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Archive for September, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

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On October 2nd, the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute will unveil it’s 2010 Great American Conservative Women Calendar. Oh yes, you can now have women like Carrie Prejean, Phyllis Schlafly, and Ann Coulter staring at you from your wall every month. And if that isn’t enough, you can watch a behind the scenes photo-shoot here.

Just a little background:

  • The Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute “has been a strong voice for modern American women who want fair treatment and equal opportunities, but are offended by the radical liberal agenda.”
  • Phyllis Schlafly has made statements such as: “I submit to you that the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today. […] My analysis is that the gays are about 5% of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95%. […] I’m talking about drugs, sex, illegitimacy, drop outs, poor grades, run away, suicide, you name it, every social ill comes out of the fatherless home.” (via Jezebel)

Buy one now (or if you’re a student, order one for free!), and every month, you’ll have a new reason to continue fighting for women’s rights and justice.

copyright Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute

copyright Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute

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So my friend sent me this article today – published in the NY Times a few months ago – about Japanese men who have relationships, not with dolls, but with 2-D pillowcases that are illustrated with anime characters. The worst part about it is that these anime characters are all illustrated to look like young teenagers posed in sexual positions. I’m sorry, but how is this different than child pornography?

Some of these men bring these pillows with them everywhere:

He treats her the way any decent man would treat a girlfriend — he takes her out on the weekends to sing karaoke or takepurikura, photo-booth pictures imprinted on a sheet of tiny stickers. In the few hours we spent together, I watched him position her gently in the restaurant booth and later in the back seat of his car, making sure to keep her upright and not to touch her private parts.

I just don’t understand how someone actually thinks that it’s okay to have a meaningful relationship with a 2-D cartoon character. The article suggests that it is especially hard in Japan for young people to navigate a meaningful love life, and that this fact might contribute to the rise of these 2-D relationships. I find this hard to believe. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have trouble finding dating successfully, and yet they do not turn to dolls or 2-D cartoon characters to fill that void in their lives. I think that these doll phenomenons speak to a culture of men who want to be able to objectify women in a way that they cannot, so they turn to inanimate objects who will not resist.

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What’s in a Name

For whatever reason, Jezebel has dedicated a post entirely to the name Emily.

Here’s their description:

On the surface, Emily is a cute name, a little name. Like Molly, it has that -ly ending that makes it sound sweet, childlike, pixieish. And when I picture an Emily, she is cute. She wears the aforementioned pigtails — she may even be able to pull them off past the age of 18. She’s got freckles, and she probably owns a pair of Mary Janes. But beneath her adorable exterior lurks evil. It’s not a bitchy, mean-girl type of evil, though. It’s an evil that can be kind of awesome — as long as you’re not on the wrong side of it.

I think I kind of like this description. Sweet with a hint of evil.

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Only 13 % of Wikipedia contributors are women, according to Time Magazine (and via feministing). This strikes me as incredibly problematic, since Wikipedia is such a major source of information these days. If it is mainly men that are contributing to Wikipedia, it means that we are mainly getting a male perspective on everything that is on there. The ladies at Feministing make a good argument that some of this gender disparity might be due to lack of access. Even if this isn’t the case, and women just aren’t interested in posting on Wikipedia as much as men, I think this statistic at least suggests that we should be wary of the perspective we are getting by relying on Wikipedia for our information. Furthermore, Time Magazine suggests that Wikipedia contributors are also likely to be someone who has had the benefit of higher education, which means that Wikipedia is also giving us a privileged, upper-middle class view of the world. I think that we, as a society, need more strategies to promote those from underrepresented groups to contribute more to the dominant narratives of culture and history.

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So right around the time the movie “Lars and the Real Girl” came out, I went through a period of fascination with Real Dolls  (website NSFW)- dolls that are customizable and made to look like real women. Men spend thousands of dollars on these dolls and many treat them as if they are real women. Watch this documentary for a creepy, yet fascinating look into the lives of these men.

If this is not creepy enough, check out this post on The Frisky which describes the advent of a doll along the same line as Real Dolls, but it is meant to be a sex doll and has a heavy breathing function and a G-Spot. The company, First Androids (beware the website is in German and hard to navigate), has received 4 MILLION orders for these dolls, which cost $3820.

And I thought a movie about Barbie was bad.

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Barbie is a copyright of Mattel.

No joke. Mattel and Universal have reached an agreement to create a live-action Barbie, feature length film. No casting or plot details have been released.

Why can’t Barbie just disappear? As the writers at The Frisky point out, how can you create a live-action character of a doll who would not be able to stand upright because of her proportions? And what on earth is the plot going to consist of? Did she ever actually have a story beyond being a blonde, beach loving bimbo? I’m sorry, but my idea of creating a larger market of movies for women and girls does not involved contrived movies based on a totally regressive, sexist doll. Oh, and not surprisingly, everyone involved so far is a man.

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