plateau. The [...]
And I think: what a terrible place the coast is. To tempt you out with such color and then leave you so cold and damp from sheer love of the thing. Is it the fog spray or the condensation on the heat of your body? And what a terrible thing to forget something like that, [...]