Tags: feminism

cap, captain miss america

Social Issues in the Sony Email Leaks

Out of curiosity, after reading that Marvel article earlier, I went to Wikileaks and searched the database of Sony emails.

There are about 173,000 emails in the archive.

Of those, I searched for:

“feminism” : a word that appeared in 17 emails (.0098%)
“feminist” : a word that appeared in 43 emails (.025%)
“sexism” : a word that appeared in 29 emails (.017%)

Nearly every one of these emails was to or from Amy Pascal, who was fired after the leak.

”racism” : a word that appeared in 60 emails, most of which are either news reports, or, again, conversations including Amy Pascal (.035%)
“sexual harassment” : a word that appeared in 65 emails, most of which are alerts, news reports, and employee newsletters (.038%)
“misogyny” : a word that appears once in a news report (.0006%)
“gender issues” : a phrase that does not appear (0%)
“gender identity” : a phrase that appears three times, all in newsletters (.0017%)
“transgender” : a word that appears 38 times, all but twice in newsletters. The two outliers are a script query to Amy Pascal from an LBGT writer, and a warning about a man who “felt up his transgender niece’s boobs.” (.022%)
“genderqueer” : a phrase that does not appear
“non-binary”: a phrase that does not appear
“intersectionality” : a phrase that does not appear
“black women” : a phrase that appears 12 times, all of which were news reports (.0069%)
“black woman” : a phrase that appears 34 times, all of which were news reports (.0197%)
“lgbt: : a phrase that appears 148 times, most of which are news reports, and the vast majority of which are not are all part of the same thread in which Sony execs discuss putting out PR fires after HRC asked them to boycott a hotel that had booted an LGBT teen suicide hotline organization. (.086%)
“glbt” : a phrase that appears twice, but is two copies of the same email (.0012%)
“queer” : a word that appears 11 times, all in relation to announcements and news reports, with the exception of a single email about how teen girl audiences enjoy gay love stories. (.0064%)
“homophobia” : a word that appears 8 times, all of which are news reports and announcements. (.0046%)
“disability” : a word that appears 85 times, the vast majority of which are in reference to insurance coverage and HR requests.  (.049%)

That is how little these words were being used at Sony.

None of them made up even one percent of the emails being sent or received.

I could probably keep doing this all night but I feel like this is enough of a representation to illustrate the problem.

cap, captain miss america

This conversation shouldn’t have to happen, but when it does, this is how it should go.

I was in the grocery store, waiting in line for the self-scanner, carrying my basket and a large bag from another store. One of the employees reached for my basket without asking, and said “Let me help you with that, honey.

As usual, I bristled.  I know that for some people, this is considered a standard friendly way to greet a woman, but I’m used to it being used in one of two ways: catcalling and other verbal harassment, or to condescend, especially to a younger woman, in a “oh you can’t carry that heavy basket, honey.”

Now, I was fine managing my basket, but since he was an employee, I was also appreciative that he was attentive enough to offer help.  I wasn’t appreciative of the “honey” part of the statement.

I told him not to call me “honey.”

Now, usually, this is the part where a guy will put his hands up and say he was only trying to compliment you, or “whoa, back off,” as if you were the one getting in his business, or whatnot.  Some guys will get actively hostile.

He didn’t.  He said, “I’m really sorry.   Please don’t crucify me?  What would you like to be called?  Should I call you ma’am?”

I was a little annoyed by the ‘please don’t crucify me’ part, but sort of surprised that he apologized so sincerely.  I said, “I don’t mind what you call me, as long as it is not a diminutive or affectionate term.”

“I won’t use it again.  I really didn’t mean it that way,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said. “And I’m not trying to crucify you either.  It just really frustrates me.”

“I know,” he said.  “That was a bad choice of words on my part.”  It was pretty clear he was referring to the ‘crucify’ part, here.  “I’ve been helping elderly women all day, and they like being called ‘honey,’ so it was on the tip of my tongue.  I see you in the store a lot, and I  want you to feel comfortable here.”

“Yeah,” I said.  “I know you didn’t mean it to be offensive.  But a lot of guys it just to be condescending.”

“Yeah, I know that,” he said.  “I won’t say it again.”

“Thank you for apologizing,” I said.

“Thank you for understanding,” he said. “I hope we’ll see you again soon.  Have a good night.”

This is obviously not exactly verbatim, but it is as closely paraphrased as I can make it.  At no point did this man raise his voice, or act frustrated with me at all.  Even though I am not sure I buy the part about him only calling me ‘honey’ because he’d been helping old ladies, he seemed to understand exactly why it bothered me, once I said something about it.  And he expressed that he wanted to respect my boundaries.  Part of it, I’m sure, was because he was an employee and I was a customer, but I’ve had other interactions with store employees over similar complaints that did not go as well, so part of it is also the individual.

I’m writing this down because I talk a lot about negative interactions with men over gendered language, and I wanted to point out that there are men who get it, and as respectful of women who communicate their boundaries.  Even strange men, who aren’t our friends.  Thanks, guys, to all those of you who DO.

Of course, I walked out of the store and got followed down the block by a guy who shouted “hey, baby!” at me (he stopped when I turned around and shouted, “don’t do that!” back at him), but, you know.  Baby steps.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america

Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

cap, captain miss america

What I Was(n’t) Wearing

I don’t remember if I was twelve or thirteen. I do know that it was sometime during Bar Mitzvah season, the spring of seventh grade or the autumn of eighth. I’m pretty sure it was after someone’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and I’m pretty sure that it happened at a synagogue, even though my memory tries to replace the space beyond archway where I waited that night with the backdrop of my high school. But I remember fairly well that I was underneath a brick archway, the kind at pickup spots, where you can wait in the rain for your ride to come.

And I remember what I was wearing.

It was a black satin sailor-style outfit– one piece, with a high neckline and long, knee-length culottes instead of a skirt, white piping on the collar. It was dressy, and conservative, and appropriate to wear to a Bar Mitzvah service. I also thought it was very grown up.

It was dark, and most of the guests had left. The parking lot lights glowed overhead, but it was well into evening and the sky was dim. There were just three of us there, waiting for our parents to come pick us up. I was standing against one side of the arch. The two boys, both boys from my grade at school, were standing against the other side, chatting. I went to a small school, so while I wasn’t friends with them and wouldn’t say I knew them particularly well, I knew who they were, what classes they were in, that sort of thing.

The funny thing is, all these years later, I cannot for the life of me remember who the second boy was. I don’t remember if he did anything or said anything. I know there was a second boy there, that’s all. The other one, I remember vividly.

I don’t know how it started, but they came over to my side of the arch, and I think they chatted with me a little bit. Harmless, casual chat. I don’t remember that either. I do remember that I was downright shocked by the question the boy asked me.

“Can I touch your breasts?” he asked, suddenly, out of the blue, out of nowhere.

I felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. “What?” I asked him, and I hunched my shoulders over to make my breasts look smaller. They were already extremely large; I was already self-conscious of them. “No,” I added, once I came to the full realization that he had really asked that.

He seemed undeterred. “Please?” he asked. “Why not?”

I remember being mostly incredulous that he asked that. I think I laughed. I asked him if he was joking, and told him no again, more firmly, and probably with whatever kind of strong language passed for a swear in my very stuffy preteen mind.

He told me that he just wanted to see what it felt like.

I told him no, repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms. I am pretty sure I told him that was gross.

And then he reached out, and grabbed my breast, and squeezed it, with all five of his fingers. And then dropped his hand, and described it to his friend, as if I wasn’t even there anymore, now that he’d gotten what he’d wanted. I remember him saying it didn’t feel any different from any other body part, and sort of squishy.

I remember my face going completely hot, and I remember being struck dumb. I’d told him no, over and over again, and he didn’t listen.

I was lucky, I guess, that we were in a public place, even if it was fairly empty, and that my parents were on their way to pick me up, and that all he wanted was to touch my breast, because if he’d asked for something else, he clearly didn’t seem interested in taking no for an answer.

I have never written out this story in detail. I have mentioned it in passing a few times. I did drop out of peer tutoring in high school when I was assigned to tutor him. I couldn’t bring myself to tell the advisor why I was dropping out. I just explained that I was too busy.

I was wearing knee-length culottes and a short-sleeved top with a high neckline. It was black, and dressy, and conservative. It was not low-cut, or high-cut, or tight, or fitted. Because men (and boys) don’t take our clothing as an invitation. They take our existence as an invitation. A man who wants to humiliate a woman, or touch a woman in a way she doesn’t want to be touched doesn’t think about a woman as being a person with feelings and wishes of her own to be respected. He doesn’t care what she is wearing.

This wasn’t the last time this happened to me, although it was certainly the most shocking. That outfit was only the first in a line of outfits that I have taken home, and crumpled up on the floor of my closet, and been unable to bring myself to wear again. Because even when I know the things I’ve said above, girls are taught that it’s either something they’re wearing, or something they’re doing. I know it’s not. But it’s still easier to blame it on the clothes, even when the clothes were knee-length, high-necked, black, dressy and conservative.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america


[info]karnythia recently posted a wonderful post about dealing with unwanted male attention, and it made me revisit a draft of a post I started writing after the I Write Like meme stuff I posted. The original post wasn’t about the story I’m sharing here. This was originally background information, but the more I wrote, the more this became its own story.

When I was twelve, I went on a school-sponsored camping trip. We went away for a week, and stayed in cabins for all but one night. On the last night, some of us were selected by lottery to go on a tent overnight.

I was one of the lucky kids who was chosen to go. I’m not sure how it happened, being the social outcast I was in middle school, but I wound up in a tent with a group of the more popular girls in my grade. These girls were usually very nice to me, but why they chose me for their tent is still beyond me. But they were friendly and inclusive, and for that night, I actually felt like I belonged in their group.

We pitched our tent fairly close to a tent belonging to a group of boys in our grade, one of whom I had a massive (and I thought, undying) crush on. I thought nothing of it.

Then it was time for bed, and in hushed whispers, the girls in my tent arranged a game of Truth or Dare with the boys across the way. I remember feeling apprehensive– I was thrilled, in part, to be permitted, even if just for one night, to be included in a game that was one of those secret realms of the popular, a game to be played at parties that boys came to. But I was also afraid. What if someone asked me to do something I didn’t want?

I decided the easiest way to deal with the situation was to just answer “Truth.”

We played without leaving our tents, whispering our demands and our responses between the two. It made it difficult to come up with good dares, but somehow, they came anyway. It was strange, though, this lack of association that the boundaries of the tents created.

When my first turn came around, they asked me, if I had to date any boy in the school, who would it be?

Of course, the boy it would have been was in the next tent. I was mortified, I didn’t want to say his name and have them all laugh. He already had a girlfriend, as much as any twelve-year-old could have a girlfriend, and it was one of the more popular girls, that these girls were friends with. I said I didn’t know, I didn’t like any of the boys.

They said I had to pick one. One of them suggested a name, a boy who was nice enough but probably someone they thought was socially acceptable for me to date– not too cute, not too popular.

And I named a completely different boy, one whom I thought was very conventionally attractive but not someone they were friends with, who I thought wouldn’t be an asshole about it if he found out.

They all laughed at me, incredulous, because he was shorter than me. I wasn’t sure what to make of that, but it wasn’t really that big a deal. I was a little embarrassed for a moment, but we moved on.

Another girl asked for a dare, and the boys told her to hand her bra across to their tent.

Things went quiet in our tent for a moment. The girl in question looked at all of us and whispered, quiet enough that the boys couldn’t hear, that she wasn’t wearing a bra.

One of the girls told her to just tell them, but she was too embarrassed to let the boys know she wasn’t wearing one. Finally, I asked her what size bra she wore.

“34A,” she said.

I said that was my size.

The girls looked at me with disbelief. “But your boobs are so huge!” one of them whispered.

The boys didn’t seem to catch on that this was taking so long. I suspect maybe they just thought that’s how long it took to get a bra off. I, meanwhile, started taking off mine, and handed it to her. She gave it to the boys, claiming it was her own.

The boys passed the bra back a couple of minutes later, and it didn’t look like they’d done anything weird to it. Knowing the boys in question fairly well, I think the dare was largely spurred by a combination of genuine curiosity and the fact that that’s what they thought they were supposed to be doing. None of them laughed or made any lewd comments. It wasn’t creepy in the way it might have been, and I didn’t feel pressured to hand over my bra.

The other girl was spared humiliation, and the game went one, but I don’t remember anything else about it.

It was the first time anyone told me I had big breasts. Uncertain, I went to my mom and told her an edited version of this story (leaving out the fact that it had come up during a game of truth or dare). She took me bra shopping shortly after that, and I was re-fitted with a 34C. In eighth grade, I was wearing a D, and then a DD.

By the time I was in ninth grade, I was having to special-order my bras.

But that night was the first moment in my life when I was even aware that I had breasts that were even a little larger than average. Somehow, looking in the mirror every day, the way preteen girls do, I never noticed the difference between the shape of my body and the shapes of other girls’ bodies. It took another girl to point it out to me, in the dark, in a tent. Until that moment, my breasts had never been part of my identity, and after that moment, it became increasingly difficult for them not to be.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america

Inception (Movie Review)

I went to see Inception yesterday morning and I wanted to write up my thoughts about it.

For people who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a movie about a team of people who go into people’s dreams to steal information. Early on in the film, we learn that the title, Inception, refers to the much more difficult task of planting information in a person’s dream. It’s not a super new idea– Neil Gaiman played with similar ideas in Sandman, and there’s a bit of the same concept in City of Lost Children, and I assume it’s much older than that, but those are the two examples foremost in my mind, but applying the concept to a modern-day action movie is pretty new, as far as I know.

From here on in, this is going to be pretty spoilertastic stuff if you haven’t see it yet, but I also don’t feel like it’s the kind of movie that can be spoiled, except for a lone single shot that doesn’t effect the plot of the film. People who’ve seen the movie know what lone single shot I mean.

People who haven’t seen it and want to remain completely unspoiled, the short version goes, I enjoyed it, but there were a lot of things I was hoping for that weren’t there, and a lot of things that disappointed me about it.

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I don't want to make it sound like I didn't like the movie, because I did. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable on the same level that I find many action movies with tight plots and stellar casts to be enjoyable, but no more, and I was really banking on this being a much more highly fantasist film than it was. That it wasn't was a bit of a letdown.

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Mirrored from Antagonia.net.
cap, captain miss america

My Father Writes Like Me

Some (likely) closing words on the “I Write Like” Meme (apartment photos and general life updates still to come). I just wanted to address some of the key questions I saw raised repeatedly today as the conversation got very large and I wasn’t able to reply to everyone individually.

1) It appears that several new authors were added to the “I Write Like” meme. Confirmed: Margaret Mitchell, Mary Shelley, Stephenie Meyer, Ursula LeGuin, Agatha Christie, David Foster Wallace.

I have not seen or heard anything about any authors of color being added. Which is, as [info]nojojojo said, making it worse, because at this point he’s knowingly being exclusionary, especially since I’ve seen multiple people suggest authors of color to him directly.

2) I have heard multiple reports that he is no longer approving comments from people who question this issue on his blog. However, he said that he will take suggestions with the hashtag #iwlvote on twitter, and he can’t really do anything about people who comment to @iwritelike on twitter.

3) Many people brought up questions about the original included list. Dmitry said to me yesterday in a private email that the list was gleaned from two sources: top bestsellers listed on Wikipedia, and the top downloads list on Project Gutenberg. While those lists are obviously skewed toward white men to begin with, there were female authors and authors of color on both lists who never appeared to be in the meme, which means that there was some editorial choice on his part about which authors on those lists to include– and which to exclude.

4) This is the first time I’ve posted a post of this nature since I started blogging more seriously off-livejournal. It’s interesting to note that while the vast majority of people who responded to this post on livejournal commented in agreement with the concerns I raised, and the people who didn’t approached the subject with honest questions, the majority of (far fewer) comments on my personal blog at Antagonia.net were criticizing my post, and not in a thoughtful or friendly manner, either. It was interesting to me to see the difference.

5) I just wanted to share the email my father sent to the meme’s creator after reading my blog. My father is a middle-aged white man, just in case anyone is curious.

My friends and I were excited to see this enjoyable “game”. However, it became clear that even though your idea is really good , your execution is lacking.

If you want to really provide something more “professional” you simply
should consider:

1. Including more writers
2. Including different ethnic and religious backgrounds. After all, writers style are very much influenced by their surroundings and period beliefs. This is a real reason why their are differing styles
3. Consider other constructive suggestions you have received and better yourself and your product.

Dmitry, inclusion is a key element of success; exclusion is a road to
narrow minded failure.

Good luck and thank you again for your efforts.


Of course, when a man wrote to him, Dmitry wrote back saying “thanks for your suggestions!” Although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that that might be a result of critical mass at this point.

I hope that answers everybody I didn’t get around to replying to. Thanks for your comments and especially for passing on this discussion to others– I think a lot of people only saw one or two results from the meme and didn’t quite realize what was going on with it.

I am still disappointed that this thing is getting national news coverage, though. It’s sort of inspiring me to put some effort in to re-building my meme library once I move. We need a new OTP generator. That doesn’t exclude anybody on any basis apart from “Tea thinks that’s too hard to draw.”

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america

Rhetorically Constructed, or: We All Write Like White Men, Part 2

Thanks, [info]fourzoas, for the subject line :-P

I wrote to Dmitri of Codingrobots, the site responsible for “I Write Like” yesterday, after I posted about it, and linked him to my post.

I would feel remiss to share his response as it was a private email and I did not ask to, but he replied swiftly and promptly.

His response was in two parts. The first part disheartened me, as he said that the software couldn’t tell what race or gender the authors were. He seemed to think that my complaint was that *I* didn’t get a woman of color as my response to the meme.

He also said that he thinks men and women are stylistically similar so he didn’t see the big deal.

However, he closed by saying that if I wanted to recommend him some authors to add, to please do so.

I’ve sent him a list. If you want to send him one, his email address is dmitry [at] codingrobots [dot] com.

[info]intrepia compiled a list of authors in the meme as of yesterday afternoon. If Dmitry’s estimate that there were 40 authors included is accurate, this is a complete or near-complete list:

Douglas Adams
Isaac Asimov
Margaret Atwood
Jane Austen
L. Frank Baum
Ray Bradbury
Dan Brown
Raymond Chandler
Lewis Carroll
James Fenimore Cooper
Daniel Defoe
Charles Dickens
Arthur Conan Doyle
Ian Fleming
Harry Harrison
Ernest Hemingway
James Joyce
Stephen King
Rudyard Kipling
Jack London
H. P. Lovecraft
Vladimir Nabokov
George Orwell
Chuck Palahniuk
Edgar Allan Poe
Mario Puzo
J. K. Rowling
J. D. Salinger
William Shakespeare
Iain Sinclair
Robert Louis Stevenson
Bram Stoker
Jonathan Swift
J. R. R. Tolkien
Leo Tolstoy
Mark Twain
Kurt Vonnegut
H. G. Wells
Oscar Wilde
PG Wodehouse

That list contains 37 white men and three white women. There is not a lone single author of color anywhere on the list. If I’ve somehow mistaken someone’s racial background, I apologize, and please correct me.

In other news, this post has gotten me a +1 for the day and a -1 for the day.

In +1 news, Margaret Atwood retweeted my tweet!

Pix, because it happened:

That sort of makes me feel like I’ve entered a magical alternate reality!

But in bad news, I had to screen a comment on my blog because someone actually left hate speech! With words I don’t care to repeat in it and everything. I was somewhat shocked. Fortunately, that is what screening is for.


The (once again prompt) reply I got from the creator of the meme is so frustrating that I’m no longer feeling that I owe his privacy any respect. Here you go:


Thanks for your reply. I’ve added more writers into the database
recently. But I *absolutely* will not add people into the database due
to their race or gender. I will not search for lists of white, black,
Asian, Hispanic, or any other types of people that you _took care to
differentiate_. All people are equal to me, and equality means not
looking at skin color or different types of chromosomes.

I think the question is closed.

Dmitry Chestnykh
I Write Like

I got my keys to my apartment, so next post will be empty!apartment pics!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america

We All Write Like White Men

So, I’d been eyeing that meme going around since yesterday…

You know the one, the one where you plug in something you’ve written, and it tells you who you write like?

But I was starting to notice an uncomfortable pattern, so I decided to plug in some famous authors.

I started with people whom I knew were actually represented in the meme generator:


I write like
Ernest Hemingway

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Margaret Atwood

I write like
P. G. Wodehouse

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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ETA for those of you coming from Roger Ebert's Twitter, there are two follow-up posts:

Rhetorically Constructed
My Father Writes Like Me

I recommend you read before commenting because they have additional information. Thanks!

I also want to thank you, Mr. Ebert, for linking.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.