Today, I are mostly been sleeping. Then I did a lot of digging and wrote a post at Liberal Conspiracy about a certain Brian Coleman, London Assembly member and sexist git.

I first heard about the tedious cock in that post of [ profile] liadnan's, a long time before I moved up to London, and he's done nothing to impress me since. For quite awhile, my old post about him was top Google result for his name, it's fallen now to seventh. But I think he's more than a cock now, he's an expensive ignorant sexist git who deserves as much opprobrium as possible. So, given I no longer live in London, I don't have AMs or MPs to complain to. So I figure I'd hurt his rep on Google a bit instead.

If you fancy joining in, and have a publicly accessible website that's indexed by search engines, especially Google,
copying and pasting the below might assist in adding to the amusement—LC already has a good placing in search engines, but so do other sites that mention him. If lots of people link to that post with his name as the anchor, it should float to the top quite nicely...
Two posts in a row by completely different blogs, both discussing the Bechdel Test, which I've always found fascinating[1]. If you're not aware of it, it's a fairly simple little test to apply to an entertainment:
1. Does it have at least two women in it,
2. Who [at some point] talk to each other,
3. About something besides a man.
See? How easy is that to fulfil as an objective? Everything should pass that one, right? Shame it's not true. Shame that, in reality, a huge amount of stuff, including stuff with strong female lead characters, fails it. Even authors that consciously try to ensure their work isn't sexist manage to fail it regularly, as Charlie Stross has found out. It seems though, that despite many of the writers gender neutrality failings, Doctor Who doesn't do too badly, even taking into account the added complication of the significant central character being male.

Of course, the test isn't perfect—there are some perfectly good films where none of the characters are realistic, male or female, and in some it would be innapropriate to try to fulfil it. But for most shows or films, that are supposedley 'realistic', don't you think it should be a fairly normal thing to manage? Charlie's conclusion goes further than I think I would, but he's probably not too far off[2]:
The current decade is characterized by ... a socially conservative culture, of retreat from liberalism, and a strong anti-feminist backlash. Our popular media, far from being the bastions of liberal values ... are actually belwethers of popular culture, ... reflecting our culture's normative values back at us ... What they're showing this decade is really rather disturbing if you happen to agree with the core feminist ideological belief that women are real people too, not just baby factories and sex objects.

TV has always been bad ... but of late, the messages coming at us out of the mass media are nothing short of toxic. If movies and TV objectified people of colour the way they do women, the only reasonable conclusion one could draw would be that a concerted propaganda campaign was under way to return us to the unquestioned institutional racism of the 1950s.
Given that I watch a lot less TV than most people, and even fewer films, is he right?

[1] Or scary, or just Plain Wrong, depending on how bad the film or show in question actually is. I'm pretty sure it was [ profile] innerbrat that first made me aware of it.

[2] I'm excising a lot of text from this quote, marked by elipses, I do think the whole post is worth reading in its own right though.
Um, favour, having read this screed, can one of the lesbian feminist sisters reading this, or indeed anyone with an interest[1], especially those of you that said you liked Firefly please confirm my suspicion that A Rapist's View of the World: Joss Whedon and Firefly is in fact an ill-informed biased rant of the sort that can give decent feminists a bad name?

Because, y'know, while I'm happy to accept that it contains some inadvertent sexisms, that the idea of the Companions Guild is going to split opinion and that nobody is perfect, I was sorta of the opinion that, for an SF TV series, Firefly was actually pretty good about gender and race issues, and I most certainly don't think that Zoe was objectified from the get go. But, as in all things, I welcome sane alternate positions and am always open to persuasion. Just that, well, that rant has put me off giving the positions put forward any credence.

ETA: Well, she's deleting comments all over the place, not just made by you guys but also from those made by people coming in from all over the place. Bloglines gives her over 100 incoming links, Blogger Blogsearch gives her 144 (Technorati proves its uselessness yet again by giving 17). Best I've seen is this, courtesy of [ profile] ladyegreen in the comments here. Biggest point I've seen raised that I didn't really highlight in my initial post is that by declaring Joss (and Wash) to be rapists for the reason she states is to belittle those who have actually experienced rape and devalue their experiences dealing with it. Given a few people I care about a great deal are included in that number, it really annoys me when that sort of extremist argument is used. Ah well, lunatic of the day and all that—she's censoring most of the comments that are put in, and letting some in from some people but not all of them, her journal, but I really don't see the point myself.

[1] Because, y'know, I tend to try to take the opinon of everyone seriously until and unless they prove their opinions to have no merit, and don't really like judging based on gender or sexuality, I find groupthink to be a bad idea regardless. Don't know about you.

Via James (again), who doesn't share my opinion on the merits of the show.
Did someone throw a bloggers gender awareness week thing and I missed the notification? Maybe I'm just noticing it a bit more, but discussions on objectification, stereotypes and dodgy attitudes seem to be everywhere I look at the moment. [ profile] andrewducker reposted The Rules yesterday and the comment thread at that link is worth reading. Following that, SB made a comment to my post and expanded on it at Steve' s about the sexism of the vid I posted yesterday. She's followed it up with two posts today, asking Ever Wish You Could Switch a Part of Your Personality Off? and then as a Follow-on from the previous post:
Men are biologically designed to look upon women's bodies as sexy = men are biologically designed to look on women as things, not people?

The latter being in response to Steve's follow on post:
these days I find myself being offended at it for all the wrong reasons. Adverts for random things that feature bikini-clad Barbie dolls and “oooh!” music don’t make me think “I really wish they’d stop objectifying women, because it’s detrimental to women’s rights and society.” They make me think “I wish they’d stop being SO STUPID and assuming I am also very STUPID and why do they think a bored-looking model can make sink cleaner sexy anyway?”
And that, essentially, is as close to my take on it as I can manage to enunciate.I'm aware that I'm priviledged )and that some issues, even ones I care about, don't always cross my radar )but we all look at things through prisms, mine is governance, not sexism )The video yesterday was all about stereotypes, that's one of the reasons the comedy worked )and the argument for gender equality has, essentially, been won, the pay gap has lessened in most like-for-like comparisons, etc. )besides which, sometimes it's the men who face discrimination )and this sucks, besides, outdated societal notions were bad for all of us )and I like that these days I can be out-geeked by female friends )

I'm not deluding myself, I've not got on rose tinted goggles; I know that discrimination exists, that sexism exists, that we're Not There Yet.

But ultimately I'm an optimist. Things are getting better, people are treated better, women in the workplace are just accepted now, and attitudes that they don't belong there are, culturally, seen as unacceptable by the overwhelming majority of the people that I come into contact with.

But then, I mostly come into contact with young(ish) professional(ish) educated types. The so-called opinion formers. something which leads me to believe that things will continue to get better, that society will continue to improve. We've got to monitor, we've got to watch, we've got to be vigilant, to make sure it doesn't regress, but the world today has changed fromt eh world in which my mother left school at 14 to become a shop girl.

And that's a damn good thing.

OK, that was about three times longer than planned, and I rambled, and I need to tidy it up. Gah!

OK, the other part of the post becomes a separate post. Later. Possibly. And I was going to throw in more links to studies and stuff, but, y'know, Google is your friend. Or Yahoo if your name is Iain.
Hmm. The BBC and Big Finish have announced the winner of their short story competition and [ profile] bibliophile1887 observes that the list is overwhelmingly male. [ profile] snapesbabe entered and shares the concern (interesting comments discussion in both posts). This put me in mind of a discussion last week at [ profile] nihilistic_kid's over recent submissions to his magazine:
there is a long history of women writers obscuring their gender ... One hundred percent of the authors who submit their work to Clarkesworld under an initialed byline are women.
I'd like to think that such attitudes are in the past, but looking at my shelves, the overwhelming majority of my SF books are also written by men; my current favourite author may be female, but most of the rest of my picks are male. Is this because less women are writing, because I have 'male' tastes or is there still sexism in the publishing industry?

Having said that, (Cllr) Nick submitted an entry, and as it didn't win, he's posted it to his LJ.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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