I am trying to re-enter society after several days being sick, so I’m going with something short and simple today. Eden H. sent in this chart, found at Business Insider, that compares hourly minimum wages in a number of European countries to the U.S.:
The European data are available from Eurostat (though note they report minimum wages in terms of Euros per month, not hour, so the data was converted for the chart).
An infographic accompanying an article at the New York Times reveals how “advanced economies” compare on various measures of equality, well-being, educational attainment, and more. To illustrate this, for each measure countries that rank well are coded tan, countries that rank poorly and very poorly are coded orange and red respectively, and countries that are in the middle are grey. The countries are then ranked from best to worst overall, with Australia coming in #1 and the United States coming in last. You might be surprised how some of these countries measure up.
Katrin drew our attention to the Christmas character of the Christkind, found in regions as diverse as Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Rebublic, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and, according to Wikipedia, “…parts of Hispanic America, in certain areas of southern Brazil and in the Acadiana region of Louisiana.”
The Christkind was introduced by the German Protestant priest Martin Luther (1483-1546). At the time, tradition held that gifts were given by St. Nicholas. Protestants, however, didn’t acknowledge saints, so they needed an alternative mythological gift giver. The Christkind was originally depicted as baby Jesus, but in many places today is instead an angelic blond child or adult woman.
In Nuremberg, Germany, a Christkind is chosen every two years in a pageant reminiscent of American beauty pageants (source). This year the Christkind is Rebekka Volland (source):
Because Western societies generally reward and value things that men do, the post-1950s feminist movement largely worked to get women access to those realms. Accordingly, today women wear pants, play sports, become lawyers, doctors, and engineers, and enter politics. Women’s participation in these arenas is generally tolerated, even regarded positively, on one condition: they must look and act feminine.
This is patently obvious if we examine television programming. Powerful women are ubiquitous in sitcoms and dramas, but they are almost always young, thin, and beautiful. Powerful men are ubiquitous too and they are often young, fit, and handsome, but they are also old, fat, or carry faces that show “character.” We also see the feminine apologetic among female engineers and professional women athletes like Candace Parker and others.
Women, then, are not allowed to simply appropriate masculine traits and activities, they must also display femininity. Sociologists call this requirement a feminine apologetic, a way to soothe others’ concerns about her appropriation of masculinity. The more powerful a woman becomes, the more important it is for her to perform the feminine apologetic.
I thought of this concept when Laura E. and Citizen Parables alerted us to the release of a sexy calendar featuring female politicians. As of last May, women now hold a record 44 of the 200 seats in the lower house of the Czech parliament (source). And, right on cue, the Public Affairs party released the girly calendar. Some months:
In line with the feminine apologetic, these images say:
Don’t worry boys. I may be an ambitious, successful woman, but I still want you to look at me… no, I still need you to look at me. Your opinion of my sex appeal still matters. A lot. I may be powerful, but that’s a power I still accede to you.
Ok, so we know that, in the U.S., full-time female workers make about 85 cents for every dollar made by full-time male workers. But how does the U.S. compare to other countries? This graph, sent in by Katrin from the OECD Fact Blog, shows that we do better than some, but worse than most developed countries:
We do as badly as Switzerland, Finland, and Portugal. We do better than the U.K., Canada, Germany and, especially, Japan and Korea. But we do significantly worse than 13 other countries… with Belgium, New Zealand, and Poland leading the way with the smallest wage gap (at 10% or smaller).
[These ads] place the blame entirely on the girl (and only young, nymphal girls are exploited on the internet!), and implies she deserves whatever retribution comes from the photos (or whatever your dirty mind conjures up, since the first ad doesn’t specify what exactly is circulating). “Think Before You Post,” while sound advice, locates the origin of internet soliciting solely in the young girls instead of pointing out other issues, like the prevalence/accessibility of social networking, non-sexualized internet abuse and bullying, the “predators” themselves, or why young girls are sexualized in the first place. In addition, the videos also don’t offer up any means of coping with the problem or how these girls might deal with the aftermath or even if they can stand up for themselves. It just instills feelings of shame and fear.
In her now-classic books The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, Carol Adams analyzes similarities in the presentation of meat products (or the animals they come from) and women’s bodies. She particularly draws attention to sexualized fragmentation–the presentation of body parts of animals in ways similar to sexualized poses of women–and what she terms “anthropornography,” or connecting the eating of animals to the sex industry. For an example of anthropornography, Adams presents this “turkey hooker” cooking utensil:
Adams also discusses the conflation of meat/animals and women–while women are often treated as “pieces of meat,” meat products are often posed in sexualized ways or in clothing associated with women. The next eleven images come from Adams’s website:
Editor’s note: There are SO MANY examples in this post, we’ve decided to put them after the jump. Enjoy!