This week, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee tackled the scourge of sexual violence in the military and voted to remove military top brass from their ability to overturn convictions for sexual assault. Yet Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said the hearings were “stunningly bad,” as military leaders were unprepared to respond to the questions from senators and unwilling to consider many suggested changes.
Here are five things you should know about what went down this week as Congress took substantive steps to eradicate the military’s sexual assault problem. Keep reading »
The story is always the same: officials find it too hard to tell men to control themselves and not sexually harass women, so they place the responsibility and blame on women instead.
In this instance, Chinese police have asked women to refrain from wearing revealing clothing on buses or subways. According to China Daily ,“Women should not wear minimal clothing, such as miniskirts or hot pants when taking public transportation and should call police promptly if they are sexually harassed.” In case women just can’t resist wearing hot pants on the subway, police suggest that women use shopping bags, newspapers, or magazines to cover themselves up. Keep reading »
This piece originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
Warning: Some parts of this article, and individual hyperlinks, are explicit, and may be considered NSFW.
There’s a lot of pressure to have a good vagina. Rapper Missy Elliott’s mysterious “Pussycat” is a ballad from a woman to her genitals. She pleads that they not “fail her now” so her lover won’t cheat on her. Then she disguises her voice through a creepy filter and raps as her lover, backhandedly affirming that he’s “glad [hers] ain’t that gushy stuff.” Ten years later, I’m still not sure if the song is parody or commentary. It reminds us that in a culture that reduces women to our appearances, we can feel like not much more than walking vaginas. And if you flip and reverse that argument, when we sexualize women, we see women’s genitals existing to perform for a partner’s pleasure. Where every part of a woman’s body is taxonomized, judged, and sentenced, it’s no surprise that we treat our vulvas with fear and disgust.
I know a few extra things about how women regard their genitals. While creating my documentary,Subjectified, I had intimate conversations about sex with women across the United States. In the jarring words of a funny, self-confident, conventionally gorgeous 23-year-old, “I don’t think I have the prettiest genitals…I remember like three years ago I put a mirror down there, and that was the first time I saw up-front what was going on…I was totally horrified for a whole week.” Another woman described how her genitals were seriously injured in childbirth, requiring reconstructive surgery that she couldn’t afford. She felt stuck in a dysfunctional relationship because she was ashamed to show her body to anyone else. Our feelings about our genitals reverberate through our lives, and we project a life’s worth of insecurities onto our private parts. Keep reading »
Beatriz, a 22-year-old pregnant woman in El Salvador with serious health issues, has finally had an abortion that will hopefully save her life.
The mother of a 14-month-old was 26 weeks pregnant with a fetus missing parts of its brain and skull; doctors had warned that Beatriz, who has kidney issues and lupus, could be killed by carrying the pregnancy to term despite the fact fetus was not expected to live more than a few hours after birth. Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court of El Salvador refused her appeal to terminate the pregnancy citing its strict ban on all abortions. While Beatriz’s death was possible, the court said, it was not “imminent.” After international outcry, on Thursday the Health Minister of El Salvador finally approved an end to her pregnancy by C-section, which is also called a hysterotomy.
Beatriz had the potentially life-saving procedure yesterday. As expected, her 27-week-old female fetus died. Keep reading »
Jessica is off today, which means Today’s Lady News will be a reader submission edition! Submit your own links to news articles and blog posts about women, girls, trans-identified people, gender roles, feminism or sexism in the comments. Just write a sentence or two summary explaining what the link is about and give everyone a heads up if it has language or imagery that’s NSFW. (And links do get posted in comments — just be patient!) Jess will be back tomorrow!
The Internet Rape Joke Wars have been waged, on and off, since at least last year, when comedian Daniel Tosh responded to a woman who had challenged him during his set about the number of rape jokes he was making with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?” (The questions about rape jokes pre-date The Tosh Incident, of course, but that was the watershed moment in which those questions broke into the mainstream – at one point, Louis CK had to go on “The Daily Show” to address a seemingly-supportive tweet that he’d made to Tosh.) Since then, the debate has heated up and cooled down, depending on what jokes comedians are making.
Most recently, it was a low-profile comic named Sam Morril, whose set was challenged in a column by feminist blogger Sady Doyle, that reignited the issue. And last week, feminist and comedian Lindy West of Jezebel took to television and debated the issue with comic Jim Norton on FX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” During the 12-minute segment, West made her points, Barry made his, and a lot of people on the Internet came away from the discussion with the exact same opinion they started with.
West’s argument centered around the (mathematically hard to dispute) fact that, sitting in the crowd each night a comic performs, there’s likely to be someone who has survived a sexual assault, and these jokes are likely to make that person’s night much, much harder. That’s true, and it’s absolutely worth considering. But there’s someone else who is likely to be in that room to hear it at some point, too, and how the joke will make that person feel is important, too. I’m talking about the rapist. Keep reading »
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of El Salavador refused an appeal by a 22-year-old woman with serious health issues to have a lifesaving abortion. Beatriz is 26 weeks pregnant with a fetus missing parts of its brain and skull; it is not expected to live for more than a few hours after birth. Her doctors said Beatriz needed to terminate her pregnancy, however, because of complications with her ailing kidneys and lupus. The court ruled this week that since Beatriz’s death was not “imminent,” it would not allow doctors to give her an abortion.
But yesterday, following an international outcry, the Health Minister of El Salvador approved a Cesarean section for Beatriz, which will effectively terminate the pregnancy, “in the event of an emergency.” Keep reading »