Update: I'll take this project on later today. My internet access was out all last night.
The 38th Carnival of Feminists will be at Team Rainbow on May 16.
Activist efforts & results of activism
- Two participants on an A-list blog set up a Paypal account, asked for money, and reached about half the amount of money needed to sustain a Native American women's center on the brink of closure. Meanwhile, the amount of money raised was enough for the shelter to house a runaway woman this weekend instead of just taking her call and talking to her
- Kat Ricker at The Mighty Mix" followed up on Lisa Kuronya, a boxer who challenged gender discrimination in stipends given to high-level amateur boxers for tournaments. She won! Kuronya & other top-level female boxers will get the same quality of travel arranagements at the same personal cost as male boxers.
- Ms. Jared at Sinister Girl on a Walk Against Rape in San Francisco.
- Vox at Vox ex machina made some very good points about the propriety of how politicians are reacting to demands by comfort women and linked to a petition & a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives
- Sylvia at The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum offered advice for living your life in a way that better supports people who feel threatened by sexual violence. The final words of comment #4 are great.
- Blackamazon at Having Read the Fine Print enumerated ways we can pay a heck of a lot more attention to people who are affected by sexism and racism.
- Kristy at kblog and her partner/roomie "Mr. T" aren't happy with movie offerings and presentation:
"Yes I know that while white males hold plenty of privilege they also may have lots of problems. I'm just sick of watching stories based on their lives, told by them. ... It's easier to fix the white issue, unfortunately there is no section for female movies. Maybe the video store could implement a very small shelf just made up of movies told by female characters.
Since the video store hasn't done that, yet, Kristy decided to make a virtual "dedicated shelf."
- I'd recommend e-mailing at least the librarians at the Bentonville Public Libraries, and perhaps e-mailing the Mayor & City Councilmembers, in detailing why you think it's proper to have a lesbian sex manual that received a raving review and the assessment "For all public libraries" from Library Journal. Why? There's a man who's already gotten the book at least temporarily pulled from the shelves and also wants the library director fired.Personally, I stayed away from the "free speech" and "multiple perspectives" angle, as that doesn't go away with people who think multiple perspectives lead to people committing atrocious, immoral acts against one another. I played to that very fear and wrote about the atrocious, immoral acts teenage boys have been committing--like cell-phone-filmed gang rapes--lately as their exposure to [increasingly violent in the mainstream] porn has been less and less counterbalanced by any exposure to details about consensual, non-hurtful sex.
But feel free to take your own approach.
- It's great that Ms. Nakashima put sexualized threats against internet opinion-holders on the front page of the WaPo, but bloggers weren't willing to take any chances! Take Back the Blog was a blogswarm (that means that everyone blogs about one subject and tells the host page that they did so --ed.) against threats--especially sexualized ones--against people--especially people belonging to non-dominant social groups--who express their opinions online.
- Ellen Nakashima wrote an article full of strong, certain, non-wishy-washy words about women getting sexualized threats online simply for existing, and it seems the Washington Post published it on the front page! Good. (Thanks to Feminist Law Profs for the tip-off.
- The Daily Kos is starting to direct its liberally-minded attention towards women's issues.
In the last three weeks, in addition to posts directly related to the Supreme Court's decision, at least 3 feminist user diaries stayed on the "Most Recommended Diaries" list all day (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), at least 2 or 3 well-discussed feminist articles appeared on the front page (1, 2), and several interesting feminist user diaries were featured near the tip-top, most attention-getting spot in "diary rescue" articles on the front page (1, 2).
Also, Kos himself is taking paternity leave (except for an article or two a week) from the Daily Kos--and in my mind, that's a significant pro-feminist action.
I recognize that the site still has a long way to go--Kos did write that horrendous "It's not as if those cowards will actually act on their threats" article, and as Pam Spaulding and Tinfoil Hattie pointed out, Pandagon was the only "major lefty blog" to shine a spotlight on Akon's apparent sexual assault of a woman onstage (and I kind of wonder myself if a user diary on that subject would've made it into the "most recommended diaries" list, even during this increasingly feminist time on the Daily Kos).
Nevertheless, I thought it was worth taking some time to point out positive changes!
- Blackamazon at Having Read the Fine Print enumerated the sins of dominant members of society and the sins of members of the media in "Hip-Hop Didn't Do That Shit"
- M. Dot at Model Minority might have written the most concise summary of what has people calling what Akon did on stage to a woman "sexual assault," generally in feminist circles, and "wrong," generally in the general public. (By the way, I like the suggestion in Pandagon's comments to edit his Wikipedia entry. Just please do be analytical in your writing and reasonable about your sources--you wouldn't want to see links to opinion blogs as the only sources for an opinion about birth control, would you? --ed.)
- Fire Fly at She Who Stumbles May Not Fall pointed out in the "Stage" part of The Sex Of Street And Stage that determining the offensiveness of Richard Gere's actions upon Shilpa Shetty by the degree of sexual contact means founding one's argument on the following statement: "Male agency defines and constitutes what is sexual, while women’s agency is a non-issue." Read the post for more well-written points!
- Rev. Sequoyah Kofi-Ade at Intelligentaindigena wrote about the past and present of relationships between non-native-Americans and native Americans in light of the sexual assault study that recently gained publicity. The photo he accompanied it with is heart-wrenching.
- Fuck you, people Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN, USA, for getting your asses out of your chairs to rally in support of only one side in a rape case. Fuck you. (More specifically, the side that the good historical assessments show has a higher probability of being the one not telling the truth. Though I do allow for some temperance of that by ideas like Sailorman's on consent understanding types and on "moral rape" and "criminal rape" (like "kill" versus "murder")--but not enough to completely flip the probability!) (Thanks, Yolanda Carrington.)
- *headsmack* Following gang-rape-glorifying model shoots and then DV-glorifying model shoots, let's publicize racism-glorifying model shoots, everybody!
- Madeleine Begun Kane penned a song parody to criticize the First Lady for arrogantly uttering extremely hurtful words.
- Samhita at Feministing posted a video of a boy dancing in a way traditionally reserved for women in American pop culture. Samhita wrote:
Why can't I dance like that? Clearly, Beyonce is NOT just a role model for little girls.
- Carol Holder at Can't Holder Tongue asked what kinds of highly influential and powerful women we should cross our fingers the hardest to get to see at this moment in time: women whom society entrusts with power because they display "inherently feminine" qualities or women whom society entrusts with power because they display long-valued qualities that society previously didn't believe women were capable of possessing?
- Sticking overall to "femininity" might be a wonderful thing for a person to do--just check out the feminist speculation about Segolene Royal!
But here's a trait currently belonging to "femininity" that I think "feminine" could do without from now on: body hatred (yes, even the jokes we make to show we're reasonably humble--find another subject to demonstrate humility with, please!). Read more about women's relationships with their bodies in Figure's interview of Dr. Suzie Orbach.
- At Diary of a Goldfish, Goldfish wrote a fabulous "sex and gender" post with references to what biology knows and conjectures about what people should do.
- I'm not sure which I like better about Padma's post at Pass the Roti On the Left Hand Side: hilighting the crazy idea that a menstruating woman is anything but "fit" (on account of her menstruating status, that is) or speculating that some people think of being a good office worker as impossible for anyone who has a reminder of his/her existence as an animal.
- Avtor Lina na at Uncool pointed out a lot of evidence that Western society is not "post-feminist" (or, as she said, "feminized." Don't confuse that with "made more feminine.")
- Sparklematrix guessed that Female Sexual Arousal Disorder is "disease mongering."
- Michelle from Mutant Cat was not too happy about an American abstinence-only educational program's description of men's vs. women's reactions to sexual stimuli.
- Ann Bartow / Dundee at Feminist Law Profs found a series of public service announcements that assumes online sexual exploitation only happens to girls and women.
- Pinko Feminist Hellcat decided that if so many people in her society were going to explain the origins of sexual violence with gender essentialist theories about sexual desire and consent, then she'd better propose a plan to reduce sexual violence based on their theories.
- m. at Sthreeling brought attention to sexism in a mainstream Indian magazine's article art.
- Andrea Tekanji at Shrub wrote a post on game design that I think is best summed up by its first subheading: "If it's not about making 'ugly' avatars, then what is it about?" She also offered companies advice about transitioning.
- Satire video "The World Series of Uno" is a nice example of filming women/girls/men/boys in ways that don't essentialize by gender.
- Veronica at The Red Thread wrote about princess toys and princess gear marketed at girls.
Editor's note: If you'd like a primer about feminism in children's toys and gear, browse through the archives of Packaging Girlhood and Girl Wonder.
- Note: This post is on racial essentialism, not gender essentialism. --ed. N.K. Jemisin guest blogged at The Angry Black Woman about the lack of racial diversity in science fiction.
- Lisa Fortuner at Newsarama insisted, "Nobody who wants to see real diversity in any medium wants to support censorship," because apparently it's crucial to convince comic book fans that contentions about representation of social groups and contentions about social issues are not discussions they should keep drowning out with worried posts about censorship.
("Contentions:" "analyze, criticize, complain, demand, and generally make a pest of myself," according to Lisa! :-) -ed.)
- John Finney at Growth is Madness (which I believe focuses on both economic and population growth--ed.) drew attention to and commented on Katha Pollitt's feminist post about population growth on Alternet's EnviroHealth.
Finney liked Pollitt's piece because she seemed to keep "women's issues" and "population growth issues" separate in her analysis even as she pointed out the ways they can both hurt the same people.
The article itself covers Europe's population growth-encouraging policies (many of which make feminists proud) and questions whether those very policies, by causing population growth, are going to hurt women in the end.
- Jeremy Adam Smith at Daddy Dialectic saw a little bit of gender essentialism and a lot of classism in an article Linda Hirshman wrote (and mentioned him in) about staying at home vs. working outside the home.
- The Supreme Court & the ban on Dilate & Extract abortions
- Veronica at The Red Thread described her feelings about saving her life via late-term abortion before, while, and after pregnancy and expressed what she thinks the ruling says the 5 judges think of doctors and of women.
- KC at Bligbi related a personal story (that even involves a physician denying birth control to a woman too poor to shop around and get it by any means) as a refutation of bans on Dilate & Extract abortions.
- DBB at Disgusted Beyond Belief wrote about his wife's health-related abortion (fortunately, it was legal for him to choose to abort before "or she'll die!" was 100% certain). He attracted some controversial commenters--one in particular tried to explain why he definitely valued the life of his potential kids more than the life of his wife.
- Marcella Chester at abyss2hope wrote about many subjects in "Why I'm Not Eating Crow Over the Duke Case". Highlights:
- Legal philosophy that, because an assumption != evidence, assuming that alleged rape victims' claims are truthful does not undermine alleged rapists' "innocent until proven guilty" status in a court of law.
- "Allowing this 'she was just a 'ho' argument to stand unchallenged is the same as giving rapists a list of who can be raped without fear of prosecution."
- Comments on theories that the accusations were a hoax
- John Palmer at LongHairedWeirdo mused that perhaps actions of several lacrosse players gave Ms. Magnum an overwhelmingly realistic flashback to a previous sexual assault. He speculated:
She left behind her handbag, with a good chunk of money in it.
Tell me that she was treated respectfully and in a non-frightening manner, but she bolted without her money, and it just doesn't compute.
it seems impossible to believe that she wasn't frightened by something.
People who think she was seeking revenge for something said or done to her, remember this: she didn't go out and make those accusations. The police were called because of her condition (seeming to be drunk), and it was only after the officer hassled her a bit (the report I found said he used a hold that would be painful if she didn't move as he directed) that she broke out of her shell and said she'd been raped.
This, to me, does not sound like a person trying to get revenge and making up lies. It sounds exactly like a traumatized person coming out of a daze, and reporting what she believed happened.
A flashback can seem real, as if it's happening right now.
later that night, she then reported to the police what she remembered, as best as she could.
Let me say that again and emphasize it: as best as she could.
It is not a "lie" or a "false accusation" or "revenge" if, having been traumatized once, she was scared, and had a flashback, and couldn't keep the two events separate in her mind. It is the responsibility of the authorities, the police and the prosecutors, to investigate the accusations. Crime victims often misremember the details of what, exactly happened.
I'm not going to excuse DA Nifong for what he did, but I will suggest that his motives - not his actions, but his motives - were better than most people believe.
- Marcella Chester at abyss2hope wrote about many subjects in "Why I'm Not Eating Crow Over the Duke Case". Highlights:
- Cynical at Cynical Anti-Orientalist wrote about Seung-Hui Cho's "in between" status due to the age at which he immigrated to the United States and enumerated some social structures we could tweak to better accomodate people who immigrate at that age.
- Ariel Wetzel at Shrub wrote about institutionalized violence (a close topic to "state violence").
- Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon wrote an essay that, especially towards its end, lists and conjectures a lot of personal situations that make good examples for mentioning in pro-choice arguments.
- Silver, a commenter on Gizmodo, tried to show her principles about objectification and about violence with her feet by leaving a site and explaining why--unfortunately, people made fun of her on both counts. In response to the former, she got the usual run of "But don't you like objectification? I do!" replies from both men (TheBugMan) and women (Demial). *sigh* I'm trying to decide whether or not I'll refer them to jlg1's Objectified != Idealized and Annalee Newitz's Wired Discovers Feminism, Puts Naked Man On Cover.
- Kactus at Super Babymama asked about sex positivity for the nonsexual being (or the person who's not as sexual as she used to be).
- Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town renamed "sex-positive feminism" "individualist fluffy feminism" and gave reasons she wishes people wouldn't embrace it so often.
- Belledame222 at Fetch Me My Axe wrote her first full essay on porn.
- Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy reponded to a reader question about porn, and I was intrigued by this quote:
...anything called "porn"...exists only to enthrobulate the fetishization of culturally-generated (and, frankly, comically hokey) constructs. It is readily apparent to the visitor from the planet Obstreperon that these constructs include arbitrary standards of [long list: read the post--ed.]--and that they have, at their root, everything to do with a paradigm of dominance and nothing to do with actual sex between individuals with equivalent personal sovereignty.
What do you think? Does Twisty's list of inclusions in culturally-generated constructs have anything to do with actual sex between individuals with equivalent persnoal sovereignity? Does her list have everything to do with a paradigm of dominance or only "somewhat of something to do" with it?
- The Angry Black Woman surveyed her female readers of color to ask if race or gender had given them more difficulty in life. For TABW, it was gender. For many commenters, it was race.
- Edith Yeung pondered whether the idea that someone can "complete" another person is a good one for people to have.
I would say that whether it can be true for someone or not depends on the person, and that we should encourage people--in a Heinleinian way--to think that 0-10+ other people might "complete" a person! You never know what you'll grow up to be!
But then she threw me a curveball--what if someone who is a "completer" feels self-completed yet wants to be in a relationship with the person they allegedly complete? As Edith put it: "Can’t you imagine Jerry’s girlfriend responding with 'That's great Jerry, but I complete me. Would you be okay with that?'"
- Andrea Tekanji of Shrub explained why she thinks it's a good idea to call our ideas "feminism" rather than "humanism" or "anti-sexism."
- Academic Pointillism's author wrote an academic-style essay about poor treatment of members of certain social groups and looked into possible membership demographics on Digg.
- Tze Ming Mok at Yellow Peril shared her experiences with online harrassment.
- Pinko Feminist Hellcat was not happy that women are looked upon harshly if they wear either too little or too much to the swimming pool.
- Piny of Feministe cross-posted one sexual assault survivor's account of why she didn't tell, and comments with other readers' accounts of what happened and why they didn't tell started flooding in. It's powerful.
- BetaCandy at The Hathor Legacy's feminism subsection explained why sexual assault is different from other kinds of assault.
- Dora of Shrub posted a series of reflections on her academic readings for a college course called Women and Violence.
- Xyzskybabe reposted a review of Andrea Dworkin's Woman Hating.
- Lauren at Faux Real criticized Linda Hirshman, saying Hirshman preaches to women she constantly disparages.
- Heidi at The Wood Vale Diaries ran calculations on childcare costs in the UK.
- Sandra at Here in Korea lost most of her creative impulse after childhood, but she is thoroughly enjoying watching her daughter display the same zeal she once did.
- If someone you know is a gamer and identifies as a girl or woman, send her Cerise Gaming Magazine For Women. It's new. (Oh, and of course think about getting her a subscription to Shameless and cluing her in to the blogs, where people older than the magazine's target audience seem to congregate and converse in the comments section.)
- ChasingMoksha at hah! warned the blogosphere that a "Stop Violence Against Women" blog sticker is an ad-driven hoax.
- Frank Deford's rant about Title IX on National Public Radio started out like most offensive Title IX rants do, but in the middle he said, "Of course, we can't blame young women for..." and ended with proposals that, while some people might discount them as absurd, feminists have to admit are delightfully free of gendered punishments for people who didn't do anything wrong!
- I almost didn't include this, because by the end of the day the event was referred to a counter-terrorism force. However, I do need to hilight this quote to give fellow Christians the same kind of perspective it gave me:
You can bet that people won’t be getting dirty looks for wearing crosses or crucifixes, or for having fish symbols on their car, or saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes. Tomorrow, there won’t be any reports of a group of priests being arrested for praying in an airport.
What a difference a majority can (but doesn't have to) make. :-(