Tag Archives: social networks

Lisa Nakamura Part 1: Tumblr Activism and This Bridge Called My Back 

On Thursday and Friday UVic hosted Lisa Nakamura, Collegiate Professor from the University of Michigan, to speak about her research on Digital Media and Race, Gender and Sexuality. Nakamura has been writing about digital media since 1994. While she has written several books about race and the internet, some of her shorter pieces focus on things like “The Racialization of Labour in World of Warcraft”. In order to feel qualified to write about platforms like World of Warcraft, she spent hours playing the game herself.

On Thursday, Nakamura’s talk was titled “The Digital Afterlife of This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color, Feminism and the Internet”. She began by giving a brief overview of the book and explained why it matters so much.

As an anthology that prioritized written work by women of colour, This Bridge Called My Back responded to the whitewashing of feminism long before movements like the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag began to highlight the problem. This book also introduced the concept of intersectionality, which has since become a key element of feminist theory.

Unfortunately, since it’s original publication the groundbreaking collection has struggled to remain in print. According to Wikipedia,

“The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. The book was out in its third edition, published by Third Woman Press, until 2008, when its contract with Third Woman Press expired and it went out of print.”

The book’s struggle to remain in print made it an “artificially scarce commodity” and drove up the price. At its inflated price, the book’s authors might even have been unable to afford their own work.

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Miss Travel is both Lame and Prostitution

I found the worst thing.

Gary Arndt, the blogger at Everything Everywhere, posted about a new site called Miss Travel.


So, as you see, attractive women are paid by rich (mostly married, it seems) men to be “companions” during travel.

I’m tired, so I’m going to let you all think about this and come to your own snarky conclusions.

The site was founded by Brandon Wade, who founded the similarly designed and also terrible whatsyourprice.com.

So obviously, I signed up for the site (which was free) so I could look more into it. The process itself was unsettling – I guess it’s just because I’ve never signed up for a dating site before. It was eerie when they asked my eye and hair color, but then when I saw the options for “relationship status,”

Adventures in creating a fake dating website profile

I remembered that this was a dating website. Very odd. Also, the displayed option of having an internet-sanctioned marital affair was a weird thing to see. I guess I just haven’t had many internet affairs.

So once I filled out – with not a small amount of shame – my fake account, I went and looked at some of the featured “Generous donors”. Jezebel was right – a large amount of married men, most of them (at least reportedly) millionaires (I didn’t even KNOW that there were that many millionaires in the world). Their profiles ranged from the obvious (photos in front of expensive cars – and one that was just a helicopter) to the sort of sad (a 34-year-old, “little bit on the shy side with women. but confident when working,” whose profile photo was just him in an empty white room taking a picture with his iPhone in a mirror) to the amusing (“Want to travel the world before 12/21/12 … all the girls I know have jobs and arent willing to quit there jobs”).

The relationship-seeking options on MissTravel.com

And yes, people are looking for sex. I mean, I’m not surprised – people are often looking for sex. But the sex-looking is just so official and thinly veiled. One Generous traveler, under his description of his desired “Attractive traveler”, wrote “I hope my companion is also sensual and affectionate.”.

There is also the option for Generous travelers to just gift frequent flier miles to Attractive travelers – the dubiousness of the “gift” nature of this is described tactfully: “So why would a Travel Sponsor give you miles? For many reasons. Some may want an online friend.” The lesson is: pictures of your boobs (which most of the profile pictures of Attractive travelers are anyways) will be rewarded.

One odd aside is that MissTravel.com linked the Jezebel article under their media coverage, which is called The Dating Website Where Rich People Take Pretty People on Fancy Vacations, Which Is 100% Definitely Not Prostitutey at All. I guess any publicity is good publicity and all that. But really – the article described the site as having “a F***TON of gross married dudes.”

Also, Gary Arndt was wrong about one thing: he said that “Most of the women in the system seem like very normal women.” If normal women pose in bikinis on their knees on their beds in front of cheap webcams and use profile pictures that cut off their heads so to better display their cleavage, then yes, most of the women on Miss Travel are very normal women.

So, for your weekend meditation, I ask you to consider the impressive ability of the internet to bring all of the bad ideas and unscrupulous people into one place.