"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, August 02, 2013

Links - 2nd August 2013

Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution policy - "If equal rights for women is important, then the experience of sexworkers themselves must surely be central to our discussion, regardless of what position one takes on prostitution... The new law which prohibits the act of buying sexual services is severely criticized by sexworkers. They find the law paradoxical, illogical and discriminatory. It further obstructs their work and exposes them to stress and danger. The women I have spoken to say that the reasoning behind the law does not makes sense to them. How can the politicians claim that only the clients are being punished and that they are being protected? The effect of the is law mostly negative for the sexworker. Some point out that even if a few men might get fined, the majority will continue buying sexual services as usual - and as usual it is women and sexworkers who will be the most adversely affected. As a result of the new legislation, the sexworkers say it is now harder for them to assess the clients. The clients are more stressed and scared and negotiation outdoors must be done in a more rapid manner. The likelihood of ending up with a dangerous client is thereby greater. Due to the law, sexworkers feel hunted by the police, social workers, media and sometimes even anti-prostitution activists on the streets. They find this unacceptable. One sexworker commented that no other vocational group would accept that the police "patrolled their workplace". Another consequence is that the sexworkers are now more apprehensive about seeking help from the police when they have had problems with an abusive customer. They do not want to be forced to report the client. Since the number of sexworkers on the streets has decreased and they are more scared, previous informal networks amongst the sexworkers have weakened. The result is that they are no longer able to warn each other about dangerous clients or give each other the same support. Women also report that another consequence of the law is lower prices on the streets since there are less customers and more competition. This means that women in more desperate need of money will engage in unsafe sex and sexual activity they usually would not perform. This in turn leads to poorer self-esteem and exposure to infection... Women working on the streets in some bigger cities claim that there is now a greater percentage of "perverted" customers and that the "nice and kind" customers have disappeared... the "kind" customers have either turned to the Internet to find sexual services or have been arrested by the police. On the contrary, the "perverted" customers know what to do to not be arrested and fined - they just have to deny it since there is rarely hard evidence... Several sexworkers say that they feel used by politicians, feminists and the media. They think that sexworkers are only listened to and being paid attention to if they say the correct things, i.e. that they find prostitution appalling, that they are victims, that they have stopped selling sex and will never go back, and that they are grateful to the current prostitution policy and to the policy makers. Sexworkers feel overlooked in decision-making processes regarding juridical changes etc., something they find undemocratic. They question whether any other social group would have been so consistently excluded from any relevant policy making process... Sexworkers say that contrary to the official belief, they are not the victims of their customers, but victims of the state... The sexworkers I have interviewed report greater feelings of powerlessness and resignation than before the introduction of the new legislation. They feel as if there is "no point" in trying to change the system (or its direct effects on their lives) and that no one supports them or speaks for them. Sexworkers express anger about Swedish politicians who, in their opinion, brag and tell lies about the effect of the new law vis-à-vis other countries. They wish that other countries might find out "the truth" about the effects of the law. They also strongly discourage other countries from adopting similar legislation... Women selling sex to support a drug habit seem to be less likely to regard sexwork as a positive experience or as a work. But they are just as critical of the Swedish legislation and policy"
False consciousness!

Beauty & the beasts : Essays in Idleness - "Tories, neo-Gaullists, Christian Democrats, & other Right-leaning parties had prettier women, & more handsome men, who were happier with fate overall, & enjoyed more fulfilling sex lives. By contrast, the farther Left one goes, the more anger & misery & frustration dominate; the more surrounded one becomes by the sort of people who cannot find a date, until they settle for each other. The differences, as we recall, were most pronounced in Italy, & helped to explain an otherwise puzzling entry in the Manifesto of the Italian Communist Party, to wit: “Sex without class-consciousness cannot give satisfaction, even if repeated to infinity.” Similarly, in Canada, there was an old saying: “You join the Liberals to get a job, you join the Conservatives to party, & you join the New Democrats in order to get 50 pounds of single-spaced documents.”"
Comment: "You’ve prompted the thought that every last bit of the leftist program is about “affirmative action” in one form or another. This is why I say politics at its core is economic competition carried out by other means."

Do laws affect attitudes? An assessment of the Norwegian prostitution law using longitudinal data - "criminalizing buying sex in Norway did not have large short-term effects on people’s attitudes in general. More exactly, it did not affect moral attitudes toward buying and selling sex and it did not make Norwegians, as compared to Swedes, more likely to want buying sex to be illegal, although it did make them more likely to want selling sex to be illegal. The summary statistics reveal, however, that Norwegians think it should be illegal to sell sex to a lesser extent after the implementation of the law than before... However, for respondents living in Oslo (the Norwegian capital), where the sex trade was clearly visible before the reform, there were clear effects on attitudes toward prostitution: People in Oslo now think that it should be illegal to buy sex to a larger extent than before the law. This supports the claim of proximity; that attitudes should be affected most for those most affected by a law. We also find that young people generally were more inclined than older people to change their views following a legal change. Finally, we find no support for the hypothesis that those who trust politicians more change their attitudes more in line with lawmakers’ intentions when there is a legal change."

Decolonial Aesthesis: From Singapore, to Cambridge, to Duke University | - "I always ask my students, grad and undergraduate, for the mid-term “exam”, to write a letter to whomever they wish. It should be an educated person who is a little bit familiar with the topic, or not necessarily. The question is to explain “in your own words” (and not to hide behind textual commentaries or statistics), your understanding of the concepts and issues discussed in the first part of the seminar... 'You go bird-watching. There are several thousand bird species in the UK alone – robins, garnets, ravens, terns. You learn the names of trees and flowers – lilacs, magnolia, primrose, rosemary for remembrance, hyacinth for constancy, poppies, which mark the War Dead.It seems these flowers have a history that your flowers don’t. Poets write about them; they have meanings in books, and value in the flower shops. No one writes about the ixoras that grew in your old neighborhood – dense stubby shrubs with blooms no bigger than a wink, but beloved for the single drop of nectar you could suck from the stems. Or about the hibiscuses, brilliant and brash with their long dangling stamens; or the bouganvilla, common, roadside-dusty, with their paper-thin petals. Or angsanas, with their space-ship seeds. Rain trees like vine-strewn umbrellas. Franjipanis. Pong-pongs.'"
This is more about modernity than colonialism/decolonialism; it would be really funny if the author got a white boyfriend
A catalogue for "Black Europe Body Politic" comments that "The letter that Michelle has written to herself is a superb example of both how coloniallity regulates and represses and disguises itself as ‘progress’ and ‘civilization’, and also of what kind of decolonial consciousness must be aimed for by decolonial subjects in order to liberate themselves ourselves from coloniality"
Liberate yourself from coloniality. Die from malaria while your husband is raping you even though you're a closeted lesbian

See above

Hunger dictates who men fancy - "A study of 61 male university students found those who were hungry were attracted to heavier women than those who were satiated. The hungry men also paid much less attention to a woman's body shape and regarded less curvy figures as more attractive. "

Stressed men drawn to heavy women

Men's Oppresive Beliefs Predict Their Breast Size Preferences in Women - "Previous studies of men’s breast size preferences have returned equivocal findings, with studies variously indicating a preference for small, medium, or large breasts... medium breasts were rated most frequent as attractive (32.7%), followed by large (24.4%) and very large (19.1%) breasts. Further analyses showed that men’s preferences for larger female breasts were significantly associated with a greater tendency to be benevolently sexist, to objectify women, and to be hostile towards women. These results are discussed in relation to feminist theories, which postulate that beauty ideals and practices in contemporary societies serve to maintain the domination of one sex over the other."
There is also: Resource Security Impacts Men's Female Breast Size Preferences

Convicted thief sues police for failing to give her a job - "Rachida Sobhi failed to inform the force that she had a conviction when she applied for the position but background checks disclosed her crime. She then claimed she suffered from a form of amnesia which caused her to forget the incident, but no other aspect of her life, according to reports. The case was initially dismissed at an employment tribunal but a senior judge subsequently ruled that her amnesia meant she was disabled when she filled in the application form and gave her leave to appeal."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: My ’500 Days Of Summer’ Character Is Kind Of A Jerk - "Joseph Gordon-Levitt says that Tom’s dogged pursuit of Summer comes off as endearing, but in real life it would border on stalking. “The (500) Days of Summer attitude of ‘He wants you so bad’ seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones,” the actor said. “But I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is”... "A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person”"

The Influence of Body Mass Index on the Physical Attractiveness Preferences of Feminist and Nonfeminist Heterosexual Women and Lesbians - "regardless of sexual orientation and feminist ascription, BMI was a dominant predictor of physical attractiveness. The results also showed that there were significant differences between lesbians and heterosexual women in BMIs of images found to be most attractive, with lesbians preferring images of women with significantly higher BMIs than heterosexual women. Self-identification as a feminist did not appear to be associated with a preference for larger BMIs"
Even feminists have internalised the dominant paradigm
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