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Differences between life when you're poor and life when you're middle class

Beth Pratt writes, "Being poor is different than being middle class. Killer Martinis explains just how different in this post she calls 'Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts'. She begins by telling us that 'rest is a luxury for the rich' and goes on from there."

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Tropes vs Women in Video Games: Ms. Male Character

Here's a new installment in Anita Sarkeesian's Kickstarter-funded, misogynist-enraging, must-watch "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series: Ms Male Character: a closely annotated, fascinating 25 minutes on the practice of producing a "female" version of video-games by feminizing the lead characters.

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Swedish cinemas rate films on their Bechdel Test score


Four Swedish movie theaters have started publishing gender scores for the movies they exhibit, based on the films' ability to pass the Bechdel Test ("must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man"). A surprising number of movies fail this test. The initiative is supported by the Swedish Film Institute, a government agency that represents a major source of funding for Swedish film, and one of the region's cable operators is devoting a Sunday to movies that pass the test, which comes from Alison Bechdel's excellent comic, Dykes to Watch Out For.

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Germany to allow "indeterminate" gender on birth certificates

The BBC: "Germany has become Europe's first country to allow babies with characteristics of both sexes to be registered as neither male nor female." Rob 18

Girl's Life v Boy's Life: "Do you Know When to Shut Up" vs "Jokes to impress"


Whtbout2ndbrkfst's comparison of the covers of Girl's Life and Boy's Life magazines is awfully trenchant and sad. It'd be interesting to do this as a monthly series, and gauge how recurrant this phenomenon is.

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Rookie Yearbook Two: Gevinson and pals' wonderful anthology of humane, vigorous, unapologetic feminism


The extraordinary website Style Rookie, started by then-12-year-old Tavi Gevinson begat the Style Rookie magazine, and then the annual Rookie Yearbooks. Last year, I reviewed the first Rookie yearbook, which was an absolute triumph: a beautiful, lavishly illustrated and designed book that anthologized the sharp, smart, savvy and sensible writing from the site.

Now there's Rookie Yearbook Two, and it tops the first volume in every way. As an artifact, it is spectacular: every page is a full-bleed, full-color extravaganza of great design and sassy, tongue-in-cheek elaborations. It goes to enormous lengths not to take itself seriously -- there are punch-out altar-cards and stickers and activity pages, alongside great articles about everything from coping with racism, cutting and body image to playing music, the special nature of adolescent friendships and bands.

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Lesbian Feminist Haunted House: Kill Joy's Kastle


Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell has erected a "Lesbian Feminist Haunted House" called Kill Joy's Kastle. It's a response to the evangelical "Hell Houses," put up to scare people away from "sin" (especially teh gay).

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Women in science tees



Jeremy sez, "To celebrate Ada Lovelace day, celebrating women in science and technology (Tuesday, Oct 15th this year) I've put together a collection of t-shirts featuring women in science and technology. Since I know that despite their contributions many of these women are not household names I've also added a brief writeup of each woman's best known accomplishments when you mouse over each design."

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8-year-old gets sexist kids' books yanked from bookstore


Constance Cooper sez, "My 8-year-old daughter spotted some incredibly sexist kids' books in a bookstore, and got them removed by the management. Warning: looking at the section headings of the books may raise your blood pressure."

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How Miss Teen USA's sextortionist got caught

This week, the FBI arrested a 19-year-old computer science student named Jared James Abrahams for tricking young women into installing malicious software on their computers, software that let him covertly operate their webcams and microphones, as well as capturing their keystrokes and plundering their hard-drives. Abrahams captured nude photos of his victims, then threatened to release them to the victims' social media accounts unless they performed live, on-camera sex-acts for him. At least one of his victims was a minor. Another of his victims was Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who turned him into the FBI.

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson has a spellbinding account of Abrahams's crimes, and the way that the FBI tracked him down, and he places Abrahams in the larger context of "RATers" (crooks who operate Remote Access Trojans -- the kind of malware used by Abrahams). This phenomenon is also the subject of one of the chapters in Anderson's excellent book The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed, and few journalists are better qualified to write about the subject.

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Janis Joplin's final interview, animated

PBS Digital Studios have created a series of hand-drawn animations to accompany classic interviews with worthy personages; here is their accompaniment to Janis Joplin's final interview, recorded four days before her death. It is a poignant, bitter and defiant speech on rejection, self-determination, gender and self-worth.

Janis Joplin on Rejection | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios (Thanks, Danielle!)

Better way to organize kids' clothing departments


Ever since our daughter's birth, my wife Alice and I have found ourselves shopping the "boys" section of the department stores for things like pyjamas and tees and rubber boots, this being the only way to get stuff that isn't pink, covered in glitter, hypersexualized (you should see some of the nighties they make for three year old girls!) and generally lame. After the latest round of this, Alice got fed up and came up with a great suggestion for re-organizing kids' departments:

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Comics memoir of a girl-gamer-geek's journey


In Manic Pixel Dream Girl , a four-part comic, Elizabeth Simins recounts a memoir of being a girl who loved video games but felt that they were the reason she couldn't fit in with the other kids. It's a thoughtful and at times brutal story about identity, exclusion, and passion, and it has a wonderful ending (thankfully).

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Writing the Other workshop, Chattanooga

Mary Robinette Kowal sez, "Many authors struggle to write beyond what they know and write the other. While conventions are tackling this material, there is frequently not enough time to delve into this tricky and nuanced skill. The Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat is designed to have lessons and conversations at a more advanced level. By pairing it with a retreat, we give the participants an opportunity to work on projects in a nurturing environment. This weeklong event gives you one on one time with the instructors David Anthony Durham, K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward."

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Norwegian company launches "eggs for boys" and "eggs for girls"


Finn writes, "Prior, Norway's leading brand of chicken and eggs, has just launched Princess Eggs and Pirate Eggs, to get children to eat more eggs. A friend of mine was quoted as saying: 'If this is what's necessary to get kids to eat more eggs, there's something wrong with the way you raise them. The product per se is as old as the hills, but the packaging is new, and it's a marketing stunt -- gone horribly wrong! The next product launch: School eggs! Now, there's a facepalm moment for you!"

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