Thursday, December 1, 2011 Saturday, November 26, 2011

Female shamans, “poisonous” woman, and Woman Peng.


Three quotes:

In Yongping prefecture of Bei Zhili, female Shaman [sic] included various categories, such as taiozhaogu (aunt broom), jigu (aunt winnowing basket), zhengu (aunt needle), and weigu (aunt reed). They all claimed to provide the service of driving away supernatural beings in order to cure people’s sickness.


Sangu liupo is a collective name referring to nine categories of women [who] appeared during the Song, or even earlier. In Confucian morality, these people were generally considered destructive or poisonous, but they became very popular among the commoners in late imperial China…the sangu were nigu (Buddhist nuns), daogu or nuguan (Taoist nuns), and guagu (women diviners). Liupo were yapo (women brokers), meipo (woman marriage brokers), shipo (female Shaman), qianpo (procuresses or female owners and managers of brothels), yaopo (woman doctors), [and] wenpo (midwives)…the reputation of sangu liupo was so bad among Confucian intellectuals that they named sangu liupo “gui zhong zhi zei” (evils in women’s inner chambers).


In 1553, Woman Peng was called into the Forbidden City in Beijing and cured the eye problem of the empress dowager. The empress dowager liked Woman Peng so much that Peng was allowed to stay in the palace until she gave birth to a child there. Traditionally, the average woman could not enter the Forbidden City.

We need to know more about Woman Peng. Preferably in a series of books, which could be social critique, nuxia, or Wodehousian comedy. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011 Wednesday, September 28, 2011 Thursday, September 22, 2011 Wednesday, September 7, 2011






The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.

The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished, African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama; 399 who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 without the disease. For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

their families were also infected.

 Never forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011








Unless this is a very famous painting everyone’s familiar with, then I’m joking and totally know everything about it 

judith holding the head of holofernes! it’s from a bible story~

i thiiink this one is by lucas cranach the elder? but it’s totally possible i’m pulling that out of my ass. brb research!

 Yep, that one is by Lucas Cranach the Elder! He also did another version of the same subject:


okay so this Assyrian dude (HOLOFERNES) invades this Hebrew town where this rich widow (JUDITH, OUR HEROINE) lives and she is all ZUT ALORS WHAT SHALL WE DO and talks to some dudes around and they’re all like wow Holofernes sure has a lot of swords and horses and stuff so we are pretty much just gonna hope he doesn’t kill us, and that’s the plan. Judith is like FUCK THAT SHIT so she dolls herself up and goes to Holofernes’ camp with her maid (SUSIE) and is all, Holofernes! I have randomly decided that the Jews are the worst and I wish you all the best in destroying them, let’s get drunk. And Holofernes is like GREAT and he gets drunk and falls asleep. Judith prays to God awhile because this is the Old Testament and then she picks up his enormous sword and cuts off his actual head. She sticks it in a bag and is like WHELP GOTTA GO BYEEE to his guards outside and she and her maid fly on the wings of righteous justice back to the Hebrews where she waves his head around a lot and makes them wallow in her awesomeness. Then they all attack the Assyrians who are all GET HOLOFERNES and then realize he is dead, and headless, and still drunk probably, and then they feel really stupid and leave. 

If you liked JUDITH you may enjoy the story of JAEL who is puttering around in her fabulous tent one day when the leader of an invading army pulls up and is like SHEESH IT IS HARD WORK KILLING ALL YOU GUYS and Jael is like dude, so sorry, would you like some milk? And he’s like I LOVE MILK, and then she nails a tent peg into the back of his head. 


This is simultaneously epic, and TOTALLY ACCURATE.

Reblogged because I’ve read that passage aloud in silly voices like three times now. My favourite Judith painting EVAR is Artemisia Gentileschi’s. Like Caravaggio’s version, it shows the moment of killing itself—but whereas Caravaggio’s Judith looks dainty with a distasteful expression, Gentileschi’s Judith is straining as she pulls the blade and her expression is cool and determined, and her maid is holding down Holofernes while he struggles. Holofernes is supposed to be modelled after her tutor Agostino Tassi, who stalked and raped her. During the trial they tortured Gentileschi’s hands to prove she wasn’t lying. Then Tassi was convicted. Then she painted this.

That is one of the most amusing versions of the Judith story I’ve heard. :D :D :D

I’ve heard the (not amusing) Gentileschi a couple of times. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The problem with arguing that people are racist because they’ve had bad experiences with people of *insert not-their-race here* is pretty simple.


They’ve probably had just as many, if not more, negative experiences with people of their own race. However, if they were asked to sum up their general opinion of their own race, they would probably be less inclined to argue that their bad experiences with some people of their own race are a sure sign that their race as a whole is awful and worthy of disdain, hate, and generally being viewed as inferior. They would be more likely to attribute their negative experiences to individual traits, as opposed to racial traits.

However, when it comes to summing up opinions of those outside their race, they are more likely to decide that the negative experiences they have had are not the result of individual traits, but racial traits, and therefore that the race as a whole—not just some individuals within it—are bad.

If you’ve been raised in a society where racism is pervasive and has been an ingrained part of the culture for nearly six centuries, chances are, you need very few negative experiences of people of different racial backgrounds to generate a sweeping negative opinion of an entire racial group. While no one is born racist or bigoted, when the culture you are raised in is steeped in a long history of white supremacy, it doesn’t take long for you to begin to reflect the ideology of those who have raised you and surround you.

Frankly, I do not find the argument that “some people are racist because they’ve had bad experiences with some people of a not-white racial group” very persuasive, or even worth considering, because it is, for starters, illogical. More importantly, though, it is so completely divorced from the reality of 600 years of human history that it’s not worth considering. People are racist because our culture has deep roots in white supremacy, because you can’t undo 600 years of widespread social belief that whites are genetically, morally, intellectually superior to all other races in 50 years, and because some people insist on making excuses for racism, enabling racist ideologies to persist.

If you honestly think some bad experiences with some people of color in any way, shape or form excuses racism or serves as a justification for people in positions of power and authority, like police, to discriminate against, disproportionately target, harass or even kill people of color, I’m not even sure what I can say to you. It is such an illogical viewpoint that does so much real, material damage in this world, it is completely and totally indefensible. I get sick and tired of white kids playing devil’s advocate, who want to make these arguments without having to take responsibility for them, putting it out there. If you actually think these are logically unsound and bad points of view, don’t defend them. If you understand why it is completely and totally ridiculous for people to think a sweeping generalization of another racial group based on some bad experiences is justification for discrimination and unequal treatment, then don’t put it out there as a counterpoint to a real argument.

And if you are going to put these arguments out there, as if it’s in any way a valid point of view, then have the balls to stand by your argument. Don’t chicken out and at the last minute say, “Not that I agree with this, but.” If you don’t think it’s a valid point of view, don’t treat it like it is.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


“We Never was Happy Living Like a Whiteman” : Mental Health Disparities and the Postcolonial Predicament in American Indian Communities

“You take a group of people that have been living here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years in one way, in one custom, in one traditional way that worked…. Nobody [wanted] to get rid of it. But when the Whiteman came, they…forced the people, the Indian people, to get rid of their way. Their religious spiritual beliefs. They forced them to trade their economy, which was based on the barter system, and on living off of the land—the wildlife, fish…and herbal medicines. They forced them to change that. And then they not only did that, they annihilated them. Then they turned around and forced their culture on them—their religion, their beliefs, their foreign ways onto them—by taking all the young people out of the homes and putting them away in boarding schools…and forcing the Whiteman’s teachings on them. Such as history. They changed history, rewrote history to suit themselves, to justify the bad things they did to the Indian people…. It’s genocide…. That’s what it was: Genocide.” 

Read more on Native post-colonial psychology in Duran and Duran’s: 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Education about First Nations, Inuit & Metis People Within the Education System.


Many school systems do not incorporate Native history or culture into their school curriculums. I’ve heard of very few schools actually providing their students with good knowledgeable information about Aboriginal people.

First Nations, Inuit and Metis people are an ethnic group with a young increasing population. We have many social, political, economic, health and environmental issues that are continuously affecting us but it is often not being made aware of to the public. We have unique dynamics that many “Canadians” or “Americans” do not understand because they are not taught about them. If we are not providing people with the proper information then of course assumptions and misconceptions will be made. 

Many people are unaware that some of us find the Baring Strait theory to be extremely offensive. Many people are unaware that Cree, Inuit and Mohawk aren’t the only Nations that exist in “Canada”. Many people are confused about how each reserve or community is unique - even if the people are from the same Nation. 

Teaching the general population about Native history is very important. Our history precedes the history of “America” and “Canada”. We have stories, myths, legends and traditions that existed prior to any contact with Europeans. We have our own languages and culture that is often completely the opposite compared to the general population. Many Nations have gone extinct and many languages have also gone extinct. Why do we choose to call it “Canadian” or “American” history if we are choosing to exclude the people who existed on this continent prior to “Canada” or “America”?

If we continue to exclude this history we are continuing to exclude an entire group of people. I think that more people need to learn about FN/Inuit/Metis culture and history from the people themselves. History books and other various books are often written solely from an anthropological view. It’s often written by Non-FN/Metis/Inuit people. The best source for reliable information does come from the people themselves. 

I personally think awareness is power and knowledge. If people are not made aware of our history and culture then how can they even begin to understand us?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The ableism of “it’s gross”




Inspired by this post on Feministe (yeah, I know, why do I bother still?)  TW for ableism and judgy-ness in post and comments.

Yes, folks, it is ableist to make judgments of people with non-normative personal hygiene, and it is fucked up to mock us the way that Jill does so persistently.  (This is far from the first Feministe post to take this tact.)


this, oh, this. there’s also very often an element of classism involved when it comes to shaming people for “poor hygiene”.

that post at feministe is awful. i absolutely live in conditions that a lot of people would find disgusting, and it has everything to do with my mental health. fuck that judgmental oppressive shit.

Yes.  Historically, the obsession with hygiene and “cleanliness” has everything to do with class differentiation.  It’s a product of the a Victorian middle-class idelogy which tried to differentiate themselves from the less privileged—who were often people of color and immigrants of then-uncertain racial status.

I read a fair amount of nineteenth-century documents about public health.  And to me, a lot of the Feministe commentators sound rather Victorian.  While they, like their nineteenth century predecessors, may insist that they’re only concerned with “health,” the stigmatization of disease has historically been part and parcel of other oppressions such as classism.  It is not even true that this is a scientifically accurate viewpoint.  The “filth” theory of disease popular in the mid-nineteenth century preceded germ theory and was in no way entirely correct.  It is simply not true that all “filth” inevitably causes disease.

Once upon a time- say medieval Europe- being too clean was a give away that you were Jewish. During the inquisition, if you looked too clean you could get pulled in for “questioning”. 

On the other hand, in between then and Victorian era, hygiene standards changed- along class lines, of course, but also along ethnic lines. Western European hygiene standards were used to “prove” eastern europeans were barbaric. Eventually, the ruling class in eastern Europe used this pressure to disrupt local customs and beliefs by attempting to forcibly change these standards. not ascribing to western european standards made people the brunt of not only class bigotry, but the outsider of an ethnocenterism that wold become more fully developed in victorian culture.

(Source: alliecat-person)

Friday, July 1, 2011 Thursday, June 2, 2011

oh yeah & this other thing i’m mad about




I’m getting so tired of historical/fantasy/sci-fi pieces that are basically (cis/straight/white) dude-centric without nod to anyone else and getting the justification back, “But it’s historically accurate that the women don’t do anything/that queer people are erased” or “in this society men still dominate for some strange and miraculous reason!!”  OK, really, saying it’s “historically accurate” doesn’t make it any less sexist/racist/heterosexist or frustrating that the (US)American culture is so obsessed with historical stories (see: Gladiator (2000), 300 (2006)) and creating SF/F stories where male culture dominates (see: Blade Runner (1982), Repo Men (2010)) is even worse because SF/F is a great chance to make social commentary on gender roles and the gender binary (which is depressing that it needs to be done) and give female and gender&sexuality minority characters a chance to actually exist outside the oppressive status quo.  

What’s even worse is that these pieces go out and reinforce ideas of machismo over and over again by glorifying them without pointing out the oppressive nature of these attitudes because they happily play along with and even support this idea of machismo and oppression and erasure!  It’s like the Batman narrative: Batman could be wrong, but the reader never gets to make that choice because the narrator of the Batman story assumes that Batman is completely correct (turning morally grey characters like Jason Todd villainous where they should be anti-heroes).

AND REALLY, why can’t we invent different realities or universes in which people who are not (cis/straight/white) dudes carry the narrative structure or at least equally share the burden of narrative structure with others??  I swear it is not difficult!: Spirited Away (2001), Nausicaa Valley of the Wind (1984), Summer Wars (2009), Princess Mononoke (1997), The Princess and the Frog (2009), The Cat Returns (2002), Quest for Camelot (1998), True Grit (2010), Mulan (1998), Anastasia (1997), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Orphanage (2007), Ash by Malinda Lo, Valiant by Holly Black, Immortal Iron Fist #7 (aha sadly JUST THAT ISSUE), Card Captor Sakura (the manga)

There are more but not enough because seeing as it took me forever to come up with these movies (and all the other movies I’ve been watching for the last 4 years feature, surprise surprise, straight/cis/white dudes), because as long as we’re getting movies like Real Steel (2011) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) greenlighted and released, then I’m going to make angry, bitter posts filled with too many exclamation points.

Apologists using the “historical accuracy!” defense never seem to be able to explain:

a) Why historical accuracy applies to ahistorical settings. If someone decides to write a fantasy story loosely based off of the American Revolution, except the culture/geography is fictitious and also there are mermaids, does it really make the story that much less “accurate” if George Washington’s counterpart is a woman, or the Paul Revere character is a black guy? (Apparently so.)

b) Why we should consider authorial choice in a societal vacuum. Nobody forces writers to tell stories with lots of white/straight/cis dudes; they make the decision to do so. Even if we accept “historical accuracy” as a required metric for stories inspired by history, all that does is shift the author’s decision to exclude minority characters a little further up the creative timeline.

c) Why it is still appropriately “accurate” when a story based off of a historical premise ignores or downplays the real contributions of people who weren’t white/straight/cis dudes within that white/straight/cis/male-dominated society.

Not to mention that, racewise, many Old Timey places were a lot more diverse than people usually think; and there are notable figures habitually portrayed as white who had non-white backgrounds. (Conversely, people considered white todaymay have been racialized back then—but that’s a tricky subject!) Even in whitey-white-land there’s always been contact between lots of different cultures and religions and people in general due to immigration, trade (including the slave trade) and war (Crusades and Reconquista, anyone?).

(Sure, there are going to be lots of areas where it’s wall-to-wall white people—but there are places like that today, so is it really “more historical”?)

And you could do this for lots of other things too, including gender and sexual orientation and whatnot. A lot of stuff gets swept under the carpet and when people already think that only white-straight-cis-men are important, they’ll overlook people who aren’t. And if they do include minority characters, they’re usually portrayed as one-of-a-kind. For example, someone (in an article/post I read years ago and have been unable to find again) discussed Stephen Black from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a black servant. Regency-period London had a sizeable black community, but you’d never know it from the book; Stephen doesn’t come from that community (he was orphaned in a shipwreck) and he only ever meets white people. And few people can name a pre-20th century female military leader other than Joan of Arc or Boudicca—but as we’ve seen via lots of Tumblr posts about women like (most recently) Cheng I Sao and Princess Khutulun, women in warfare aren’t quite as rare as people think. (This is something Mary Gentle subverts hard in her alt-history Ash by featuring lots of female soldiers and having the framing-story scholarly notes explain it in more detail.)

So when people claim that a preponderance of white-straight-cis-men is only historically accurate, I get annoyed because they simply haven’t been doing their research.

P. S. I am not a historian so feel free to set me straight on any of the above.

this this this this this. Even the whitest white conception people have isn’t accurate place and location wise. even back to “viking culture”, you are talking about a people with wide trade routes. The Russ had an active trade relationship with the near east, particularly Byzantine culture, and some groups traded as widely as north Africa from the western approach. Additionally, the Nature of the Roman Army and terms of Roman citizenship means that pre-viking era, Roman Era Britain would have had at the very least soldiers From the region of the Russ, and likely those from Arab, Iberian, and North African descent. Before that, there were trade relations dating back even as far as Phoeniciantrade routes- and that’s via sea. We are talking across the Mediterranean (and thus along northern Africa) and up the coast of Iberia and what is now known as France, interacting and having trade relationships with a large number of the cultures along the way.

Even if a large number of regular folks never knew, ideas, materials, and culture did not spring up in some deeply white vacuum. Nor did a people. For large chunks of early history in northern Europe, we can’t know for sure what if any racial conceptions people had- and a lot of what we do have is either corrupted via conquering nations accounts, or seen based not on race, but on cultural identity.

You can extend this- cultural conceptions- to any of the concepts we are discussing- gender, sexuality, etc- ESPECIALLY in pre-roman Northern Europe. There’s a lot we don’t know, and a lot of guess work made based on scarce clues- much like when the “Trans”/gender non conforming burial find that was going around earlier this year. We do not know what gender concepts actually were, just have clues and a lot of filling in the blank based on what western (read: at one point romanized) constructs provide us and accounts from pretty obviously biased sources. History, really when you look at it deeply enough, is something that unless we discover time travel and a way not to effect causality (spectral bodies? Free floating formless consciousness?) is a lot of guess work put together through faith in fellow historians, archaeological evidence- which is facts until we try to interpret them- and a margin of error about what actually happened that runs as deep as any human emotion can motivate.

tl;dr, even in the bastions of “white”, we cannot know that there weren’t what we today would call PoC in the people. At the very least, It would be downright bizarre if your hero(ine) quests near any port, or ranges any real distance, to not see any PoC by any modern standard. That is, if you are using historical accuracy as your excuse.

(Source: maritimelegend)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Appearently Adelaide, the city, was named after a German-born Queen-Consort of England

She was married to William IV, Who had 10 kids with an Irish actress (Dorthea Jordan) that for political reasons he couldn’t marry. After 20 years of domestic living, they broke up, and he went off asking around to find himself a suitable wife to ensure succession. He Apparently approached between 5 and 7 ladies who either turned him down, had their fathers turn him down, or which parliament objected to. 

So He married Adelaide who was a Princess of Saxe-Meiningen (A small kingdom in Germany). She apparently fit all of parliament’s demands, her family consented, and she was willing to accept William’s Children as a part of the family (William’s stipulation, I believe). They apparently had a simple marriage, though Adelaide miscarried numerous times, Birthed stillborn twin boys, and the two live births (Charlotte and Elisabeth) lived a few hours and a few months, respectively. Their failure to produce an Heir is what got Victoria- yes, “the” Victoria- picked as William’s Successor. 

She was appearently quite conservative, and also considered a prude- she was very anti-cleavage, even at parties- in fact, she had been known to kick out women whose decollage (sp?) was deemed too low out of her own.  o_0  She was such a Tory, it’s kinda ridiculous. Pious, and apparently gave to charities as part of her religious duties, but so painfully Tory. 

The city was named after her in 1836- A year before William’s death in 1837. Adelaide lived until late 1849, and got on well with Queen Victoria, her Niece. 

And can I say how rediculously complex Adelaide’s coat of arms was? Seriously you guys. It’s basically the Arms of 23 (5 of which consisted of the Royal Arms of England) families smooshed onto one shield.

I couldn’t have been the only one who noticed this





But Nixon wasn’t the President in 1969, JFK was.  When JFK won the election, his opponent was Richard Nixon.  Since King Moffat wouldn’t have screwed that up, my only guess is that for some reason time was rewritten so that Nixon won.

Yes, he was. He was inaugurated on the 20th Jan ‘69.

You trollin’ right?

JFK died on 22 Nov ‘63.

The day before the first ep of DW aired.

Um yeah seriously

JFK until 1963

Then Johnson until 1968

Then Nixon won in 1968

Inauguration in January 1969


Good god, fucking history, how does it work? Or failing that, fucking Wikipedia, how does it work?

I feel kind of bad for Loling at the OP. :-/