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I’m back this week, and I know at least a couple of people missed this list ’cause they wrote and told me so! How cool is that?

Lindsey june 101 by Ron Gibson @ Flickr.com

Anyways, here’s a bunch of stuff that’s been accumulating since the weekend of the 4th out there on the internets, and which I hope you’ll find yourself hooked by (at least a link or two).

On the family values front

While I was gone on vacation, Bristol Palin and once and future beau Levi Johnston announced their re-engagement on the cover of Us magazine. Amber Benfer @ Salon contemplates the way the celebrity family’s story matches up (or doesn’t) with the narrative conservative America wants to tell about teen sex, marriage, and parenting.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore co-star in “The Kids Are All Right,” a “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” for the queer family age, in which Bening and Moore’s two teenage children bring their biological father (played by Mark Ruffalo) home for dinner. David Edelstein @ Fresh Air offers a glowing review and Sarah Seltzer @ RhRealityCheck weighs in on the film’s limitations.

When women are pregnant, they often discover that the normal rules of personal space cease to apply, as Jessica Valenti of Feministing documents on her own personal site. “Stop touching my stomach without my permission. It’s presumptuous and it creeps me out. You wouldn’t touch a non-pregnant person’s belly without asking, so what makes you think it’s okay to just lay hands on mine?”

Sarah @ Feministing Community shares her own personal experience with the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement and challenges feminists to educate themselves on the contours of this rapidly-growing conservative counterculture, rather than just toss off scornful comments.

Dodai Stewart @ Jezebel suggests that a recent story about an interracial couple who have twins with differing skin tones is a useful object lesson in how race is culturally constructed.

Feminism is for everybody (even Hot GirlsTM!)

I’ve been reading a lot of awesome stuff lately about appearance policing and sexism/misogyny. Is it something in the air y’all?

The story about Olivia Munn and sexism and The Daily Show, which I didn’t have the energy to blog about (although I tried several times to write something from scratch and failed), has really brought out a lot of awesome posts about the difference between hating on someone ’cause they’re HotTM and calling out individual (Munn) or collective (TDS) actions that actively or passively support a system that is sexist or using power in other unhealthy ways.

For starters, there’s Amanda Hess @ The Sexist and Sady @ Tiger Beatdown (both such Very Awesome LadiesTM) talking about criticism of comedian Olivia Munn for her participation in sexist culture. And for being HotTM. Amanda: Consent and Manipulation in Olivia Munn’s Playboy Shoot Amanda: Feminism is for Bitches Sady: The Munn Paradox Amanda: Women as Gatekeepers of Sex – and Sexism. I can’t emphasize enough how worthwhile it is to read all of these posts in full, but it comes down to this: as feminists, we should call out sexism as it hurts everyone, even those who we think are enabling it, even those who benefit from it.

Not everyone sees it that way, though, specifically Emily Gould @ Slate who has a history of making controversial statements about feminists, charging feminists with being overcome by jealousy. Shelby Knox @ Feministe observes that Gloud might possibly have been purposefully misconstruing the situation for page views; Amanda Marcotte @ Pandagon writes about the difficulty of blogging on body issues, and why Gould’s attack on feminist media for critiquing harmful cultural norms is so counterproductive.

See, Hot GirlsTM totally can’t win, as this post from @ Jezebel points out. “It’s not that we want or need Angelina [Jolie] to do a romcom. The universe is a much better place with her sneering, running, jumping, doing her own stunts and gunning down fools. But doesn’t calling her ‘too forceful’ imply that love is for the weak? Don’t we all have a little bit of a swooning romantic in us as well as a smidge of ass-kicker? And what the hell does it mean to be ‘too strong’ for romance?”

You don’t even have to be a Hot GirlTM to get be caught in a lose-lose type situation, as Lilly @Jezebel points out in her personal story of sartorial humiliation while serving ice cream. The post struck such a chord that it garnered Jezebel’s comment of the day (COTD) award with this list of instructions for women who find themselves shamed by the appearance police.

Silvana @ Tiger Beatdown leaps into the frey with a post about judging other peoples’ appearance. “When I hear, tights are not pants, or you should wear pantyhose to court, or I wouldn’t wear X cut of a shirt because it doesn’t look good on me, I think, who made these rules? Why are we following them? Why do we passively subscribe to an aesthetic system that requires us to daily fulfill the twin obligations of being ‘respectful’ by not doing anything out of the ordinary and looking as thin and ‘feminine’ as we can muster? I want fashion to be less about making other people comfortable, and more about personal expression and art. There is too much hierarchy. It is too top-down, from a murky top with too many leaders with too many conflicting messages.”

“She asked for it” — Not!

Of course, sexual assault skeptics rely on appearance policing big time as a way to legitimize victim-blaming (if it’s okay to police peoples’ appearance, then it follows on some level that it’s okay to punish them for inappropriate dress and behavior). Alex DiBranco @ Women’s Rights Blog points our attention toward a new PSA campaign in Scotland that points out the absurdity of laying the blame for rape on the behavior of the victim (rather than, you know, on the behavior of the perpetrator).

Amanda Hess @ The Sexist points out the problem with “hoping it’s not true” when it comes to allegations of sexual assault by someone you respect. “When we ‘hope it’s not true’ … We’re not hoping that our criminal justice system works to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent. We’re hoping that the person who reported the sexual assault is a liar. We’re hoping that people who claim to be victims of sexual assault are all lying, that it never really happens. We’re hoping, in the end, that bad things do happen — to good men who are victimized by bad women.” Seriously. Go read the whole thing.

Via Amanda Hess comes this post by Sarah M. @ Change Happens on why “drunk sex” isn’t really that easily confused with rape, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is. “Clearly people are sometimes going to get drunk and have sex. And the presence of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream does not automatically make it rape. But there’s a spectrum of intoxication. If someone is physically impaired by their drinking (or drug use), you can tell. They are getting sick, their body is limp, they’re not able to communicate clearly with you. It’s a common sense situation. If it’s less obvious, you know they have been drinking but you’re not sure how much and they seem OK, that’s where communication is key, and honestly—if it’s unclear how drunk your partner is and you feel conflicted, then maybe just play it safe and don’t do it. Instincts are there for a reason.”

If you’re a child and your parent asks you to do things like pose naked and talk about your sexuality which make you feel uncomfortable but you do them ’cause it’s your Dad and you don’t want to say no, and then those images and words are turned into artwork and made accessible for the whole world to see — do you have a right to say “no”?

Obvious answer: yes (Carolyn @ Carolyn Gage). Answer given by a lot of folks out there in the world (’cause the world is fucked): not if it’s art (Irin Carmon @Jezebel). More to come on this next week, in a still-being-written blog post about archival ethics and issues of consent.

IrrationalPoint @ queergeeks offers a succinct example of how consent and nonconsent works, starting in childhood, when bullies don’t listen to the voices of children who try and stand up for themselves.

Feminism is for everybody!

Courtney @ From Austin to A&M explains why being “apolitical” doesn’t stop you from perpetuating sexism.

A lesson that the folks over at The Daily Show could apparently stand to learn (or remind themselves of). Amanda Hess @ The Sexist explains.

Possibly also Whoopi Goldberg, who recently fell into the Ill Doctrine trap of having the “is he a racist” conversation rather than the “what he said was racist conversation. @ Bitch Blogs explains.

Feminism (in my oh-so-humble opinion) is all about treating every human being like, well, a human being, instead of a ‘bot created to fill a certain social role. zack @ The New Gay calls out straight women for expecting gay men to fill such a social role, rather than treating him as, you know, an individual.

Feminism is even for menfolk! Greta Christina @ The Blowfish Blog lays some feminist hate on the straightjacket expectations of masculinity and then explains why laying on the feminist hate matters, and might actually make the world a better place for all those wonderful menfolk we feminists love so much.

Which isn’t to say that being a feminist and, like, making that change in the world is at all easy. Harriet J @ Fugitivus explains in great, now I hate everybody.

Oh help!

This post has become MAMMOTH! and I still have stuff to share … damn it. Oh, well, I’m going to call it quits there for this week and see if I can’t work a few other things into actual legitimate blog posts.

Meanwhile, I’ll sign off with this story from Richard Knox @ NPR about a psychologist who has been studying marriage proposals on YouTube. Have fun, y’all! And I’ll be back with more.

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