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This week I want to begin with some reflections about the 1950's inspired by some of the reading I've done for this diary.

Some of us are old enough to have been influenced by popular culture of this decade. Doris Day movies and Leave it to Beaver, curvy women in full skirts and tight tops showing full breasts (whatever size you really had), with belted small waists. A house in the suburbs, white picket fence, two and a half kids and a dog. And before marriage a definite stress on flirting and making men feel strong and ... well, masculine. Don't show your intelligence, especially if you're smarter than the man you are with.

Women's fashions always reflect what society wants us to be; the 1950's were a deliberate reaction to the end of WW II. Look at the movies from the war years. Women wore suits with slim skirts and padded shoulders. Or maybe even slacks. With so many men away fighting, women emerged from the home to work in factories, drive trucks, etc. The shape was economical, using less fabric in skirts, more masculine, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. With the men returning home, there was a perceived need to convince women once again that they were dependent on men - and this became the overarching message in popular culture. Remember all the wonderful gadgets considered necessary for the home? Most imaginings of the future had women with much more leisure - but not rejoining the workforce.

I thought about all this when I saw an article and a video from Fashion Week, and an article about how Danish women's economic independence aided by government policies like paid maternity leave make them "unfeminine" and not easy marks for pick-up artists.

October is violence against women awareness month.

Violence Against Women

As all too often happens, indigenous women in Canada who go missing usually get very little attention in their country, whether they are later found dead or never found. Now the indigenous women are taking matters into their own hands, with two initiatives shown in these articles:

This Pennsylvania town (and apparently others around the country) has a law that punishes victims of domestic violence with eviction is they call 911 more than three times in a four-month period. This story first caught my attention in June, when the assault in question first made the news:

If this is what's in store for Afghan women as we leave the country, we've achieved even less than we thought. This includes a petition to look out for women's rights as we withdraw our troops.

And finally, here's a story of what local and international action can do. Maldives is more egalitarian in its punishment for rape, but women can still be flogged for having premarital sex:

If you want background on this story, here it is:

Rape Culture

In Japan, mayor Hashimoto still thinks the women kidnapped and forced to serve as "comfort women" for soldiers during WW II were necessary - after all, soldiers have all that testosterone racing around their bodies, and if they're not fighting they have to find something to do with it, don't they?

Although this article is about one particular country and one particular war,the availability of prostitutes is routinely a part of war. The problem of what soldiers were to do about sex in Muslim countries came up with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems that their female colleagues have provided some of this "relief" for them, given military rape statistics.

And remember that 50 year old teacher sentenced to 31 days in jail for repeatedly raping a 14 year old student because the judge said she seemed "older than her years?" Well, with the process in train for resentencing, he's a free man again. Just ducky.

What follows is a lecture given by a psychological researcher whose area of study is false memories. I know this can be a controversial subject, especially for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. But anyone who has read the book "Picking Cotton," in which the story of a rape victim and the man she mistakenly identified as her rapist, who was later exonerated by DNA testing, focuses on the unreliability of eye-witness testimony and the process by which eye-witnesses are questioned. There's a lot to think about here.

Reproductive Health

This is the saddest and the most rage-inducing thing I have read on this subject, excepting only descriptions of botched and self-inflicted abortions:

An update on the story of Beatriz, the young Brazilian woman who was initially denied a life-saving abortion, and whose pregnancy was much further advanced when Brazil was finally forced to allow it by an international court:

And in case we don't realize how women suffer from our exploitation of labor in poor countries:

Announcing a film coming this month about the erosion of Roe:

I end with a piece of hopeful news that could give women, especially where men don't allow them to control whether and when to get pregnant, greater freedom:

Women and Politics

First, the best news of the week:

Hmm... This may backfire, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy:

A Kossack's tribute to his mother's political convictions and her life:

And in case we needed another reminder of how clueless the mad hatter's tea party is about the real world:

Women and Culture

Gloria Steinem recants her former rejection of trans-women:

A poet victorious:

A reminder that what we do is what matters, as Meteor Blades reminds us:

Here's some get-back with humor:

And for sheer uplift, here's why education for women everywhere is so important:

Originally posted to This Week in the War on Women on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 12:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    We need writers. We have this month covered with the three of us who have written so far, but we need new voices for November and December and beyond.

    Diaries get published at noon on Saturdays, and it helps to get them in queue Friday night, or Saturday morning at the latest. When we started the series, some of us had computer problems and weren't able to post on time.

    Please select a date in a comment, or contact Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, who is handling the schedule.






    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 02:09:29 AM PDT

    •  Laura Wnderer and I were discussing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, mettle fatigue

      whether a change in time or day would get the diary more exposure.  Laura thought mid-week might work better.  Since it's a "this week" wrap-up, I think it makes sense to keep it on the weekend, but switching to Sunday or a different time might help.  I dunno, what do you think?

      I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 04:02:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I also would keep it on the week-end (2+ / 0-)

        Maybe a later time would be better, say 5 PT, 8 ET.

        The middle of the day on Saturday already has the War on Workers and Green Diary Rescue, and they are on the front page. Sunday is rougher because of all the FP special diaries, but that might be easier than more summing-up diaries.

        Just some thoughts.

        Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

        by ramara on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 05:12:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you ramara, (5+ / 0-)

    for putting together this extensive and anguishing list perpetrated by the war on women people. I haven't had a chance to read your links yet as my daughter is sharing my shoulder. For now, can you tell me what kind of sources you use to gather information for these diaries?

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne Shop Kos Katalogue!

    by remembrance on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 12:43:08 PM PDT

    •  Sources (3+ / 0-)

      I use emails I get from women's groups or human justice groups, Daily Kos diaries, things friends send me on Facebook.

      I also got some links from Tara TASW, who was originally going to do this week. But I can't do any more dates this month. We do send the week's writer things we think she may want to use - I had sent her some links as well

      There are feminist blogs as well. Kaili Joy Grey went to Wonkette, then there's Digby, Feministing, Pendagon, and others - everyone has a favorite. There's also Women's E-News. Emily's List always has some candidates to write about, Avaaz and other human rights sites have international stories.

      Some weeks there's just a lot in the news, and some weeks not so much.

      That should give you some idea.

      Oh, and we also include good news and inspiring women.

      And some weeks we can focus on one topic, though in our first three months we haven't done that yet.

      Please do sign up - I'd love to have you.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 01:23:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. (5+ / 0-)

    We have such a long way to go.

    Sometimes it seems the only good news is that so many people are fighting together for justice.

    Lots of great information.

  •  Categorize this under (4+ / 0-)

    "General Asshattery" or maybe "Misogyny":

    College GameDay's David Pollack Doesn't Want Women on the Selection Committee

    This is spurred by the selection of Condoleeza Rice as a member of the playoff selection committee, a group that will review all the college teams that did well and determine which teams will go to an 8 game playoff format to determine the national champion -- it's a replacement for the old system where a computer did the rankings and only the two teams playing in the "BCS Championship" game would qualify for the dubious honor of "national champion".

    Rice is extremely knowledgeable about sports, particularly college football (foreign policy, not so much...) -- her father was a football and basketball coach. There are many women who know their football, baseball or other sports; one ex-player continually praises my baseball knowledge to people he knows, which embarrasses the hell out of me (we're casual Twitter acquaintances).

    Unfortunately, the majority of commenters on the article tend to agree with Mr. Pollack -- guess us girls should just shut our mouths and let the boys have their fun.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 01:18:24 PM PDT

  •  I really liked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ramara, mettle fatigue

    the blackgirldangerous link; it's an issue that came up for me this week in another discussion.

    Allyship is not supposed to look like this, folks. It’s not supposed to be about you. It’s not supposed to be about your feelings. It’s not supposed to be a way of glorifying yourself at the expense of the folks you claim to be an ally to. It’s not supposed to be a performance. It’s supposed to be a way of living your life that doesn’t reinforce the same oppressive behaviors you’re claiming to be against. It’s supposed to be about you doing the following things:

        1.  shutting up and listening
        2.  educating yourself (you could start with the thousands of books and websites that already exist and are chock full of damn near everything anyone needs to know about most systems and practices of oppression)
        3.  when it’s time to talk, not talking over the people you claim to be in solidarity with
        4.  accepting feedback/criticism about how your “allyship” is causing more harm than good without whitesplaining/mansplaining/whateversplaining
        5.  shutting up and listening some more
        6.  supporting groups, projects, orgs, etc. run by and for marginalized people so our voices get to be the loudest on the issues that effect us
        7.  not expecting marginalized people to provide emotional labor for you

    Sometimes that's hard to hear, and for women it's often hard to say.  But it's important.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 04:06:11 PM PDT

    •  Of the phrases suggested (3+ / 0-)

      in the article, I like "supporter of..." the best. Why be fussy? If you support a movement, show it. As Meteor Blades puts it, don't tell me what you believe. Show me what you do, and I'll tell you what you believe.

      And if you give support, you don't have to call it anything else.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 05:16:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "supporter of" is probly more accurate by the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        terms of definition listed in BDG such as "shut up and listen", among others.  Alliance used to means 2-way-street working together on objectives that benefit all the allies fairly directly and equally.  Maybe that meaning has changed - language does that over time, quickly or slowly.  But is it no longer true that humanist progress advaces by digging foundations in and building on them to construct even higher? By that developmental model, it seems probable that transgender equal rights progress needed feminism to build foundations.  To disagree about that would probably mean that feminism didn't need abolitionism and internationalism and civil rights and ban-the-bomb as foundational advance, and maybe instead there's an argument for coincidence in whatever made progress earliest might be coincidence, or something else that goes by a model other than developmental.  

        It's possible that the older-means-stupider/wickeder/lazier/greedier principle (by which kids, for example, tell their greatgrandparents --who never lived by and have no concept of disposable material goods-- "your generation created the trash our generation has to clean up" while demanding their greatgrandparents to bag groceries with "re-useable" bags so readily available these days that are actually made of nonbiodegrades ... this to great-grand-parents who are still oriented to brown paper bags and whose entire generation recycled household metals and other discards as a matter of course without imagining getting deposit dimes back for doing it, all a better analogy for the issue at hand than may seem obvious at first) of youth-idealized culture decrees that what is most recently said and done is wisest.  That youngers owe neither recognition of nor solidarity with the genuine achievements by and needs of those who came before and grappled with the world as it was in their own time. And perhaps most importantly, that elders owe to youngers to give youngers everything that youngers want and need, and to give it to them RIGHTNOW.  

        I would suggest instead that enduring wisdom and progress develop by accretion over time at a rate dictated by the proportion of society committed to and engaging in learning/studying what came before (instead of re-inventing the wheel, a huge waste of time and resources) AS WELL AS actions/experience in the present; and that apparent mistakes in any given present or prioritiziing of resources necessary for building the foundations, are often unavoidable aspects of the process of advance, and may even be necessary, since humans learn as much by (or more by) mistakes as/than by successes.

        Whomever stands shoulder to shoulder with me, I can stand shoulder to shoulder with, because together the product of our combined strength is greater than the arithmatic sum of us separately.  I fully empathize with the feeling that "the people who experience racism, misogyny, ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, classism, etc. are exhausted. So, why shouldn’t their 'allies' be?" but the fact that this is how it feels physically and emotionally doesn't automatically mean it's a rational or productive or constructive approach rather than simply a result of too few standing shoulder to shoulder.  Historical evidence: the exhaustion of humanist energies in the big push forward of the latter half of the 20th century allowed the majority and right (e.g., Phyllis Schlafly early, Sarah Palin more recently) to enjoy what the left accomplished and to twist it to their selfish profit.  Those of us old enough to have been involved 1950s onward saw a lot of profit-taking go on in later decades by people who put no sweat equity in yet benefitted more than those wrung out of sweat in the on-going battle.

        If someone with problems different from mine would like to recruit my support and if i agree to exert myself in their cause 'tho it doesn't directly benefit me and could cost me dearly, then yes of course listening and learning is necessary on my part to understand what their situation and strategy is and where i can help.  

        But "shut up" is never a rational part of alliance nor of support, because another irreplaceable avenue of learning and understanding is to ask questions that "shut up" doesn't make space for. The moment i'm told that "shut up" is central to my worth in a fight i'm told is someone else's and not mine, I hear absolutism akin to "america right or wrong", or "west vs east".  Down at the grassroots of everyday, people on the same street can push through and collide on their own or by a recruited flying wedge that knocks others aside into the gutter OR we can work out how to share the street for mutual advance toward all our objectives. Where some one-way streets need to be built to make possible good speed of progress, i'm all for it, and i'm guessing many others are too.  But are we being expected, at late age and after decades of sweat equity and paying dues, to end our lives by lying our bodies silently quiescently down for our blood and bones to be the stuff of the roadway that youngers walk all over?  Blood is spilled and bones broken, by definition, by the enemy.  If I'd understood that early on and sacrificed less blood and bone, I'd still be on my feet shoulder to shoulder joining my strength to the rest.

        Now is too late for me to benefit from having learned this, but it's a time-learned wisdom about exactly what STOPS the enemy from exhausting us to the point of immobility and erosion of our progress.  This wheel should never have to be re-invented again.

        •  I do agree that history (1+ / 0-)

          needs to be part of the "movement" culture; it not only helps newer fighters for right and rights see where they came from, it also creates a sense of connection.

          May I make a suggestion? Your comments are always worth reading, but lots of people skip comments that are so long. I would consider, if I were you, focusing the reply on one or two points, and writing the whole thing as a diary, which you can link to in a comment if you want. This comment, for example, would make an interesting diary that might start some interesting conversation.

          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

          by ramara on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 07:15:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL. if only i could akshuly diary like i comment! (0+ / 0-)

            maybe it's due to my professional bkgrnd, but diarying seems to me to carrying such heavy responsibility to revise, triple-fact-check, etc, that it gets very hard work.  commenting i feel ok to do as opinion, without citing sources unless some1 asks for more info.

            what very kind words about my comments!  especially since they're nearly all very much on-the-fly.  i have observed that most commenters keep things much shorter.  and don't seem to read long ones.  

            myself i don't mind reading long ones, because diaries and thier comments come across to me rather like panel discussions or anthologies.  in fact, when serious topics are diaried i feel some concern when no long comments at all are posted!   my own long ones are NOT long with any intention of filling that gap, but the gap does worry me a bit.  however, i'm relatively new here, and hope to develop ability to worry less about things like that.

            thnx again.   i found yr comment too late to rec it, but i do appreciate it very much.

    •  we've been having a related discussion in the (3+ / 0-)

      diary by Adam B about the 16-year-old pregnant girl in Nebraska who was denied permission for an abortion (first by a judge and then by the state supreme court).
      The subject of the diary of course provoked a lot of anger and some of that ended up in a testy (pun intended?) back and forth about whether men were being unfairly targeted as the culprits. I was smack in the middle of the discussion. It started out badly but I think led to some interesting ideas.
      It was hard for me because two Kossacks (both men) I particularly like and virtually always agree with were unhappy with things I said.
      Anyway, it shows that we have not yet worked out the problems that arise between a group fighting for rights and outside supporters.
      And I actually brought in the blackgirldangerous piece which I had read about on facebook when my older daughter posted it. (and it's interesting that it mentions a fairly well-known Kossack).

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:17:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, what a list. Most of it pretty depressing. (3+ / 0-)

    Hypocrisy abounds in the way women are treated both here and in other countries.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:08:40 PM PDT

    •  In some countries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar, mettle fatigue

      women are considered the property of a man (father, brother, husband), whose value depends on things like virginity and dowry, and there is less hypocrisy, but often more cruelty there.

      Maldives is an interesting example of a country making its way out of Muslim religious law to something more equitable, but they are definitely passing through a confused state now.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:18:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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