Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

Get excited. The Essential Ellen Willis is coming to shelves soon.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh, where 1,127 people –mostly women — died and over 2,500 were injured.

Mississippi has banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy — even though the state’s sole clinic only goes up to 16 weeks.

Four former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders are suing the team for minimum wage violations.

The #mynypd hashtag inadvertently crowdsources images of police brutality.

“I cannot believe we need to count and point out worthy women writers like we’re begging for scraps at the table of due respect.” – Roxane Gay

Former pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin rants in favor of same-sex marriage.

“Prick a movement built on white supremacy and it bleeds … white supremacy.”

A lawmaker claims that men make more money because they take harder and riskier jobs. That’s not true.

This is by far the most impressive thing you will hear today.

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Sexist Static: How a lust for crude misogyny is hobbling an important artform

Rui: brilliant trans cyber revolutionary from the anime Gatchaman Crowds

Rui: brilliant trans cyber revolutionary from the anime Gatchaman Crowds

If modern art has a single defining characteristic that sets it apart from the efforts of previous epochs, it is that no era of art has so fully, so consciously, and with such studied diversity, embraced consciousness as its subject. The Mona Lisa of the industrial and post-industrial eras has been the psyche; the foreboding and bewitching horizons that stretch across our own minds. More than outer space, psychology is the final frontier of our time and the undiscovered country that art has only just begun to traverse.

But the most fascinating, bleeding-edge meditations on the subject have come from what some might deem an unlikely source: anime.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Japanese animation style is one most commonly associated with such popularly translated, child-targeted fare as Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z, or Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. But the full oeuvre of anime has left me quite starry eyed about the politically revelatory possibilities of psychodrama; from a cyber-morality tale that takes on the excesses of Anonymous-style politics and charts a path to virtual revolution premised on the perfectibility of humanity, to a story that dwells deep in the fissures of neoliberal individuality to painfully explore the deep scars left by peculiarly modern crimes, anime is giving us a unique angle on modern life and quite a lot of fruit for the leftist, humanistic spirit.

Yet its flights of creative majesty pitch into inky miasmas of sexism and puerile gags that have come to define the stereotype of anime: a heaving, fan-service bosom and a palpating young male fan verbing to that noun. This is a dismal state of affairs, not least because many of the best recent anime programs promise salvation from the tepid explorations of even the best top shelf, black label Western cable drama.

Indeed, it might be said of the best anime that it makes a universe of interiority, in the process exploring the terrain on which we build our lives—somewhere in the fissures of peculiarly postmodern neuroses, traumas, and fears. Read More »

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Why the gender gap in children’s allowances matters

I figured the gender wage gap in babysitting had to be the earliest wage gap out there. But Bryce Covert has uncovered an even earlier one:

Nearly 70 percent of boys say they get an allowance, compared to just under 60 percent of girls, according to a new survey from Junior Achievement.

But unfortunately, it’s not likely because boys do more chores. One study found that girls do two more hours of housework a week than boys, while boys spend twice as much time playing. The same study confirmed that boys are still more likely to get paid for what they do: they are 15 percent more likely to get an allowance for doing chores than girls. A 2009 survey of children ages 5 to 12 found that far more girls are assigned chores than boys. A study in Europe also found fewer boys contribute to work around the house.

And it’s not just that boys are more likely to be paid by their parents, but they also get more money. One study found that boys spent just 2.1 hours a week on chores and made $48 on average, while girls put in 2.7 hours to make $45. A British study found that boys get paid 15 percent more than girls for the same chores.

Obviously, compared to pay inequity in the adult working world, the stakes of the allowance gap aren’t all that high. But in terms of socialization, I think it tells us a lot. Since allowances exist in this fuzzy gray area — some kids don’t get them at all, some get them loosely as “payment” for chores, some get them just for being a kid as an early entitlement program – this gap reveals a lot about how sexist norms around gender and unpaid labor are perpetuated, starting from a very young age.  Read More »

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Feministing Jamz: DJ Ushka on music, migrations, and cultural appropriation

Feministing Jamz logo

If you don’t know DJ Ushka yet, it is definitely in your interest to get to know her. Born Thanu Yakupitiyage in Sri Lanka, DJ Ushka is currently based out of Brooklyn (via Thailand). When she’s not working as an immigrants’ rights organizer, she’s incorporating the music and resistance of the global south into eminently danceable mixes. I had the pleasure of chatting on the phone with DJ Ushka a couple weeks ago, and we talked feminism, migration, and the ways DJs can participate in — and resist — cultural appropriation.

I also asked her to pick out ten songs or videos she was feeling. She ended up giving me eleven, and you know what? That is really great news for you.

DJ Ushka during a set

Read More »

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An open letter to my former dentist

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Ed. note: This is guest post from Kiera Butler. Kiera is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Her first book, which is about 4-H, will be published in October 2014. 

Dear Dr. B.,

I’m writing to tell you why I’m taking my business to different dental office. Let me explain:

The last time I had my teeth cleaned at your office, your hygienist told me that the bonding on two of my teeth was coming off, and that I should come back so that you could fix it.

So I made an appointment to do just that. I asked you to take a look at the bonding, and you did. Then you took off your glasses and said, “Forget the bonding for a minute. Let’s have some fun.”  Read More »

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