Really interesting piece on feminism and activism in Saudi Arabia. Such is the nature of the system in Saudi, that there is little activism: “After an initial burst of energy and thought-provoking discussions, there is a sense that outspokenness has now been mute,” while the consequences can be quite severe for women who chose to challenge the system.
There is little chance that an activist will emerge from a poor or middle-class background and influence Saudis of similar backgrounds. Jobs are at stake and few people see the upside of sacrificing food on the table for a cause that will go nowhere. We can simply look at the women’s driving issue as a campaign that has been tackled by women on and off for more than 20 years. Despite this, it has gained little traction. Going against the grain in Saudi society, even if it means rejecting the thobe for jeans and a t-shirt, has its consequences.
The Western media have sniffed out another “Saudi activist” recently as a shining example of a “courageous” woman challenging the status quo in Saudi Arabia. If media coverage is any indication, I’d say us girls have been through a couple dozen Saudi activists in the past decade or so with little to show for it. Anyone ever wonder where these activists go once they get their moment in the spotlight? What is a Saudi activist anyway?
If we were to define activists in a historical context, there are precious few, if any, Saudis that would qualify as an activist. An activist by any definition would include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Lech Wałęsa. Closer to home, there are Egypt’s Doria Shafiq and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai.
What these people have in common is a modest upbringing in a poor or middle-class background. They have also managed, to varying degrees, to generate grassroots activism. A groundswell of popular support leads to a lasting positive impact on society. The closest a Saudi has come to being a true activist – and I’m sure she rejects this label – is probably Manal al-Sharif, who now lives in Dubai. [Rest.]
NO MORE PAGE 3 (by beckycoley)
I am a walking contradiction. I work in the film industry. I am a voyeur of the worst kind as a filmmaker; an image maker. I want to tell stories that are about love and life and sometimes that includes sex and violence. SO why do I have a problem with page 3 and why do I feel so compelled to actually make a video about it?
I love breasts. I think the female body is beautiful. I love to see nudity in art, fashion, films, where its relevant to a story or even just sometimes purely for aesthetic purposes.
My next film is a documentary in a steam room and half the people are naked.
SO am I not a hypocrite?
Why would I want to make a video for the No More Page 3 campaign? What’s wrong with these beautiful young girls bearing their breats for all the world to see? Why is it so strange to me to have that image next to stories about politics, war, pedophilia, rape, abuse and murder?
CONTEXT. That’s all. It’s about context. This is a national newspaper. It is a newspaper that is read widely and is very much part of our culture. It is a newspaper that is seen by children and had a big effect on me as a young girl growing up, even though no one in my house read it. It would still be found lying around many places we visited in our daily lives. [Rest.]
The No More Page 3 campaign sometimes receives horrific stories of young girls abused by family members using Page 3 as their means of grooming.
In cases like this apologists point out that Page 3 does not cause this behaviour; it does not make men into paedophiles. This misses the point that it is more difficult for a man to behave in this way without a readily available soft porn image in the daily newspaper to assist him. In a young girl’s mind, a newspaper, one that all the trusted members of her family read, represents what is normal and accepted. Page 3’s message is that offering yourself up naked for men’s titillation is something that grown women do happily. How can a young girl argue with this evidence?
A paedophile may be responsible for his own actions, but the question here is: should a national newspaper be making it easier for him and providing him with the means?
We hear the same justification in regard to the countless stories we receive from schoolgirls who are humiliated and sexually harassed by boys using Page 3. In this case, we are told, the responsibility lies with the parents to bring up their sons to respect women. [Rest.]
So Whose Responsibility Is Page 3?
A frat flyer featuring naked women contributes to rape culture and objectification, and students are fighting back.
Earlier this week young men at Georgia Tech
received an email signed “In luring rapebait” that instructed them to, among other things, grab women “on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick.” In October of last year a woman filed a lawsuit against Wesleyan University
citing a fraternity known on campus as the “rape factory.” At Miami University of Ohio someone thought it was a good idea hang a poster
titled “Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape,” which closed with, “If your [sic] afraid the girl might identify you slit her throat.” A University of Vermont fraternity surveyed
members in 2011 with this question: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?” At USC, two years ago, some boys released a Gullet Report
(named for a “gullet,” defined as “a target’s mouth and throat. Most often pertains to a target’s throat capacity and it’s [sic] ability to gobble cock. If a target is known to have a good gullet, it can deep-throat dick extremely well. Good Gullet Girls (GGG) are always scooped up well before last call.”). For good measure they added some overtly racist material as well. Five years ago, Yale’s Zeta Psi fraternity took photos of members holding up signs reading, “We love Yale sluts.” Another fraternity had fun running around campus singing, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” Meanwhile, the school’s recommended punishment for sexual assault violations was a written reprimand. In 2012 Yale reached an agreement
with the Department of Education, which launched a Title IX investigation in the wake of the song and similar incidents. [Rest
Why naked pictures aren’t harmless
My Belly is Mine (FWSA blog)
The My Belly is Mine campaign was set up to support Spanish women in their fight against the proposed reform to Spain’s current abortion law. We stand in solidarity with Spanish women and defend their right to safe, legal abortion.
We are organizing immediate peaceful action in London and in other European cities in collaboration with Spanish and European pro-choice and feminist activists.
Under present Spanish legislation, women have the right to an abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. In cases where the mother’s health is at risk, or when the foetus shows serious deformities, Spanish women have until the 22nd week to end the pregnancy.
A draft bill was approved by Spain’s cabinet on the 20 December 2013, which ensures abortion is only allowed in the case of rape, serious foetal deformity or if the pregnancy presents a serious mental or physical health risk to the mother.
Our immediate aims are:
To raise awareness in the UK of this proposed reform via online action
To commit to peaceful action in the UK in order to demonstrate our support to Spanish women and to help them defeat the bill.
We require your support in the dissemination of our campaign. Please contact us if you are interested in getting involved in the UK. [Rest.]
23 Awesome Feminist Digital Campaigns That Changed the World
Remember when everyone was like “Feminism is so dead?” Well, the last few years have absolutely proved that theory wrong.
Activists have become increasingly skilled in the digital age at using the sophisticated online tools to galvanize social change. The result? Amazing feminists are changing the world.
Here’s a look at the incredible digital campaigns in recent memory resulting in amazing feminist victories. There’s tons of work left to be done, but these moments are worth celebrating. They are a strong reminder of why we keep on fighting. [Rest.]
Click for larger (twitter).
- From @dustsister (twitter)
It’s International Women’s Day! There’s lots to celebrate but there is still also lots to do for women’s rights and equality. This blog highlights (every day, if you’re an avid reader) the sexism and discrimination – and in many cases, misogyny – experienced by women. International Women’s Day is about celebrating how far we’ve come in our struggle for women’s rights but it is also about focusing on what we need to continue to do.
Though I’m a conference all day (for International Women’s Day, natch), I’ve tried to schedule a series of posts during the day. (There’s going to be a lot of them.) Here’s the first.
What would happen if more of the world’s 66 million uneducated girls were allowed to receive the same schooling as their male counterparts?
That’s the question addressed in “Girl Rising,” an Intel-funded film that begins screening this week in theaters throughout the Portland metro area and nationwide.
The film is a project of 10×10, a social action group dedicated to the notion that educating girls in developing nations is the key to reducing poverty and improving quality of life. It tells the tales of nine young girls who rise above their circumstances to gain an education and, in turn, positively influence the world around them.
“One of Intel’s state missions it to empower girls and women, so this was right in line with our values,” says Chelsea Hossaini, a spokeswoman for the tech company.
Noted authors including Loung Ung, author of the best-selling memoir “First They Killed My Father,” wrote the true tales of young women hailing from developing nations around the globe, while famous names including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, and Alicia Keys provide narration to tell their stories.
[Rest: oregonlive, via psawomenpolitics]
More for #IWD13.
This is an amazing collection of photographs from the Library of Congress. They are from the Women’s Suffrage Parade which took place in Washington DC on the 3rd of March 1913.
Click through (atlantic) for more.
I get this “burnout” at least once a week. But that’s great news about Girls Gone Wild. I hadn’t heard it.
Feminists got two great pieces of news on the violence against women front this week. First, the Violence Against Women Act was passed—and not the watered-down Republican one either! This version of VAWA contained protections for the LGBT community and allows Native American courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators on tribal land.
Then we learned that Girls Gone Wild—the exploitative porn empire that targets young intoxicated women—filed for bankruptcy. As I said on Twitter, I’m pretty sure a feminist angel got her wings as proprietor Joe Francis signed on the dotted line.
But in the same week we got this great news, a rape survivor at the University of North Carolina was threatened with expulsion for “intimidating” her rapist by becoming an anti-rape activist, there was another attack on Planned Parenthood, a Kansas bill moved forward that would allow doctors to lie to pregnant women in an effort to prevent them for getting abortions and a 9-year-old girl of color—a child—was called a “c*nt.” One step forward, twenty steps back.
It reminds me of a question I get asked a lot when I speak to younger feminists: How do you continue to do this work when it’s just so depressing?
Every day, there’s another piece of bad news. A lawmaker says something egregious about rape. A sexist law passes. A movie or television show or viral video promotes an awful stereotype about women and sexuality. That doesn’t even get into the outrageous number of women across the United States who will be sexually assaulted or had violence done to them by their partners. (And that’s just in this country!)
Excellent petition. Signed.
Since starting my petition a week ago, I have started getting an alarming amount of searches to my blog, referring to Reeva Steenkamp as a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ and ‘hussy’. A lot of them have been actual questions, such as’ Was Reeva Steenkamp a slut?’ and ‘Reeva Steemkamp was a whore, right?’.So where have they got this idea that Reeva is a ‘slut’ from? The media.
The Sun and many other publications have objectified her, and refused to name her. Not even the well-respected BBC can manage to say her name. She has become nameless, and so there isn’t much public sympathy for her. She is first and foremost ‘Pistorius’s lover’. She is something that he has lost, and so in some perverse way people feel sorry for him, even though he is the reason she is dead. I was frankly appalled when a BBC correspondent added to the sympathy yesterday by saying ”Perhaps he’s being punished enough by losing the woman he told friends he thought might become his wife.” Reeva is the person who deserves our sympathy. A man took her life. The media took her name and identity. She has been silenced.
[Read the rest: thenotsoquietfeminist]