Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Further Notes On WAM!

Well, the WAM! conference is all wrapped up, and everybody has headed back to their jobs/schools/anarchofeminist knitting circles for another year. Hope all you ladies had fun! And for everybody who, like me, didn't go, I have only a tiny nugget of stale, secondhand WAM! news to deliver.

Apparently last year, the conference erupted in ex post facto drama over some inconveniences experienced by various attendees, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over whether or not these had been caused by racism. Some of said drama involved the WAM! party, which coincided rather unfortunately with another event in town hosted by queer women of color. Hearts were broken; sisterhood was disempowered; the dominant plutocratic hegemony of white androcapitalism continued its relentless marginalization of wimmin's voices/spaces. This year, WAM! organizers reportedly took the lesson to heart, and solved everything by holding their party at a Eurotrash craptini bar in the Theater District.

I am perhaps enjoying ragging on WAM! a little too much. The speaker lineup did look rather spiffy. I am especially sorry to have missed the war correspondents.

While we're on the topic of women, action and the media, I'd like to alert you all to this grant opportunity from the McCormick Foundation. You have until midnight to apply for $10,000, to be used for the purpose of saving journalism. But only if you have a vagina. The reasoning:

Connection. Women are natural networkers. They know how to initiate and maintain relationships. This is the essence of the digital world.

Conversation. Women are listeners. And talkers. They ask the tough questions. This is the starting point for good journalism.

Creativity. Women give birth to new people and new ideas. They are resourceful and make things happen.

Change. Women are on the move. They adapt to new realities, seize opportunities and take risks to improve themselves and society.

I especially like #3. I think I am going to tell the editor at my next job interview that, having given birth to a person, I am naturally full of ideas. If there are any media outlets left by the time I am back on the job market.

It helps that on the website for the New Media Women Entrepreneurs program, these talking points are in hot pink. Also, their logo appears to be made of dismembered fingernails.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Women! Action! Media!

Spring is sprung. The grass is riz. Do you wonder where the media-savvy feminists is?

Wonder no more--they're descending on MIT's Stata Center today, for the Center for New Words' annual Women, Action and the Media conference, otherwise known as WAM! (Exclamation point included.) Women are pouring into Cambridge in droves even as I type. With the keynote address just a few hours away, they're Twittering up a storm, and you can follow them here.

I have had mixed feelings about WAM! since I arrived in Boston a number of years ago, a very green freelance writer, and spent an afternoon volunteering there in between exhausting catering shifts, in the hope that I might get a chance to do some good-old-girls networking. My job was passing out name tags to attending journos. I was desperate to get some non-food-service-related work and trying not to let it show, so of course it was humiliating, as was pretty much every interaction I had with professional writers at the time. (I remember a particularly galling MediaBistro event in which somebody asked me why the hell I didn't just move to some shitty town in Texas if I wanted to be a reporter. I think I had Crisco on my sleeve from making whoopie pies all afternoon.)

Naturally, none of this was WAM!'s fault. But I must say, it didn't strike me as being all that useful to a woman on fire to get some hot media action. In fact, from my outsider's seat by the check-in table, it struck me as having rather a high wankery-to-usefulness ratio. I haven't been back.

Incidentally, the theme of WAM! this year is Inside/Outside. I remain conflicted as to whether WAM! is friend or foe to the likes of me--a woman, mirable dictu, in the media, generally perplexed and disgusted with the way news outlets are always brimming with amazement that women are considered people, but with little interest in joining feminist-theory circle-jerks. (Full disclosure: I went to Smith College, where even the campus squirrels have feminist-theory circle-jerks. The allure of that kind of thing wore off after a year or two.)

Recently, Women Do reader Jezzica threw down a gauntlet. Was I going to WAM!, she wanted to know. And if not, why not?

Alas, I am not. I shudder to give you my excuses. They are stereotypically female in the extreme. But I told Jezzica I would, and so I must.

1. Women Are At Economic Risk. The conference costs almost $200. I am embarrassed to say how much of my average monthly take-home pay that is. I thought of putting up a PayPal link, a la Ana Marie Cox, but I am betting that me liveblogging WAM! is a matter of far less interest to the general populace than getting Wonkette onto the McCain campaign plane.

2. Women Spend An Inordinate Amount Of Time Sewing and Cooking and Washing Things. I signed up months ago for a sewing class that meets tomorrow. I am making a dress for the baby. Even thus do women take the fetters that hold them fast and bind them upon the tender limbs of their daughters.

3. Women Are Altruistic. On Sunday, I am going to Canton to get volunteer training from the Neponset Watershed Association in how to raise purple-loosestrife-eating beetles in my backyard. For the good of all.

4. Women Sacrifice Their Careers For Their Children. There is the matter of my full-time job, which mostly consists of shoveling various substances into and out of a small helpless person. It's not gonna do itself.

So sorry to disappoint, Jezzica. But we are hosting a WAM!-er over the weekend, a friend of my S.O.'s from out of town. I promise to pick her brains and report back.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wellesley's New Firefighter Deemed Adequate

Wellesley resident Joan Cullinan joined the town's fire department this week, becoming only the second woman in the town's history to do so. Fortunately for Cullinan, her sole female predecessor--whose name seems to have long ago faded into the mists of time--did not embarrass herself in any way.

“The first was 20-some years ago,” says DeLorie. He wasn’t on the squad at the time but has heard her reputation was “first-rate.”

“She did everything everyone else did and was well accepted.”

Cullinan's duties henceforth will consist mainly of putting out fires, rescuing people, and striving never to do anything that might sully the reputations of the rest of the roughly 3 billion women on planet Earth. In addition, she will be personally bringing the overall comfortableness of the W.F.D. to a new level.

What clearly pleases DeLorie about the appointment of Cullinan to the force is that the department will be able to provide residents with an additonal comfort level.

“Some patients just personally feel more comfortable dealing with a woman,” says DeLorie, “and Wellesley is long overdue in providing that.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Verflucht! More Fershlugginner Tattoos!

As you may remember if you've been a faithful reader of Women Do from day one, it was a Globe story about women and tattoos that awakened me from my dogmatic slumbers and got this blog going. That was a couple of months ago. The Globe must have thought we were in danger of forgetting that women were into this whole tattoo business, because they're at it again. This time, it's mom tattoos.

The most striking thing about this story--other than the fact that local tattoo master Fat Ram Hannan totally undercuts its whole premise, saying that he does way more kid tattoos on fathers than on mothers--is that it's already run in the New York Times. Two years ago. Sure, the exact words are a little different. But not much. Check out the parallels.

Tattoos not just for sailors/bikers/prisoners/rough trade:

“I’d always thought of tattoos as something biker chicks got, not something I would get,” said Ms. Scarborough, a neonatal nurse. (NYT)

Hardly a generation ago, tattoos and mothers coexisted in few places aside from a sailor’s biceps. (NYT)

The number doesn't reveal how many mothers get inked, but it points to the social acceptability of a practice that just a few decades ago was associated with sailors, prisoners, and punks. (Boston Globe)

Pew poll used as tenuous news hook:

Forty percent of women ages 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo, according to a report published this year by the Pew Research Center. (NYT)

Forty percent of American women ages 26 to 40 have a tattoo, according to a 2007 study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. (Boston Globe)

Angelina Jolie duly name-checked:

She said she first heard the term “mommy tattoo” two years ago, around the time Angelina Jolie began getting the longitude and latitude numbers of her children’s birthplaces tattooed onto her arm. (NYT)

That trend has surged as mega-star mothers like Angelina Jolie celebrate their children with prominent body art. In Jolie's case, she has a tattoo of the longitude and latitude coordinates from the places where her children entered her life. (Boston Globe)

Miami Ink duly name-checked:

Two reality shows may be part of the reason that mothers who always saw themselves as conservative are decorating their bodies. The Learning Channel series “Miami Ink” and its new sister show, “L.A. Ink,” appear on a network once better known for its how-to fashion and home-improvement programming. (NYT)

"It's not like 'Miami Ink,' " he said, referring to the Learning Channel reality show, "where they ask what does this tattoo mean to you?" (Boston Globe)

Pain of tattooing compared to pain of childbirth (You have got to be fucking kidding me. --Ed.):

Ms. Murray said that women often draw a connection between the pain of childbirth and the discomfort of feeling an ink-filled needle get under your skin. “It’s pretty common for women to say stuff like: ‘I can deal with this pain. I’ve given birth,’” said Mike Shea, a tattoo artist in Cambridge, Mass. (NYT)

As for the pain factor of getting tattooed, Ruch, who sat for three two-hour sessions getting "Devin" inked on her side, said it was excruciating, as her entire ribcage vibrated from the needle. "But it's like childbirth. You forget the pain when it's over and you're looking at it." (Boston Globe)

At least you're never gonna break up with your kid LOL hardy har har!

“A lot of the women watch the TV shows and they think, ‘Hey I could do that,’” said Mike Rubendall, the owner of Kings Avenue Tattoo in North Massapequa, N.Y. “They figure their kid will always be their kid. They won’t ever regret it.” (NYT)

Unlike names of lovers and sometimes even spouses, he sees no regret factor in getting a tattoo with your children's names. "Your kids are always going to be your kids." (Boston Globe)

Doesn't the New York Times own the Globe? Couldn't they just have reprinted the old story? It even had a Cambridge guy in it. Or they could have, you know, run some news.

Food Eaten By Women, Men

This morning, I went out in the yard with a few chicken bones tied together with a rag, muttered a few guttural incantations and left them hanging from the branch of an apple tree to ward off the evil eye. Why? Because the Globe is toying with my mind.

You may think this sounds paranoid. Well, then, you explain it. Why else would they run a great big blooming feature on the cover of Living/Arts--oops, sorry, "g"--devoted entirely to the thesis that men eat meat and women eat plants? And call it "Guys vs. Dolls"? And stuff it with irrelevant science? And, for the jaunty little sprig of parsley atop this teetering pile of madness-inducing verbiage, execute a rhetorical 180-degree-turn in the last few paragraphs that neatly disposes of the premise that THEY MADE UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Sorry for the yelling. Deep breath. Go to your happy place, Harris. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Now, I know they run this kind of drivel on a regular basis. There's no reason to think it's personal. Except for the deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs, you see, are men's food, along with everything else of animal origin. According to source Holly Safford, the Hingham caterer upon whose experienced shoulders this story's meager pretentions to factuality rest, no self-respecting female would be caught dead sinking her teeth into one of these savory little confections.

"I don't think I've ever seen a woman eat a deviled egg" at a social function, says Safford. "She might like them, but with all of the mayonnaise and everything it just feels too much like a whole meal. For a man, he might deny himself eggs every morning because he should watch his cholesterol. But at a party, he's not thinking about his statins," referring to cholesterol-lowering drugs.

(Ooh, they explained "statins." Thanks, nameless Globe editor!)

Deviled eggs are my Proustian madeleine. I sometimes think I might be the only person east of Worcester who owns a special deviled-egg plate and uses it on a regular basis. I never let a summer barbecue go by without making a giant mess of deviled eggs, and I usually consume an untoward number of them personally. When Joe Keohane and Jean Whitman left Boston recently to make their fortunes in New York, I was very sad, not only because they're fine folks and I will miss them, but because they were the only other people I know around here who made deviled eggs. I don't know how the Globe knows all this. Is it possible they've implanted some sort of chip in my spine?

But enough about my personal paranoias. Go read the story; go stare in slack-jawed wonder at its mind-boggling irrelevance, as with one fell swoop it divides the entire food-eating world into tremulous salad-pickers and boorish bacon-grease-swillers. And if you still haven't had enough, check out the bonus Q&A, in which a couple of female food bloggers face off against, unaccountably, a couple of Merrimack Valley radio guys to reveal their food preferences and ascribe them to the rest of us. A sample:

Q. What kind of salad dressing do guys like?

DJ: If I throw it against the wall and it sticks, that's the kind of dressing guys want.

I hope MC Slim J.B. rips this useless idea a new one in print somewhere. I hope Nina Planck reads this story and mails Globe food correspondent M.E. Malone a brick of lard for his or her birthday. I hope I will get a chance to eat a deviled egg soon. A really zesty one, with lots of horseradish and paprika.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women Panic, Take Off All Their Clothes

In what appears to be a real, actual, numbers-backed trend, women are competing with increasing ferocity for stripper jobs as the economy continues its headlong plunge into the abyss. This seems on its face to make a small bit of economic sense. On the one hand, stripping is as tough as it ever was, and as the article points out, the clubs aren't drawing so many big spenders these days. On the other, at least you can't get outsourced to China.

(I haven't been in Lower Manhattan since the housing bubble burst--do you suppose the few female refugees from Lehman Bros. are wandering through the deserted streets in tattered skirt suits, wearing sandwich boards that say "Will Whore For Stale Bread"?)

But to all you gomers out there hoping that the adult entertainment industry will save your bacon, be ye warned. Nothing is recession-proof. Exhibit A: this recent auction announcement in the Wall Street Journal. (Good eye, Em!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Live at 10: Girls, Girls and More Girls

Johnny Diaz had to know, when he got up this morning, stretched his nubile limbs and began steeling himself for another long day of filing content-free stories and pimping his latest book (Amazon keywords: mysterious skin, journalism conference, South Beach, Deco Time, Puerto Rican), that I was going to smack him for this story about women news anchors. Either that, or he's not spending enough time Googling himself lately. And that I find hard to believe.

Before unleashing a gallon of haterade on Diaz's latest scrap of journalistic tinsel, I should first confess that I don't watch much TV news. It takes something out of me physically. The last time I accidentally caught a few minutes of Channel 7, I woke up the next day with a tremendous boil on my forehead, which upon further examination, was found to contain a tiny, wriggling Frances Rivera. I find it safest to stick to print journalism, which is damaging enough to one's health.

But being an American living in a major metropolitan area and not in a coma, I feel I have picked up enough on the general zeitgeist to be able to utter the following points with reasonable confidence:

1. Journalism is dying.
2. TV news is getting worse.
3. Men are getting laid off everywhere because they make more money and generally want to be treated like people, an attitude that does not fly in the next Great Depression.
4. T&A sells.

But this is all OK. Indeed, it's great news. Because it all adds up to the increasing dominance of two-woman news anchor teams! And the news-lite formula, which must remain forever unexamined, is that More Women = Good.

Diaz's story reads like a parody of itself. In it, a barely-disguised pastiche of audience-pandering, economic misery and cold, calculating misogyny is whitewashed with almost Onionesque perkiness.

While their managers say they were the best candidates for the jobs, their gender influenced the decisions in some cases. Managers say today's audiences are more willing to accept news from a young woman. As stations lose industry veterans, who typically earn much larger salaries, they turn to younger anchors to cut costs and draw viewers.

Translation: Hey, women: You suck. But you're cheaper.

His station, which has a female news director, Linda Miele, also promoted reporter Sorboni Banerjee as its lone weekend morning anchor.

"We were running short of men," Ansin said. "And we said, 'Gee, let's see how it goes if we had Sorboni go at it alone.' "

I cannot even comment on this without my head spinning entirely around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

Some station managers also think they can increase their ratings by putting attractive young women in the anchor chairs, Papper said. "In television, what you look like matters, and that is true for both men and women," he said. "Young women can look more mature than men of the same age. The fact is that the average woman coming out of school, if you dress her up and put makeup on, she looks like an adult. The average guy coming out of school looks like he's coming out of puberty."

Might the perceived maturity of 22-year-old BU Comm grads in tartalicious heels have anything to do with the fact that women in television are generally sent off to the glue factory by the time they hit 40?

"It's not discrimination. It's biology."

If only Sojourner Truth were still alive to kick that statement's sorry, played-out ass.

"Viewers are so used to the yin-yang of a male-female anchor team, and I believe it's easier for people to assume they won't like anything other than that formula," [Rivera] said. "But there's the curiosity factor. Once that's appeased and they realize there is a unique dynamic with a female anchor team, they say they stick around to watch."
Ripped from the headlines of 1763. It Is Not Done Well, But You Are Surprised To Find It Done At All.

I feel it says a great deal about this story that so far, the comments on it are more perceptive than the reporting. I feel, also, that every time the shriveled monkey-paw of pop culture grants you a wish, it takes something precious from you as well. You want women to succeed in the prestigious world of TV news anchoring? Very well then. They shall be clad in pinstriped Spandex, and they shall dance the Macarena on Walter Cronkite's grave.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Holy Grail of Women Gadget Stories

I have found it. The ultimate story involving women and the gadgets they would buy, if only the makers of said gadgets truly grokked the ungrokkable miasma of mystery that is womankind. It is from the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest English daily, which has a history of being incredibly off-base in the women department, and it is about cars. It's as if the entire cast of Mad Men suddenly popped up in a Toyota dealership in Tokyo and decided, "You know what's missing here? Cookies!"

Toyota Motor Co. said that some time ago one of its female employees was overheard telling her coworkers, "Today's cars don't have any playful touches."

Her remark and similar comments prompted the launch of the Chambre a Paris, a special edition of Toyota's small compact Vitz car, which came out in February. The French term "chambre a Paris" means a small room in Paris.

Is Japan so squeezed for space that people are now actually spending their honeymoons inside their cars? No wonder their population is shrinking.

Yoneda said they first switched their focus from performance and comfort to creating a sense of neatness, both inside and out.

Ah yes. "Women have no wilderness in them, / They are provident instead, / Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts / To eat dusty bread." And to drive go-carts with snazzy cup organizers.

The car features colorful touches such as hubcaps patterned with a dot design and seats that come with seat covers in three colors, allowing customers to quickly and easily change the car's interior color scheme.

Just think. I could be spending every other Sunday wrassling with yards of auto upholstery. How fun!

Yoneda said the women polled requested comfortable, sofalike seats, a polka-dot paint scheme and other features that have not been found in cars so far.

Polka-dot cars! I hear they have great resale value. In Candyland.

Honda Cars Aichi set up a team of young female employees to revamp sales service at its dealership. It now also makes a variety of items available to its female customers. Women can now receive a blanket and cookbook to leaf through while they are waiting. Women also are served a cup of hot chocolate and given cookies during a sales pitch.

So I've got the blanket on my lap, the cookbook in one hand, the hot chocolate in another and my mouth stuffed full of cookies. Anything else you care to stuff in my face before trying to sell me that $20,000 piece of machinery? A roofie, perhaps?

Check out the rest here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Erin Go Bleaaaaaagggggghhhhhh

Today, a great blessing has been visited upon the land. We have been granted a day of rest in between the Southie parade and the actual St. Patrick's Day, during which, if we are lucky, we can hole up in a dark corner and slowly begin forgetting all our fine promises never to touch green 40s of malt liquor ever ever again. I'm guessing a great many of you--most of my fellow Bostonians, at least--are somewhat the worse for wear today. I recommend you drink a huge glass of tomato juice, have a few saltines, and contemplate the immortal words of Kingsley Amis:

He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum.

Also, women, you should know that this kind of behavior gives you cancer. At least, that's what a TV station in Rochester says. And that's where most of us like to get our science. Look:

A new study says as little as one drink a day can significantly raise the risk of one type of cancer for women.

Dr. Robert Anthenelli, an addiction researcher, said the study found just two drinks a day ups woman's risk of pancreatic cancer.

What? Cancer? From one drink a day? Or is it two? WHAM, your blithe fecklessness with facts is a little disturbing.

I was about to go flying out the door and see a guy about having my potentially cancerous pancreas out, the better to enjoy a nice IPA of an evening, but fortunately I read all the way to the bottom first.

Those addiction trials are on-going and results are expected in a couple of years.

Sheeeeeeeeeit. That's science-speak for "a whole lot of nothin'." And as the story notes, the point of Anthenelli's boozy women-research is to find new drugs. In thirty seconds of bullshit-detecting research on the Google, I discovered that Anthenelli's on the take from various pharmaceutical companies. The following is courtesy of Google cache:

"Robert M. Anthenelli, MD, discloses that he receives grant/research support from sanofi-aventis, Addex, and Ortho-McNeil Neurologics. He is a consultant for sanofi-aventis, Pfizer, and Alkermes-Cephalon and a clinical investigator for sanofi-aventis and Addex. He also is on the speaker's bureau for sanofi-aventis and Pfizer."

So he's working on some kind of alcoholism drug that they can target especially to women! Oh, my God, it's brilliant. Can you see the commercial now? We open on a shadowy living room, where a vaguely out-of-focus woman gazes alone with sepia-toned melancholy out a window, clutching a wineglass. Cut to a dazzling meadow, where our heroine, now clad in perky florals and surrounded by frolicking children, contemplates a brave new world of nuclear-family happiness, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. Ask your doctor if Sozzilax is right for you.

Hey WHAM. There's this new thing. It's called fact-checking.

**UPDATE!** I made a mistake in an earlier version of this post, and conflated two separate studies mentioned in the WHAM story. It looks like the study on women and addiction is ongoing, but the one about cancer is already done. (Sorry! Physician, heal thyself!) I can't find the cancer study in PubMed though. Am assuming it exists in peer-reviewed medical literature somewhere, but this may be overly optimistic.

**UPDATE UPDATE!** Well, this will teach me to blog on an empty stomach. It's not Anthenelli's research at all. (Thanks a lot, WHAM!) It's out of Georgetown University, was funded by the National Cancer Institute and is in the current issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. So, women, you're screwed. Better get that pancreas out after all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Publicity: Ur Doin It Wrong

Small, frightened women of Boston! Your hour is nigh! Tremble no more in terror of large steaks, beach season and the hooting barbarians of the Theater District. Regan's Lindsay Rotundi explains why:

Good morning!

With beach season just around the corner, Fleming’s invites everyone to come in and try their new Light Entrée menu. The Light Entrée menu gives diners the chance to have their beloved steakhouse experience minus the excessive portions. Fleming’s has chosen three classic dishes and downsized them in both size and price, but never in taste!

These menu options are perfect for women diners usually intimidated by steakhouse portions, for those looking to shape-up for beach season without compromising their dining experience, or for lighter fare before you continue your night at the theater or an event, (Fleming’s will also gladly shuttle you over wherever you choose in their Mercedes Crossover Courtesy Car!). The menu items are available during standard operating hours, seven days a week.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you!

The new items:

FILET MIGNON served with Fleming’s potatoes - $28.95

AUSTRALIAN LAMB CHOPS served with roasted plum tomatoes - $29.95

TUNA MIGNON served with grilled asparagus - $26.50

Thanks, Boston editor. You know who you are.

Show Us Your Tits Or The Mouse Gets It

It's Casual Friday at Women Do HQ. What does that mean? Pajamas again for me! And sexual harassment for all! In today's lesson, we learn that women do ask for it. Just not in this case.

Thanks to Tom Egan of Mass Lawyers Weekly for passing along this highly entertaining read--a recent decision from the Massachusetts Committee Against Discrimination, in which G-2 Systems ex-employee Beth Citron, fed up with suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, takes arms against a sea of tit-ogling from bosses Tom Green, Steve Shepard and Hank Shepard.

Among the highlights:

...When Complainant approached him at his desk to ask questions about purchase orders, he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear a word that you said, I was too mesmerized by your breasts.”

...As Complainant bent underneath her desk to get money from her purse, Shepard said that showing her “tits” would not get her out of it. Id. at 24. Complainant pointed out that her sweatshirt was zipped so high that it was practically a turtle neck, to which Shepard said, “Oh, I thought your tit was hanging out.”

And the piece de resistance:

Complainant testified that one day in November of 2004, Greene was standing by the door of Hank Shepard’s office and said that he was going to capture a mouse and allow it to live if she took off her shirt and bra, but kill it with a hammer if she didn’t. Transcript, I at 110-111, II at 137. Complainant responded by saying that she was disgusted by his idea and walked away. Transcript I at 111. Greene subsequently said that he was going to fill up a bucket of water about halfway and put a platform full of food in the bucket in order to attract a mouse. Transcript, II at 162. According to Complainant, Greene thereafter made the following comments in her presence or by fax: “mouse and hammer,” “I’m getting that mouse today,” “I’ve got that hammer ready,” and “help, I’m drowning signed the mouse.”

After sifting through the lurid facts, Hearing Officer Betty Waxman concludes that, indeed, Citron was sexually harassed, though she dismisses a second allegation of constructive discharge. But buried in Waxman's finding is this vile little nugget:

In short, Complainant’s behavior and dress were not sufficiently provocative to be deemed an invitation for sexual harassment.

Oof. Lucky for Citron she's "quiet, shy, and not temperamental," I guess. Being a habitual dropper of F-bombs, myself, I doubt I would make it through one of these hearings alive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Globe Announces Limerick Contest

In honor of the spectacular drunken mess scheduled for next week, the Globe has once again rolled out their annual contest for "limericks that sum up Boston." I couldn't resist entering it. Here's mine:

Said the Globe's troubled boss, Marty Baron,
"The news biz is, frankly, despairin'.
Half the folks who find facts
Will be getting the axe.
Now go cover some rich MILFs in Sharon!"

Anybody else? If you enter this contest, please, please post your limerick here as well. (Suldog, that means you!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Women Have No Energy; Energy Has No Women

Missouri 15-year-old girl struck with debilitating fatigue; with the help of their exceptional medical knowledge and scientific training, parents and local newspaper conclude it must have been the Gardasil. (You know what's great for your energy level? Cancer!)

In other Gardasil news, the FDA has once again deemed women ages 27-45 too slutty for the HPV vaccine. (Their reasoning appears to go something like this: Under 9: not slutty enough. 9-26: just right. 27-plus: Go get cancer, you bunch of hos.)

In other non-Gardasil news, local energy consultant Judy Chang would like to see more women get involved with energy and the environment. Accordingly, she's kicking off a new group, New England Women in Energy and the Environment, this week at the World Trade Center in Boston.

I suppose this is as good an opportunity as any to pimp my new other blog, which is much more boring and wonky than this one, but contains just as many terrible puns, if not more. It's called Captain Trade, and it concerns carbon finance: offsets, cap-and-trade, carbon tax proposals, etc. Any dumbness therein should be attributed solely to me, and not to the several billion people with whom I share certain general characteristics of anatomy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Automotive Harlotry

On the front page of Boston.com, in the Cars section:
These women truly own the auto show stage - the cars are but a backdrop.
Women in auto shows? Mais c'est impossible, ca! Fear not, Reader, there are not actually any women doing anything important at the auto show in Geneva. Click on through to the Cars page and all will be right with the world again.
Sex and cars have always been a winning sales formula. Have a look at all the pizazz on the auto show floor.
Of course! That's what women are for. What a relief. But it gets better! Check out the slideshow, Girls of the 2009 Geneva Auto Show:

The overused phrase "sex sells" was probably coined by the automotive industry, and it's been used over and over to make men pay attention to its products. Put a pair of high heels in front of a Tata Nano or any sort of ugly, undesirable car, and they will notice.

Whether in print and television advertising or on the auto show floor, attractive females (and very occasionally, males) never fail to present a glamorous image. It's comforting, then, to know that style and sex are two things automakers won't cut from their budgets.

- Clifford Atiyeh, Boston.com Staff

Thank you, Clifford Atiyeh, for once again putting your finger on the pulse of Boston. How comforting the misogyny is to us all in these brutal times. Like a favorite pair of warm, woolly, women-hating slippers.

2009 Geneva Auto Show

And who is in that unforgettable photo on the front page? Faceless, identical, with their milky limbs spilling out of the open door of a coupe like a couple of lissome harlots sculpted in plasticine? Oh yes! It's Gettysluts!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Everything South Of Canal Street Must Be A Howling Wasteland If This Tripe Is On The Front Page Of The Wall Street Journal

That is all.

Apparently you thought so too, because several of you sent me this story, which informs us that women are on Craig's List selling their old pants.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Turkey: It's Just Like Here

Those women in Turkey just won't stop. Yesterday it was chess. Now they're playing soccer. (Thanks for the link, Neal!)

Alas, life is tough for soccer-playing women in this repressive, sexist, overly-religious, weird little backwater of the globe. It's not easy in Turkey, either.

Let us count the woes of these Turkish footballerettes. First off, they can't fill the stands:
But at this game, between host Kartalspor and Ankara’s Gazi Universitesispor, the 22 players on the field outnumbered the people shivering in the stands. The weather was probably not to blame for the poor attendance; it was more likely because of who was playing.
Poor turnout for the ladies? Yep, we've got that here too.

"We’ve had men come to watch our practices and yell at our players: ‘What are you doing here? You should be at home, cooking!’ ” said Ozbar, one of the few women accredited as a soccer coach in Turkey, and the only one in Istanbul.
Obnoxious commentary? Check.

An amateur league of about two dozen teams existed in Turkey for a decade until it was shut down in 2002 amid allegations of mismanagement and rumors of affairs between female players — particularly scandalous in this country.
Lavender Menace? Check.

"Some believe that playing football can harm a girl’s build and make her manly,” Or said.
Hand-wringing over the damage the brutal, Hobbesian world of sport might inflict on women's tender willowy limbs? Check.

Selling women’s soccer also requires dolling it up. One of the new logos for the league features a slender woman’s hand with long, red-painted fingernails cupping a soccer ball. The background on Or’s computer screen is a photograph of a soccer cleat with a stiletto heel.
Tarting it up for the almighty sponsorship dollar? Check.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Only A Pawn In Their Game

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program of newspaper-bashing to bring you this vital news: Women are going to play some chess this week in Turkey.

Why, for the love of all that's holy, are there women-only chess events at all? I can think of a few reasons, none of them all that good:

1. Women are generally worse than men at chess. Therefore, we have to give them their own event so they can win sometimes.

Even if you accept the premise, the conclusion doesn't follow. What do general statistical trends have to do with individual abilities? Not much. Saying individual women can't possibly compete with men because women rank worse overall is kind of like looking at national weight averages and concluding that Rosie O'Donnell must be skinnier than Pete Wentz. Anyway, if I was a top-ranked chess player and somebody said this to me in all seriousness, I'd put a knight through their frontal lobe.

2. Women are generally as good at chess as men are, or better. Therefore, we have to give them their own event so that grown men won't have to lose to 11-year-old girls.

One word: Pussies.

3. We have no idea if women are as good at chess as men, but the only way to get women playing chess is to give them their own special tournament.

Please condescend to me more in an attempt to make your favorite activity seem less dull to the Hannah Montana set.

Amazingly enough, a scientific paper recently addressed this very issue. Statisticians took a look at the performance gap between the top 100 ranked male and female players in Germany, and concluded that most of it could be explained by sample bias: i.e., not enough women in the sample to yield very high-ranking outliers. Read more about it on this blog, which also features some grown men crying about losing to 11-year-old girls.

Monday, March 2, 2009

London Times Hits NYT's Sloppy, Female Leftovers

What is this bloated battlestar of a story--which appeared in the NYT magazine on January 25--doing in yesterday's London Times? Jesus Christ. Once was bad enough. Do they not have the Intertubes in merry olde England?

They did change the title, from the prim "What Do Women Want?" to the much more Austin Powers-worthy "What Turns Women On." And they misspelled the author's name. Those cheeky Brits.

In all fairness, the best thing I've read today also comes from that other Times, and it is this essay by Caitlin Moran. A sample:

But then, as a gimlet-eyed, hatchet-faced, ball-breaking feminist with recurring cystitis, which makes me additionally tetchy, I'm genuinely surprised that strip clubs still exist in the first place. They seem absolutely incongruous in a modern society - whenever I see one, it shocks me as much as if I'd just seen a sign going up saying “Minstrel Show!” or “Jew-Beating, Sticks £1!”. There's a Spearmint Rhino on Tottenham Court Road. Tottenham Court Road. To all intents and purposes, that means there's a titty-bar on the Monopoly board.

Nice. In an armed columnist's duel between Caitlin Moran and Alex Beam, my money would obviously be on the lady.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Ruined Maid

Dear readers: I need your help. I'm having a hard time pinning down exactly what bothers me about the Globe's Sunday magazine feature, about the year Globe mag staffer Neil Swidey spent being a fly on the wall of an 11-year-old in Rozzie. "Turning 12," it's called. "Everybody's talking about bras and boys, but Adele isn't quite ready to put down her dolls. One year with one girl at the age when everything changes."


For the record: I respect the time and effort Swidey put into this story. I think he probably has the best of intentions. Reporters don't spend enough time talking to 11-year-olds, and I hate to smack anybody for making a damn sincere effort on that front.

But for all the meticulously reported anecdotes, there's not much there there. Just a creeping miasma of doom. As young Adele shuffles along from games of tag to Urban Nutcracker performances to her painful-sounding peer "rap-around" session, the horror grows. [Cue the ominous strings.] Sex. It's coming for sweet little Adele. And it's gonna get her in the end.

Look, I've got a daughter, and I hope to God she doesn't have to learn the mechanics before she's good and ready. But enough with the fetishization of female cluelessness already. Swidey writes as though pink cellphones are the gateway drug to a life of utter moral depravity.

Philip Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials series, has already said this better than I could, so I'm going to stand back and let him. Here he is in an interview with a writer from Surefish, a British Christian website, on his moral objections to C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia:

You're not alone in attacking Lewis but you are really vehement in your criticism. You've called his books 'detestable'. Why do you feel so strongly about them?

Because the things he's being cruel to are things I value very highly. The crux of it all comes, as many people have found, with the point near the end of the Last Battle (in the Narnia books) when Susan is excluded from the stable.

The stable obviously represents salvation. They're going to heaven, they're going to be saved. But Susan isn't allowed into the stable, and the reason given is that she's growing up. She's become far too interested in lipstick, nylons and invitations. One character says rather primly: 'She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown up.'

This seems to me on the part of Lewis to reveal very weird unconscious feelings about sexuality. Here's a child whose body is changing and who's naturally responding as everyone has ever done since the history of the world to the changes that are taking place in one's body and one's feelings. She's doing what everyone has to do in order to grow up.

Maybe one day she'll grow past the invitations and the lipstick and the nylons. But my point is that it's an inevitable, important, valuable and cherishable stage that we go through. This what I'm getting at in my story. To welcome and celebrate this passage, rather than to turn from it in fear and loathing.

Er, yes. What he said.

In Like A Lion

Once again, it's March. We all know what that means. More goddamn snow. Women's History Month. Soft-core porn season at the Globe. And, most importantly, it means only a few more weeks til St. Patrick's Day. So if you've been putting off buying your Kiss Me, I'm Marty Walsh T-shirt, delay no more. It's all for a good cause: 100% of proceeds go to the Lissa Harris and Paul McMorrow Guinness Fund for Little Wanderers.

Word on the street is that Rep. Walsh himself thinks it's hilarious. Oh, Marty, if only you were my elected representative. (Though Linda Forry's pretty hot too.)

Bonus: If you manage to get on TV on St. Patrick's Day wearing this amazing T-shirt, send us a clip and you win a prize. In lieu of something valuable, you will receive one (1) guest post on this here blog, on the topic of your choice. (Local politicians, take note!)