Due to horrifying cold and some reasonable concerns by drivers about the safety of piloting a double-decker bus on incredibly icy roads, I’m spending a few more days in Columbus, Ohio, complete with cuddling and this hot chocolate. Stay warm and safe, lovely readers! Here’s some links to read by the fire.
1. To be honest, I expected this study, When Sex Doesn’t Sell: Using Sexualized Images of Women Reduces Support for Ethical Campaigns, to be poorly conducted. I was pleasantly surprised to see attention to confounding variables and replications!
In Study 1, a sample of Australian male undergraduates (N = 82) viewed PETA advertisements containing either sexualized or non-sexualized images of women. Intentions to support the ethical organization were reduced for those exposed to the sexualized advertising, and this was explained by their dehumanization of the sexualized women, and not by increased arousal. Study 2 used a mixed-gender community sample from the United States (N = 280), replicating this finding and extending it by showing that behaviors helpful to the ethical cause diminished after viewing the sexualized advertisements, which was again mediated by the dehumanization of the women depicted. Alternative explanations relating to the reduced credibility of the sexualized women and their objectification were not supported.
2. Voldemort! Horcruxes! Harry Potter name-calling! This is international diplomacy. No, really, it is.
3. You should definitely not listen if you find discussion of childhood sexual abuse triggering or especially unpleasant, but This American Life did a segment on recovered memories. The movement, which is an embarrassing chapter of psychotherapy, involved therapists assisting and encouraging their clients in falsifying memories, usually about sexual abuse (though you’ve likely heard of the satanic ritual abuse cases). TAL interviews one victim of the therapy, and Linda Ross, a therapist who practiced this therapy, implanting false memories for years, before recanting.
4. This. This so much. Even my favorite books–those by Tamora Pierce, with feminist, strong, spidren-slaying heroines–play into this trope. I’m quite sure that Cosmo and fashion models aren’t realistic models, but find me an admired protagonist woman who isn’t slim or lanky or statuesque. (Source article wasn’t my favorite, but is here)
One of the most insightful things I’ve ever read about eating disorders and body esteem in general was a comment on my blog a while ago that I regret being unable to find now. The writer was saying that most people think girls want to be skinny because of Hollywood and Vogue. This girl wanted to be skinny because she wanted to be a protagonist.
She didn’t expose herself to mainstream fashion magazines or TV; she was interested in art films and books and indie music. But no matter how alternative the movie, the protagonist was almost always skinny. And wanting to be a protagonist means wanting to be someone, as most people do. Apparently, your story is only worth hearing, you’re only someone, if you’re skinny—it’s like, theblueprint of a human. Once that’s down, you’re allowed to be as interesting and protagonist-y as you want! Apparently.
No matter how much people our age have been raised on girl power and believe in yourself and you are beautiful, ignoring the beauty standards of the culture we live in is close to impossible. And as this lady pointed out, these standards and expectations exist outside mainstream culture like reality TV and tabloids; they exist in punk and indie cultures, in “artsy” Tumblr cultures that are all about looking like a fairy, but only if you’re a skinny white girl.
5. I’m not planning to have children, but this post by Julia was wonderful. What would you add. (Twitter friend suggested identifying enemies and responding appropriately to hate, Facebook friend suggested rhetoric and argument, particularly assessing the claims of others.)