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The Original: Females

Does the book contain one or more female characters? Yes

Do these characters have names? Yes: Sarah, Ernestina, Aunt Tranter, Mrs. Poultney, Mrs. Talbot, Mrs. Fairley, Milly, Mary

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes

Do they discuss something other than men? Yes. Mrs. Fairley and Mrs. Poulteney talk about Sarah. The one time that conversation is witnessed by the reader, however, they discuss Sarah walking through what serves in the story as the red light district. Therefore, while the conversation is not about men, it does indirectly pertain to men.

Other-The fascinating thing about a Victorian novel being written in the late sixties is the perspective and self-awareness The French Lieutenant’s Woman has. While the 60′s were not as advanced when it comes to feminism as we are, today, the author is surprisingly advanced for his time: “What are we faced with in the nineteenth century? An age where woman was sacred; and where you could buy a thirteen-year-old girl for a few pounds–a few shillings, if you wanted her for only an hour or two. Where more churches were built than in the whole previous history of the county; and where one in sixty houses in London was a brothel…Where the sanctity or marriage (and chastity before marriage) was proclaimed from every pulpit, in every newspaper editorial and public utterance; and where never–or hardly ever–have so many great public figures, from the future king down, led scandalous private lives…Where the female body had never been so hidden from view; and where every sculptor was judged by his ability to carve naked women…Where it was universally maintained that women do not have orgasms; and yet every prostitute was taught to simulate them. Where there was enormous progress and liberation in every other field of human activity; and nothing but tyranny in the most personal and fundamental” (p266-267).


Does the book contain one or more characters of a minority race? No

Other: “My dear Charles, if you play the Muslim in a world of Puritans, you can expect no other treatment,” the doctor tells the main character. While there are no minority characters in Victorian England, this statement does imply that there is awareness of other races, at least in the more educated population of the country.


Does the book contain one or more gay characters? It is unclear, though the book does make mention of the question, during a scene in which the main heroine is seen in bed with another woman: “But some vices were then so unnatural that they did not exist. I doubt if Mrs. Poulteney had ever heard of the word “lesbian”; and if she had, it would have commenced with a capital , and referred to an island in Greece . . . But what of Sarah’s motives? As regards lesbianism, she was as ignorant as her mistress” (p. 157-158). Is Sarah a lesbian? Maybe.


Does the book contain one or more lower-class characters? Yes. There is a significant amount of time spent on the romantic subplot between two lower class characters.

Do these characters have names? Millie, Mary, Sam…

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes, frequently.

Do they discuss something other than the upper class? Sam and Mary discuss their love, marriage, as well as make some small talk. The conversation that the reader is privy to does tend to revolve around the larger plot, Charles and Sarah, so the instances of Mary and Sam talking, unrelated to their employers are few, but existent, none the less.

Other- The narrator, in his more “enlightened” viewpoint, seems to have interesting opinions about the Victorian class structure. Mr. Freeman, one of the only financially successful characters in the novel offers Charles, his future son-in-law at the time, his business. This immediately pits Charles in a quandary. Though he has no money, it’s so plebeian to work for money. Gentlemen simply don’t do that. The most respectable character in the novel, Dr. Grogan, is both learned, middle class, and self-employed in the business of helping others.

Also important to mention is the distinction and time the author spends on Sam’s position: “Of course, to us any Cockney servant called Sam evokes immediately the immortal Weller; and it was certainly from that background that this Sam had emerged…But the difference between Sam Weller and Sam Farrow (that is, between 1836 and 1867) was this: the first was happy with his role, the second suffered it. Weller would have answered the bag of soot, and with a verbal vengeance. Sam had stiffened, ‘rose his hibrows’ and turned his back.” This paves the way for much more characterization and time spent on/with Sam, but it only ends up being foreshadowing.



Okay, since I’m STILL hearing people on the internet griping about the first Girl With The Dragon Tattoo poster, I felt the need to go on a little rant here. Bear with me.

Look at the image on the left. Now look at the image on the right. One of these images is of a “sexualized woman,” and the other is not. If you cannot tell the difference between a nude woman, and a sexualized woman, you are an idiot.

The fact that Rooney Mara is naked in the TGWTDT poster does not make her sexualized or objectified. David Fincher has not “missed the point,” he’s actually making a very insightful observation into the way nude women are portrayed in advertising and in films. Lisbeth Salander may be nude in this poster, but she’s miles away from the expected depiction of a naked woman. Rooney Mara said it perfectly herself:

There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out.

The image of Katy Perry is clearly what Rooney is talking about here (I don’t have anything visceral against Katy Perry, I’m just using a picture of her to make a point). She looks sweet, coyly hiding herself from the camera, but still looking inviting and sexually available. Rooney Mara is the exact opposite. She is bold and uninhibited in her nudity, and she looks right at the viewer with a piercing glare that conveys an unmistakable message: come near me, and you’re dead. This is hardly in keeping with the conventional images of naked women that we are used to seeing.

Nudity and sexualization are not the same thing. Try to actually understand an image and look closely at it in relation to societal conventions and expectations before you make a judgement.

Reblogging, because I want to discuss this with Vicious.

There are a number of issues in this argument all being snowballed into sexualization: objectification, female nudity, society’s perception of female nudity, female nudity in pop culture, and David Fincher’s intentions behind the GWTDT poster.

There is a difference between female nudity and female sexualization and certainly a difference between female nudity and objectification, but when seen through the lens of pop culture and American society, those lines begin to blur.

(Note: I realize that because I can see Mara’s nipples that this is the European version of the poster, not the American. However as both myself and the author of the rant are living in America, I think we can safely take an American point of view on these posts.)

In the initial rant, Mara is not sexualized because she is not looking submissive, coy, sweet, or sexually available. Moreover, she is looking straight at the camera with an expressionless face.

The fact that in the image Mara is being held from behind by a clothed man in the darkness (as the heavy shadows show) with nipple piercings does not play a roll in the argument.

(Note: It is a topic of debate online whether or not novel Lisbeth has her nipples pierced. If anyone finds me a passage stating that she does, please let me know.)

Of the following images of blank faced nude models looking directly at the camera, please tell me which are sexualized and which are not.

All images via Ms Pussy Le Queer

Victoria’s Secret is huge into non-coy looking models. To argue that they are not sexualized is defeating a major point of the product they’re selling.

One can attempt to make that argument that Fincher is attempting to critique the way society views women and the way women have been portrayed over the past 120 years in the media, (with a focus on coy sexualization) but why would he choose to make this grand statement using the medium that he’s apparently contradicting?

More than likely, the graphic design team chose the photo and made the design of the poster. Yes, Fincher approved the design, but his producer or production team was there to remind him about the bottom line and MGM’s expectations. Mara’s role in this movie poster probably became about what most female sexualization in movies comes down to–selling tickets.

Why is pop musi…

Why is pop music the only art form that still inspires such arrantly stupid discussion?

-Sashe Frere-Jones, The New Yorker

There is a very simple answer to this–pop music is popular. So is stupidity.

Since pop music is popular, pop stars are glamorized and scrutinized in ways that other artists don’t have to deal with, or at least don’t have to deal with to quite the same extent. In the public eye, these people become more than just music makers. When conversation becomes vapid (as it always does when such a large group of people focus strongly on a single person) it extends past weight loss/gain, dating, social events, and other such things that have nothing to do with music to the music itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my profile picture lately.

It’s zombie Marie Curie saying,

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.

It probably seems stupid that I’m still reeling from the whole Effie’s Club Follies fiasco. Why would someone as talented and motivated as myself waste time even thinking about such people or organizations?

Because I refuse to use all of my time wisely?  Because I can’t help myself. Because that event uncovered some deep seeded, repressed fears–fears of becoming motivated by negative emotions, becoming bitter and resentful of those trying to help me; fears of failure.

In actuality, nobody would care if I failed at this. If the boylesque troupe Tim and I are attempting to start never got off of the ground and Burlesque Beta fizzled out over time, nobody’s life would be ruined. I have very understanding friends.

The pressure to succeed is self-inflicted. I think that’s the best kind of pressure. Society, I can hide from, but I can’t hide from myself.

If you know you can’t look at yourself in the mirror if you fail, it takes the option of failure away.

A Dash of Hope

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

— Howard Zinn


Via: Things I Love Thursday: Playing Tourist In My Own City!

from by Gala

The Sex Trade

After reading PÖMZ‘s idea for building a better brothel via the video game system (The Happy Escort Studio), I began thinking that the problem he is attempting to solve transcends a simple brand reboot. While the idea of combining the oldest profession with one of the newest is sound, the root of the problem is not prostitution, but how society views the trade.

At the time of first watching the video, my views were also influenced by the New York Time’s The Disposable Woman by Anna Holmes about how Charlie Sheen’s abuses of women are written off due to the professions of and the way society views the women who accompany him. In the article, Holmes talks about Charlie Sheen’s abusive behavior toward women being ignored and somewhat condoned by society because the recipients of these acts were deemed lowly (i.e. “sluts”). There is a certain amount of dehumanization that we, at some point in time, have been trained to call upon when reacting to those women in the line of sexual business such as porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes. While there’s no doubt that there is a stigma involved with women who sell their bodies, the odd part is where we, as a society, draw the line. This mindset is much more removed in response to other realms of the industry such as lingerie models, cam girls, or your mainstream pop stars.

The part of this video that didn’t appeal to me was the focus on the youth of the girl in question. The fundamental issue of today’s sex trade is sex trafficking, which tends to prey on underage girls. One would hope that anyone who argues for the legalization of prostitution would be against such atrocious acts. Despite the glorification of youth that constantly pervades our society, there is no fine line between sexual titillation and pedophilia. An important part of legitimizing the sex trade would involve separating the trade’s image from all of the nasty stigmas it possesses, including its link to the young girls it currently victimizes. This would take place after the trade was put under strict regulation to ensure there was no longer any real world basis for these assumptions.

Vegas does it right. The porn industry does, too. To make prostitution a viable product in the United States, there needs to be strict oversight. Pimps would have to make a strategic move up in the world, as well–give up the pimp lifestyle and learn how to manage people and money in a respectable manner. STD tests and protection need to be commonplace. And, of course, paying for a woman’s services should not be the financial equivalent of going grocery shopping. For many years, a prostitutes talent was based on how much she charged, but the affection of a woman, be it real or faked is an expensive item and should be treated as such. Hell, maybe these women could even unionize.

I think part of the problem is the disassociation between the actual women and the hyper-sexualized beings they’re presented as. “Our job requirement was to be someone unreal, a hyper-sexualized girl who danced and deferred, but in the dressing room, we could be ourselves, neither distorted by fantasy nor brutalized by judgment. We could fix our makeup, wiggle our toes, count our money, goof around and just talk,” says Lily Burana in When we were strippers. The whore-madonna complex is so pervasive in our society, that it’s easy to marginalize women in the sex industry. Men are not the only ones at fault.

The only defense these women have against the fictionalized world society creates for them is their co-workers. “What made that dressing room so special was that it was infused with the sex industry’s scarcest commodity: trust….That trust fortified us against the seamier aspects of the job: the cover stories quickly conjured to sustain a double life, the burnout, the dirtbag customers who thought it was OK to show up for a lap dance with reeking hair and wandering hands, management favoritism, and ever-changing, ever-more-demanding club standards.” Through one another, these women are able to create a defense against the weapons their customers and jobs fire against them, but what happens when they leave the safe space they’ve created? In marginalizing this group of people, society has made it even more dangerous for these women once they leave the club, the street corners, the studios where they gain their reputation.

It’s no secret that violence happens in the sex trade, specifically within the field of prostitution. There seems to be a correlation between the perceived amount of regulation behind the deal and the amount of violence that occurs.  According to “Solicitation: Part Four,” by Rachel Rabbit White, both Scott and Atchinson [sex work researchers] report that violence is more common in unregulated venues, like the street.” The article is full of first hand accounts of violence against sex workers, as well as acts from tricks that hurt these sex workers business (bad reviews on Craig’s List, ect.). The sheer suggestion of someone regulating the deal that is being made cuts this type of behavior down, perhaps due to perceived repercussions.

But there are no repercussions. In a system with no legal repercussions, the only threats one faces are those enforced by those in charge, and those in charge care nothing about these women.

Why is pop music the only art form that still inspires such arrantly stupid discussion?

-Sashe Frere-Jones, The New Yorker Feb. 6, 2012

The Burqa

As we have just passed the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, we might consider how civilizational-sartorial thinking has shaped recent cultural politics and military policies. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, veils and veiled Muslim women were pathologized as passive victims in need of rescue from their oppressive religion, culture, and men. As I discuss in greater detail elsewhere, it was not just the fashion media but also the news media, politicians, and, yes, mainstream feminists who perceived the veil as the exemplary Other to fashion. Consider this statement by a writer: “frivolous fashion is itself a patriotic symbol of America: You may never be able to afford that shredded Georgette Givenchy gown, but at least you aren’t forced to live underneath a burqa.” The veil, within this civilizational logic, is rendered the material symbol of not only Eastern tradition (as opposed to Western modernity) but a tradition imagined as brutally backwards and oppressive. This image of the victimized veiled woman played a large role in substantiating the humanitarian justification for the war in Afghanistan. Recall all the ways in which the U.S. State Department’s Report on the Taliban’s War against Women centered on the burqa and its perceived infringement on Muslim women’s freedoms. Civilizational thinking occludes the possibility that the burqa might be a fashionable garment that women wear to express their own identities, worldviews, and choices. In other words, civilizational-sartorial thinking denies Muslim women’s agency and in so doing, it negates important feminist histories of veiling such as the choice of some Egyptian women in the 1970s and 1980s to veil as a resistant act challenging Western and secular cultural domination.

-Fraught Intimacies: Fashion & Feminism (The Director’s Cut)

-found it on DeviantArt-

The Original: Females

Does the book contain one or more female characters? Yes

Do these characters have names? Yes: Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle, Catherine, Lucille

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes

Do they discuss something other than men? Yes. Travel (p.34)

Other-Though Fitzgerald seems to be less sexist than many of his contemporaries, the predominant sexist attitude of the time tends to slip through on occasion. For instance, when Nick first describes the lavish parties at Gatsby’s house: “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths” (p.39). One could make the argument that, like many of the wealthy men of today, the men of Gatsby’s parties are attracted to women very much their juniors, and therefore, Nick is simply describing the party-goers as he sees them. However, when speaking about his lover Jordan, this bias becomes clearer: “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply” (p.58). Clearly, Nick can’t hold Jordan to the same moral standard as he would a man, because she is just a weak woman. The last sexist moment doesn’t come from Nick, but rather from Tom. Tom serves as the window character to show some of the more repulsive commonly held views of upper class society members of the day. Near the end of the novel, Tom makes Daisy drive home with Gatsby shortly after Gatsby reveals to him that he is in love with Daisy and that he intends to run off with her. For some reason, Daisy agrees, showing that both she and Gatsby are powerless in the face of Tom. To add insult to injury, Nick tells Gatsby after the fact, “I don’t think she ever loved him…You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her things in a way that frightened her” (p.152). Ah, yes. Women are known to betray every emotion and relationship they’ve ever had once they get excited, just like a dog that urinates on itself.


Does the book contain one or more characters of a minority race? Yes: “A Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove. ” (p.4)

Do these characters have names? No.

Other: Fitzgerald uses Tom to show the worst traits of upper class society, therefore making him a racist, along with many other things. Tom goes on and on in long rants about his views of minorities: “The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be–will be utterly submerged…It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out of these other races will have control of things;” “Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white” (p.130). This racism also extends to Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, but to a lesser extent: “I almost married a little kike who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me” (p.34). However, the idea that Fitzgerald is using racism as a literary device falls through once the narrator starts saying things a bit off color: “As we crossed Blackwell’s Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed  aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry” (p.69); “A pale well-dressed negro stepped near” (p.139).


Does the book contain one or more gay characters? No.


Does the book contain one or more lower-class characters? Yes and no. The book is aware of lower class characters, and even pitches Nick as one of them, as he is not super rich. However, someone whose parents pay for him to take a year off after college to find himself is pretty far from poor by any standards. The book constantly refers to these characters, but treats them as mythical creatures that they’ve all been told about in fairy tales: “One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer / The rich get richer and the poor get—children” (song p.95). Oh plight of the lower classes, you’re so funny.


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