All else on another busy week with work and play.
- See How This Feminist Artist Brings Women’s Struggles to Life (feminspire): “When I started really getting into my painting and wasn’t doing just simple still lifes, I had no idea that I was a feminist painter or that I was going to become one, even though feminist paintings are exactly what I was creating from the beginning. I had no idea that that’s what was going on, it just kind of happened,” she says, “I mean, like, what percentage of people in the world are women? There are so many of us going through similar situations. Though I want to send a message to everybody, not just women, that these things affect us, and a lot of people don’t fully realize just how difficult certain aspects of being a woman are.”
- 6 Reasons Why We Should Stop Telling Each Other it’s “OK” to Be Single (feminspire): Why aren’t there reasons for why it’s “OK” to be in a relationship as well? The implication is that being in a relationship is some kind of ideal for women, or default. And that’s simply not the case.
- Many women scientists sexually harassed during fieldwork (nature): Working in the field sounds like a scientist’s dream, but for some, it can turn into a nightmare. The largest survey yet to examine the prevalence of sexual harassment among scientists doing field work suggests that it is an overlooked problem— and that female trainees may be disproportionately vulnerable.
- | 6 Female Creations Attributed to Dudes by @elizabethethird (aroomofourown): Back in the day when it was pretty much unheard of for women to be recognized as producers of creative or intellectual worth (specifically the 1800s…ish) Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie invented a board game called The Landlord’s Game (Monopoly).
- 6 Tips for Working in Solidarity with Muslim Women (everydayfeminism): For many, due to media portrayals, a Muslim feminist may seem like a contradiction. Media portrayals of Muslim women regularly oppress, fetishize, and politicize our bodies, and it is important to know that these portrayals of the oppressed Muslim women are often in stark contrast to our lived realities.
- ‘All the worlds a prison’ – 19th century career girls (fwsablog): If Victorian working women are represented at all in today’s culture, it is usually an image of poor women working in factories or mills, struggling to make ends meet. (For example, the recent Channel 4 historical drama The Mill.) As Author Wanda Neff says ‘The mill women have come to stand, in popular opinion, for the Victorian working woman.’ [i] The experiences of upper and middle class women who worked to give themselves financial independence or women who dedicated their lives to philanthropy outside the home, have not been as widely portrayed.
- Tackling the gender gap is simple: pay women more money. End of story. (theguardian): Here it is: we simply pay women more money. Whether we do this by reducing women’s tax burden, providing them with an income supplement, or allowing women to personally shake down their male colleagues until an appropriate amount of change falls from their pockets, I don’t mind. But it’s clear that sitting around furrowing our brows isn’t working, so it’s time to make some changes.
- States Prescribe Bad Medicine for Women Seeking Abortions (msmagazine):Days before senators testified on behalf of a bill to protect women’s health services, the National Partnership for Women and Families released a report detailing just how threatened these services are. Aptly titled “Bad Medicine,” the report focuses on a specific threat to women’s healthcare: laws restricting doctors’ professional discretion and mandating how abortions are performed. Such laws require doctors to choose between adhering to a one-size-fits-all law or doing what they know is best for the individual patient.
- Immigration is a feminist issue (msmagazine): [...] immigration laws are inherently sexist. The way the family visa system is set up, and the fact that men are still likely to earn more and have the “lead career” in a relationship, makes many women immigrants completely dependent on their husbands. This can trap women in poverty and abusive relationships. And of course if you happen to have brown skin, the system only gets more horrifically oppressive.
- More women in cabinet means better policy but greater conflict, research shows (theconversation): Having more women in cabinet is likely to lead to issues which are important to women being further up the political agenda. Yet commentators have pointed out that many of the females appointed to the cabinet have values and interests which might be considered as antithetical to the interests of women. So perhaps in this instance, the impact will be lessened. However, the government’s opponents might take comfort in another piece of research. A systematic review of the literature shows that Conservative women tend to have more left-leaning economic policies than their male counterparts. The big question now is how this more diverse cabinet will perform, not so much in terms of ideology but as a group able to take the best decisions. We know Conservative cabinets have traditionally been dominated by old white males; what now? Evidence from studies of diverse groups suggest a more diverse cabinet is likely to have more conflict, take longer to come to a decision, but come up with better solutions. Also we should expect members of the cabinet to be less satisfied with the group process.
- ‘I Don’t Need Feminism Because’: The Women Who Fight Equality (tokenfeminist): I have seen this happen too many times. It is a case of women refusing to acknowledge the significance of other women’s experiences, simply because they have not had similar ones. It is a blatant denial of facts and it takes away from those women any power that they had to begin with. Now, obviously I am not saying that all women need to constantly back each other up and never argue or disagree. Everyone is entitled to their opinions about individual issues, but no one is entitled to belittle the personal experiences of others or to suggest that the violence inflicted on women the world over does not matter simply because they themselves are doing fine.
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).
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)
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.
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
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.
The demise of lads’ mags tells of a number of shifts taking place in 21st century Britain. And one of those is the rise of feminism. It tells us that activism works. That when we speak out together, rather than turn our heads, we can utterly transform the world around us.
Hannah Pool on The demise of lads’ mags, the rise of feminism
Here’s an excellent post on fwsablog.org.uk 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.
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.]
Competition for prominence/ dominance or a sign of the complexity definition in second, third (and fourth) wave? Six of one, perhaps.
Kirstie Allsopp has found herself the latest poster girl for ‘bad feminism’ after suggesting that women might want to consider having children before heading to university.
The TV presenter, who insists she is a “passionate feminist”, had her comments branded ‘depressing’, ‘patronising’ and ‘a throwback to the 1950s’ – by other feminists.
It seems that when it comes to arguing the dos and don’ts of feminism, the sisterhood has developed an ugly habit of turning on itself.
Just recently, singers Lorde and Selena Gomez became embroiled in a spat after the New Zealand teenager labelled Gomez’s song Come and Get It as ‘anti-feminist’, only for Gomez to respond, “it’s not feminism if you’re tearing down another artist”.
This is fascinating. The image above is from the US.
What Happened When One Woman Had Her Picture Photoshopped In 25 Different Countries.
“Make me look beautiful.”
That’s what Esther Honig asked 40 photo editors to do — in over 25 countries. Using the service-sharing site Fiverr, Honig, a human interest reporter, sent a picture of herself to be photoshopped around the world to see just how much cultural values are applied to standards of beauty. The results throw the idea of “the perfect woman” into sharp relief.
Honig found that every country applied its own distinct perspective on beauty to her image. She was surprised by the degree to which each country’s cultural values showed up as aesthetic preferences. Specifically, an image she received back from Morocco was “a bit of a shock initially.” She told The Huffington Post via email, “[It] definitely highlighted my own lack of cultural awareness. Of course, someone from a country where the primary religion is Islam might elect to add a Hijab to my image as that aligns with their own cultural customs. For me it really added depth to my project by touching on the concept of religion and custom, not just aesthetics.”
Orig. and rest on HuffPo. Uploaded to feimineach/ pinterest.
On theamericanconservative.com: Feminism and fundamentalism have at last, if unwittingly, converged on a significant social issue: the hyper-sexualization of women. At face value, the arguments are diametrically opposed. One argues for carefully guarding the female form, the other for freeing it from all constraints, including tradition—and clothing. The irony, though, is that they represent two sides of the same coin. Both end up focusing on sexuality to the exclusion of all else. Dannah Gresh in Christianity Today makes this point using two dolls: “I have two Barbies in my office. The American Barbie wears a mini-skirt and a low, cut tight bodice that pushes her breasts upward. … The other, a Muslim Barbie named Fulla, is dressed in a burqa.”
She concludes that both modes of dress “raise awareness of a woman’s sexual nature and reduce her to being a mere body.” She also notes also that in some Christian circles, the women “might as well wear burqas.” The Muslim and Christian fundamentalist attitude stigmatizes sexuality, regarding it as shameful; feminists idolize it, holding up promiscuous behavior and dress as the pinnacle of female achievement.
Rest: The American Conservative.
[...] prevalent notion that feminism and fatherhood are antithetical doesn’t just malign feminists – it robs fathers (and feminist fathers in particular), of the recognition they deserve for raising equality-minded sons and daughters.
Many men are just as invested in dismantling sexism systems as women are. In fact, those of you with daughters are even more likely to be feminist, according to a 2009 study. And Congressmen with daughters not only vote more liberally on the issues of reproductive rights – they take more feminist positions all around.
Feminist fathers know that parenting doesn’t have to come with a harsh dose of paternalism and reject the father-knows-best ideology that is so harmful to young girls (like purity balls). Girls with fathers who model equality at home are more likely to be ambitious about their future. And feminist fathers with sons are teaching the next generation that being a man does not have to be synonymous with deriding all things female.
Jessica Valenti on Feminists have ‘daddy issues’ because we know some great feminist fathers, theguardian.com.
And here’s what else I’ve been reading this week.
Also, the Nation has a new blog – The Curve – where feminists discuss economics (or economics are discussed through a feminist lens). It’s worth a look, though there is yet only one post (I think).
Below is a the first piece on a new blog on the Nation – The Curve – where feminists discuss economics (or economics are discussed through a feminist lens). Feminism’s class problem is a good place to start.
On the Curve (The Nation): Whatever you think of Sheryl Sandberg, her chirpy self-help book Lean In achieved at least one very important objective: it exposed the deep class divide within American feminism. Sandberg, the centimillionaire Facebook executive, wrote a book arguing that individual empowerment was the way forward for the women’s movement and ignited a raging debate among feminists. Sandberg’s frank acknowledgement that her message was pitched to professional elites rather than the masses, her enthusiasm for capitalism and her advocacy of a depoliticized strategy that focused on self-improvement rather collective action troubled many feminists on the left. If feminism is defined down as the right of elite women to enjoy equality with men of their class, is that really feminism—which at least in theory advocates the liberation of all women—in any meaningful sense?
Of course, Sandberg’s rationale was that if more women advanced into leadership positions, all women would gain. But there is little reason to have faith that Sandberg-style “trickle-down” feminism will benefit the masses any more than its economic equivalent has.
Rest: Does Feminism Have a Class Problem?