Link post

Nov. 20th, 2010 09:05 pm
kangeiko: (wasting time online)
- Link courtesy of[personal profile] monanotlisa : [personal profile] rivkat asks What's Wrong With This Picture?

- Feminism's Generation Wars: Katha Pollitt talks about generation unrest in the feminist front.

- Proposals for the reform in Legal Aid in England and Scotland - I've written a post on this for another site, which I will link to once it goes live. In the meantime, suffice to say that the proposed Legal Aid reforms will completely screw women in England and Wales. The consultation runs until 14th February 2011, please consider responding to the proposed changes in order to protect women's access to legal aid.

- Peta's latest anti-woman poster campaign.


kangeiko: (thoughtful)
Cameroon denies homosexuals face persecution

I am of two minds on this.

On the one hand, I sincerely doubt that the Cameroon government is going to expand any effort to prosecute a person for something that does not benefit the officials involved (Transparency International has Cameroon ranked 146th out of 180 countries in the corruption perceptions index for 2009). However, should it choose to do so, that same lethargy would mean that there is practically no chance for them to face either a fair trial (although what that would mean is questionable, as their mere existence is outlawed in Cameroon), nor do I believe them to be wealthy enough to navigate the complexities of the Cameroonian legal system and extract themselves in that fashion.

Furthermore, whether or not the government chooses to prosecute is mostly irrelevant in this instance. Both of these men (the applicant from Cameroon and the one from Iran) have been 'outed' in their communities, and those communities have expressed hostile reactions. This means they would either have to move, or they would face the daily threat of violence.

So let's suppose the Cameroonian applicant decided to move (setting aside the trauma of such a move). But where would he move to? Cameroon has 230 languages. While both English and French are official languages, much of the population speaks neither. So you're going to be using one of the local languages in the absence of a lingua franca. The majority of the country has languages from the Niger-Congo family, which narrows it down to 173 languages.

In short, movement across the country is difficult unless you speak a number of languages, and even more so if you have to leave in a great hurry. In fact, if you don't speak the language you are much more likely to fall afoul of the authorities, as you will be unable to talk your way out of a routine stop (and hurried exists don't often allow a great deal of financial liquidity). On a practical level, you are back where you started: the government doesn't care enough to prosecute you, but if you should happen to end up in the system, there is little to no chance of getting out.

I think that all those ranting about how the Cameroonian government's position makes this all possible are missing the point somewhat: it isn't the move from the country that would disadvantage this person, it is the move from his community. When the neighbouring town is different enough to be a different country, then what does being in a different country matter? It's not the destination but the departure that is relevant. This person felt threatened enough to leave his community - to travel to the other side of Cameroon, to travel to the other side of Africa, to travel to a completely new continent, ultimately that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that he chose to come to the UK; all that is relevant is that he felt he had no choice but to leave his friends, family and entire community. I would wager that very few people would voluntarily choose an option that extreme, with no hope of going back: his bridges were burnt for him. The argument here shouldn't be about whether Cameroon prosecutes people for being gay or not. It would be inhuman for the UK to try to shove a man into the river for the lack of a bridge.
kangeiko: (thoughtful)
From ontd_feminism's post on Scotland's new PSA -

The PSA tackles victim-blaming in rape cases. This should be shown across the entirety of the UK, not just Scotland. Well done Rape Crisis Scotland!

kangeiko: (thoughtful)
Day 05 - A show you hate

Not entirely sure about the point of this one. Surely a show you hate is one you're not watching? But there have certainly been ones I tried to get into and failed miserably. I have tried several times to get into SGA and BSG, for instance, without much success. Then there are the ones I fell out of love with, such as LOST, where the early promise I saw was lost (no pun intended) along the way. Maybe I'll give the above another go at a later date; tastes change, after all.

But there are some things I have significant problems with. )
kangeiko: (LoM)
Anonymity in rape cases. Boy, that's a strange issue. The government has recently clarified it's proposal to attempt to reinstate this measure by limiting it until the accused has been formally charged. This is not enough for women's groups, who point out that no such similar provision has been proposed for other serious crimes.

The problem is, rape isn't like other serious crimes, and certainly isn't treated like it in law. The vast majority of rapes are carried out by someone the victim knows. This means that when they come forward to report a crime, they are not saying "someone raped me", they are saying "he raped me". I've always found that a difficult concept to understand in terms of law. On the one hand, the suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But in the majority of cases, the question isn't about whether sex took place or not, or who was involved, but whether consent was given. So while in a straight-forward assault charge a barrister may argue that her client was not present, and the victim was assaulted by someone else, they rarely dispute the crime's existence. The victim's word, and the physical evidence, are enough for a crime to have been assumed to have happened, and the investigation is about identifying the culprit.

In a rape case, the sex is often not disputed. It is consent that is argued over. The defence often does not rest on, "it wasn't my client", but, rather, "no crime took place". In assuming the suspect innocent, then, the law calls into question whether a crime was ever committed. The onus is then on the victim to prove that a crime, rather than sex, took place.

Let's step back from that for a second. To a legislator looking at the figures, anonymity for those accused of rape makes sense from a numbers perspective: here is a crime with only a 6% conviction rate. There are two possibilities: either the current law makes it practically impossible to prosecute this crime successfully, or too many innocent people are being accused unnecessarily. So from a rights perspective, 94% of those accused were never convicted (most never brought to trial), and therefore protecting them from the stigma of the accusation is important. Add to that government's general helplessness in the face of conviction statistics: we know the law doesn't work but don't know how to fix it (and in many cases don't have the power). Only about 10% or so of reported rapes are 'stranger rapes'. Let's assume that about half of those got a conviction (in reality they are much more likely to do so than non-stranger rapes). That accounts for 5% of the total number reported as "stranger rapes = solved". A further 5% are "stranger rapes = unsolved" and 1% are "non-stranger rapes = convicted". The remaining 89% of reported non-stranger rapes are therefore, by the assumption that "non-conviction=no crime has been committed", not crimes at all! So why would any legislator work on 'creating' more crimes, when they can work on 'protecting' more 'innocent people accused unjustly'?

I understand why the govt is reacting the way they are. I also think they are missing the point. The laws surrounding rape and sexual assault need to be reviewed so that there is no longer the default assumption of an unjust accusation and no crime committed. The CPS currently has an impossible job in having to both prove the guilt of the defendent and to prove that a crime has been committed each and every time. The figures lie to us, and the law lies to us. Both need to be changed before we can start thinking about anonymity for the accused in any sort of crime.
kangeiko: (Default)

Tomorrow night, C4 will be screening a Dispatches documentary, The Lost Girls of South Africa. I will be watching it closely.

In 2009, the Medical Research Council published survey data regarding rape and sexual assault in South Africa. (statistics details) )


The statistics are horrific: a child is raped every 3 minutes in South Africa (details of the statistics) )

. However, what is more disturbing is the survey results, which showed that 1 in 4 men admitted to having committed a rape. Think about that for a second. More commentary below the cut. )


kangeiko: (Default)

Primark withdraws padded bikini tops - aimed at 7-year-olds. I am without words.

No, actually, I am not. Everyone should go and read Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter, where she talks about - shockingly - this exact same trend. For those curious, other examples include:
- Tesco and their pole-dancing kit in the 'toys' section
- Next had a T-shirt with 'so many boys, so little time' for ages 5-6
- Woolworths had a little girl's bed with the type name of 'Lolita'

This is in addition to the mainstreaming of the Playboy logo on stationary and girls' accessories, the idea of page 3 nudity as 'wholesome', and expected sexual behaviour in 'reality TV' shows such as Big Brother.

I will do a more detailed post about this later, but I have too much outrage to cope with work in the afternoon without at least doing a quick post on it.
kangeiko: (Default)

I haven't forgotten about these. I did a whole stack off-line in a notebook (almost the entire season, actually), and I'm going to write those up and finish up the season, see where that takes us. See this post for general assumptions on alien races.

4x11 Data's Day )
*

4x12 The Wounded )

*

4x13 Devil's Due )
*

4x14 Clues )
*

As a bonus (!), have ST: Nemesis as well -

ST: Nemesis )

*

Wow, it doesn't look good for TNG, does it?! I had to write up DSN's Way of the Warrior I + II to cheer myself up (not written up here yet, but full passes on both tests for those curious). DSN is bound to perform better than TNG - so's VOY, come to think of it - anyone interested in covering VOY and/or ENT to get an idea of Trek's movement along pass/fail lines?? I have a feeling ENT just makes it worse...
kangeiko: (bookworm)
Catching up with some book reviews -

The Lathe of Heaven
Ursula Le Guin, p.184.

Not a lot like the other works of hers I've read, but still a cracking read. )

*

Bad Science
Ben Goldacre, p. 321

Where everyone lies. )

*

Living Dolls: the return of sexism
Natasha Walter, p. 238

Smart, interesting, and British-specific. )
*

Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
Mary Beard, p.316

Fun to read while visiting. )

*

Marie Antionette: The Journey
Antonia Fraser, p.548

Highly recommended. )

Huh

Jul. 6th, 2009 11:51 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
I guess I'm going to have to pick up X-Factor again. (Spoilers for X-Factor #45) Although given that I am missing almost all canon between House of M and, oooh, say, Antarctica(!!!), trying to pick up years of backstory might be difficult. Hmmm. To wiki!
kangeiko: (Default)
I should be working on my Multiverse fic. I have three different versions of the same thing, and I hate them all. All of them, I tell you. They feel limp and unconvincing.

In the meantime:

4x07 Reunion )

*

4x08 Future Imperfect )

*

4x09 Final Mission )

*

4x10 The Loss )
kangeiko: (Default)
I'm off to Zambia tomorrow. I should have internet access while there, but I'm going to be super-busy so I don't know if I'll have opportunity to post! I'm one of the official bloggers of the event, so when I get back I'll cross-post here, as appropriate.

Anyway, before I go, 4x05 - 4x06:

4x05 Remember Me )

*

4x06 Legacy )

*
kangeiko: (Default)
I'm starting with S4 of TNG, just because that's what I had in the DVD player.

4x01 Best of Both Worlds II )

*

4x02 Family )

*

4x03 Brothers )

*

4x04 Suddenly Human )
kangeiko: (SQUEE!)
Following my earlier post, I've decided I'm going to run the test, both the original version and the race-Bechdel (raw data and percentages for comparison) on as many shows as hold my interest, but starting with Star Trek (TNG, and DSN), simply because I'm currently rewatching them following my bout of bed-riddenness earlier.

If people want to run this for various other shows, pls let me know so I can link it in from this post for easy navigation! Of interest is characterscount @ DW, where a more general project is going on. [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27 also very helpfully linked me to [livejournal.com profile] dsudis, who is conducting a similar test on SG1 here.

Anyway, this is the master post for each season's tables, along with the overall stats for the season.

One caveat for ST and other fandoms with painted people masquerading as aliens: as I'm running a race-Bechdel test, this can get a little, hmmm, tricky, shall we say. So I'm currently going on the following (very broad) criteria:

- for aliens that look mostly human, e.g. Vulcans, Bajorans, Minbari, Centauri, misc ST forehead alieans, we're going with whether or not the actor is a POC.
- for aliens that are completely covered, e.g. Cardassians, Bolians, Orions, Narn, Ferengi, they don't count as a POC.
- for Klingons, they tend to just have forehead make-up and the majority are played by actors of colour. They will therefore count as COC, unless I know that they are not played by a POC (e.g. Ambassador K'Ehleyr).
- for aliens where we don't know what sex/race they are, I'll include detailed notes as why I've counted them or not.

I'll generally include notes in the cases where I think that one of the tests has been passed, and people are welcome to correct me if I've got it wrong.

***

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Read more... )
***

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Read more... )
***

Links to other shows:

- SG1
kangeiko: (thoughtful)
When Rebecca Lolosoli started talking about helping some of the women raped in Sumburu district, Kenya, the men where she lived beat her and tried to kill her. Her husband did nothing. So she left.

And instead of running away, instead of giving up, she set up a women-only village: Umoja Village.

Read the interview with Rebecca. (hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] african_studies).

Just fyi -

Apr. 13th, 2009 11:52 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
I'm not posting new posts about the Amazon issue, I'm just updating my original post with any new links and/or info.
kangeiko: (Default)
Amazon.com has been removing books containing LGBT content from their search function. That means that Oranges are not the only fruit is not showing up. Ostensibly, this is because they don't allow their search function to list 'adult' content. Really? Justine and 120 Days of Sodom both show up, as does The Story of O and Lost Girls, not to mention all Past Venus and Silver Moon titles. Those books are not showing up, and they are denied a sales rank (which helps drive the search engine), lest this indicate that people are genuinely interested in Halberstam's Female Masculinity. You let people buy critical theory books and who knows where that madness might lead?

Outraged? Too fucking right. )

*

Yeah, it was ranty. I don't care. Who the fuck dares to ban Halberstam?? Although I am vaguely amused that a search for 'female masculinity' brings up Butler's 'Undoing Gender' and 'Gender Trouble'. D'you suppose they're next for the ban-bin?

- A list of the books affected.

- A petition on the subject.

- Amazon.com's official stance

- A good write-up of the whole thing.

Hat-tips: [livejournal.com profile] raedbard, [livejournal.com profile] hhertzof.

ETA:
There appears to be several different levels of this. 'Oranges' and 'Female Masculinity', along with a few others, are not showing up in the search pages at all, and have no sales rank. 'The Story of O' is showing up in searches, but also has no sales rank. This means that none of the books above can be seen on the best-sellers list. Some, like Oranges, can't be found without a direct link to the page from an external source (such as Google).

I'm not quite why there are two lists - maybe it's based on the search word? My thoughts are:
- there should be NO books excluded from the search engine: that's censorship by proxy, limiting the choice available by lying about its existence.
- regarding the books without a sales rank (if this is how they are excluded from the best-seller lists): I understand if a company does not wish to have adult content prominent on its best-sellers list. I disagree, but I understand. However, 'gay', lesbian' 'trans-gendered' or any other related search term is not a synonym for 'adult content'. You don't get to exclude Winterson, you bastards. You want to exclude erotica, fine. Think of a non-bigoted way to do that.

So, Tipping the Velvet and all other Sarah Waters novels? Restore their goddamn sales ranks.

(Incidentally, Fingersmith is one of the books not featuring a sales rank. Fingersmith, as many of you will know, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Orange Prize. Winterson's Oranges are not the only fruit won the Whitbread prize, and is on the curriculum of most English Lit students. )

Do you suppose they'd also remove the sales rank of The Inheritance of Loss (#12,248 in the best-seller list - 2006 Booker winner, when Night Watch by Waters was shortlisted) or The Life of Pi (#1,120 in the best-seller list - 2002 Booker winner, when Fingersmith was shortlisted)? No? I didn't think so.

ETA2:
The Night Watch paperback edition is not showing up in the search results, but it does have a sales rank. Interesting. So - three lists? Four? How the hell are they filtering things, so only some are getting through?

ETA3:
- Amazon claims it's all a glitch.
- Article in the LA Times - Amazon deranks National Book Award Winner.
- Googlebombing for Amazon Rank.
- Commentary on the supposed glitch.

ETA4:
- Background on this, going back to Feb. Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky.
- Was it a hacker? Maybe not. Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] eponis.
- Guardian article. Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] raedbard.

ETA5:
- Conversations with an Amazon rep: This is not a glitch. via [livejournal.com profile] metafandom.
kangeiko: (Default)
My new work recently trained me in interviewing techniques. How to interview other people, you understand, not how to be interviewed myself (although it did give me some interesting insights into what must be going on in the minds of the interviewers).

One tangent in the discussion - as usual, initiated by me, because I can't quite let go of my responsibility to be Outraged By Everything (tm) - was about job adverts, specifically ones designed to attract more female candidates. There were two issues arising:

1. Job adverts that want to attract more female candidates will usually include the words, "Organisation X is committed to diversity and equality, and particularly welcomes applications from women and members of ethnic minorities for this position." These words tend to be included only on some ads for that organisation, and not on all ads for all vacancies.

2. Those ads also tend to stress the maternity leave, childcare vouchers and other family-friendly policies of the organisation, whereas your typical ad will focus more on performance-related pay and the opportunity of overseas travel.

So, where does that leave perpetually-outraged little old me? Well, it took some time for the thought processes to percolate, but here's what I've come up with:

When a woman looks at two identical ads for two identical jobs, she is more likely to apply for the job ad with the lower salary. FACT. This tendency is somewhat lowered by ads that include the words 'women are especially encouraged to apply'. Positive discrimination is illegal in the UK. No-one is going to be more likely to hire you just because you are a woman. However, what this tendency highlights is the understanding that negative discrimination is still alive and well: that a woman is less likely to be hired for a position that does not include the words 'women are especially encouraged to apply' relative to one that does.

The practical implications of this are:
a) Within a single organisation, the understanding therefore becomes that if the organisation would particularly like female applicants, it will add the words. If it would not particularly like female applicants, it will say nothing. In essence, the use of those words singles out some jobs as suitable for women, and other jobs as suitable for a default candidate - and the default, of course, is always male.

b) This notion is reinforced by the sorts of packages offered to women to attract them to some points, conflating 'woman candidate' with 'future mother'. Therefore a female job-hunter primarily interested in a high-flying job with overseas travel and performance-related pay finds herself in what seems very hostile territory. If female-friendly=mother-friendly, and this job isn't very mother-friendly, then it must follow that it isn't very female-friendly. (And neither are you, you harlot, why are you looking for a job with a bonus instead of one with a good maternity package?)

c) In the industry at large, organisations tend to find a large number of women applying for entry-level jobs, and practically none for the high-placed positions. This partly because many women have taken the economic 'hit' of having a family, which means they take longer to accrue seniority, but partly because the ads for the top jobs never highlight maternity leave etc, but instead focus on bonus - which, from many years in the workforce, a working woman comes to understand as the default code for 'male, white, middle-class'. Therefore many good candidates never bother applying, anticipating discrimination even where none might exist.

So what should organisations do?
1. Stop using those words for some adverts. You want to diversity your workforce? Good for you. Either change the nature of the ad to include common concerns (and this can be done in a more gender- and ethnicity--neutral way by highlighting paternal and maternal leave, travel opportunities, a commitment to equality, a particular interest in people with language skills or overseas experience, etc) and skip the words entirely, or add the words to every ad. If you want to increase the number of female candidates, surely you want them to apply for all jobs, rather than just one or two? Add them to every ad, and see the applications for your jobs increase relative to those received by your competitors.

2. Women tend to be put off requirements that sound vague, such as 'experience in...' rather than '5 years of experience in...', as many will assume they do not have the required experience (this also ties in to why women will apply for more low-paying jobs). Unfortunately, putting in concrete figures runs afoul of the Age Discrimination Act. So what to do? Well, identifying what sort of experience (junior, managerial, senior management) helps, as does tightening up the other specifications. It will assist people in mapping across their skill sets on to the job profile.

3. As for women being less likely to apply for jobs that pay more? Well, that one's easy - all you need to do is pay them more! A woman on £35k pa is a lot less likely to go for a job that pays £30k than a woman who has the same job but earns £25k pa.

And, you know, not penalising a woman if she does decide to have a child (and in this way help the economy and pay your pension twenty years down the line) wouldn't kill you either.
kangeiko: (irina-smile)
This video against homophobia made by Parisian kids made me very happy today.

Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] greenie_breizh

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