Saudi Arabia is on a roll with this not-treating-women-too-much-like-2nd-class-citizens thing! Earlier this week King Abudllah announced that women could vote and run in elections. Then on Wednesday, a member of his staff told the AP a Saudi woman will be spared a punishment of 10 lashes for flouting the country’s ban on women driving. The woman, Shaima Jastaina, was found guilty of driving without a license (as Saudi Arabia only issues such licenses to men) and sentenced to 10 lashes. Geez Louise, hold onto your testicles, boys, because it is like the office of Ms. magazine over there! Just kidding: the official speaking to the AP declined to elaborate about the amnesty, which may signify the king is trying not to draw attention to it and risking angering Saudis who oppose the expansion of women’s rights. But two grand, pro-women gestures in one week is still something to celebrate. [Al-Jazeera]
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Saudi Arabian women may now vote and run for office, King Abdullah declared on Sunday, ending a portion of the restriction on women’s rights in the region. Women in Saudi Arabia are still required to have a male chaperone (usually a male relative) to do most things and are still forbidden from driving. Therefore, the extent to which women actually can exercise their right to vote or to run for office may be limited. However, the king has indicated with this decree that the kingdom may be inching towards change. According to The New York Times, he told the country in an address, “We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society.” He added that women will be appointed to a government council that advises the monarchy on policy. Keep reading »
Whitney Cummings scored prime real estate this weekend on the interview page of The New York Times Magazine. As a Whitney fan and someone who is really excited for “Whitney” and “2 Broke Girls,” her two new shows, I was super-psyched. Then I read the rude, douchey, and sexist questions by interviewer Andrew Goldman and wanted to throw a hot latte at him. Instead of asking about comedy or acting, Goldman nailed her with at least three questions about being attractive and the perception that pretty girls must sleep their way to the top:
AG: On those Comedy Central roasts, your fellow comedians liked to joke about how you slept your way to fame. How accurate is that criticism?
WC: If sleeping with people worked, I would be doing it. Do you know an example of anyone who’s ever slept with a producer or whatever that has gotten them anywhere?
Great answer to a rude question, Whitney. Alas, the Q&A then worsened. Keep reading »
One of the things that comes up in a gender studies class is the concept of the “male gaze.” Generally speaking, it’s the idea that men have a particular and at-times oppressive way of envisioning women (innocent, helpless, submissive, dumb, etc.) which is reflected through the media. The excellent blog Sociological Images hazards a guess that this Olympus camera ad, which appeared in an Australian graphic design magazine, is the very definition of the male gaze. But it’s not the pictures of the attractive women in different colors/tones that are the problem — it’s the caption, which reads “Never get bored of how your girlfriend looks again.” Personally, I think the ad is clever, not especially sexist, although I do understand how it could be read as privileging men to control womens’ appearances. What do Frisky readers think? [Sociological Images] Keep reading »
For the past year, the country has been following the sordid tale of the two NYPD “rape cops” who were accused of sexually assaulting a drunk woman whom they were called to remove from a taxi cab and take into her apartment. After a night of partying, the 27-year-old Gap employee was put into a cab by friends. She vomited on herself and was disoriented, so a cab driver called police to come to her aid. The cops who arrived on the scene helped her inside her place, but returned to her apartment several times over the course of the night to “check up on her.” Ex-officer Kenneth Moreno claimed he cuddled the blackout-drunk woman in her bed while she wore only a bra, although the woman herself claims he raped her and can recall her panties being removed. Moreno’s partner, Franklin Mata, allegedly hung out elsewhere in the woman’s apartment while Moreno was alone with her in the bedroom. The pair were also accused of faking 911 calls that would allow them to stay in the area near the woman’s apartment.
Shocking those of us who followed the case, Moreno was found not guilty of sexual assault. Jurors did not trust the victim’s memory because she had been blackout drunk; they also said they could not convict him due to a lack of DNA evidence. (Moreno had admitted on tape, when he was approached by the victim at his police station, that he had used a condom.) The surely-despondent victim released a sad statement after the verdict to say she was “devastated and disappointed by the jury’s decision.”
So it is in this environment that one of the jurors in the case, Patrick Kirkland, decided to cash in, publishing an article on the blog Gothamist called “Confessions of a ‘Rape Cop’ Juror,” for which he charged $1.99 on Kindle and $2.99 on PDF. Keep reading »
Watch out, the stupidity is spreading from Down Under: Just like a New Zealand radio station did earlier this year, Canada’s 100.3 FM is hosting a “win a wife” contest. The winner receives airfare to Russia, 13 nights accommodation, and $500 to spend with his mail-order bride. 100.3 FM will hook up some sad sack with services provided by A Volga Girl, a Russian “matchmaking” website. Contestants fill out a questionnaire, submit a photo, and consent to being gossiped about on-air by friends and family. These Romeos will also undergo screenings by a psychologist hired by the contest’s organizers. An online vote will pick the winner, who will then be flown off to Russia to meet his would-be bride. Of course, the contest has no liability and makes no guarantees that the woman will actually marry the winner. Keep reading »
Science can explain everything, including that bro in the Red Sox hat chugging Amstel Lights. A study of 363 college students published in the online edition of the journal Sex Roles found that men with sexist attitudes towards women think more favorably of casual sex and tend to pursue “aggressive courtship strategies.” Lucky for them, women who also favor casual sex share these guys’ negative, sexist views towards women. Women with sexist views are also are more likely to respond to “aggressive courtship strategies.” The study’s authors, Jeffrey Hall and Melanie Canterberry of the University of Kansas, concluded this means sexist men and sexist women prefer partners who are like them, which I suppose is a way of saying that men with a low opinion of women have an easier time scoring with women who have low opinions of themselves. I find this sad, but it’s better these two groups date each other than sexist dudes try and pursue me. [USA Today] Keep reading »
A federal judge has struck down parts of an extreme Texas law going that would require a doctor to show a woman — including a rape victim — an ultrasound, describe the development of the fetus, and give her headphones to listen to a fetal heartbeat before an abortion. Doctors who refused to do these things to their patients — cruel by any compassionate standard — would have been penalized. An injunction issued yesterday blocks the state from enforcing penalties on both doctors and patients.
The judge ruled aspects of the law, which goes into effect on Thursday, were “unconstitutionally vague” and violate the free speech of both the doctor and the patient by requiring “government-mandated speech.” In his decision, the judge wrote the law “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.” He continued, “The court is inclined to agree with (the) defendants’ characterization that (the) “plaintiffs have chosen to throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks.” That’s how much respect these anti-abortion extremists have for you, ladies. Keep reading »
UPDATE: The Frisky has received an email from JCPenney’s corporate communications department regarding this tee shirt. You can view the email after the jump.
“I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.”
That’s the writing on a T-shirt being sold in JCPenney‘s girls department and on the store’s website, where an insult-to-injury caption reads, “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.” The buyer who approved this offensive shirt for girl customers should be fired. The fact it even made it onto the racks is proof that the bimbo-ification of girl culture is alive and well. A parent could find plenty of ways to celebrate that her girl is pretty (if the parent believes this is really something important to emphasize) without imparting the idea that pretty girls can’t or shouldn’t be smart. I have three bright, funny nieces who are 7, 5 and 5 and I never want them to believe the message on this shirt is true. I wholeheartedly encourage Frisky readers to sign the petition against this demeaning T-shirt — and get your little daughters/sisters to sign it, too! [Change.org] Keep reading »