Weekly Feminist Reader

New York Gov. David Paterson’s office was accused of intimidating a woman who tried to press domestic violence charges against one of his aides.
Maryland will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Women on public assistance testify on the Hill to change welfare policies.
“A white person tossing out ‘girlfriend’ in a professional conversation with a black woman equals epic fail.”
Can Facebook save Emily’s List?
The sad stats about women in Hollywood. Plus, 30 movies that are for and by women.
A really upsetting review of several new books and reports about prison rape.
A new French law would require people with restraining orders against them to wear electronic monitoring bracelets.
The third PostBourgie podcast is up!
Call for submissions: MAMA SAYS GOOD GIRLS MARRY DOCTORS – Retaining Control, Negotiating Roles: South and East Asian Diasporic Women and their Parents
Muslimah Media Watch interviews Emma Tarlo, author of Visibly Muslim.
Is a new documentary about domestic violence raising awareness about the issue or making a spectacle of survivors?
Why Caster Semenya is NOT like the main character in Middlesex.
Anti-choicer Lila Rose strikes again, attempting to discredit a reproductive health clinic in Milwaukee.
Ohio teens demand real sex ed.
“Are we socialized to believe that despite study after study saying that women overwhelmingly feel relief after an abortion, that two adults in love must break up?”
What have you all been reading/writing this week?

Join the Conversation

  • Becky

    This week at Happy Bodies:
    Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Nko explores the values and pressures we assign to bodies from a very young age.
    What we don’t talk about. Jill explores the ways women are asked not to sympathize with each other, and the need for women’s spaces.
    “You have been charged with representing your brotherhood to Dartmouth as racist and insensitive”: Protests against frats and sororities at Dartmouth.

  • GalFawkes

    Gone With the Wind? Really? I suppose Scarlett is a strong woman, but I’d argue that the movie/book definitely uphold some backwards gender, to say nothing of race, roles and Scarlett herself upholds some of them. And Thelma and Louise isn’t there? (ETA: oh oops, a man directed it. Still. It’s pretty feminist.)

  • http://menstruationresearch.org/blog Elizabeth

    This week at re:Cycling, the blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, we’ve got a visit from the Period Fairy; Chella Quint’s commemoration of Fashion Week with menstrual couture; recommended reading from ladyblogs; feminine protection for the iPad; new research on periods and pain sensitivity; video clips from “That Not So Fresh Feeling: Marketing Embarrassing Products To Women” panel at HousingWorks in New York; and book review by David Linton of The Bleeding of America.

  • http://evilslutopia.com EvilSlutClique

    This week in Evil Slutopia:
    We decided that figure skater Johnny Weir was the best and most interesting thing about these Olympics, so we declared him an honorary member of the Evil Slut Clique and decided that we’re just going to write about him every day now.

  • http://genderacrossborders.com Gender Across Borders

    Here’s what’s been going on at Gender Across Borders this past week:
    A Conversation with Alison Bechdel: GAB interviewed author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
    Amorous Old Men and Kenya’s Waning Reproductive Rights
    Are Children an Oppressed Class?
    Why Women Matter
    Also, International Women’s Day is a week from tomorrow (March 8)! GAB is hosting the inaugural Blog for International Women’s Day (IWD) event. To sign-up your blog, go to the Blog for IWD main website, http://genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/.

  • Courtney S.

    This week I responded to Rachel Simmons’s post about the hook up culture, arguing that we are doing women a disservice when we accept the history of dating given to us by anti-feminists. The sexual revolution and feminism did not give us the negative aspects of the so-called hook up culture, and the situation that Simmons describes is a continuation of sexist dating practices like courting, not a break from them.

  • Athenia

    re: abortion love story
    Our conservative society doesn’t want to admit that the abortion keeps the couple together….despite the fact that having the kid doesn’t guarantee the guy will stick around. It’s so sad to watch 16 & Pregnant and see all these girls get so disapointed that the guys don’t stick around. Maybe that’s the awesomeness of Juno and Catelynn/Tyler stories–they’re trying to destory the myth that a baby will make it all better.

  • firstripegrapes

    I wrote about the Women’s Medical Society scandal here in Philadelphia over at Feminists for Choice : Unsafe Abortion Clinic Isn’t Representative of All Clinics.

  • Thomas

    Sadly, This Deficiency Is The Norm. There is a lot of information left out of most sex ed for teens, but the biggest omission is structural. Discrete informationaimed at preventing pregnancy and infection is not the only thing teens need. They need holistic education to guide them from childhood to sexual adulthood.
    Acceptence Via Normalization, Understanding Via Pathologizing. The title is taken from an academic article on representations of BDSM in mainstream media. The problem with those representations is that they operate in ways that reaffirm the dominant paradigm. This has been true throughout the history of sexual minorities.
    Divorce Rate Horseshit. A pop-culture fake statistic about divorce that’s, as some geeks say, “so bad it isn’t even wrong.” Lots of links to statistics.
    Call For Production. I had the same thought Dan Savage did about Miss Beverly Hills’ claim that she has gay friends, even though she believes that Leviticus says they deserve divine punishment: leave aside that “some of my friends are …” is not a defense; it’s probably not even true. She says that, but I don’t think she can actually produce an out gay person who will be seen with her in public.

  • Alice

    It’s not new, but the link about women on public assistance testifying before Congress on how ineffective welfare is at getting them out of poverty reminded me of this article, The Dead Zone: The Implicit Marginal Tax Rate.
    “To say that antipoverty programs in the United States are perverted may be an understatement. When you take into account the loss of means-tested benefits (e.g., cash assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and health insurance), and the taxes that people pay on earned income, the return to working is essentially zero for those in the lower two quintiles of the income distribution.
    For many of the working poor, the implicit marginal tax rate is greater than 100 percent.”

  • Brett K

    This week at Radical Bookworm:
    The Abuses of History – On anti-choicers’ co-option of the story of racism and eugenics in America.
    Ottawa Columnist Argues for Forced Sterilization – An op-ed in the Ottawa Sun suggests that women who deliver children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome should be forcibly sterilized; I attempt to express just how horrifying this is.
    And, on a lighter note, Breaking News: Canadians Enjoy Hockey, Beer – Because all this controversy surrounding the Canadian women’s hockey team is ridiculous, really.

  • Rebecca K.

    Laser tag and pole dancing as gendered behavior – One weekend, two very different experiences of gender expectations
    Doctors, Self Defense – I’m considering taking a self-defense class, and would love to hear experiences from other women
    Vibrators – Trans women like vibrators, too (Email me for the post password)
    Agency and Rewriting history – Continuing thoughts on how to move past regret

  • MandyV

    Now I Will Swoon: French-American couple Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp make their on-screen debut as French-American lovers Simone de Beauvoir and Nelson Algren in My American Lover. How do you say “awesome” in French?
    The Goode Family makes for good TV: The entire premise—if you have enough progressive political awareness to get the jokes and can laugh at yourself—is riotously funny.
    GaGa for Condoms: ‘It’s not complicated, just a fashion statement,’ said pop star Lady GaGa of the range of condoms she’s designed with Jeremy Scott for the contraception brand Proper Attire.
    Furious French Feminists Say Debt Campaign is Très Cliché: In a new campaign advertising a €35 billion loan the French government is taking out, the nationalistically symbolic Marianne is depicted as barefoot and pregnant. Who thought that was a good idea?

  • MandyV

    In the spirit of Gloria Anzaldúa, Finding Gloria: Nos/otras is an independent zine featuring the words and art of various contributors. Anzaldúa was a writer, poet, and artist whose work focused mostly on her identities as a woman, Chicana, lesbian, and feminist. The title of the zine comes from Anzaldúa’s work. Some of the contributors work directly in projects honoring her, and many of the pieces cite Anzaldúa or use her style of writing.
    Gilbert’s engaging prose and witty, self-deprecating style are intriguing, thought provoking, moving, and hilarious. Committed picks up where Eat, Pray, Love leaves off. Gilbert and Felipe have been living together happily on several continents, but their domestic bliss is brought to an end when U.S. Immigration detain Felipe at the airport in Dallas and then deport him. The couple is advised that the only way Felipe will be able to enter and live in the U.S. again is if they get married.
    I didn’t intended to write a review of The Blind Side, but when my aunt responded to my Facebook status deriding the film’s racist indoctrination by saying my critiques were a figment of my liberal imagination, it all came flowing out. The Blind Side is a version of (Black) NFL player Michael Oher’s true life story of being taken in by a (White) Christian family in Memphis, TN during his final years of high school after ending up homeless. (How he ends up that way is never explained in the film.) The family cares for him and helps him graduate from high school, go to college on an athletic scholarship, and eventually play professional football. Meant to be a feel-good film, Oher’s story actually isn’t told from the vantage point of Oher himself, but from the perspective of his surrogate mother. And this is where the misstepping begins.
    Feminist Review is the most popular blog whose sole purpose is to analyze various products from feminist perspectives. We’ve been going strong for more than three years, and now we need your help to keep bringing you our unique and innovative content.

  • G.D.

    Thank you so much for the shout!

  • DalekSec

    Well Gone with the Wind is a period piece. The defintion of ‘Strong female character’ must needs stretch to fit historical guidelines.

  • Robin

    No Make-Up March —
    Try to go a whole month without wearing make-up, and reclaim your beauty on your own terms!

  • TheWhiteRaven

    Gone with the Wind was also directed (and produced) by a man. The book was written by a woman, but even the screenplay for the movie was written by a man. I’m not really sure, then, why it makes the list of a movie “for and by women.” And that is before you even get into the racism within the movie.

  • Devoted_Toucan

    ^ I’ve never worn make-up, but I can’t say I’ve done any claiming (or re-claiming) of beauty.
    Interesting. I thought any kind of American – of whatever race; seting; age (sex/gender) – could say “girlfriend” and it’d be fine. I first saw it in American shows and films coming from young, White females, so I wasn’t aware that it’s supposedly typical of Black women. Either way, tis time you all learn that if you’re referring to a female friend, there’s a GAP between “girl” and “friend”. :| ;)
    Funny (but not) story there. When I was going abroad the other year, I asked the woman I’d be staying with if it would be OK if someone came in with me to my room sometimes. She asked if this person would be my “girlfriend”, and said that they could even sleep over and have breakfast whenever we wanted. Turned out that she meant ‘female friend’, which caused us rather a lot of trouble once she came knocking at the bedroom door one morning and said that person couldn’t stay any more because she hadn’t realised we were together in ‘that’ way, and her and the other guests thought we were being “very rude” (for…existing?) It really upset the person I was, and made the rest of the stay very awkward/uncomfortable for me.
    And about the films, I’ll say it again. If you want strong women in movies, watch modern (emphasis on the modern) horror films! (Unless violence is triggering for you – my partner’s really gotten into watching them with me, but I make sure I warn them before anything possibly triggering happens so that they can “hide”.) I know that femninists hate that women always seem to be targeted in horrors movies (which tends more to be the ones with human ‘bad guys’), but isn’t that also often true of real life? I dunno, horrors empower me. The main female characters are generally smart and brave, and this gets them through. But I do advise watching with somebody else if you are at risk of being triggered, or asking a person who knows the movie to tell you whether or not there’s anything sexually violent in it (’cause you’ll probably want to avoid those completely – I make sure to when watching with my partner as that’d be too upsetting for them).

  • Toongrrl

    Need to show movie list to my movie buff BFF. Thanks for the link!!

  • Kathleen Hagerty

    While I’m not a huge fan of Gone With the Wind (I agree that the blatant racism and downright corniness bothers me immensely) I don’t think that we should discount films as being by and for women, just because a man directed them, especially in the case of older films, when women were much less welcomed into the directing role than they are now. In the case of someone like Vivien Leigh, who played dear Scarlett O’Hara, the actor made the movie a success. Back then especially, actors became known for certain types of roles and also for their personae, which drew people into the theatres. So, you see, while Viv didn’t direct the movie, she made it. Same with people like Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and others whose star-billing guaranteed the success of their films.
    I would also posit that many films made by men are great feminist masterpieces. Look at basically any movie by Woody Allen, who has written some of the best female roles in the history of film. Also, Lee Daniels, who directed Precious.

  • Jjuliaava

    Welfare re-reform is a pressing issue. I am sad that feministing didn’t cover this primarily female issue more in depth. Also, I appreciate the link to Color Lines, but the mentality that women of color are the ones in receipt of government temporary aid for their families is a furthering of the stereotype of the black welfare queen. Welfare “beneficiaries” are majority white in this country. There are 89.9 Americans living in poverty according to us census in 2008–up 2.5 million from the previous year. TANF needs extreme revamp. TANF NEEDS MASSIVE OVERHAUL. It is temporary, mandatory life-time limits, forces people into minimum wage jobs with no upward mobility–or else poor families are sanctioned. There is a family-cap that needs to be removed. On and on… Welfare is a sham used to create a base of poor workers great to exploit. THIS IS A FEMINIST ISSUE>!!!!!!!!!!

  • everybodyever

    I agree regarding the director issue in old Hollywood pictures. At that point in the studio system, a movie’s director ordinarily was not properly considered its auteur as he might be years later (Orson Welles notwithstanding) — especially not when its producer was David O. Selznick. Victor Fleming came on board as director of Gone with the Wind only after George Cukor had already begun work directing.
    I recall some interview with, I believe, Jules Dassin in which he said Selznick once approached him to direct the follow-up to Gone with the Wind; Selznick’s partnership with Fleming had fallen apart and left bad blood. Dassin had never directed before and was dazzled and flattered by the proposal — until he realized that Selznick just wanted to make a point that he could hire anyone and still make a hit and that the producer, not the director, made the picture.

  • linecaro.wordpress.com

    To add to that, historically there were racist welfare laws saying who was good enough to spend time mothering (an assumption by the law), and therefore desired welfare, and who should work. Surprisingly, white women were “deserving” of welfare way more often. And there then there were all sorts of other issues, such as one couldn’t get welfare if an unmarried man lived in the house. The book “Pregnancy and Power,” explores this well: http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780814798287-2

  • Kathleen Hagerty

    Wow, that’s really interesting. I usually think of the director as the main storyteller in the film process, but I guess that’s not always the case!

  • Phenicks

    How could a racist movie be “by and for women” when there exists non-white women who the movie would of course blatantly be AGAINST?

  • PatriarchySlayer

    Did anyone else HATE Gone With the Wind? Am I the only one that got some serious creeps from that movie?

  • PatriarchySlayer

    PS. I was trying to look for some awesome new shows to add to my list today. There was almost nothing new out there with strong (or even main) female characters in it. I was really really disappointed. Can anyone point me in the direction of a Veronica Mars/BTVS type of a show?

  • makomk

    Oh dear. Looks like another article arguing that poverty is all a result of the evil progressives giving people state assistance, and that if it was cut off they’d all magically get jobs and move out of poverty. Curiously, things don’t seem to work that way…

  • Alice

    Though I don’t necessarily disagree with that idea, this article is only criticizing the extremely high marginal tax rate on the poor, which results from means tested benefits, and which largely removes inventive to produce wealth of one’s own. Indeed, it off-offhandedly mentions Friedman’s negative income tax idea as an alternative, which would itself be a massive welfare program, but which would not make working counter-productive, as existing programs do.