Rounding up – from mechanics to Twin Peaks

// 28 May 2008

Why don’t more young women take up “trades”, asks Kate at Salon, noting the example of high-earning women mechanics, plumbers, etc.

I love hearing this, both because I hate snobbery and because I believe totally in doing what you’re good at and/or what you love, preferably both. With what we know about “multiple intelligences” these days, it follows that plenty of kids whose parents want them to go to college and get desk jobs would probably be more fulfilled doing skilled labor. And even if a kid doesn’t particularly love working with her hands or building things or taking things apart to see how they work, how many business majors truly believe that running a company is their passion? The ones I went to school with were on that track to make money, period. So shouldn’t a paid apprenticeship in a highly remunerative trade be at least as attractive an option as spending six figures on a liberal arts education, only to graduate and get a $25,000-a-year, entry-level job?

I think there are some issues with how Kate frames this – university education is not actually a universal option or aspiration, but, that said, I think there is a strong argument that the gendered nature of “trade” jobs directs women out of higher-paid jobs and into lower-paid jobs – particularly retail, is a big problem. In Rhona-Mairead’s feature last month, she mentioned Women in Manual Trades, which looks like a great organisation. Their website features some stark statistics such as this:

I have no idea if that’s the only way to become a bricklayer; but 25 women in 12 years, in a country of 60 million people?

Elsewhere, The E-Visible Woman considers some research showing that children enjoy seeing scenes of rape and sexual assault on TV:

“Some children even say they want to be like leading male characters in TV series so that they can rape a woman,” Dr Noppadon Kannika said Tuesday as the head of the Assumption University’s research centre, “This is worrying”.

WisCon is a big US sci-fi conference – it actually sounds pretty much like a good time, but Angry Black Woman calls attention to a post on Something Awful by a woman named Rachel Moss, who attended the conference seemingly with the sole objective of secretly taking pictures of attendees and writing vile and hateful stuff about them on the internet, which bred more vile and hateful comments.

Helen has a great post up at her own blog, bird of paradox, about passing.

What Tami Said asks why the feminist blogosphere has not been critiquing sexist attacks on Michelle Obama with the same ferocity as those against Clinton – she draws attention to an image used on US megablog Daily Kos to illustrate a post about racist attacks against her husband:

Here you have Michelle Obama, bound, submissive and strangely sexualized in a backless, clinging red dress intersected with themes of racial violence. Black female bloggers raised a ruckus, but many of our allies have been noticeably silent, and if possible, the groups that have been most vocal about sexism against Hillary Clinton have been worse than silent on this and other incidents of sexism aimed at the presumptive Democratic nominee’s wife.

The Bilerico Project compiles a list of “10 gay documentaries everyone should see”, described as “an antidote to the straight-washed version of history foisted on us by traditional media and educational institutions”.

Nadine Dorries – the MP that tried so hard to get the abortion time-limit cut from 24 to 20 weeks – has been conducting a smear campaign arguing that Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman whipped the vote. Rhetorically Speaking has more on this silly idea (incidentally, non-UK readers wondering about the whipping of MPs – more info here).

Cat and Girl considers monoculture.

12-year-old basketball player Jamie Nared has been banned from playing in the boys’ team because she’s too good, and made boys on opposing teams look bad, we learn from Shakesville. Melissa hits the nail on the head:

Jamie is being denied the opportunity to play with kids her own age at the appropriate skill level. She can either play with girls much older where she’s challenged (about which her parents quite understandably aren’t thrilled; there’s a big difference between what 12-year-olds talk about and do when they hang out together and what 17-year-olds talk about and do when they hang out together), or play with girls her own age where she won’t be as challenged—and, let’s face it, will ruin the games for the other girls. A 90-7 blow-out can’t be fun for any of the other players, even those on her own team.

There’s a solution to this problem, naturally: Let Jamie play with the boys her own age, as she’s been doing. But it’s better to make her, and all the rest of the girls in her age group, suffer than risk emasculating boys who her team may beat. And forget about the boys on her team who are challenged and inspired by Jamie, like her teammate Joey Alfieri, who adorably says, “Her greatness, like, it, like, sprinkles off and goes onto us, and it kinda makes us better as a player, too.”

Writing over At The Root, Jennifer Drew has some more thoughts on the anti-alcohol-abuse poster that Helen tackled earlier this week.

The Iranian government has blocked several women’s rights websites in the country, Roja reports over at Feministing.

Sokari notes that the Old Bailey has published records which include lots of info on the lives of black people in the UK:

There are lots of interesting analytical details there: social networks among Africans in London, the continuation of slavery at sea, perceptions of freedom, and the education of African women.

What’s going on with this column over at Slate, about oral sex? It’s full of lines like this:

For your information, Mom and Dad, oral sex is now more basic than vaginal sex. That may not be part of God’s or nature’s plan. But according to survey data, it’s a fact of life.

And repeatedly talks about people “admitting” to engaging in different forms of sexual activity. I’m trying to work out if this is offensive, but to be honest it just feels really clueless and behind the times. Sex and pleasure isn’t shameful, Slate – wake up.

DollyMix directs us to yet another story of an intrepid Daily Mail reporter going without makeup and shaving for a few weeks.

Finally, CBS have put up the whole of Twin Peaks on their website for free, and for once there doesn’t seem to be one of those cursed geographical blocks that means it’s not available in the UK – thanks AfterEllen, that’s my Thursday evening gone.

Comments From You

Helen G // Posted 29 May 2008 at 3:33 pm

Great round-up and a damn fine cup of linky love to boot – thank you!

*curtseys politely*

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 29 May 2008 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Jess for highlighting Tami’s excellent question as to why feminists have not challenged the blatant misogynstic and racist depiction of Michelle Obama. I will certainly circulate this latest example of white male misogyny and racism within international networks.

Ruth Moss // Posted 29 May 2008 at 8:11 pm

Just to note, the woman was called *Rachel* Moss, NOT Ruth Moss. It certainly wasn’t me!!

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds