Live-tweeting Women Writing Across Cultures

29 Sep

So, I spent this weekend at the Women Writing Across Cultures conference at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.

This wasn’t my first time live-tweeting a conference; I’d live-blogged a conference earlier in the year, and found that I really enjoyed the experience. This weekend was no different – I really like having to pay such close attention and working to transmit the information to readers.

An image from the conference website.

An image from the conference website.

I’m wondering if this is something I could do more regularly. At one of the conferences above, the organizers paid my conference registration fees in exchange for my live-tweeting and some other admin work. Since money is really tight for me, the idea of doing this more regularly in exchange for access to conferences is really appealing.

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Friday listicle round-up

26 Sep

Here we go – some light feminist Friday reading to ease you into your weekend. I’ll be spending the weekend working at and presenting at the Women Writing Across Cultures conference here in Oxford; if you’re interested in academic feminism and women’s writing, I’m going to try to live-tweet some of the panels.

In the meantime, this week was Bisexual Awareness Week! Bisexual erasure is a HUGE problem in media and in the way we speak about sexuality.

bisexual-umbrella-640x563The first link in this week’s round-up lists five ways in which you can celebrate. Enjoy!

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Emma Watson’s speech to the UN – complete transcript

24 Sep

I’m going to try to write something on Emma Watson’s speech to the UN, but for now, I just wanted to put this up here as a resource. I found a few transcripts online, but none of them were 100% accurate, so I took the version from this page and edited it using the video of the speech found on the same page.

Emma Watson giving her speech at the UN.

Emma Watson giving her speech at the UN.

If you notice any inconsistencies or mistakes, please do let me know! (The speech appears, in its entirety, below).

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Friday listicle round-up

19 Sep

Guys, we’re more than halfway through September. How did that happen??

shonda rhimesI’ll be spending my weekend editing a paper to present at this conference. I sincerely hope you’re doing something more fun!

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For Steven Moffat, the truly “impossible girl” is one who passes the Bechdel Test.

16 Sep

I keep meaning to write about Doctor Who. I’d intended to start reviewing this season’s episodes, but the month just kind of got away from me. So here we are, four episodes in, and I’m finally getting around to talking about the Doctor, his companions, and Steven Moffat, who has written most of the episodes since 2010.

Like many Doctor Who fans, I was super-excited to hear that Steven Moffat was taking over as showrunner in 2010. He’d written some of the most-loved episodes for the ninth and tenth Doctors – “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances,” “The Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead,” and, of course, “Blink.” These episodes combined incredibly creepy elements that were brilliant in their simplicity – the phrases “are you my mummy” or “don’t blink” are enough to bring shivers down even the most casual fan’s spine.

While, at the time, I was watching more as a fan and less as a feminist (hey, it’s possible), I think that part of my excitement at the announcement that Moffat would be taking over came from the female characters that he created in those episodes.

Nancy is flawed and resilient, and able to admit to her mistakes in order to potentially save the day, even though she’s justifiably terrified. River Song, in those two episodes, is irreverent and intelligent, although from a feminist perspective her character goes straight downhill from there.


Click for source.

Sally Sparrow is brave and clever, and also gave me one of my favorite quotes ever – when asked “what’s good about sad?” she replies “it’s happy for deep people”. And of course, an honorable mention goes to Madame de Pompadour, the curious and composed “woman in the fireplace”.

As we’ve moved into the Moffat era, however, it’s become more and more clear that while he’s obviously capable of writing interesting, compelling female characters, he doesn’t actually know what to do with them.

Spoilers below.

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Ferguson Friday link round-up

12 Sep

Like many people, I spent a lot of last month clicking on links and reading tweets about the unfolding situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and growing more and more outraged, frustrated, and eventually despairing over the individual situation and the truths about race in America that it brought to the surface of our cultural consciousness.

Obviously I haven’t written anything here about it, largely because there are so many people already writing about it in a way that’s more informed, insightful, and nuanced than I could. As a white person, this is a situation where listening instead of speaking was really the better choice.

Still two Americas

Today, #blacklivesmatter is hosting a #fergusonfridays chat on Twitter, and asking people to tweet about the ongoing situation in Ferguson (yes, it’s still going on, even a month later, even if it’s no longer trending) and to promote and support black businesses.

In support of the chats and hashtags, I’ve compiled some links to posts that I found interesting and relevant in the past few weeks.

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I’m back

8 Sep

Ok, kids – obviously I’ve been away from here for a while. You know, I didn’t realize when I started this that blogging is actually a lot of work. Which is silly, because thinking about all of the blogs that I read, I’d never think that their authors weren’t doing work in producing their articles and posts. But between job applications, working up to three part-time jobs, and trying to stay caught up with friends, I’ve gotten a little overwhelmed.

Things have been busy here – mostly in good ways. The baby whose imminent arrival inspired this post was born; he’s sweet and mellow and healthy. My best friend from New Jersey came on a whirlwind visit to take me to see Kate Bush perform in London (I may review her show at some point – it was fantastic). I saw Jenny Lewis perform (she’s fantastic as well). I saw Prince William today (Can I call him that? Or is he only the Duke of Cambridge?).

Me & Wills

Me & Wills

As a former teacher, I’m hoping that September will signal a new start, new motivation, new goals, and new energy. Thanks for sticking with me!

Abortion myths vs. realities: Part 2

13 Aug

Here we go – part two in my abortion facts vs. myths series.

If you missed the first part, here’s the background: several months ago I wrote a post criticizing the methods and arguments of anti-choice protesters. Last month, some members of an anti-choice group that I’d counter-protested found the post and began to comment on it. I got fed up with their lies and misinformation and decided to write a fact-based reply to some of the points that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

Just to reiterate my point from the introduction to part one of this post – I’m not going to argue morals here. I’m not arguing right or wrong, or personhood, or anything that is a matter of opinion. I am simply addressing the false and misleading claims that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

factsThe quotes in italics are from the comments on my original post. You can go back to that comment section if you’d like a better idea of the context.

(Please excuse the inconsistencies in spelling; I’m American so I spell things the American way, but many of the sites I’m quoting from are English. You say fertilisation, I say fertilization!).

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Monday Listicle Round-Up

11 Aug

It’s a Monday morning in August, so I’m not going to even try to be clever in this intro. Here are some feminist-y listicles to ease you into the week!

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Rape culture in real life: Poster edition

7 Aug

The other day, a woman I work with (Hi Sarah!) asked me what I thought about the controversy surrounding an NHS anti-rape poster that bore the words “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking”. The poster features a disturbing photograph of a woman curled up on the ground, her hand between her thighs, obviously in pain.

I'm really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I'm safer if I'm drunk?

I’m really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I’m safer if I’m drunk?

A petition on is calling for the NHS to remove this poster. The petition calls the poster “a blatant and appalling case of victim blaming by our own Government, putting the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator.”

When the department of health was notified of the petition last week, their response was less than encouraging; they refused to apologize on the grounds that this particular poster campaign has not been in use for seven years.  While it was a bit of a relief for me to learn that this was an outdated campaign, they definitely missed a chance to send a message to the public that is more in line with the NHS’s stated position that “If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator.”

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