This week I was reading a paper by friend and fellow kossack Dirkster42, which included Dale Spender's observation that patriarchy strives to make women's resistance invisible, so that feminist action always seems to spring from nowhere. I was reminded of this when Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi film director, talked about her movie Wadjda. And when I read Azar Nafisi's memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran. And when I heard the amazing Malala talk about, well, anything.
And in a country where women's rights have taken some major hits recently, 21 Egyptian women have been held for a month for "thuggery" charges stemming from a protest. They have now been released on appeal with suspended sentences.
Follow me below the orange Venus sign for the latest in the war on women, and what women are doing about it.
I don't really have categories for this week's items - most of them fall under either "mixed feelings" or ""what the F-ing WHAT?"
Mark Jacobs, Republican Senate candidate from Iowa, helpfully mansplains that one must talk to women "on an emotional level". Here's a hilarious video summary of Republican "how to talk to ladybrains" advice.
A Florida woman filed charges after being beaten by a man she'd met at a club. Then she offered him an alternative: she'd drop the charges if he'd spend 8 hours standing beside a busy street wearing a dunce cap and holding a sign: I BEAT WOMEN - HONK IF I'M A SCUMBAG. He took the deal. She wanted him to also sign a waiver allowing her to beat him for ten minutes, but decided it was too legally risky for her. (Once again, the legal risk for what he did wasn't enough to be a deterrent.)
Why it's time for brain science to ditch the Mars and Venus cliche.
Bob Filner was sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years probation for multiple charges of sexual harassment. Civil cases are moving forward by some of the 17 women who have accused him.
Oakland, California has a huge problem with trafficking and exploitation of underage girls. Unlike what they show on "Special Victims Unit," the primps usually aren't snatching these girls off the street. Rather, pimps recruit by targeting a vulnerable girl (often one who's been abused/molested or is in foster care), convincing her that he's her "boyfriend," and only using violence when his control over her is threatened. Some Oakland schools are now trying to get funding for a program to educate middle-school girls about these patterns, especially girls considered "at risk." Which is good as far as it goes, similar to how we teach younger kids about good and bad touches. But change will only come when there are consequences for the customers, when we stop normalizing the idea that a man doesn't have to know or care if she's an adult or a child, a willing participant or a trafficking victim.
Meanwhile, Canada's highest court struck down some major prostitution-related laws. Prostitution was already legal in Canada, but "soliciting" and "living off the earnings of a prostitute" were not. The latter law was intended to target pimping, but was so broadly written that it could include drivers and bodyguards that sex workers hired for their own protection. Parliament has a year to come up with a better-targeted law to replace it, and they need to do so: places that legalize prostitution have consistently seen involuntary trafficking go up, not down, as demand increases. The "soliciting" law should stay buried, though: it targeted the sex workers and made them less safe, while leaving the customers untouched.
Possibly the weirdest anti-rape flier ever. I think the Nottinghamshire cops were trying to send a message to prospective rapists, but setting it to the tune of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was just bizarre.
I posted a bit in comments last week about Kevin Bollaert's arrest for his revenge porn and extortion websites. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this isn't going to change until there are consequences for the men who sent him pictures to post without the women's consent, and the men who made the site profitable.
Patrick Hawley at the Daily Caller whines that he's being oppressed if he doesn't get to harass women on the street. Cerberus gives him a hilarious takedown.
On being an ally: being called out on your privilege is a bit like being told your fly is down.
Nine things that the media referred to as a War on Men in 2013, including "kids not playing tag" and, yes, "women's sexual freedom."
When domestic violence and anti-choice violence collide: a bomb threat at a women's clinic is traced back to a patient's ex-partner, trying to prevent her abortion.
Activists are fighting back against Michigan's "rape insurance" law.
R. Kelly and the callous dismissal of black female victims, including young girls. And a disturbing question: how many of his fans are fans precisely because he fits into racist ideas about African-American male and female sexuality?
Occidental College set up an online system to anonymously report rapes. This was a research program that was simply collecting information and did not involve charging anyone. "Men's rights" activists swooped in to sabotage the system, urging men to use it to make false reports. Yes, the same "men's rights" activists who are constantly expressing outrage about women supposedly making false rape reports. This led to some former MRA's finally denouncing the misnamed "men's rights" movement.
One year after a notorious gang-rape and murder, India struggles with reforms.
Jezebel gives Camille Paglia's latest "Men rule, feminists suck" tome a much-needed editing.
Good News and Action Items:
RH RealityCheck's top pro-choice heroines - and some heroes -for 2013. Wendy Davis and many, many more.
Help campus activists stand up against the lies from a so-called crisis pregnancy center.
Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a bill whose title says it all: The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013. Abstinence programs are a useless boondoggle that should be replaced by comprehensive sex education. Those who disagree are now offering us Abstinence Skittles. No, really. Picture at link.