Posts tagged with "gender" - Faerye Net 2013-04-15T05:45:55+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Maybe I've heard this argument way too often... 2013-04-15T05:45:55+00:00 2013-04-15T05:46:11+00:00 <p>But this exchange from Martin McDonagh&#8217;s <a href="" target="links"><em>Seven Psychopaths</em></a> cracked me up:</p> <blockquote>Hans (Christopher Walken): Martin, I&#8217;ve been reading your movie.<br /> <br /> Marty (Colin Farrell): Oh. What do you think?<br /> <br /> Hans: Your women characters are awful! None of them have anything to say for themselves, most of them get either shot or stabbed to death within five minutes, and the ones who don&#8217;t probably will later on!<br /> <br /> Marty: [Clearly at a loss] Well&#8230;it&#8217;s a hard world for women, you know. I guess that&#8217;s what I&#8217;m trying to say!<br /> <br /> Hans: Yeah, it&#8217;s a hard world for women, but most of the ones I know can string a sentence together!</blockquote> <p>Next time I hear the argument that horrible treatment of women in fiction is motivated solely by a high-minded pursuit of gritty realism, I&#8217;m going to see Colin Farrell&#8217;s clueless little pout-shrug. &#8220;Well&#8230;it&#8217;s a hard world for women, you know!&#8221;</p> I am not a Puzzle Box 2012-09-10T12:53:14+00:00 2012-09-16T22:50:43+00:00 <h2>Background</h2> <p>There&#8217;s been a lot of talk recently about sexual harassment at spec fic conventions, and in fandom generally. <a href="" target="links">A case of harassment at Readercon and mishandling of it</a> brought this discussion up from a simmer. There have been amazing related posts like Captain Awkward&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">response to two letters about creepy acquaintances</a>, which did a great job of explaining the links between seemingly innocuous creepiness and obvious sexual threat. Another great one was John Scalzi&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping</a>, which tried to address the defensiveness from many male geeks on the topic and show that not being creepy isn&#8217;t rocket science. That defensiveness is predictable: it&#8217;s a dynamic I, and probably most geek feminists, are familiar with.</p> <p>This is all happening against a backdrop of gender- and race-fail in fandom, backlash against women in fandom (have you heard of <a href="" target="links">&#8220;fake geek girls&#8221;</a>?) and of course, the charming War on Women in the wider world.</p> <h2>Metaphor</h2> <p>A long time ago, I used to hang out on a discussion forum for gamers, in the general geekery section. There were recurring discussions about geek gender relations &#8212; about straight male geeks&#8217; sexual frustrations, and about female geeks&#8217; profound discomfort in many situations. In short, the same topic online fandom is mulling over now, with the same cast of characters and list of motivations and conflicts.</p> <p>This is the metaphor I came up with then, to explain why I (and other women) get creeped out, and how behavior some men think is innocuous seems creepy or even threatening to the recipient:</p> <center><strong>Some men see women as puzzle boxes.</strong></center> <p>As far as they&#8217;re concerned, inside every woman, there&#8217;s a tasty Sex Treat&trade;, and there&#8217;s <em>some way</em> to get it out. Some combination of words, of behaviors on the man&#8217;s part, some situation will pop that box open and <em>the treat will be his!</em></p> <p>Like every belief, this one has implications and consequences. A puzzler may continue to try and try and try to get a woman to sleep with him, testing different approaches and permutations, sure that the perfect solution exists &#8212; when in fact, he&#8217;s just being terrifyingly persistent in hitting on someone who he&#8217;s already completely alienated. He may learn generalized techniques from pickup artist websites or books, which make perfect sense to him because they use the same sort of puzzle/treat logic &#8212; and then find that real women he interacts with don&#8217;t respond as he anticipated, or even get offended, when he tries out his new techniques. A frustrated puzzler may stay in a platonic relationship with a woman hoping to stumble onto a way to get the treat, when he isn&#8217;t interested in the friendship for its own sake.</p> <p>And here&#8217;s the thing. While she may not know what to call it, a woman can often sense that a man believes her to be a puzzle box. He&#8217;s breaking Rule #4 in <a href="" target="links">Scalzi&#8217;s post</a>, &#8220;Acknowledge that other people do not exist just for your amusement/interest/desire/use.&#8221; He is talking to her, but <em>thinking</em> about how to get her Sex Treat&trade;.</p> <p>There are two big problems with the Puzzle Box model of woman. The first one you can probably guess, and I&#8217;ve just implied it when I note that women can tell a man&#8217;s thinking of them that way:</p> <center><strong>Women are people, not puzzle boxes.</strong></center> <p>Women don&#8217;t like being treated as interchangeable, or as the means to an end, or an obstacle in the way of someone&#8217;s desire, any more than anyone else would. Most puzzler-types would scoff at the idea that they&#8217;re treating women as interchangeable, but no, the fact that you value the sex treat or the victory more highly if the box has an attractive exterior, or if it hadn&#8217;t been opened before, or if it was particularly tricky, isn&#8217;t flattering. You are treating a sentient individual as an instance of a game. It&#8217;s disgusting.</p> <p>The second problem is a little more subtle, but its power is why I like this metaphor so much (besides the precise way it describes the feeling I get when a guy is talking to me but his brain is obviously listening to imagined tumblers in my locking mechanism).</p> <center><strong>Sex is not an item.</strong></center> <p>Sex is not a treat, it&#8217;s not a prize: it&#8217;s an activity people do <em>together</em>. When a man (or anyone else) focuses on it as an object to win, he is constructing his sexual world in a flawed and unethical way. If all that matters is that he <em>wins</em>, that he finds a way of <em>getting that treat out of that woman</em>, then the quality of her consent doesn&#8217;t matter to him.</p> <p>I&#8217;m not trying to be hyperbolic here, and I&#8217;m not trying to be vituperative: but logically, the Puzzle Box approach is on a continuum with rape. Each puzzler has a toolbox they use to approach a new puzzle box. One has flattery, pokes at self-esteem, dares, intense eye contact. One also uses <a href="" target="links">pushing of physical boundaries</a>, false teaming, buying her a couple of drinks, telling her she&#8217;s leading him on and owes him sex. One also uses the implied threat of his large and imposing frame, isolating her, getting her drunk. One also uses drugs, and social threat, and his strength and greater weight&#8230; You get the picture.</p> <p>When a woman senses a man sees her as a puzzle box, <em>she does not know</em> if he is a harmless guy with some stupid notions, or a self-taught pickup artist steeped in internet misogyny but who has a rudimentary ethical compass, or a guy who will rape her if he has plausible deniability but not otherwise, or <a href="" target="links">that self-aware serial rapist who posted on Reddit</a>.</p> <p>She doesn&#8217;t know whether he&#8217;s just going to annoy her with a constant attempt to load his save-game and retry with a bunch of corny lines and pushy suggestions; or stalk her on the internet trying to figure out the cheat code to open her pants; or grope her in an attempt to break her boundaries; or rape her. She does not know what he&#8217;s willing to do to get the treat. All she knows is that he sees her as an obstacle and her sex as an object. And why the fuck would she want to spend any time with him, even if he&#8217;s harmless, knowing that?</p> <h2>Takeaway</h2> <p>If you&#8217;re reading this and you have a puzzle box mentality, it doesn&#8217;t mean you&#8217;re a bad person. I&#8217;m not saying you&#8217;re a rapist when I say this mentality is part of a continuum with rape &#8212; I&#8217;m saying you&#8217;re part of a society which enables and includes rape. We all are. We don&#8217;t grow to adulthood in individual stasis boxes, creating all our attitudes ourselves. The idea of women as puzzle boxes &#8212; which is related to the ideas that women don&#8217;t actually want sex and just have to regulate men&#8217;s access to it, and to the idea of women as the sex class, the people whose bodies <em>carry</em> sex and <em>mean</em> sex &#8212; is embedded deep in our culture.</p> <p>Stop thinking about sex as a prize. Start thinking about it as something fun you&#8217;re doing with someone else who wants to have fun too. Don&#8217;t think of consent as something you can win either &#8212; or as a lid you&#8217;ve managed to get open. Consent should be desire and enthusiasm. Consent should be active and joyful. <a href="" target="links">It isn&#8217;t complicated.</a> You&#8217;re not looking for a cheat code, or a combination, or a series of moves that reveal the shortest way to the end of the puzzle. You&#8217;re looking for a human who wants to have fun with you &#8212; which actually makes this <em>way easier</em> because you can have fun with people before sex <em>ever comes up</em>, so you don&#8217;t even have to focus on sex as a goal. Fun is your goal &#8212; your fun and other people&#8217;s, which can be mutual and amazing!</p> <p>I think most of us would rather live in a world of people than of puzzle boxes, anyway.</p> <p><strong>Edited 9/16 to add:</strong> <em>Comments on this piece are now closed due to the time constraints of my offline life. Thank you to everyone who contributed and shared!</em></p> The Eyeliner Principle 2010-01-07T11:27:57+00:00 2010-01-07T11:34:16+00:00 <p>The Eyeliner Principle is simple. For decades, eyeliner on men has meant Evil in science fiction, adventure, and action movies and TV shows. (On women, eye makeup has little significance. I would say on women it means the character is awake, but we all know that Hollywomen sleep perfectly made up, and seeing them without eye makeup is about as common as seeing them in bras that don&#8217;t match their underwear.) <em>Pirates of the Caribbean</em> broke new ground using eyeliner for the merely morally ambivalent.</p> <p>Now, you could probably come up with several cultural explanations for this: eye makeup is associated with women, so men with eye makeup are coded as effeminate and therefore transgressive, flawed. Or perhaps it&#8217;s playing on white audience&#8217;s xenophobia &#8211; certainly some eyelinered villains, like Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon, play on tropes of the dangerous, exotic Other. Maybe it&#8217;s a mish-mash of the two. Whatever the origins, it&#8217;s a pretty good bet when you see a guy in eyeliner in a mainstream piece of media, you shouldn&#8217;t trust him.</p> <p>I bring this up because it isn&#8217;t just a handy way of tagging baddies like the fianc&eacute; in <em>Titanic</em>. It allows the omniscient viewing public to differentiate good male characters from their evil twins, clones, doppelgangers, possessed or de-souled counterparts. This incurs no plot damage, since the other characters always seem to be ignorant of the Eyeliner Principle (they seem to be slow to catch on about leather pants, too). This holds true everywhere from <em>Young Hercules</em> (Yes, I&#8217;ve watched that. Hercules isn&#8217;t the only one that was young once) to <em>Star Trek</em>. Which is really the reason I brought this up*. It&#8217;s important that you all know that Captain Kirk with eyeliner is evil. Seriously, if you ever see William Shatner wearing eyeliner, <em>run</em>&#8230;and thank me later.</p> <p>*More on Evil Kirk coming soon!</p> Language and gender 2009-04-08T15:21:18+00:00 2009-04-08T15:23:27+00:00 <p>I don&#8217;t usually just post links to other blogs, but the study <a href="" target="links">Zuska</a> is <a href="" target="links">talking about here</a> is fascinating:<br /> <blockquote>Would you describe a bridge as fragile, elegant, beautiful, peaceful, slender, pretty? Or as strong, dangerous, long, sturdy, big, towering? Lera Boroditsky, an assistant psychology professor at Stanford University, found that it depends &#8211; for native German and Spanish speakers, on whether your native tongue assigns a feminine or masculine gender to the noun bridge.</blockquote></p> <p>I&#8217;ve long been interested in the intricacies and contradictions of gendered language, both in the study of French and Latin and in the <a href="" target="links">more</a> <a href="" target="links">subtle</a> ways English is gendered. I&#8217;m glad this sort of rigorous research is going on, and I hope that this kind of work can inspire at least a few people to consider how deeply their firm ideas of gender are shaped by culture. We love to believe we are free agents, that the choices we make and beliefs we hold are our own. But we are rooted, growing out of a place, a culture, a family, even a religion. The more we acknowledge and analyze the things that shape us, the more we can grow beyond them. Our culture gives us meaning and common ground, but it can also be poisonous and stunting. Only by facing that can we fight it, and work to become truly free.</p> The masculonormativity of spam 2008-09-12T10:30:47+00:00 2008-09-12T10:32:27+00:00 <p>One observation I failed to make in my <a href="" target="links">general masculonormativity post</a> is this: spam is for men.</p> <p>This is precisely the kind of thing I would guess is hard to notice if you&#8217;re a man, but I estimate my spam (when I do see it) is almost 50% Viagra/Cialis offers, 20% (gender-neutral) offers of cut-rate software, 10% (gender-neutral) nonsense or Nigerian scams, and 20% (male-oriented) porn ads. That means 70% of spam assumes that I am a man. Some of that is likely capitalism at work: if men are more likely to click on spam, or if porn and ED drugs are the main ways to make money off spam, that may be what&#8217;s driving it. But it may also be an easy assumption for spammers in Russia or wherever to make &#8212; that men are the primary users of the Internet or the primary spenders of money.</p> <p>All I know is that last year when, briefly, I got spam advertising knockoffs of designer handbags and heels, I was almost pleased. Spam that assumed I was a woman! Amazing!</p> Maleness is the human default 2008-07-29T08:01:26+00:00 2008-07-29T08:02:13+00:00 <p>This may cover an idea very familiar to some readers, but I want to refer to it in an upcoming post, so I here we are.</p> <p>This is one of the unspoken assumptions of our civilization, and one on which a lot of sexism is founded. It&#8217;s so fundamental you might say we inhale it with our first breath, or at least learn it with language. I was brought up by strident anti-sexists, but I learned this principle anyway: men are &#8216;normal&#8217;. Women are &#8216;other&#8217;. I even, as a child, assigned a certain logic to it: Adam first. Eve out of Adam.</p> <p>So what&#8217;s my point here? My point is that there isn&#8217;t actually any logic to this societal assumption (in the absence of religious belief). Men and women are just two human possibilities, neither more natural or &#8216;regular&#8217; than the other. But it permeates our culture: I&#8217;ve heard of medical receptionists whose software is hardwired to always say &#8216;M&#8217; under patient gender unless they manually enter &#8216;F&#8217; (in ob-gyn&#8217;s offices, this is apparently the cause of much grousing). Men&#8217;s products are just &#8220;The Amazing Foo!&#8221; whereas women get &#8220;The Foo <em>for Her</em>&#8221;. Men play fooball, women play women&#8217;s fooball. T-shirt sizes are assumed to be men&#8217;s unless stated to be women&#8217;s. Babies are <a href="" target="links">assumed to be male</a> unless frilled and bowed. Most video games feature male protagonists, and protagonists (and characters in general) in <a href="" target="links">movies and TV</a> are overwhelmingly male.</p> <p>This is a hard slant for many men to notice, I assume because most of us would guess we&#8217;re biased to consider ourselves &#8216;normal&#8217;. Just as a white person might take a long time to pick up on the overwhelming white normalcy in advertising and media, it&#8217;s hard to notice as odd what seems natural from your viewpoint. But women, often subconsciously, adjust to the world which has been written, made and tailored for men. There&#8217;s a whole arm of literary theory about the way women identify specifically with male characters after they&#8217;ve been trained by years of literature and media to do so. I think Virginia Woolf&#8217;s portrait of this dual consciousness in <em>A Room of One&#8217;s Own</em> captures it beautifully:<br /> <blockquote>Again if one is a woman one is often surprised by a sudden splitting off of consciousness, say in walking down Whitehall [stately heart of London], when from being the natural inheritor of that civilisation, she becomes, on the contrary, outside of it, alien and critical.</p> </blockquote> <p>I am not an expert in literary theory, or in gender studies, but I think this simple idea about the world is an important one to consider&#8230;and, as I said, a necessary prelude to a future (geekier) blog post.</p> I never liked this nose anyway, hand me the bone shears! 2008-06-05T08:02:57+00:00 2008-07-24T22:11:51+00:00 <p>Someone called into <a href=""><span class="caps">KQED</span></a> yesterday morning and took one of the political analysts to task for her use of &#8216;Mrs.&#8217; to describe Senator Clinton rather than &#8216;Senator&#8217;. The analyst said she makes a point of using either rather than the overfamiliar &#8220;Hillary&#8221;. Okay, the caller has a little point there&#8230;but then she went on to say that because of the sexism exhibited by the Obama campaign, she would be voting for McCain now that Clinton is out.</p> <p>Oh dear. I mean, I think I have a pretty high awareness of sexist language, and I have heard very little from the Obama campaign. The Obama &#8220;camp&#8221;? Which includes internet trolls, sign wavers, and all sorts of hangers-on? Sure. But Obama and his campaign? The only thing I ever heard was an allegation that he shouldn&#8217;t have used the word &#8216;periodic&#8217; in a sentence about Clinton&#8217;s aggressive foreign policy, and I found it pretty thin. Whereas the Clinton campaign and their &#8220;hard-working&#8221; and anti-affirmative action dogwhistles disgusted me. I have been appalled by the misogyny of anchors, of dumb idjits on the internet, of people at rallies. But I haven&#8217;t been appalled by Obama or his people.</p> <p>But that&#8217;s a bit beside the point. This is politics, right? If this primary season had gone as expected, swimmingly in Clinton&#8217;s direction, I would have held my nose and voted for her. Because McCain is a flip-flopping hotheaded sellout. Because he hugged Bush after the vicious 2000 primary and he hasn&#8217;t stopped holding him since&#8230;and because I don&#8217;t want someone who has flopped to the anti-choice side picking the Supreme Court. How pro-woman <em>are</em> you, Forum caller? So pro-woman you&#8217;ll vote in a guy who calls his wife the <a href="" target="links">c-word</a> just to show your disgust with the misogyny of a few Obama <em>voters</em> on the internet?</p> The demands of art, the demands of self 2007-11-08T15:02:32+00:00 2008-05-30T13:42:52+00:00 <P>My friend (and distinguished poet) Jeannine recently wrote a little <a href="">blogget</a> on the continuing gender imbalance in publishing. It&#8217;s a little slanted towards poetry, but I&#8217;d be a big liar if I said <a href="">these problems</a> didn&#8217;t exist outside the versifying set.</p> <p>In my comment, I typed and then deleted something like &#8220;Great, now I not only feel guilty on my <em>own</em> behalf for only having two stories out, I feel guilty on behalf of my whole gender.&#8221; I deleted it for two reasons; one, I thought it was whingingly reproachful, and two, it just doesn&#8217;t seem healthy to support more <em>guilt</em>, in however jocular a fashion. It occurs to me now that guilt is part of the reason there are fewer fiction and poetry submissions from women than there are from men, even though there are more female readers, English majors, writing students, et cetera. The &#8216;Time&#8217; section of the <em>Mslexia</em> essay I linked to above talks about how women are, even today, more often the primary caregivers to children, and do more housework than men. It doesn&#8217;t talk about how that cultural role may be propagated, especially how it wins out against the potential fulfillment of writing.</p> <p>I think women are constantly told to be nice, giving, and <em>unselfish</em> in our society. Boys are rewarded for being determined, ambitious and driven, virtues that in girls might be rendered as domineering, climbing and cold. In a million little ways, from being handed a toy instead of encouraged to reach for it to being admonished to smile at strangers, we are trained to be less aggressive and more socially adept than our male peers are expected to be. Some of this may show itself in <em>Mslexia</em>&#8217;s second section on <a href="">Confidence</a>. However, I think it affects time a great deal as well.</p> <p>Even if a woman doesn&#8217;t have children, there are demands on her time. I&#8217;ve been trying hard to learn to say &#8216;no&#8217;. It feels so good to help, and helping has been so thoroughly emphasized in women&#8217;s socialization. My boss needs me to stay a half-hour later. My coworker is coming down with a cold on my only day off. It&#8217;s not just me&#8212;my boss&#8217;s new manager asks her to help run a second store on top of her own. These demands are immediate, time-sensitive, with a person on the phone or in front of us in distress that we can alleviate. If I take this time for myself instead of giving it, I will feel guilty. I&#8217;m a nice person, I want to help, I want to give&#8230;oh crap, okay.</p> <p>Writing is seldom time-sensitive. However fragile the threads of meaning forming in the writer&#8217;s mind, they can usually be saved for the next quiet moment, the next stolen hour. Right now, someone says they need us&#8212;a child, a coworker, a friend, a boss. And if we say no, especially so we can go write words we aren&#8217;t even sure anyone will ever read, we&#8217;re <em>selfish</em>. </p><p>I&#8217;ve been called &#8216;selfish&#8217; fairly often. A young woman is &#8216;selfish&#8217; for pursuing a career or a dream rather than having children &#8211; even if, or especially if &#8211; she would like to have both. It&#8217;s not just that demands are made on her, tasks are offered or questions asked. It&#8217;s that her function in the world is &#8216;helpmeet&#8217;, her value contingent partially on her generosity, her &#8216;niceness&#8217;. Other people must always come first, that&#8217;s what we&#8217;ve internalized. No matter how hard we may try to gouge it out of our psyche, remnants remain.</p> <p>Writing, any kind of art, requires an amazing egotism. It requires the artist to look at the breadth and depth of the world &#8211; or just of humanity &#8211; and say, &#8220;Yes, I need to be heard.&#8221; It takes a healthy self-respect to say that in the face of our own tininess, and it is incredibly hard to feel both that defiant self-confidence and the self-effacement of &#8216;niceness&#8217;, selflessness.</p> <p>So we have to learn a new value system. We don&#8217;t need to be heartless or deaf to others&#8217; needs&#8212;we just need to rate our artistic pursuits higher on the list of priorities. Not &#8220;I wasn&#8217;t going to do anything tonight but write, I can stay late,&#8221; but &#8220;They only want me here late as backup, my writing time is more important.&#8221; Not &#8220;Oh, okay,&#8221; but &#8220;If you can&#8217;t find anyone else to cover you, call me back.&#8221; Compromises are possible. I believe you can be kind and be an artist. It&#8217;s a struggle, and it&#8217;s not something anyone else can do for you, but I think it can be done. </p><p>Now if you&#8217;ll excuse me, I was going to spend my day working on a fellowship application, but I agreed to cover a closing shift at work.</p> What is this strange feeling? 2007-10-31T17:11:05+00:00 2008-06-02T11:16:12+00:00 <p>I think it might be vague pride and approbation&#8230;adhering to&#8230;the Democratic Party?</P> <p>You see, I just listened to an <span class="caps">NPR</span> rundown of the Democratic presidential debate yesterday. It was, as advertised, a pile-on-the-frontrunner. They were throwing stones at Hillary Clinton so thickly they probably blotted out the sun. However, they were throwing them, you know, at her. At the fact that she&#8217;s a mealy-mouthed weasel of a politician. Not, as the subtext of every Republican attack I&#8217;ve seen recently has screeched, that she&#8217;s <em><span class="caps">ZOMG A WOMANZOR</span>!</em></p> <p>That&#8217;s my party. Infighting and backstabbing, perhaps&#8230;but at least they are calling a spade a spade, not a bitch.</p> The Beauty Myth Kills 2007-10-04T21:17:16+00:00 2008-05-30T13:44:06+00:00 <p>I heard <a href="" target="links">this segment</a> on &#8220;Fresh Air&#8221; today. It&#8217;s about how cancer-fighting efforts tend to focus on detection and treatment rather than figuring out what environmental factors cause cancer. I&#8217;ve heard whispers about this before, especially about breast cancer and the way money pours into big companies that make cancer-fighting drugs and also make things like pesticides and fertilizers. But the first thing this doctor discusses on the show is a terribly specific, horrifying thing.</P> <p>Apparently, in the US, black women under 40 get breast cancer massively more often than white women under 40, despite the fact that if you line up known risk factors and demographic data, young black women should get breast cancer <em>less</em>. Dr. Davis hypothesizes that one environmental factor is beauty products. Many black women in America go into chemical-filled beauty salons often, from a young age, and undergo regular harsh treatments for &#8216;relaxing&#8217;, &#8216;straightening&#8217;, et c. According to Dr. Davis, the US government doesn&#8217;t strictly oversee the contents of toiletries well&#8230;and of course, as she indicates time and again, we don&#8217;t <em>know</em> what chemicals to ban, even if we were overseeing things carefully.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve read about the pressure &mdash; some of it economic, not &#8220;merely&#8221; social and aesthetic &mdash; on African-American women about their hair. (If you&#8217;re curious, <a href="" target="links">this post</a> is a good intro, and links to many more in-depth blog posts.) This pressure is not &#8216;mere&#8217; in any way, and extends far beyond hair. (If you click on one link in this blog post, please click on this one: <a href="" target="links"><em>A Girl Like Me</em></a>, a 7-minute film by Kiri Davis. It is amazing &mdash; there&#8217;s a part that makes me cry, but also some intelligent young women being devastatingly articulate.) But if Dr. Davis is right and the effect of &#8216;beauty&#8217; products is sufficient to skew cancer statistics in this way&#8230;then America&#8217;s beauty culture is killing more people than we thought. More than just people with eating disorders or teens with suicidal self-hatred. The world tells huge numbers of women their natural hair is so hideous it has to be transmogrified, tortured, tamed &mdash; and it sells them poison to do it with? How ugly can you get?</p>