I discovered that TED and TEDWomen have never featured a talk on abortion.
…When I asked around, the consensus was that the omission was simply an oversight. But it turns out TED is deliberately keeping abortion off the agenda. When asked for comment, TED content director and TEDWomen co-host Kelly Stoetzel said that abortion did not fit into their focus on “wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights.”
“Abortion is more of a topical issue we wouldn’t take a position on, any more than we’d take a position on a state tax bill,” Stoetzel explained. She pointed me to a few talks on women’s health and birth control, but this made the refusal to discuss abortion only more glaring. In the last three years, the United States has seen more abortion restrictions enacted than in the entire previous decade; the United Nations has classified the lack of access to abortion as torture; and Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland because a Catholic hospital refused to end her doomed pregnancy. Just how is abortion not an issue of “justice, inequality and human rights”? The Empowerment Elite Claims Feminism, my latest at The Nation (via smallsimplicity)
Robyn Davidson, Tracks
(There is not too much to worry about.)
(I don’t know who I should thank for this book just showing up in my box at work, but THANK YOU, unknown genius of book-sending.)
gizensha asked: Clarification about the Tauriel test - How does it apply to characters who are school kids? Good grades is the best fit, but that doesn't make sense in a lot of ways (And not all stories about school aged kids are set during term time); same query for characters who are unemployed for whatever reason. Basically I'm looking for clarification of what you mean by 'job' here.
the grounding idea of the Tauriel test is that women are regularly depicted as being bafflingly-horrible to maybe-kinda-ok at their jobs, while men are held up as the standard for good work. i picked Tauriel for as the baseline (although there are many other fine examples of kickass female characters being awesome at their jobs) because in Hobbit 2 she is clearly incredible at what she does, to the point at which she’s commended for her skills by Lee Pace’s eyebrows. A TRUE HONOR.
while i hadn’t thought about it before, you could definitely apply this concept to kid lit. does your female character accomplish the goals set before her under her own steam and acquit herself honorably in the process? pass! unless, of course, the point of the narrative is for your character to fail spectacularly; then this probably doesn’t apply.
I’ve been thinking about this a LOT - like, a disproportionate amount of time a lot - for two main reasons:
1. Without being too hippie-dippie about it, I think the job of a teenager is to change, or to grow, or a combination of both these things. (I think this is everyone’s job, really, but it is especially true of teens, who are often, to borrow a sloppy metaphor from Buffy, still dough, not yet cookies.) School is one part of this, but it’s just one way to learn/grow/change. There are so many others.
I don’t mean this in an oversimplified become-a-better-person way, but in a complicated, figure-something-out-about-life way. Does the character succeed in figuring some shit out? Does she build a robot? Pass her final? Decide for herself whether she does or doesn’t care about the school dance? Win!
The flip side of this that I find also interesting is that often the teen characters who openly resist growth or change are the bullies who never stop being bullies - the ones who are good with the status quo and never, ever want it to change. The Joffreys, if you will, in contrast with the Sansa Starks.
2. The thing the Tauriel test gets at really effectively is that sometimes a female character’s job is just lazy shorthand by the writers; it’s supposed to support the idea that the character isn’t just “the wife” or “the girlfriend” — roles entirely built around the character’s relationship to a man. But they don’t care enough to think about how the female character would actually do that job, or relate that job to her life, and so they wind up making her bad at it. The Tauriel test points out that you have to put some effort into giving a woman a job and the skills to do it well.