Weekly Feminist Reader

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre — in which Marc Lepine shot or stabbed 27 people, most of them women, in a classroom. One survivor, who screamed “We are not feminists” to try to save their lives, now says she identifies as a feminist. Plus, more at Bastard.Logic.
The New Yorker talks to the authors of a new book on women’s sexuality.
Shockingly, a new report shows the Bush administration did not adequately enforce civil rights legislation.
Congolese journalist Chouchou Namegabe uses the media to push the message that rape is not about sex drive, it’s about violence and power.
Ireland is set to consider a law recognizing transsexual people.
In honor of the holiday season, Rachel has begun “a series of posts that illustrate, on their own and with no additional commentary needed, what’s wrong with our consumer culture.”
Know Your Feline Female Metaphors! (Plus more at Tiger Beatdown.)
New York state Sen. Hiram Monserrate has been convicted of violence against his girlfriend, but has not resigned.
Kate Harding makes the feminist case for Taylor Swift.
The scapegoating of Desiree Rogers.
This is so awful: A 13-year-old girl committed suicide after her classmates circulated nude photos of her.
International feminist groups and Afghan women’s rights organizations debate the surge in Afghanistan. It’s also important to note that the answers to these questions can be very different depending on which Afghan women we’re talking about.
How women are faring in “liberated” Iraq.
Are women going to play in the NBA one day?
A woman in Michigan was thrown out of a Target store for breastfeeding her baby.
Recognizing Jeanne-Claude, lesser-known than her husband and artistic collaborator Christo, but just as awesome. She died on Nov. 18.
Are conversations about marginalized people valuable if they take place without those marginalized people included?
Jeff Chang reviews Rich Benjamin’s book about the whitest enclaves in America. (Read an excerpt of the book here.)
Raaz at Muslimah Media Watch responds to the “Burqa Barbie brouhaha.”
Take action to Queer the Census!
The size-positive documentary Fat Girls Float needs your help to finish production.
Our Bodies, Ourselves needs your support.
What have you all been reading/writing this week?

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  1. katrina_holloway
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Just an FYI:
    Lépine killed 14 women, not 27. He also injured 14 (or 13, I heard both numbers today) others (some men, mostly women) before turning his weapon against himself.

  2. GalFawkes
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Dude, is Buss one of the authors who wrote that A Natural History of Rape book?

  3. FilthyGrandeur
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Fuzz Therapy: your weekly Princess.
    Dragon Age features “controversial” gay sex: a new mature-rated video game has an optional scene featuring gay sex between a human and an elf.
    Newsflash: Seth MacFarlane sucks: most of us have already figured this out.
    and I found a fun link via Twitter: New Moon in Lolcats. this will bring joy to you. i promise :)

  4. Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    A post here on Feministing was the impetus needed to inspire this piece, entitled, Is Separatism Necessary Anymore?

  5. Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey all! Here’s what’s been going on at Gender Across Borders:
    Amanda Knox and the Virgin-Whore Dichotomy
    Stepping Up: “Ask me to follow”: about gender dynamics in the dance scenes of musicals
    Sexist advertising? There’s an app for that.
    You Must Be This Tall to Ride about being a tall woman

  6. April
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    ethecofem has new contributors.
    N introduces himself.
    Why can’t MRAs and feminists just get along?
    Response to photos making fun of Tiger Woods for being the alleged victim of domestic abuse.
    N wants to know how you would answer questions about whether it’s ever ok to kill another human, if power can be used justly, etc.

  7. FW
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Stuff about women and immigration detention, looking at a report released earlier this week… Stuff about sexual progressivism, criminality as stigma, a couple posts about Hope Witsell, and how we are all sluts. Another trafficking/immigration report, but about North Korea and China, written by a PhD in Geography (of all things), focusing on missionaries.
    And not from me, but I’ve been having a hoot browsing through the Internet Archive on a search for feminism

  8. Feminist Review
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Live Through This: Can Gay Rights Be Gained via HIV?
    The July 2, 2009 ruling of Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT Delhi decriminalized homosexuality in India, and the world declared this a groundbreaking victory for the Indian gay rights movement. While India going gay made for sensational news, the issue that caught the world’s attention wasn’t actually the primary focus of the ruling. The issue at its heart of was HIV/AIDS.
    About Those Swiss Minarets
    At first glance, the ominous poster made by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) seemed to me to be depicting a burqa-clad woman standing in front of a stockpile of missiles. The starkly dubious message being: Stop Islamic Fundamentalism. After reading the accompanying article on Al Jazeera (and than many, many more elsewhere), the poster took on a new meaning: This is what Islamophobia looks like.

  9. Feminist Review
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Call for Submissions: Carnival of Feminists (Theme: Reviews)
    Feminist Review is giving one of our readers a chance to win a custom-made Inspirational Leather Cuff from Michelle Verbeeck! Details are on our blog.
    make/shift: feminisms in motion (Issue 6) strives to reach out to all who identify as female, no matter what their origin or back story, and there is a tidbit for everyone—hopefully more, if you’re willing to learn something.
    The Southern Woman: In an age where regional identity yields to interstates and chain hotels, can I still call myself a southern woman? After reading Elizabeth Spencer’s collection of short stories, I think I can.
    Full reviews at FeministReview.org

  10. Brett K
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    This week at Radical Bookworm:
    New and Improved Gender Norms, Now with 30% More Sparkles in which I am a bit late to the Twilight-critique party, and a bit nostalgic for the (generally positive) influence books had on my youth and development.
    The Revolution is over, sort of in which I reflect on the recent historiography of the French Revolution, and how the study of history reflects contemporary values. Also, eighteenth-century porn! (NSFW)

  11. rebekah
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    This is reference to the Taylor Swift article
    I would like to point out that Taylor sings to teenage girls and that she captures the way that a good portion of teenage girls themselves feel about relationships. Like it or not sometimes those feelings are not always feminist ones. I do not think that her lyrics encourage that kind of thinking, but rather just express that it is real and it does happen. Being a teenage girl in our society is not an easy thing. We grow up with a whole mass of things surrounding our sexuality and how we are to date. I do not think that “fifteen” decries having sex. I do not get that out of the music at all. What I do get out of it is her telling other girls to be cautious about who they are having sex with, which I think is something that teenage girls do not hear enough.

  12. Hypatia
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
  13. Renee
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    The Aretha Franklin PeTA War Continues: Looking at the fat shaming employed by Peta to get Aretha to stop wearing fur.
    Plus Size Glamour Models, But Who’s Missing?: Looking at the ways in which images we claim to be transgressive often create various women as invisible.
    Disableism Impacts Families: Looking at the ways in which discrimination against a differently abled parent makes it difficult to parent.
    A Cross Burning In A Community That “Accepts Black Children”: A young boy becomes a foster child in an old White family and the community responds by burning a cross on their lawn.

  14. Wildhoney
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    There are actually two bisexual characters that can be romanced in that game, one male and one female, so you can have a lesbian sexual relationship as well.
    There’s also group sex.

  15. LalaReina
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that jackass White House Press person Robert Gibbs isn’t on here for his despicable talking down to reporter April Ryan…

  16. Tabs
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Exhibitionism for the Shy, by Carol Queen,
    Yes Means Yes!, by Friedman & Valenti,
    The New Bottoming Book and the New Topping Book, by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy.
    That’s what I’m reading. :)

  17. asseenontv
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Here is Newsweek article on how men generally overestimate their intelligence, women generally underestimate their intelligence, and both groups tend to see men as more intelligent than women. (And this perception is incorrect, of course.)

  18. Sky
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Why does the “Queer the Census” sticker list as options “Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/A Straight Ally”? For one thing, it’s transgendered, not transgender; for another, even though it says “check all that apply,” it still feels like it’s equating being trans with being sexually queer.

  19. EndersGames
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    No. The authors you are thinking of are Thornhill and Palmer.
    David Buss is an evolutionary psychologist who study factors contributing to homicide, stalking, and mating, and factors variation in behaviors across individuals from an evolutionary perspectives.

  20. Cola
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Are conversations about marginalized people valuable if they take place without those marginalized people included?
    I don’t think so.

  21. Posted December 7, 2009 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Holy crap!
    I also recently posted about MRAs! My piece was more specifically about gender roles and sexism, but my writing partner and I spent the better part of the weekend getting slagged by a small group of MRAs (because, evidently, we represent all the evil, nasty “femifascists” in the world) which forced us to respond which encouraged them to respond which forced us to respond again …
    Did you run into the same problem? Nevermind- I’ll go to your site and check it out!

  22. Gnatalby
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I wrote about thanksgiving episodes on gossip girl and classic episode of the sopranos.
    Mostly pleased with this week’s glee, although I have some concerns about a scene of domestic violence.
    A very silly conversation about nip/tuck.

  23. Steph
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Here is Lebron James’ response to the prospect of women playing in the NBA….
    Here’s the highlight:
    “I love all sports,” [James] continued. “I love watching the girls, especially in the Olympics. They’re wonderful in the WNBA. They’re great. It’s a lot of great players. But 10 years, that’s pushing it. I think that’s pushing it.”

  24. jellyleelips
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    He wrote The Evolution of Desire, which is basically a similar pile of untestable, methodologically unsound evo psych bullshit. When I started reading the article and they said “but teh women are MYSTERIOUS!!!” about fifteen times in the first two paragraphs, I checked the authors’ names again. Then I stopped reading the article when I remembered who Buss was. I would never, ever read a book about women’s sexuality authored by a guy who would say that stalking and sexual harassment are mating strategies that somehow evolved in the EEA.

  25. ladybeethoven
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I certainly wish the message was more often “be cautious” rather than “don’t have sex at all.”
    Personally, what endears me to Swift is the fact that she has consistently refused to answer questions about whether she’s abstinent or what her views are on sex. It seems to show that while she’s not going to become a sex symbol in order to sell records, neither is she going to do the opposite and use her position to push abstinence and become a paragon of purity. Regardless of what her choices are, her opinion seems to be that they’re private matters, and using her position to promote one or another view of sex to young girls is abusing her power. I wish more teenage starlets (I clearly remember both Hilary Duff and Britney Spears using their stardom to promote abstinence, and Spears it turned out wasn’t even a virgin herself) could do what Swift is doing rather than feeling the need to be swayed one way or another.
    (Even if it turns out she is planning to be abstinent until marriage, that doesn’t change my opinion of her. I know quite a number of people who’ve made that choice for themselves, and I have a great deal of respect for people who are also able to refrain from getting sanctimonious and preachy, and accept that it’s not the choice for everyone.)

  26. MLEmac28
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Ann wrote that he shot or stabbed 27 people, not that he killed them all.

  27. MLEmac28
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    As angering as the breastfeeding article is, I couldn’t help but laugh at this: “This specific situation escalated to a point where we were concerned for the safety of our guests.”
    How in the world would a woman breastfeeding be dangerous to other people? Is her breastmilk a caustic acid?

  28. MercurialGirl
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I agree with you, rebekah. I do actually think teens are told to be cautious about sex with some frequency, but I don’t think that the message is anti-feminist. Sex is wonderful and scary and in many ways dangerous and caution is advisable. The song exists in a cultural context of slut shaming and that is relevant to any interpretation of the song, but I don’t find the song to be participatory. That’s my opinion.
    Now it is kind of hard to defend “Love Story” from a feminist perspective, but I don’t think its super necessary to hate on her for it, especially the video. If I had been able to make music videos when I was 17 they would have looked much the same. But I think that “You Belong With Me” and “Our Song” are worthy of some feminist kudos. But maybe that’s just me.

  29. gadgetgal
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Maybe they thought they might contain bullets, in which case it was more about pulling a dangerous weapon – after all, boobs are scary, aren’t they? Mine even scare me sometimes! ;)

  30. MLEmac28
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe they thought she was a fembot from Austen Powers.

  31. MoodyStarr
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    In a silly FB status, I responded to the song, “You Belong With Me” by writing, “I wear short skirts, you were t-shirts…” in an attempt to challenge the notion that the “right” girl is the “girl next door.” I guess I kinda took a “choose the good girl, not the bad girl!” message from that song.

  32. katrina_holloway
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    the wording last night was “killed 27 people”. i guess she changed it since then.

  33. Doug S.
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    “You Belong With Me” is about a Nice Guy[tm] that happens to be female. :(
    Just imagine a guy singing it, complaining that the girl he has a crush on is going out with the captain of the football team, who “doesn’t treat her right” and doesn’t understand her, while she sees him as “just a friend”.

  34. Chelsa
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    How is the new bottoming book? I was thinking about putting it on my xmas wish list. ^^

  35. jane brazen
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    At my blog good girls don’t, I wrote a whorephobia 101 post about how stereotypes and tropes are harmful to a productive dialogue about sex work.

  36. April
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I just read your post, as well! (Your comment was stuck in mod for some reason I couldn’t figure out, so it took a while for me to see it.) Great post, BTW.

  37. Tabs
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Ah! It’s good so far! I’m all excited. I haven’t read much on the topic. I’ll let you know when I finish it. :)

  38. tino
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    not to mention they exclude queer, intersex, questioning, pansexual, genderqueer, transsexual, trans, asexual… :/ that sticker doesn’t exactly aim to include everyone, although it’s a step in the right direction.

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