Weekly Feminist Reader

Obama has included the Medicaid family-planning provision (which, you’ll recall, was stripped from the stimulus package) in his proposed budget. Good news all around!
The attacks on women in Bangalore have not stopped.
The new Health and Human Services head is… Kathleen Sebelius, formerly governor of Kansas. (More on Sebelius here and here.)
Emergen-C perpetuates the advertising trope of using a person of color to represent “flavor.”
On Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and the church.
The Valentine’s Day episode of This American Life featured a moving segment on transgender children. After reading several articles (of varying quality) on the lives of trans kids, there was something about listening to them directly that was really powerful.
Two women have become judges in Islamic courts in the West Bank.
Oh, the irony: Cosmo wonders why women are so quick to bare their boobs.
In Seattle, a 15-year-old girl was beaten by police while in detention. (Trigger warning.)
A new film is a fictionalized version of femicide in Juarez.
Will the stimulus package deliver much-needed economic help to Native Americans?
The Onion hilariously turns the young-Asian-woman fetish on its head.
Bitch has the goods on a new reality show, set at a British finishing school for girls.
The military honors the first all-African-American, all-female unit to serve overseas in World War II.
Rush Limbaugh tries to move up the misogyny ladder as a Nice Guy TM.
Belgin Celik, a transwoman, is running for office in Turkey.
Renee on homelessness, ownership, and dignity.
The mayor of Los Alamitos, CA actually made a “watermelons at the White House” joke. He has now said he’s going to resign.
Is fascination with the exotic Other the same as the racism and the colonial conquest of yore?
Hilarious Antibreastfeeding Bingo.


The global shame of U.S. immigration policies.
How media coverage of poor whites differs from that of poor people of color.
Justice Ginsburg returns to the Supreme Court!
In a Florida hospital, a woman was denied access to visit her partner of 17 years, who was dying.
The PR people behind the pro-Prop 8 campaign discuss their strategy.
It’s apparently legal for the state of Virginia to fire employees for being gay.
Why don’t we talk more about children and teenagers who are the primary caretakers for their families?
Putting Rihanna’s story in a broader context of women of color and violence.
Sarah Haskins on the Jen v. Angelina bullshit in coverage of the Oscars.
The fashion industry has STILL not come to terms with the fact that the average American woman is size 14. (via)
Degree deodorant: Activated by gender stereotypes! (Frito-Lay takes a similar tack.)
Nadya Suleman gets an offer from the porn industry.
A new movie manages to depict a relationship with someone with autism without falling into the traps of previous films about romance and disability.
Attention headline writers: If the victim is younger than 10, it’s not “child sex,” it’s RAPE.
Even more links from Lauren at Feministe.
Get Involved
At 4pm TODAY, tune in to hear Tami from What Tami Said and Professor Tracey from Aunt Jemima’s Revenge discuss women of color and the feminist blogosphere.
Sign the petition against the forced sterilization of people with disabilities in Illinois.
Women of color and allies, submit to the Tell It WOC Speak carnival.
Female cyclists in Chicago made a pin-up calendar to benefit the Chicago Women’s Health Center. “The calendar brings together twelve female cyclists: from a career bike messenger to a poet, from all-weather road warriors to track racers.” Click here for Chicago locations where you can buy, or buy online here. (via)
Help the women of Shapely Prose plan their book tour!
Be sure to check out our events calendar — there are lots of good things coming up.
Also, as always, leave your links in comments…

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38 Comments

  1. Feminist Review
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Fun times this week…
    We Must Cultivate Our…: I consulted with the seed archive organizer, permaculturalist Nance Klehm. My question: “What, say, seven species would you recommend for the inexperienced urban gardener? Keep in mind that I have two black thumbs. I have killed cacti. I make silk roses wilt…”
    Art + Revolution: The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele, South African Artist: It should be of no surprise that some of the most peaceful and timid visionaries have met violent deaths. It seems that the power with which they create, forge, or even love is equal to that which opposes their very existence.
    Behind the Bedroom Door: Don’t be confused. While some of these essays are sexy, this writing is neither erotic nor academic. These are personal essays covering points across the adult female life cycle, the thoughts and feelings of individual women about their individual sex lives. .
    Against a Trans Narrative: I realized that Against a Trans Narrative was arguably the best movie about gender I’ve ever viewed. It’s remarkably intelligent, sensitive and powerful. A documentary that presents contesting views about gender issues, transgender identity, queer and lesbian politics, and how all of the above play out in real life, it’s a captivating and educational watch.

  2. Renee
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for all of the linky love. It is much appreciated.
    Terrence Howard Is Ebonys Renaissance Man: Howard made the cover of Ebony despite the fact that he admitted to punching his now ex wife twice in the face. What does this say about the value of black women?
    Did Kathryn Johnston really get justice: Looking at the conviction of two police officers for murder of a 92 year old black woman.
    Sure Let’s Honour A Homophobe and and Admitted Abelist: Looking at why honoring Jerry Lewis at the Oscars was an epic fail.

  3. MzBitca
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    http://mzbitca.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/mental-health-and-promiscuity/
    a post on how I don’t like when people in mental health use “promiscuity” as diagnostic criteria and why I think it is not a good evaluation tool

  4. Posted March 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got a post up on trying to be a good ally, and yet another on transphobia in the blogosphere.

  5. commonrosie
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    That’s interesting about the people of colour being used as a symbol for ‘flavour’. Makes me think of that Goodfellas (or maybe it was Chicago Town) advert we had a while ago in the UK where the white family sits down to their saturday night pizza and this black puppet with a Barry White voice pops up to sing soulfully about how great the pizza is. Even creepier, there was one where the woman opens her oven to get her pizza out, and there’s the puppet, slightly burned and smoking, still singing! Similarly, there’s this Dentyl mouthwash advert at the moment where the woman (white) starts using the mouthwash and tada! A black guy at a piano appears in her bathroom to sing about how ‘oh yeah, you like it smoooth’. Dentyl seem to be setting themselves in opposition to Lysterine, saying they cater to people who prefer ‘smooth’ tasting mouthwash, and apparanty a black man is the best way to represent that! And then of course there’s the ‘invite the world to dinner’ ads for Uncle Ben’s or whatever it is. Relaxed and funky white family/couple starts making sweet and sour chicken and suddenly the cast of a Bollywood movie is knocking on their door (singing and dancing, of course) to get in on the action. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a person of colour in this country when the TV is constantly telling you you’re ‘other other other’, only here to add spice to our chicken.

  6. commonrosie
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Ah. I made a mistake there. Obviously the one with the Bollywood style dancing is the ad for Uncle Ben’s curry sauce, not sweet and sour. I believe the sweet and sour advert is the one where Chinese people show up on bicycles.

  7. llevinso
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    That Sarah Haskins bit was hillarious (just like always)! I loved when she had the JFK diagram up.
    I mean really, this whole Jennifer vs. Brangelina thing is soooo dumb. It’s been years already and the media keeps promoting this big cat fight. And it’s always about the animosity that supposedly exists between Jen and Angie and nothing to do with Brad. I’ve never understood it.

  8. lyndorr
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    So what happens if a person actually has no family but they have lots of friends? They have to die alone? I don’t get it.

  9. Tara K.
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    RE: Appalacian/white poverty post.
    My head explodes when I read about this.
    I’m white, grew up poor, and I’m from an Appalachian town in Kentucky.
    Diane Sawyer being from Kentucky did not matter. She was from Lexington — another world, practically. She handled the people of the documentary as Others.
    I swear I have intelligent commentary on the piece, but it’s so personal and makes me so damn angry I can’t even write them. Most of all, I hate that we are shown from an outside perspective and an insider perspective is never offered.
    I would rather the country continue being ignorant of Appalachia than exploit and misinterpret them and their culture.
    I know this contributed nothing. I’m just angry.

  10. Cecelia
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink


    Beauty, Consumerism and Environmentalism
    – Women, the Earth/environment, consumerism and how all of this is interrelated from a Native/Earth centered perspective.

  11. LurkerJen
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The “fascination with the exotic Other” (19th link from the top) doesn’t work.

  12. Posted March 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Here’s what the ESC has been thinking about and doing this week:
    That Michael Savage has such a deep and intuitive understanding of women, doesn’t he?
    Some parents in the UK are horrified because the fact that the host of a popular children’s show happens to be disabled might actually force them to have to have a real conversation with their kids.
    And a lovely conservative group in Kansas has asked the library in Topeka to restrict access to certain books about sex so that only patrons who are 18 and over can take them out. There are four books on the list, and they’re pretty random choices.
    We’ve also launched a new cafepress store, because we just couldn’t bury our feelings about the Bristol Palin/Greta Van Susteren interview any longer.

  13. Rachel_Setzer
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    That LA Times fashion article was really depressing… I mean, I feel a little better about myself knowing that my body size is more average than huge, but… mein got the fashion industry is full of adjectives that denigrate women!

  14. lizroland56
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE The Onion and This American Life!!!!!!!!!

  15. asseenontv
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    This is pretty funny: Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers.
    My favorite part is near the end:
    States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.”

  16. AlmostAmanda
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank God I haven’t had much time to watch TV lately.

  17. Brandi
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I read your Jerry Lewis piece earlier in the week, and now I’ve seen similar commentary on some MSM sites. I honestly had no idea he was so blatantly homophobic. I’d also never really thought of him in the context of being ableist. It was a shocker for me, I suppose because I’ve always just viewed him as a philanthropist.

  18. aftercancer
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Thought you might like my post on Basketball, football or the poor and sick
    And my own take on the death of Clusterfook aka Lisa Kelly

  19. ellenrose
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Pink Scare gets tough on Obama!
    This week we learned about the Accountability Now coalition, a PAC formed by “bloggers and labor activists” to keep Obama accountable to the apparently most progressive elements of the Democratic Party. But the new coalition assumes that Obama is a true progressive at heart – which, as T shows, he’s really not.
    Obama challenged every American to commit to one year of post-secondary education or training. Nice thought and everything, Arvilla says, but how the hell are working-class people supposed to pay for it?

  20. ShifterCat
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Jinx.com has a new T-shirt for sale:
    “…And Then Buffy Staked Edward. The End.”

  21. vaseline
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    That article about the 4 yr old girl who was raped makes me sick to my stomach. It’s amazing how our legal system can repeatedly fail us. How can ANYONE in their right mind find it acceptable to let that man walk the streets after only a 1 year prison sentence? It’s just one of those things that makes you lose hope in the world.

  22. pzm
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Attention headline writers: If the victim is younger than 10, it’s not “child sex,” it’s RAPE.
    I wrote to the editor of this paper and this was his response:
    He pleaded guilty to a certain charge at the court and that charge is what we reported. As you can understand we had to be extremely careful with this story.
    … so I guess the real problem is the existence of the charge. The charge was “sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10″. Shouldn’t it be called “Raping a person under the age of 10″? There’s no such thing as sexual intercourse with a person under 10 without it being RAPE. Who do we write to about this though?

  23. YoungFeminist
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    I actually know the girl who lives in Seattle that was beaten up by the cops and it did give me a trigger warning because of all the people that have said awful things about her on YouTube.
    I’m sick of seeing comments like, she was a bitch so she had it coming. She looks like a spoiled brat, and the bitch obviously had been raised badly and she must have pushover parents.
    I for one know this girl and she’s kind, sweet, and really nice. Most teens I meet are never so upfront and nice like this girl is. I just said hi to her and she befriended me easilly and made me feel comfortable and she does that with everyone so it makes me upset when people are reacting to this video saying that she had it coming and that she’s obviously a spoiled brat and a bitch. None of these bastards know her. And even if she was a bitch, she didn’t deserve what she got.
    I’m really glad the the feministing community is behind her.

  24. MissKittyFantastico
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    You know her? I’m curious, did she actually steal a car? Obviously even if she did that doesn’t justify the cop beating her, but I’m curious because the articles I”ve read about this never mention what the context or resolution was of that.

  25. YoungFeminist
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    It was actually her parents car and she took it for a joy ride. I guess that pretty much hinted that her parents weren’t called.

  26. jaja
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    a determination of whether she stole the car of not can’t be made until she has her day in court

  27. melaniemrms
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  28. llevinso
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I understand why those comments would upset you. Hell, that video upset me greatly and I don’t even know the girl! But the thing is, even if she is all those things (a brat, spoiled, whatever) it still would never give that policeman the right to beat her the way he did for casually tossing her shoe at him as was seen in the video. I mean, that was just incredibly wrong on all levels.

  29. Lisa
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Ugh, Terrence Howard is such a creeper! Obviously the domestic violence is the most serious, but he’s got a couple other strikes against him. The comments he made about dumping women who use toilet paper instead of wet wipes to clean their dirty, nasty lady parts and his quick defense of Chris Brown were both repulsive.

  30. Femgineer
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    This crime took place in Australia where they have different laws concerning sex crimes.
    http://www.aussielegal.com.au/informationoutline~nocache~1~SubTopicDetailsID~961.htm
    “The Crimes Act not only regulates “Rape” offences ( which are now referred to in the Act as “Sexual Assault”) but also other forms of sexual misconduct. For example the Crimes Act creates offences for Indecent Assault, Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse, Committing acts of indecency, Procuring sexual intercourse by intimidation or coercion, Procuring carnal knowledge by fraud (e.g. pretending you are the victim’s spouse), Sexual assaults upon children, Incest, Bestiality, Forced self manipulation and Misconduct relating to corpses.”

  31. Lisa
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you for linking this story. It supports the idea that when you censor and restrict healthy, open discussions about sexuality, it tends to manifest itself in more secretive, unhealthy ways.

  32. demimonde
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    “I feel a little better about myself knowing that my body size is more average than huge, but…”
    I’m sorry, what? So as long as you’re “more average than huge” you deserve dignity and respect? How about not basing your worth on your size AT ALL?
    Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but this comment confuses me. What does this have to do with the article? Saying basically “the fashion industry denigrates women” is great, but when you preface that with “but at least I’M not FAT,” it creates a mixed message.

  33. battle angel alita
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    oh snap! i just emailed the lovely ladies on this site about an old music video that i recently found which is about the murders of mexican women in Juarez. if you have five minues please check this video out: the band is “at the drive in” and the song is “invalid letters dept.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxJt9rqo8OI

  34. Lisa
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I know they’re a dime a dozen, but I ran across another article suggesting that when women don’t want sex with their husbands, they should just shut up and do their marital duty. To clarify, I support the idea of sexual compromise and I think both partners should be willing to make sacrifices to keep each other happy. But no where in the article does the author suggest creating an open discussion about why a woman may be reluctant to have sex. She doesn’t address the possibility that these women aren’t getting what they need out of sex or the crazy social baggage that female sexuality comes with. No, instead a wife should just take it. But the best is this quote (which is also the link):
    “The notion that women have to want sex to enjoy it has been a really misguided idea that has caused havoc in relationships over the last 40 years.”
    That’s right, women don’t have to want sex to like it. Yikes. Oh, and one more:
    “the female libido tends to be a fragile, easily distracted thing that gets buffeted by normal life and a couple can’t afford to have their intimacy reliant on that fragility”

  35. Jix
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Actually, she is from Louisville–even farther away from Appalachia.

  36. battle angel alita
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    @ Lisa, you know what the worse thing is? when i’ve read the “agony aunt” pages in the papers when women have written in saying they want sex but their husband doesn’t want to-their told to “be considerate of his feelings” and told to not pressure him. just another example of double standard bullshit.

  37. battle angel alita
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    oh and one more thing-and i shudder to say this, this is in fact not nearly as bad as some of the stuff you’ll find on the cosmo/mens health discussion boards. some of those posts have really turned my stomach and put me off sex completely.

  38. MomTFH
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about the potential reversal of Bush’s HHS conscience rule and how hard it is to discuss it with nuance.
    I also wrote about how disgusted I have been with the responses to recent news stories about racism, and how it takes work to be an ally.

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