October 2009

My Foray Into The World of The Disney Princess

I've been thinking about the Disney Princesses and the color pink a lot.  And why isn't Tinkerbell part of the Disney Princess line?  Not being a parent, I didn't even know there WAS an official Disney Princess lineup, but you can find all of them here on Disney's website.

Note how they never look at each other.  That's part of the official Disney code. Let that page load up, then watch it for a few minutes.  Notice how each princess fidgets a little bit, to get your attention.  A little eerie, is it not?  And yet, not half as eerie as it ought to be.

On the "pro" side for princesses is the - so far as I know - universal-among-little-girls understanding that a princess is:
  1. pretty, and
  2. the boss of you.  

Love Your Kid? Then Turn Off the TV!

The New York Times is reporting that the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for its Baby Einstein series, which the Times describes as "a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect."

Baby Einstein is a local issue for me, because it was debunked by researchers at my very own college, the University of Washington.  Not only were the Baby Einstein videos shown to be bunk, but they actually decreased a baby's vocabulary.  

Requiem for Geocities

You may have heard the news: Geocities finally closed its doors, shuttering all of its websites as of today.  I have been reminiscing about Geocities and what it meant to me, and thinking about what it meant to women on the internet.

Geocities was a launching off point for a lot of people, a way to get their feet wet with internet communication.  By providing a safe and easy way to create a website, without a lot of technical nonsense, it made it possible for a lot of "regular people" to create websites, formerly the purview of the technical elite.  

Save Us From "Inadequate Or Not Enough Eyelashes"!

The scourge of too-thin eyelashes has finally, triumphantly come to an end.  Latisse, a prescription product originally tested as a glaucoma medicine, is here to rescue us from those dark days of yore.  The days when everyone had "some" lashes, and no one really cared.

Here's the thing: I have talked to many women about this issue, and none of them ever expressed anxiety about the thickness or length of their eyelashes.  And yet the commercials make it sound like this is the female version of the male obsession with thickness and length.  (Which is silly enough, but keep in mind that eyelashes don't actually DO ANYTHING.)  The only concern I have ever heard is from blonde women, whose eyelashes are invisible if they don't use mascara, and NO eyelashes is indeed a somewhat unsettling look.

Yahoo Hires Lap Dancers For Conference

For Yahoo's latest Hack Days event in Taiwan, the company hired strippers - excuse me, "exotic dancers" - to strut their stuff and perform lap dances on the attendees.  The male attendees, obviously, even though women are - or were - well represented at Hack Days.

Yahoo's Hack Days are an informal conference, designed around programmers creating applications that work with Yahoo's API.  Originally the Hack Days were an internal company festival of sorts, but Yahoo opened them to the public in 2006.  Each Hack Day includes a contest for designing the best application. The first Hack Day's competition was won by a team of women.

OMG Chicks Dig Vampires NO WAY!

From the "Hilariously Late to the Party" department comes this article in Esquire magazine, "Vampires As Gay Men" by Stephen Marche.  First of all, I desperately wanted to firebomb this article for the following sentence:

Not all young straight women, of course, but many, if not most, of them.

Not all, but many, if not most.  That is just TERRIBLE writing.  Awful.  It poisoned me against Marche's case, and I read on with a steely gaze indeed.

Stop Hating Your Body! End the Fat Talk

Most of us are guilty of complaining about our weight and our looks, but I never ralized that this type of negative speak makes an impact on those around us. Especially our daughters. It's time to end the Fat Talk and time to start promoting a positive attitude about our bodies. The fashion industry is selling us an unrealistic image of who we ought to be, and we aren't just listening, we're killing ourselves and destroying our bodies to try to achive those unrealistic standards. Let's take our bodies back and let's celebrate a healthy ideal.

Celebrate Fat Talk Free Week, October 19- 23, 2009.


Pink Ribbons are Pretty But Not Enough

October 16 is this Friday. Grab a red marker and circle it in your calendar. When you’re at friends’ houses, relatives’ houses, and especially your mother’s house, take it with you, and pen in a big, fat, red circle around the 16. You may even want to write in, “National Mammography Day.”

Like STDs, pregnancy, sexual assault, skin cancer, urinary tract infections and a host of other things that women have come to realize that we simply can’t ignore—or think they won’t affect us in some way or another—breast cancer is not something we can ignore. It’s the second most common cancer in women, and the number one killer of Hispanic women. Statistics show that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer—which mean that if it isn’t you, it’s likely going to be someone you care about.

Women in Gaming

Rachel Walmsley opened up a whole fascinating can of worms with her recent post on Geek Feminism Blog, about women and gaming in general - and transwomen and gaming in particular.  I get doubly aggravated on this issue, because I'm not just a dedicated gamer - I'm dedicated to a "girl's game."  I've been playing The Sims since the franchise originally launched in 2000.

The Sims games are the fourth most successful video game franchise of all time.  At 130 million copies sold, it is beat out only by the Mario, Pokeman, and Tetris franchises.  Just to put this in perspective, that's eleven times more people than World Of Warcraft, and sixteen times more people than Halo 2.  Talk about the silent majority!  

Despite this, The Sims gets precious little attention from the mainstream gaming press, and from mainstream gamers.  Which is pretty funny, because if you go by the numbers, The Sims IS the mainstream.  If there was another game out there that was nine and a half times more popular than World of Warcraft, I'm pretty sure it would be slathered all over the gaming websites and magazines.  

Cute Netbook, You Emasculating Harpy

Metafilter's uproar of the day is over this post on the Shapely Prose blog.  I thought this blog post by Phaedra Starling was so awesome that it would be better served by being broken down into three or four separate posts.  The "15 emails a day" guy deserves his own article, that's for sure.  

The article seems to have been precipitated (or exacerbated) by this recent XKCD comic.  I love XKCD except when the topic turns to romance, at which point it inevitably gets heavy-handed.  I also regret that "sudo make me a sandwich" has turned into a "smack my bitch up" kind of remark, instead of the scathing and hilarious comment on the ridiculousness of the sudo command.