"Young women could now do more than read about feminist issues and discuss them in class; they could find communities of women on Twitter or Tumblr whose experiences they could relate to—or who could open up new vistas for them on what other women’s lives are like. They could participate in the creation of a new feminism—one that would be a far cry from Friedan’s. By 2011, the writer Flavia Dzodan was famously declaring on her blog: “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” Her words became a rallying cry."
This is Professor Wangari Maathai. The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The first Kenyan woman to earn a doctoral degree. An icon of Kenya’s democratic movement who repeatedly put not just her mind but also her body on the line in order to secure a better future for Kenyans and their natural environment. But Maathai’s standing in Kenya is definitely ambiguous. She is beloved by feminists and environmentalists, and tolerated by everyone else... Women are expected to look backwards on guidance on what it means to be “good” – where “good” is primarily defined by men – but not too good because that makes women less interesting to men. This was not Wangari Maathai.
Why Turkey is bombing the Kurds more than Islamic State - "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party's absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely." [more inside]
"Readiness has also become the slogan of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rather than a galvanizing declaration of devotion, the slogan is a queasy-making line in the sand. When the legitimacy of the system the president presides over is in question, as racial oppression, capitalism, and police brutality are discussed on a global scale, choosing a president isn’t a royal crowning. The conflation of being “Ready for Hillary” with feminist allegiance brings the worst problems of political fandom, racism, and poor civic awareness to the forefront. Secretary Clinton is portrayed as a fulfillment of a progressive checklist or schedule rather than an individual candidate."
"So last week, when country radio promoter Keith Hill controversially suggested that stations should stop playing songs by female artists, it’s easy to label his actions another example of misogynistic, conservative politics.The Conversation's Clifford Murphy, on why [country radio promoter] Keith Hill’s comments about women in country music cut far deeper than misogyny [more inside]
However, Hill’s comments are actually indicative of something much bigger and far more troubling: the consolidation of an entire genre of music, and the type of environment this can create. In the case of country, it’s allowed for the repurposing of the genre’s history, and the exclusion of certain individuals."
Wait, Women Don't Have Equal Rights in the United States? - Tabby Biddle, Huffington Post. The History Behind the ERA Amendment ( brief introduction, argument for why ERA is needed). March 22, 1972 | Equal Rights Amendment for Women Passed by Congress (NYT). Chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1923-1996 (NOW). "The ERA Is a Moral Issue": The Mormon Church, LDS Women, and the Defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (Neil J. Young, American Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3, Sep., 2007)
Women of the Islamic State: A manifesto on women by the Al-Khanssaa Brigade is a manifesto by women, for women "that aims to clarify the realities of life and the hallowed existence of women in the Islamic State, in Iraq and in al- Sham, and to refute the rumours that detractors advance against it." [more inside]
"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle) [more inside]
"It is often said that “Washington is Hollywood for ugly people,” but the adage is only half true. Women are not allowed to be ugly people because women—and nowhere more than in such women’s magazines that reduce female political leaders to their supposed fashion and lifestyle choices—are not really allowed to be people at all."
Julianne Ross asks: Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite? Amy McCarthy asks a similar question: Why do all our young adult heroines look the same? Mandy Stewart also offers up her own advice: Be Divergent and Other Lessons for My Daughter. Interview with Veronica Roth on her book 'Insurgent' and feminism. [more inside]
Talking gender to Africa
International donors have sought to improve the social, political and economic position of women in Africa through an approach known as “gender”. This donor-driven strategy is failing. The jargon of gender programmes is ambiguous and easily misunderstood. It fosters inaction and lip service on the part of patriarchal African governments and civil servants. Gender has become the preserve of the educated elite. The voices of African women have been lost.[more inside]
What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
Makers: Women Who Make America is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
Abortion has always been a hotspot in the culture wars. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week, so did Oklahoma. Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban. Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important than the carrier of said fetus. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar. It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
Mariella Frostrup on International Women's Day, feminism and the emancipation of women in the developing world.
The Tyranny of Structurelessness
[T]o strive for a structureless group is as useful, and as deceptive, as to aim at an “objective” news story, “value-free” social science, or a “free” economy. A “laissez faire” group is about as realistic as a “laissez faire” society; the idea becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others. This hegemony can so easily be established because the idea of “structurelessness” does not prevent the formation of informal structures, only formal ones. . . . Thus structurelessness becomes a way of masking power, and within the women’s movement it is usually most strongly advocated by those who are the most powerful (whether they are conscious of their power or not).
Paglia's back. "I had certainly assumed the Web was surfeited with more than enough material, but evidently many others beside myself find the partisan polarization of the blogosphere numbingly predictable and its prose too often slapdash, fragmentary or drearily prolix." If you like that sentence, you'll love the return of Camille Paglia to Salon.com.
It is important to take the current political situation [NYT] in Iran in context. Shirin Ebadi and Azar Nafisi are two women who have written memoirs (Iran Awakening and Reading Lolita in Tehran, respectively) dealing with being a woman in the world's only theocracy. (bugmenot) Individual Iranians both commend and disagree with their portrayal of Iran to Western audiences.
what you need right now isn't the righteous anger the rest of the blogosphere will give you. You need more.
For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual --building on the history and expertise of Jane, , an underground referral and abortion-providing group in Chicago in the 60s, Molly provides the vital info women in South Dakota (and maybe elsewhere soon) need.