Past weeks have seen the internet come to blows over pictures from a women’s volleyball game between Germany and Egypt. This picture:
Now where most sane folks would see a simple game of beach volleyball, the denizens of the interwebs have managed to read in some fantasy about a clash of cultures- “the free and civilized West against the superstitious, primitive savages of the East.” Comment sections have been flooded with everything from sarcastic half-jokes…
…to open propaganda.
“Because I, from the comfort of my armchair, know this athlete’s situation better than she does.” -Idiot Commentor
There’s been snide comment after comment directed not at Doaa Elghobashy’s performance in the game, not towards her assertion that what she wears is her own damn business, not towards her teammate (Nada Meawad) who doesn’t wear a hijab…
And I think it’s because people aren’t actually angry about any of that.
For all the sanctimony, the issue at hand seems not to be with mandates or even just pressure to wear the hijab. It has nothing to do with standing up for women- on the contrary. I do think that the extreme contrast between Elghobashy and her German counterparts hit a nerve that most people didn’t realize they had. I think it does forced folks to ask themselves some truly uncomfortable questions about why they actually watch the sport.
I’m talking about this:
Now I seriously debated putting that picture up, but as cringingly uncomfortable as it is, I think it speaks volumes about our culture. Continue reading →
I like Gawker. I mean, for the most part. Back when I was more into video game news Kotaku was one of my go-to sites, and I inevitably return to general science fiction and fantasy site io9 every Thursday to see if Rob Bricken has updated his weekly Q&A feature “Postal Apocalypse”. When things are going particularly slowly at work I even pop over to Kitchenette for “Behind Closed Ovens” to be regaled by tales of those who work in the restaurant industry. That of course leads me to the larger site Kitchenette is a part of, and probably the most reviled part of the Gawker network: Jezebel.
Of course, marketing yourself as a feminist blog in any way, shape, or form is sure to bring out a lot of angry, irrational, unsurprisingly male voices your way, but such is life. I’ve never particularly been bothered by anything on the site, but I’m only ever directed over there when one of their bigger stories is featured on io9. It wasn’t until just last week that a friend of mine linked me to the following feature that I even spent more than a couple of minutes clicking around Jezebel [click the image to be linked directly to the post itself]:
Which initially delighted me, primarily because I found out that a poster of a tatted-up Republican Presidential nominee Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was so very, very real. “Would U?” is described upfront as being “an academic forum in which [Ellie Shechet shares her] gross crush of the week and ask if you, too, would bang that person” and includes a roundtable between Jezebel staff which I found mildly amusing, though by the time I made it to the bottom and the poll, which I’ve embedded below, I felt more than a little bit uncomfortable.
A teaser for the new James Bond film has hit and I am more than a little excited.
It also makes me feel conflicted because so many aspects of the Bond franchise fly in the face of much of what I strongly believe as a feminist. Below, I’ve outlined a few issues I have with the Bond movies, and below that some reasons why I haven’t given up on the franchise altogether. At this point I’m required to warn you about spoilers, although I seriously doubt I will reveal anything you don’t already know about the films.
1) Women are constantly objectified in Bond films
It’s no secret that the James Bond franchise is all about eye-candy, from the cars and gadgets to virtually every women who steps foot on set. Not only are these women present to demonstrate Bond’s power of seduction, they are also present to be viewed by the movie-goer.
And if near naked ladies aren’t enough for you, they will throw in some naked lady silhouettes in the opening credits.
One of the only women to not be sexualized in her role was Judi Dench, who played M in the last seven Bond films. Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, she was killed off in the last film.
People have been flipping gender roles and sexual scripts for longer back than I care to research. It’s as simple as a sitcom depicting a wife coming back from a long day’s work and her husband meeting her with a pair of slippers and the evening paper. “This doesn’t match up with life as we know it to be!” the audience thinks. They shake their heads, they laugh, they go on with their lives.
Since then we’ve arguably become more open-minded, largely due to pop culture that communicates that women can in fact have professional careers, men can be sentimental and form embarrassingly close relationships with one another, et cetera. That obviously doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain areas that overall continue to be stuck in trends others are making moves to abandon. Take for example, an art form I’ve barely if ever discussed: music videos. Continue reading →
EVAN: Welcome, readers of various genders, ages, personal beliefs, et cetera, to yet another installment of Culture War Correspondence. This week both Kat and I will be discussing how people need to stop being so gosh darn proud all the time. Seriously, take it down several pegs.
It’s hard for ginger cat not to feel a little proud.
Wait, no, I meant the other definition of modesty, particularly, though not restricted to, what people wear. Sorry, my notes got mixed up. No, I do not in fact take notes for these segments.
KAT: Ah, modesty. If you grew up in a Christian school that will be a very familiar term. Especially if you were a student of the female variety.
But what got you thinking about the topic to begin with?
EVAN: As our readers may know, as a believer myself I’m also primarily familiar with the issue via the Christian subculture, and I spent a good chunk of time last week debating it. And yes, as you said, it basically solely revolves around women.