Another round-up: Unsurprising News, PMS, Playground Insults and a Porn Debate

by Holly Combe // 21 March 2008, 19:39

Tags: body fascism, body politics, homophobia, language, PMS, porn, round-up, sexual freedom

There's a very heartening article in the Telegraph about the recent finding that being a feminist seems to offer some protection against the negative influence of current fashion when it comes to assessing which body types are attractive. Admittedly, it was a small sample and does raise the old question of why the attractiveness of women is still being deemed as so important anyway but, overall, I think it serves as a cheerful reminder of why we still need feminism.

Meanwhile, Melissa at Shakesville offers a retort to some widely held assumptions about PMS:

"Women don't lose their minds when they have period-related irritability. It doesn't lower their ability to reason; it lowers their patience and, hence, tolerance for bullshit. If an issue comes up a lot during "that time of the month," that doesn't mean she only cares about it once a month; it means she's bothered by it all the time and lacks the capacity, once a month, to shove it down and bury it beneath six gulps of willful silence. Those are the things most worth paying attention to. (By both people involved.)"

Another excellent post this week is, Alex Blaze's heads up on a study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers that finds misogynistic and homophobic insults (or ones that combine the two) are the most popular with schoolchildren. No surprises there, though I do sometimes wonder if the tiresome "gay" insult is sometimes just a reference to the kind of dated pink-with-bells-on-it campness that actually has nothing to do with what gender you fancy or what gender you identify with. However, I accept that might just be me trying far too hard to give the benefit of the doubt...

Finally (for now), there's an open thread on the question "can there be feminist porn?" over at Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog . While I thought the moderator was perhaps a little bit harsh on a commenter's example of ethics on an S&M site, I would say the discussion offers plenty of interesting insights and I'm really pleased to see that it hasn't erupted into a flame war. It's also worth mentioning that, while I was looking at this discussion, I stumbled on a link to this rather brilliant piece about why rape shouldn't be excused as "just rough sex" because of the common knowledge that, yes, women enjoy shagging as much as men. (Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people out there who think rape is a lot of fuss over nothing. Indeed, I once encountered a guy who reckoned forcing a penis into a woman's vagina was no worse than "forcing her to hold a basket in her hand." Seriously.)

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