What it's like to be a woman reporter on a cryptocurrency cruise where nearly all the other women are sex-workers

Laurie Penny (previously) got sent on the 2018 CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise -- a four-day cruise filled with "starry-eyed techno-utopians and sketchy-ass crypto-grifters" who solved the fact that there almost no women signed up using the "free market": they paid teen sex workers from Ukraine to ship out with them. Read the rest

The Girlfriend Zone: the inverse of "the friend zone"

The Girlfriend Zone is the place that women find themselves repeatedly and insufferably placed into by their male platonic friends, who can't or won't understand that the relationship is and will remain platonic: Ann: "So are you hanging out with Ben after class today?" Leslie: "No, he girlfriend zoned me hard. Hes a cool guy, but I can't hang out with him for more than 10 minutes without him making a pass at me." (via Seanan McGuire) Read the rest

Tavi Gevinson is folding up Rookie, after seven years: part mediapocalypse, part moving on

At the age of 15, Tavi Gevinson was the prodigy founder of Rookie, a latter-day second-coming of Sassy Magazine -- a smart, funny, critical teen magazine that presaged the odd world we live in now, when magazines like Teen Vogue have become highly politicized. Read the rest

The secret history of science fiction's women writers: The Future is Female!

Eminent science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek (Georgia Tech Professor of Science Fiction in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication) has edited "The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin," a forthcoming anthology of science fiction (and scientifiction!) by woman writers from the 1920s published last month by Library of America. Read the rest

Copyright and the "male gaze": a feminist critique of copyright law

Film theorist Laura Mulvey coined the term "male gaze" to describe the "masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer": in a paper for the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Southwestern Law School professor John Tehranian applies Mulvey's idea to the complex and often nonsensical way that copyright determines who is an "author" of a work and thus entitled to control it, and shows how the notion of authorship reflects and amplifies the power imbalances already present in the world. Read the rest

Scenes from the Bangalore Literature Festival

I still have Indian dust on my shoes from the city of Bangalore, where I spent almost a week at the international literary festival.

I was mind-boggled at the scale of this national Indian event: literature, politics, activism, feminism. There was music and even street art, but what a crowd. Sixteen thousand highly literate participants, roaming from one outdoor stage to another, and engaged with every atom of their souls.

Literary culture persists in this part of the world, where people still believe that leafing through books is a transformative spiritual experience that can change the world.

Authors of the first world, beset with Internet and economic crisis, often seem like plastic vanity-toys kept past their sell-by date, but maybe what they lack most keenly is a creative readership. As a passionate reader, I often claim it is more difficult to read a book well than it is to to write one. As a less passionate writer, I know that even one ideal reader is enough to motivate a decent book.

The beautiful literary carnival -- held on the broad, leafy grounds of one of Bangalore’s finest hotels, an oasis of glamor and privilege -- contrasted with the crooked streets of Bangalore where the sacred cows, pariah dogs and torrents of honking traffic live with a passion for survival. This was not my first visit to India, so I was ready for the epic scale of grandeur and abject poverty, but it was still a culture shock.

The jet-set’s digitized skyscrapers tower like phantoms over vast bazaars seething with a seize-the-day human vitality. Read the rest

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, 50+ more firms tell Trump to leave trans people alone

In a letter published online today, 56 of America's largest corporations tell Donald Trump not roll back legal protections for transgender people, as he is threatening to do with the midterm U.S. elections one week away. What he appears to be trying to do, of course, is far more than that. Donald Trump says he wants to be the one who determines your gender. Read the rest

Amazon trained a sexism-fighting, resume-screening AI with sexist hiring data, so the bot became sexist

Some parts of machine learning are incredibly esoteric and hard to grasp, surprising even seasoned computer science pros; other parts of it are just the same problems that programmers have contended with since the earliest days of computation. The problem Amazon had with its machine-learning-based system for screening job applicants was the latter. Read the rest

Notre Dame and 73 other institutions secretly conspired with the Trump administration to deny birth control

When Obamacare came into effect, Notre Dame and other religious institutions forced the administration into a baroque arrangement whereby the US government would insure birth control prescriptions for women otherwise covered by the institution, so that the institution could hew to a religious doctrine that abhors the idea of women controlling their own fertility. Read the rest

The first woman Doctor Who to be commemorated with a limited-edition Barbie

Tonight marks the world premiere of the first Doctor Who series in which the Doctor is portrayed by a woman. The limited-edition commemorative Barbie available for pre-order starting tomorrow, exclusively through Forbidden Planet. Read the rest

Ontario businesses want trumpy Doug Ford to kill leave for domestic abuse survivors, allow mandatory high heeled shoes

Ontario's "A Plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs" (AKA Bill 148) legislates leave for domestic abuse survivors, provides for 10 days of paid emergency leave, three weeks paid vacation after five years' employment, and a ban on employers requiring their employees to wear high heels. Read the rest

Sex workers pioneered the internet, and now the internet has rejected them

Motherboard's Sofia Barrett-Ibarria talks to sex-worker advocates about the early history of sex-work and the net; after economically sustaining the alt-weekly industry and its excellent local journalism, sex workers found themselves increasingly unwelcome in their ad sections and moved online, pioneering the internet as we know it today. Read the rest

California bans all-male corporate boards

As of 2019, publicly traded California corporations will have to have at least one woman board-member or face fines; the minimum number of woman board members climbs to two in 2020 (three for companies with boards of six or more people). Read the rest

Twitter suspends academic who quoted feminist STEM research

MIT Comparative Media Studies researcher/instructor Chris Peterson is an adrent supporter of the Math Prize for Girls, and as part of his work with the organization, he's learned about the way that STEM fields were once considered inherently feminine, while the higher-status humanities were dominated by men -- it's the subject of some outstanding feminist scholarship by Professor Maria Charles. Read the rest

#MeToo meets the #FightFor15 as McDonald's workers walk out over sexual harassment

McDonald's workers in ten US cities staged a mass walkout last week, demanding that the company take action on the rampant sexual abuse and harassment in its franchisees' stores; as the workers pointed out, the company surveils and controls their every move on-shift down to the minutest detail, but can't seem to find any way to chase down reports that women are being groped and then fired if they refuse to perform sexual acts on their supervisors. Read the rest

Anita Hill on how sexual harassment allegations should be handled

When Anita Hill testified about the sexual abuse she'd suffered at Clarence Thomas's hands, Senate Republicans and the press pilloried her, calling her a liar and worse, and going on to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Read the rest

As "porn for women" tops search terms, a porn site offers cash grants for female pornographers

"Porn for women" was Pornhub's "top trending" search term for 2017; across the pornosphere, the number of women viewers continues its meteoric rise and rise, up to 25% now -- for the porn industry woman viewers represent a huge opportunity for growth. Read the rest

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