The Hunger Games world is no country for glamorous women

Being a woman isn’t about embracing a social role or gender, gender, gender.  It is about being an adult female bodied person or being assumed to be an adult female bodied person.

Glamour is the stuff of the elite and overly privileged.  Hunger Games allegorically shows how the elites of the world treat the masses.  The working people do the menial work and fight the wars, the privileged bask in their glamour. You don’t have to be a Marxist or Tea Party prole to see that one.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/30/hunger-games-mockingjay-part-two-women-femininity

Despite its female hero, The Hunger Games constantly depicts the conventional trappings of femininity as decadent, weak and dangerous.


November 30, 2015

In The Hunger Games, the Capitol is the luxurious seat of evil. While the drab working class in the districts toil in poverty and filth and boring clothes, Capitol citizens stroll about in pampered splendour. President Snow raises white perfumed roses. His populace is decked out in gaudily colored costumes, preposterous coiffures and elaborately styled facial hair. The upper-class, in short, is decadent – and decadence, in both Suzanne Collins’ books and the films, means flamboyant femininity.

Disgust with, and hatred of femininity is often linked to hatred of women – as in the uber-masculine James Bond novels, with their casual disdain for the disposable sex objects who cross the hero’s path.

The Hunger Games doesn’t hate women, though. Its hero is a woman. But, as a woman, she is a hero precisely because she rejects the traditional roles of femininity. At home in District 12, Katniss wears utilitarian, drab clothing. After her father dies, she steps into his role as provider and hunter, leaving the confines of the domestic village for adventures in the woods. When her sister is threatened, Katniss does the stereotypical manly, heroic thing. You could certainly say her feelings for her sister are maternal, but she expresses them most dramatically through being iconically paternal – by going into battle to protect her family.

The Hunger Games does put Katniss in female roles with some regularity – but it invariably does so to emphasize those roles’ artificiality, and her distance and discomfort with them. She wears a series of striking, literally incendiary dresses, which in the films emphasise Jennifer Lawrence’s considerable glamour. But, while Katniss admires these dresses (and shares a bond of deep affection with designer Cinna), she’s wearing them because she has to, not because she wants to. She has to dress up first in order to win sponsors to help her during the Hunger Games battle, and then to inspire the resistance against the capital. The dresses are a performance. They function as a kind of drag, not an expression of her own gender identity or choices.

Similarly, Katniss’s romance plot is presented as a front. She and Peeta pretend to be in love for the cameras to, again, woo sponsors and to assure President Snow that their main interest is true love, not rebellion. The wedding preparations are an elaborate ruse, which underlines Katniss’s distance from the traditional feminine romance narrative. She doesn’t want marriage and happily ever after; she is not that feminine archetype. If she could, she would head for the woods.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/30/hunger-games-mockingjay-part-two-women-femininity

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ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html

Claiming the Quran’s support, the Islamic State codifies sex slavery in
conquered regions of Iraq and Syria and uses the practice as a recruiting tool.

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‘Women’s Studies’ is Betraying Women under Sharia Law

From The Middle East Forum:  http://www.meforum.org/5680/womens-studies-betrays-women

by Phyllis Chesler
December 7, 2015

Last week, the National Women’s Studies Association membership voted to boycott Israel. The resolution reads, in part: “As feminist scholars, activists, teachers, and public intellectuals . . . we cannot overlook injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within Israel and in the Golan Heights, as well as the colonial displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba.”

This vote is an utter betrayal of both reality and of women — especially women who live under Sharia law.

In 1970, I taught one of the first Women’s Studies courses in the country. What I had envisioned for the discipline has nothing to do with today’s anti-American, anti-Israel, post-colonial, faux-scholarly feminist academy.

Marxism triumphed among radical feminists—and then they became “Palestinianized.” Women’s Studies professors are less concerned with the “occupation” of women’s bodies world-wide than they are with the alleged occupation of a country that has never existed: “Palestine.”

So I wasn’t surprised that the association held a plenary panel last year on that crucial feminist issue: “The Imperial Politics of Nation-States: US, Israel, and Palestine.” Panelists included former communist Angela Davis, the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize; Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of the infamous anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace; and Dr. Islah Jad of Birzeit University, whose focus seems to be Palestinian women only.

They vowed to get the association to boycott Israel. Now they’ve succeeded.

But these “Feminists for Palestine” are in denial about Islam’s long and ugly history of imperialism, colonialism, gender and religious apartheid, anti-black racism, conversion via the sword, executions of apostates and slavery.

The association doesn’t condemn, for example, the atrocities being practiced by Hamas, ISIS, Boko Haram and the Taliban against Muslim women, children and dissidents and against Christian, Yazidi and Kurdish women whom ISIS has captured as sex slaves.

Continue reading at:  http://www.meforum.org/5680/womens-studies-betrays-women

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A welcome blow to the myth of distinct male and female brains

From New Scientist:  https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28584-a-welcome-blow-to-the-myth-of-distinct-male-and-female-brains/

A major study that undermines the damaging idea that male and female brains are fundamentally different could be a game-changer

Gina Rippon
30 November 2015

One of the biggest barriers to equality is crumbling, thanks to a study that blows away the misconception that male and female brains are distinct.

Based on detailed and careful analysis of core features seen in scans of more than 1400 female and male human brains, Israeli researcher Daphna Joel and colleagues demonstrated that most are unique mixes or “mosaics” of features previously thought to be either “male” or “female”. A brain that is not a mix was found to be extremely rare.

The result is a major challenge to the entrenched misconceptions typified by the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” hokum. My hope is it will be a game-changer for the 21st century.

Crucially, it means the power of neuroimaging to explore and explain the links between brain and behaviour can at last come into its own, freed from the constraints of preconceived stereotypes. Our understanding of sex-related brain differences will move beyond simple and outdated dichotomous thinking.

Knowing the controversy associated with such declarations, the authors have been very careful to use a range of different datasets from different laboratories and to investigate the veracity of their findings using more than a single neuroimaging measure.

Their paper adds to similar discussions in neuroscience, as well as to the canon of recent research findings that previously “well-established” sex differences in brain structures turn out to be false when careful analytical techniques are applied.

And it gels with the broader idea that the biology of sex differences is not what we thought. A news feature in Nature last year proclaimed: “Sex redefined: the idea of two sexes is simplistic”, reporting data showing that, even in the most fundamental aspects of sexual differentiation, including chromosomes, cells and genital anatomy, thinking in simple male/female terms is no longer tenable.

What’s more, for several years, psychologists have been saying that, in terms of cognitive skills and personality characteristics, the “two” sexes are much more similar than different. Just knowing whether someone is male or female is a very poor predictor of almost any kind of behaviour.

Continue reading at:  https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28584-a-welcome-blow-to-the-myth-of-distinct-male-and-female-brains/

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What I Learned on My Red State Book Tour

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/132819483625

Robert Reich
Sunday, November 8, 2015

I’ve just returned from three weeks in “red” America.

It was ostensibly a book tour but I wanted to talk with conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers.

I intended to put into practice what I tell my students – that the best way to learn is to talk with people who disagree you. I wanted to learn from red America, and hoped they’d also learn a bit from me (and perhaps also buy my book).

But something odd happened. It turned out that many of the conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers I met agreed with much of what I had to say, and I agreed with them.

For example, most condemned what they called “crony capitalism,” by which they mean big corporations getting sweetheart deals from the government because of lobbying and campaign contributions.

I met with group of small farmers in Missouri who were livid about growth of “factory farms” owned and run by big corporations, that abused land and cattle, damaged the environment, and ultimately harmed consumers.

They claimed giant food processors were using their monopoly power to squeeze the farmers dry, and the government was doing squat about it because of Big Agriculture’s money.

I met in Cincinnati with Republican small-business owners who are still hurting from the bursting of the housing bubble and the bailout of Wall Street.

“Why didn’t underwater homeowners get any help?” one of them asked rhetorically. “Because Wall Street has all the power.” Others nodded in agreement.

Whenever I suggested that big Wall Street banks be busted up – “any bank that’s too big to fail is too big, period” – I got loud applause.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/132819483625