For folks who don't know, the LRU is a compilation of items from the past week that may be of interest to VPers and is intended to broaden the kinds of conversations we have here.
To submit articles for next week's round-up, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have additional articles you'd like folks to know about this week, feel free to comment directly to this post.
As a reminder, in lieu of trigger warnings, I use keywords describing the themes of the piece. Please skim these before deciding to read the excerpt or click through for the full article. Outside sources are not safe spaces, and mainstream sources' comments should almost always be avoided. The links I highlight don't necessarily reflect VP's views, or even my own, for that matter.
This week's round-up includes: who makes the rules for women's office wear, fat bias in science, Robin Thicke and the dynamics of abuse, on "asexual" as a label, photoshop around the world, an tattoos and female athletes.
- For Women’s Office Wear, Who’s Making the Rules? by Bryce Covert at The Nation (Keywords: women, careers, fashion, sexism, slut shaming, body policing, gender roles, gender binary)
It’s summer, and it’s hot, so women are now plunged into the murky waters of dressing appropriately for work, while not wearing so much clothing they’ll get heat stroke. Some, like a reporter who was thrown out of a courtroom for having bare shoulders, will cross a vague line and get penalized. When women dress themselves for a professional setting, from prominent politicians to eager interns, they’re trying to conform to an unspoken set of rules that were crafted with men in mind in the first place.
- Too Fat to Be a Scientist? by Rachel Fox at The Chronicle of Higher Education (Keywords: science, higher education, body policing, fat shaming)
The current scientific climate is cutthroat. Primary investigators must constantly convince potential financers of their work’s superiority over that of rival labs. Students and research assistants are often asked to prove that their credentials are a cut above those of their peers. Living with this pressure turns scientists into vicious competitors, always looking for ways to assert their pre-eminence. This mentality fosters judgment and discrimination, making it all too easy for those in STEM fields to resent and mock the people they see as too weak-willed to stop eating, too apathetic to exercise, too ignorant to pick up a book about nutrition. Fat people, symbolizing the antithesis of everything modern scientists pride themselves on, become easy targets for misplaced aggression.
- Robin Thicke and the Dynamics of Abuse at The Belle Jar (Keywords: Robin Thicke, music, domestic abuse, manipulation, rape, self-harm)
These apologies, entreaties, promises and veiled threats are all a typical part of the cycle of abuse. This is what psychologist Leonore E. Walker calls the “Reconciliation/Honeymoon Phase” – the abuser feels guilty, is contrite. He or she makes grand gestures of their affection, constructs elaborate apologies. They promise never to hurt their loved one again. They might promise to get help (though most likely they won’t). If that doesn’t work, they might threaten suicide or self-injury in order to gain sympathy or otherwise manipulate the situation. They will do literally anything they can to convince their victim not to leave them.
- Why Asexual is a Label I Need: An Open Letter to Matty Silver (and response/follow up) by Jo Qualmann at A Life Unexamined (Keywords: asexual erasure, asexuality, labels, sexuality)
Being asexual is a source of pride for me. It is a part of who I am, a label I am proud to wear, a subject I am happy to talk about. I don’t know if you noticed, but the photo included in your article is of a group of asexuals in a pride parade: it would seem that they too see asexuality as an important part of their identity. So it will perhaps not surprise you when I say that I found your article incredibly disappointing. Because what the asexual community needs, at its core, is acceptance and support, not disbelief and condemnation.
- What Happened When One Woman Had Her Picture Photoshopped In 25 Different Countries by Amanda Duberman at The Huffington Post (Keywords: Photoshop, media, standards of beauty, culture)
Honig found that individuals from every country applied a distinct perspective on beauty to her image. She was surprised by the degree to which a country's cultural values could show up as aesthetic preferences. Specifically, an image she received back from Morocco was "a bit of a shock initially." She told The Huffington Post via email, "[It] definitely highlighted my own lack of cultural awareness. Of course, someone from a country where the primary religion is Islam might elect to add a Hijab to my image as that aligns with their own cultural customs. For me it really added depth to my project by touching on the concept of religion and custom, not just aesthetics."
- On Having Tattoos and Being a Female Athlete by Caitlin Constantine at Fit and Feminist (Keywords: bodily autonomy, women, strength, athletics, beauty standards, misogynist slur)
A lot of the athletes who have them are women, particularly women like myself, who occupy that vast chronological terrain known as “middle age.” One female triathlete with a sleeve of roses and ivy twining around her arm competes in the 60-64 age group. A runner who races in the 40-44 age group has a big piece on her upper thigh that peeks out from her running shorts. And the back pieces! So many back pieces!
As always feel free to share your thoughts on any of these articles, along with whatever you've been reading or writing recently!