Weekly Feminist Reader

Love her.
The Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill passed the Senate. (For a dissenting view on hate crimes laws, read Jos’s take.)
Are big movies with strong female leads damned if they do, damned if they don’t? More from Women & Hollywood.
How the Superfreakonomics writers get it wrong on sex work.
On Law & Order‘s anti-choice propaganda.
A Utah OB puts its anti-woman policies on a sign for all to see.
The gender gap in the results of a survey of DC teens about sex.
Challenging assumptions about working mothers.
The nation’s only African-American lacrosse team.
Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan on her life as a single, urban, and happy Indian woman.
The Navy announced it would start stationing women on submarines. Cue sexist outcry!
A new report reveals the level of discrimination and inequality faced by trans people in Britain.
Disability and sexuality 101.
I don’t have an issue with Obama having a regular all-male basketball game. But I am tired of male politicians citing the “strong women in their lives” as proof somehow that they have no gender biases.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken a stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Does Islam need a sexual revolution?
Writes Tami, “I’ve come to expect black women, especially plus-sized ones, to be the butt of the joke in low-brow comedy films–the sort of flicks commonly associated with Eddie Murphy, Rob Scheider or Tyler Perry.” But now Amy Poehler, too? Ugh.
What have you all been reading/writing this week?

Join the Conversation

  • http://evilslutopia.com EvilSlutClique

    This week in Evil Slutopia:
    ~We gave some tips for Breast Cancer Awareness month by reminding you to think before you pink this October.
    ~We addressed the American Life League’s totally creepy idea for carving pro-life pumpkins.
    ~Lilith’s 9-year-old daughter wrote her very first guest blog about sexist Swiffer commercials!
    ~We made the mistake of listening to Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes, and learned about how he totally helped one woman to see the light.

  • http://evilslutopia.com EvilSlutClique

    Oh, and regarding the women on submarines issue – the sexist outcry also included the Concerned Women for America, who were mostly focused on the idea that women shouldn’t be on submarines because they might be pregnant, or the environment might affect their fertility for future pregnancies, and anyway, the military is supposed to be about national security, “not advancing women’s careers”.

  • Feminist Review

    The Good Karma Pendant from The Pretty Peacock is an interesting metaphor for my current relationship with feminism…At the time I knew little of dynamism and fluidity and the absence of a singular truth. I named the world I’d fuzzily conjured feminism, named those who inhabited this egalitarian world feminists (even if they didn’t refer to themselves in that way), and stood behind my ever-evolving creation like a shield. I put that name front-and-center. I dared anyone to take it away from me… until the day I took it away from myself because I no longer wanted a weapon, and I was tired of the fighting that came mostly from within the ranks.
    If the front book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Nancy Reagan in silver one-pieces doing the cancan is the craziest thing you have ever seen, wait until you open the book. In Feisty First Ladies and Other Unforgettable White House Women, Autumn Stephens reveals stories about the United States First Ladies that you never learned in history class.

  • Renee

    For Historica Canada Women Of Color Are Invisible:Examining the erasure of women of color in Canada’s attempt to celebrate the achievement of women.
    Don’t Let A Girl Beat You: Looking at how little girls are discouraged from participating in sports.
    Accessibility The Soundtrack of my Life: Looking at why the legal requirements do not necessarily mean that a place is accessible.
    Sex Segregated Schools for Children: Boys schools have been suggested at the solution for boys falling behind in school. This does not address the cookie cutter approach to education that is currently in place.
    Does Choice Always Equal Abortion: Looking at why choosing to carry a child term is often dependent on may factors.

  • Renee

    Ooops sorry but I forgot Sunday Shame/Pride edition: Please pop by and admit your footwear faux pas as well as weigh in if cros really are shameful footwear.

  • Feminist Review

    From the Bitch blogs
    Sample the World, Feminist Style, Every day I read news from all over the globe while sipping my morning coffee…
    In the Name of First Ascents and Cultural Connection, Meet Majka Burhardt. She is a professional climber and writer.
    Law & Order to air episode based on Dr. Tiller’s murder, ’nuff said.
    Cougar Me This, There’s a new Cougar in town.

  • paper tiger

    I wrote about how I learned to reject the idea I was ugly…My Ugly Turth :]

  • MoxiePlum

    Devastating article about hate-filled laws being passed in Uganda: How American Evangelicals are Killing Gay People in Africa

  • Gnatalby

    I wrote about this week’s Mad Men, the mostly betterness of this week’s Glee (but what was UP with Will using Artie as a prop??), and the divergence on how I think Senator Clemente on FlashForward is secretly Hillary Clinton.

  • RMJ

    On Wednesday, I looked at patterns of ableism (particularly towards persons with visible disabilities) on 30 Rock.
    On Thursday, I covered “race baiting” in Virginia’s first “post-racial” election.
    On Friday, I wrote about “privilege hand-wringing” – when feminists look for cookies rather than growth when admitting one’s mistakes.
    Also Friday, I inaugurated a new regular feature, Foul-Up Fridays, that will serve as an accountability system when I mess up. The first post in the series is on my use of the word “dumb” and “bimbo” in application towards Britney Spears.

  • Comrade Kevin

    I wrote about the recent White House attacks on Faux News.
    Regarding the “strong women” defense, I have to say that I personally have used it from time to time; I will also freely admit, with no small discomfort, that I hold gender biases. I’m not proud of the fact that I do and I work hard to bring them to light and in so doing, to put them aside. I’m much farther along than I used to be, but I recognize that this is going to be a life’s work and it will always be a struggle.

  • Pantheon

    I watched half of that Law and Order episode but I couldn’t stand to finish it. Too much ripped from the headlines, its too close to reality, it was upsetting me more than most shows. (its still on the tivo so maybe now I’ll finish it before it disappears). In the part I watched I didn’t think that it came out on one side or the other. IN particular, the article you link to says that when one of the detectives points out that his mother wanted to abort him, the other detective “hangs his head in shame.” Um, no he didn’t. He said casually “so I almost had a different partner” and I thought it was a weird line, but it doesn’t really indicate that one side or the other “won” that exchange. But maybe later in the episode it becomes more clear.
    I gotta say that Law and Order SVU is really pro-choice. I just saw one where a pharmacist lectured a rape victim about adoption instead of giving her the morning after pill, and all the series regulars came down really hard on that pharmacist.

  • Brittany

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person on this site who does not like Obama or his not-so-patriotic wife. I voted McCain just because he was the only other choice.
    Seriously though, WTF is with that sign. Why would a hospital not encourage the Bradley method? And on top of that, they’re saying “Because we care about you and your child health” or whatever, which is basically going “You’re careless and endanger your child by doing any of the methods below.”

  • Brittany

    I’ll say this: The morning after pill doesn’t equal abortion. I’m pro-life but I support the morning after pill.
    I know we’re you’re coming from, but it’s two way different things.
    I wish I had seen that L&O episode, though; it sounds interesting.

  • katemoore

    His not-so-patriotic wife, eh? Just what are you basing that opinion on?
    (One could also ask why the hell patriotism is a virtue, but whatever.)

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/LXvce8dyifPoeFttNuukV_ml3RmUvc0-#a82ad

    I know it’s terribly ungrateful and all, but… it IS annoying that the only posts linked from FWD are the ones dealing with sex and sexual assault.
    This is NOT covering disability issues.
    There were even some awesome 101-level posts on the intersection of gender and disability that are basically right up your alley. But all that gets linked is “Sex is cool!” and “Sexual assault sucks.”
    Which, it is and it does. But we, AS WOMEN, are being neglected, AS WOMEN, when the only issues affecting us that mainstream feminism pays attention to are those issues which already fit neatly into their little pre-fab package of sex-positive feminism.
    I know I am not the only person who is getting annoyed about this. We do appreciate that someone is, apparently, reading something, and we do appreciate the links. Don’t mistake me for saying that we don’t. It’s just that I, at least, feel rather betrayed when the parts of me that challenge conventional abled-feminist thinking are completely ignored, treated as though they don’t even exist, and the only attention I get is when I talk about being sexual or needing an abortion.
    Feminism, as a whole, has a LONG and DEEP history of only engaging with disability when it comes to very safe-for-abled-people sex positivism and right-to-an-abortion-and-naught-else flavor reproductive rights. You aren’t the only one, but you are also unabashedly adding to that history every time you do things like this. And you don’t seem to be making much of an effort to change that, in yourselves individually or in the feminist movement.
    And yes, that IS disappointing, because we do expect better of you.
    (threeriversblog.com, disabledfeminists.com)
    P.S. I know you just started to pay attention, and our blog just started recently, and has a lot of content. But we are not, and have not, been the only ones writing on the topic of disability. I really recommend checking out other writers as well, because there is such a diversity of perspectives. A good place to start (though not a conclusive, comprehensive list) is our blog roll, which includes blogs we hand-picked for their feminist-minded, disability-related content. You’ll find a lot of good stuff out there… if you feel like looking.

  • aleks

    Attacks on Michelle’s patriotism go back to the election, John McCain was above it himself but Fox touted anti-America First Lady talking points endlessly and they obviously seeped into some poorly guarded brains. Most people of course laugh off ridiculousness, but not everyone (see above).
    She’s black and she married an illegal immigrant, how patriotic could she be? Ask Brittany about the “whitey tape.”

  • aleks

    I don’t have an issue with Obama having a regular all-male basketball game. But I am tired of male politicians citing the “strong women in their lives” as proof somehow that they have no gender biases.
    How should someone reply to such ridiculous accusations of sexism? It’s hard to disprove a negative.

  • Laura

    Let’s Not Get Emotional: I don’t think that anyone can make a decision without emotions factoring in in some way.
    3OH!3 Strikes Again: 3OH!3’s new song “Starstrukk” featuring Katy Perry is disturbing.
    My weekly reviews of Glee and Dollhouse (there was no new Bones this week).

  • FW

    I had way too much fun writing about the whole “I didn’t mean it that way” phenomenon in 8=5+5=10 and I love your boobs!

  • abyss2hope

    Date rape drug testers as deterrence highlights a situation where instant testing was used by a bartender as primary prevention which prevented an intended drugging and led to a man’s arrest.
    National survey on children’s exposure to violence looks at a report which includes the fact that those aged 12 to 19 were twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population and how that relates to a type of sex crime many people minimize as being victimless.
    Criminal defense lawyers cast doubt on old DNA evidence highlights a reason given opposing John Doe indictments which if valid undermines the validity of many DNA exonerations.

  • http://www.helloladies.com Hello Ladies

    We wrote about lap dancers at Yahoo and Karl Lagerfeld on fat, chip-eating mums. http://www.helloladies.com

  • Suzann

    Re: disliking Superfreakonomics
    The truth is that ANY person doing service-supply freelance work ( and here I speak from non-sexual experience) will be better compensated if they persuade the clients that they 1) enjoy the work and 2) like the client. This is because the client wants to trust that the contracted work will be done to the highest level of quality – which they rightly suspect will not happen if the contracted worker is grudging or resentful.
    Note that I say the client is PERSUADED that you like them and the work – not that you actually DO like it/them.
    OTOH, the authors do seem to be ignoring the economics of infrastructure investment. (I would guess that a higher-charging sex worker would have invested more in workspace and personal maintainance, just as I invest in my tools, computer, and office decor.) They also seem to be overlooking the hours-per-service factor. If it takes three or five or ten times as long to provide a service ( including the prep time not mentioned by them) then naturally the service supplier will have to charge more to cover that time.
    I have read at least one study that multiplied cost-per-service X client-interaction and came to the conclusion that street level sex-work actually transacts more cash than the ‘higher’ level work. (They also noted that the street-level worker had higher expenses in bribes and pimpage – which would again impact both the invoice cost and the business net.)
    Conclusion? They study was flawed and shallow, but the response was ‘lalalalaIcanthearyouyoupig’. Economics – it’s a wonderful and dreadful science.

  • Pantheon

    It was just an example of one I happened to see the other day, and in fact later in the episode they portray a woman who got an actual abortion in a very sympathetic light (SPOILER: They go so far as to say that a woman was justified in escaping from jail in order to have an abortion, since she wouldn’t have been allowed to have one in jail, at least at the time that it happened). I think it was a relatively recent episode, with Clea Duvall in it.
    Over the years, I’ve seen tons of episodes of SVU that are very pro-choice. Sometimes they get a dialog going by having Elliot (who is catholic with lots of kids) say that he’s uncomfortable with abortion, but he never tries to impose his views on anyone, and they show lots of situations where women who need an abortion are portrayed very sympathetically. Olivia, the other most prominent character, is VERY pro-choice, despite being the product of a rape herself. There’s an early episode where that first times out and she says that if she had been raped and became pregnant, she would have gotten an abortion. They are also pro-choice for women who haven’t been raped, but since the show is about sexual crimes the case of rape is the one that comes up the most often.

  • Pantheon

    I sort of missed that you said you were “pro-life”. So I guess you won’t like my comment a second ago, but its still there for everyone else. I don’t have time to get into a big argument about it now, but I think that if you aren’t willing to pass legislation saying that all adults are legally required to donate organs and act as surrogate mothers when their tissue types match properly, then you shouldn’t be willing to pass legislation forcing women to continue an unwanted pregnancy. If you want to risk your own life and health for an unwanted potential baby that’s certainly your right to, but I think its fundamentally wrong to force other people to do that. I’m not going to post anything more on the subject because I need to study, but its just like a kick in the gut whenever anyone tells me they’re pro-life. Its like saying “I don’t know you, but because you have a uterus I’m in favor of the state stepping in and messing up your whole life and if you die or are badly injured in childbirth, well, its up to me to decide that your death was worth it, not up to you.”
    (And if you actually meant that you support abortion being legal but you disapprove of it personally, you shouldn’t use the political term “pro-life” without clarification.)

  • sbeath
  • FilthyGrandeur

    More Cute Overload FAIL: cute overload apparently thinks rape jokes are okay…
    There is a non-sexy Robing!: a reader has sent me her non-sexy halloween costume. i also invite others to share.
    Fuzz Therapy: yay cute pets with no triggering captions!
    On intention: i write about how people’s good intentions are not free passes to be racist / sexist / etc.
    I got it!: i discuss my (non sexy) Halloween costume idea.

  • SwanSong

    I watched the whole thing, and by the end I was really…annoyed? Angry? Probably disappointed. I really love Law and Order and Law and Order: SVU, but to see this episode play out the way it did…at least the killer was convicted in the end.

  • katemoore

    Right. I know where they’re coming from. I also know that her supposed lack of “patriotism” is often used as a dog whistle.

  • kandela

    I liked the ‘Don’t Let a Girl Beat You’ article. I think a really good way to give children a less gendered outlook is to introduce them at a young age to activities usually considered just for boys or just for girls. What better way for boys and girls to learn they are more alike than different than having them play on the same sports team.

  • aftercancer

    Over at After cancer, now what I ask Would you risk your life for insurance?

  • Phenicks

    I’m pro-choice and think taking organs and tissue from dead people is as abhorrent as forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy. A person’s unborn child doesn’t have a right to use them to live, wtf makes people think they have rights to a dead sranger’s body? Disgusting. No one has a right to be born neither do they have rights to organs, tissue or blood even if they are dying even if they are young- those are gifts from the person with the womb, the blood, the organ or the tissue.
    I do think though just as surrogates should be paid so should donors.

  • EAMD

    I also wrote on the L&O episode, about which I was thoroughly disgusted before it aired. Ugh. Murder should not be entertainment, and I am not surprised to hear the “debate” it was supposed to lead up to was shitty.

  • Brittany

    It’s a virtue if you’re the first lady.

  • Brittany

    Er…the person is dead. You may as well be saying that my dead body should stay in my house since nobody has a right to bury it.
    If it’s saving a living person’s life and preventing them from dying themselves, I don’t see why we shouldn’t do it. The person’s dead, after all, and their organs will just rot with them.

  • Brittany

    Unwanted pregnancy = Health problem? I don’t see the connection there, but care to explain how unwanted pregnancies risk the mother’s life any more than a normal pregnancy?
    And it’s funny how people talk about the health of the mother and her right, but there isn’t any care about the unborn child’s life and the fact that it’s being killed.
    I wasn’t going to start a pro-life fight here, and I still don’t want to, but you didn’t need to unleash on me simply because I said I was pro-life but supported the morning after pill.

  • Brittany

    Um, no, I’m not calling her out on her patriotism (or lack thereof) because she’s black…wtf? Or married to an illegal immigrant.
    I wonder if I’m the one with the poorly-guarded brain here.

  • ElleStar

    I’m still noticing the lack of citation.

  • ElleStar

    I quit watching L&O (the original) years ago because, while stories are “ripped from the headlines,” the presentation of the stories strips all nuance and realism from what are fascinating topics in the justice system.
    Specifically, the ep that made me stop watching was about a judge who ruled differently based on race and class of the defendant. Instead of exploring judicial responsibility and bias, the show just made the judge “evil,” and had him plotting a murder. What was an excellent topic was distilled down to such a disappointing “THIS GUY IS EVIL AND NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT” that I lost all interest in watching more episodes.
    It sounds like not much has changed in the show since I stopped watching it.

  • aleks

    You wonder. Awesome. So tell us how the unpatriotic Obama’s talking points makes sense in a non-racist context. Go ahead.
    For the record, I don’t think you’re aware that it’s racist. I just don’t think you understand what you’re being told and repeating.

  • aleks

    She said it’s not a race thing. So she must have some really good reasons she’s just declining to share. What more could you possibly want from her?

  • Phenicks

    If you want to be buried and can pay for it then you should be buried. If your house wasn’t paid for the bank can remove you from it so they can sell it.
    Dead people don;t have a responsibility to the living to keep them alive.

  • rhowan

    “Unwanted pregnancy = Health problem? I don’t see the connection there, but care to explain how unwanted pregnancies risk the mother’s life any more than a normal pregnancy?”
    The comparison isn’t wanted vs unwanted pregnancies, it’s taking a pregnancy to term vs. not. Having an abortion is much less dangerous to your health and has a lower mortality rate than giving birth. Given the greater risks associated with childbirth it’s not surprising that some people wouldn’t want to take those risks or make those sacrifices when they don’t even want a child.
    And it’s funny how people talk about the health of the mother and her right, but there isn’t any care about the unborn child’s life and the fact that it’s being killed.
    Many people do not consider an embryo to be an independent individual or “person” yet (take your pick of terminology) given its lack of development, and so consider the rights and health of the woman to be the only valid issue at hand.
    In any case, the point I think Pantheon was trying to make holds regardless of whether you consider an embryo/fetus to be a person or not. There are many situations in which we could save another persons life, using our bodies/tissue/organs, provided we are willing to risk our own health and/or life. Every day that we choose not to donate our spare kidney, or a piece of our liver, or some of our bone marrow, someone whose life we could have saved dies. The government and society at large are aware of this, but to my knowledge no one has suggested making tissue/organ donation mandatory for adults, nor is there a grassroots campaign to paint failing to be a living donor as morally reprehensible or tantamount to murder.
    Currently only women who are pregnant are expected to make their bodies available for someone else’s use at the risk of their own health/life. Once a child is born no one can be compelled to donate tissue, organs, or even blood to keep that child alive, not even its parents. What gives an embryo in the womb special rights that no other person has?

  • Pantheon

    The point is not to “unleash” on you, my point was to explain why, to me, you saying that you are “pro-life” is just as offensive as saying that you think gay or interracial marriage should be illegal, or women who get pregnant out of wedlock should be locked away in magdalene laundries. The pro-life movement wants to use the law (and some parts of the movement also use terrorist tactics) to force their view on the bodies of all women; that makes anyone being “pro-life” (an unclear term that should be more accurately described as “pro-forced-birth” or something) an extremely personal attack against me.
    As for the rest of it, if you’re interested you can look up much better written works about this (for a philosophical view start with the violinist argument; for a heartrenching view start with the kansas stories). I’ll just say that yes, my point holds regardless of whether or not you think an embryo/fetus counts as a person. There are plenty of situations where I could sacrifice my time/energy/money/physical labor/organs/health/life in order to save the lives of other people, and in no other situation would the law force me to. (One exception might be the draft, which I’m also against, and at least there isn’t a whole movement agitating to bring it back.)
    Moreover, most people are against the idea of FORCING people to do things like donate organs or rush into a burning building, even if it would save the life of another person, because they recognize things like freedom of choice, and also that it would be difficult to run a society where every person’s life could be co-opted by someone else with no warning.
    If you think that the embryo/fetus does count as a person, it just makes the personal decision whether or not to have an abortion more angsty, but it in no way means that each person shouldn’t have a right to make the decision about whether they want to sacrifice many aspects of their health, endure painful labor, and risk their life and the rest of their health for the life of another person.
    If you only think that the embryo/fetus is a POTENTIAL person, but not a person yet, then the argument against abortion is even stranger. People say things like “if my mother had had an abortion I wouldn’t be here, and that would be sad.” Well, that may be true. But it doesn’t follow from that that your mother should have been prevented from having an abortion if she wanted one. If it did follow, then the same logic would apply here: If my parents hadn’t had unprotected sex, I wouldn’t exist. That would be sad. Therefore, we should force all people to have unprotected sex during their fertile years.
    [I do think that it would be ok to insist on organ donation from dead bodies, since, well, they're dead. Out of respect for religions in which I do not believe, I'd say that people should have the right to opt out. But it should be an opt-out system, not an opt-in system. As it stands, in some places dead bodies have more rights to bodily autonomy than women do.]

  • Pantheon

    Currently only women who are pregnant are expected to make their bodies available for someone else’s use at the risk of their own health/life. Once a child is born no one can be compelled to donate tissue, organs, or even blood to keep that child alive, not even its parents. What gives an embryo in the womb special rights that no other person has?
    Exactly. Very well put.