miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
I read this tumblr post and the ensuing discussion with [personal profile] matgb was very interesting. Our conclusion boiled down to that the writers (especially in original Trek) were trying quite hard (but failing due to their own ingrained "benevolent" sexism) to envision a post-sexism society. And, you know, total blind spot for LGBT stuff, but that's a tangent for this post, as is the undoubted and well-documented actual sexism of the studio and production team.

Mat mentioned the oft-cited canard about Uhura:
all she did was answer the phone! She was just a receptionist, not anyone important!
and I'd like to unpack the sexism in just that statement for a moment.
  • All she did was be the receptionist - no she didn't. She gets left in charge in several episodes when the boys go on a redshirt-killing away team lark.

  • All she did was be the receptionist - you mean she was the signals officer? Because my brother is a signals officer in the British army, and let me tell you they are pretty well respected. The first thing any smart enemy tries to do is take down communications. Signals officer is both dangerous AND highly skilled.

  • All she did was be the receptionist - except for all those times she fixes the consoles, and goes on away teams (admittedly this is more common in animated and film eps, but still).
Even if all she did was be the receptionist was actually true, do you know why we sniffily dismiss the people who negotiate with external agencies on our behalf, answer queries, let people know what we're doing, make our appointments, arrange our diaries and generally sort out our shit? Because it's women's work. And that's the biggest indicator of sexism of all.

OK, I'm getting off my high horse now. Laters ;)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
You'll be pleased to hear that my answers to this aren't quite as long as those to the governance review, because there were not as many questions to answer as the review doesn't cover as broad an area.

that said, I'm still putting them under a cut )
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
This gets quite long and involved, guys. There were a lot of questions in the governance review paper, and I've answered every one of them. As such, my answers are under the cut )
miss_s_b: (Default)
(NB: this post has been going in various forms since '08 and was last posted in '13)

This list is presented in what I feel to be order of importance of the arguments.
  1. The argument from perpetuation. This is the big one as far as I am concerned. It's the practical argument. Positive Discrimination doesn't work, and worse than that, it makes the situation continue and can even make it worse. Using discrimination to fight discrimination is like fucking for virginity. It doesn't even stop specific instances, and it definitely doesn't get to the root cause. It's salving - no, not even salving, covering up - a symptom, while leaving the disease utterly intact. We need to fight discrimination, not perpetuate it.

  2. The argument from individuality. Positive Discrimination treats all women and all men (or all racial groups, or all LGBT+ folk, or whatever) as representatives of their group first, and individuals second. You don't have to have known me for very long to know how far I am from the average for women in many, many, many areas. I firmly believe that it is perfectly normal to deviate from the norm. I am an individual. I am not there to be a tick in the box of a diversity agenda, and I believe that each individual has experiences and needs which are individual to them and not predetermined by any visible physical factor.

  3. The argument from commonality. Just because someone has similar physical features to you does not mean that they will be of the same views as you, have the same experiences as you, or understand you any better. I believe that Julian Huppert understands me better and does a better job of representing my views than Nadine Dorries, for example.

  4. The argument from equality of opportunity. AKA two wrongs don't make a right. If you discriminate in favour of some groups, you necessarily discriminate against others. This is manifestly unfair, and unfairness is in fact, what we are arguing against here.

  5. The argument from mediocrity. If you discriminate in favour of one group, you are potentially promoting people who may not be as well-qualified or capable simply because they belong to the group in question; I thought this was what we were fighting against? For generations cis het white men have beaten better qualified women, black people and LGBT folk simply by being cis het white men. reversing this does not make it any less discriminatory.

  6. The argument from resentment. Linked to the above: every single person who gets a job due to positive discrimination has to fight the perception that they only got the job because of the group that they belong to, however well-qualified and good at the job they are. Sexists (or racists or homophobes etc) will assume that any woman (black person, LGBT+ person) who got any position where there is a positive discrimination policy in place got it because of the protected characteristic, not because they are actually qualified. The person getting the position is therefore hamstrung before they even begin, and face resentment that no person should face. You don't have to take my word for this, look at how affirmative action is discussed in the US.

  7. The "Sins of the Fathers" argument. Positive Discrimination means that some people will suffer through no fault of their own, but because they were born to a privileged group. This is manifestly unfair.

Really, it all boils down to the fact that if you use positive discrimination, you are accepting that the ends (greater diversity) justify the means. By that logic, you should also accept torture, pre-emptive invasion of other countries, etc. etc. This is not, in my view, how a good liberal should think.

I also hate the slippery euphemistic re-naming of it as "affirmative action" or "positive action", like that changes what it is. I don't think that one needs to have the same attributes as someone else to be able to have empathy with their situation, and I don't think that one needs to be a member of a marginalised group to understand that marginalising people is bad and wrong. I don't think a person's attributes qualify them to represent me, I think their brain does. Selecting women because only women can represent women is as bad, in my view, as suppressing women because only men are smart enough to decide what's good for us.

Diversity is not an end in itself. It's a means to an end of fairness and better governance.

Now, I'm not saying that women (and other marginalised groups) don't face structural and institutionalised inequalities; I know they do, and I rail against them regularly. But to say we can solve all that by using positive discrimination is like saying you can cover third degree burns with a bit of make-up. It might make things look better for a while, but in the long term it makes the problem worse by preventing actual solutions from being used, because look, we've solved it.

I want discrimination solved. I really really do. And at bottom, that is why I am against positive discrimination.
miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
I suspect that the title of this blog post is mildly inaccurate, as it should really be "Experience Review". This is the first time in 55 years that this film has been shown in a cinema as it was meant to be seen, in glorious Smell-o-vision. I'm therefore going to hide how they did it under a cut: )

As for the plot of the actual film, well it was a British comedy crime caper with lots of celebrity cameos. Denholm Eliot, Leo McKern and Peter Lorre were all excellent, although seeing Leo playing SPOILER ) was a little unsettling. Peter Lorre was SPOILER ) and had some lovely little comedy moments that reminded me of his turn in Comedy of Terrors as foil to Vincent Price. And Denholm Eliot was Denholm Eliot.

Lots of bits of it were clearly just there to showcase either Cinerama or Smell-o-vision or both - like the guy with the yoyo in House of Wax is only there for the 3D effects and serves no plotular purpose - but if you're seeing it in a Cinerama cinema with the smells then that's not annoying like it would be if you were watching it on TV, but endearing. There were some fabulous hats, a couple of really good beards, and the story was SPOILER ) It's the sort of film I would normally give 5/10 to and say "if it turns up on channel 4 in the afternoon movie slot, give it a whirl, you might enjoy it". You can certainly have a good game of Spot the Golden Age Of British Cinema Celebrity Cameo. However, in the full Cinerama plus Smell-o-vision experience, this gets upgraded to a Must See. The print is not perfect (we were told some of the reasons why in the talk at the start of the film) and the scent distribution system is not perfect either, but I would say these both add to the fun and charm of the experience.


See this film if:

- you can, simple as that. It's a unique experience, and the story of the film is only a part of that, so even if you detest comedy crime capers I'd say it's worth seeing. You'll need to live in or near a city with a cinerama screen, of which there are now only 4 in the world, and hope they put this show on. I promise you it's worth it.

Don't see this film if:

- strong odours bother you, or you have allergies that might be set off by them.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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