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November 16th, 2011

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Tropes vs. Women: #1

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Tropes vs. Women is a six-part video series by Feminist Frequency that explores the reoccurring stories, themes and representations of women in Hollywood films and TV shows. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a cute, bubbly, young (usually white) woman who has recently entered the life of our brooding hero to teach him how to loosen up and enjoy life. While that might sound all well and good for the man, this trope leaves women as simply there to support the star on his journey of self discovery with no real life of her own.


June 1st, 2010

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Do they not deserve love, too?


So, one of my major pet peeves is breast cancer marketing. Yes, research for cures and treatments against the disease is important, but the way it's commonly done is abhorrent and extremely irritating.
Sociological Images, my fave blog evah, has an old but spectacular post on this very subject. They question why breast cancer is emphasized, given the statistics:

According to the CDC (2005 seems to be the latest available data), cancer is not the leading cause of death. Heart disease is the leading cause of death. Granted, cancer is a close second. In 2005, 652,091 people died of heart disease and 559,312 died of cancer. But not breast cancer, all cancers. In 2005, 49,491 people died of breast cancer. More than 10 times as many people died of heart disease.

And, if you want to prioritize cancers, more people are diagnosed with prostate cancer than breast cancer (source) and more people die from lung cancer (159,292), colon, rectal, or anal cancer (53,252), and lymphoid/hematopoietic cancers (55,028) (source).

But then, we must consider the marketing angle:

Do we have less sympathy (and would, therefore, a similar marketing campaign be less effective) for lung cancer because we think that lung cancer patients are to blame for their own disease? Would we find colo-rectal-anal cancer-themed cream cheese somehow less appetizing? Or prostate cancer-themed gum? Do lymphoid and hematopoietic cancers affect parts of the body that are simply less iconic?


And then, of course, there's our cultural obsession with boobs, which as we all know are objects of the male gaze and exist for no other reason (see: breastfeeding freakouts). Also, see those appalling "save the tatas" shirts (shown in the linked post). Because, you know, saving boobs is much more important than saving actual women, what with their non-sexy thoughts and experiences and whatnot.

In this vein, I wish to start a march for the cure for colo-rectal-anal cancers, and I hope you all will join me. We will have cheesy cartoons of anuses and colons. We will make sure, when commissioning artists, to inappropriately sexualize them and unnecessarily gender them. Sure, we may not be as sexy as boobs, but since marketers know best these methods are guaranteed to work!

May 20th, 2010

Random Question

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So, I'm applying to jobs/internships right now and this occurred to me.

If you are applying to something called " Editorial/Publishing Intern" or similar, and they mention wanting things like "meticulous attention to detail" and you'd be doing proofreading and content reviewing , is it considered a plus if you represent yourself as extremely likely to notice discriminatory language? Or would that be considered irrelevant, or a downside (like, you'd focus on that instead of changing your to you're and be a scary pc police)?

I've heard things on web sites where someone got more job offers when she removed her Women's studies minor from her resume than when she had it there, so I wonder. This particular place I'm applying to develops exam review materials for engineering/architecture etc, though I ask this as a general question as well.

March 5th, 2010

iphone art by jorge colombo.
I find this really beautiful and unique for some reason, likely because it evokes what's best about good photography, without actually being a photograph. It's also impressionist yet modern, which is a neat combination.

Links regarding gender studies, which I collect way too many of:
Why Strong Female Characters are bad for women
How a Thorough De-Gazing saved CBS's The Big Bang Theory. Penny went from being "the hot but stupid girl next door" to a full fledged character in later seasons, which makes the show entirely watchable in ways the pilot wasn't. As to whether they've managed to maintain this in a positive direction in recent episodes I'm unsure about (I kind of think the quality of the show has dipped a bit this season, though not unredeemably so). I'm inexplicably addicted to BBT, despite all its problematic aspects, because a.) i'm a geek b.) sheldon is amazing when written at his best and c.) there are some genuinely funny/clever moments. What I hate is that I so often watch an episode and think what a great show this could be if they would go the extra mile that they don't hit most of the time (and if they weren't so sexist/racist etc- that's a rant for another time).
Thirty Lady Flicks by and about real women. I'll attempt to work through these in the near future, though chances are I will be distracted TV shows for the simple reason that they're half as long.
My Little Pony is a Lesbian-Feminist Separatist Colony. I love this person's brain and want whatever crack they are smoking.
Sexaul Ambiguity in the Brave Little Toaster. Same Blog. It's awesome for a reason.
Class and White Masculinity in Supernatural . Somehow, I obsessively watched 4 and a half seasons of this last fall. It's gotten bad now (or I've lost interest). But having spent so much time watching this show it's interesting to think about the sort of fantasies and idea of Americana it is selling. And yeah, some of the unrealistic parts of the show do bother me, but most of the time I agree to suspend disbelief, or yknow, I'd never watch anything.

February 24th, 2010

Well this is kind of cute

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Meet an incredibly enthusiastic 7 year old feminist. It's pretty impressive- I think she has a better understanding of feminism than 90% of adults- she grasps the concept that things have improved here in the US, but not necessarily in other areas! Someone please get her to tell Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh et al the concept the the world doesn't revolve around the US and english speaking countries. It would do them- and many others- quite a lot of good.

The overall concept of this show is cute and very unique as well, I've not seen anything like it (though granted, I don't exactly watch kids' shows or have young kids in my life who would make me aware of these things). As the linked blog post says, the girls they interview on the show are accessible role models- they're "regular" girls who stand out just a enough to become interesting, and it's refreshing to see this portrayal of girlhood as something other than the messages sent in advertising, or the overly simplistic/ unrelateable portrayal of kids in kids' shows. This show seems to me to represent what tv doesn't do, and what it could be in a less corporate, more democratic environment (i.e. the internet hi).

February 13th, 2010

So, it seriously took a second or two for me to parse this picture. It's the whole concave/convex way of viewing things. In any case, cool picture.

December 9th, 2009

You know how, once you finally feel like you know a place, and you've got the hang of things, and then you have to leave, and you are all saddened by this despite other reasons you shouldn't be? Yeah, that's kind of how I feel right now. Inexplicably, perhaps, for other reasons, but meh.

In other news, this is hilarious: We got that Broll!!

November 18th, 2009

Yep, that's the place to be here in suburban virginia, but don't get me wrong I love it very much. Free Wi-Fi that is faster than the one at Panera (my previous source of internet), and better yet, megavideo loads! This means I can catch up on more tv shows (I just started Torchwood) given that finding a reliable place to download episodes for most shows is pretty much impossible. I forgive the store its corny name(Wi-Not Stop), the cheesy announcements and cheesy christian music playing next to the gas pumps. haha.

As for my internship, I have been doing lots of filming so far, and a little bit of editing. I have come to the conclusion that video editing is 10% creativity, 90% figuring out how to organize and store the obscene amount of data in a manageable way. Especially if you are doing all your work on your laptop, 500 GB external hard drive, and your own software that you managed to obtain through variously legal means. It amuses me that if I did not own my own computer/software/external hard drive, it would be much more difficult for me to do what my internship stipulates, given the crappy computers and significant lack of software at the park. Plus, all computers are PCs and only have earthlink as a browser, which I think gives you an idea.

I have also continued working on building a cheap steadicam, and I will be interested to see how much this will work. I got someone from maintenance to build the basic structure of one, but the only weight he could find was one that was way too heavy and not disk-shaped. So, today I brought my camera and steadicam to Ace Hardware and tested it out using a bolt, washer, and flange(which is disk shaped). Worked soooo much better. The apparatus still pitched a bit, so I waited on purchasing the flange (the instructions suggest a barbell weight) but perhaps the solution here is just to practice using it. However, at least I now can see that achieving good results is possible, whereas with the previous weight the system would just swing a lot and was not an improvement over handholding. Another theory I have about this, which I may write into the author of the $14 steadicam page once I experiment a bit more, is that you need to pay a lot of attention to the weight of the pipes in comparison to the weight of the camera. The camera I am using has flash memory and is not mini-DV, as is typical for newer consumer-grade cameras. So, it is very light and small. Thus the weight of the pipes- and especially the handle- is a bit too much for it. In fact, I'm not even sure the handle should be there as it throws off the otherwise evenly distributed weight of the rest of the system. At least the handle should be smaller than the rest in comparison, or made of a different lighter material.

But, hopefully if I figure this out I can get some really cool shots; when experimenting in the hardware store today I could already see potential.

October 27th, 2009

From the ever-addicting tvtropes:
Somewhere in byzantine tax codes (Toy Biz v. United States), dolls representing humans end up getting taxed heavier than toys not representing people (such as dollhouse tables or kitty cats or whatever). To capitalize on this during the release of the X-Men movie, attorneys for Marvel successfully argued that mutants are not people. They got the favorable tax rate, and the X-Men's main message gets completely broken. This sets a worrying legal precedent...


Omg. So much hilarious irony and missing the point here, don't you just love executives? Nothing is sacred, nothing! Also, this is entirely why bad things happen in the world- we don't read enough fiction, which would warn us!

January 21st, 2009

Behold: Twilight Edward Body Shimmer !
Taking the worst part of the movie/book and marketing something out of it? No big surprise there! Of course the real worst thing about this product is that people buy it and it apparently sold out at one point.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL wow.
Making fun of Twi-heads: it never gets old.
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