Man angry at famous woman's appointment to literary society

Lily Cole is a famous actress, model, and recipient of a double-first class degree in Art History from Cambridge University. How dare they appoint her a partner of the Brontë Society, formed to honor the creative heritage of the Brontë sisters, rants Nick Holland.

If you don’t know Lily Cole, and you’d be in the majority, she is described as ‘a model and social entrepreneur’ (whatever that is). I am unfortunate enough to have encountered Lily before as a few years ago I had a front row seat of a new play about Helen of Troy at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. Lily had the title role, and the play was so bad that it is the only one I have ever walked out of at the interval. If the acting was bad, and believe me it was, the dialogue was even worse – one line in particular was of such clunking ineptitude that it has remained with me forever: ‘women smell my power, men smell like sex’. It was when Lily delivered this line with all the passion of the announcer at Piccadilly station that I began longing for the train home. This was, quite simply, the worst play I have ever seen, and the writer of it? Simon Armitage, the incumbent creative partner at the Brontë Parsonage Museum

Holland, declaring his intention to leave the society, was slammed as a snob.

“I’m sorry that some people have felt angry about it or against it,” Brontë scholar Samantha Ellis told the Guardian.

Read the rest

Prolific British rapist, with more than 100 victims, wins parole after 8 years

John Worboys is a cab driver thought to have sexually assaulted at least 100 victims and convicted on 19 counts in 2009. But he's getting out of jail after only 8 years, having nailed it as his first parole hearing.

He was convicted of one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges.

As well as being ordered to serve at least eight years, Worboys was given an indeterminate sentence, meaning he could be kept in prison as for as long as he was deemed to remain a danger to the public.

In 2010 Worboys had an appeal against his conviction thrown out by the Court of Appeal, where Lord Justice Moses labelled his offences as "appalling".

They didn't even bother to tell his victims.

The chairman of the Parole Board has apologised "unreservedly" after some victims of sex attacker John Worboys were not told about his release.

Nick Hardwick said hearing the decision must have been "horrible" for the women but the board was "confident" 60-year-old Worboys would not reoffend.

Former black-cab driver Worboys is believed to have carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults on women.

One lawyer, quoted by the BBC, calculates his sentence as one month per sexual assault. Read the rest

Men have been pushing women out of tech since the beginning

Programming was women's work: the six who ran Eniac, America's first digital computer, were women. But not for long.

They were systematically pushed out of the field, says technology historian Marie Hicks, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who wrote about it in her recent book, “Programmed Inequality (Amazon).”

Sexism was so extreme in the UK that it played a significant part in the collapse of its first domestic computer industry in the 1960s, writes the WSJ's Christopher Mims:

Not only were the male recruits often less qualified, they frequently left the field because they viewed it as an unmanly profession. A shortage of programmers forced the U.K. government to consolidate its computers in a handful of centers with the remaining coders. It also meant the government demanded gigantic mainframes and ignored more distributed systems of midsize and mini computers, which had become more common by the 1960s

In 1984, 37% of computer science degrees were awarded to women, but it's been in decline ever since. Women are leaving the industry in increasing numbers, "despite" its "diversity and inclusion efforts."

If a firm has hired its first 10 employees and they are all the same gender or ethnicity, an eleventh who doesn’t look like the rest can face challenges.

The First Women in Tech Didn’t Leave—Men Pushed Them Out [WSJ] Read the rest

Franken to resign

Al Franken, the Democratic senator and admitted groper who should have been made to resign weeks ago because there's never just one, idiots, is to resign.

The announcement came after dozens of Democrats called on him to resign. He is the most prominent political figure to resign amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations. "Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States senate," he told his colleagues on Thursday. "I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice." The former Saturday Night Live comedian and two-term senator has apologised to several women who have accused him of groping and sexual harassment, but he faced mounting pressure to resign after a new allegation emerged on Wednesday.

Read the rest

Time Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

Time got it right: The Silence Breakers.

She recalls one screenwriter friend telling her that Weinstein's behavior was an open secret passed around on the whisper network that had been furrowing through Hollywood for years. It allowed for people to warn others to some degree, but there was no route to stop the abuse. "Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?" Judd asks. "There wasn't a place for us to report these experiences."

Finally, in October—when Judd went on the record about Weinstein's behavior in the New York Times, the first star to do so—the world listened.

Read the rest

Former Facebook exec Randi Zuckerberg "disgusted & degraded" by harassment on Alaska Airlines flight

Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook's former spokesperson and sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg, was told by Alaska Airlines flight crew to put up it when a fellow traveler sexually harassed her. She described herself as "disgusted & degraded" in an open letter to the airline's brass.

CNN:

Zuckerberg said the flight attendants offered to move her to a middle seat in the back of the plane, but she said she refused because she didn't feel she should have to give up her seat when she was the one being harassed.

Zuckerberg said she also learned that the comments were not unusual and that the flight attendants had previous conversations with the male passenger about his behavior. She said they told her "don't take it personally, this guy just doesn't have a filter." According to Zuckerberg, the man continued to make sexual comments throughout the flight.

The airline apologized and banned the harassing passenger. Moral of the story: if you're a woman and don't want to be shushed by a flight crew indifferent to the leering alcohol-soaked asshole in the next seat over, be powerful and famous enough to ruin their bosses' day.

Photo: Monika Flueckiger / World Economic Forum (CC) Read the rest

NBC fires Matt Lauer over "inappropriate sexual behavior"

NBC fired Matt Lauer after learning Monday of The Today Show presenter's "inappropriate sexual behavior".

Co-host Savannah Guthrie announced the firing on-air, flanked by Hoda Kotb. A statement, attributed to NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, described a "a detailed complaint" that "represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment."

"While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News," Lack continued, "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

A New York Times exposé of The Today Show presenter is also expected imminently; questions related to it may have informed the decision to fire Lauer without delay.

"We just learned this moment ago, this morning," said Guthrie. "As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated. ... We do not know more than what we shared with you. ... I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is loved by many people here. And I'm heartbroken for my brave colleague who came forward to tell her story."

Photo: David Shankbone Read the rest

Games show how the presence of competent women generates hostile behavior in incompetent men

A 2015 study set out to understand the nuts and bolts of sexist hostility using a timely method: how people behaved in online rounds of Halo 3. They found that incompetent men are triggered by competent women. Surprise!

We hypothesised that female-initiated disruption of a male hierarchy incites hostile behaviour from poor performing males who stand to lose the most status. To test this hypothesis, we used an online first-person shooter video game that removes signals of dominance but provides information on gender, individual performance, and skill. We show that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced teammate, especially when performing poorly. In contrast, lower-skilled players behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player in the identical scenario.

The worse the player, the more hostility expressed toward women in-game. Angry gamers: Losers even in their own escapist fantasies, like Arnold Rimmer with a tiki torch.

Unless I misread the study, it also shows a tipping point at extremes of competence and incompetence, where particularly high-performing female players begin to receive greater praise than similarly excellent males; and at the other end, more abuse is heaped on particularly useless male players than on useless female ones.

I couldn't find links to the transcripts, and wonder what they reveal about the specific terms of abuse.

Photo: Shutterstock. Read the rest

Casual sexism, British-style, in the Houses of Parliament

In Britain, a mirror-world scandal of harassment and abuse is unfolding. Like its American counterpart, it reaches into high levels of entertainment and government. But unlike America, the "jocular contempt for women" that Richard Rorty feared would return is already on merry display in Parliament itself.

"When I met the Israeli deputy prime minister, he stormed out of the meeting. The Secretary of State got a much more cordial reception," said Sir Desmond Swayne, a conservative MP. "Is it just because she's a lady?"

The smarm! The transparently false detachment! The bad comic timing! The sublimated, sneering rage! Affectation as the failure state of eccentricity! If all this is your cup of tea, be sure to check out the latest from Peter Hitchens.

Update: more from this charming "Sir Desmond" character:

The current ‘feeding frenzy’ of allegations where the most minor risqué remark is reported in the same breath as a very serious criminal offence is just absurd. It is just about as proportionate a reaction as the Junior Anti Sex League in George Orwell’s 1984.

As, I tweeted last week, I recall my housemaster’s advice when he reminded us of the rule that no boy be alone with a girl in his study “believe me boys, this is for your own safety”. I suspect that a number of parliamentary colleagues wish that they had had that advice, and taken it.

Read the rest

Six women accuse director Brett Ratner of misconduct

Another day, another Hollywood "missing stair" exposed: this time Brett Ratner, in the LA Times.

Olivia Munn said that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed “After the Sunset” when she was still an aspiring actress, he masturbated in front of her in his trailer when she went to deliver a meal. Munn wrote about the incident in her 2010 collection of essays without naming Ratner. On a television show a year later, Ratner identified himself as the director, and claimed that he had “banged” her, something he later said was not true. The same year her book was published, Munn ran into Ratner at a party thrown by Creative Artists Agency and he boasted of ejaculating on magazine covers featuring her image, she told The Times.

She said that persistent false rumors that they had been intimate have infuriated her, prompting her to talk to The Times in support of other women who are “brave enough to speak up.”

Note the contrast. Even recently, a blithe and jocular contempt, boasting of what they get up to. Now? Terrified denials made through lawyers. The age of Trump is dissolving American manners, but manners also shield the worst among us.

Photo: Danny Moloshok/Reuters Read the rest

Forensic science envisages face of woman persecuted as witch 313 years ago

Her name was Lilias Adie, and she died in prison while waiting to be burned at the stake as a witch. Forensic artist Dr Christopher Rynn used the latest reconstructive methods to show us her face.

Lilias Adie was tortured in prison and it is believed she may have taken her own life.

Louise Yeoman said: "I think she was a very clever and inventive person.

"The point of the interrogation and its cruelties was to get names.

"But Lilias said that she couldn't give the names of other women at the witches' gatherings as they were masked like gentlewomen.

"She only gave names which were already known and kept up coming up with good reasons for not identifying other women for this horrendous treatment."

Read the rest

Therapists say more clients are reporting Trump revenge fantasies in sessions

Clients who still can't believe Trump is now the sitting Preisident are sharing revenge fantasies about Trump with their therapists. Read the rest

Lucas Gilman's 8K timelapse video of Iceland might break your internet

Push your monitor, processing speed, and internet connection to the limit all at once with this remarkable 8K timelapse of Iceland. Read the rest

Ellen Pao on Silicon Valley sexism

Ellen Pao, a former Reddit chief and partner at Kleiner-Perkins (which she unsuccessfully sued over discrimination), explains How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley. Read the rest

Study finds that hurricanes with female names kill more because they aren't taken seriously (Old news)

The Washington Post's Jason Samenow reports that "people don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name and the consequences are deadly."

The conclusion is that of a wide-ranging study, Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes, which found that the death toll nearly triples when a severe hurricane is given a feminine name.

Abstract

Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations? We use more than six decades of death rates from US hurricanes to show that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more deaths than do masculine-named hurricanes. Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents’ preparedness to take protective action. This finding indicates an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the gendered naming of hurricanes, with important implications for policymakers, media practitioners, and the general public concerning hurricane communication and preparedness.

The study was formulated to track individual willingness to seek shelter. In other words, sexism is what's killing them, not the storm. The death toll since 1950: 50 deaths from female storms compared to 23 from male storms.

Meteorologists seem unimpressed: "I am not ready to change the naming system based on one study," the WaPo quotes ones.

UPDATE: Sorry about the oldnews: turns out this is three years old and has been widely contested. Read the rest

The truth about sexual harassment in Silicon Valley

In the New York Times, Katie Bienner relates a cultural shift in Silicon Valley: women victims of sexual harassment describing their experiences frankly. In an industry bound by delusions of meritocracy and egality, simply talking about it is radical.

More than two dozen women in the technology start-up industry spoke to The Times in recent days about being sexually harassed. Ten of them named the investors involved, often providing corroborating messages and emails, and pointed to high-profile venture capitalists such as Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital and Dave McClure of 500 Startups, who did not dispute the accounts.

The disclosures came after the tech news site The Information reported that female entrepreneurs had been preyed upon by a venture capitalist, Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital. The new accounts underscore how sexual harassment in the tech start-up ecosystem goes beyond one firm and is pervasive and ingrained. Now their speaking out suggests a cultural shift in Silicon Valley, where such predatory behavior had often been murmured about but rarely exposed.

From the reports, Ellen Pao striking out in the courts only underscored the impunity enjoyed by these men.

Lindsay Meyer, an entrepreneur in San Francisco, said Mr. Caldbeck put $25,000 of his own money into her fitness start-up in 2015. That gave Mr. Caldbeck reason to constantly text her; in those messages, reviewed by The Times, he asked if she was attracted to him and why she would rather be with her boyfriend than him. At times, he groped and kissed her, she said.

Read the rest

NSFW official release of Metal MILF starring Sabrina Boing Boing

Brazilian comedians Hermes e Renato front Massacration, South America's answer to Spinal Tap. At long last, they have released the NSFW video for their instant classic track Metal Milf, starring DJ Sabrina Boing Boing (no relation) as the eponymous heroine. Read the rest

More posts