Weekly Feminist Reader

Jezebel: Teen Moms Displeased At Double Standard Glorifying Bristol Palin & Jamie Lynn Spears
Genevieve at UneFemmePlusCourageuse catalogs the pro-rape “flair” on Facebook. (Via)
There have been a series of attacks on gay and trans students at Washington State University. (Via)
Sara calls out Palin for giving domestic terrorists a pass.
Fatemeh wrote An Open Letter to White Non-Muslim Western Feminists.
Chicago Defender: “Domestic Violence Hits Black Women Harder”
Mable F. Yee: How Can 30+ Million Women Be Invisible? (Also see Celina’s interview with Mable.)
Religion Dispatches: A Woman Leads Muslim Prayer in Britain For the First Time
A new anti-rape campaign in Scotland takes on the “she was asking for it because…” excuse.
Actions and Events
Oct. 29: Attention bloggers! Participate in Write to Marry day to oppose Prop 8.
Oct. 30: Be Bold, Wear Red to protest violence against women of color. (Cara has more.)
Oct. 31 – April 5: Brooklyn Museum exhibition: Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection
What else have you all been reading/writing this week? Leave links in comments…

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43 Comments

  1. MzBitca
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I wrote a piece on Molly Weasley and how she criticized by feminists for being a weak female character until the last book.
    http://mzbitca.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/molly-weasley-has-99-problems/

  2. MzBitca
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone else find the title “Domestic Violence Hits Black Women Harder.” in bad taste?
    I know they were looking for a catchy title and it sounds like the article is valid but the title really bugs me.

  3. Posted October 26, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m with MzBitca on this one. When I saw that title I thought that feministing was making a commentary on the poor choice of language. “Domestic violence hits black women harder” evokes violent imagery to me.

  4. AgnesScottie
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    MzBitca: That was the first thing that stood out for me. I was like, ugh, “hits.”

  5. AVies
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Um, I’m getting a 404 on the Mable Yee link.
    Also, the Facebook flair is tasteless, but hardly “pro-rape.”

  6. MzBitca
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    A Vies
    -how is it not Pro-Rape
    It insinuates that if women would just always give in than there would be no problem which implies that it’s all the women’s fault. Just because it may not be saying “go out and rape women” doesn’t mean it is not encouraging of the attitude that can lead to a rape.
    Also the “it’s surprise sex, not rape” is saying something that is rape isn’t.

  7. Posted October 26, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Pro Choice Because I am A Mother: Recounting the difficulties of motherhood and how being forced into that position would could resentment which ultimately would be taken out on the child.
    Will and Jada Smith Only One Parent Counts: Encouraging and over praising black fathers and the way it marginalizes the daily work done by black mothers.
    Stop Being A Whore Or I’ll Tell Mommy and Daddy: Slut shaming sex trade workers.
    Vote Obama and Get Laid: Pussy Pimping the Vote: The ways in which heterosexual womens bodies are offered as a reward for behavior.

  8. Tofu
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Re: the Scottish anti-rape campaign
    I think everyone should go check out the “have your say” section on their website (the link is on the bottom left).
    There are a lot of victim-blaming attitudes showing up in the comments people are leaving…coming from both men and women as far as I can tell.
    I think feministing readers could do a good job of voicing support for the message of the campaign, and deconstructing the rape-apologist comments.

  9. AVies
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Mz Bitca: Because the so-called “insinuation” is clearly not meant to be taken seriously? No one would seriously think that a crime would stop being a crime if the victim pretended to agree to it.
    Also, the domestic violence story seems to have no real point. No socio-economic or urbanization factors were considered or even mentioned in the study, and Hispanic ethnic data was not collected. The firearm data is more telling, ultimately, even though it is simply indicative of the gun-for-defense myth.

  10. Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Article on sexualized costumes for pre-teens and teens.

  11. Theresa
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  12. Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Here’s what I’m reading. And it’s infuriating. The Mormon Church (LDS) is pulling out all the stops to try and pass Proposition 8 in CA. They’re also airing an incredibly disgusting ad campaign here:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/PreservingMarriage
    Utah is pouring money into CA to try and stop gay marriage. It is ridiculous.

  13. Alan
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Woops, I left the link for the article out of the above comment:
    http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_10797630

  14. JohnJ
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    The vote for Obama poster is not an official campaign poster.

  15. Okra
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Interesting comments on Fatemah’s letter to white Western feminists. As a non-Western origin feminist living in the West, I’d like to add my thoughts:
    1. The qualifier “White” is misleading and inaccurate, as it suggests that there is something peculiar to the state of European ethnicity–to immutable genetics or lineage–that is part of the problem; it isn’t. Women of all ethnicities who are several generations in the West and who are enmeshed in Western epistemiology have offered equally problematic crtiques of Muslim women.
    2. I think the piece should have included a preemptive qualifier that reiterates Muslim feminists’ objections to the harmful cultural and religious traditions within their own communities. Regular readers might not need this (in the same way that regular readers of Feministing wouldn’t interpret an editor’s unqualified endorsement of S&M to mean endorsement of non-consensual S&M). But, it’s important to add this in, anyway, to make perfectly clear to Islamophones or cultural hierarchists that Muslim feminists ARE engaging with the harmful elements of their cultures, much in the same way Western feminists engage with the problematic elements–rape apologism; Girls Gone Wild; advertising–of theirs.

  16. rhowan
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    AVies: “No one would seriously think that a crime would stop being a crime if the victim pretended to agree to it.”
    Sadly, you’re very wrong about that. One example: the case of Baby vs. Maryland has been discussed on Feministing before. The girl testified that she offered a lift to two teenage acquaintances. One boy, Michael Wilson raped her in the back of her car. The second boy, Maouloud Baby, then got into the back of the car and said “Are you going to let me hit it? I don’t want to rape you?”.
    The girl testified that she felt that she couldn’t refuse, and she “consented”.
    After “consenting” she said stop, he didn’t, and the courts spent ages debating whether a woman can withdraw consent after initial penetration and if, under those circumstances continuing sexual intercourse against her protests would constitute rape. All of which is irrelevant to the case unless the courts considered her initial “consent” valid. So yes, people seriously do believe that a crime stops being a crime if the victim pretends to agree to it.
    That girl’s situation is exactly why that awful piece of Facebook flair “Say Yes, Prevent Rape” is not okay. That boy stood by and watched his friend rape a girl, and then thought that so long as he could get her to say “Yes” before he took his turn it wouldn’t be rape.

  17. tornado_ali
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I was just in Edinburgh for the first time this weekend and I saw one of those posters on the way in…I saw it as a good sign that I would enjoy the city, and I was right.

  18. Posted October 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Because the so-called “insinuation” is clearly not meant to be taken seriously?
    Hence, “trivializtion.” They are making a serious crime into a joke and asking us to take it as such. Not good. Hence why I wrote about it. Got it?

  19. Ann
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    The Mable Yee link is fixed. Apologies.

  20. Nicole
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    As a Washington State University student, I would like to express my sorrow and shame regarding the attacks on the gay and transgender community. Please keep spreading this news- though I am embarrassed by these events, I am glad to see the news of these attacks spreading so we can stamp out the hatred.

  21. yvonne
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Australian event: ‘Reclaim the Night,’ is occurring around the country this week. See http://viv.id.au/blog/?p=2335 for details in your city (also has a great explanation of what the event is about if you’re not familiar with it).

  22. Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    As an atheist, I have a really hard time defending Islam. I saw Religulous recently and Bill Maher was interviewing a young Muslim woman at the spot where Theo van Gogh was murdered by an extremist because of his movie and she pretty much said that when people “insult” (Question, criticize?) anyone else’s religion that they expect what’s coming to them and defended the fatwah on Salman Rushdie. Wtf? Why does religion get treated with kid gloves when everything else may be questioned? Because people believe it deeply? I believe deeply in gravity because of empirical evidence but people can question that all they want without assasinating me.

  23. keshmeshi
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree that Jamie Lynn Spears has been praised. Perhaps by some, but I’ve mainly seen some pretty cruel jokes at her expense, particularly now that she’s pregnant again.

  24. Posted October 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    This past week the ESC switched from ‘pink for October’ to ‘purple for October’, because this month isn’t just breast cancer awareness month, it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month and LGBT History Month.
    We addressed some of the Sarah Palin scandals of the moment – charging Alaska for the cost of traveling to various events with her (usually uninvited) children, taking a per diem for staying in her own home, the shopping spree, and so on: She Works Hard for the Money
    Speaking of LGBT, we talked about John McCain and the future of LGBT rights, with a bonus blog on how Sarah Palin also sucks in that arena, and we talked about LGBT candidates who are running for office this year.
    We also allowed John McCain to present 50 reasons not to vote for John McCain, and shared the story of the vet who did not vet.

  25. A...
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Re: A new anti-rape campaign in Scotland takes on the “she was asking for it because…” excuse.
    I have noticed that the “have your say” section in the website asks commenters to specify their gender. I find this puzzling and problematic on several levels. Are they expecting “typically” male or female answers? Or are they trying to prove that there are no gender-specific views on the issue? Could this be for statistical purposes only, and if so, why is it displayed after the commenter’s name? Also, why specify gender and not, say, age, sexuality, ethnicity, income, occupation or nationality?
    Anybody got any thoughts on this?

  26. Geneva
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    here are some lovely examples of the church of LDS speaking out against prop 8:
    http://www.facebook.com/video/?oid=30353134595

  27. Posted October 27, 2008 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    This last week, I posted on my blog that I had been getting more catcalls from men in cars when I’m walking around my city, Oakland, since I died my hair red.
    http://peggyluwho.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/blondes-may-have-more-fun-but/
    That elicited some surprising responses from some male acquaintances/readers, so I followed up with a longer piece on street harassment, and why I don’t think it’s at all complimentary for strangers on the street to comment on my body in whole or it’s various parts.
    http://peggyluwho.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/blondes-may-have-more-fun-but/

  28. Posted October 27, 2008 at 1:27 am | Permalink
  29. JohnJ
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    A…,
    Maybe they are hoping that some men will write atypical comments (i.e., that men will support their position).

  30. orange
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Re: Sarah Palin’s take on abortion clinic bombers
    It seems like she is trying not to alienate this constituency (bombers and those who relate to them), because she needs their votes. Disgusting.

  31. Misspelled
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    As an atheist, I have a really hard time defending Islam. I saw Religulous recently and Bill Maher was interviewing a young Muslim woman at the spot where Theo van Gogh was murdered by an extremist because of his movie and she pretty much said that when people “insult” (Question, criticize?) anyone else’s religion that they expect what’s coming to them and defended the fatwah on Salman Rushdie. Wtf? Why does religion get treated with kid gloves when everything else may be questioned? Because people believe it deeply? I believe deeply in gravity because of empirical evidence but people can question that all they want without assasinating me.
    Moxie, that isn’t “Islam.” That’s one dumb Muslim lady Bill Maher decided to feature in his movie because the tape he had of her supported his “religion sucks” premise. And I haven’t seen Religulous, nor do I really plan to, but from what I understand, the whole point is that all organized religion harbors stupid, bigoted people who use it as a way to channel their hatred. If your objection is that those people get “treated with kid gloves” specifically because their self-justification is religious, then I don’t see why you can’t voice opposition to that treatment without disparaging religion itself. And I really don’t see how it’s necessary to specify one particular religion.

  32. alixana
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    That title for the Jamie Lynn/Bristol article is really misleading, I thought they were going to point out that Bristol’s been honored for “choosing” to have her baby, while JL has been ridiculed up one side and down (upstanding Republican family vs. “trailer trash” Southern girl), but they seem to take on the viewpoint that they were treated the same and that both make teenaged pregnancy seem glamorous. I absolutely don’t think that’s the case. I can’t even begin to count the number of “redneck” or “backwoods hick” comments I saw made about JL Spears.

  33. Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The updates from the hate crimes at Washington State University on my blog has been fixed to show the full story on one link.
    This is beyond embarrassing, it is disgusting. The frequency and the viciousness in which these acts were carried out show that there is something far more than coincidence linking these together. As students are trying to help the GLBT community, they are being targeted as well. This is a small town. It is hard to believe that someone hasn’t witnessed some asshole bragging about it and report to the police.

  34. Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Also, the University if Idaho’s school newspaper, The Argonaut, (about 9 miles from WSU) covered the story in a far more professional way than the WSU student paper. It is worth checking out.

  35. Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Moxie, that isn’t “Islam.” That’s one dumb Muslim lady Bill Maher decided to feature in his movie because the tape he had of her supported his “religion sucks” premise. And I haven’t seen Religulous, nor do I really plan to, but from what I understand, the whole point is that all organized religion harbors stupid, bigoted people who use it as a way to channel their hatred. If your objection is that those people get “treated with kid gloves” specifically because their self-justification is religious, then I don’t see why you can’t voice opposition to that treatment without disparaging religion itself. And I really don’t see how it’s necessary to specify one particular religion.
    True, it’s just one woman. But how many op-eds were there during the Danish cartoon riots justifying violence when people’s religion is attacked? My campus newspaper was full of them. That is what religion gives us?
    I disparage religion because it’s illogical, it breeds further illogic, and I expect better of humanity. You can set up all the soup kitchens and homeless shelters you want but nothing’s ever going to wash the blood off of the hands of religion.
    Anyway, you missed my point. Why can’t anyone criticize Islam without being accused of being an Islamaphobe? Don’t get me wrong, a criticize every religion, but what makes Islam immune?

  36. Trees
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I agree that Spears was, initially, much more harshly criticized than Palin. After all, Spears was a tween role model and Palin was (kind of) a private citizen; most people consider politicians’ families off-limits. But, I’ve also seen lots of people say of Spears, “Well, at least she can afford to raise her kid” and “At least she won’t be on welfare.” The simple fact that she’s well-off (like Palin) insulates her from criticism that nearly every other teen parent has to face.
    There was also that congratulatory statement by Nickelodeon. And I think Spears has become more popular with the USWeekly set, who coo over her and her baby. I don’t think Spears is still being criticized as irresponsible now (and I think she denied rumors of a second pregnancy). I think the media (the gossip media, at least) treats her like they treat every other actress with a baby. Perhaps those are the things the other teen mothers are reacting to.

  37. emmakitty
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I also attend Washington State University and another thing that appalls me about the hate crimes the administration’s reluctance to label them as hate crimes. The article in the Argonaut alluded to this, but the article in the Daily Evergreen made no mention of the hesitation to admit that these crimes were connected and then to label them as hate crimes. As much as I’ve come to expect the worst from large institutions, it still shocks me that the university would try to suppress these events.

  38. emmakitty
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I also attend Washington State University and another thing that appalls me about the hate crimes the administration’s reluctance to label them as hate crimes. The article in the Argonaut alluded to this, but the article in the Daily Evergreen made no mention of the hesitation to admit that these crimes were connected and then to label them as hate crimes. As much as I’ve come to expect the worst from large institutions, it still shocks me that the university would try to suppress these events.

  39. FrumiousB
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Mispelled, there are a number of Muslims who feel the same way as the woman interviewed by Bill Maher. Just read the news to see the wide spread support for various fatwahs against people who insult Islam. When a large number of Muslims voice the same opinion, it’s not a large leap to attribute Islam as at least partially forming that opinion. To act as though Maher cherry picked the lone psycho is disingenuous at best.
    Why not discuss other religions? By all means, let’s expand the thread to ask why criticizing religion at all is taboo. Because it’s taboo in this culture, too, and I definitely smell the perpetrators behind the taboo. Yes, much as I blame Muslims for shutting down criticism of Islam, I blame Christians for shutting down criticism of Christianity, and I blame all religious adherents for shutting down criticism of their religion. I can criticize Big Pharma, I can even insult Big Pharma, why can’t I criticize Big Religion?

  40. Misspelled
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    True, it’s just one woman. But how many op-eds were there during the Danish cartoon riots justifying violence when people’s religion is attacked? My campus newspaper was full of them. That is what religion gives us?
    I disparage religion because it’s illogical, it breeds further illogic, and I expect better of humanity. You can set up all the soup kitchens and homeless shelters you want but nothing’s ever going to wash the blood off of the hands of religion.
    Anyway, you missed my point. Why can’t anyone criticize Islam without being accused of being an Islamaphobe? Don’t get me wrong, a criticize every religion, but what makes Islam immune?

    Look, this is going to sound stupid, but it gets to what I think the point is: Religion doesn’t have hands. It doesn’t. It doesn’t have blood on them. Ayatollah Khomeini had blood on his hands. Martin Luther King did not. Stalin had blood on his hands and Douglas Adams didn’t. If people aren’t killing and dying in the name of religion then they’ll be perfectly happy to kill and die in the name of ethnic identity or nationality or political ideology; and if people can’t find the fulfillment of themselves in religious faith then they’ll find it in math or music or major league baseball. Religion doesn’t make people bigots and killers and it doesn’t make them intelligent and altruistic and good. Nature and nurture do that. Religion might get picked up anywhere along the way; so might libertarianism or coin collecting, but none of them is solely responsible for the person that results.
    And your point — I didn’t miss it. I don’t necessarily agree with you that opposing religion is taboo in this society, but I don’t take exception with your saying so and I don’t really want to debate it. I do take exception to your talking about how indefensible Islam is (and, again, why Islam in particular?) and how religion defies logic. It doesn’t. Plenty of people make them both work. It’s been done. So you can relax about religion.

  41. Holli
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    This video expresses my views on the whole “religion doesn’t kill people” pretty well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXQOqtJuDrU
    That being said, sure, there’s no need to antagonize people – however, saying “relax about religion” is a bit disingenuous. Especially considering how often religion is cited (in the US) for taking away a woman’s right to decide what goes on with her body and so on.
    I believe that people can believe what they want as long as they leave me alone. As long as they leave me alone.

  42. Rebecca
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Misspelled: WORD, ma’am.

  43. Rebecca
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    (Also: I posted at City of Ladies about the “pro-America” meme, going into its political and racist implications.)

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