From moist to Shampoo
Jess McCabe // 30 October 2007
Personally, I just don’t feel any disgust over the word “moist”. But the news that the word rubs women up the wrong way is all over the blogosphere.
I’ve found that squeamishness about the female body and about sex basically drifted away once I acknowledged that those things are based in misogyny.
Other words that apparently provoke disgust include cornucopia. I’m still not getting it. Maybe it’s an American thing.
The seminal ’90s TV show My So-Called Life, starring the wonderful Claire Danes as the wonderful Angela, is being re-issued as an extra-packed DVD box set, says AfterEllen. Just like Dorothy, I already have the original box set, which didn’t even include crappy actor biographies, let alone illustrations by Joss Whedon. Gah! Angela was surely one of the best-realised, most realistic, coolest female characters on TV back then.
Also in pop culture, The Curvature is up in arms about the makeover that has been given to the Guitar Hero character Judy Nails for the third version of the game.
Apparently Guitar Hero now thinks that it either A. does not have any female fans or B. their female fans will, for some reason, not mind being objectified and forced to play with a character who is half naked, if they want to play with a woman.
Meanwhile, Amanda at Pandagon thinks of it slightly differently – noting how strong and in control the female characters are.
As yet another Guitar Hero addict (although I’ve not played Guitar Hero III yet), I have to say that I love the game, but I’m less than impressed with the small number of female characters you get to play, compared to the male characters, and even less gung-ho about the small number of songs by woman-fronted bands.
Also in gaming news, Girl in the Machine lauds the new version of The Sims for the Wii console for bypassing gender. You no longer need to choose whether your Sim is male or female, but if you want to female-identify your Sim, then you can now dress her in a tux:
This game has no gender roles whatsoever–it doesn’t even ask for you to specify your Sim’s sex. You have full access to the My Sims wardrobe with no strings attached. Want to pair a curly mustache with a party dress? Go ahead. A snappy suit and lipstick? Sure. Or would you rather go completely androgynous? No problem. My Sims gives you complete freedom over the look of your Sim without forcing you into any preconceived gender stereotypes.
Meanwhile, someone has launched a website called ‘Dig a Silicon Valley Girl’, which invites you to rate women working in the tech industry on their hotness. As though that wasn’t offensive enough, here is what TechCrunch had to say:
I suppose the notion of rating Valley girls in a Digg-style beauty contest could be deemed as being sexist, but I’m not going there: if the five women who read TechCrunch find this offensive their contact page is here
Gah! What’s more annoying than classifying women in a male-dominated profession by their attractiveness? Assuming that because you are a tech blog, no women read you.
Meanwhile, BoingBoing posts about a documentary on the six women who programmed the first ever programmable computer:
Afterwards, the ENIAC became a legendary machine and its engineers (all men) became famous. Never introduced or credited at the ENIAC events of the 1940s, the Programmers story disappeared from history. They became invisible.
Last week, I managed to miss the launch party for Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now!. Contributors include Cazz Blase and Red Chidgey, both of whom have also contributed to The F Word. Expect a proper review in due course, but you can already buy the book at Black Dog Publishing (see link).
It also inspired me to dig up this YouTube clip of Shampoo on Top of the Pops in 1994:
Listen to the end of the clip for the super-offensive outro! According to Wikipedia, Shampoo made it into the list of the richest women in Britain in 1995.
Finally, Hoyden About Town skewers an article that appeared in the Russian press about why women have hymen “reconstruction” surgery.
Photo by Donna Grayson, shared under a Creative Commons license