Weekly Feminist Reader

Photo of woman at Occupy Wall Street protest in Times Square
The sign reads: “13% of the population (Black people) have always known how fucked up the system is, 86% just learned this… together we are the 99%” [Photo via]

Rick Santorum would defund contraception because all sex should be procreative: “It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Holly at the Pervocracy takes on some criticisms of sex-positive feminism.

Dr. Pepper’s sexist ad campaign seems to have hurt the brand with both women and men. Maybe sexism doesn’t sell.

True Blood producer Alan Ball is creating a new drama called “Wichita” about the late Dr. Tiller.

Check out this video by Parents Against MS 26 of mothers explaining why they oppose Mississippi’s “Personhood” amendment.

British schools ban girls from wearing skirts out of fears that they are “putting themselves at risk.”

10 very awesome black women teaching us about sex.

The greatest number of women incumbents up for re-election in the Senate in 2012.

“Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom.” So tweeted New Jersey state senate candidate Phil Mitsch.

Women told to go to the back of the bus on the B110 line in Brooklyn.

Conservative website cheers for a woman who refused chemotherapy that would save her life in order to not endanger her pregnancy and hopes that “her story might help all mothers see nothing is worth the sacrifice of their own child.”

Donate to help get this documentary about Alice Walker made.

The douchebag behind the Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street tumblr and video continues to show his misogynist colors by making rape jokes. Charming.

Recent sexual assaults by off-duty U.S. servicemen have sparked outrage in South Korea.

Flavia on call-out culture and blogging as performance.

The Women, War and Peace series aired on PBS this week. Read a review of the first part, I Came to Testify, which explores women’s experiences in rape camps during the Bosnian genocide.

Are anti-choice laws in the states increasingly focused on the supply-side of abortion?

What have you been reading/writing/watching/learning this week?

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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  • http://feministing.com/members/alynn/ aLynn

    I wrote about the lessons I want to teach my HFC (hypothetical future child[ren])


    An episode of Packs and Rec I loved vs. one that disturbed me:


    And the movie Weekend and the representation of gay relationships:


  • http://feministing.com/members/whatwomenmake/ chauncey zalkin

    fine there’s defn truth in that but way to polarize people and also underestimate people who are not black. are all non-black people unquestioning naive fools? not super cool.

  • http://feministing.com/members/frolicnaked/ Tori

    I wrote Unwisely: Part 1 and Part 2 [TW for domestic violence and self harm] about my first experience with relationship abuse.

    This is in preparation for the Domestic Violence Awareness Month Blog Carnival on October 29.

    Trucking Through, the first story I’ve managed to write about my dad, who died 2 years ago. Also features camping, cussing, and duct tape.

    Work Wellness Challenge [TW dieting, weight loss, body policing] — Being unthrilled that the wellness challenge at my workplace centers around weight loss instead of around actual wellness.

    Also a couple of shorter posts, one involving some sarcasm on a bad pain day, the other responding to the search queries that bring people to my blog.

  • http://feministing.com/members/progressabilityproject/ Ali

    Is there room for disability advocacy in Occupy Wall Street?


    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      “If I were to join Occupy Wall Street, which has a huge range of issues that people are protesting, with signs about accessibility, would anyone really care?”

      I can’t answer for every person at Occupy Wall Street, but, we’d care. And so would a few others I know who have been there.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alicia/ Alicia

    “13% of the population (Black people) have always known how fucked up the system is, 86% just learned this… together we are the 99%”

    This sign is negative and divisive. It assumes that everyone else, on the basis of not being black, have previously been ignoramuses on the matter of “how fucked up the system is.” In other words, you assume that color dictates one’s level of knowledge on a particular subject. My takeaway from this is that blacks are knowledgable and non-blacks are ignorant. I don’t think anyone appreciates being told that because they are of a certain skin color that they are “new” to a particular body of knowledge.

  • http://feministing.com/members/jlw28/ Jenn

    I didn’t meant to report this comment!! I only meant to reply.
    I think that the message she’s conveying is not that everyone else is stupid. She seems to me to be pointing out that the situation so many people seem to now be angry about is a situation that Black people have been facing forever. This asks us to wonder why people are just now angry enough to organize something like Occupy Wall Street. I think that’s a fair statement and an important contribution to the dialogue.
    However, I do wonder if focusing on Black people ignores the reality of non- Black ethnic minorities.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tashabunny/ natasha

    I don’t get why anyone on this site is offended by the Occupy Wall Street sign. She isn’t calling non black people ignorant, that’s not the point at all. It’s making a point about white privilege. It’s saying that now white people are experiencing firsthand how black people have been treated for a long time, and now everyone wants us to unite under the we are the 99% banner. Well, we’ve needed unity and solidarity from white people for as long as the struggle for equality, and the culture hasn’t exactly united under racial justice. So it’s kind of annoying, to be told to unite when the culture at large couldn’t unite for all of us and our rights. I’m surprised that I need to explain this on this website, because I expect better from people trying to keep up with feminism.

    I support OWS, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting a little when I’m asked to join the majority of white men fighting for our rights together. Now they want us to join them, well fine, I will join because it’s a just cause that is needed for all of us, but at the same time I want the 99% to take notice to what we’re saying about the oppression we have always faced. I believe OWS protesters have the potential to address the intersection of classism with sexism and racism, and we’ve already had examples of the consensus power they have doing just that. But to address this intersection we need men, white people, and straight people to listen to women, people of color, and LGBT folks about the oppression we’ve been experiencing all along. The only possible gripe I have with this sign is the fact that it could have been better and addressed women’s economic inequality and discrimination and the gender pay gap, as well as the LGBT struggle with discrimination in the workplace and wrongful termination, and racism experienced by non black racial minorities. But it’s a small sign, so that’s probably too much to ask for just one person.

    Instead of listening, some people on this site have denied these injustices and shamed the very idea of a talk about racism and white privilege as being divisive. If it makes you uncomfortable to think or talk about it, I think that’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should just shut up. I thought we supported social change and progress toward equality on this site! If you have white guilt, or you just want to say America’s post-racial or something, please step back and think about it a little more. We just want solidarity; divisiveness is detrimental to every social movement and it’s the last thing anyone wants, so please stop blaming the person who brings up racism for your squeamishness or discomfort on the subject because that’s not the sign’s intention.

    On a side note, that hot chicks of OWS thing pisses me off so badly. I can’t stand this bullshit at all. It’s definitely sexist, and regardless of how the video showcases the women’s political ideas and intelligence (as I’ve heard people defend it that way), the title is all it took to undermine all of that, and degrade the women in the video, and remind me that as a woman I’m a second class citizen and my worth is in how men judge my appearance. It really hurts me to be put down in that way. It’s sad that so many so called progressives defend this, and it goes to show how far we still need to go.

    • http://feministing.com/members/jlw28/ Jenn

      natasha, I agree with what you are saying here and am glad you said it. The only thing I’m still wondering about, though, is about the part where, after listing some marginalized groups that the sign seems to leave out, you say maybe that’s okay since she has limited space to get her message across. I agree that there is definitely room for people to focus on raising awareness specifically about Black people in the U.S. The reason I still think the sign might not be the best way to do that is because it doesn’t just say, hey… look what Black people have been experiencing all along. It says, with the use of the numbers, that ONLY Black people have been experiencing the ways in which the system is screwed up. It just seems like it might be actively erasing the experiences of other marginalized groups instead of simply choosing to focus on the experiences of one of those groups in particular. I’m interested in what other people think about that issue, though. Other criticisms of the sign seem to focus on the fact that the sign is divisive toward White people, and I thought your response, that the ones who speak up about oppression are not the ones causing the divide … the ones who cause the oppression are, was right on. However, do you think it’s fair to say that the way the message is framed in this sign furthers the marginalization of other oppressed groups and fosters a divisiveness among marginalized groups?

      • http://feministing.com/members/tashabunny/ natasha

        I think that’s fair to say. I also think that it’s probably better to talk about the politics of race, gender, or sexuality in personal conversations instead of on signs. The message probably suffers because it’s just a small sign, and it does in fact exclude a lot of information that would be nice to have. Politics are just too complex to work well as slogans on signs. But I understand the feelings behind the sign, of feeling uncomfortable saying “we are the 99%”. My hope is just that people who call the sign simply divisive and that’s the entirety of their perspective on it will just try to understand those feelings the woman holding the sign probably has. But I think your critique of it is sound.

        • http://feministing.com/members/jlw28/ Jenn

          “my hope is just that people who call the sign simply divisive and that’s the entirety of their perspective on it will just try to understand those feelings the woman holding the sign probably has”. Nicely said. Thanks for the response!

  • zill222

    You just know that there is mandatory prayer after sex at the Santorum house. Like “AAAAaaaaaaaaahmen!”

  • http://feministing.com/members/thedelphiad/ Dom

    Loving your body as a radical act. Because there’s more to life than being beautiful

    No safe place for all women? in which I brood about being in a therapeutic environment that feels downright creepy.

  • http://feministing.com/members/regien/ Gina

    Theologian in the Netherlands gets cranky about the supposed pernicious influence of feminine values on the Church: “Faith demands faith and backbone, you have to be different than the rest. You have to be a man.” All those flowers and that emphasis on empathy and compassion is apparently not what religion requires of its adherents…

  • http://feministing.com/members/belldema/ Bell

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment AT ALL on Argentina’s first democratically elected female president getting reelected by a landslide. But I suppose what happens in this thirdworldian backwater of a country means nothing to the Usonians rulers of the world, right? So not cool, guys.