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Just when you thought Fox News couldn’t get any better, they go and publish an insane op-ed called “The War On Men” (Really babe? A war? Like with real guns and stuff? Or just with angry women yielding tampons?) that makes you smack your forehead in delightful frustration. After publishing this piece, I’m sure everyone at Fox News did a happy jig and yelled, “YEAH, BITCH. WE STILL GOT IT!!! Who wants to go to Guy Fieri’s new restaurant in Times Square to celebrate the imminent page views?”

Writer Al Bundy, oops I mean Suzanne Venker, posits that modern women are having trouble finding a dude to marry them these days because, um, they’re not women anymore! What do you mean, Suzanne? Are you inferring that women have somehow lost their vaginas during the commute to their high-powered jobs?  According to Venker, women are now being raised with a certain level of hostility towards men and that needs to stop ASAPular! She also says that men don’t want to compete with women. They just want to go to work and provide for them in exchange for some home cooked meals and late night back tickles. WHY, OH WHY, CAN’T WOMEN JUST LET THEM DO THAT? STOP WORKING AND WANTING TO DO THINGS WITH YOUR LIVES. Don’t they realize that they’re just making it that much harder for themselves? After all, who’s going to want to marry a chick with a 401k? Dealbreaker!

Woman who attacked Gauguin painting has a radio in her head

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“I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned. I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.” — Susan Burns, art critic.

Looks like Michele Bachmann has some serious competition for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination!

Software pioneer and ENIAC programmer Jean Bartik dies at 86

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The New York Times has published an obituary for Jean Jennings Bartik, “one of the first computer programmers and a pioneering forerunner in a technology that came to be known as software.” She died on March 23 at a nursing home in Poughkeepsie, NY, at age 86. She was the last surviving member of the group of women who programmed the Eniac, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, regarded as the first all-electronic digital computer. (via Jim Roberts)

Photo, via Wikipedia: “Two women operating the ENIAC’s main control panel while the machine was still located at the Moore School. ‘U.S. Army Photo’ from the archives of the ARL Technical Library. Left: Betty Jennings (Mrs. Bartik) Right: Frances Bilas (Mrs. Spence)

Video of hot elf women in sinister forest heralds arrival of Elfquest fan feature

Elfquestteaser1.jpg Fans of classic indie comic Elfquest, tired of waiting on Warner Brothers to get cracking on the official movie, recently finished work on a “fan trailer” featuring some of the series’ female characters. Shown off at Wondercon by creators Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes — with the blessing of original authors Wendy and Richard Pini — the live-action scene-setter captures the saga’s weird combination of European and Native American folklore. elfquestteaser2.jpgElfquest, now available free online, was among the first indie comics to be sold in bookstores or to attract a significant female audience. It’s also credited with hitting some transgressive notes back in the 70s: mixed-race relationships, genre-spanning stories, matter-of-fact violence, and a free-love lifestyle made apparent in events such as war orgies and bisexual goings-on in the night. See if you can guess, before watching it, which of these attributes the trailer somehow seems to suggest without really trying. ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining: Teaser Trailer [YouTube] Elfquestfantrailer.com [Official website via i09]

Assuming women are photoshopped ‘beyond recognition’ has pitfalls, learns Internet

limorwired.jpeg As soon as I saw that Wired had put excellent lady engineer Limor Fried on the cover, my first thought was Yes! Finally! My second thought was “Angry people will find something to be angry about here!” And so it was, with Good magazine writing that Wired had “photoshopped a Lady scientist beyond recognition” and that it is “fucking wrong.” Good even dug out an old photo to prove how ‘normal’ Fried looks in real life, an act of David Brentian chivalry if ever there was one. But it doesn’t really matter, because strong women do not need Homo Internetii to defend their honor. At Boing Boing and elsewhere, Fried commented: “The cover is stylized but that is really what I looked like. I was not ‘plasticized’ or ‘heavily photoshopped’. if I take off my glasses, have my hair done, and wear make-up its what I look like.”

Breastmilk ice-cream

Icecreamists, an ice-cream parlour in London’s Covent Garden, is selling human breast milk ice-cream for £14 a scoop. The breastmilk is purchased from lactating mothers, and the product (called “Baby Gaga”) is intended to raise awareness of breastmilk’s deliciousness and encourage more breastfeeding. The milk is pasteurised and flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla pods.

“Some people will hear about it and go yuck – but actually it’s pure organic, free-range and totally natural.”

Mrs Hiley, who gets £15 for every 10 ounces of milk she donates to the company, said it was a great “recession beater”.

“What’s the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?” she added.

“I teach women how to get started on breastfeeding their babies. There’s very little support for women and every little helps.”

Mr O’Connor said health checks for the lactating women were the same used by hospitals to screen blood donors.

Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden (via Neatorama)

(Image: The IceCreamists. Guerilla Ice Cream @ Selfridges, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from evert-jan’s photostream)

California congresswoman: a vendetta against Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with creating jobs or reducing the deficit

Eileen Gunn sez, “Rep. Jackie Speier (D, CA) spoke passionately in opposition to stripping Planned Parenthood of any US funding. Compare and contrast with smarmy Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ).”

Speier’s point is well-taken: using a budget debate as an excuse to pursue Planned Parenthood is obstructionist, divisive politics at its worst. Imagine if the Democratic House had refused to pass any budget unless it contained amendments blocking funding to every agency, institution, charity and contractor that the American left objected to. The fact that this particular amendment vilifies women who’ve had to make wrenching decisions and endure difficult and painful procedures, often for life-saving reasons, is all the more infuriating.

(Thanks, Eileen Gunn, via Submitterator!)

Italy: Bad Day for Sultan Berlusconi as Millions of Women Demand He Resign


Photo (click for large) by Francesca Ottobelli: anti-Berlusconi protesters in Italy today.

“If Not Now, When?” was a national demonstration of Italian women, against Berlusconi and, to put it bluntly, his porno-democracy. The demo had other slogans as well: Resign! Basta! I don’t give up! ADESSO, NOW!

A flash mob in 280 cities of Italy and 50 cities abroad, millions of people, mostly women, but also men and children. The demonstrations have been growing in the months since Berlusconi got caught up in the sex scandal vertigo with minors, prostitutes, pimps and orgies.

A week ago in Milan, in a big rally, the prominent intellectuals in Italian public life threw themselves into the campaign: the distinguished professor and writer Umberto Eco, Roberto Saviano the star of the antimafia campaign, the judges of of the constitutional court, trade union leaders and many others. But as one of the speakers, the orchestra director Pollini remarked : Berlusconi will never step down.

Berlusconi did not leave public life. On the contrary, he sped up his counter-campaign, attacking the judges in Milan who brought the latest of many legal cases against him. He even threatened to take his case to the European Parliament and sue the nation of Italy. He organized rallies in his support , claiming that his innocent altruistic interest in young girls had been cruelly misunderstood. He also accused the investigators of orchestrating a communist-biased coup against himself as head of government.

But his luck may be turning these days, after sixteen long years of media monopoly and political domination. Even the Catholic daily, Avvenire, came out with a big editorial claiming that decent Catholic women should be in the public squares on the 13th of February. It’s rare of the Church to urge women to take to the streets to defend their dignity. Then there is the dignity of the state to consider, for the ludicrous shambles of Italian public life has become a matter of international concern.


(photo: Francesca Ottobelli)

Continue reading “Italy: Bad Day for Sultan Berlusconi as Millions of Women Demand He Resign”

In Congo, mass rape on New Year’s Day

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Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) reports that workers at the international emergency medical aid organization treated victims of mass rape on New Year’s Day in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The group treated 33 women who were raped in the village of Fizi, South Kivu.

According to the United Nations, rape is often used as a weapon of war here. Some 15,000 women were raped in the eastern portion of the country in 2009, and the UN has named the DRC “rape capital of the world.” Often during this type of assault, the victim’s children or spouse are forced to watch.

Details from the organization follow.

Continue reading “In Congo, mass rape on New Year’s Day”

Neurosexism examined: Delusions of Gender

delusions-gender.jpg Stanford neurobiologist Ben Barres has a great review of Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. Dr. Fine outlines some of the methodological problems and biases that creep into work by behavioral scientists who study sexual differentiation. Dr. Barres has been on the front lines of the battle against neurosexism for years, because he has first-hand experiences with how this bias gets reified through science and social expectations. He made a name for himself in the field before transition from female to male. He has a number of all-too-common stories about how he’s been treated with more deference and respect by peers now that he lives as male. From his review “Neuro Nonsense“:

Based on my experiences as a neurobiologist and as a transgendered person, I have previously argued that innate sex differences in the brain are not relevant to real-world accomplishments. Without question, male and female brains have different circuits that help to control their different reproductive behaviors. So it has long seemed an easy step to believe that such anatomic changes also underlie supposed gender differences in cognitive abilities. Rather, in a theme that Fine elegantly expands on, it is the idea itself that women are innately less capable that may be the primary cause of differences in accomplishment. This idea Fine appropriately dubs “neurosexism.” This idea was long ago powerfully encapsulated in the concept of “stereotype threat,” the phenomenon in which members of a sex or race perform substantially worse on a test–and perhaps in real-world environments–when they are led to believe before the test that they are innately less capable.

Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference