Short thoughts on maternity leave

Mar. 28th, 2015 08:51 am
yvi: (West Wing - CJ facepalm)
[personal profile] yvi
So, I read a lot of blogs by US-Americans. And sometimes the subject of maternity and parental leave comes up and everyone is in awe at the German system if that gets mentioned.

I am not going to say that Germans are, in comparison to many other countries, extremely lucky in this regard. However, I don't think people realize that there's also a cost to this, and I don't mean higher taxes.

A summary of the German situation: German mothers get 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after the due date off at full pay, which is partly paid for by health insurance and the rest by the employer. In the three years following that, German parents can either have one parent take 12 months of parental leave or split 14 months between them, provided that each partner takes 2 months or more. This time is paid at 65% of the former income or 1800€ a month, whatever is lower, out of social security. After that, parents can take unpaid leave without losing their job for the rest of the kid's first three years. The goal seems to be to also further both parent's involvement in raising the child.

Sounds good? Well, let's see what happens in practice, among heterosexual couples having a biological child:

1) only one quarter of fathers take any kind of paid leave; almost all mothers do
2) only two percent of fathers take off more than the two months required to get 14 months in total
3) even less than that take advantage of the unpaid time off, while over a quarter of mothers do
4) while I don't have stats on this, almost all of these two months of parental leave are taken at the same time as the other parent takes it, so there's no staying home alone with the kid involved - where I am, this time is often openly called a "holiday", a time when the man can take care of things that need to be taken care of around the house while the woman continues watching after the child most of the day. Or the time is used for actual vacations.
5) there is practically no child care for children under 12 months in age. If both parents want to work before the 14 months of 8 weeks maternal leave + 12 months parental leave are up, the women are usually called "Rabenmutter" a term for mothers who basically abandon their children
6) same goes for any mother that goes back to work full-time after having a child. It is socially expected that the man works full time while the woman cuts down to 20 to 30 hours after parental leave
7) staying at home after the child is 2 or 3 is seen as mooching, though

So while we have more options here, what's socially acceptable for mothers is a very narrow range: have child, take maternal and 12 months of parental leave, maybe some months of unpaid leave, then work part time until the child is at least 6 years old. Anything else, you are either a cruel parent or a drain on society. This is, of course, then used to explain why it's okay to pay women less: they will of course leave work for over a year at one point and only return to work part time.

Oh, and if the father takes more time off or starts working part time or anything, the mother is an evil, demanding feminazi and the father is a push-over.


As for the plane crash...

Mar. 27th, 2015 10:30 pm
yvi: Laura Cadman (Atlantis - Laura)
[personal profile] yvi
... I really hate the German media right now. Deeply.

So much speculation, so much intrusion into people's private life. It's sickening.

So quiet

Mar. 27th, 2015 08:51 pm
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
I probably shouldn't be complaining about my reading list being so quiet when I'm not updating myself, eh?

So, update...

After a 3 month break, I have fallen down the rabbit hole that playing Ingress is again. It gets me out of the house and moving, so that's nice.

Speaking of moving, the previous renters were even bigger jerks than I previously mentioned and so everything is going to be even more stressful - we had hoped we could start painting the walls this weekend, but that'll have to wait until next Friday...

And with all the packing and stress, the cats have started freaking out. They got into a really bad fight on Sunday and now Newton is scared of Marie and stays in the attic except for feeding time and it's all rather sad :-( I hope they get along again really soon.

OTW Fannews: Fannish Legacies

Mar. 26th, 2015 04:50 pm
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Posted by Janita Burgess


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  • The Conversation featured a discussion of Leonard Nimoy's impact on fandom. "[I]t’s no surprise that for many fans, the loss of Leonard Nimoy felt like the loss of a family member. Nimoy was happy to be known as the 'geek grandpa,' and embraced his key role in history and development of fandom. Those early fans – who, so many years ago, fell in love with Kirk and Spock – proved that their passion could make a difference, that fan communities could be a force for good. They took a page out of Star Trek and refused to apologize for being different. Just like Mr. Spock."
  • A less positive overview at The Guardian did not see it as a good thing that Trekker culture now rules the world. "The subculture around Star Trek has been famously productive for a long time. There are fan-produced shows, lexicons of Klingon, detailed technical diagrams of the show’s fictional technologies, voluminous Wikipedia entries, and terabytes of fan fiction. Conventions have been running for 40 years; fan-musicians write 'filk music' based on themes and events in the show. This productivity made Trekker a centrepiece of an intellectual effort, starting in the 1990s, to redeem fan culture, one which fed directly into contemporary orthodoxies about the nature of social media and digital culture."
  • One fan was influenced by other fandoms, but found in them equally important life lessons. "I grew up quite poor, and lived in shoddy (to put it politely) conditions until I was nine years old. I split my time between my father and stepmother, and my biological mother and stepfather. This was the way it was for four years. I used to get really jealous over the other students around me, and would cry when I saw happy families joking and laughing together...When I was in first grade, I discovered Batman. This made all the difference in my outlook on things. It didn’t matter that I stuttered, had crooked teeth, or came from a broken home. What mattered the most was what I did with the opportunities presented to me. I sought to excel academically, as well as help others do the same."
  • Fan site The One Ring is looking at its future as the Tolkien films end. "It’s important to remember that while the movies brought many of us to the writing of JRR Tolkien, and we are glad they did, millions of fans supported and loved Tolkien’s writing and the lifestyles and ethics described in them, for decades before the films came around. It was the pre-existing love of Tolkien that brought the founders and early staff together in the first place, before the first movie was released back in 2001. This popular support of Tolkien will continue to exist going forward, we believe for decades to come."

What fannish legacies do you want to see preserved? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


OTW Fannews: For the Fun of It

Mar. 24th, 2015 05:00 pm
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Posted by Janita Burgess


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  • featured a 12 year old boy who has published Minecraft fanfiction. "The book is presently available in Kindle format...Scott said he hadn’t set out to pen a novel. Rather, he merely doodled the story for fun, something for he and his friends to look over...It wasn’t until his mother encouraged him to continue it that he began to seriously entertain the possibility of a book." While his success has so far been small, it's still been important. "'It’s an awesome experience to know somebody other than my parents liked the book,' he said."
  • Apparently the Cosmo girl is now a fanfic writer. For those yet unpublished fanfiction writers, Cosmopolitan pointed the way to success in fanfiction writing. Included in their 8 steps were "Don't spend too much time coming up with Most Original Story Ever. Just start writing" and "Prove you're a true fan by incorporating Easter eggs."
  • Some have noticed the thin line between gossip and fanfiction, but Tablet Mag offered a look at religion in fanfiction. "[T]hough I am generally dismayed by fanfic about real people (our intern Gabi pointed me to a clueless and shudder-inducing fantasy in which Harry and Louis of the boy band One Direction are a Jew and a Nazi getting hot-n-heavy in a concentration camp), who could object to a wee tale about Jon Stewart inviting Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, and Keith Olbermann to his Seder? Meanwhile, in Hanukkah ficdom, I was utterly tickled by “Chag Sammy-ach,”...that gives us Sam and Dean Winchester, the demon fighters of Supernatural, battling the titular monsters of the award-winning children’s book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins."
  • The Guardian interviewed author Susie Day about her short story centered on Sherlock fandom and LGBT protagonists. "It’s fair to say, not a lot of research was required for the Sherlock side of the story. And it’s true, Shirin and Candy could’ve been brought together by their mutual love of a cricketing Time Lord and his favourite ginger schoolboy, or quiffy John Smith and his Mister Master… or Sunnydale witches… muppets in space… Spooky and Dana… Dean Winchester and his car…I’m fascinated by reception history: the way that when and how we watch impacts on how we ‘do’ fandom. The Reichenbach Fall was a unique TV event, the agonising wait that followed even more so. For 717 days, continuing that story (how Sherlock did it, what happens when John finds out he’s alive) belonged to fandom."

Which fandom worlds do you know the most about? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

You would think that a discussion of comics and diversity on The Nightly Show would be a home run.

You would be wrong.

We hate to call into question fine sites like Remezcla and The Mary Sue. But after watching the episode twice, it’s hard to imagine what show they were watching this past Thursday.

Larry Wilmore’s introduction sets the uneven tone for the rest of the episode. While he rightly describes the crux of the discussion — race, gender and pop culture — he refuses to do so without regurgitating the most played-out stereotypes about people with geeky interests, with lines like, “Hey basement dwellers, tell mom she can tuck you in later” and a banner reading Dork Diversity behind him.

On the bright side, panelist and renowned artist Phil Jimenez inadvertently(?) undermines Wilmore’s material during the discussion.

“It seems strange to me that we would partition race, gender and nerd, as if they were distinct things. All human beings are this combination of experiences and ideologies,” Jimenez says. “The idea that somehow being a nerd is separate from one’s religious or moral or political beliefs is strange to me. We all bring everything to our decision-making on a daily basis.”

Wilmore’s Othering of fandom bigots/misogynists hurts the discussion on multiple levels. His insistence on attributing their violence to “fear of change,” for example, minimizes the very real threats and abuse levied against fans who are not cis-white hetero males — like Batgirl fans, most recently, Batgirl fans. As Vox reported, it’s tough to describe offenders as outliers when white people in the U.S. already think race is discussed “too much.”

Marvel Content and Character Development Director Sana Amanat runs with the “fear of change” theory during the discussion.

“They don’t like it when their toys are played with,” she explains. “I don’t. I like my Barbies. I still have them. I’m okay with that … We’re just trying to show that we’re not trying to take away your toys, we’re just trying to show them in a different light.”

While the successes of not only Ms. Marvel, but the new woman Thor are commendable, it must be pointed out: one of the reasons white fans feel entitled to keeping “their toys” intact is because Amanat’s company, along with DC Comics, chose to build their part of the comics industry by making the white toys seem more important.

For decades, white characters, creators and executives have been placed at the forefront of both companies. And when called on it, the company line went something like this:

Without acknowledging that context, corporate comics makers can’t be trusted to lead discussions on race any more than, say, coffee-making conglomerates

To be fair, the episode didn’t seem built to handle this. With roughly 7 minutes of panel time to spread among four guests plus Wilmore, there was no chance to follow up on Jean Grae’s remarks on being introduced to comics by her older brother, emphasis mine:

“I didn’t really get to see anyone who looked like me or represented me,” Grae said. “I’m from South Africa, so everyone was like, ‘Right, right, Storm, Africa,’ which is kind of the reason why I didn’t choose that as my name.”

That’s a great starting point for talking about why that matters to fans of any age and any community. But it gets lost as the show transitions to the “Keep It 100″ segment, which took it easy on the panel, compared to other installments.

At the same time, Wilmore provided the show’s strongest moment early on when he takes down Michelle Rodríguez’s decision to join the Patricia Arquette Corps, as well as her laughable attempt to claim she was taken “out of context” when she said POC should “stop stealing all white peoples’ superheroes.”

“I do see your point,” Wilmore says. “Minorities should come up with original projects, instead of relying on lazy franchises. And by the way, make sure you catch Michelle in the seventh installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, Furious 7.

At a time when race-related panels at conventions can get awfully 101 awfully fast, some of that kind of justifiable bite might have boosted Thursday’s discussion and forced the Big Two to truly Keep It 100 regarding some of their past choices. Let’s hope that, like anything fandom-related, we get a sequel to Thursday’s show that’s closer to Wrath of Khan than Into Darkness.

The panel discussion can be seen in its entirety below.

The post An Empty Panel: On The Nightly Show’s Diversity In Comics Discussion appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Oh, mid-Germany..

Mar. 21st, 2015 09:00 am
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
It's the first day of spring and yesterday we had 16°C.

So, naturally, it's snowing.


OTW Fannews: Shark & Ranger Takedowns

Mar. 20th, 2015 04:36 pm
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Posted by Pip Janssen


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  • Bloomberg BNA was one of many sites to write about a dispute over a Power Rangers fan film created by professional director Joseph Kahn. It was taken down from Vimeo in response to a takedown notice under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the owner of the Power Rangers franchise. Although it was later permitted to be rehosted, the case raised a number of interesting questions about fair use and who would have prevailed in court. A post on Entertainment Geekly also questioned the 'fan film' label and the intentions for the film.
  • Legal Professor Paul Heald speculated over 3-D shark designs being sold online after their appearance in Katy Perry's Superbowl performance. "The generally accepted position is that clothing is not protected by copyright. The copyright act contains a long list of what’s protected: literary works; musical works; plays; choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; movies; sound recordings; and architectural works. Where would clothes fit? Well, the best you can do is sculptural works—they are sort of thin 3D sculpture. However, within that category, costume designers run into a problem called the “useful article” doctrine which disqualifies utilitarian sculptural works...It is generally accepted that clothing is unprotected [because] [i]ts design is intrinsic to its function."
  • Kimberly Anne Tan interviewed a bookseller on Urban Wire about fanfiction. Asked whether fan fiction should be recognised as literature, Anthony Koh Waugh replied, "Literature, to me, means written works of quality and artistic merit. There are fan fiction inspired by classic works and popular fiction and among them, some are better written than the others. I see fan fiction as a creative innovation and whether or not the genre should be recognised as literature will depend on the acceptance by the literary circle." However asked if he would sell fan fiction, he said "Of course! Fan fiction is a form of creative writing. Having said that, it also depends on how a particular book fits within our curation criteria."
  • Certainly it's increasingly easy to find, even in published form. Zaire's Books Alive featured discussion of a short story by Kiru Taye, a Nigerian-born novelist residing in the United Kingdom, noting that she had written an erotic fan fiction short story inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.

What fanworks have you seen affected by takedown notices? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


Now home, second impressions

Mar. 20th, 2015 07:31 am
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
The husband and I got the keys to our new home yesterday and saw it by light of day for the first time.

The landlord is a really nice older lady (well, also her husband, but he doesn't get many words in...) and she was rather distressed. The previous tenants have not been good to the floors and garden and they didn't clean properly and apparently they are now also being rude about her objections and so she's considering legal options.

We are still in love with the place, but there is going to be a lot to do the next weeks. The owners are already looking for workers to get the most important things (floors and walls) done, and she's trying to get the garden in shape herself, but, well, she's over 70 and the former renter is refusing to pay and thus might get messy, so we are preparing to do some of this ourselves so we can move in soon.

And who the fuck thinks that it's okay to write an email on February 27 like "while the lease ends tomorrow, our new house isn't finished yet, so we are staying until March 8". The heck? And then they didn't even want to pay another half month of rent?

There's some good stuff, though, the garden is bigger than I remembered and there's lots of windows, so once all is done it's going to be really pretty.
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Parenthood - Kristina

Mar. 18th, 2015 06:10 pm
yvi: Teyla with fighting stick, text: "love the fight" (Atlantis - Love the Fight)
[personal profile] yvi
So, I am watching "Parenthood" and I am up to 3x16 (Tough Love). I love a lot about this series, but at this point, I have just about had it with Kristina (and Adam, but mostly with Kristina).

Read more... )


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