Miscellanea, February 4, 2022

miscellanea /mɪsəˈleɪnɪə/ n. pl. : a collection of miscellaneous objects or writings [Latin]

After a very long hiatus, Miscellanea is back. This week: the Pam & Tommy series, sex-positive feminism, masculinity and cryptocurrency, and polar bears enjoying life in an old weather station. 

The problem with Pam & Tommy: Canadian actress Pamela Anderson is again exposed without consent

As the article points out, the Pam & Tommy story is public and no legal consent was required to make the series, but Pamela Anderson wanted nothing to do with it and is quite devastated by it. Should the series have been made without her participation? The creators say they are trying to “correct the narrative,” but should they be re-telling this painful story without Anderson’s involvement? Interesting questions to consider as the series begins airing. 

“Grady wonders if, in our rush to revisit for our own education and entertainment, we’re mistreating Anderson again. ‘Are we still consuming in this lascivious way the pain and humiliation of these women?…To a certain extent, the stories are in the public.’ But, she stresses, ‘if you’re trying to reclaim a narrative, you should have that person’s perspective. Don’t pretend you’re doing just like Pamela Anderson would want you to.’” CBC

Would we treat Pamela Anderson this way today?

More on the Pam & Tommy series, but the focus here is on the outsized impact on Pamela Anderson of the video leaked in 1996 and how little has changed for women since. 

“And no matter how admirably (and successfully) the show portrays the unjust violation of the pair, it has similarly chosen to dramatise some of their most intimate moments for entertainment without them having a say. Even now, she is still being treated as fair game.We may be making sex-positive strides in 2022, but it seems that society, and especially the internet, the original home of Pamela and Tommy’s tape, remains rigorously run by a male gaze. It may not be 1996 anymore, but it seems we will still download and shun, demand and condemn the sexual behaviour of women.” Harper’s Bazaar

‘It stopped me having sex for a year’: why Generation Z is turning its back on sex-positive feminism

The sex-positive feminism movement was intended to help women, but despite pushing that notion, are we still living with a “model of sex that has been created by men”? According to some, we are, and the attitudes of men are what needs to change to bring us to true sexual liberation for women.   

The missing element of this half-finished revolution, Lala argues, is a cultural shift in men’s attitudes. ‘Sex-positive feminism has laid the foundations, it’s given us a platform and a voice and a space to use our voices. But without getting men on board and proper sex education, we’re all going to be on the same old hamster wheel.’” The Guardian

Why is Matt Damon shilling for Crypto?

Like many other people, I view crypto currencies and NFTs as little more than modern snake oil, with very high cost and risk. This article discusses celebrity endorsements of crypto currencies, particularly the ubiquitous and now infamous Matt Damon commercial that attempts to woo young men by exploiting the age-old notion that risk-taking signifies manhood. 

The cryptocurrency industry’s marketing efforts are focused on young people, especially young men…Damon offers a particular kind of appeal to that demographic. His star power is based on brains and brawn; he can recite magniloquent phrases while also giving the impression that he could fillet an enemy, Jason Bourne style, armed with only a Bic pen. In the ad, his words are high-flown — all that stuff about history and bravery — but they amount to a macho taunt: If you’re a real man, you’ll buy crypto.The New York Times

Polar bears move into abandoned weather station–photo essay

What will the future hold for polar bears? They are already being affected by climate change and it’s frightening to think what will happen to them in the coming years as the planet gets warmer. But the bears pictured here seem happy. And why not? They are isolated from humans and must feel very secure hanging out in this old weather station. The photos were taken by drone with virtually no disturbance to the bears, so they look perfectly relaxed and comfortable. 

I asked one of Russia’s top polar bear experts, Anatoly Kochnev, what causes the animals’ behaviour – why do they love to sit in the buildings? The biologist, who worked in Chukotka and on the island of Kolyuchin for many years, told me that, first of all, polar bears are very curious by nature, so they always attempt to get through any unlocked window or door. And secondly, unfortunately, these animals were traditionally hunted, and so they use these houses as a form of protection from humans.The Guardian

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