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 »
The book Fifty Shades of Grey has brought to the forefront of modern society and readers’ minds the fact that some women (and men) enjoying BDSM play in their sex lives. Shocking, right? What sort of deviant wants to be spanked or tied up or told they’re a “bad girl”? I’ll tell you: about 60 percent of my friends — mostly women, but some men, too.
As with any book that explores a realm diverging from the mundane, there has been a lot of talk about not only the writing (apparently it sucks), but also the topic. While some are appalled by it, others, like myself, are just giving my fellow friends who enjoy some spanking action high fives. It’s about time that a woman wanting to play the submissive role in the bedroom is portrayed in a light that makes it seem like a normal sex act, not something that goes on in a creepy S&M dungeon. Read more…
A few weeks ago, an article in the Orthodox Jewish newspaper The Jewish Press began to make waves in the religious community. Yitta Halberstam, a well-known Jewish author, wrote about the process of trying to find her son a wife. In her part of the Jewish community (a right-wing faction of Orthodoxy sometimes known as yeshivish), it’s not uncommon for a professional shadchan (matchmaker) to pair up young eligible men and women. A shadchan who makes a successful shidduch (match) can be paid well for their services. However, there has been a recent “shidduch crisis,” which is that there are more prospective brides than grooms. Orthodox boys are waiting longer to marry, while girls are essentially considered over the hill if they’re not married by 18 or 19.
One way that shadchanim (the plural of shadchan) have tried to solve this issue is by hosting events where mothers can meet and interview prospective daughters-in-law. Halberstam attended one of these events and she admitted that the whole process made her uncomfortable. However, as the mother of an eligible bachelor and therefore someone in a position of relative power, Halberstam could have called off the whole thing and pointed out how awkward and unfair it was to the young women involved.
Instead, she penned a long rant about how young women should wear more makeup and their families should be willing to pay for plastic surgery if that’s what it takes to land a husband. Keep reading »
Lila Rose, a twentysomething anti-abortion activist who conducts “sting” operations on Planned Parenthood, penned a piece last week for the news site Politico about the voice she says has been absent from the debate over women’s health care: “that of the anti-abortion feminist.”
Now, it’s not a news that a feminist would also be opposed to abortion; there have always been feminists who have made the individual choice not to have an abortion when presented with an unwanted pregnancy. The problem is when women who call themselves feminists and are also anti-abortion try to climb into my bed, my OB/GYN office, my medical records, and tell me what to do — women like Lila Rose, who writes:
We are women who view the intentional killing of children not as a constitutional right, a matter of privacy or a necessary evil but, rather, as profoundly anti-woman and the antithesis of love. … We are women who believe that something precious is lost when fertility is intentionally excluded from marriage, a sacred bond and a total giving of each spouse to the other. We are women who believe that sex and pregnancy aren’t just health issues; they are also inextricably linked with family, morals, faith and values. And we are women who love everything about being a woman, including being mothers. Keep reading »
“I think Sarah Silverman had a quote where she was like, ‘Sometimes with an old guy with misogyny you’re just like, “You cute old guy. You misogynist.” I almost feel like ['Two & A Half Men' co-creator Lee Aronsohn, who complained last week that too many women have shows on TV ] is holding on desperately to a world that no longer exists … I felt especially bad for him because it’s not even a funny joke. If you had a good quip, I’d be like, ‘Well, you’re a dick, but at least you’re a good comedy writer!’ But with that, I was like, ‘Come on, dude. “Labia saturation point”?’ It’s also so dumb. There’s three shows on TV about women, so I guess we really reached our limit. It’s not like three-quarters of the world is comprised of women, you idiot.
I almost wanted to do a tweet, but I didn’t do it: ‘Since we’ve reached our labia saturation point on television, I’ve decided not to release “Girls.”‘ Like, ‘HBO’s behind me on this decision and we’re so sorry for anybody we’re disappointing, but we really can’t over-vagina the TV. Lee has spoken.’”
– Lena Dunham, creator of “Girls,” responds to Lee Aronsohn’s fretfulness last week over reaching “peak vagina on television.” Lena’s got a point: if you’re going to be a sexist asshat … at least be a funny sexist asshat. [Huffington Post]
Dear Guy Who Seemed Cool On Our First Date But Freaked When I Said I Wanted To Take Sexual Stuff Slowly And Sent Me A Barrage Of Douchey Text Messages Which Culminated In Pronouncing Me “Crazy”,
I feel as if we have gotten off on the wrong foot. Keep reading »
UPDATE, 1:40p.m.: Mother Jones is reporting the clinic is “temporarily closed” and the FBI has joined an investigation into the bombing. [Mother Jones]
An explosive blew up at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin last night at around 7:30 p.m. Police say a homemade bomb was placed on a windowsill outside the Appleton North Health Clinic. It started a fire that burned itself out but still caused damage to the building. No one was hurt.
Intimidation tactics like this are nothing short of domestic terrorism, intent on scaring the employees of abortion clinics from doing their jobs. Thank you to the women and men who work at these clinics and put themselves at risk for clinic violence every day.