Thursday, May 5, 2011

Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was
the Sphinx. Oedipus said, 'I want to ask one question.
Why didn't I recognize my mother?' 'You gave the
wrong answer,' said the Sphinx. 'But that was what
made everything possible,' said Oedipus. 'No,' she said.
'When I asked, "What walks on four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three in the evening," you answered,
"Man." You didn't say anything about woman.'
'When you say Man,' said Oedipus, 'you include women
too. Everyone knows that.' She said, 'That's what
you think.'
Muriel R. Schulz, 1975, 'The semantic derogation of woman', in Language and Sex, eds, B. Thorn and N. Henley, Rowley MA: Newbury House Publishers, pp. 66-7

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Racial Tension"

Survey finds NSW has most racial tension
Knowing that Victoria, and Tasmania, have lower levels of racial tensions is not very comforting at all, especially since:
Unlike the rest of the states, the Victorian poll did not test racist attitudes towards the African community - ''an oversight'', Dr Paradies says, and a problematic one.
 Yep, just calling Australia a fair country that gives everyone a fair go doesn't actually make it that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ngrams on government-type words

Just found this neat little tool. (click on the image to go to the original site) Notice that the frequency of the word 'democracy' increases around the time of WW1 and WW2 --and those other bumps probably also represent times-of-war.

Now look at this one:
The word government appears with a high frequency - I guess that it would cover up whether or not that state was a 'democracy' or not. But the word 'military' is also occurs with a high frequency- though, admittedly I thought it would occur higher considering the apparent preoccupation with war and violence in world-leaders' minds. Again, these two words increase in freuqncy around the times of war.

For some information on the above, read Culturomics and Google Books

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gender Division in Big W catalogues

Gender/sex divisions are really rampant in society. I mean, while sex divisions may occur for biologically reasons, gender reasons have no cause, I think. 
Below is a page from a Big W catalogue:

There is an immediate division. The girl is outfitted in pink (oh, yes, the only colour that little girls can wear, apparently. All things girls are all things pink!), and the two sets of pink (and kinda purple, but still in the same colour-area) on the same 'row' obviously are targeted - or rather - made for girls. Whilst the little boy gets the dark-blue colours (in the same way that all things girls are pink, people seem to think that all boys only like blue), and again, two sets of clothing on the same row directly correspond to a boy wearing it.
Other than the clothes, something else strikes me. Their poses. The girl has her knees bent in - a sign of cuteness, shyness, and her body is bent away from the camera. The boy, on the other hand has a firm pose, staring more-confidently forward. Again, what does this say about what girls and boys need to conform to. Girl = pink = 'weaker', boy = blue = 'stronger'.

Next up, from the same catalogue;

The boys are wearing darker colours - blue again, and it's close cousin green. The two girls are wearing pink (darker, but still pink-y) and innocent, innocent white.
By boy's faces are facing directly forward. Both of the girls' faces are facing the camera on an angle. Between the two youngest, the contrast in their pose is strong. The boy stands legs appear, arms by his side and looking forward. His head is also tilt up, a sign of confidence, pride, maybe superiority. The girl on the other hand has one hand tucked away, other hand shyly in the hair. Her face is facing partly away and looking down - She looks at the camera through her lashes. In short, compared to the other boy, her pose is somewhat playful, but meek, and, with her head titled slightly downwards, subservient. Any remnant of her stronger -legs apart-ness are ruined by the 'conveniently' placed words/price (in more ways than one)

You can't entirely blame Big W for doing this. Mainstream society does seem to see in this divisionalistic way. But you can blame them for continuing to promote it, especially on things that don't need a gender/sex division.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gaming Characters: Female vs Male

Miniclip may not contain memory-massive games, but that doesn't mean it escapes from the 'ravages' of sexism. 
Miniclip has a game category 'Games For Girls' -yet no 'Games for Boys' equivalent. Are those games really games targeted ONLY towards girls? No, but they are obviously being suggested as games that girls should play.
It's as though every other section is dedicated to boys, and assumed that only/mainly boys play games. (audience percentage is irrelevant)
It is undoubtedly true that girls play games outside the Games for Girls category, and that boys play the games inside the Games for Girls category.
Hmm, a games for girls section...everything to do with girls just gotta be pink, totally!

In the Miniclip game, Clone Wars Adventures, there is less customisation for the female avatar as compared to the male avatar - and yet the media extols the fact that it's girls who constant worry about their appearance and need a super wide range of choice?

The gender 'male' has 3 choices of species: human, Twi'lek and clone, whereas the gender 'female' has only two choices: human and Twi'lek.

At first off, the two genders look rather similar -as humans. And then you get to the Twi'lek. Yes, they both have 'Right Lekku', but seriously, 'Slender Lekku'?? And of course, the male-only clone class.

Now going back to the front page. On the front, you can see four characters: 2 male, one female, and one hard-to-identify. Already, gender imbalance. Furthermore, both male characters are larger than the female character. And whilst both male characters are full clothed, the female character is actually showing more skin than just here face! That is, her upper arms, fingers and random cleavage (I admit it is hard to see, but it's there)

Clone Wars Adventures wasn't the perfect example - gender imbalance is a lot more rife in big-name gaming, if wundergeek at Go Make Me a Sandwich is anyone to go by (and she is someone to go by)

(From I Love Charts - click on the picture to go to the original) Sums it all up in an easy to understand chart: