Through The Static

May 2, 2008

Oh, Politics! The Distraction of Race and G-Ender’s Game

Filed under: Culture,Elections,Gender,Politics,Race,Randomness,Uncategorized — bobbleheadedbob @ 5:07 am

Okay, so I’m only about 200 or so pages into Ender’s Game, but based off those first 200, Clinton is coming off more and more like Bonzo and Obama as Bean, neither Ender, not that we need or even want an Ender in this race/marketing campaign of personalities. Maybe an END, but not an Ender.

Dude! It’s already been established repeatedly that Clinton’s and Obama’s agendas as president aren’t all that different, so what are they selling us? Personality. So, that said, let’s take a look at the the texture of how the marketing of these two peoples have, unfortunately, fallen into two very separate binaries: race vs. gender — round 712, FIGHT! <– I know, I know, I’m getting tired of it, too.

TEAM HILLARY or TEAM BARACK? Can’t choose? Well, too freakin BAD!

So let’s take a look at this latest article, shall we?

Hillary Struggles Against Sexism But Regularly Plays Race Card – Alternet:

…Watching the brass ring of the presidency slip out of Clinton’s grasp as she is buffeted by this torrent of misogyny, women — white women, that is, and mainstream feminists especially — have rallied to her defense. On January 8, after Barack Obama beat Clinton in the Iowa caucuses, Gloria Steinem published a New York Times op-ed titled “Women Are Never Front-Runners.” “Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House,” Steinem wrote. Next came Clinton’s famous “misting-over moment” in New Hampshire in response to a question from a woman about the stress of modern campaigning. For that display of emotion, Clinton was derided, on the one hand, as calculating and chameleonlike… Thus, feminist opposition to the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton has morphed into support for the candidate herself.

Good lord — the culture of buying into the cult of personalities, like we buy our weekly supplements of US Magazine and imbibe our ONTD and PITNB in between gchats in the office, has also bled into the way the presidential campaign has been funneled our way. Instead of focusing on the issues — which are boring at this point, because they are about exciting as they are revolutionary — we are focusing on these sensationalist narratives we construct around these characters real, live people. ACTIVISTS are focusing on these Splenda-spun narratives woven around each of these soap opera protagonists presidential candidates.

This whole barometer of who will make the better president is not only surreal, but disturbingly not dissimilar (i luvs me double negatives) to yet another snarky post of Who Wore It Better? <– yes, and thank you, New York Observer!

The thing that concerns me is that instead of having their diets, crying jags, fashion sense, and pedigree of the social mixers they attend determine which movie ticket we’ll buy at the theater or which celebrity-inspired fragrance to drop some cash on, we are having these very things determine WHO WE ARE VOTING FOR IN THIS ELECTION.

::waves arms in the air, a la UCSB’s Professor John Park::

Is this not MADNESS, people??? One thing’s for sure, it is very US of A, circa 2008.

The sexist attacks on Clinton are outrageous and deplorable, but there’s reason to be concerned about her becoming the vehicle for a feminist reawakening. For one thing, feminist sympathy for her has begotten an “oppression sweepstakes” in which a number of her prominent supporters, dismayed at her upstaging by Obama, have declared a contest between racial and gender bias and named sexism the greater scourge. This maneuver is not only unhelpful for coalition-building but obstructs understanding of how sexism and racism have played out in this election in different (and interrelated) ways.

Yes, speak on it, sister! BUT getting back to my original point…

Yet what is most troubling — and what has the most serious implications for the feminist movement — is that the Clinton campaign has used her rival’s race against him. In the name of demonstrating her superior “electability,” she and her surrogates have invoked the racist and sexist playbook of the right — in which swaggering macho cowboys are entrusted to defend the country — seeking to define Obama as too black, too foreign, too different to be President at a moment of high anxiety about national security. This subtly but distinctly racialized political strategy did not create the media feeding frenzy around the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that is now weighing Obama down, but it has positioned Clinton to take advantage of the opportunities the controversy has presented. And the Clinton campaign’s use of this strategy has many non-white and non-mainstream feminists crying foul.

It’s like the whole Lauren Conrad vs Heidi Montag debacle, that perpetually recycled Team Lindsay vs Team Hillary (Duff, that is) that blew up back in ’03. Why must they (LC and Heidi) be enemies?? They’re both blond, starring on the same reality show, and coming out with their own overpriced fashion lines peddled to MTV’s progeny. Why must they be marketed on separate teams when they both look similar enough in terms of the audience they cater to and almost identical in their career-related aspirations?

And aren’t we just as much to blame as those creating this marketing strategy for buying into it?

Granted, Hillary’s playing the Heidi Montag to Barack’s more low-key LC strategy, but it isn’t exactly politically strategic to create so much distance when they are so, so similar when we get to the meat of their politics. I suppose what I find so disappointing is that instead of engaging in a dialectical exchange of political ideals and “strategery” they are both ushered into and responding directly to this Team Hillary vs. Team Barack that’s being created just as much by US the people as THEM the media. But then again, this skeptical idealist might be dreaming a little too much.

Donkeys are, after all, are euphemisms for jackasses.


April 23, 2008

Mother’s diet can help determine sex of child: study

Filed under: Gender,Science — disciplepete @ 6:18 am


PARIS (AFP) – Oysters may excite the libido, but there is nothing like a hearty breakfast laced with sugar to boost a woman’s chances of conceiving a son, according to a study released Wednesday.

Likewise, a low-energy diet that skimps on calories, minerals and nutrients is more likely to yield a female of the human species, says the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Britain’s de facto academy of sciences…

…While the mechanism is not yet understood, it is known from in vitro fertilisation research that higher levels of glucose, or sugar, encourage the growth and development of male embryos while inhibiting female embryos. (article)

Hmm. If true, it’s interesting that it works like that. If only my parents had known about this…they already had a son and were hoping I was going to be a girl! So they picked out a girl’s name for me, bought all these girl baby clothes, and then I came along. They gave me a boy’s name, but kept the girl clothes, so for the first few months of my life I was a crossdresser.


April 21, 2008

Senate to Consider Equal Pay Bill

Filed under: Culture,Gender — disciplepete @ 7:08 am


Equal pay for equal work will be the catch phrase in the Senate this week.

That’s because lawmakers are scheduled to take on a measure arising out of the case of Lilly Ledbetter, an Alabama woman who lost a wage discrimination suit at the Supreme Court last year.

Under a measure sponsored by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the court’s ruling that Ms. Ledbetter failed to file a timely challenge to pay practices at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden would effectively be overturned, though Ms. Ledbetter would not benefit directly.

Ms. Ledbetter, who earned thousands of dollars less than male colleagues doing similar supervisory work, was found by the court to have failed to make her claim within 180 days of the company’s pay policy decision. The sponsors of the bill want to clear up that requirement and straighten out what they see as a flawed ruling…

The House passed a similar bill last year soon after the court decision, but its backers have encountered resistance in the Senate and from the Bush administration, which argues it could spark a wave of lawsuits. Some Senate Republicans have reservations about the measure, but they intend to be careful in their opposition to avoid being portrayed as backing pay discrimination. (article)

March 30, 2008

Victory for the Topless Front: Women in Copenhagen can now swim and walk around in public pools without their bikini tops

Filed under: Gender,World News — disciplepete @ 1:23 pm

Daily Mail:

Feminism some men may argue, has its downsides – particularly when it means they have to share the housework.

But few would protest against the latest victory for women’s rights.

Ladies in Copenhagen will now be allowed to swim and walk around topless in public pools. (article)

Yeah, I don’t think I can make it out to protest this…

March 13, 2008

An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up

Filed under: Culture,Gender,Health — Tranimal @ 4:49 pm

NY Times:

As a symbol of health and wellness, nothing surpasses the simple push-up.

The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.

I use to be able to do 20. I can now only do like 5. I also think it’s interesting when it notes in this quote: “And while anybody can do a push-up, the exercise has typically been part of the male fitness culture. “It’s sort of a gender-specific symbol of vitality,” said R. Scott Kretchmar, a professor of exercise and sports science at Penn State. “I don’t see women saying: ‘I’m in good health. Watch me drop down and do some push-ups.’”, about women and how it’s just not socially… pushed for women to be fit. Just… skinny. Sad.

No wonder I wanted to join up the Army.

Are Modern Women Miserable?

Filed under: Gender — disciplepete @ 3:46 pm

Pretty interesting article. An interesting point for me was that in surveys men now report to be happier than women, whereas it was the other way around in the past. From Alternet:

The researchers themselves note that because men traditionally were less happy, perhaps women’s happiness has diminished as they’ve entered into their world and are now bedeviled by the same woes that have long depressed men.

Careful what you wish for, maybe? But it seems more complex than that; the article seems to argue that women’s unhappiness is caused by having so many choices…they can choose to be career women, homemakers, or take care of elderly parents…whereas for men, we’ve always basically just had one choice. So the article seems to be arguing that modern women are prone to unhappiness because they’re not sure what they should do , and/or think they should be perfect in both the ‘modern’ career aspect of their life and the traditional homemaker role. Well, check out the article yourself and stop reading me blab about it. =)

March 8, 2008

Is Islam Really Stuck in the 12th Century on Women’s Rights?

Filed under: Gender,Religion — disciplepete @ 12:14 pm

From Alternet:

Before 9/11/01, the media relegated stories about women in Islamic societies to page B27, below the fold. Ever since 9/12/01, those same stories have screamed from the front pages in 100-point type. The shift in discourse coincided with the launch of Bush’s global “War on Terror,” when various hawks began using the plight of women in Islam to illustrate the supposed perfidy of our “enemies,” and to justify a series of military “interventions” — invasions — by Western powers. (article)

March 6, 2008

Men who do housework may get more sex

Filed under: Culture,Gender — Tranimal @ 11:20 am

AP News:

NEW YORK – American men still don’t pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care, but collectively they’re not the slackers they used to be. The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex.

Wow. Really? This is a no-brainer. Helping around the house means you are 1) being considerate, 2) pulling your dead husband-father weight, and 3) equity in the household is just plain sexy.

After reading a lot of these “research” and “studies”, I’m just wondering the amount of money and resources that gets poured into this type of work that gives you conclusions on issues you already know. Like this one… men doing housework = more sex. I just enjoy the fact that now that “scientific research” has proven all these social conclusions… it now MUST be true. Ridiculous.

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