Skepchick Quickies 3.13

  • Does this smartphone make me look stupid? – Because if you're going to market something to women, all you have to do is make it pink and worse than the men's version. From Petr.
  • UFOs in 1608 France – Go for the giant firebreathing ferrets, stay a discussion of ye olde UFO sighting. From Bob.
  • Women legislators introduce bills regulating men's reproductive health – Encouraging doctors to tell patients seeking Viagra that celibacy is a viable lifestyle choice. Thanks all the readers who submitted this and similar articles.
  • Team Katniss: The only real team for The Hunger Games – "That’s right, because no matter how Twihard you might be, I am going to postulate that Katniss Everdeen isn’t Bella Swann and this isn’t your typical ’which one will she love’ YA story. In the case of the Hunger Games, the true question for fans who ask if you’re Team Peeta or Team Gale is… why aren’t you Team Katniss?"


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Telling men to go with celibacy is not really a good equivalent.
     A slightly better equivalent would be to impose these men to get tested for all STDs imaginable.

    1. Wait wait, testing men???!!! That's socialism!
      When you hear evildoers like feminists suggesting that type of stuff, you know the end times are near.  God Bless Rick Santorum.

  2. Team Shane!
    … sorry, I mean 'Team Katniss!' One of the things I liked about the Hunger Games books was that Katniss was often emotionally oblivious when she wasn't feeling ambivalent about the whole romance thing. Yeah, she cared about her guys, but she was more concerned about her family and not getting eaten by *spoilers*, and certainly the romance angle didn't define her character.
    And "phones for women" is a dumb idea. If someone needs a specific color on their phone, they buy an iPhone and slap it in one of the 862,098 different cases/pouches/skins that they make for iPhones. Of course, if your culture tells girls that nunbers are hard and technology is scary, you raise women who buy everything based on "pretty," because what other choice have you left them? Then you can cheat them by selling them really pretty garbage and $4500 gourmet purse poodles.

    1. One of the things that I like about the Hunger Games was that the end of the love triangle isn't resolved when one of the men out macho's the other or finally kills the nominal heroine. It was when Katniss had the time and capacity to engage in an emotional relationship, considered her choices and made the one that best suited her morally, mentally, and emotionally.
      It's handling a relationship decision in a way that is adult and realistic.

    1. P.S. It's a coltan mine in Congo being tended by Children.  Congo is where most of our smartphone's coltan comes from.

          1. and then feel good that they're a true fighter for the cause after they've done so.

  3. That article about the cell phones was a bit OTT. What's wrong with marketing stuff to women? I mean, women do wear lipstick don't they? Some of them at least. Most of them probably. What do YOU think?

    1. Did you read the whole thing? The basic point wasn't  hey marketing to demographics is bad. It was hey treating women like they're children and selling them crap at higher prices is a shitty thing to do.

    2. I don't wear lipstick, but what does wearing lipstic have to do with the article in question, exactly?

      1. Oh, I think it said in the article that one of the advertising blurbs was "almost as small as your favourite lipstick" and the reviewer person said "Bah!" to that, as if she didn't wear lipstick. Maybe she doesn't wear it, like you. A lot of people do (even men these days, imagine that!) so I didn't think it was that much of a stretch for the advertisers to imagine a woman having lipstick. It's like they imagined her in a dress or something (shallottes? Those short that look a bit like a skirt?) , is that wrong?

    3. You're missing the point. The only reason lipstick could be similar would be if lipstick made it harder for women to talk, or something.
      The problem is that they're compromising function in the name of form. They're not making phones pinker- they're making them pinker and making them worse functionally, and saying "yep, now women can use it!"

  4. I suppose the marketing to women / price gouging is intentional but I wonder if it contributes to infantalizing women or if it's just a *symptom* of what society already does. The most horrified I'd be is to give the impression I was supporting a phony women's charity (when in truth I'm just supporting environmental destruction and child labor, thanks dr professor for the good point).

  5. I just finished all the Hunger Games books and I gotta say: UGH!! I liked the first one a lot, but then the rest were just the same old cycle of violence porn and Katness being an angsty teen. It really surprised me how easily she got used to privelege once she had some. Plus, I wanted her to step up and be a leader, but she seemed content to let other people be the ones running the show all the time. It's hardly surprising that people are having a Team Peeta V. Team Gale discussion. She spent a lot of time angsting over that very question. Plus have any of these people ever heard of just talking to each other. Each one of them had their own secret plan and was acting as if the other's had no input at all into the best way to go forward. And they did that over and over. Seriously, by then end, I wanted to blow her up myself.

    1. Oh, damnit. I've read the first two and thought the same thing, but had hoped the last one would redeem the annoying angstyness of Katniss in book 2.

    2. I agree about the whole Gale V Peeta being relevant to fans geeking out over the series. While not as central to the plot as it was in Twilight, the romantic relationships were far more relevant than those in Harry Potter.

      That said I actually liked the role she had in the last book. It made sense that she wouldn’t fill a leadership role, it would be hard to believe too many adults would follow a 17 year old.

  6. I liked that I didn't like the second and third books as much. There are enough superhero, fairytale, happy-ending books out there.
    Oh and someone should add a spoiler alert to this entire comment thread!
    "No, why did he tell me there's a twist ending. Now I'll try to guess the twist through the whole film!"
    – Paraphrased from Roy in the IT Crowd episode Moss and the German.

    1. Oh, I love me a good non-happy ending. But Katniss's whininess and sheer obliviousness to many many things (which I will not spoil!) strains my belief in her as a character, even if she is a teenager.
      And now I want to watch the IT Crowd again.

  7. Books have to walk a fine line, don't they? They have to give you conflict you can understand, but not so much conflict that it seems melodramatic or so little conflict that your characters seem fake for not resolving them. Clearly some people disliked the interpersonal/romantic conflict in the Hunger Games books, plus the fact that she didn't take charge and become Che Guevara or Spartacus. Now to be fair, my recollection of the books is colored by the fact that I read all three in the span of two days while sipping fruity drinks poolside in Puerto Rico last summer.But my read on Katniss was that she's really just a kid, and people from all sides are demanding that she make adult decisions that she's simply not ready for, and she suffers mightily for it.
    Plus, and this is maybe very slightly spoilery, but I liked the fact that she saw a third option in her romantic life: none of the above. She didn't always see hooking up with one or the other as being the answer to her personal happiness, and realized that there was no choice she was going to make that wouldn't cause someone some pain. And she was clumsy and sucky with other people's emotions and I felt like that was OK in the context of this book. 

    1. I actually liked that Katniss was somewhat clumsy and sucky with other peoples emotions. It fits her upbringing, after all what did strong, romatic emotions get her in her childhood?  A mother whose reaction to losing the man she loved was to completely shut down and leave her older child to take care of the family and try to put food on the table.  I always got the feeling that having seen what love did to her mother,  a part of Katniss wanted no part of being that emotionally involved with anyone. 

  8. I've only read The Hunger Games, and I have no intention of reading the other two. My wife read them, and hated them, and I hated the one I did read. Why? Because of the complete inagency of the main character, mainly, but also because Collins apparently did all her research by closing her eyes and hitting herself with a frying pan, then writing down whatever madness rambled from her fingers after that. An 'arrow sheath'? Bulky people with close combat weapons having a chance in hell against sneaky, stealthy ranged-weapon specialists with woodsman training?
    From what my wife tells me, the following books grow steadily more fatalistic and nihilistic, and steadily more ill researched: A genetically engineered bluejay breeding with a mocking bird – really!? What's next, bears breeding with dogs?
    I have no liking for THG. I do not find it to have any literary merit at all, and as reading material for youth I find it not only useless but damaging. The lesson to be drawn from them is that if you fight back against oppression, fight for anything you believe in, not only will you achieve nothing in the end, it will destroy you as a human being. That is not a lesson anyone should learn.

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