Last night at her concert in Moscow, Madonna appealed for the release of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band which has been jailed for five months after speaking out publicly against President Vladimir Putin. This video sent chills up and down my arms as Madonna spoke about censorship, democracy and freedom. What an incredible reminder not to take our freedom of speech for granted.
The three women were charged with hooliganism for performing a “punk prayer” at a Moscow church and praying for Putin to be removed from the presidency. During their five months of imprisonment, the women say they’ve been mistreated in jail. Their trial began on Monday and the women have said their judge is biased against them. I’ve been writing about Pussy Riot daily in Today’s Lady News, but Mother Jones has a good recap here. [YouTube]
Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
“With ‘The Daily Show,’ I felt like [people criticizing her] were only satisfied when everyone fit into a certain box. “Pretty and stupid” — one box. “Smart and funny” — another box. I believe they fit into this other box, which is, ‘hates women who are pretty and smart and funny.’
The only thing I can do is look at the people who have supported me. Tina Fey is the one who recommended me to the creators of [Munn’s short-lived sitcom] ‘Perfect Couples’ on NBC, and she wasn’t thinking about my breasts. And Jon Stewart would not jeopardize his show to cast some girl based on her looks. I think a lot of women should realize that when we’re putting each other down, you’re putting the same glass ceiling over you that you are on me. The only difference is that I will find a way to go around that. I refuse to live in a world where somebody’s gonna tell me who I am.”
– Olivia Munn addresses that long-ago criticism of her appointment to “The Daily Show,” which rankled some ladybloggers, including me. At the time, what bothered me was that of all the funny women in all the land that Jon Stewart could have cast on his show, he chose a funny lady who was also young and beautiful who had also taken her clothes off a lot in magazines. It seemed … annoying. I don’t believe I personally was trying to put her in a box, just that I felt annoyed by how she wasn’t owning up to using her sexuality to get ahead — which is fine, just own up to it. In retrospect, it seems like criticizing her personally may have done more harm than good. She makes good points here and actually sounds pretty rad. So, I’m sorry, Olivia. (Not that you care what I think, but hey.) [NY Post]
Wouldn’t it be funny if the boys that photographed themselves assaulting Savannah Dietrich got raped right now? Also, that priest, Monsignor Lynn, who is going to serve three to six years for failing to investigate sex abuse claims against priests — wouldn’t it be hilarious if he were raped in prison? And Jerry Sandusky? Just picture him in the showers with a bunch of bigger guys! Are you laughing? No? Well, that’s because imagining someone getting raped is about as humorous as imagining someone stepping on a landmine or getting car-jacked. It’s terrifying and no one deserves it.
But using rape in a joke is another story. A couple of years ago, I taught a writing course at The New School called Humor and Controversy. The premise was that humor artists like Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman speak with more insight and honesty about race, sexuality, reproductive rights, gender, religion, and class than most politicians, which is why comedy is important. Students were encouraged to use wit and self-deprecation to shed light on thorny issues. One prompt was to write an essay entitled “My Rape Fantasy.” Keep reading »
Despite endless work by anti-sexual violence activists trying to change the narrative, the myth persists that rapists —at least so-called “date rapists” — are men who got a little out of control with lust one night and accidentally went too far. It doesn’t help that this is the story that we usually hear on those very rare occasions when rapists tell their side of the story, usually to escape social consequences or even jail.
But recently a self-identified rapist went on Reddit and, for whatever reason, told a story that social research shows is much closer to the truth: Rapists rape because they like to rape. They aren’t confused about consent, nor are they overcome by lust. The pleasure is from the act of overpowering a woman and making her submit against her will. Keep reading »
Feminist groups have joined together to fight for the rights of thousands of workers within Hyatt hotels. Organizations including the National Organization for Women, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Black Justice Center and Christian and Jewish labor groups have formed a global boycott campaign at a conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
So, what’s behind the boycott? Here are some of the unbelievable incidences occurring beyond the Hyatt’s doors… Keep reading »
A theme park in Guilin, China is giving a discount to women if they wear a skirt shorter than 38 centimeters. Merryland Resort’s Love Miniskirts discount runs for the next two months and is the sixth year it has thrown the event. “The stipulation aims to encourage female visitors to showcase their beauty in summer,” the deputy manager of the park, told Shanghai Daily newspaper. As you can see in the video above, women actually get their skirts measured with rulers before entering the park. Seems reminiscent of Catholic school rules to me, but in a completely opposite, exploitative way. Anyway, that theme park must be a creep’s paradise! Do you think discounts for miniskirts are gross or would you happily don a miniskirt if it got you in the gates with a cheaper ticket? [Telegraph UK]
I can’t handle the cuteness: the eight-year-old daughter of a Reddit user penned this adorable answer to a writing prompt about why it’s cool to be a girl. She says:
We have veginas [vaginas]. We get jobs. We are creative. We have stuff that makes us preanet [pregnant]. We have milk in our bobes [boobs]. We are smart. We have power.
So totally true. (Of course, she has no idea how much this “we have stuff that makes pregnant” thing will suck in 20 years when she’s horny and there are no condoms left in the box. But in the meantime let’s not burst her bubble about womanhood being awesome.) What a smart little kid. [HyperVocal]
“I saw ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ last night, and among other things, Catwoman is a feminist superhero with a story line and transformation of her own — plus class consciousness, a girl buddy, equal skills with the Batman equipment, and an apartment of her own in Old Town. And she gets the guy.”
– It’s the movie endorsement you’ve all been waiting for: iconic feminist Gloria Steinem gives a thumbs-up to “The Dark Knight Rises.” Okay, I am pretty sure you were not waiting for that endorsement. [It's worth noting that Steinem's husband was David Bale, who died in 2003, and she is therefore Christian's step-mom, which may make her a tiny bit biased. That said, the movie looks gooood. -- Editor] But I am happy to hear she thinks Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is a great role. The words “feminist superhero” are ones we can always use to more of in the mainstream! [Women & Hollywood]