You know what I think is really cool about language (English in this case)? It’s the way you can express “I don’t know” without opening your mouth. All you have to do is hum a low note, a high note, then another lower note. The same goes for yes and no. Does anyone know what this is called?
These are called vocables, a form of non-lexical utterance - that is, wordlike sounds that aren’t strictly words, have flexible meaning depending on context, and reflect the speakers emotional reaction to the context rather than stating something specific. They also include uh-oh! (that’s not good!), uh-huh and mm-hmm (yes), uhn-uhn (no), huh? (what?), huh… (oh, I see…), hmmn… (I wonder… / maybe…), awww! (that’s cute!), aww… (darn it…), um? (excuse me; that doesn’t seem right?), ugh and guh (expressions of alarm, disgust, or sympathy toward somebody else’s displeasure or distress), etc.
Every natural human language has at least a few vocables in it, and filler words like “um” and “erm” are also part of this overall class of utterances. Technically “vocable” itself refers to a wider category of utterances, but these types of sounds are the ones most frequently being referred to, when the word is used.
Reblog if u just hummed all of these out loud as you read them
What’s really incredible about Mad Max: Fury Road is that our titular, brooding White Male Lead in an Action Movie™ is given no opportunities to appear badass or heroic unless he’s working as a team or directly helping the women.
We see Max alone in the desert, all brooding and action-hero-y, clearly haunted by a tragic past… and he’s immediately captured, chained, humiliated and spends the next half hour tied up and useless while Furiosa is off getting shit done.
Then he gets free and he comes in waving a gun around and embarrassing himself. It’s not until Furiosa calms him down, wins him over, and he starts following her orders that he’s allowed to appear properly badass - in an action sequence that begins with him handing her a gun, and which progresses with the two of them working as the ultimate teamwhile the girls help him as much as he defends them.
Then they’re in the Night Bog. Max fails to hit the Bullet Farmer and instead becomes a prop to steady Furiosa’s shot. Then he runs off on a solo mission and it doesn’t even merit screen time. Some dude lone wolfing it to kill a scary bad guy? Who cares. Let’s watch Nux running in front of the rig and the girls cooling down the engines instead.
Then comes the final chase. Max is undeniably awesome, but he is only allowed to be awesome because all of his efforts are dedicated to helping and protecting his weird new family. And the instant he hears Furiosa is hurt, all of his badass moments are pivoted around reaching her. He fights a hundred war boys, jumps over trucks, swings off poles, sets of explosions, beats someone with a flamethrower guitar, just so he can be there to catch Furiosa once she has killed the big bad Immortan Joe.
And, of course, his biggest heroic moment in the film isn’t even a cool action sequence or taking out a villain - it’s saving someone’s life. It’s being selfless and compassionate. It’s expressing love and humanity. It’s acting as a nurse and donating his blood. Max’s triumph is fixing something that’s broken.
Then, at the end, instead of being rewarded with a sexy girl and something else cool like most action heroes, Max gets nothing.He gives everything to Furiosa - his love, his loyalty, his fighting skills, his blood, his name - and he takes nothing in return, nor does he feel he is owed anything. He is content simply to help her, and thanks to this love and selflessness he was able to achieve some kind of redemption.
In Fury Road, a man’s heroism is not determined by how strong or tough he is - it is defined by how willing he is to love, help, support and protect others, particularly women, while demanding nothing in return.
In March of this year, State Street Global Advisors unveiled the “Fearless Girl,” a statue of a little girl installed to face Wall Street’s famous “Charging Bull” statue. Her defiance was aimed at financial culture’s historical exclusion of women in the financial industry, especially in leadership positions.
In early October, its parent company, State Street Corporation, quietly settled allegations that it had been paying female employees less than their male counterparts, agreeing to award US$5 million in back pay.
In both cases, a public-facing feminism ended up essentially serving as a front, a superficial sheen that distracted from systemic sexism. What does feminism mean if it functions as an alibi for structural discrimination? And how powerful are the forces that oppose it?
Popular feminism refers to a sort of mainstream, corporate-friendly feminism. It announces itself on self-help blogs that implore women to “be confident in the workplace” and on aspirational Tumblr pages that remind women that they are beautiful despite societal norms that tell them that they’re not. In this way, popular feminism is “safe” – it implicitly encourages more women to work within a system that is already designed to devalue (and underpay) the labor of women.
Like popular feminism, popular misogyny is expressed and practiced on multiple media platforms. Yet its primary goal is to dehumanize and devalue women.
Every time feminism gains broad traction – that is, every time it spills beyond niche feminist enclaves – the forces of the status quo lash back. Skirmishes ensue between those determined to change the normal state of things and those determined to maintain it, who frame the challenges to the status quo as a set of risks that must be contained.
This happened with suffrage and abolition. More recently, it happened to the women who sought to assert themselves within the male-dominated world of video games (the “Gamergate” controversy).
We also see this dynamic in the stories of the Fearless Girl and Harvey Weinstein.
A sanitized version of feminism
The “Fearless Girl” statue was installed in the middle of the night in lower Manhattan on March 7, 2017, on the eve of International Women’s Day.
It faced the well-known “Charging Bull” statue, which, since 1987, has been a global symbol of Wall Street. The bull was intended to be a sign of American “virility and courage” – an “antidote,” in the artist’s words, for the stock market crash of 1986. The bull’s allusions to manliness and a strong sex drive continue to be acknowledged in the popular tourist practice of taking a picture next to (or touching) the bull’s huge testicles.
On the surface, the appearance of a statue that appears to directly challenge the bull is a striking symbol of empowerment.
But let’s not forget that “Fearless Girl” was intended as an advertisement. State Street’s new index fund sought to signal itself as a collection of “gender-diverse” companies, meaning that they have a higher percentage of women among their senior leadership than most global investment companies. (Its NASDAQ ticker symbol is “SHE.”)
To be clear: I believe it is important to praise those companies that hire women in leadership. It is equally important to have women directors behind the camera in the entertainment industries.
At the same time, the recognition of gender inequality in leadership positions is a familiar trope of popular feminism. The remedy is thought to be simple: Have more women “sit at the table.” This is Weinstein’s brand of “feminism” as well: to talk about the importance of hiring more female directors or giving more opportunities to female actors.
But where are the results? Why is that, despite widespread acknowledgment of gender and racial exclusion in the technology industries, women and people of color remain in the vast minority? Why is it that, despite Harvey Weinstein’s vocal support for feminist causes, just 4 percent of directors of the 100 top-grossing films between 2007 and 2016 were female?
Harvey Weinstein’s public support of gender issues in Hollywood and of female politicians easily gained traction and praise. But in reality, it could have worked to distract people from his behavior and a culture of sexual assault and gender discrimination that undergirds Hollywood.
The presumption here is that putting more women in leadership positions is a catch-all solution to gender inequality. But what if it’s simply a statement about women becoming better workers?
The artist, Kristen Visbal, admitted that the artwork isn’t meant to alienate, but to accommodate.
“I made sure to keep her features soft,” she explained. “She’s not defiant, she’s brave, proud and strong, not belligerent.” (This is one way that popular feminism transfigures other feminist movements, which, historically, have been mobilized by defiance and belligerence, while directly confronting patriarchy.)
Yet the accommodating tone didn’t matter to the forces of misogyny.
Even the suggestion that women should participate more visibly within capitalism – an economic system that depends, after all, on a gendered division of labor – incurred a misogynistic backlash.
The creator of the Charging Bull, Arturo Di Modica, has asked for the Fearless Girl to be removed, claiming that she was “attacking the bull” and that he objected to her “political messaging” (as if symbolizing capitalist America’s resilience was somehow not political).
Other reactions were more pronounced than Di Modica’s. Alongside hundreds of photos and selfies of girls and women with Fearless Girl, pictures also circulated in social media featuring men simulating sex with the statue. In May 2017 another artist, Alex Gardega, installed a statue of his own: “Pissing Pug,” a small dog urinating on “Fearless Girl.”
Even a “soft” corporate feminism poses a threat to masculinity – so much so that it becomes a target of degradation and sexual violence.
Apparently, the Fearless Girl injures masculinity simply by existing in the first place.
The perils of popular feminism
The pervasiveness of popular misogyny can appear in subtler ways, whether it’s political campaigns centered on taking away reproductive rights for women, or denying women and girls opportunities in the workplace.
Others join “Pissing Pug” in the not-so-subtle category, like Weinstein’s alleged tactics of forcing women to perform sexual acts in order to earn his approval.
The years-long silence of Weinstein’s many female accusers – or of the many men and women who were aware of what was happening – is all, in my view, about the power of popular misogyny. Women are rarely believed when they report sexual assault, while public shaming can ensure that future opportunities to do so can dry up.
But while popular misogyny can silence in very visible ways, popular feminism can also work to silence dissent. Through building statues, appointing a woman to the board of a company and paying celebrity feminist spokespeople, this soft, corporate version of feminism signals that by being accommodating and safe, the problem will go away.
Popular feminism might dispense a vision of progress. But don’t let it distract from the structural gendered violence that persists, unabated, in so many aspects of American society.
Sarah Banet-Weiser ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de parts, ne reçoit pas de fonds d'une organisation qui pourrait tirer profit de cet article, et n'a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son poste universitaire.
Carrie Fisher‘s death last December still pains fans of the smart, bitingly funny, and fiercely unapologetic actress. But just when we thought we couldn’t love our Princess Leia any more, an incredible new story about her has emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Heather Ross, a screenwriter and close friend of Fisher, called into 94.9 MixFM in Tucson to describe a horrifying incident she experienced when she was new to the entertainment industry back in 2000. Ross told the radio show she had the opportunity to meet with an Oscar-winning producer to discuss getting involved with a project. She believed the meeting was purely professional, but on their way to grab a meal, she said the producer pulled his vehicle over and held her down while he groped her.
“I was thinking in my head there is no way this is happening right now,” she said. Ross fled the vehicle, and grappled with what to do next, confiding in her mother and several close friends, including Fisher. The producer had threatened that Ross would never work in Hollywood.
“Carrie Fisher, a lot of people said in the news after her passing that she was like a mother figure and she took care of people, which she did—and I was one of many.” Ross said. “She was very protective of me and more scared for my safety than anything. And after that fear wore off, about two weeks later, she sent me a message online and she was like, ‘I just saw (blank) at Sony Studios. I knew he would probably be there, so I went to his office and personally delivered a Tiffany box wrapped with a white bow.’ I asked her, ‘Well, OK, what was inside?'”
It was a cow tongue Fisher got from Jerry’s Famous Deli with a note that read, according to Ross, “If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be [clears throat] something of yoursin a much smaller box.”
Fisher even stuck around to relish the look on the producer’s face. If you don’t know what a cow tongue looks like, Ross suggests Googling it. It’s gross—but worth the visual.
There’s been a lot of soul-searching in Hollywood over the past few days about sexual predation by those in power and the crushing choices faced by young men and women who feared damaging their careers by speaking up. Seventeen years ago, Fisher sent a message like only she could.