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

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.

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.


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

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

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.

Class vs. Race how the liberal elite just don’t get it

Black Caribbean pupils are still four times as likely to be permanently excluded from school as White British pupils. There is still a culture of teachers having lower expectations of black children relative to their white or Asian counterparts. At the heart of racism is ignorance and fear, this is what is behind teacher’s expectations of young black people.

A must, must, must read. I’m not surprised that Radio 4′s Today presenters do not understand the implications of race (they are notorious for failing to understand anything that is not related to their white, middle class experience) but the prevalence of this view (and the idea that “we don’t see colour” any more) is more troubling.

As I was listening to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, I found myself gritting my teeth in frustration. The subject of black children and their aspirations was being discussed following recent research by Newsnight which shows that 21% of black children feel their skin colour would make it harder to succeed compared with 2% of white children.  Shockingly(!) the white male presenter could not understand the impact of racism, even at such an early age, on young black children’s aspirations.

What the presenter on Today could not fathom was that race could be a critical determinant. He suggested that poor white children face the same issues in terms of aspirations and life chances. There can be no question that poverty has huge impact on life chances. Poverty can be a vicious cycle which feeds into greater levels of exclusion. Children growing up in poverty are more likely to experience food poverty which has a knock-on impact on their ability to perform well in school. Statistics indicate that in the UK, by 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers which impact their earning potential over the course of their lives.

Rest: Media Diversified.

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

British children are sifting through bins left outside houses in search of scraps of food because they are starving, it has been revealed.

But Tories and their supporters in rich London won’t have to look at them – because they are in Labour-held Stoke-on-Trent.

The Stoke Sentinel reported that “Youngsters have been searching through bins in the Hollings Street and Brocksford Street area of Fenton before eating any leftovers.”

It said, “Dozens of hungry families are referred to Fenton’s food bank for help every week.”

What’s really sad about this story is that some of the people interviewed seemed to think the problem was with the mess left behind by these children – youngsters who are, remember, so hungry that they are rooting through rubbish for stale leftovers.

One said: “It’s horrible to see… Some days on the school run we have had to actually cross over the road because there’s so much rubbish on the pavement because of this. Luckily I keep my bins to one side so we haven’t been too badly affected.”

On Vox Political.

Jesus H.

Penned In: Letters Reveal the Lives of Transgender Women in Prison

Last August, the Army private now known as Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison. A day after the trial, Manning announced plans to undergo hormone therapy and begin public life as a woman. Her coming-out shone a light on a population that media rarely discusses: transgender women in prison.

I have a fat, accordion-style file folder—each section stuffed with mangled envelopes from across the country—full of heavy-hearted, handwritten letters from women I’ve never met. Shaylanna, Venus, Prada, and Eva: every letter flaunts the industrial, pre-stamped return address of a state prison, and every signature is a transgender woman living in a male facility.

With the help online networks that connect people to pen pals in prison, I wrote to all four women last fall, shortly after Chelsea Manning was convicted of leaking troves of classified documents to WikiLeaks and, a day later, came out as transgender. Ostracized by fellow prisoners and tarred by a system that refuses to acknowledge basic human rights, their letters spin a compelling—and woefully unsurprising—narrative.

All four women gave me permission to tell their stories. The names listed here reflect their chosen names; some self-applied during their incarceration, others chosen decades before.

Let’s start with Venus. Incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison, the maximum-security facility notorious for housing true-crime superstars Richard Ramirez, Charles Manson, and Scott Peterson, she writes of a lonely, dejected routine where she endeavors, above all, to just stay out of everyone else’s way. “I eat by myself most of the time,” she told me in one letter. “I don’t like being hated by many inmates and cops, but at least I’m not hiding behind my eyes like most people seem to do.” Incarcerated since 1981, Venus is celibate and “very burnt out on mean men,” as she writes. She craves the creature comforts of the outside world—“real makeup, real nylons, real high heels, real dresses, real panties”—and longs for a loving, meaningful relationship.

On Bitch Media.

‘Hobby Lobby’ Is Just the Beginning: A Flood of Corporate Religious Objections Is Coming

In order to find corporations can exercise religious beliefs, Alito must conflate two very different scenarios. The first involves cases where the legal interests of employers and employees are largely aligned against those of the government; the second includes cases like Hobby Lobby, where corporate interests are trying to hide behind constitutional protections to deprive their employees of their rights. It’s a quick, but important, conflation that makes it possible for Alito to continue in the rest of his opinion to ignore the interests Hobby Lobby employees have in being free from religious discrimination by their employer.

With that judicial sleight-of-hand accomplished, Alito moves on to the larger question of just how a corporation can exercise these newly found religious rights. As it turns out, corporations practicing religious beliefs is remarkably simple, and just because a corporation seeks to maximize profit doesn’t mean it can’t do so in the name of religion:

While it is certainly true that a central objective of for-profit corporations is to make money, modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so. For-profit corporations, with ownership approval, support a wide variety of charitable causes, and it is not at all uncommon for such corporations to further humanitarian and other altruistic objectives. … If for-profit corporations may pursue such worthy objectives, there is no apparent reason why they may not further religious objectives as well.

Did you catch that? If some corporations can support charitable causes, Justice Alito reasons, why not allow others to pursue religious causes such as avoiding complying with federal law?

On rhrealitycheck.

‘Hobby Lobby’ Is Part of a Greater War on Contraception

Emphasis added. On rhrealitycheck:

Hobby Lobby’s complaint in the case that the Supreme Court decided on Monday morning is that the company and its founders don’t think Hobby Lobby employees should be able to spend their own earned insurance benefits on contraception; the company wants to be able to offer a plan that doesn’t meet the minimum federal requirements on contraception coverage. Hobby Lobby argues that even though there is no scientific evidence to back this contention up, contraception methods like the intrauterine device (IUD) and emergency contraception work by killing fertilized eggs, and they claim to believe that a fertilized egg is the equivalent of an actual baby.

That’s the ostensible reason. However, it’s important to remember that Hobby Lobby is not acting alone. Rather, the company is the official plaintiff (along with the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation) in a case that is part of a larger legal attack from the Christian right on contraception access. While contraception is largely non-controversial among the general public, chipping away at contraception access—particularly when it’s female-controlled, and particularly when it’s used by young or low-income women—has become a major part of the anti-choice agenda.

Make no mistake: They are coming for your birth control. [Read the rest.]

“These are actual human beings – who kiss their kids goodnight hours after smirkingly calling women whores…”

These are actual human beings – who kiss their kids goodnight hours after smirkingly calling women whores – who are doing this, not just anonymous trolls.

Jessica Valenti (facebook) on the abuse she received on twitter recently:

So. I spent the better part of the day – like a lot of female writers I know who covered Hobby Lobby – fielding tweets and messages about what a slut I am. That I should be “jizzed on”, that my parents should be ashamed, that the state should take my daughter away, that I want to be gangbanged, that I’m worthless.

I always get a few messages like this a day, but the onslaught today – hundreds of people calling me a whore because I believe in supporting reproductive health – was shocking.

Rest: Jessica Valenti (facebook)

Poll: One in four British women think their main role is in home

Unexpected statistic here. Also, some interesting international comparisons.

Almost one in four British women believe their main role in life is to be a good wife and mother, an international study has found.

Women in the UK are almost as likely as men to hold a traditional view on the role of the sexes, it shows.

New global polling by Ipsos MORI found that British people are less traditionalist overall on the issue of gender than Americans, Germans or Australians but substantially more so than those in many other European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

British women are just as likely to see their role in traditional terms as their counterparts in Turkey.

More than 16,000 people in 20 countries were polled as part of a survey of attitudes to a range of social issues to be published later this year.

On the Telegraph.

Glastonbury 2014: Dolly Parton has never been more real

Here’s a fantastic rebuttal to Graham Linehan’s tweets at the weekend. I have seldom been so disappointed with one individual as I was when I followed Linehan for about two weeks on twitter and realised what a gawdawful, anti-woman, anti-feminist, anti-any-sort-of-challenge man he is. He had me fooled for a while.

“I AM A SINGLE, ENGORGED HUMAN GOOSEBUMP!” I shouted at my pals, via Twitter, while curled up on the sofa watching Dolly Parton’s Glastonbury set. There didn’t seem to be anyone on the internet who wasn’t foaming at the mouth with excitement and joy. We watched, as one of the world’s most famous blondes strode up and down the stage, owning it; her set tighter and fuller than her seat – which was the greatest thing ever to be clad in white satin. It was clear that 68-year-old Dolly could beat Pippa Middleton in a bum-off any day of the week.

However, one person wasn’t quite as delighted by Dolly as the rest of us. Comedy writer Graham Linehan tweeted a link to a BBC news comment about her costumes, commenting; “Riiight. And how about the fact that she’s completely f****** up her face.” He then added; “Amazing how many supposed feminists are OK with women mutilating themselves in order to meet some f****** up standard of beauty.”

Linehan has missed the point. If there’s ever been a feminist argument for cosmetic surgery, it’s Dolly. She has built her body in the same way that she has built her career. By famously saying “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” she unequivocally owned her own aesthetic. After all, she paid for it. Whenever you see Dolly, she’s in the driving seat. Her millions of fans are empowered by her attitude and energy. Her ‘f****** up standard of beauty’ is the one she chose. I’d rather that than any standard of beauty Linehan sees fit to sanction.

On the Telegraph.

“Feminism would be a lot more popular if…”: Unpacking a misogynist fallacy

Here’s an excellent post on about the ways in which feminists have to justify their beliefs, principles and actions to those who “disagree” with feminism or who find it “objectionable”. I’ve had to do this 1000 times if I’ve had to do it once. What is most difficult about these conversations is that they are often nothing more than passing the time, by the by, “devil’s advocating” for the challengers while, for me, they’re about the core of my lived experience, every day.

feminism, suffrage - 1913 Suffrage march, Wash. DC (13)

Not long ago, while sitting across the table from a friend and her new husband at a charming Italian café, I found myself pulled into an unanticipated conversation about feminism and its legitimacy. As so often occurs when feminists find themselves in dialogue with non-feminist (or outright anti-feminist) people, I was treated to a festival of delegitimisations and negations of feminism and its core premises, each more trite than the last. In my increasing agitation at the nearly unbearable tension between the social obligation to maintain a friendly and conciliating manner toward this newly-appointed spouse of my friend and my overpowering inclination (duty?) to explain to this man in no uncertain terms just how – and how very – wrong he was about feminism, I found myself somewhat stymied by a glaring fallacy: the injunction that ‘feminism would be a lot more popular if feminists would just invest more time in dealing with and talking about how living in a sexist society adversely affects men.’

Feminists of virtually all flavours are woefully familiar with this adage. It might be tempting for many of us to simply file this irksome demand in the jar of male tears we each purportedly keep in our bedside drawers. However, I’d like to take a few moments now to break down the several layers of sexist discourse contained within this all-too-popular statement (which, in the interest of brevity, I will henceforth refer to as The Fallacy). Furthermore, I will make the case that the claim that feminists (if we want or expect our movement to be successful) ought to focus more attention on how structural misogyny harms men is actually anti-feminist. [Rest.]