Today’s Lady News: France To Fine Women Who Wear Face-Covering Veils In Public

  • Today, the French government passed a bill to fine a woman $185 if she wears a face-covering veil in public. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the fine would send a message that it is wrong for women to cover their faces in public, such as with a burqa or niqab. But critics say the “burqa ban” is anti-Muslim and fans the flames of racial tension. [Washington Post]
  • Parents took to the school board meeting of Hillsborough County, Florida, yesterday to debate whether Bellamy Elementary in Tampa was right to ask a mother not to breastfeed her 2-year-old in the school lobby, while waiting for her child. Florida law says mothers can breastfeed their children in public, but the school says it needs to maintain order. [St. Petersburg Times]
  • Louisiana’s state senate passed a bill yesterday requiring that a women receives an ultrasound before she has an abortion and that she hears an explanation of the fetus’ development. The original bill was amended to allow women to decline to view the ultrasound screen. The bill now heads to Louisiana’s House. [NOLA.com]

  • A 36-year-old American woman who is an aid worker has been kidnapped in Darfur, Sudan, the U.S. Embassy has said. The woman worked for Samaritan’s Purse, which was founded by evangelicals. [CNN]
  • Ellen Page from “Juno” has signed on the to play the lesbian girlfriend of a New Jersey police officer, who tries to get her benefits passed on to Page’s character as she is dying. The flick, “Freeheld,” will be a dramatic representation of a documentary of the same name. At the time the doc was filmed, only married couples could get the benefits. [Feministing]
  • American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis doesn’t think women can direct. In an interview with Movieline, Ellis wrote, “Is there a reason that there isn’t a female Hitchcock or a female Scorsese or a female Spielberg? I don’t know. I think it’s a medium that really is built for the male gaze and for a male sensibility.” Oh, but it gets better! Ellis continued, “I have to say that a lot of the big studio movies I saw last year that were directed by women were far worse than the sh***y big-budget studio movies that were directed by men.” [Jezebel]
  • The New Yorker investigates how Chelsea Handler “muscled her way into the boys’ only comedy club.” Apparently, it was with sex appeal. Not, you know, talent. [The New Yorker]
  • New data on 2009 plastic surgery trends is out: Basically, all procedures are down from 2008, including Botox and breast and butt implants. Sadly, this probably has more to do with the economy than sudden, radical, widespread body acceptance. [Guardian UK]
  • The owner of a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Alabama will pay over $1 million to 19 female employees in a sexual harassment settlement. A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the female employees, including three teens, had to withstand unwanted sexual touching and that male employees were not disciplined for openly discussing their sexual desires at work. [Business Week]
  • Ticket sales for the women’s music festival Lilith Fair are slow, according to co-founder Sarah McLachlan. Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Selena Gomez, and others are slated to perform during Lilith Fair this summer. The majority of tickets are $25 or so, McLachlan said, so the issue appears not to be affordability. [Advocate]
  • DeRionne P. Pollard, who is African-American and a lesbian, has been selected as the new president of Montgomery College in Maryland beginning this August. She has been in a relationship for over 20 years and has a 3-year-old son with her partner. [Advocate]
  • A blogger for Salon.com’s Broadsheet defends women’s colleges, like Smith, Barnard and Simmons. [Broadsheet]

INTERNATIONAL

  • Dr. Dylan Evans, a behavioral science professor at the University College Cork in the UK is facing sexual harassment charges after he showed his female colleague a paper about the sex life of bats and explained how bats can pleasure each other with oral sex. His colleague Dr. Rossana Kennedy said Evans had repeatedly raised sexual subjects with her before, office tries to hug her and kiss her on the cheek, and has generally “made the workplace unpleasant” for her. Get new moves, dude! Nobody wants to hear about the sex lives of bats. [Daily Mail UK]
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