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Just read a interesting thread on Metafilter about how sexism affects men.
The article itself was fairly interesting on its own, listing “5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men” but the discussion that followed was even more so. There were a huge number of folks (many of whom identified as men) dismissing the article outright, as well as a bunch of folks stating how close or loose a fit it was to their own perspectives.

Note that Metafilter is an online forum open to anyone willing to pay a one-time $5 fee. Although the membership generally skews towards college-educated Westerners, there are tens of thousands of members from a pretty wide range of backgrounds. All accounts are strictly anonymous.

For the responses to this article, the following were of particular interest to me:

hincandenza dislikes the items in the article, and provides his own list
uncanny hengeman offers his experience as (I think) an Australian man
desjardins ponders her sexism in expecting her husband to fix the dryer
kyrademon challenges the folks who dismiss the claims of sexism (and there were a lot who did) with a thought experiment

One of my new favorite ‘blogs in ChinaSMACK, a curated collection of trending topics on the internet in mainland China. The authors pick a couple big news items, ongoing memes, or interesting stories each day and post a round up of the comments made on the larger Chinese forums (e.g., the equivalent of digg or the like).

The cool thing is that the authors don’t provide much commentary on their own, but do a great job translating all the comments into very readable English (complete with slang explanations and roll-overs showing the original Chinese). Of course, you must bear in mind the fact that the authors necessarily pick and choose, and there is no way to tell how representative the comments are. Still, I get the impression that they do a good job of conveying the general feeling on the Chinese ‘net.

It’s also quite important to bear in mind that fact that only around a third of the population on China uses the internet, meaning that even if these curated comments were truly representative of Chinese online thought, they’d still leave out almost a billion folks.

Still, I find it fascinating. Take, for example, this recent post, “Male Cross-Dresser At A McDonald’s In Shanghai“. This was a post on the largest internet discussion board in China: mop.com. It’s just a series of photos of the back of someone in drag at a McDonalds. Not a terribly remarkable photo, except that their dress is really quite short, and they have closely cropped hair with no wig. The other remarkable thing about the photos are the sheer number of them, and the number of other folks also taking pictures. Hard to imagine anyone taking photos like that in Chicago.

The poster says, “I really didn’t have the courage to take a photo from the front!!”, and the general tone is pretty frightened. It’s not especially hostile, however. There are some comments like “Brother, I’m old now, society progresses too fast for me.” that could have been made by Tea Partiers in the States. A couple a more bigoted, aggressive comments are also presented, but there are others like: “A large tree has all kinds of birds.”

I also really liked this comment, by 飙车BOY:

To tell the truth, I like and even approve of these bizarre and fantastic things appearing. Yes, it can be to become famous, to get people’s attention, any mess for any reason is all fine, I just hope that as long as it is not against nature or reason, people can freely express themselves, onlookers can naturally accept them, and then a kind of creative, vibrant, cheerful, self-confident new atmosphere can develop [in society].

(Note that he mentions “becoming famous”–I’ve noticed this a lot in other ChinaSMACK comments. Chinese netizens seem to be much more judgmental about self-promotion than Americans are. I have no idea what is meant by “as long as it is not against nature or reason”.).

Irrelevant detail

I feel a little weird posting this on Queeresque–it’s a classic example of focusing on the irrelevancies of gender and missing the point. However, the point is to demonstrate custom software to turn Guitar Hero drums into midi instruments, and that’s not really something that it makes sense to go into on this ‘blog.

The irrelevant side note is that the author of this software, Jordan, is a trans person who often identifies as female and is male bodied. At the start of this youTube video, she spends five seconds addressing this in the most straightforward, “This doesn’t matter but people are often distracted by it” way.

The result? youTube comments like make me feel like there is totally hope for humanity, like this one:

You know.. My first thought was about if you we’re a girl or boy.
But when you made it clear it felt so.. “why the fuck did I even think of that? Doesn’t matter at all!”

Kind of gave me an appifeny (spelling?)

Hah! youTube for the win! Also, Jordon for the win, as she is an awesome drummer:

Princess Culture

Just wanted to quickly share this pretty great essay on Princess Culture I just found. It was written in 2006, but seems quite applicable now–I haven’t heard yet how Tiana compares to the previous Disney Princesses, but I’m skeptical. Possibly incorrectly skeptical, but who knows.

Anyway, Peggy Orenstein’s essay is not at all dogmatic, but articulates some worrying points quite well. Oh, and here’s the commercial to which she was referring:

I’ve just recently started playing a new video game, Saint’s Row 2. From what I can tell it’s a more or less exact remake of the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I loved that game, although it remains to be seen whether Saint’s will have the same appeal*.

However, one thing that it does have (and the reason I’m reviewing violent video games for Queeresque) is this innovation: it’s the first videogame I’ve ever played that separates sex and gender. Continue Reading »

I was discussing the role of the artist in one’s understanding of art, and Blur’s 1994 hit Girls and Boys came up (it was the subject line of a friend’s email, actually) and it made me actually look at the lyrics for the first time in my life. I was maintaining that, although a lot of one’s response to art is purely subjective, there is also an objective component–the artist is (often) conveying meaning, and one’s interpretation of the text can simply be wrong.

I realized that this was true for me, regarding Girls and Boys. I’ve always seen it as a song in celebration of sex, regardless of orientation, prejudice or kink, with the important addendum that it “always should be someone you really love“. I’ve always like it for that reason.

Imagine my surprise to read on Wikipedia that it was a series of “withering putdowns of trendy pansexuality and aimless hedonism satirise the party culture in the UK”. I went back and studied the lyrics, and lines like “Following the herd / Down to greece – on holiday”, “You are very beautiful / but we haven’t been introduced”, “Count your thoughts – on one two three four five fingers” and, of course, “You’ll get nasty blisters” certainly seem condemnatory.

So that’s too bad–I’m certainly ambivalent about mindless sex, but I had rather enjoyed the song as a song about enjoying sex regardless of the social conventions. Instead, it seems more like a reiteration of the “bisexuality is just decadence” bigotry. Which, in 1994, wasn’t so surprising. Still, anyone want to cover the song with slightly different lyrics?

In examining the lyrics, I noticed a bunch of other (much more silly) ambiguities which I will put after the “cut”, as it were.

Continue Reading »

BOOTYCLIPSE

There is a genre of youTube post known as “Booty Shaking“, and it might well deserve a Queeresque post on its own–girls film themselves (and the few that I’ve seen were all women, and using a static camera to film themselves) dancing erotically. In the final analysis, probably not the greatest thing… although the fact that these videos can be entirely self-produced and distributed makes the result more complicated than simple exploitive objectification. But possibly not much more complicated.

This post is not about “Booty Shaking”, however. This post is about artist Dennis Knopf, whose ongoing project “Bootyclipse” involves using digital editting techniques to remove the dancers from these “Booty Shaking” videos entirely.

Most of these videos seem to be impromptu–personal effects are strewn around, beds are unmade. In the absence of sexy dancing I was much more aware of this environment, which gives ambiguous clues about the dancers’ personalties. So, ironically, these empty videos end up showing a good deal more about the performers as individuals than the original videos that actually featured the performers themselves.

Note that the comments on these videos are about what you would expect from folks searching youTube for “booty shaking”.

I found this on Metafilter, and thought that a one of the comments there was well worth repeating:

Removal of context or content is a fine conceptual trope. Not a new one, by any stretch, but a fine one. In that sense, I like the videos for “what they are.”

By contrast, “what they are” is also a gesture of class/cultural expropriation by some honky from Stuttgart, and those do get tiresome.

posted by wreckingball at 12:22 PM on May 27

 

Removal of context or content is a fine conceptual trope. Not a new one, by any stretch, but a fine one. In that sense, I like the videos for “what they are.”
By contrast, “what they are” is also a gesture of class/cultural expropriation by some honky from Stuttgart, and those do get tiresome.
posted by wreckingball at 12:22 PM on May 27 [+] [!]