Weekly Feminist Reader

image says Women are human too
From a human resource handbook for women, 1943.

On the latest Catholic Church sex-abuse cover-up and rape culture. Plus, given this, why does the Church have any legitimacy in the debate over women’s rights?

Honoring Denise Scott Brown, perhaps the world’s foremost woman architect.

Take action in support of Nazia Quazi, a Canadian woman being held against her will in Saudi Arabia.

Is TV for tweens girl-centric?

Parsing what filling out Census forms says about queer relationships.

China requires female astronauts to be wives and mothers.

Amanda Hess takes on the (sometimes) fine line between street harassment and friendliness.

Could “conscience clauses” be used as justification for refusing to fill hormone prescriptions for trans people?

Thousands of military rapists have escaped punishment in the past 15 years.

Missourians: Take action to pass an LGBT nondiscrimination act!

represent 60 percent of women without health insurance, 63
percent of unemployed women, and 75 percent of women in poverty. They
are less employed, make less money, and perhaps most significantly, face
additional discrimination and financial burdens because of the
pervasive assumption that every family has a male “breadwinner.””

This new book looks fascinating: The History of White People.

What have you all been reading/writing this week?

Join the Conversation

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com Comrade Kevin

    I proposed a few reasons for why Feminist membership has dropped off over the years, and how we might begin to get it back (among other things).
    Re-enacting the Past to Serve the Future

  • kataphatic

    I’ve written a couple pieces I am pretty excited about.
    The first asks whether the supplements you are taking are truly helpful or just snake oil.
    The second asks whether the internet is truly a time-waster or whether we can use it for community-building.
    I also put up a quick promo post about other places I’m writing.

  • ninjanurse

    When Pope Benedict is no longer able to deny that he bears scars from his days in Hitler Youth, he dedicates himself to speaking for child soldiers, and ending the exploitation of the innocent. His autobiography outlines a radical change in focus. He hasn’t written it yet, but I’ve reviewed it here. It’s good to be ahead of the curve…

  • http://evilslutopia.com EvilSlutClique

    This week in Evil Slutopia:
    ~The Key of Awesome parody of Adam Lambert’s new video is pretty funny, and makes a good point about exactly why it might be that Adam is in the video all by himself.
    ~Of course we participated in the Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action.
    ~We gave a mixed review to the revised and updated 2nd edition of The Ethical Slut.
    ~Lance Cpl. Katrina Hodge, a soldier in the British army and last year’s Miss England, has gotten the pageant’s organizers to remove the swimsuit portion of the competition. We have mixed feelings.

  • leeraloo

    It’s interesting that, as much as I’ve been exposed to “tween” entertainment, being a big sister and all, I’ve never before noticed how girl-centric it is. While I do know that my sister’s male friends watch shows like “iCarly” without any real shame, I do think it might be kind of alienating for them. Maybe these channels are missing a great opportunity to create some viable programming for young teen boys, programming that might teach them some positive things. I worry that if girl-centric programming is alienating boys, it’ll push them towards more adult entertainment too early, and that’s not really a good thing. Hopefully I’m wrong in most cases, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have shows with positive teen male characters for these boys to watch.
    Also, I wrote a hefty blog piece about Sarah Palin and the tea part movement, and their emphasis on anti-intellectualism. I do touch a bit on my perception of her as a political figure, specifically as a female politician, and how she’s been treated in the media. That’s the first half or third of the entry, if you just want to read that:

  • adag87

    NPR changes their policy on abortion language: http://www.npr.org/ombudsman/2010/03/npr_changes_abortion_language.html

  • April

    I got married and kept it a secret for a year: http://ethecofem.com/2010/03/10/oh-so-i-got-married/
    If you haven’t heard, a corporation is trying to run for Congress:
    I am in the midst of a Philosophy paper and talk about my thesis:
    I scold myself for internet shopping while intoxicated and winding up with a pile of Glenn Beck books:

  • Rebecca

    I just saw this article that says a leaked CIA report recommends using Afghan women to sell the war in Afghanistan to European countries who are rethinking their involvement. Hooray for pseudo-feminist arguments to support war!

  • Becky

    This week at Happy Bodies:
    An analysis of the infamous Old Spice commercials: Are they subverting traditional masculinity?
    Eight Years Old: guestposter Jess reflects on how her experience of her body has changed over time.

  • MandyV

    Feminist Review founding editor Mandy Van Deven turned thirty this week, and in our final fundraising push, she wrote a letter to readers encouraging everyone’s support in the final days of the I ? FR Campaign.
    It is deeply satisfying to encounter poetry like Tara Betts’ [which] bears witness to the true grit of life, including poverty and appearance-based assumptions and experiences that categorize one as Other, even among an already marginalized population. These experiences, and the enduring human spirit…is this thematic material that Betts portrays in her debut collection, Arc & Hue.
    Properly executed, Chloe could have been an erotic thriller par excellence. Instead, the filmmakers never actually decide what they want this film to be. Is this movie simply a portrait of marriage where the thrill is gone or a glimpse into a career woman’s mid-life crisis? Is it an indictment of prostitution—a trade where workers are purchased, used, and ultimately discarded—or a metaphor for how some mothers collude with father-daughter incest?
    I was deflated and relieved when I turned the final page of The Lotus Eaters. It was unlike any other book I’ve read recently: beautiful and somewhat unsettling. If you want to know how to write a great novel, ask Tatjana Solis.

  • MandyV

    Traveling Soon? Don’t Forget to Pack Your Stereotype Repellent!
    MTV and Hollywood contrived images of American women don’t only affect the perception of who we are and how we should be treated in our own country. They also effect the perception and treatment of women from the US while traveling, studying, and working abroad. A recent Global Post article examined the “sexporting” of stereotypes held about American women to men and women in Tel Aviv, France, and Rome. An Italian bartender and club promoter told the journalist that his customers think “American girls are always drunk, and they are really easy, horny, and good in bed”
    The Kitchen Sisters Shift from Food to Feminism
    When I moved to India two years ago, my painfully slow Internet connection made it pretty much impossible to keep up with my favorite podcasting pair, but The Hidden World of Girls has me reconsidering my impatience. Branching out from their food-centric past, Nelson and Silva have drawn inspiration from numerous amazing and courageous women and girls living in urban and rural communities from Estonia to El Salvador.

  • Rebecca K.

    It’s a ‘woman thing’ not a ‘trans thing’ – A Jezebel post on makeup made me realize I don’t feel inadequate as a woman because I’m trans. I feel inadequate as a woman because I am a woman, and we’re raised to assume we’re inadequate
    Getting past passing – On finding joy in being who I am, and not how others see me
    Questions on being trans, from highschoolers, pt 4 – The saga continues!
    Trans Lit – searching for our reflections – Been a while since I posted on trans lit, but a poorly-thought-out Lamda Literary post got me thinking

  • makomk

    “why does the Church have any legitimacy in the debate over women’s rights?”
    Interesting. Let’s not forget that the Catholic sex abuse scandals mainly involved boys being raped. Not women, not even children in general, but boys specifically. A lot of the coverage seems to erase this.
    Raping kids should be wrong for what it is, not just because it’s similar to the rape of women. Even if those kids are male.

  • Thomas

    This week on Yes Means Yes Blog:
    Talking Past Each Other. The first of two posts about a social psychology study of a small focus group of Australian men, I discuss the three models for rape that the authors pull from the existing literature.
    How Is Rape Like A Hurricane? In the second post on the same social psych paper, I discuss the use of “natural causality” to erase the rapist from discussion about rape, and instead treat it like something that just happens, like weather or natural disasters.
    What’s In A Name, about the use of the word “performance” in my Yes Means Yes essay Toward A Performance Model of Sex.
    Jaclyn On Fucking While Feminist, in which I discuss briefly Jaclyn’s now-already-famous interview with Amanda Hess at the Washington CityPaper’s The Sexist blog.

  • saintcatherine

    RE: Amanda Marcotte and Catholicism, about rape cuture:
    I don’t see how rape culture is special when it is expressed in religious folks’ behavior as opposed to anyone else’s. In the decades of the most widespread abuses by priests, rape culture, including its codes of secrecy, were pervasive throughout society.
    The only difference is that with rligion, you add in a kind of special authority that can be exploited in the same way that abusers exploit their authorit as teachers, coaches, husbands, parents/uncles/adults. Rape culture does fit nicely with entitlement, which unfortunately has been a big part of the priesthood of many periods of history.
    Not all of history, though, and certainly never all priests. And the culture of respect for authority that superceded *everything else* is diminishing in the places it used ot have a hold.
    It has lost some of its moral authority because of the actions of a few people. But do not make this about its teachings. That is the big mistake. Amanda Marcotte –though I am sure she has many lovely qualities — doesn’t know crap about Catholic theology (her descriptions of what Catholicism teaches about women would be funny if they weren’t so damagingly ignorant.)She shows her ignorance of Catholicism every time she tries to write on the topic.
    There is so much discussion possible about the Church and culture, including rape culture, but it should be done in knowledge. I wish Feministing would stop posting things about religion without submitting them to the inquiry and skepticism that are due such an important topic.
    At the very least it is a matter of perpetuating stereotypes which lead to hatred of the culture and ideas of another group of people. I thought that was what we were wrking AGAINST here.

  • Nepenthe

    Too true. Every woman is inadequate as a woman, because “woman” is an impossible standard to meet.

  • Dawn.

    Thomas, I just wanted to say: you are a seriously bad-ass writer. :)

  • konkonsn

    I don’t know…whenever I see anyone arguing that girl or woman “centered” media might negatively impact boys because they won’t have male role models, I always think about the video game industry and their argument for having a plethora of male protagonists. That is, the female protagonists will alienate the male player because they won’t be able to identify with her.
    Which begs the question of why women can apparently relate to male protagonists no problem, but men have a problem with it?

  • leeraloo

    I don’t know if it’ll necessarily affect them negatively, I just worry that they may feel the need to look for male-centered entertainment elsewhere – like in video games. So we have boys playing violent or sexual video games (some of them, anyway), and girls stuck watching Nickelodeon sitcoms. Not that it’s a bad thing, necessarily, but perhaps we’re inadvertently pushing boys to relate to a certain “type” of entertainment while girls are left to relate to another type. I can’t help but think there might be some social stigma that says boys shouldn’t watch “Hannah Montana” and girls shouldn’t play “Halo” (or whatever it is boys play), and that these stigmas may push them towards the socially “acceptable” entertainment for their gender.

  • Toongrrl

    I love Amanda, but I hope she gets some input from catholics when she writes about the religion.

  • konkonsn

    It seems like more of an issue of gender politics, then, than what the media portrays. If we tell them it’s acceptable maleness to watch a tween comedy with female protagonists, then they don’t have to go to other “male-centered” entertainment. Honestly, I prefer “male-centered” entertainment because it portrays qualities I like: physical action, leaps of imagination, honor, blood, glory, all that fun stuff. And I like it because it’s what I desire in my life, and I really don’t care if a male or a female has this qualities.
    So if we say, “Hey, it’s totally acceptable for all the mens to like these “women traits,” or these general traits being portrayed by a woman instead of a man,” then I don’t think male or female centered will matter.
    I haven’t watched much iCarly, but what I’ve seen reminds me of every other Nick humor show like Ned’s DeClassified, except you have girls making the gross out faces instead of the boys.

  • materialtruth415

    I really disagree with this. If boys are pushed away from Disney and Nick, it’s because of other cultural forces. There is nothing inherent in the Disney/Nick shows that is “for girls,” just like video games are not inherently “for boys.” When we worry about boys getting pushed away, we are saying depictions of girls aren’t good enough for boys. Yet we regularly expect girls to relate to depictions of boys. It’s just like all those fear-mongering “Boys are doing badly in school” articles. We should focus on having a variety of representations and on the child as an individual, not worry about boys not being able to relate to a female protagonist- because that’s sexist.
    Why should we come up with a show that’s “for boys” if it has the same messages as the “girl’s” show? Doesn’t that just say that it’s less valuable coming from a girl? I think it’s great that boys can relate to ICarly and Hannah; although these shows may be questionable in some respects, it’s good that they show girls being figures that girls and boys can admire.

  • thewetmale.wordpress.com

    A friend of mine wrote a really good blog about simple board games and lollies being assigned a gender as a marketing tool. She’s a bit too shy to promote it here herself but she said that she wouldn’t mind it if someone else did on her behalf so here it is:

  • leeraloo

    Yeah, I think it’s great if young boys want to watch tween sitcoms with a girl protagonist. However, I don’t think that society, as it is now, makes them feel like it’s acceptable behavior. I just can’t see my 15 year old cousin telling his friends that he watches “iCarly.” And at that age, I think we’re all too aware of the gender roles we’re expected to adhere to. Awareness of those sorts of things, and the will to go against them, doesn’t really become tangible until later in their development. Of course, this is mostly conjecture and there are those who don’t really care or who mature faster than others. But because I am aware of the programming on networks like Disney and Nickelodeon, I have noticed that their programming falls into two categories (for the most part): 1. Shows for younger kids of any gender (mostly cartoons); 2. Shows for tweens (tend to focus on a female protagonist and more feminine issues). So I feel like a 14 or 15 year old boy who wants to watch something a bit more mature but doesn’t feel comfortable or have any interest in watching shows like “iCarly” and “Hannah Montana” (and I’m going to guess that this is at least a slight majority of boys) are going to turn to more adult entertainment. There aren’t really any “tween” shows out there that appeal to that idea of “male entertainment.” This includes girls who prefer that sort of thing and don’t find themselves identifying with the girls on Nickelodeon and Disney. I think it’s less a problem with the protagonists and more a problem of tween entertainment not being very well-rounded in genre and topic. The number of “a 15 year old girl named such-and-such and her quirky friends to wacky stuff” shows out there is absurd. For the most part they’re positive and fun, but the options are narrow. If I were a tween now, I’d be hankering for a show that appealed to my sci-fi loving young self, and that’s not there either.

  • http://kloncke.com kloncke.com

    A post on friendly flirtations, and how to navigate hollering from random men, generated a number of rad, insightful comments on my blog this week. Plus the post has classic joints from Musiq Soulchild and Tevin Campbell, with a smidgen of Deep Dickollective, to boot. :)
    I also wrote a piece, inspired by a Marxist feminist study group that’s been meeting at my work/home lately, on connections between nonprofit work and women’s role in reproductive labor. Draws on works by Selma James, Maria Dalla Costa, and Arundhati Roy.
    And also in the nonprofits theme, today I highlighted a really solid article, by Dean Spade and Rickke Mananzala, a couple years old, called “The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and Trans Resistance.” Definitely worth a read.
    Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!