Today in terrifying: How Scientologists Are Sneaking Their Way into Schools to Spread Their Propaganda [#quickhit: link]

Not sure which scares me the most: Scientologists or flesh-eating snake-rat-mice-spiders.

By its own estimate, Foundation for a Drug Free World, an education non-profit, has visited at least 20 percent of New York City’s schools, public and private. That’s over 14,000 children, it says, mainly in disadvantaged schools in outer boroughs. Drug Free World has won accolades from the City Council and the state Senate and been featured by over a dozen local publications, including the Daily News.

But in two recent presentations witnessed by a City Limits reporter, the organization—which is connected to the Church of Scientology—presented information on the dangers of drug abuse that had little basis in fact and could be traced to the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

On Alternet.

Why Being a Muslim Woman Makes Me a Better Feminist [#quickhit: link]

feminism - Saudi Arabian woman veilReally important piece below on being Muslim, wearing a hijab and being a feminist, and how Muslim women’s experiences are often very misunderstood by western feminism.

For many, it seems that the words “Islam” and “feminism” cannot coexist. As Ramadan, the month of Islamic fasting, gets under way, questions about how Muslim women “cope” with their religion often re-emerge. The challenge many of these women now face is explaining how being a Muslim does not mean they cannot also be feminists.

Despite understanding that millions of people from all walks of life follow Islamic tradition, we still assume that Islam is one singular entity. It is important to remember that there are many different Islams just like there are many different Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu traditions. That is why some Muslims are fasting this month and some are not, and why some women wear a niqab (face veil) and some don’t.

The hijab, or head covering, remains another popular point of contention. It’s remarkable that a headscarf, which actually symbolizes a very powerful feminist message, has been linked to patriarchal oppression in the Western world. I wore the hijab for many years, and no, I was not forced to do so. In fact, my decision to wear it was probably my very first conscious step towards becoming a feminist.

There are two messages the hijab is meant to convey, the first of which is very simple: the hijab is a physical representation of the woman’s faith. She is wearing it to identify herself as a Muslim woman. The second message the hijab symbolizes is that a woman’s body is her business. How she dresses and what she looks like is a personal choice and has nothing to do with anyone else. By wearing a hijab, a woman is saying that she is a Muslim, and that her physical being does not belong to anyone but herself.

Of course, that is to assume she has worn it willingly. Some women are indeed forced to wear a hijab, but to judge all Muslims based on that minority is unjust and irrational.

Rest: Why Being a Muslim Woman Makes Me a Better Feminist.

Dear MRAs: No, Feminists Don’t Want to Make You Our Man Slaves [#quickhit: link]

Dear MRAs: No, Feminists Don't Want to Make You Our Man Slaves
On feminspire:

Not once did I say feminism isn’t for everybody. In fact, I expressly said that patriarchy hurts all of us. What Mr. James and others seem to not understand is that the aim of feminism is to secure political social equality for all genders. Last time I checked, it was men who had almost complete social and political freedom. I remember very clearly that men just made the decision to regulate women’s healthcare decisions when it comes to birth control and safe access to abortion services. Don’t forget the fact that men make more money than women in almost every industry, that men still dominate politics, and when a woman runs for office, more attention is given to her wardrobe than her policies. Oh, also remember that women are repeatedly called sluts and shamed across the media when they are assaulted or raped. Feminism is for everybody, as long as this “everybody”is working towards equal rights.

Rest: Dear MRAs: No, Feminists Don’t Want to Make You Our Man Slaves.

Seven studies on mansplaining. Conclusion: it definitely exists [#quickhit: link]

Below are summaries of studies into the idea of “mansplaining”, which describes the act of a man speaking to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed on the basis of her gender. 1

1. Women get interrupted more than men. Both men and women interrupt women more often than they interrupt men, according to a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. In that study, two researchers at George Washington University reported on an experiment where they put 20 women and 20 men in pairs, then recorded and transcribed their conversations. The result: Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women interrupted men just once, on average, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times.

2. Men interrupt women to assert power. Not all interruptions are the same, of course—sometimes we interrupt people to be encouraging about what they’re saying. But a 1998 meta-analysis of 43 studies by two researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz from 1998 found that men were more likely to interrupt women with the intent to assert dominance in the conversation, meaning men were interrupting to take over the conversation floor.  In mixed groups rather than a one-on-one conversation, men interrupted even more frequently.

Rest: Bitch Media.

1 ThinkProgress.

Research: What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism [#quickhit: link]

Very interesting indeed. We (potentially) grade sexist comments and perceive some comments (hostile and from strangers or bosses) to be more sexist than others (benevolent and from boyfriends).

Abstract:

Sexist comments are not perceived equally in the eyes of women. We extend previous research by examining the degree to which multiple types of potentially sexist comments made by multiple types of men are perceived as sexist. Further, we examine the degree to which three possible mediators—prototypicality, perceived intent, and interdependence—explained these effects. Female undergraduate students (N = 248) were randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a hostile sexist, benevolent sexist, or objectifying comment was made by one of three types of men: a stranger, their boss, or their boyfriend. Results demonstrate that hostile sexism was perceived as more sexist than benevolent sexism or objectification. Comments made by boyfriends were also rated as less sexist than those made by bosses or strangers. Furthermore, perceptions of prototypicality of the comment or perpetrator and perceived intent to harm mediated the effect of study manipulations on perceptions of sexism.

Riemer, A., Chaudoir, S. and Earnshaw, V. (2014). What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism. The Journal of General Psychology, [online] 141(3), pp.263-279. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221309.2014.907769 [Accessed 11 Jul. 2014]. Full PDF (Taylor and Francis Online)

Most rapists and murderers aren’t ill. Don’t call misogynists “mad” [#quickhit: link]

Swapping misogyny for mental illness in explanations for violence against women (particularly when the explanations are a clear-cut as the Elliot Rodger case) is nothing more than excuse-making. It’s inaccurate and it prevents a criminal justice system from dealing with violence. It also covers up the extreme misogyny that women experience every day and that they’re taught to re-frame (“it was my fault”), ignore (“he says he won’t do it again”), and forgive (“he’s really sorry”). We need to call this spade a spade. On Feminist Times:

An actor called him a lunatic, and newspapers and magazines called him a madman and deranged. And while it may have been tempting to use these words to describe the young man who killed six people because of his arrogant attitude of entitlement to women, Elliott Rodger’s videos and manifesto made clear that his problem was not his mental health, but rather his unbridled misogyny.

Using mental health slurs to describe people who are violent or objectionable is not only inaccurate, it also promotes stigma and damaging attitudes towards people with mental health problems. This is why describing rapists and murderers as crazy, psychos or nutters is dangerous as well as lazy.

It is these attitudes that prevent people with mental health diagnoses from getting on with their lives. They cause people in a leafy Sheffield suburb to actively object to a charity-run crisis housein their backyard on their street. The resulting prejudice prevents us from getting jobs and causes people to fear and loathe us. It makes people avoid seeking treatment because they are so afraid of the stigma that comes alongside the ‘mentally ill’ label. As an anonymous contributor to Fementalists wrote:

“For those of us who are mentally ill, however, it stays with us, stabs at us. Whenever we hear this kind of thing we’re getting the message we’re not to be accepted as we are, that we’re bad, wrong, to be mocked, or worse, dangerous. To me, it’s a constant message sent by society that we are unwelcome in it.”

Rest: Feminist Times.

Why We Still Can’t Erase the Gender Pay Gap [#quickhit: link]

On the gender pay gap and the difficultly in closing it.

It would be fair to assume that we’re making steady, if slow, progress in equalizing pay between men and women as women become better educated and make inroads into the workforce. The gap did in fact narrow at a quick clip between the 1960s and 1990s and then kept shrinkingby 9.7 percentage points in the 1990s and by 3.1 points in the 2000s. But over the last decade, progress has slowed to a crawl: We’ve reduced the gap by just 1.7 percentage points. Today, women who work full-time, year-round make 77 percent of what men do.

So how can we earn back that momentum and erase that stubborn difference? A simple solution may still be unfeasible, at least politically: the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been introduced ahandfuloftimes, starting in 2009, but has always been blocked by Republicans. It would, most importantly, prohibit employers from telling their workers they can’t discuss pay with peers, tighten the rules for what counts as a legitimate reason for gender pay disparities, and increase the penalties for unfair pay.

Incidentally, I didn’t even know about “salary secrecy”. First step: get rid of that. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. Really?

Considering such political impossibilities, it may be time to break it into bits and find other piecemeal solutions. One part of that lies with the courts, but before women can begin suing, they have to know what their co-workers make. The very first step would be to ban salary secrecythe practice that employers have of prohibiting or strongly discouraging their workers from talking about compensation with each other. About half of employees toil under such regimes. President Obama recently issued an executive order that gets rid of salary secrecy for companies that contract with the government, impacting about 22 percent of the workforce. It’s progress, but it still leaves the vast majority of workers unprotected; the Paycheck Fairness Act would extend it to all Americans.

But here’s the crux. The onus remains on women to challenge their own lower wages, with all that that entails.

While these solutions would likely help reduce the wage gap, they all still put the onus on the women who need the help. That’s a big ask. Many women may be afraid to risk their jobs, careers, and resources to make a discrimination complaint (particularly considering that such a low percentage win their suits). A totally different solution that was in vogue in the ’70s and ’80s is “pay equity”: the idea that women doing comparable yet different work to menbut not the exact same jobshould be paid the same. (Think a maid, who tends to be female, being paid the same as a janitor, who tends to be male.) There’s a real difference in pay between traditionally female jobs and traditionally male jobs. At the low-wage end, jobs that are 75 percent or more female pay nearly $150 less each week than those that are 75 percent men. At the high end, women’s work pays about $470 less.

Rest: New Republic.

From Gin Lane to Magaluf, the press has always shamed women for profit [#quickhit: link]

Here’s an an excellent piece from Laurie Penny on the media shaming of “Magaluf Girl” and the intersection between class and misogyny in that shaming.

Sex sells, but sexism sells even better. Last week the Sun saw no contradiction in slut-shaming an unknown teenager on its front page for “performing sex acts” on more than 20 men in Magaluf, while featuring softcore pornography on page 3. According to witnesses, the teenage girl was promised an exotic holiday which later turned out to be the name of a cocktail. This is exploitation in anyone’s book, and yet the only story being told in the press is the story of a young girl’s shame.

This analysis is particularly accurate:

If there’s one thing the tabloid press hates more than women, it’s welfare recipients, but it saves up special stocks of loathing for people who are both. “White Dee” from the Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street has featured in much of the “Magaluf girl” coverage, for no other reason than the fact she once visited Magaluf. Readers were reminded of the precise amount White Dee claims in benefits, next to pictures of the single mother having fun on holiday, which is obviously not allowed. Poor people, and particularly poor women, are expected to be abject at all times.

The logic of misogyny is routinely used to undermine the social basis of welfare provision. The only way to ensure favourable coverage as a female in the public eye is to be young, white, rich and married to a member of the royal family. The antics of aristocrats and wealthy models, from Kate Middleton to Cara Delevingne, are covered by the same papers that profit from the sexual humiliation of working-class women – revering “good women” while demonising “bad women” and inviting readers to place themselves, their partners, relatives and friends, on that tired old scale.

Rest: theguardian.com.

Mamading in Magaluf: this is not a tale of broken Britain. It’s far, far sadder [#quickhit: quote]

Would it all have been fine had she won a real holiday? That’s irrelevant because, in common with all forms of abuse, this young woman wasn’t given a choice. She wasn’t honestly offered the option of “performing” for the sake of some lousy £4 cocktail, which, drunk though she was, she’d probably have turned down. This muddies the issue of informed consent to a disquieting degree. If it’s true about the “holiday” trick, it has vague but creepy echoes of girls from poor countries who are told they are going to get a proper job abroad, but end up being sex-trafficked. Lured with the promise of one thing, but ending up with something quite different.

Barbara Ellen on Mamading in Magaluf: this is not a tale of broken Britain. It’s far, far sadder.

On the devious and upsetting manipulation of the”Magaluf Girl” and the extent to which she could ever have given her full consent to the act. (Note: she certainly didn’t give any consent to being filmed and plastered over the internet.)

We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony. [#quickhit: quote]

Sexism clearly hasn’t gone away, and – guess what? – it never will. Sexism is when a woman is videoed giving what tabloids call “sexual favours” to men in a bar in a Magaluf and she is called “a slag” but the men are called “lads”, as happened this week (and as happened to a woman who went to an Eminem concert near Dublin last year, and as will happen again). We all know this is sexist – hell, even the Daily Mail admitted it knows this is A Bit Off. Awareness of what sexism is has never been greater, thanks to the return of feminism and call-outs of sexist acts on social media.

Ironic sexism is when someone deliberately exploits this awareness for attention. (You think you trolled Thicke on Twitter this week with the #AskThicke hashtag? He trolled you, my friends.) They believe a vague awareness of that offensive nature means anyone who finds their antics pathetic, stupid and indeed sexist is Just Not Getting the Joke. We saw this before, in the 90s with idiotic laddish culture, and we are seeing it again now. Back then, it was treated as a kind of release; now it is attention-seeking lechery dressed up as art (Bugg claims that his video is “a reference to the Electric Ladyland cover”, as though cultural referencing is some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card as opposed to an admission of a total lack of originality.)

The biggest irony about ironic sexism is that it’s not ironic at all. Irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think. Like it’s bro-in-arms, hipster racism, ironic sexism isn’t the opposite of sexism; it’s an open admission of sexism, with the bonus confession of being quite thick. Or, indeed, Thicke.

Hadley Freeman on We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Loaded’s new plans.

Related:

The demise of lads’ mags, the rise of feminism
Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist

A Map of Woman’s Heart: Appalling Victorian Gender Stereotypes, in Illustrated Cartography [#quickhit: image]

love of admiration, on A Map of Woman’s Heart: Appalling Victorian Gender Stereotypes, in Illustrated Cartography – Brain Pickings

A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart was a map created by D. W. Kellogg circa 1833–1842, in the tradition of these maps of the human condition you might recall, subtitled “Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein.” Though it mostly depicts Woman as a sentimental, selfish, and superficial being driven by vanity, it places Love at the center of her heart, with Good Sense, Patience, and Prudence at its tip — or bottom, depending on the interpretation.

Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist [#quickhit: quote]

Kat Banyard, a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, said: “Since Lose the Lads’ Mags was launched by UK Feminista and Object, Nuts and Front have folded, Zoo’s sales have plummeted by a third, Stuff has dropped sexist covers and Loaded has announced it is ditching sexually objectifying content.

“This hugely significant sea-change in the magazine sector didn’t ‘just happen’. It was the thousands of people that stood up and demanded action who forced the hand of lads’ mag editors.”

She added: “For years the publishers of lads’ mags have peddled sexist, dehumanising images of women in order to turn a profit – but it is women and girls who have paid the price.

“Magazines like Loaded, Front, Nuts and Zoo have fueled attitudes that underpin violence against women – and that violence is at crisis levels. The changes we are seeing were hard fought for and long overdue.”

Kay Banyard on Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist.