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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 40,317

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

Read the Notorious RBG at Her Most Blistering

(Hey y'all-- I'm going to be taking a short break from DU, but HAD to do a flyby and post this article about Ruth Ginsburg's dissenting opinions linked in the article -- take some gtime to savor them-- she really is a badass)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, teeny tiny goddess of judicial feminism incarnate, has authored many a badass piece of legal writing in her day. Now, thanks to some devoted brainiacs who are better at this sort of thing than I am, you can read the sharpest work of the grand dame in one place.

The folks at People for the American Way (a progressive think tank) have put together a lovely treasury of RBG's greatest hits. Perfect light reading for the next time you put your head in a big pile of curls on your head and take a bubble bath, or lie out on a Caribbean beach, or a good thing to read to the kids when you're trying to get them to bed. Yep. Just a little light legal reading.

Not only are Ginsburg's writings worth reading simply because they're a good workout for your brain, it's incredibly heartening to know that such an incredible legal mind has chosen to devote her career to continually standing up for women and other non-corporate Americans.

Never die, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


Tombstone picture found on Facebook

So fucked up I have no words

Patriarchy allows child marriage and female genital mutilation to flourish

As young feminists, we often hear that the rights of girls need to be recognised, their voices amplified and their needs met. We are told that when girls are empowered, they can change their communities and the world.

That is a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of girls. This raises the question: why, with all this interest in girls, are their rights violated in every country?

The Girl Summit in London, UK, this week has generated momentum and opportunities for funding to end child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). While that is commendable, if we look beyond the pledges and outcome of the summit, it is evident that these harmful practices are connected to other injustices girls endure.

Statistics show 30 million girls are at risk of FGM in the next decade, and, each year, about 14 milliongirls are forced to marry before they are ready. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child should prevent such injustices, yet girls' basic rights to health, education and security remain unmet. As young feminists, we know that patriarchy perpetuates the idea that girls are of less value, which leads to their systematic neglect in economic, political, social, legal and educational realms.

Forcibly removing part of a girl's vagina is a way to control her sexuality, her right to choice and her right to freedom. FGM tends to happen with the complicity of families, communities and police, who not only do not report the crime, but often try to hide it. Patriarchy allows them to do this with impunity.

The commitments made at the Girl Summit on eradicating FGM and child marriage, the focus on tougher laws (including putting the onus on parents to protect girls from FGM) and increased funding for prevention programmes are important steps to combat these harmful practices. But until we link these issues to girls' lack of education, poverty, marginalisation and exclusion in the patriarchal societies in which they live, little will change.


How to Exercise Our Right to Defend Ourselves without Being Victim-Blaming

As we know all too well, women and girls get tons of useless advice about how to “protect” ourselves. And then whether we follow the advice or not, we’re blamed for our own assaults.

Thankfully, more people are pushing back against these victim-blaming messages and standing up to those who believe we caused our own attacks because of something we did or failed to do.

Increasingly, society is rightfully putting the responsibility for the crime on the person who committed it and not on the person targeted. There is nothing any survivor could do or not do that could “cause” a sexual assault, harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking to happen.

At the same time, we all have the right to assert our boundaries and defend ourselves. We have the right to unlearn the messages telling us to “stay quiet” and “not rock the boat,” especially in the face of someone hurting us.

But for many people, saying that we can defend ourselves sounds like victim-blaming. It can feel like someone’s saying, “If you just had fought back harder, you would have escaped” or “You should have taken a self-defense class and then you wouldn’t have been raped.”

So how do we reconcile those two messages?

One way is through feminist, empowerment-based self-defense.


Unbreakable or The Problem with Praising Blackgirl Strength

( I'll probably post this in HOF as well, but I felt it would resonate here, I would welcome and appreciate any feedback)

It has been almost three years since we learned the name Amber Cole, a fourteen year old blackgirl who was secretly recorded while performing fellatio on a former boyfriend. Images and taunts spread quickly as the video went viral and commentary about Amber’s agency, privacy and sexuality sparked controversy across the interwebs. There was slut-shaming, blaming, and judgment of Amber and her family (especially her mother) with little mention of the three boys involved (the boy receiving oral sex, the boy recording it on his phone, and a third who watched in the background). In my gender class we discussed Amber with empathy and understanding, attempting through our closed door discussion to make sense of the thoughtless and cowardly ways people were vilifying her, defending the boys involved, and seeking a scapegoat. There were several claims in online discussions that Amber should have “known better,” that she was just “being grown,” and “where was her mama at?” It seemed inconceivable to consider Amber’s vulnerability, not only as an impressionable young woman, but seemingly because she was a young black woman. My class discussed the racial implications of Amber’s situation and how her race (alongside her sex and age) colored her as anything but a victim, regardless of the laws of consent (for sexual engagement and being filmed). We opined that perhaps if Amber were a white girl there would have been more sympathy, less visibility. Stereotypes of blackgirl hypersexuality made Amber fair game, it seemed, and despite possible hurt feelings and embarrassment, she would “get over it.” She was black so she was strong, right? The pseudo-remedy for being bullied, shamed, and mocked in real time and online (to the extent of being included in the Urban Dictionary) was changing schools and a short lived twitter campaign. Not so much. The scars left from the trauma she experienced by being betrayed and parodied had to leave her broken and emotionally distressed, strength be damned.

It has been about three weeks since we learned the name of another blackgirl whose image and identity has been hypersexualized and ridiculed online. Jada is a 16 year old rape victim who was drugged and sexually assaulted at a party. Within days graphic images of her before and after her assault went viral on social media with memes and videos being made mocking her unconscious body. In a brave and admirable response to being bullied Jada, with the support and encouragement of her mother, has used social media and television interviews to speak out against her attack, her alleged rapist (who continues to mock her online), and the countless cowards participating in attempts to demean her and her character. Jada has said, “There’s no point in hiding. Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.” Jada is amazingly resilient and initially I was impressed with how seemingly effortlessly she could recount her rape without emotion during interviews. But then I thought about myself at sixteen.

While I join others in supporting and celebrating Jada’s bravery I worry that being proud of her stoicism is an improper response to the trauma she has experienced. Jada is 16 years old and not only has she been raped, but publicly exposed, outed, mocked, teased and threatened. Rape victims are usually afforded privacy and time in which to process the trauma. Jada, however, has been put in a public spotlight and interrogated about an event with consequences that far exceed the immediate backlash and immaturity of peers. Perhaps instead of being proud of her for being strong we should let her be visibly devastated, distraught, shocked, and inconsolable. Maybe instead of being impressed that blackgirls can withstand so much suffering and become role models for strength, we should be concerned about their emotional wellness, their vulnerability, their humanity.

I am not always strong. When I hurt, I cry. I sob deeply and from my belly releasing heartbreaking wails and screams until I feel more empty than sad. There is nothing wrong with feeling pain and expressing it but society doesn’t let black victims mourn, society doesn’t want black people to feel. We are made to believe that our feelings are dangerous so we suppress them. We are told, repeatedly, even amongst ourselves that we are nonfragile so we think we must live up to those expectations.


Women go online to protest 'everyday sexism'

LONDON (AP) — When Laura Bates was followed home one night by a man from her bus, she didn’t think much of it. Incidents like that just seemed to be part of living in London.

But the writer said several other similar situations followed within days: One stranger shouted obscenities at her out of a car window. Another propositioned her forcefully in a cafe. A third groped her on the bus, and commuters looked away when she spoke up. She was startled not so much by the incidents — but how accustomed she had become to brushing such behavior aside and not taking action.
‘‘I started talking to other women, and I couldn’t believe how many stories they had. I think many of us just think ‘maybe I'm unlucky,'’’ said Bates, 27, in an interview. ‘‘Just like me, so many of them said ‘until you asked me, I've never talked to anyone about this.'’’

Those conversations triggered the birth of the Everyday Sexism project, a website that Bates set up for women to share their experiences of sexism and harassment in their daily lives — in the office, on the train, in school or on the street. Two years on, what started as a simple idea has become a movement that is steadily gaining momentum, galvanizing support from politicians, police and thousands of women and men from Britain and beyond.

The project has collected 70,000 posts from some 20 countries, describing a wide range of unwelcome behavior and offenses from a colleague’s casual comment to unreported rapes. Many tell of assault, threats of violence and verbal abuse in public places. Others report seemingly innocuous behavior and comments: One woman tells how a sales assistant handed back her change to her male friend, after she had paid for the goods.

Some are disturbing because those posting are so young: A 12-year-old wrote to tell how she was told to ‘‘get back in the kitchen’’ by her male classmates when she raised her hand to say something, and numerous preteens say they are harassed daily by men who shout at or touch them on the way to school.


Oh yes. This is what Theresa May went into politics for

Humour me and imagine a world in which a woman’s hotness was not seen as her defining quality. Granted, this is sort of like imagining a world without weather, or Richard without Judy, but bear with me. Back towards the beginning of this century, the brilliant writer Ariel Levy wrote about the fetishisation of female hotness in Female Chauvinist Pigs: “Hotness has become our cultural currency … Hotness is not the same thing as beauty, which has been valued throughout history. When it pertains to women, hot means two things in particular: fuckable and sellable. The literal job criteria for the stars of the sex industry.”

Which brings us to Theresa May. You’ll be thrilled to know – and I’m sure May will be absolutely delighted to know – that this week a male writer for the Spectator officially declared her to be hot; hotter, even, than Jemima Khan, just in case you’ve ever found yourself flummoxed by this debate. Congratulations, May! You’ve bested Harriet Harman, who was infamously deemed not hot in the Spectator by Rod Liddle in 2009, and even though Liddle has since admitted that piece might have been a bit de trop, that hasn’t stopped another sweaty Speccie writer from trying to rehash a similar furore all over again, while writing with one hand.

In case anyone is worried that all this chat about female politicians’ shaggability might be a little sexist, don’t worry! “I can just hear the chorus of leftwing women complaining that, here we go again – judging women in politics by their looks!” writes Cosmo Landesman, the Spectator’s Theresa May fan. “Well, actually, looks have nothing to do with it. By that criteria, I should be swooning over Jemima instead of drooling over Mrs May.”

You see? Not about looks. So, really, to say that May gives him a massive love boner, and Khan doesn’t, is proof of the writer’s feminist credentials. Really, May should thank this writer for fantasizing about her, seeing as she’s such a moose and all, amirite?


Egypt court sentences 7 to life in prison for sexual assaults in public squares

It's a start I guess

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court sentenced seven men to life in prison on Wednesday for sexual assaults on women during public rallies in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, in the first such heavy sentences since the government vowed to crack down on rampant sexual violence.

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have become more frequent and brutal since the 2011 overthrow of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, with frenzied mobs targeting women who take part in political gatherings.

The charges stemmed from four different incidents of sexual assault this year and last year, including during celebrations of the inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in June.

Videos of the brutal attacks posted online caused a public outcry, and pushed the new leader to make the highest profile condemnation of the escalating phenomenon and order a crackdown on perpetrators. A week later, 13 suspects were sent to trial in a speedy referral aimed at sending a message of deterrence.

"This is the first verdict in a case of sexual assault in the history of this country," said Mozn Hassan, director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, which provides legal representation for victims. "This could open the door for ending impunity in such cases."

The sentencing session was aired live on TV, indicating the government hoped it would serve as a deterrent.

Judge Mohammed el-Fiqqi sentenced the seven men to life in prison, with four of them receiving multiple life sentences. An eighth defendant received two 20-year jail sentences and a ninth received a single 20-year sentence.

The five were given multiple sentences after being found guilty of taking part in more than one attack.

Hassan said she hoped the verdicts were not the last, and that authorities would investigate the 500 cases of sexual violence in Tahrir Square since 2011 that her center has documented. Sexual violence is often unreported, particularly in conservative countries like Egypt, because women are ashamed to come forward, and where it is hard to identify perpetrators during the attacks by dozens of men.


My "Naked" Truth

I am a 59-year-old woman in great health and in good physical shape. I stand five-feet, nine-inches tall and weigh 135 pounds. I wear a size six in both jeans and panties, and my breasts are nowhere near my navel. In fact, they still struggle to make it full-up in a B-cup bra. My thighs are no longer velvet and my buttocks have dimples. My upper arms wobble a bit and my skin shows the marks of the sun. There is a softness around my waist that is no longer perfectly taut, and the pout of my abdomen attests to a c-section that took its bikini flatness -- but gave me a son.

Why this brutal scrutiny of myself? It was time to counter the damage of my culture, my own soft-held fear and to pour warm love on my own soul. It was time to claim every mark and not-perfect inch of my own body -- a body that had been called "too wrinkled" by a man who was fetched by my energy and my mind, but did not like the bare truth of me. His name was Dave and he was 55 years old.

We met on a dating site. Dave was interesting, gentlemanly and bright. He held my hand and toured with me on long bicycle rides. He drove many miles to come to my door. He made meals for us both and ruffled my dog's happy head. I was enticed and longed for the full knowing of this man. And so, we planned a weekend together. That's when things got confusing, unspoken and just-not-quite there. We went to bed in a couple's way -- unclothed and touching -- all parts near. Kisses were shared and sleep came in hugs. I attempted more intimacy throughout the weekend and was deterred each time.

On Monday evening over the phone, I asked this man who had shared my bed for three nights running why we had not made love. "Your body is too wrinkly," he said without a pause. "I have spoiled myself over the years with young woman. I just can't get excited with you. I love your energy and your laughter. I like your head and your heart. But, I just can't deal with your body."

I was stunned. The hurt would come later. I asked him slowly and carefully if he found my body hard to look at. He said yes. "So, this means seeing me naked was troublesome to you?" I asked. He told me he had just looked away. And when the lights were out, he pretended my body was younger -- that I was younger. My breath came deep and full as I processed this information. My face blazed as I felt embarrassed and shamed by memories of my easy nakedness with him in days just passed.



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