Some things should not come out of a Muppet’s mouth, ok?

There’s a little video of Martin Scorsese sound bites dubbed into the Sesame Street gang’s mouths up on YouTube called “Sesame Streets”, and even though it was funny, I did need to revisit the classic Steve Wonder performance of “Superstition” on Sesame Street back in ‘73 to get the video’s bits with Bert and Ernie going at each other for boinking each other’s spouses out of my mind.

followup on set your laser cannon to *smite*

Well, took down the offensive slide show. Thanks to Amanda at Pandagon, she managed to get the text captured.

Set the laser cannon to *smite*!

One of my lj comrades (judith_s) pointed me to a truly rage-honing slide show on about why marrying a career woman is not a good idea.

Basically, it’s another rehash of all the main patriarchal talking points about why half the human race shouldn’t be working outside the home, but kept working within the home for no paycheck and not being a threat to Rich White Males. The racism and classism inherent in these assumptions is no great surprise, considering the source.

I’m not sure which particular slide did the best job of triggering my targeting mechanisms, but three of them are particularly egregious.

“She’ll be more likely to cheat on you”–Get that prenup signed *pronto* boys, so that when you decide to trade her in on a newer model, she’ll get none of *your* swag. No, it’s far better for you to have her stuck in a crappy marriage too tired to cheat and afraid of a) leaving or b) getting thrown out on your whim because she’s got no means of economic support.

“You’ll be more likely to get sick”–She won’t be around to do one of her primary roles managing *your* mental and physical health while automagically keeping herself in prime trophy wife mode.

“The house will be dirtier”–Some study gets quoted where working wives who make more than $30K/year (~$15 US/hour?) spend 1.9 hours less per week doing chores, but the author of this slide show blithely says that this can all be resolved if the man picks up a broom. Yeah, right, monkeys might fly out of my butt. Besides, $30K/year in the Bay Area won’t get you on the fast track to living large. When almost 50 year old tract houses in my neighborhood are going for a million dollars (and the cheaper ones are often bought by people who tear the old house down for a McMansion), I wonder anew how the *hell* these people can make the mortgage on just two incomes (which I imagine both need to be well into six figures).

Right now, I’m too pissed off to bother looking at the studies they quote. Feel free to comment and mock this odorous pile of fecal matter mercilessly, I could use the amusement.

Trying to finish processing BlogHer06

I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks since BlogHer06 trying to process what I learned and observed at it as well as what’s been discussed in the followup discussions on various blogs.

Second day sessions that worked well

the sex panel with Susie Bright et. al.: the usefulness of this discussion for me was hearing how other women bloggers differentiate between what they’re willing to put out in public and what they will keep private.

women geeks in technology: The facilitators ended up with a large interconnected web of thoughts and bullet points about how women interact with and in technological fields. I spoke briefly about the recent story about the transgendered scientist Dr. Ben Barres at Stanford who spoke out about the pervasive sexism in science and engineering, both what he experienced as a woman in undergraduate and graduate schools and the increased privilege and credibility he’s perceived since he made his transition. I think he’s a hero, and I’m also angered that women in the sciences and engineering still have to put up with the same shit even now. Some fabulous young people from a program for high school students up in SF were there, and the young women say that they still get flack for being geeks (thankfully not from their male colleagues in their program). It was wrong when Barres was an undergraduate, it was wrong when one of my women friends was explicitly told that girls don’t belong in physics when I was in college, and it’s wrong for these kids to hear the same crap yet again. Barres’ story made me wonder about how trans men could make the transition without becoming part of the patriarchal system, but I was having some difficulty formulating my questions. Piny at Feministe has posted
a very interesting entry that has given me lots of food for thought

This also feeds into an ongoing frustration I have with dealing with men in women-focused spaces like BlogHer, WisCon, and WoolfCamp. Some men just cannot figuratively sit on their hands and let women have this space and time to speak honestly. One man at one of the first day’s technical panels managed to monopolize the discussion for a fair amount of time, and I’ve seen this happen at WisCon and at WoolfCamp. Is this a case of male geek answer syndrome or fannish modes of socialization or what? It’s definitely frustrating as all hell.

Liz at Composite pointed me to an essay by Charles Johnson of radgeek where he says men need to respect women’s only spaces, avoid co-opting, and be willing to step aside. Any man who considers himself a feminist ought to take these suggestions to heart; having the ability to allow women to lead and speak freely is one of the strongest ways they can support the struggle.

Then there’s been the ongoing discussions of mommyblogging that I’ve tried to follow. I’m not a mother, and will probably not be one in this lifetime, but I have found a lot of humor and wisdom in reading what some truly gifted women are writing about their experiences of motherhood, and if I avoided them because they’re mommyblogging and I’m not, I’d be missing out on some really good stuff. These mothers are getting something on the internet what I imagine my mother and her friends wanted when they were surrounded by a brood of children and feeling isolated from other adults. We all do some identity blogging, I was walking around with my current scarf in progress draped around me as I went to the Birds of a Feather session with the other knit and craftbloggers as a way to scope out my comrades.

In a previous entry, I wrote about the pervasive presence of commercial sponsorship at BlogHer06. I’ve got this uneasy feeling that the mommybloggers have been tagged as a very desirable demographic for advertising. Will they self-censor so as to not alienate their sponsors? Why do women need to “monetize” our self-expression? Is this the only way we can assign value to our efforts?

I now need to go fill out the post-conference survey to let the planners know what I think. I do not plan to be at next year’s conference in Chicago, but I do want to continue to take part in smaller events like WoolfCamp.

Still a little wiped out from Blogher’06

I needed to do the housework that doesn’t happen during the work week, and I am still a bit wiped from the events of the last couple of days, so I wasn’t able to make it up to chez Badger today for the next round of WoolfCamp.

I was able to learn a lot of stuff, and best of all, meet a bunch of fabulous women whose blogs I hope to visit, comment about, and learn from, but there were some things I do hope the Blogher planners can work on before next year’s event.

I haven’t been to that many professional conferences; most of the time, I’m going to science fiction and fantasy conventions that are put on by volunteers from the fannish community, so I was a bit taken aback by the overwhelming presence of corporate sponsors when I walked into the facility.

Before I launch into my critique, let me acknowledge that the corporate sponsorships did help in several ways. We were able to have meal breaks that did not involve us having to leave the hotel and lose out on a whole lot of chances to meet fellow bloghers. The cost of internet access was discounted for the attendees and was built into our registration fees. An aside for any fannish folks who are whinging about not having ubiquitous wireless at next month’s World Science Fiction convention in Anaheim: I’m sure that if the concom had decided to pay the ~$30K that the Anaheim facility wanted to charge for wi-fi, the memberships would have either gotten pricier, or the concom would have had to pinch pennies in ways that would have really impacted the quality of programming and events, or not be able to pass along funds that really help future Worldcons.

Note for Blogher…if we go back to this hotel, I hope the infrastructure does allow for ~800+ highly wired people to have more reliable connectivity.

My second biggest beef about the sponsorships was having to sit through commercial pitches before the plenary sessions. The pitches varied from “ignorable with minimal added annoyance on my part” to “incredibly artificial insults to our collective intelligence” (this one was due to the two young women who attempted to be the next generation of Tool Time girls for Windows Live Spaces).

Debbie and Laurie from Body Impolitic nailed most skillfully my biggest beef when they blogged about the sponsorships that perpetuate negative body images for women (e.g. Weight Watchers, vile tasting mineral water that purported to help women lose weight).

In future posts, I will shift to the many positive aspects of the conference, but I wanted to get this off my chest.

And, here’s a shout-out to Minnie, whose picture graced the first page of the business section in yesterday’s SJ Mercury News.

Why this weblog?

Well, I’ve had this domain since December of 2001 and haven’t done anything much with it until this year when I went to WoolfCamp in February, and got somewhat motivated to make a self-hosted weblog and sign up for Blogher’06.

At Blogher, I found out which tools I needed to get this going and also had some fodder for initial posts which will follow once I get some sleep.