Our Weekly Summary: 31/01/13

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Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

Our most discussed post this week was an anecdotal post made by Jon Bent after hearing the heartbreaking confession of a year 8 pupil who, after being labelled a slut, sket and slag, felt pressured to change her behaviours, her appearance and even self harm. The discussion that ensued shed some light on the appalling treatment of young girls both by their contemporaries and the schooling system itself. Rachel Knott recalled that a vicar:

“recently came into my younger sister’s high school and gave the girls in her year a speech on dressing modestly to avoid gaining a reputation. They were told to be careful of acting ‘tarty’ and that it is unattractive for young women to be too confident.”

Similarly Tilly Wood remembered attending several victim-blaming “uniform talks about how we were basically inviting year sevens to look up our skirts if they were too short and not to distract them…”

In an environment like this it’s no wonder that young kids become the vindictive, misogynists little shits that plague so many schools.

What followed was an eloquent, level headed debate between students and teachers about the limits and uses of dress-codes, it’s definitely worth a read.

As a budding alcoholic and a life-long advocate of £1.50 pints, I can often be found propping up the union bar. I was there this week when, with my bleary eyes, I spotted the consent advert pictured below. Thanks to Sam Clark for posting after finding it on our discussion group. Add this to the current LGBT+ campaign that’s plastering famous faces from Steven Fry to Lana Wachowski around campus and UEA is looking particularly progressive this month.

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Elsewhere Hywel Wilkie linked to a Channel 4 documentary about the different forms of legalised prostitution around the world. It’s a thought provoking watch and links nicely with this week’s theme of “Raunch Culture”.

Another documentary about the international struggles of women is Duma (Dolls), which chronicles the stories of five women who dare to reveal the sexual abuse they endured in their close circle of family and friends in Palestine. UEA’s own Dr. Eylem Atakav is introducing a screening of the film at Cinema City next month, which will be followed by a Q/A with her and the film’s director, Abeer Zeibak Haddad. I’m going, tickets are available here.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s discussion, I hope to see at our meeting today in Arts 2.03 at 5pm.

 

Ollie Balaam

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Our Weekly Summary: 23/01/13

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate. We’ll start with the story of Mary Beard, a professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, she appeared on Question Time and said […]

Our Week Summary: 08/12/12

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

Firstly there’s the depressing tale of the Hallmark birthday card pictured below. The patronizing and sexist text reads: “You’re 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend he’d give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will-when you’ve got bigger boobies!” The response both on our discussion board and on twitter with the #notbuyingit was so quick, organised and livid that Hallmark had to issue an official apology. Kudos to them for their quick and appropriate response but let’s be honest, gift card shops aren’t a great place for feminists. They’re structured around colored gender binaries, old-fashioned ideas of romance and it’s all overpriced tat anyway. Seriously society, stop buying cards.

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Elsewhere Hattie Grünewald posted some hilarious Josie Long stand-up as a warm up for next week’s Tuesday and Thursday meetings on feminism and humor. It promises to be a great session so do come along.

Building upon the themes we discussed in the reproductive rights sessions a fortnight ago, Beth McKensie shared the bizarre pro-life argument pictured below. Text reads:

“Between 16 and 20 weeks a baby girl’s ovaries form millions of eggs. None form after birth.”

and was accompanied by the comment :

“Those who favor abortion rights often talk about a woman’s reproductive freedom, but a little girl’s reproductive system is forming long before her birth. By the mid-point in pregnancy, her ovaries will develop all eggs she will ever produce – the promise of future generations.”

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I think Mike Adams summed it up pretty neatly when he wrote “They’re just grasping at shit now” and Alice Johnson added “PERIODS ARE MURDER”. A really interesting discussion unfolded around the logical fallacies and disconnects that often accompany pro-life argument, check it out here.

Finally Hannah Dunlop posted this collection of misogynistic t-shirts. Trigger warning: awfulness.

Ollie Balaam

Our Weekly Summary: 01/12/12

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

This week we held a photo session in the Hive for the “Who needs feminism?” campaign which went brilliantly. The pictures are now up on our Facebook discussion page, check them out here.

Charlie Goodkind gave us all a laugh with the latest nonsense from Fox News. If any feminists have missed the memo, misogyny is over and women are currently waging a war on men.

Annie Mary-Kate Kelly started a really interesting discussion on the use and reclamation of the word misandry by feminists. For example, does using it more frequently legitimise it as an equal and opposite force to misogyny? Interesting debate about the etymology of the word continued in the comments.

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The Tab Norwich have done it again. Ellie Reynard posted a link to the article The Worst Kind of People, a sexist and hateful article about women using men’s toilets. Victoria Finan, Culture editor at the Tab Norwich, has specified this is only the opinion of one individual writer. She cast light on the fact that articles can be cross published from other Tab sites seemingly without editorial consent. It’s a continuing and systemic problem, indeed Ellie herself admitted she quit the Tab last year over offensive and sensationalist articles such as this one.

Rosha Georgia posted this year’s Asda Christmas advert after she felt irritated on first watch. The advert, which carries the tagline “Behind every great Christmas there’s a mum,” re-enforces harmful ’50s gender stereotypes such as that women should happily and single-handedly do all the housework. Commenters agreed that for the 64% of the UK with non-nuclear families, this advert was alienating and perpetuating an idealised family norm. Robyn Sands articulated it well when she said “[I]t’s really not that hard to understand that advertising and the media in general often create a dominant ideology that reinforces stereotypes and gender roles which contributes to oppression” and Charlie Goodkind suggested the alternative “behind every Christmas there are great parents.”

Tilly Wood

Our Weekly Summary: 22/11/12

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

Starting on a light note, Hywel Wilkie linked to Alpha Nail, a nail varnish brand that’s definitely overcompensating. “Designed by Men. Worn by Warriors”,  it’s either an ingenious parody of the hyper-gendered advertising industry or the work of a depressingly insecure marketing executive. Either way, it’s worth a look, make sure to check out the video.

Elsewhere Jack Brindelli posted his entertaining and belated Skyfall review which heavily critiques the film’s conservative views on women, homosexuals and political activists. Annie Mary-Kate Kelly added that the film’s oedipal portrayal of its queer-coded villain Silva “was some Victorian era psychology shit” and she’s pretty spot on.

Hattie Grünewald linked to an article about a Swedish school that is attempting to de-emphasise gender at a social and linguistic level. They do this by removing masculine/feminine references and pronouns from their language, often using the genderless pronoun ‘hen’ instead. It’s fascinating read and the school’s attempts to combat the gender binary at its lingual root is extremely commendable. Nordic countries seem extremely active and intelligent when dealing with sexism and gender inequality and I only hope that the rest of Europe takes heed.

Thanks for everyone’s contributions this week.

Ollie Balaam

Our Weekly Summary: 17/11/12

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

Although the US election is over, the issue of women’s reproductive rights is back on all our minds once again when Amber Griffith-Monk shared the story of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in the Republic of Ireland. Halappanavar died of septicaemia after being refused a life-saving abortion in Ireland, where the procedure is still illegal. We discussed the protests in Ireland following Halappanavar’s death, but Rachel Knott provided a sobering voice by reminding us of the ongoing legal battle over Case X. Hannah Dunlop shared a timely opinion piece by consultant Dr. Frances Marks, reminding us the importance of keeping even late-term abortion legal.

Pop music was also up for discussion this week when Robyn Sands linked to a review and discussion in The Guardian about Rihanna’s latest album and her controversial duet with Chris Brown. Annie Mary-Kate Kelly made some great points regarding the media’s vilification of the pop star for her renewed relationship with Brown and how society judges victims of trauma and domestic violence. The issue of race, and how the public’s reaction to Rihanna and Brown is affected by the fact that both are POC, was also discussed.

Women’s officer Tessa Gilder-Smith shared an article from Fem2pt0 about the insidious ways women are pressured into agreeing to sex. Meanwhile, we also discussed UEA professor BJ Epstein’s reaction piece on the Huffington Post to Cameron Diaz’s comments about “70s bush” on The Graham Norton show.

It wasn’t all bad news, however; Max Bull made us smile by sharing the story of father Mike Hoye, who hacked his daughter’s Legend of Zelda game to turn Princess Zelda herself into the hero.

On Tuesday and Thursday, in place of regular meetings, UEA careers advisor Adrienne Jolly came to lead our members in a wonderful careers and interviews workshop specifically aimed at female candidates. We hope to bring her back in the spring term.

And finally on Thursday, members of the society enjoyed a trip into Norwich to go bowling.

Hattie Samuel

Our Weekly Summary: 03/11/12

Here at the blog we like to roundup the best posts made on our discussion board every week because sometimes it they get buried under piles of even more great debate.

Starting uncomfortably close to home, Hannah Dunlop spotted this van in Norwich. It’s an unfortunate example of how deeply sexism is ingrained into the institutional fabric of many office spaces. It’s also some of the worst graphic design I have seen this side of Word Art 95.

Speaking of management class sexism, UEA TV’s Jack Brindelli produced a fantastic and funny exploration of the vampire genre as both a vehicle for feminist criticism and a method of patriarchal reinforcement. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Elsewhere Tessa Gilder-Smith posted about Halo 4‘s developers 343 Industries implementing a zero tolerance policy of lifetime ban for sexist abuse in online play. Matt Finucane pointed out the logistic issues of trying to enforce this, indeed they have already run into issues with the system pre-release, but it’s definitely an important step in the right direction from one of the most prominent studios in the industry.

Cal Corkery linked to a Concrete article about Lad culture that’s received  a fair bit of attention over the past week. Most of the discussion agreed that its heart was in the right place but it was slightly problematic and ‘mansplainy’. Sophie Witts, Concrete’s news co-editor suggested that someone from feminist society could write a response piece. Concrete relies on active student voices and if any students feel they aren’t represented they’re invited to represent  themselves. So far nobody has taken her up on the offer, if you’re interested you can submit an article to concrete.comment@uea.ac.uk.

Thanks for everybody’s discussion contributions this week. I hope to see you on Tuesday for our screening of Easy A.

Oliver Balaam