The Weekly Feminist Reader is back!

Before I became a contributor, I was an avid Feministing reader. And one of my very favorite features was the Weekly Feminist Reader–which appeared every Sunday to alleviate the weekend news lull. I’m told that some people savor reading the Times on Sunday mornings, sitting at a sunny kitchen table with coffee in hand. But for me, it was all about the Weekly Feminist Reader on Sunday afternoons, hunched over my computer with leftover pizza. Sadly, last year the Reader’s former curator, Ann, got busy and then super busy and the Reader kinda fell by the wayside.

Until now, that is! I am very pleased to announce that I am officially resurrecting the Weekly Feminist Reader.

So without further ado…

An Egyptian general admits that the military performed forced virginity tests on female protesters arrested at a demonstration last spring.

A depressing infographic on the maternal health care crisis in the U.S.

The Life Zone is a movie about women kidnapped from an abortion clinic and forced to give birth against their will. Supposedly, it offers a “powerful, anti-abortion climactic twist” which is surprising since, to me, it just sounds like the single most terrifying horror movie of all time. (h/t The Frisky)

Our own Jessica Valenti on Slutwalks and the future of feminism at the Washington Post.

Rihanna’s new video Man Down, which depicts the singer killing a man who had sexually assaulted her, sparks controversy. She defends it. More from the Crunk Feminist Collective and Ms. Magazine.

Samhita talks transnational feminism in an interview with Brown Girl Magazine.

A new report says the global War on Drugs is a total failure and we should end it now. The White House says not so fast.

Anna Holmes follows up on her awesome Twitter project with a column exploring the role of women in the Freedom Rides during the civil rights movement.

Loving Robyn so hard these days.

“What can you say about a “conceived in rape” tour?” Nothing. There are no words.

A Community post about the conservative scrutiny and harassment of the “Weiner girls”: “What this whole situation has done is illuminated how little the right wingers think of young women. We couldn’t possibly be legitimately interested in politics, we must be sluttly little temptresses.”

Eva Rivera asks: “What if the star of “Pretty Woman” was a woman of color?”

“I could be a feminist and a Muslim.” A profile of Fatemeh Fakhraie of Muslimah Media Watch.

Rep. Barney Frank calls out sexism: “There is no question that the effort to demonize Elizabeth Warren is in part because a woman shouldn’t be telling bankers what to do.”

Male birth control: Could it finally happen?

Dana Goldstein says Jill Abramson, the new NYT executive editor, is an unabashedly feminist journalist. Yay!

What have you been reading/writing this week? Leave your links in the comments.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

Read more about Maya

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  • Lauren

    There’s unfortunately another side to the question of male contraceptives. I read an article (linked below) in which the researchers are seeking “a high[er] bar for safety” for male contraceptives. Apparently, the risk of blood clots in women taking contraceptives is acceptable since women can get pregnant (meaning the risk is worth it to prevent pregnancy, so they’re not going to bother trying to make it safer). However, “you can’t use the same justification for a male contraceptive.” Why? Because men are free to not take responsibility if they get a woman pregnant? Because men are worth more, so getting blood clots from taking birth control is unacceptable? I just don’t understand. Maybe the article was poorly worded or maybe the researcher was misquoted, who knows, but it sounds bad from my viewpoint.


    • davenj

      “However, “you can’t use the same justification for a male contraceptive.” Why?”

      The point the article tries to make is this: hormonal birth control in women carries the risk of blood clots, but the rate of incidence of these clots is very low, meaning that the risk of negative health effects as a result of becoming pregnant are much, much higher than the risk of negative health effects due to blood clots.

      As a result, this birth control is medically justifiable because while it involves some potential side effects, it prevents a greater health threat in the form of unplanned pregnancy.

      However, since that is not a threat that men face, the standards for rate of incidence effects need to be lower to make a similar drug medically justifiable.

      Short version:

      Women: Risk and danger of side effects < Risk and danger of unplanned pregnancy

      Men: Risk and danger of side effects sans the possibility of unplanned pregnancy, limiting medical justification

      • Sam Lindsay-Levine

        There’s a logical flaw in your reasoning, isn’t there? For female birth control, you are comparing the risk of side effects in one human being to the risk of unplanned pregnancy in one human being. For male birth control, shouldn’t you make the same comparison – the risk of side effects in one human being against the risk of unplanned pregnancy in one human being? Why should it matter whether the two human beings are the same individual or not? (Unless the male taking birth control is not having penetrative sex with women, but that seems like a corner case.)

        • unequivocal

          For male birth control, shouldn’t you make the same comparison – the risk of side effects in one human being against the risk of unplanned pregnancy in one human being?

          No. As always, bodily integrity trumps everything else. Accepting a personal risk in order to diminish a different personal risk is not morally equivalent to accepting a personal risk in order to diminish someone else’s risk.

        • davenj

          “For female birth control, you are comparing the risk of side effects in one human being to the risk of unplanned pregnancy in one human being.”

          For female birth control it’s the same human being. For male birth control it isn’t. That’s the difference.

          A woman can risk blood clots or unplanned pregnancy, but both occur in her body. In the case of male birth control medicine the risks of blood clots of whatever else occur in that person’s body, but the risk of unplanned pregnancy is in another person’s body.

          Your math doesn’t seem to add up. It’s 1a:1a for the first party’s risk, but 1b:1a for the second party.

          • Sam Lindsay-Levine

            You and unequivocal are begging the question.

            I asked “why does it matter that the two risks are to two different people” and you answered “because they are to two different people”.

            Assuming informed consent, why does it logically or morally matter?

          • unequivocal

            Sam L-L,

            You make a strong point. On further consideration, I’m going to have to retract my above comment and think about this some more.

            I will say that it does still seem to me to be intuitively obvious that there is both a logical and moral difference between assuming a risk that benefits someone else, and assuming a risk that benefits yourself. However, given that I can’t clearly articulate why I feel that way, I’m going to bow out and think about this some more.

    • sex-toy-james

      Don’t forget that the other barrier to male birth control is the risk of losing hundreds of dollars a year from every woman on hormonal birth control. You bet they’ll scrutinize and exaggerate every possible risk in male birth control to keep from losing that cash cow.

  • Ariel

    Love that you are bringing this weekly back! Thank you! I only recently found feministing but already I was wondering if there was something like this that I was missing. Glad that I can now get on here weekly if I can’t get online daily. Thanks! =D

  • Tori

    I’ve been writing a little this week about sexual assault and dealing with triggers (TW on everything below):

    Sarcasm & Triggers — On using sarcasm as a coping mechanism and folks’ reaction to that.

    Me & My Camel — On using yoga asana (well, at least one) to work through triggers and dissociation.

    I Wouldn’t Do Anything Differently — Reflecting on the choices I made the night I was raped.

    • Matt

      i was wondering, in your post about sarcasm you said that it was part of your processing. trying to find humor and decide how you felt. you were upset that people told you it wasn’t okay to take that tone, that it was trivializing your experience.

      if someone else had made a similar letter like that, that seemed to trivialize rape, are they somehow bad, but you arent? i dont know if you would consider them to be a bad person, or ignorant, or w/e, which is why i’m asking.

      i would contend that, apart from some people who have just been socialized in a way that they consider your experience trivial, there are many people who work up a similar response. they might find what you wrote funny. or have a stream of consciousness in a similar vein. because they are trying to process the same thing as you, perhaps it doesnt hit them with the same force, this doctor laughing at you, and his ignorance about trauma, and after all, he isnt a trauma surgeon, he doesnt work in mental health. expecting him to be more cognizant of rape trauma than a non doctor is unreasonable. of course, you should probably not allow him to operate. is he a terrible person for not understanding? no. he is human. but is he a bad choice for the medical services you need? absolutely.

      and now im off track, but i have trouble separating my thoughts. i guess what i mostly wanted to say was, some people will process the idea of what happened to you in a way that is similar to how you did it. they are trivializing it because it scares them. so much of medical culture is about the doctor, what makes it easier for them to work. whats efficient. when i got a catheter inserted to get a urine test because it hurt to pee, it hurt like hell and i swore, and they yelled at me to shut up, which was not really appropriate. they are trained to consider the problem and not the patient. some people dont deal well with this. so the people who make the joke are not bad. they are just working through a trauma, admittedly not on the same scale, but with the same human limitations in regards to tools.

      and my final point, perhaps the reason that people were angry at your tone is because of this too. they saw the humor. your note was funny. sarcasm generates a powerful positive feeling in me. i enjoy using or hearing it. and because they saw the humor, they felt bad. they didnt want to admit that it was funny, because then they feel like they are laughing at something which should not be laughed at. they felt bad, they had been attacked for this kind of not, gallows, but i guess dark humor. and so they lashed out at you, they thought, what this person did, it made me feel bad. it nots good. they shouldnt do these things.

      maybe what your doctor did isnt right, maybe these people should not have attacked you, but i hope it helps to know why these things happened, of course this is only my opinion, maybe im wrong. but i dont know that the doctor, or the lashers are bad people. just confused. lost. rape scares people, and like you humor is a defense. perhaps your doctor hadnt had this issue before, he didnt know how to respond.

      i think that all doctors in who work in issues with the excretory and reproductive systems should have training. the medical profession should give them the tools to deal with these issues.

      sorry if i rambled on. more things came to mind as i wrote previous ones.

  • emmie

    Ugh, I just saw the trailer for “the life zone”. Scary as hell! I can’t even tell if it’s a joke or not. What’s even more scary is that if the laws keep changing the way it’s going we just might end up going in this direction!

  • Sam Lindsay-Levine

    Cold leftover pizza – great breakfast, or the greatest breakfast? (Opinions vary, I admit.)

  • Sarah Buttenwieser

    This was always my fave feature on Feministing. Hurrah that it’s back!

  • Dom

    Musing on culture and its effect on me and my feminism: Misogyny – you’re soaking in it!

    A reflection on Chaz Bono’s comments about women: Why transsexuality is not a manifestation of gender essentialism, no matter what one transman says.

    Stiletto feminism? The difference between “I like sex” and “I want creepy guys who can change my future to get creepy with me”.

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    I watched the “Man Down” video by Rhianna when I first heard about this controversy and apart from personally liking it, have two questions: 1)Where were all these “concerned parents or whatever they are” decrying the fictionalized violence in this video when there were photos of her in the paper beaten and bruised from real life violence? and 2) As long as they’re complaining about fictionalized violence in the video why do they complain about her retaliating against the man but not about the scene where HE assaults HER?