Weekly Feminist Reader

Two mentally disabled women were used to bomb a marketplace in Iraq. The blasts killed more than 100 people.
Also in Iraq, police forces are once again allowing female police officers to carry weapons. Meanwhile, Iraqi women are facing more violence and have fewer rights.
New research shows women in India are not only more likely to donate a kidney, they’re less likely than men to receive a kidney transplant when they need one.
A budget airline in the UK pulls its “back to school special” ads featuring a model in attire reminiscent of the “Hit Me Baby One More Time” video.
The siege against Kansas abortion provider Dr. Tiller continues. Now the antis are demanding he hand over non-redacted medical files.
Linda Hirshman on women voters in the NYT Magazine today.
A British chain store is selling A-cup bras for the same price as D-cups: “We’re putting an end once and for all to one of the last prejudices – that of the bigger-busted woman,” said brand director Fiona Lambert in a statement. (With apologies to my well-endowed girlfriends, II’ll admit my total ignorance here: As someone with smaller boobs, I had no idea that bigger-size bras were way more expensive! Perhaps it’s time to stage a bra-price-equity campaign in the U.S.?)
Despite President Michelle Bachelet’s decree that the morning-after pill be made available to all women in Chile, there have been serious access problems.
An absurd piece of legislation seeks to deny restaurant service to anyone with a BMI over 30.
Hans Johnson argues that, “The ‘08 election, no matter its winners, will usher in decision-makers unable to deny the presence or escape the accountability of openly gay people in every precinct of the nation.”
Susan Faludi has a great review of the new book, Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary.
A state legislator in Colorado recently resigned after sexually harassing a female lobbyist:The lobbyist, who spoke to The Denver Post on Thursday on condition of anonymity, said Garcia exposed himself to her last month and said, “Wouldn’t this be real nice inside of you?”
An Afghan man is sentenced to death for downloading a report about women’s rights.
How did I miss the news that Jodie Foster finally came out?
An attempt to crack the woodchuck glass ceiling.
A new report documents the effects of Manila’s ban on contraception.
A quick summary of sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton.
New research suggests that some women with breast cancer get better follow-up treatment if they have a female doctor.
A University of Georgia professor resigns on the heels of allegations he sexually harassed his female students.
On the growing prevalence of fair-skinned models in India. (Gee, wonder if this has anything to do with sales of skin-whitening cream?)
Covering up rape to win a few football games. Disgusting.
Hundreds of Afghan women gathered to protest the kidnapping of an aid worker.
Pam and Hilzoy dispel the myth that this is a post-gender or post-racial election.
The South Dakota legislature passed sonogram-requirement bills. (Click here to listen to Planned Parenthood’s Kate Looby discuss the legislation.)
This is frightening: If consent is obtained through fraud or deceit, it’s not considered rape in Massachusetts.

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34 Comments

  1. Posted February 3, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    that last article was hella frightening–about how the law in massachusetts now states that if consent is obtained through fraud or deceit, its not considered rape. fricken ridiculous. for a nation so technologically advanced how can we be so STUPID. shit like that just makes me mad. The women DID NOT consent to being assaulted by a man posing as a gynecologist. They gave consent to be examined by a licensed practitioner which he was not. He sexually assaulted them, how could that not be any clearer???

  2. Farhat
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    The bra pricing thing seems absurd to me. It is similar to saying that all clothes sizes be the same price or all cars from a manufacturer be the same price. It will also probably mean everybody pays D-cup prices rather than the other way around.

  3. Posted February 3, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of slurs against Hillary Clinton:
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/02/03/bill-kristol-white-women-are-a-problem/
    BILL KRISTOL: Look the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women… it would be crazy for the Democratic party to follow the establishment that’s led them to defeat year after year… White Women are a problem – but, you know… we all live with that…
    And I thought Chris Matthews had a tiny dick!

  4. nerdalert
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    On the A vs. D cup bra price: I’ve worn Ds since high school, and they are usually on the same rack (no pun intended) as all the other bras, just in the very back. I’ve never seen them cost more, but they are much more scarce. I wear a 36D and lots of brands stop at 36C. Is there a secret big ol’ boobs bra store that I don’t know about?

  5. Posted February 3, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for addressing the met overlooked fact that the bombers were disabled. I was extremely pissed off about how that was all but ignored by so many media outlets. I wrote about it on my blog if anyone wants my full thoughts.
    Herds is something I found interesting when I worked in lingerie: bras for small breasts weren’t at eye level while bigger bras were near the floor. I‘m petite, so I was usually okay getting bras for myself, but my mom, who’s overweight with large breasts always had to struggle to bend down to find her bras. Since i’m small in every way, it makes more sense to me to put small bras lower so the larger women don’t have to work so hard against gravity!

  6. waxghost
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Reading the article about Tiller (especially the comments) and then the article on family planning in Manila right afterwards was really interesting. I was tempted to go back and post the Manila article under the Tiller one to counter some of the ridiculous arguments going on there, but unfortunately I knew it wouldn’t do any good.

  7. annajcook
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Re: The Baghdad bombing, NPR’s Scott Simon had a moving commentary about it yesterday on Weekend Edition Saturday. That was the first I’d heard that the women were disabled. It is so upsetting when any innocent civilians are killed, of course, but somehow more horrific when people who aren’t cognizant of what they are doing are forced to participate in their own and others destruction. That’s a particular kind of evil.

  8. Posted February 3, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic that Britain is selling all bra sizes for the same price.
    Now if only they carried big sizes in all of the stores (in the U.S.) so that those of us with cup sizes above a DD don’t have to go to specialty stores and spend $60-$80 per bra when the tiny-boobed can go in almost anywhere and spend $20-$30. It’s the same thing, just not as blatant.

  9. Posted February 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Oh…how did I miss that UGA professor article? I’m an alumna. I had to check it out and see if it was someone I had. It wasn’t, I never took and communications class.
    What took them so long? It only took about a year for them to get rid of the band director that was sleeping with a grad assistant. And it only took a few weeks for them to act once the story went from rumor to proof. Maybe because the marching band is higher profile. I don’t know.
    I’m ashamed this happened at my alma mater.
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/UGA_Harassment/

  10. Posted February 3, 2008 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Longtime lurker, delurking because I have something to add to the conversation (at last). I love Feministing, and I always look forward to the weekly reader.
    Regarding the sexist slurs on Hillary Clinton, the same sort of thing, ‘tho not nearly so visible, is happening with respect to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. I wrote a post about it – How to lose some critical votes – and reached much the same conclusion as the Seattle Times piece – sooner or later, the sheer misogynistic vitriol will encourage more women to vote for Helen Clark, which is surely exactly the reverse of what the women-hatred-spewing writers want to achieve.

  11. angiecita
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    nerdalert: Have you tried Lane Bryant? they carry up to an F in most stores, and are able to order what they don’t have. I love their bras, plus they’re usually buy one get one half off.

  12. Dykonoclast
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Woah– that claim that they were mentally disabled is SO NOT CREDIBLE. Not only can you not trust what comes out of the mouths of any of Iraq’s higher ups, they’ve [falsely] used that claim in the past. The statement was also made too quickly to have any investigative fact behind it. The whole thing about Downs Syndrome head is also not compelling, as the severed heads were considerably distorted by the blasts. Additionally, survivors at the scene reported that the women behaved normally. Professor and Middle East expert Juan Cole makes this common sense observation: “The story that the women had Downs syndrome seems unlikely to be true: you wouldn’t trust a sensitive terror plot to someone without their full faculties.”
    Also, I live in Massachusetts and can’t believe they’ve used that goddamned law to fuck over even MORE women. All rapists need to do is get creative to get off clean, so to speak.

  13. Posted February 3, 2008 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Even assuming that the reports of the women who carried the explosives being mentally disabled were true, how can we be certain that they didn’t have any idea what they were doing? That seems like quite an assumption to me.

  14. nerdalert
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    angiecita: You know, I hadn’t thought of that! I live in Canada, but I think they ship here. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Posted February 3, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    About the idiotic anti-fat restaurant legislation:
    I have a BMI of 33 and can probably outrun everyone involved with penning that legislation. What’s more, I bet my blood chemistry is better than there’s, too.
    The BMI is a waste of time. It’s completely meaningless.

  16. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Technically Jodie Foster has not “officially” come out. She thanked who we know believe is her partner when she got the award. She has never actually come out and said, “I’m gay”.

  17. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    That “know” should have a strikeout in it. My Html tag didn’t work.

  18. glitterrevolutionaries
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    in regards to the bombing story, what precludes these women from being active participants in decision making processes?? say they did have down sydrome or some other form of cognitive impairment, your analysis of the story implies that people with cognitive impairments all have the same levels of cognition and also that they all are incapable of making choices. somehow they are shut out from being able to choose things simply because they have disabilities? refusing to recognize a person’s agency just because they are a member of a certain category that is stereotypically associated with reduced “mental capacity” sounds like a repetition of the history of the antifeminist movement to me. i certainly don’t want to say that the possibility wasn’t there for these women to be coerced into making decisions, but i want to recognize and respect the decision making power of people with cognitive disabilities much like i want others to respect my own decision making power. i think it’s a little more complex than you’re making it out to be.

  19. Posted February 3, 2008 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    “theirs,” not there’s.
    DUHR!

  20. Ann
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Excellent points about the first item (about the bombing), ekswitaj and leah. Agreed that it should be amended — which I’m doing right now. Thanks for holding me accountable.

  21. Corbie
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    The bra thing totally slipped under my radar, but as I’m in the UK and I’ve been wearing a D cup since I was thirteen, I welcome this move with open arms.
    I hope the next move is to up back sizes and cup sizes, because I have very broad shoulders and always seem to have the Devil’s very own time trying to find a pretty bra with a GG cup which has a big enough back size, without paying the £60-odd (roughly $120) for it.

  22. Spider Jerusalem
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Hah. The restaurant story and the bra story go hand in hand. If you’re very tall with very large boobs (like me), you not only have to pay a lot of money, but you might have a falsely high BMI. I dropped all my excess body fat except my boobs while I was in the hospital, and I was still a 30.
    In terms of prices, part of the problem is most stores that DO sell bras cheap don’t sell them in boobtacular sizes, so we end up having to go to Lane Bryant or Torrid (even Frederick’s is on the smaller end these days) which costs considerably more. And I will never set foot in a Wal*Mart, and I don’t believe I ever went to an Asda when I lived in London…so there.

  23. BeezNeez
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Huhhh … well, I don’t know what that article in particular says about the bombers, but the first news report I heard about it said that they were mentally disabled and the bombs were triggered remotely. Which would certainly answer the “wouldn’t they want someone who wouldn’t screw up their plan” and the “but they were acting normally” points. (What, as if people with Down’s don’t ever act “normal?”)

  24. Lucie
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I am also a former UGA student and was terrified by the harassment article.
    I can’t help but think that the complaints were overlooked because it was mostly verbal harassment that was going on. Why is it ok to tell a student you think she looks like she would be good in bed, but not ok to randomly grab her chest? A lot of the women probably didn’t complain because perhaps even they themselves felt the behavior hadn’t yet crossed a particular line, and the fact that the complaints were ignored just perpetuates this way of thinking and intimidates women who want to say something.

  25. the.empress
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    ugh!
    after reading the article about Dr. Tiller, i googled his name and one of the first websites on the list was run by anti-choicers.
    for some reason i clicked on it and they have pictures of several women going into the clinic.
    they also have weird stalker pictures of dr. tiller’s employees.
    these people always surprise me with their insanity.
    who the hell spends their time lurking outside abortion clinics so they can take pictures of women walking in? creepy.

  26. spike the cat
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Something else to consider about the female bombers:
    I saw a lecture on suicide bombers where the lecturer made a clear distinction about the differences between the recruitment of males and females.
    He argued that female suicide bombers more likely tend to be social outcasts (read unmarriageble or infertile) or women who have brought “dishonor” to their family. The women are made to feel like they are a “net” burden to their families.

  27. Jess
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    On the story from Massachusetts — I think the simplest thing would be to outlaw posing as a doctor and then prosecute for rape under that theory, no? It is in many states a crime to provide prescriptions without an MD, I think a creative prosecutor could try him under that rubric.
    The only problem I have with the blanket category of fraud or deceit is that one could be accused of rape for saying “I will marry you” (you’d then have to prove someone didn’t really intend it).
    BTW, before the flaming starts, I don’t think the guy posing as a GYN is innocent or that people don’t get date-raped or drugged. I do think that you have to draw up laws like that rather carefully, or you end up prosecuting people for all kinds of things arbitrarily. This is why many states have provisions for age differentials as a factor in statutory rape laws — it minimizes prosecuting kids in the same high school or something that high school kids are prone to do, whether or not we think its a good idea.
    I think that is what the court may have been thinking, anyhow.

  28. Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I think you have a point, but under this ruling some creep can impersonate a cop, “arrest” someone -then use frisking or searching for drugs as an excuse to grope and undress them.
    And the only thing they might be charged with is impersonating a police officer when in fact they have sexually molested someone.

  29. Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Fuck. I live in Mass. This is terrible.
    I am confused about how exactly it happened though. Did these women really believe that their pharmacist also happened to be an ob/gyn? Did they not notice the difference between a real doctor and this pharmacist? Did they not already have someone providing ob/gyn care? Did they think ob/gyns practice in the back of pharmacies?
    I don’t think anybody could be so easily duped if they were informed about how the medical establishment actually works, knew what an ob/gyn was actually like, and already were receiving pre-natal care. I suspect that these women must have been getting extremely substandard treatment if any to be so exploited.

  30. Posted February 4, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Speaking of misogyny, I just saw on ESPN that some Patriots fans are upset about their team choking in the Super Bowl and are blaming it on…
    …the quarterback’s girlfriend!
    Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen are a couple and the camera panned over to her once or twice during the game. So now some sore loser New England fans are blaming HER for the team’s loss. Something similar happened when the Dallas Cowboys lost a few weeks ago. Tony Romo was dating Jessica Simpson and the camera panned over to her during a game -a game the Cowboys lost. So the nitwit fans blamed her. Don’t these fucktards realize that the stories of Samson & Delilah, as well as Adam & Eve are a myth?
    Unless Giselle was playing on the offensive line that got its ass kicked last night, I don’t see how anyone can blame her for the biggest choke job in NFL history.

  31. Posted February 4, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    nerdalert, yes Lane Bryant ships to Canada. Unfortunately there are no stores there. If there were, you could go into the store and have them order it and there’s no shipping.
    syndicalist702, thank you for saying that. I think BMI is a load of crap, too. My BMI would consider me morbidly obese. I’ve lost a somewhat significant amount of weight but my BMI hasn’t changed more than a few points. I already feel a cajillion times better than I did before I started, and now I can run (something I never ever could do before). Plus walking all over the city is a lot easier (that may just come with the territory when you move to NY, I don’t know). But apparently I can’t eat in Mississippi.
    If anyone wants to read my take on that assfaced law, click on my name. It’ll take you right to my blog.

  32. keshmeshi
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Re: the article on the Massachusetts rape law.
    Is there no other law that the pharmacist can be prosecuted under? Is it not illegal to impersonate a doctor? Ridiculous.

  33. Shadowen
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I would certainly think it would be illegal to present oneself as a specialist that one was not. Sort of like impersonating a police officer, though admittedly (most) medical practitioners aren’t government employees…
    Hmm. Well, it’s illegal to impersonate a physician: http://lists.virus.org/isn-0012/msg00085.html
    And it’s also a felony, but I’m not sure how the punishment would stack up against rape charges:
    http://www.news-medical.net/?id=1641
    Although I can imagine the penalty could be towards the maximum end of the scale, given what he was using his lie to do.
    …on the bright side, or at least somewhat less dark side, this is Massachusetts, and while they’re not perfect, they’re normally better than most states in this department. I don’t think that a law of that kind passed half a century ago is going to last long, as long as this stays in the public eye.

  34. Marshall Lucky
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    It might be illegal to impersonate a doctor, but there’s all kinds of pettifoggery to skirt such a law while giving the impression of being a doctor or nurse, as those phony “crisis pregnancy” centers run by the fundies prove.

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