“Violence against women” vs. “Men’s violence against women”

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Harrowing article out of the Guardian today, which challenges the “monster rapist” narrative in which only the most aberrational, violent, and outright psychotic men commit acts of sexual violence against women. Sometimes this is true, author Tom Meagher writes; sometimes men who do bad things to women are in fact psychotic. But much more frequently, they aren’t. Much more frequently, these men are average dudes, the problem being that average dudeness is often predicated on and actively normalizes violent sexism.

Some quotes, though you (particularly if you are male) should go read the whole thing immediately:

While the vast majority of men abhor violence against women, those dissenting male voices are rarely heard in our public discourse outside of the “monster-rapist” narrative. Indeed, the agency of male perpetrators disappears from the discussion, discouraging male involvement and even knowledge of the prevalence and diversity of male violence against women. Even the term “violence against women” sounds like a standalone force of nature, with no subject, whereas “men’s violence against women” is used far less frequently.

While not attempting to broad-brush or essentialise the all too abstracted notion of “masculinity”, male invisibility in our discourse can be compounded by masculine posturing, various “bro-codes” of silence, and a belief, through the monster myth, in the intrinsic otherness of violent men.

The idea of the lurking monster is no doubt a useful myth, one we can use to defuse any fear of the women we love being hurt, without the need to examine ourselves or our male-dominated society. It is also an excuse to implement a set of rules on women on “how not to get raped”, which is a strange cocktail of naiveté and cynicism. It is naive because it views rapists as a monolithic group of thigh-rubbing predators with a checklist rather than the bloke you just passed in the office, pub or gym, and cynical because these rules allow us to classify victims. If the victim was wearing X or drinking Y, well then of course the monster is going to attack – didn’t she read the rules?

It’s an upsetting read, but I could not recommend this article highly enough.

It Gives Me Perverse Joy

April 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

formatting fun 1

To maintain and dispatch these sorts of lists. The formatting itself is not fun; it’s tedious and rote and takes me all damn day (after day, after day). But the directives are straightforward (except when they’re not; see below ever-expanding list of questions), and every time I finish something I can cross it off The List, which is the scientific definition of progress.

formatting fun 2

At this pace I’ll beat my own already sped-up deadline, which is WONDERFUL. “This isn’t normal it’s Saturday,” Chris just said, which we’ll see how abnormal he thinks I am come May 30th (manuscript is due June 1) and I’m not panicking my everloving balls off, cuz already DUNZO.

did not read christmas

Chris Responds to the Previous Post

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Re: my statement that combining my dissertation chapters into one document was an intimidating “final step,” Chris had some words. “A final step?” he asked. “A final step. That is laughable. That was years ago. There was nothing final about any of that.”

And then he wistfully looked out the window, because this book has been as much a labor of his love as it has been of mine.

On Formatting Books

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Do I HAVE to, though?

Do I HAVE to, though?

For the longest time, I was afraid to combine my dissertation chapters into a single document. There was something overwhelming and do-not-want about that final step, and I only got there maybe a month before I deposited. Despite my reservations, One Single Editable Document quickly established itself as the new standard; in all subsequent revisions I’ve worked with/in that same file. In fact, come to think of it, it’s been the same –that same– .doc for nearly two years, possibly longer if I used, say, my prospectus .doc as the base of copying and pasting operations (given my resistance to certain kinds of change, this is likely but I can’t confirm). It’s had different names, and there’s been a hell of a lot of turnover word-wise, but as long as my dissertation-later-book was a proper manuscript, that’s been the document it’s been. Or however you’d say that.

And I’ve liked working in one document, I now prefer it, it’s comfortable. But per MIT’s author guidelines (there are…let’s say a lot of them), I have to chop my beautiful, intact .doc into nine disarticulated limbs, and I am finding this step much more anxiety-inducing than I expected. I appreciate that my manuscript is (well, was, I’m midway through the turkey-carving) ONE, an easy transfer on a thumbdrive, even if it then takes one million sections to fully load in Word.

Maybe it feels so weird because this formatting and last round of revisions is essentially like taking my firstborn clothes shopping before shipping her off to college. Soon enough she/it will be out of my hands, and that is both a relief and utterly terrifying, which is not a metaphor that has occurred to me until this very moment but is apt I tell you APT.

Time is Just a Flat Circle

April 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have just been watching so much good TV lately you guys! That and formatting the SHIT out of my book. It’s coming along, it’s coming along. Re: the warming glow, I have much to say about it all –verily television is the richest of subjects– but for now, please enjoy the best True Detective parody that actually is an AT&T commercial. Forthcoming this weekend, if I feel like it: reviews of Top of the Lake, Frisky Dingo, The Bletchley Circle, and of course True Detective, which is every. damn. bit as good. as all the other people on TV are saying it is!

Oculus Rift, Presence, and Virtual Adventures (but not games, YUCK)

April 12, 2014 § 5 Comments

There’s been a whole lot of talk of late about Facebook’s recent 800 quadrillion dollar (estimate) acquisition of Oculus Rift, the first viable (well the first in a series of viable, Sony isn’t far behind with its Project Morpheus) Virtual Reality headset. Chris has been beside himself for weeks; boy have we watched a lot of YouTube videos about the forthcoming Dev Kit 2 (pre-release prototype of the Rift hardware packaged for developers), various virtual environments, and most importantly of all, the concept of “presence,” essentially the process by which one’s brain, at least the lizard part of one’s brain, is tricked into thinking it’s actually where it is not.

At first I was preemptively disinterested in that just-shy-of-charming knee-jerky way of mine due to Facebook’s involvement (“What!? Facebook!? Then it’s bullshit!”). I was also resistant because, drumroll, I don’t like playing games. Not that I don’t appreciate games, video and computer particularly, or deny that the best of these kinds of games easily qualify as art. Nor do I think that people who love (video/computer) games are weird (people who love playing board games, however, are). It’s just that personally, games (particularly video) make me anxious (and non-video games just make me angry). I don’t like the concept of winning and dying and I don’t like having to kill/fight not to die, regardless of how cartoonish my enemies might be. I don’t quite know why; let’s call it a personality trait and move on. Consequently, my world wasn’t exactly rocked when presented with this AWESOME NEW GAMING PLATFORM (now owned by Facebook).

But, as is often the case, I am an idiot. And over the last week or so have changed my mind.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Oh Boy and Man and Wow

April 9, 2014 § 4 Comments

It’s hard to know who else will think this is the greatest/worst thing ever. My husband sent me the link in tears (conveyed over email; come on you guys it’s 2014) and insisted that it would change. my life. FOREVER, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty great (read: horrible). But how much you like (hate) this will depend on how much social media marketer-speak makes you want to eat your own face. Consider this a litmus test, then.


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