I am a woman. I am a practicing attorney. I am the only woman in my office over the age of 35 who doesn’t color her hair. I have some gray, but not a lot yet, and I never seriously considered coloring my hair until this job. I don’t want to: it’s expensive and a pain in the ass to keep up. About a year ago, I was in court, and a female attorney walked in with curly, bobbed, naturally gray hair, and her mere act of publicly displaying her natural hair color seemed not just unusual but defiant. Meanwhile many men in my office and in the courts have gray hair, and I doubt anyone thinks twice about it.
WHAT A TINY GODDAMN LOSER, FUCK YOU
Something for my feminist theory class.
I’d love to see the reactions to this from a crowd. I can kind of imagine a quiet, solemn understanding from the ladies and a lot of confused questions from the guys… If my memory of art school serves me.
In 9th grade English we read Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak”. For those of you who haven’t read it, the author makes it abundantly clear that the teenage protagonist, Melinda, was raped, before the protagonist actually says it.
Our English teacher asked the boys in the class what happened to Mel. They came up with the most ridiculous answers. Every girl in the class just knew.
This just goes to show…
Not all men menace women, but yes all women have felt menaced by a man.
Every girl understands this because every girl knows the fear implicit in this image.
After voting to move the Paycheck Fairness Act to debate, Republicans turned around and quashed it.
Haaaa, remember two weeks ago when they said the RNC was all about equal pay?
Last Sunday, 17 trans women were arrested in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia were arrested at a local wedding simply for being trans. 16 of them were fined RM950 (296.55 USD) and sentenced to prison for 7 days. If they do not pay up the fine after 7 days they will be sentenced to prison for 6 months. One of the 17 was underage so she was let go, but she is now required to report to the Religious Department once a month for a year.
Justice for Sisters, a support and advocacy group for the rights of trans women in Malaysia, managed to secure a syariah-court lawyer to held these women appeal their sentences. The lawyer advised them to prepare RM1,500 (468.24 USD) per person as it is apparently a common practice for the court to ask for more money from detainees who appeal their sentences.
As their Malaysian ICs all say “male”, if imprisoned, they will be sent to men’s prison and treated as male prisoners - including shaved heads and lack of access to hormones.
Justice for Sisters is currently fundraising RM24,000 (7491.81 USD) and needs the money immediately. They are accepting PayPal donations at email@example.com . (I created the PayPal link - if that doesn’t work just manually put in firstname.lastname@example.org in the PayPal Send To address. Note the “PP.”!)
For more information, email them at email@example.com (note the lack of “pp.”).
From I AM YOU: Be A Trans Ally, a Malaysian social media campaign for trans* people and their supporters. Please pass the word!
EDIT: The first version of this had a typo - the original fine is actually RM950 not RM960 as I had written. The converted amount in USD is correct.
Please donate if you can
An Indiana mother recently accompanied her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend to one of Indiana’s Planned Parenthood clinics, but they unwittingly walked into a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” run by an anti-abortion group, one that shared a parking lot with the real Planned Parenthood clinic and was designed expressly to lure Planned Parenthood patients and deceive them.
The group took down the girl’s confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their “other office” (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby). When she arrived for her appointment, not only did the Planned Parenthood staff have no record of her, but the police were there. The “crisis pregnancy center” had called them, claiming that a minor was being forced to have an abortion against her will.
The “crisis pregnancy center” staff then proceeded to wage a campaign of intimidation and harassment over the following days, showing up at the girl’s home and calling her father’s workplace. Planned Parenthood’s clinic director reports that the girl was “scared to death to leave her house.”They even went to her school and urged classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion.
The anti-choice movement is setting up these “crisis pregnancy centers” across the country. Some of them have neutral-sounding names and run ads that falsely promise the full range of reproductive health services, but they dispense anti-choice propaganda and intimidation instead. And according to a recent article in The New York Times, there are currently more of these centers in the U.S. than there are actual abortion providers. What’s more, these centers have received $60 million in government grants. They’re being funded by our tax dollars.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 24 April 2006
[Emphasis mine. Hear that folks? We are funding terrorists with our tax dollars. The fact that this is legal is absolutely mind-blowing. And when we dare complain, they cry about how they’re being persecuted and censored unfairly, and we’re infringing on their freedom of speech. No, just no. This should not be fucking allowed.]
ETA: Some people in the notes were wondering about the veracity of this story so I found the original source (the citation above was all that was given at the website I got this from). Here’s some more quotes from the original story:
We [Planned Parenthood] have obtained permission to share some of the remarks the patient and her family wrote soon after their encounter with the CPC.
"I have been getting phone calls [from the CPC volunteer] at home and on my cell phone, and they came to my work… saying ‘we will come get you and throw you in a car and take you to a place that is safe.’ I made my decision [to have an abortion]. Even though I had talked to [the CPC person] before, she has no right to be giving out information about me [and my family]. They need to quit harassing me and my family and loved ones. They have come to my home banging on my door and non-stop calling me. I have heard racial comments about my boyfriend [and me]. They keep yelling my name, my mother’s, and my boyfriend’s. They have no right giving out my information, and they need to respect my and my boyfriend’s decision. … They are trying to trap me but this is my decision and no person has forced me and I would like them to stop harassing me, my family, my boyfriend, and my work."
Her mother added:
"These people have given [our personal contact] information to someone at [my daughter’s] school. Now it seems even the students know certain things and are giving my daughter and her boyfriend a hard time as well. Also, the faculty has heard things, too. These people [the CPC personnel] have been standing outside Planned Parenthood yelling obscenities at all who enter. My daughter’s, her boyfriend’s, and my name have been yelled out for all to hear."
ETA #2: You might also be interested in this post I did awhile ago on more recent investigations of CPCs and their deceptive tactics.
Denying a teenage girl her bodily and mental autonomy, harassing herself, her family and friends, stalking her, sharing her private contact information, making racist comments, threatening to kidnap her, and using intimidation and manipulation to force their beliefs on those who disagree. This is the anti-abortion movement when you give it money and power. How very “”“pro-life”“”.
This has nothing to do with ‘pro-life’ and everything to do with ‘anti-women’
A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’
The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.
Your world is full of freedom and possibility.
Then you pick up a newspaper or go online. You read about angry women ranting about sexism and inequality. You see phrases like ‘rape-culture’ and ‘slut-shaming.’ You furrow your brow and think to yourself: ‘What are they so angry about? There is no such thing as sexism anymore.’
Now imagine this:
The year is 2013. You are a 25 year-old Pakistani woman. A few months ago, you married the man you love. A man you choose for yourself. You are also pregnant with his child. You see your life stretching out before you, filled with hope and happiness. Suddenly, you and your husband are dragged away from each other. You are both beaten with bricks and batons. You can’t fight back. You can’t escape. No one comes to help you. Through your fading vision, you look up, and look into the eyes of one of your assailants: into the eyes of your father.
The year is 2013. You are a 23 year-old Indian woman. You are a physiotherapy student with a promising career ahead of you. You are sitting on a private bus travelling home alone on a warm December evening. You gaze out of the window as the buildings of New Dheli rush past you and feel content. Suddenly, a blunt force hits the back of your head and you fall to the floor of the bus. A group of strange men are standing over you. They bring the metal bar down on you again and again and again until all you can taste is the blood filling up your mouth. You pray that you will die soon. And you do, but not then. You are raped, beaten, and tortured over and over again. Death is slow and agonising.
The year is 2014. You are a 13 year-old girl from Niger. You no longer live there though. You are now living in the neighbouring country Nigeria, sitting alone in small room on a small bed in a small apartment high above the city of Kano. You are not allowed to leave. Your stomach is swollen from the unwanted life growing inside of it. You had no choice. The father is a man in his 40s. He is a businessman. He has bought you as his wife. You were a penniless, uneducated girl when he came for you. You don’t know of any life you could have had. Neither did your family: just one less mouth for them to feed. You still have the body of a child, and it’s straining under the pressure from the one inside of you. You feel like you’re about to be split in two. You don’t wonder if you will survive the birth. A part of you doesn’t want to.
These are fictionalised accounts of real events that have happened to real women living in our world today. They follow the past 250 years of women and men campaigning for women to be given equal rights to men to prevent these kinds of injustices and abuses on the grounds of gender taking place. Over the course of this time, campaigners – Feminists, both female and male – have been locked up, beaten, tortured, and even killed, in the pursuit of equality. They did this with pen and ink and print; they did this with their voices; they did this with their bodies; they did this with art and music; they did in courts of law and halls and houses of government that they fought be to allowed into.
They did this so that women would no longer been seen as property, livestock, breeding machines, sex objects, punching bags, or infantile morons. They did this not just for themselves, but also for their daughters, and their daughters, and their daughters for generations to come. They did this for women they would never meet – women who lived across countries, across vast oceans, across the entire globe, and even across time.
They did this so that women like me – a white Western woman – could attend school and university; to learn to read, write, and think critically; to gain a degree; to get a job and be paid an equal salary to a man in the same position; and to sit here with my own computer and type all of this.
Feminism is a movement for freedom, equality, choice, love, compassion, respect, solidarity, and education. We may argue, we may disagree, we may struggle to understand the choices and perspectives of others sometimes, but these core beliefs of the movement have never changed, and they never will.
That is why I am a Feminist.
If you feel that you have so far lived your life unaffected by even the mildest form of sexism – anything from feeling uncomfortable when a man catcalls you in the street, to feeling scared walking home alone at night in a secluded area – and are treated with love and respect by every man in your life, then to you I say: I’m glad for you. If you don’t think you need feminism, then that is a victory for the movement. You have fulfilled all those dreams that every suffragette being force-fed in prison and every ‘witch’ burnt at the stake dreamed you would one day.
But perhaps take a second to consider the life of the Pakistani woman who was beaten to death by her own family for marrying a man of her choosing. Or the life of the Indian woman who was raped, beaten, and murdered on a bus by a gang of men. Or the life of the little girl in Niger who was sold to a man more than twice her own age and forced to carry a baby that may kill her to deliver. Do they still need feminism?
And perhaps take a second to consider this too: Even in our liberal, Western world, why do women still only fill 24% of senior management jobs? Why are more women than men domestically abused or even killed every week at the hands of their male partner or ex-partner? Why is there still a pay gap (in the UK specifically) of 15% for women doing the same jobs and working the same hours as men?
And what about on a cultural level? Have you ever noticed how comedy panel shows usually only have one female panellist compared to 4-5 male ones? That almost every dieting product on the market is solely aimed at women? How a lot of newspapers and advertising campaigns will use a sexualised or pornographic image of a woman to sell news or products that have nothing to do with sex?
Or perhaps on a personal level: Do you choose to wear certain clothes because you want to or because you feel ‘unfeminine’ if you don’t? Do you choose to cover yourself up because you want to or because you feel ashamed or intimidated by a man looking at your body? Do you shave your legs and underarm hair because you want to or because you will look ‘ugly’ if you don’t? Did you parents dress you in pink as a baby because they liked the colour or because you were born a girl? Do you want to have children because you want to or because you are a woman?
When you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, do you see yourself through your own eyes, or through the eyes of the men that will look at you when you walk out the door?
The fact is, like it or not, you still live a world where gender matters. Where gender controls not just the entire course of your life – but the lives of women all over the world. Every second, a child will be born female in a country where she will persecuted for this random biological occurrence for the rest of her life. So before you hold up your anti-Feminist placard proudly and smile at your own sense of empowerment, think not what Feminism can do for you, but what it can do for that one girl. She needs someone to stand up for her. That someone could be you.
[ x ]
Read this. Read all of this. Then read it again.
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.
whoo boy am I sick of this, yuuuup
I never thought about it like this before, not in conscious terms, but yeah, I’ve noticed this, too. This is really crappy!
The reasons Black women suffer disproportionately from abuse are complex. Racism and sexism are two of the biggest obstacles that Black women in America face. But because many Black women and men believe racism is a bigger issue than sexism, Black women tend to feel obligated to put racial issues ahead of sex-based issues. For Black women, a strong sense of cultural affinity and loyalty to community and race renders many of us silent, so our stories often go untold. One of the biggest related impediments is our hesitation in trusting the police or the justice system. As Black people, we don’t always feel comfortable surrendering “our own” to the treatment of a racially biased police state and as women, we don’t always feel safe calling police officers who may harm us instead of helping us. And when we do speak out or seek help, we too often experience backlash from members of our communities who believe we are airing out dirty laundry and making ourselves look bad in front of White people.
Access to employment and economic self-sufficiency are also important. Racism has a disparate impact on Black people, men especially, who have, for the past six decades, consistently been held to an unemployment rate almost double that of white men. In a society that measures “manhood” primarily by one’s ability to provide, being denied access to the means to provide can cause some men to seek power through dominating women. For some men, the venting of anger turns violent and their partners suffer the greatest blows. Black women also face employment disparities, earning less than Black men and White men and women. This wage disparity limits available options and leaves many women, particularly mothers, feeling trapped in bad relationships where financial needs trump all.