oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Initially, my heart sort of sank when I read this, because I thought, 'oh, wow, is this Clitoraid reprised?': My ambition is to empower all women to have orgasms.

Which I think is possibly a clickbait headline imposed at a higher editorial level, because Firliana Purwanti really has some sensible things to say from within Indonesian culture (though I am wondering about class and status and degrees of privilege), and its need

to be honest to resolve our issues around teen pregnancy, sexual transmitted diseases, sex workers and discrimination against LGBT people.

What she's really incensed about, and what the bulk of the article concerns, is the imposition of highly physical intrusive (and not actually reliable, hat-tip to Hanne Blank's important work) virginity tests by various state organisations (the police, the military, educational institutions), and it appears that there is a good deal of pushback going on.

I am just not sure whether she has things right end on when she claims that

women who have orgasms have equal personal relationships, are able to express themselves and, most importantly, are free from violence.

Given Kinsey's findings in his 1953 report on US women that there was a notable class, economic and educational-level component to whether women enjoyed sex (almost I think the reverse of men, because as I recall without actually looking it up, he found that middle class men were more likely to be sad anxious unspontaneous creatures with hangups and problems).

I.e. that it's the empowering of women in other areas that enables their orgasmic empowerment.

Yes, I will concede that it's All More Complicated and this is not necessarily universal and that no generalisation is wholly true (including this one), but I am also thinking of the early C20th British birth controllers and their discovery that really, you had to stop women being scared that letting their husband bother them would lead to pregnancy no 12, before they could start thinking about the Marie Stopes vision of conjugal bliss.

Plus, I am not sure the ultimate sign of empowerment is an orgasm.

Elementary 3.15

Mar. 6th, 2015 02:30 pm
selenak: (Holmes and Watson by Emme86)
[personal profile] selenak
In which Holmes is a suspect, and Watson is on the case.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Mar. 5th, 2015 08:50 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] katharine_b!

Is this really a good idea?

Mar. 5th, 2015 08:35 am
oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

Have feeling this has made the rounds before? Spotted on FaceBook -

You know how people buy drinks for girls in bars? Why can't people do that in book stores? Like if I'm looking at a novel in Barnes and Noble and some person walks up to me and strikes up a conversation and offers to buy the book for me there is a lot better chance of that working out in their favor. I'm going to reblog this until it's a cultural norm.

Introvert reader sez NO!

Is this not a fundamental misunderstanding of why people are in bookshops and their expectations of that space, akin to letting interior designers loose on that strange-to-them notion of books in a house?

Also, if this is seen as equivalent to the bar scene, I feel that it's not so much 'people' doing the picking up by buying drink for 'girls', as there's an implicit men-picking-up-women scenario built in, so that

a) O HAI this becomes yet another venue for men to hit on women who are going about their business.

b) I also envisage that the men don't come up and offer to buy the book the woman's reading, what they do is try and force her to read by buying it for her some book they admire rather than the one she wants, with optional dissing on what she's actually looking at.

(Especially with the sad decline of specialist women's bookshops, where, yes, one can envisage this playing out differently perhaps.)

Wot, me, cynical?

The Americans 3.06

Mar. 5th, 2015 09:27 am
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
[personal profile] selenak
Read more... )
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

This bug or whatever is lingering on, not bad enough to stay off work, just feeling under par and lacking in oomph.

What I read

Found Alison Lurie, The Last Resort, as good as I remembered. Though although this is only 1998, I can't help thinking that these days, the aging popular ecology writer struggling to finish a book about a tree might at least think about invoking the potentially dire effects of climate change.

Lia Silver, Partner (2015) - sequel to Prisoner and just as good - blends all the elements very well, and manages to spring surprises. Threads left over for the forthcoming sequel.

Jo Walton, The Just City (2015) - this was lovely. While one can never accuse Walton of continuing to plough the same literary furrow - this is not, I think, anything one could predict on the basis of anything she's previously written, which is much about the case for all her work - I do think that we are seeing the exploration of similar themes in very different contexts and registers.

Monica Ferris, And Then You Dye (2013) - not one of the strongest in this series. The blurb is downright misleading since the fact that the dyer uses toxic mordants has no particular relevance to the plot and certainly not to the actual murder. Huge great BUT WHY hanging over one character's plot-getting-under-weigh action.

Also the latest Slightly Foxed. I am a bit baffled by the person who, in this day and age, thinks it odd to write about a (classic, foundational) comic strip in a literary periodical. No, what, really.

Oh yes, and Sekkrit Projekt #ifitoldyouidhavetokillyou.

On the go

At the moment, only Sekkrit Projekt #ifitoldyouidhavetokillyou reading.

Up next

Well, I have the latest Susan Palwick, Mending the Moon, and currently wending their way towards me, Karen Lord, The Galaxy Game and a new Gail Godwin, Publishing: A Memoir. So probably, one or other of those.


In other news, Dept of Less Is More: Hundreds of fairy doors have been attached to the bases of trees in Wayford Woods, Crewkerne. Can this be good for the trees (depending on how they are attached, I guess)? All those notes and other offerings for the fairies surely constitute a litter problem. I can't help feeling that yes, a few might be charming, if a touch twee, but it is getting into the realm of OTT and a bit tasteless.

(no subject)

Mar. 4th, 2015 07:58 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] strangerskies!

Tudor links

Mar. 4th, 2015 08:20 am
selenak: (Young Elizabeth by Misbegotten)
[personal profile] selenak
No more Agent Carter this week, woe. Also, no Midwives for me, due to, err, technical problems. So, have some Tudor history links, both of the lighthearted and the serious type.

The Head that Launched a Thousand Books is a great site about all Anne Boleyn centric fiction, from obscure 17th century French novels to current day bestsellers, and best of all, it has a sense of humor about it. (Which isn't true of many history related websites.) A great example is this post:

Support group for maligned queens: Henry VIII edition, in which all six of Henry's wives have a witty go at their presentation by novelists.

In a similar vein, from a different blogger and author, here are the hilarious Fifteen Aids to Grey, aka Rules for Writing About Lady Jane Grey. (You'd think Jane Grey, aka the Nine-Day-Queen, had a tragic enough fate in real life, what with being executed at age 16, but fiction has tried its best to make it worse, and this post has a well deserved go at some of the most favourite clichés, puncturing them.

Same blogger, different queen:

Jane Seymour's Christmas 1536 Newsletter. ("Marriage was a big adjustment for both of us (well, maybe not so much for Harry), but I’m happy to report that both of us are settling in now.")

Now, after the parodies, a serious link:

The man who died with Cromwell: no, I hadn't known he wasn't executed on his own, either. Nor did I know that the guy in question, Sir Walter Hungerford, had been charged with ""the abominable and detestable vice and sin of buggery" according to the Buggery Act (which had been sponsored by none other than Thomas Cromwell himself, and passed by Parliament in 1533; this certainly didn't make it into Wolf Hall, either book or tv, either). Hungerford seems to have had a nervous breakdown en route to the scaffold, and Cromwell, about to die (horribly) himself, was kind enough to calm him down and comfort him, which speaks well of Cromwell in his last hour of life. (Mind you, given that Hungerford then had to watch the incompetent executioner making a butchery out of Cromwell's execution, I doubt Hungerford managed to stay calm and comforted.

Better Call Saul 1.05

Mar. 3rd, 2015 06:40 pm
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
[personal profile] selenak
In which, at the end, yours truly protested "but can that be the entire episode already?"

Need a will? Call McGill! )

Suspension of disbelief went snap

Mar. 3rd, 2015 01:31 pm
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

I think my suspension of disbelief is always stretched by those plots which involve Our Protag setting up some incredibly convoluted long game in the service of vengeance or an elaborate con (or a combination of the two), involving false identity/ies and deception on a wide scale. And everything going exactly as according to plan.

However, if they have at the most one, maybe two, close confederates I will give this a pass (and in fact the prime examples I can think of are in Dorothy Dunnett or else Eugenides in the Attolia books, i.e. with the strongest of tendencies to play a lone hand).

What I cannot be doing with is the notion that this is a way to run a political conspiracy aimed at overthrowing a corrupt system -

Unless, of course, what you have here is the Henry Treece Ask for King Billy stratagem of having a visible person apparently about the business in hand with the MacGuffin to distract the villains while the actual necessary task is being done in a quiet and unobtrusive way under the radar by somebody else.

But if not, what it reminds me of is the Newer Better Mousetrap invented by Michael Bentine as a mad scientist in It's a Square World, which involved luring your mouse into a Heath Robinsoneque labyrithine machine, which eventually tipped it into a vat of whisky. When it climbed out, it was confronted with a magnifying mirror, and went forth and picked a fight with the nearest cat.


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