rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
In case you've missed the Cars franchise from Disney, they're animated movies about anthropomorphised vehicles aimed at children.  Charles adores them and I find them tedious-to-irritating, so I can usually cope with seeing them once.  These days I have an ebook app that does night mode - this makes tedious children's films on the cheap weekend mornings far more bearable.

This one was slightly better than I expected, but I'm filing it with the rest of the franchise as "films you can only watch again when I am not in the room".

spoilers )

Trailers beforehand:
Annie - a remake of the musical film, with a black orphan girl and a black mayoral candidate in the rich-rescuer role.  

Get Santa - a father-son bonding movie rescuing Santa from jail.  There is literally a half-second view of one non-male face in the entire 2 minute trailer, among at least a couple of dozen male characters.  Charles was keen but I think Tony can take him if he insists on going.

Paddington - which managed to hit both my embarrassment limit and my bodily-function-disgust limit within about 20s of the trailer.  So nope.  I mean, the last time I had to actually stop watching a trailer was one for Prometheus while I was pregnant. 
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A while ago,[livejournal.com profile] fanf posted a link to "Is the Oculus Rift sexist?" by danah boyd, which is a provocatively-titled piece about sex-linked biological differences in the processing of visual information.  (I was a little startled by the author's use of words like "transexuals" and "biological men" although she does explain why as an update at the end of the piece.)  These differences may be the cause of reported sex-linked differences in the ability of people to use virtual-reality systems without nausea - women report feeling sick far more often than men.

Much as I dislike gender essentialism, I was intrigued by the piece, particularly reading it shortly after the discussion about 3D films in my journal.  If I've understood the danah boyd article correctly, polarised-light 3D works off the same "male-favourable" cues as the virtual reality systems she was studying.   With the exception of my brother, every single person who's told me about getting nausea from the current polarised-light type of 3D is female, including "all the mums" of a group of young boys trying to arrange a  cinema trip.  My brother has migraine, which is a sex-linked condition, affecting at least twice as many women as men. 

I'd love to know if any research has been done on the ill-effects of 3D cinema, and whether it's linked to migraine or to sex more generally.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

Marriage and titles and names have been on my mind, see my post of last month.  Two of my friends got married on the same day in March: one changed her name to her husband's, one kept her name.   Both equally valid choices, but the one who kept her name got so much "jokey" pushback that I rolled my eyes, thinking "oh no, not again".

For a while now I've found myself thinking "if I was getting married tomorrow, I wouldn't change my name".  My experience is that the people who respect my compromise double surname also respect the women who don't change their names (and the men who do).  The rest of them just address me as Mrs Anthony Finch anyway.  Plus the idea of "remaining one person with one name, in everything I do" has proved overly idealistic, given how much I answer to "Charles's mum" or "Nicholas's mum" rather than my actual name, or call for a taxi/book a table in the name "Finch" because that's easier than the whole double barrel (but feels uncomfortably wrong).

It isn't much of a step from "I wouldn't change my name now" to "I wish I hadn't changed my name" and from there to "what is stopping me changing back?"  In the last month I've basically realised it's the paperwork hassle and concern for Tony's feelings.  On checking with Tony, he's entirely supportive, which just leaves paperwork.

I think if Nicholas had been a daughter rather than a son, this might have happened two years ago.  I quite liked the idea of "the girls" being Colemans and "the boys" being Finches (though it has its own issues with reinforcing the binary gender default).  But there aren't and won't be "the girls" now, so it's taken a bit longer to bubble up out of "nice idea" into "this feels important to me and I want to do it".

Today I'm starting the tedious process of changing everything back.  I fully expect it to take months to get through everything, and to have to gently correct people assuming we're getting divorced, but from today I'm Rachel Coleman again.  Ms rather than Mrs, and I still prefer "Rachel" to any title.  I'm going to keep my personal email address (rmcf@cb4.eu) even though those aren't quite my initials any more, because for nearly nine years they were, and that's part of my history.

I'm still very happily married, and my children still have their father's surname.  But I made a mistake changing my name and now I'm fixing it.

rmc28: My cargo bike with red waterproof cover (bicycle)
I had three good phone interactions with business this week and thought I would share them as good examples:

First, I rang up Polarglaze, who installed double-glazing for us about four years ago, to ask where we could get a replacement cat flap in the back door (the current one having snapped in two).  They pointed me at the local supplier that they use, and were able to give me make and model number after asking me to confirm the name embossed on the cat flap.

Second, I ordered the correct cat flap from catflaps.co.uk (the local one requiring travel or a phone call).  They rang me about 15 minutes afterwards to apologise for not having any in stock, to explain they had a long delay before they would have some in stock because the Chinese manufacturer had a delay, and to give me details of the main UK distributor so I could investigate if anyone other suppliers had some in stock.  And did I want to cancel my order given all that.  I was impressed by their honesty and elected to keep my order with them anyway.  Worst case scenario, I find another cat flap sooner, and then I have a spare cat flap when this one arrives.

Third, I had to call Nationwide Credit Card Services to carry out a small but important task.  The security questions were sensible; the process was straightforward; the person answering my call was friendly and pleasant and chatted to me about the weather while we waited for her computer to do its thing. In less than five minutes I had achieved what I set out to do and I was smiling because of the nice person I'd talked to.  Call centres do not have to mean infuriating aggravation and time-wasting!

Bonus extra, with my own moment of committing Everyday Sexism:
The company trimming my neighbour's leylandii who were happy to tidy up the side facing my garden at no notice.  The workers gave me a card to "sort it out with the boss" which had business name & details, and a gender-neutral forename with surname.  I left a message for "Mr Surname" EVEN THOUGH the answerphone voice was female.  She rang me back saying "this is Forename Surname" and competently dealt with what I wanted while I about sank through the floor in embarrassment.  Her staff did a good job too.  I'd pimp the company here, except I have lost the card in the last 24 hours.  I'll be reminded when I get the invoice, no doubt.

rmc28: (wonderfrown)
Charles and I went to the local shops this lunchtime.  Given the weather, he put on his purple waterproof, a lightweight packaway thing he chose last summer.  Then he asked me if I'd bring its bag "so I can take it off in the shop".  I said no, he could keep his coat on in the shop.

"But I don't want people to think I'm a a girl," he said sadly.

So I sighed and said "It's not just girls that wear purple."  I thought for a bit and asked "Do you like wearing purple?"  A nod.  "Do you want to let silly people who think only girls wear purple stop you wearing purple?"  A shake of the head and a bit of a smile.

So off we went to the shops together, and Charles talked about my favourite colours and his favourite colours, and then got distracted by All The Toys in the charity shop, and eventually he chose one small toy and bought it before we went to the co-op to pick up some lunch.

He was a bit naughty in the shop, wanting a bag of sweets which I told him to put back and we weren't buying it - so he scanned it for the cashier and said "now it's on the bill!"  I asked the cashier to take it back off again, which they did.  And then they said "She's very clever, most children don't know that's how checkouts work".  And I saw Charles had heard and was upset.

It is breaking my heart: despite our best efforts he is absorbing the messages that a) to be a girl is to be inferior and b) to be a boy he must not like pink or purple or fairies, or be too gentle or too kind.  I'm watching the boy box close around him and it fits him as badly as the girl box fit around me.  At least for me being a tomboy was socially acceptable.  It was ok for me to like trousers and blue and space and rockets and trains and science.  There is no non-derogatory equivalent of tomboy for a boy who likes "girly stuff".

Every time someone asks me if I "know what I'm having yet", it reminds me of the pervasive stereotyping and colour-coding of children that is affecting my first child so badly.  I deliberately asked not to be told, because I don't want to inflict the blue/pink divide on my second child any earlier than I have to. Right now I'm not feeling too keen on telling people after it's born either.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A-Level results came out this week, prompting Chris Cook of the FT to dust off his annual complaint about the photos always somehow being of pretty young women rather than representative of students as a whole. The Sexy A-Levels Tumblr "satirically" collects examples of the genre.

[twitter.com profile] fleetstreetfox thinks we're all wrong to "get het up about pictures of young girls who are happy" because around the world women have it much worse than a bit of sexist photography, and in fact we should have even more photos of girls looking happy.

It's certainly true that women are often treated badly. For some heartbreaking detail, there's the Economist's article last year "The worldwide war on baby girls". However, appalling sexist treatment of women elsewhere is not a reason to be happy about the much milder sexist treatment of women getting their A-Level results. It's classic what-aboutery: why are you fussing over trivial problem A, what-about terribly serious thing B. The rhetorical device fails when you remember you can do both. I am unhappy about sexy A-Levels photos and unhappy about female infanticide too.

I made the mistake of snarking on Twitter about the article (Twitter is a rubbish medium for arguments):

[twitter.com profile] rmc28: . @fleetstreetfox @j4 Objectifying women getting A-level results totally makes up for the shitty way women are treated around the world?

To which I got the charming response:

[twitter.com profile] fleetstreetfox: @rmc28 @j4 Why don't you just see it as celebrating women, Mr Misery?

Sexy A-Levels photos have barely anything to do with celebrating women, and nothing to do with celebrating women's academic achievements. They are a thinly-veiled excuse for printing lots of pictures of pretty young women for readers to ... admire. They are yet another tedious manifestation of the everyday culture that tells women that what matters most is our looks, not our skills; that only those of us who meet conventional standards of attractiveness and success are worthy of attention, and then only as objects of admiration, not independent people in our own right.

While pretending to be about the "real" celebration of women, the article continues to enforce gender stereotypes: "[girls] also express emotion in photographs and boys, with the best will in the world, just don't." (Note that the vast majority of those getting A-level results this week are over 18, they are not "boys" and "girls" but adults.) Meanwhile, [twitter.com profile] fleetstreetfox denies it's all about looks because she saw a few "porkers" in photos, and couldn't be bothered to read my name before snapping at me for disagreeing (few people named Rachel are Mr anything).

These are not statements or behaviour consistent with treating women as people rather than decoration. Nor is celebrating only the prettiest female A-level students while dismissing and disparaging all the rest. And that's why sexy A-Levels photos are wrong.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
So this week we were told that a whole 6% of fathers are now the main carer for their children, approximately 600,000 fathers up from 60,000 ten years ago. This is based on a survey by insurer Aviva who "thought it would be interesting to understand exactly how parenting roles are changing in order to understand the protection needs of our customers" (and generate some media coverage).

Cue incredibly patronising reporting in both those linked articles of how *gasp* women can earn more than men (father being the lower earner being the main reason for this kind of arrangement) and men can *gasp* change nappies and do the school run. And sometimes they even enjoy being fathers! But at least some (37%) of the mothers feel guilty at leaving their little darlings to go and earn money, though only 9% would actually change places.

Finally, the "research" seems to be focused entirely on two-parent families. Gingerbread say there are 1.9 million single-parent families in the UK, and between 8% and 11% of single parents are fathers. So that would be another 150,000-210,000 fathers with no choice but to do nappies and the school run. And maybe even enjoy it.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

September 2017

    12 3
456789 10
1112 13141516 17
1819 20212223 24


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 2017-09-26 17:53
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios