what i’m reading 3/17/10

A police officer in Vermont tasered an elderly homeless woman for standing in front of a store.

Was the woman a coked up drug addict trying to fight off the police officer? Nope, the woman was a 58-year-old senior citizen who happened to be homeless and have a mental illness. She could be someone’s mother or grandmother. Her crime? Keeping her arms folded in front of herself, refusing to move, and then refusing to be arrested.

Unfortunately, not much has change since this Discover article was published in 1992:

The team went on to determine that the sperm tries to pull its getaway act even on the egg itself, but is held down against its struggles by molecules on the surface of the egg that hook together with counterparts on the sperm’s surface, fastening the sperm until the egg can absorb it. Yet even after having revealed the sperm to be an escape artist and the egg to be a chemically active sperm catcher, even after discussing the egg’s role in tethering the sperm, the research team continued for another three years to describe the sperm’s role as actively penetrating the egg. […]

In fact, biologists could have figured out a hundred years ago that sperm are weak forward-propulsion units, but it’s hard for men to accept the idea that sperm are best at escaping. The imagery you employ guides you to ask certain questions and to not ask certain others.

Not sure I agree with this criticism of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but it’s an interesting point of view:

More action means more violence, and Alice was no exception. It’s remarkable that Carroll’s brainy, plotless tale of fanciful wordplay could become a fiesta of bloodshed and mayhem. Violence in kids’ media contributes significantly to violent behavior

And finally, I happened to stumble across this PSA from Fandom Lounge. I was recently contacted by this troll and coincidentally found this post soon after. He seems to be quite active in the feminist blogosphere.

If you have recently received a random message or contact from an unknown person containing text similar to the title [“‘can i talk to you?’ troll”], it may be a troll. His name seems to be Paul Melville Austin, but he uses a variety of pseudonyms […] This behaviour has continued over many years. He may or may not be dangerous.

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thoughts on hyphenated names

Dr Hegarty said: “In the 16th century, naming men before women became the acceptable word-order to use because of the thinking that men were the worthier sex. This grammar has continued with ‘Mr and Mrs’, ‘his and hers’ and the names of romantic couples like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I often do this without thinking, though I’m getting better at noticing and stopping myself.

I was thinking about this in terms of hyphenated names- do most hetero couples who choose to hyphenate their names together put the man’s name first? How do they decide?

As a person in my 20’s, I have several friends with hyphenated names inherited from their parents. They all hate their last names. They are long and difficult to relay. They are embarrassing.

My boyfriend told me about a study he read (I’m sorry, I can’t find a link) that concluded that hyphenated names are detrimental to women and beneficial to men. People would see “Nathan Smith-Roberts” and think his parents must be progressive, open-minded and tolerant people. The same people would see “Norah Smith-Roberts” and not hire her because she must be a man-hating radical feminist.

I think hyphenated names are a well-intentioned but bad idea. They’re too problematic. What does the next generation do?

I think in a family with multiple children, there are two ideal solutions, assuming the couple wants to pass on both names. They could take turns- name the first child one last name, and the second child the other. Or, for hetero couples, they could give the father’s last name to any sons, and the mother’s last name to any daughters. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Where did your last name come from? Do you like it? Have you ever changed your last name? Why? What would your ideal solution be? I would love to hear your thoughts!

scary statistics about makeup / what are you afraid of?

This survey of 3,000 women produced some disheartening results about how makeup still runs the lives of women.

  • One of of five boyfriends have never seen their girlfriends without makeup- not even in bed.
  • 41% of the women polled said they would be mortified if a colleague saw them without makeup.
  • One of of five said they would not let even close girlfriends see them without makeup.
  • One third would not even consider leaving home unarmed with a full grooming kit—including lip balm, eyeliner, deodorant, and hairbrush.
  • 71% said they are much prettier with makeup on.

What are we afraid of?

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why “mrs” and “miss” are always wrong

wedding table card

“Mrs” always bothered me, even during that brief time I was an ultra-fundamental christian (I may write about that some other time ;D ), though at that time I wasn’t sure why. “Mrs John Smith”… really? Do you not exist as an individual?

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evolutionary psychology is sexist pseudoscience

I hate my psychology class.

I find learning about psychology interesting. But I hate the teacher. I don’t want to call him a professor because I feel that implies a certain respect for his teaching abilities, which are nonexistent.

He is focusing now on using evolutionary psychology as an excuse to disseminate his sexist opinions on the roles of men and women. He literally said in class that women stay inside to cook and clean, and men do more outdoor activities and chores, like taking out the trash and shoveling snow.

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