Weekly round-up and open thread (28 December-3 January)

// 3 January 2011

Happy New Year to all F Word readers! Here’s what we missed in the week just past. As usual, please note that a link doesn’t necessarily imply agreement with everything that’s posted!

Are political beliefs hardwired? (Tom Feilden/BBC)

Girl gang’s grip on London underworld revealed (Guardian)

Google’s Marissa Mayer: Girls Can Be Geeks, Too (Newsweek)

Haikuleaks

The Grand Lady Comics Creator Tumblr Census 2011 (Ladies Making Comics)

ADHD Eggs (Melissa Gira Grant)

“Stay At Home Daughters”: New age feminists or just plain lazy? (Altmuslimah)

Geraldine Doyle, the unwitting inspiration for Rosie the Riveter on the We Can Do It! posters, has died.

Former Israeli president found guilty of rape (Guardian)

Reflections on student protests and UK Uncut: 12 essential posts (False Economy blog)

5 Goals For Women with Depression This New Year (EmpowerHER)

Pro-feminist New Year’s resolutions for straight guys (bill’s profeminist blog)

Pessimistic outlook for women MPs (politics.co.uk)

‘Hidden mother’ photos

Goodbye from FWD

Women on top? Not with this ghastly lot! (Daily Mail)

Maternity care on verge of collapse (Guardian)

100 demonstrate for Yarl’s Wood hunger striker Denise McNeill

A Black Man’s Take on the Street Harassment of Black Women (The Lesbian Mafia)

Comments From You

HarpyMarx // Posted 4 January 2011 at 9:14 am

On the 23 Dec trade union activist Jayaben Desai died. She led the Grunwick strike of ’76/77 . She was an inspiration for trade unionists, especially women activists. She stood firm and showed immense strength and courage.

I first heard Jayaban Desai speak at the 30th anniversary of the Grunwick strike organised by Brent Trades Union Council. As the majority of the platform were white male trade unionists it was damn good to see them (along with the audience ) give her a standing ovation.

What came out of the strike was the heroism of women like Jayaban Desai and other strikers who showed defiance and courage and stood firm against these attacks by management. It brought to the forefront of the labour movement issues around racism, migrant workers and sexism. Issues which nobody had really considered before.

Jayaben said at the 30th anniversary conference: “It was what I had to do, and I hope that you would do the same.”

Josie // Posted 4 January 2011 at 9:59 am

Well Amanda Platell really has surpassed herself this time. Or is she just parodying herself?! She’s one of the vilest misogynists writing in that horrid rag and that’s saying something!

polly // Posted 4 January 2011 at 10:15 pm

Re: are political beliefs hardwired?

Is it possible that journalists will ever realise correlation does not equal causation?

The fact that certain brain structures are present in people with certain political beliefs does not mean that beliefs are ‘hardwired’. It could mean that the factors which caused people to have those beliefs also caused their brain to change. It could be that having those beliefs actually caused certain areas of their brain to develop. Or there could be no causal relationship/connection either way.

The only way in which you could prove that certain brain structures CAUSE people to have certain characteristics would be if you could measure brains immediately post birth and then observe the subjects as they grew up to see if there was a significant difference (controlling for all other factors which may influence political beliefs so you only compared like with like, which would be impossible in practice).

EG people with left wing beliefs may be from less affluent backgrounds overall. Factors about those backgrounds (eg diet, education) may also influence their brain structure. Being in the Bullingdon club could actually affect your brain! (yes I know it doesn’t sound very likely).

Etc…..

Science, it’s complicated.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 6 January 2011 at 1:11 am

@Polly- Some of the historical work on political beliefs suggest that it is generational- and that events in certain formative years determine whether a particular generation will tend to be conservative, radical etc (within which there is of course variations, which can also be tied to other life experiences like class etc).

So, if this is true, it would suggest that brain structures are shaped by life experience rather than vice-versa- which is what a lot of neuroscientists believe anyhoo.

coldharbour // Posted 8 January 2011 at 9:28 pm

I presume it would be featured in the next round up if there was not going to be a more immediate blog on it but I thought I’d post up anyway just in case no one has seen/heard yet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/08/jack-straw-white-girls-easy-meat

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