Daughters of Lilith: Transgressive Femininity in Bram Stoker’s Late Gothic Fiction explores the theme of feminine dissidence in four of Stoker’s Gothic novels. Using a combination of gender studies and feminist theory, this dissertation examines the various faces of female dissension across Dracula (1897), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), The Lady of the Shroud (1909), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). In these texts, transgression is embodied by the figures of the female hysteric, the dead(ly) mother, the foreign female, and the New Woman. An examination of these feminine types displays Stoker’s capacity to understand and empathise with non-conformist women. Often labelled a conservative author, Stoker is revealed in this dissertation to be more progressive than is commonly thought, as evidenced by the strong and wilful female characters in his fiction, as well as his relations with several feminists and proto-feminists in his private life. Stoker’s more liberal and open-minded attitude towards women not only progresses over the course of his fiction, but also evolves alongside the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century suffrage movement in England.
Mindsuckers - Meet Nature’s Nightmare
“Ladybugs are said to bring good luck—but one infected by the wasp species Dinocampus coccinellae is decidedly unfortunate. When a female wasp stings a ladybug, it leaves behind a single egg. After the egg hatches, the larva begins to eat its host from the inside out. When ready, the parasite emerges and spins a cocoon between the ladybug’s legs. Though its body is now free of the tormentor, the bug remains enslaved, standing over the cocoon and protecting it from potential predators. Some lucky ladybugs actually survive this eerie ordeal.”
And what of D. coccinellae and its hapless ladybug host? While at the University of Montreal, Fanny Maure and her colleagues made a startling discovery: In turning its victim into a willing bodyguard, the wasp itself may only be acting as the extended phenotype of yet another organism. The researchers found that when a wasp injects an egg into a ladybug victim, she also injects a cocktail of chemicals and other substances—including a virus that replicates in the wasp’s ovaries. Some evidence suggests it is this virus that immobilizes the ladybug, protecting the wasp’s cocoon from intruders.
The virus and the wasp have the same evolutionary interests; turning a ladybug into a bodyguard produces more wasps, and more wasps beget more viruses. And so their genes work together to make the ladybug their puppet. The D. coccinellae wasp may not be the puppet master it once seemed. Instead it hides another puppet master within.
Read the whole article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/11/mindsuckers/zimmer-text
I overheard this interview with Ms Gilbert and it spoke so strongly to me that I had to transcribe it and share it :)
"We keep telling people to follow their passion and i feel like that it can an intimidating and almost cruel thing to say to people.
New Montreal study: Has your #sex life put you at greater risk of prostate #cancer?
• Having had >20 female sexual partners associated with decreased prostate cancer risk.
• Having had >20 male sexual partners were suggestive of greater prostate cancer risk.
• Self-identification as a homosexual was suggestive of greater prostate cancer risk.
• No association found between sexually transmitted infections and prostate cancer.
Fisting for Quebec - We’re not going to take it lying down anymore!
Montreal study: Who are the men and boys suffering from anorexia?
"It is clear from their study that males and females affected by anorexia share the same fear of gaining weight and "getting fat." Participants in the study presented clinically significant weight loss, with an average BMI of 16.1, placing them in a state of malnutrition. However, dissatisfaction with body image for males was more related to muscle mass, a motivation that can be associated with social norms of male beauty. "Moreover, excessive physical exercise is far ahead of rituals around food and vomiting in the list of strategies used to lose weight and the behaviours associated with anorexia nervosa," suggests Corbeil-Serre. Their review also suggests a common comorbidity in males with depression and substance abuse and the presence of antisocial, explosive, or psychotic personality traits.
The researchers also note that the rate of homosexuality among participants was much higher than in the general population. “We postulate that the importance of physical appearance in the gay community exacerbates the disorder once it is present and results in an overrepresentation of homosexual patients in treatment units. As well, anorexia nervosa may be a way to delay sexual issues for individuals with a conflictual or questioning homosexual orientation,” says Corbeil-Serre. Restrictive behaviour, finally, may be used to suppress male sexual characteristics in order to evade issues related to sexual maturity, which are a source of anxiety, or to approach models of female beauty. The researchers suggest, however, that because their hypotheses are not supported empirically, they must be submitted to further investigation.”
Complete document here (EurekAlert)
Planting political priorities - a thought provoking coincidence on my Facebook timeline today courtesy Arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal and Ron Awde /Planting Peace. How many children could a gentrified alleyway save?
This 14-year-old boy committed suicide after a video was taken of him in the school toilet and went viral, CBS reports. I believe school administrations endorse this behaviour by their inaction on issues like bullying and social media and by their prudish, unhealthy inability to deal with sexual issues in an adult manner. There is also a homophobic element to this story - do we think the story would have played out the same way if the cameraman had followed the victim into the girls toilet? Society still considers sexual abuse between men to be at best taboo and at worst a joke, and these kind of tragedies are the result. It’s appalling.
And heartbreaking. RIP Matthew Burdett.
The CBC reports that Rob Ford suggested he took heroin. Meanwhile, a study from Washington University shows that today’s heroin user is white and suburban. Does this explain Ford Nation? Do we now understand who they are and why he appeals to them?