Wonk-y magazine Foreign Policy‘s most recent issue, The Sex Issue, is right up our alley with a cover story article about the how the real war on women is in the Middle East. Author Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-American writer who was beaten and sexually assaulted by police while protesting in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Her piece, “Why Do They Hate Us?“, is worth a read on its own.
But images used for the piece are also causing controversy: an attractive, naked woman is covered in body paint made to look like a niqab (a body-covering veil), with only her eyes showing. Newsweek‘s Tumblr lauded the images as “powerful,” while a Tumblr blogger who goes by the name That Sassy Arab chastised the magazine: “Nope, newsweek [sic], this is not stunning and powerful, or awesome. This is highly offensive and completely misguided.” Other critiques of the images used by FP, and the article by by Eltahawy hereself, are here, here and here.
What do you think, Frisky readers? [Foreign Policy]
Today in Awkward Diplomatic Kerfluffles: the entire country of Ukraine is pissed at the entire country of The Netherlands for airing a commercial that implies sexy, sexy Ukrainian women are a bunch of husband-stealing sexpots. The ad was made by a Dutch energy company called NLE and references the Euro 2012 soccer games, which will be hosted by the Ukraine. (On a side note, any other Americans find it utterly impossible to keep Europoeans and their various soccer tournaments straight?!) The ad shows a woman Googling the words “Ukrainian women” and coming up with images of super sexy hot Ukrainian ladies. She then immediately goes and purchases an at-home beer tap, presumably so her husband will stay on his couch and not leave her for some random blonde chick in the Ukraine during a soccer match. Ukraine is now pissy that the commercial will affect tourism during the Euro 2012 games. Keep reading »
A doctor, a dentist, and an alternative medicine practitioner were all secretly filmed offering to perform or arrange female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the UK Guardian. FGM involves removing all or part of the external female genitalia, and sometimes sewing the opening to the vagina shut. It’s all supposedly for the purpose of making it impossible for a woman to have sex for pleasure and therefore ensuring her “purity” upon marriage.
The so-called “female circumcisions” are performed on girls as young as 5 and is widespread across Africa; you can read more about FGM on the World Health Organization’s web site. Thankfully, human rights and women’s rights activists across the continent are condemning the horrific procedure. As such, both performing FGM and arranging for it to be performed are illegal in the UK. But that doesn’t stop FGM from occurring in the UK: the Guardian claims 100K women in the country have been mutilated. I hope those doctors know FGM carries a 14 year prison sentence and are shaking in their boots/heels. [Guardian UK; Telegraph UK]
Planned Parenthood Federation of America clinics in 11 states have reported a string of suspicious incidents where women come in asking questions about sex-selective abortions, leading the organization to believe it’s being targeted with a “hoax” by an anti-abortion sting operation.
Women claiming to be pregnant came into clinics over two dozen times, asking provocative questions about sex-selective abortion, the Huffington Post reports. (Patient confidentiality prevents PPFA from identifying the clinics.) The women asked questions like how soon they could find out the gender of their fetus and whether they could schedule an abortion if they were expecting a girl. Keep reading »