// 15 October 2009

Here’s some things that have been interesting me over the past few days….

Further to previous coverage of the Roman Polanski (see here, here and here) I was interested to read this from Everyday Sociology about the difference in reporting of the Roman Polanski case and the Elizabeth Smart case which looks at some of the ways in which the media reporting of each case is affected by issues of class and power.

Over at Barbara Ehrenreich’s blog is a question about women’s happiness. The discussion is around whether, as some argue, feminism has made women happier or whether research into women’s happiness has yet to find an answer as to what makes women happy (answers in the comments please!). Meanwhile (and I don’t conflate longevity with happiness necessarily), the BBC reports that well educated women mean longer lives for both the women and their male partners (apparently non-straight couples weren’t looked at….)

A woman’s education and social status were more important for a man’s life chances than his own education, the findings indicate. And a woman’s education also affects her own mortality, with someone with a school education having a 53% greater risk of dying early than a university educated woman. The authors said: “Education is of great importance through a direct influence on mortality as well as indirectly via occupation and income.”

From BBC News

Meanwhile it seems there are no depths to which Playboy will not sink to exploit women’s bodies – Marge Simpson (yes the cartoon character) will appear naked in an issue. Allison McCarthy over at Global Comment says more on this…

And finally, courtesy of Feministing, a slam poetry performance on transgender experience which is amazing….


Comments From You

Laurel Dearing // Posted 15 October 2009 at 11:40 pm

its not that the marge in playboy particularly bothers me, but have you noticed that even as a yellow character how much her skin was lightened for that cover shot? just something i couldnt help seeing.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 16 October 2009 at 12:59 pm

The glaring difference between rapist Polanski and alleged rapist Brian Mitchel who has been charged with serially raping Elizabeth Smart is one of male social and economic power. Polanski has financial and social power whereas Mitchel does not. But Everyday Sociology does not directly focus on this glaring difference.

As always, powerful men are more commonly excused their abuse of societal power when it concerns men’s violence against women and children. Men who commit violence against women and children and who are perceived as being ‘outside normal respectable society’ are more likely to be held accountable for their actions.

This is why despite similarities between Polanski’s crimes and alleged crimes of Mitchell become hidden. The question is never asked why so many men of whatever class, race, ethnicity or culture engage in systemic violence against women and children.

Playboy must be really desperate using a carton image of Marge Simpson or perhaps Playboy does not realise most males who avidly seek out porn need look no further than a swift trip to their local newsagents or supermarket. Porn mags such as Nuts, Zoo, Maxim are readily available and of course porn is only a click away from the male finger as he access the internet. Free market forces rule and this is why Playboy has to resort to nasty, misogynistic tricks. But never mind Marge is just a carton character is she not and just ‘fantasy’ which has no bearing in relation to everyday dehumanised representations of women as ‘men’s sexualised commodities’ or the appropriation of female sexuality in order to sell items such as toilet cleaners, washing powder etc.

Oh look an excellent reason for women to seek out higher education because it benefits their male partners. Rather than many women wanting access to higher education in order to enhance their own life opportunities – not once again it is for the benefit of men!

Laura // Posted 16 October 2009 at 4:22 pm

That slam poetry performance is fantastic.

gadgetgal // Posted 19 October 2009 at 4:03 pm

Just wanted to add this one:

I know in the Linux community it’s old news but as a computer geek myself I wanted to let people know that sexism is alive and thriving in some sectors of industry, and seemingly not getting any better! I’d have added more links on this but I didn’t because a lot of readers here would find the comments on linux sites mind-bogglingly boarish and offensive – think Daily Fail times 1000!!

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