Friday, February 29, 2008

Who's Your Favorite Female Blogger?



Well, nominate her today!

Via Feministe


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm not a feminist...but...

"Or how to be a feminist without anyone knowing"

With Women's History Month on the way, it seems like just the right time to (re)consider ye olde debate over the F-word. For the record, I do identify as a feminist (ya think?). But I do recognize that many folks out there with whom I share ideas/ideals don't.

For me, with all of the US election bruhaha oversaturating the media, right now I'm thinking all things coalitional - how can women and men, f-word labeled or otherwise, work together to get the candidate with the best policies for women (and men!) into that white house? Share your ideas in the comments section...We need them.

Via Feministing


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where Are All the Girl Bloggers???

Ah, Interweb Mythology

The NYTimes article "Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain" highlights the myth that men and boys dominate the internet while women and girls aren't really active world wide web users. Despite the fact that many, many individuals have spent time debunking this untruth (ie, statements of statistics, explanations of cultural expectations, discussions of female visibility, etc), articles like this one still seem to be very necessary in terms of making known the work female internet users.

Specifically, this article concentrates on a recent Pew Institute study that documents that girls (ages 12-17) create more content than boys while also pointing out the gendered differences in technology careers:
The “girls rule” trend in content creation has been percolating for a few years — a Pew study published in 2005 also found that teenage girls were the primary content creators — but the gender gap for blogging, in particular, has widened.

As teenage bloggers nearly doubled from 2004 to 2006, almost all the growth was because of “the increased activity of girls,” the Pew report said.

The findings have implications beyond blogging, according to Pew, because bloggers are “much more likely to engage in other content-creating activities than nonblogging teens.”

But even though girls surpass boys as Web content creators, the imbalance among adults in the computer industry remains. Women hold about 27 percent of jobs in computer and mathematical occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This article strikes me as a great start to a bigger conversation about gender, blogging, and technology.

What's your take?

PS And what's up with the boys versus girls title? Anyone put up a "opposite sex keep out" sign on her/his website recently? Anyone?

Crossposted at Girl With Pen


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer

My V-day

To celebrate V-day this year, I read the latest collected "writings to stop violence against women" - A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle. Written in a style reminiscent of the monologues featured in the Vagina Monologues, this anthology is filled with short pieces from a wide range of accomplished authors, poets, playwrights, and reporters.

I read this collection in two sittings - which is not something I would necessarily recommend. Although the writing is easy to read given the diversity of provocative styles, the content of many of the essays is heavy. For those who have experienced physical violence or sexual assualt, some of the narratives could be triggering. The call to action that these pieces create, however, is powerful. The message of the V-day movement is clear in this collection - until the violence stops. Until, because there are so many activists working towards making a world without violence against women a reality. Until, because there still is a long way to go (as the FAQ in the appendix makes clear with useful statistical references).

The piece that most resonated with me was Ensler's "Fur is Back." This essay humorously illustrates what it's like to be that girl at the party who is seen as such a "Debbie Downer" because she just can't see the humor in sexist-racist-homophobic-classist-jokes or shut up about the current crises facing the world. As someone who has frequently been accussed of being a mood killer because of my insistence on not taking off my feminist hat (which means I can't laugh at anything! because feminists have nooooo sense of - patriarchal - humor), I appreciated Ensler's meditation on this topic. For me, "Fur is Back" was also good food for thought about how it is important to consider the best way to connect with different individuals based on their standpoint - humor sometimes trumps straight talk, questions sometimes trump answers, dialogue sometimes trumps lectures, etc.

A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer was definitely the best V-day gift that I've ever received. When you are looking for something for that someone special next year in mid-February, consider getting this text gift-wrapped!


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Feminist Carnival #53

Check it.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Like Taking the Wings Off a Fly

NYTimes Fashion & Style Section Redeems Itself, Maybe

The reporting in the NYTimes Fashion & Style section often makes me cringe. With a pop-psychology "expert" approach, gender stereotypes are often delivered to readers based on "new studies" - that are often suspect in academia and wildly exploited by media outlets whether or not they have actual merit. Not surprisingly, it's a section that is all about buzz, buzz, buzz and Fashion & Style often has success in landing "most emailed article" status.

In Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will be Hounded by the Media," however, Alex Williams provides smart analysis of the media's double standard about reporting the life crises of male versus female stars. Comparing the reportage of Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Heath Ledger, Owen Wilson, Robert Downey, Jr. and other celebs, Williams makes a strong case for differential gendered treatment of stars when they are experiencing a problem in their personal lives:
“With men, there’s an emphasis on, ‘he had this issue, but he’s getting over it,’ ” Ms. [Rebecca] Roy [a psychotherapist] said. “But with women, it’s like they keep at it, keep at it. It’s almost like taking the wings off of a fly.

Pulling the wings off a fly indeed. I have often wondered when the media will in fact "leave Britney alone" - or if perhaps the goal is to drive her completely over the edge by keeping her under the telephoto microscope. Without condoning any antics acted out by those frequently featured in entertainment reporting, I agree with Williams that there is a double standard when it come to respecting boundaries of the personal and private lives of stars. Sure, when you step into the limelight, you do give up a certain amount of privacy - you are taking on being a public figure. At the same time, what does it say about our society that female stars are followed and pursued in ways that would certainly be categorized under many harrassment and stalking laws? And, yes, male stars are subject to similar paparrazi treatment. But when unsavory footage distastefully gained makes it to an editor's desk, why is there discretion for men and all out exploitation of women?

I guess you could say that it's Hollywood - and a specific cultural manifestation of society's misogyny.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Managing Your Online Identity

And yet another reason to be savvy in your self-presentation online - this time related to opting-out of Facebook. Apparently, it's not that easy to escape without leaving a cybertrail.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Plans, Dreams, & Education

Barack versus Hillary



In his recent Op-Ed column "Questions for Dr. Retail" in NYTimes, David Brooks compares Senators Clinton and Obama appeal to different groups based on their educational background. Arguing that Hillary's straightforward, no-frills approach appeals to individuals with lower education levels and that Barack's inspiritational offer of hope and change resonates with more educated individuals, Brooks breaks down voting trends through the lens of commodity.

While I am always wary of sweeping generalities, it is refreshing to see the Democratic candidates' abilities to attract voters compared on other demographic categories than the usual race versus gender ruminations. At the same time, the way in which class and education are confounded and generalized is problematic.

What I do think is right on about this piece, though, is the way Hillary's "here's the plan" style and Barack's "here's the vision" style are nailed by Brooks. In making my own ballot decisions, my presidential pick was based largely on which candidate was giving me the information I needed to evaluate the feasability of their goals actually being put into action successfully. My Hillary leanings (revealed! and*) aside, my dream Democratic ticket would yield bumper stickers with both names - Clinton and Obama. Because I think a pairing of practicality and experience with vision and inspiration is just what the US of A needs right now.

Thanks to L.R. for the link!
----

*I have been a bit hesitant to reveal my voting preferences here. Not only do I not want to alienate my readers and to avoid getting cornered by the real-feminists-are-voting-for fight**, but I also have wanted the freedom develop my political stance out of the spotlight. But I can't keep my election musings to myself any longer!

**Real feminists vote based on the issues that are important to them. There is no monolithic feminism in the
U.S. - so no one should be surprised that feminists vote with the same diversity.


Thanks for the photo, LOC


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm Engaged...Civically!

Super Tuesday

For all of you U.S. voters...Do you live in a state participating in the Super Tuesday primaries? Have you voted yet? If not, get yourself over to the polls ASAP! While there is a lot of skepticism about the voting process - and some of it is well-founded - it is important to not disenfranchise yourself by not exercising your right and privilege. Your vote can only be counted if you cast it - so pull that lever and be heard!

I stopped by my neighborhood's local middle school today and voted for the candidate of my choice. My experience was pretty standard and I don't have anything particularly notable to report. But I do want to give a shout out to all of those volunteer poll workers who made my experience quick, simple, and straightforward.

(And for all those folks who seem to think that my vote is somehow specially qualified by my XX status - for the record, my lady parts did not unduly influence my vote. I selected my candidate by evaluating the policies and plans put forth by all of those Dems who have thrown their hat in the race - not through some alchemy of hormonal influence...or whatever.)


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.