Weekly Feminist Reader


Pioneering photojournalist Mary Morris Lawrence (pictured above) died last week at age 95. At her request, the last line of her obituary reads: “In lieu of flowers, Mary would ask you to join the League of Women Voters, shop at Farmer Joes, write a letter to the editor, or break a glass ceiling!” (Which reminds me of this post by Amanda Marcotte, asking folks to “politicize” her death.)
As we mark the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a few relevant reads:
Katrina’s Hidden Race War, The Nation
Waiting for Charity in New Orleans, The Root
Lunchtime Lessons from New Orleans, The American Prospect
Levees and lives: New Orleans four years after Hurricane Katrina, Global Comment
Remembering Hurricane Katrina, Feministe
On the struggle to reconcile Ted Kennedy’s stellar public record with his far-less-than-stellar personal record. (See Kay Steiger and SarahMC.)
Rebecca Walker responds to Katie Roiphe’s piece on feminism and motherhood.
Monica Roberts on Caster Semenya and the parameters of femininity.
How food stamps influence women’s nutrition.
Women write about their experiences with infertility and pregnancy loss.
Glamour received an outpouring of letters after running a photo of a woman who wasn’t super-skinny. Obviously women want to see more “real” bodies in magazines. Think Glamour will actually do something about that? Me, neither.
Asian American women are more likely than other Americans to think about and attempt suicide.
Support the campaign to remove the Gender Identity Disorder category from the international diagnosis manuals.
Listening to Latinas, a new report by the National Women’s Law Center, “explores the causes of the dropout crisis for Latinas and identifies the actions needed to improve their graduation rates and get them ready for college.”


Chiara Volpato asks why Italians have put up with such a sexist leader.
Cyndee Clay, Executive Director of Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), critiques local TV coverage of sex workers.
A judge interrogated a victim in a rape trial over the sexual position that was used.
Women’s eNews has a great series of articles on women and the health-reform debate.
Considering the new romantic comedy Adam‘s portrayal of people with Asperger’s.
Tami and Shani-O both take on the NY Times piece on Good Hair.
A really great essay on the meaning of Madonna: “For years, Madonna felt like a slippery, elegant key to all feminine mythologies, a shape-shifter inspiring to any young girl (or anyone) who felt her shape shifting… For so many women I knew, she was a living permission slip, suggesting not bravery, exactly, but something more accessible: bravado.” Also — a new anthology about Madonna is seeking submissions!
Conservatives’ hypocrisy on health care: They want to meddle with reproductive health providers, yet fret that health reform will cause the government to meddle with doctors.
Sarah Jaffe asks, “Is the rash of ‘Girl’ comics a revival of this kind of feminism-lite?”
Take a few minutes to fill out this survey on emergency contraception. (The survey is live again now.)
What have you all been reading and writing this week?

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28 Comments

  1. kissmypineapple
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Trying to spread awareness for crime victims: http://kissmypineapple.blogspot.com/2009/08/victim-compensation.html

  2. RMJ
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    At Deeply Problematic this week:
    I analyzed the beer packaging that I use for decoration and discover that it normalizes whiteness and maleness in a serious way.
    On a really offensive beer ad made by a renegade ad man with rape overtones that dehumanizes and constructs women as furniture.
    Reflecting on Women’s Equality Day and how women are inequally devalued
    A guest post for Television Tuesday on a romantic female pairing in soaps: Otalia: Yes It’s Patriarchal. So What?
    Kicked off Success Sunday last week with the story of Dr. Roxanne Shante, the first female rap star, who was dumped by her label but used a clause in her contract to get Warner Brothers to pay for her college education, culminating in a PhD from Cornell. (Feministing also covered this). You can also hear some music from this talented women in this week’s edition of Music Monday.
    A recipe for Sweet Potato Fries
    On a “GLBT” newspaper’s transmisogynistic framing of assault and how it erases Janey Kay’s gender – thanks to links from Feministing and voz, this has turned out to be my most popular post ever.
    In 50 Books for Problematic Times:
    Wild, by Jay Griffiths
    In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, by Alice Walker
    The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
    Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, by Patricia Hill Collins
    This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa: a review by frau sally benz
    Too Late to Die Young, by Harriet McBryde Johnson: a review by Daisy
    Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, by Andrea Smith: a review by Allison McCarthy

  3. uberhausfrau
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    i have to agree with the one commenter who asked if roiphe posted a photo on her facebook.
    for reference: http://www.doublex.com/section/life/get-your-kid-your-facebook-page
    im still going through the rest of the links

  4. Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    On my personal blog:
    Un-Hammering a Nail, a look at the power dynamics of a recent interaction with one of Yoko Ono’s works at the Seattle Art Museum
    and for the writers in the audience, a Weekend Prompt
    Also, not mine but an interesting piece of women’s history: The story of Violette Szabó, Special Operations agent during WWII

  5. Renee
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Stephen Moyer on Vampire Sex and Masculinity in True Blood: Moyer weighs in on why True Blood is a phenomenon asserting that it hearkens to a time when men could be men. Certainly a little thing like rape is not problematic for a vampire and this supposedly appeals to women.
    For Blue Eyes, Pecola Breedlove Lives: Looking at how race and gender impact Black women.
    What’s Accessible TO You: Looking at why just throwing up a wheelchair ramp does not make something accessible
    Are Animals and Humans The Same: Looking at why comparing humans to animals is deemed problematic in communities of color due to racism.
    It’s not sex, it’s rape: Looking at how the media uses sex as a descriptor when what actually occured was rape.

  6. Brittany-Ann
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The website said the EC survey was closed. Not sure if that’s a glitch or if it really is closed, but it seems odd that it would only be open for a few days.

  7. Marc
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care how “addicted” Katie Roiphe is to her baby – she is a rape apologist and should shut the fuck up on all issues concerning gender.

  8. Siby
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    For those of you who don’t know, there were protests at Dr. Carhart’s clinic yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend the counter-protest, but from what I hear, the pro-choicers defending Carhart’s clinic outnumbered the anti-choicers by at least 2:1 (although I have been hearing 3:1 as well). Way to go pro-choicers!
    Quote apparently made by Troy Newman (leader of Operation Rescue) at the event:
    “This clinic stays open? Y’know, last time I heard that I was at Tiller’s place. hahahaha”
    That man is disgusting.
    There were at least two terrorists at the event on the anti-choice side. Terrorist number one: Jennifer McCoy. Spent time in prison for burning down a clinic in Virginia. Terrorist number two: Cheryl Sullenger. Senior adviser of Operation Rescue, spent time in prison for plotting to bomb an abortion clinic along with her husband.
    I wasn’t able to attend because I’m all the way down here in Florida, but thank you for those of you who did attend.

  9. Laura
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    First off, Adventures of a Young Feminist has MOVED! Please update links, subscriptions, blogrolls, bookmarks, etc. The blog can now be found at: http://adventuresofayoungfeminist.com.
    The Racism Behind District 9: some hailed District 9 for its representation of apartheid while others called it racist. What did I think? I bet you can guess.
    Breast Implications: Political Breasts: a look at how different societies use and represent the breasts of women in politics.
    Men Can Not Be Feminists: my personal belief is that men can be pro-feminist, feminist-minded, feminist allies, etc. Find out why here.
    American Girl Dolls [Feminist Flashback Friday]: a look at why I love American Girl dolls and how they provide a history that young girls can relate to.
    On Not Silencing: a guest post that I wrote for Small Strokes in which I discuss not silencing while teaching feminism in a high school setting.
    What If Gardasil Was for Boys?: the FDA will soon consider approving Gardasil for boys, but how would the vaccine have been viewed if it was originally approved for boys?
    Watch Out: Stalker Vamps Now Think It’s OK to Rape You: a look at Stephen Moyer’s quote about vampire sex and why vampire shows/movies feel the need to always include a stalker vamp.

  10. Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    This week in Evil Slutopia:
    ~Cosmo broke a huge story about this brand new amazing invention that can improve your sex life. It’s called lube. Crazy, right?
    ~Our take on the Caster Semenya situation: What Does It Mean To Be Female?
    ~Corbin Bleu from High School Musical recently posed nude for a promo shot for his new show. It’s interesting how that makes him hot and sexy, while Vanessa Hudgens’ leaked private naked pictures make her stupid and slutty.
    ~We also did a little 80s movie remake fantasy casting, and talked about the misguided attempts to turn shows like St. Elmo’s Fire and Heathers into TV shows.

  11. Marc
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    One feminist perspective I want to bring up about this past week: is anyone else sort of uneasy about the media’s constant reference to Ted Kennedy as the “patriarch” of the Kennedy dynasty?
    I get this feeling that there’s an unspoken expectation that someone else steps up to the cornerstone – “patriarch,” of the Kennedy family, and in portraying Uncle Teddy as a “patriarchy,” it effectively closes the door of leadership to all the Kennedy women.
    I am tempted to write about this, but I am still at a loss for words and trying to figure out where this discomfort comes from.
    Anyone else have thoughts?

  12. Marc
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Okay, the grammar from the post wasn’t the greatest, but you’re all smart enough to edit it and understand where I was going.
    The word “be” should have preceeded “the cornerstone,” and it should have also read, “Uncle Teddy as a patriarch,” – not “patriarchy.”
    See what happens when feminists develop muscle memories on their typing fingers?

  13. Gnatalby
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Slow week due to overseas travel, but I wrote a piece I’m proud of, that I’ve been thinking about for awhile about rape on tv.

  14. Ann
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the heads up — I hadn’t noticed the survey was closed. Post is updated now.

  15. Posted August 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Girls rock ‘n’ roll – no boys allowed: about all-girl rock music camps
    Debate Over Ordaining Women in the Catholic Church Heats Up
    What Is Male-Identifying People’s Place in Feminisms?—do you think men can be self-labeled as “feminists”?
    HIV laws that don’t protect women about HIV criminalization and anti-discrimination laws

  16. kataphatic
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    On Tuesday, I wrote a post inspired by my re-read of the Harry Potter series called Dudley Dursley and the Over-Indulged Fat Child Straw Man.
    On Friday, I wrote a post about one tenet of Health At Every Size: From Exercise to Pleasurable Movement.
    And yesterday just a short post in my Beauty for Ashes series about Melissa McEwan’s comic strip Conniving and Sinister

  17. Feminist Review
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    La Americana: Maria does not come to New York in pursuit of some variation on “The American Dream;” she is only there in the hopes of making enough money to cover medical expenses for her daughter Carla, who was left paralyzed by a bus accident as a young girl. Ironically, Maria’s need to take care of her daughter ends up being somewhat of a detriment to their relationship, as it keeps them apart for several years.
    You’d Be So Pretty If…: While writing her column and undergoing her own transformation, her awareness of her daughter comes through. Realizing the importance of her daughter’s keen image of her mother, she looks at her life and interviews others who deal with their own weight issues. The underlying premise remains her own relationship with her daughter, now in the teen years.
    Taxidermia: I was given a bootleg copy of Taxidermia about a year ago, before its North American release. True to bootleg copies, the disc went kaput about fifteen minutes into it, leaving me with the opening scene burned into my brain: the image of a flaming orgasm. Fire literally shoots out of a man’s penis. When I had the opportunity to review this critically recognized and awarded Hungarian film, I was excited to get past the opening scene. All the reviews praised the cinematography and aesthetics of this film, with one caveat – if you can stomach it.

  18. Feminist Review
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Oh My God(dess)! Feminist Spirituality in the Third Wave
    Feminists hate religion, right? Not necessarily. From Christian feminists participating in Wiccan rituals to Goddess worshipers honoring Jesus, the landscape of feminist spirituality is is not what it was in the ’60s and ’70s.

  19. FrumiousB
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sick of hearing about the Kennedy men. I know there were, and are, women in the family. Kennedy politicism hasn’t died out just because the people took a different name and didn’t run for congress.

  20. abyss2hope
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Understanding “No to Yes” Rapists responds to the “proof” for a man’s claim that: “Rape is physically forced Intercourse, nothing more.” and looks at why certain rapists will push their victims to say yes before continuing.
    Texas judge Kevin Fine must go examines more details about the case where during the sentencing portion of a rape trial that a judge questioned a rape victim to make her prove she didn’t consent as the defense alleged because he found it “odd” that her rapist had her on top of him.

  21. scarleteacher
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Er, was the link about health and food stamps reviewed at all? It equates being at a heavier weight with being unhealthy and then notes that the “much heavier” women on food stamps would be, on average, 5.8 lbs heavier—while conceding they don’t know if this has a causal or correlative relationship to food stamps.

  22. hmprescott.wordpress.com
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Regarding the EC survey — are you talking about mine? Survey monkey indicates the survey is still open. Go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=JNOZJvreEmADWmzx7I1wGg_3d_3d

  23. kaylin
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Wow that is a great comment mr. bill diamond left on the foodstamps article. I’m going to go right back to the battered women I work with in East Harlem and let them know his brilliant idea.

  24. VT Idealist
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Leaving aside the problematic aspect of associating a lower BMI with being more healthy, I think the article touches on the fact that not all people have access to healthy food. This is something that a lot of people take for granted.
    It’s easy to say eat less crap and you’ll be healthier, but for some people, it’s difficult to actually do this. Heavily processed convenience foods tend to be less expensive than fresh, whole foods. People trying to make their food dollars (or food stamps, in this case) go as far as possible are going to buy the least expensive food possible. Another aspect of processed foods is that tend to have a long shelf life, so you avoid wasting food through spoilage. Their long shelf life also travels well, if getting to the grocery store and back is a process in itself (When I had no car, it took me 2 buses to get to the closest grocery store.)
    There are a whole host of other issues that I can think of off the top of my head. Education, time, and availability of cooking resources are all factors. Sorry for the long comment. This topic could be a post in itself.

  25. Posted August 31, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about my experience at SF Zine Fest, which included meeting Joey Alison Sayers and my experience of reading her comic Just So You Know, that included me echoing her question of people’s perceptions of gender, “That’s weird, right?”
    Also, Old Navy’s fat-shaming “The Dreamer” jeans, among other creepy names.
    And finally, my thoughts on how the VA’s craptasticly designed ads reflect where our money is going and what that means about who we value.

  26. Newbomb Turk
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    This hand wringing over Ted Kennedy being a womanizer is pathetic. His personal attitudes and sexual preference had nothing to do with his record in the Senate, which was brilliant.

  27. megj
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    I’m kind of disappointed to see Feministing bashing Glamour:
    “Obviously women want to see more “real” bodies in magazines. Think Glamour will actually do something about that? Me, neither.”
    Though Glamour is one of the traditional fashion magazines, it carries very little of the sexist baggage associated with that industry. This is the second time that Glamour has run a photo of that particular model and their spring swimsuit guide featured a multi-page spread of a plus-size model in bikinis. In general, Glamour is female-centered: publishing articles on vibrators for women rather than guides to pleasing your man. It’s the fashion mag for feminists!

  28. Pepsisinner
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    The creation of an alternative non-pathologizing category in the ICD 11, recognizing that our gender identities are not mental health disorders while still enabling hormonal and surgical medical assistance to be provided for those trans-people who seek such assistance.
    This is such an important aspect to any discussion about removing GID from the DSM and ICD. As a partner of a transman, we often worry that GID will be removed from the DSM and our insurance covering treating his medical transition will be no longer be valid. If it’s removed without an alternative, it’s a perfect to remove coverage of GRS services from insurance coverage.

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