Notable News: Week of September 22-28, 2012

Not so awesome this week in terms of progress towards women’s equality.  We make up half the population, so why aren’t we making up half the featured blogs and authors lists?  More classic examples of “Men are universal, women are specific.”  Also, a just-for-fun article from the BBC news magazine (hey, I can’t just depress you all, for heaven’s sake!).

1. The title says it all

Insert major eye roll here.  This article, Jeffrey Eugenides: I don’t know why Jodi Picoult is bellyaching, is an exercise in stupidity.  It starts off just fine, a discussion of Eugenides’ work and his latest novel.  Read it if you like; it’s long and not terribly interesting.  About two-thirds of the way through, it turns into a random bashing of Jodi Picoult and a bizarre conversation about the way works by men and women are received.  To refer to Picoult as “bellyaching” reminds me a lot of the way women who rise up against our inequality are usually branded as “shrill,” “bitchy,” or “whiny.”  Eugenides says that Picoult isn’t “starved for attention,” as though that’s what she was after in her criticism of review coverage of women.  Good going, guys.  You just proved her point.

2. Gender bias and Facebook

Oh, goody.  So it’s not okay to be a racist, but it is okay to be a misogynist?  Well, gee.  Hey, women? I think we need to fight harder against this kind of thing.  Slut-shaming? Not cool.  Using pictures of strangers without their permission? Not cool.  Facebook pages about punching women? Not cool.  And again…we make up half the population.  How is it that we haven’t stopped this shit yet?  Let’s get busy making sure that it gets taken down.

3. Keep digging, Kent Shaffer

Last week I was critical of Dianna Anderson’s post about privilege.  This week, I am once again in her debt for voicing exactly what needed to be said in exactly the right way.  She offers two posts in response to Kent Shaffer’s Open Letter to Women Blogs, which you can read here and here.  Shaffer seems to think that there aren’t enough popular “church” blogs written by women to make up—again with the 50% thing—half the list of top blogs.  Of course, the definition of “church” blog is pretty nebulous, and, as is typical, the idea is still that men are—you got it—universal, while women are special.  And of course, we who make up 5freakin’ percent of the population are eager to read only blogs by white men.  Gah.

Finally, before I get too worked up about this, I offer you…

4. Britishisms in American casual speak

Apparently, we Americans are letting common British terms and phrases creep into our own speech.  While I think it’s fun to take note of the ways in which our language may be changing or blending, I think this particular article is kind of…crap.  For example, I’ve never considered the term “sell-by date” to be particularly British, especially since I’ve used it, oh, since my own childhood.  Friends who are from/have been to England assure me that the common term is “expiry date” (though if anyone has another experience, by all means, let me know).  Also, whoever wrote this seems blissfully unaware that there is indeed still some lingering prejudice here toward people we would call redheads (but are referred to as “gingers” across the pond).  According to the article, there’s been an “uptick” of people using the word “ginger,” possibly attributed to Harry Potter (again, someone can correct me here, but I don’t think the word appears in the American versions of the books).  Ah, well.  The article is still an interesting read, and it doesn’t change the fact that UK English has better slang than US English, as you can see here and here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


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