Reblog from Jezebel A Brief History of Your Period, and Why You Don’t Have to Have It.
HOW WIVES SHOULD UNDRESS IN FRONT OF THEIR HUSBANDS, 1937
“Ex-Burlesque stripper, Professor June St. Clair, sexily undressing as a typical wife clumsily disrobes next to her during a demonstration on how wives should undress in front of their husbands’ in the bedroom, for a class at the Allen Gilbert School of Undressing.”
All images by Peter Stackpole
Thank you to LIFE Archive
New Revolutionary Women post!
Known as India’s Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi stole from
the rich and gave to the poor. Her story evolved from being a member of a “lower” Indian caste, being forced into marriage at the age of 11, being raped and tortured… First by her husband, then by the police, and later by upper-caste members of her village. She escaped, and took revenge upon her tormentors (she stabbed her husband and dragged him out to the village square; later, she shot dead the villagers who raped her).
She proceeded to fight the caste wars as a field revolutionary, was charged with crimes and went to jail, and later on entered politics representing the lower-caste Samajwadi Party as an MP. Hated by some, she was a hero and a legend to the many she represented.
Phoolan Devi was assassinated in 2001 by three masked men in New Delhi.
Ibtisam Mara’ana is a Palestinian-Israeli documentary filmmaker, perhaps best-known for her film Paradise Lost, considered to be the first film to be made from the perspective of a Palestinian woman. She is the founder of Ibtisam Films, a documentary film production house.
Mara’ana was awarded the Dalai Lama’s Unsung Heroes of Compassion award in 2009 for her social and political activism for peace and on behalf of battered women in Arabic society.
View an interview with Mara’ana about her work:
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera
For Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, being an LGBT rights activist means the daily threat of violence, imprisonment, and death. In Uganda, homosexuality is punishable by long jail terms, and violence is common. Her colleague, David Kato, was murdered last year because of his activism and voice against Uganda’s discrimination.
Nabagesera is widely recognized for her fearless human rights activism as founder of the LGBT rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda.
It’s unusual for a woman to be a leader in Afghanistan but Zarifa Qazizadah has become the country’s only female village chief through force of personality and determination to get things done – even if that means cross-dressing, wearing a false moustache and driving around on a motorbike at night.
“I tell the men of the village, all I want is your prayers,” she says. “When you have a problem, I’ll speak to the government on your behalf and whenever there is any disturbance at night-time, I’ll pick up my gun and come to your house to see what’s going on.”
When the mother of 15 first sought political office, and told local men she wanted to connect the village to the electricity grid, they laughed.
That was in 2004. She lost the election, but she got the electricity all the same, and two years later the men asked her to apply for the post of head of the village – Naw Abad in the country’s northern Balkh province.
Now she guards the electricity supply with a vengeance, and if anyone wires their home up and starts stealing it, they have to watch out.
“I can’t let that happen because we have to respect the law,” she says.
Women in Power in Afghanistan
- Habiba Sarabi became the first female governor in Afghanistan in Bamyan province in 2005
- Fawzia Koofi was the first female deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament
- One quarter of the seats in the Afghan parliament are reserved for women
- Qazizadah is not the first woman to have held the position of village chief – another woman in a nearby village beat her to it, but she recently died
“When something happens in the village at night and I have to react quickly, I’ll put on men’s clothes and ride my motorbike.”
Women in rural Afghanistan are rarely seen riding motorbikes alone and Qazizadah disguises herself, with the clothes and a fake moustache, to avoid attracting too much attention.
She has also been known to come to the rescue of her villagers by wrestling Jeeps out of ditches with a tractor.
“She does the type of work that even men are not capable of doing,” says Molavi Seyyed Mohammad, one of her local supporters.
Qazizadah does not take “No” for an answer.
To keep her promise to voters on the electricity supply, even though she failed in her bid to get elected to parliament, she travelled to the Afghan capital, Kabul, with her four-year-old daughter and went straight to the home of the Minister for Power, Shaker Kargar, demanding to speak to him.
He agreed to see her the following day in his office, and by the end of the meeting he had given his consent.
There was one problem – the village itself had to pay for the posts and cables.
Qazizadah, who had already sold some of her jewellery to pay for the trip to Kabul, borrowed money wherever she could and remortgaged her house to raise the necessary capital.
Only one third of Afghanistan’s population have access to electricity
Five months later, everyone in the village had electricity in their home. “It was only then that people recognised what I’d done and started to pay me back,” she says.
The income from the electricity system was poured into construction of a new bridge over a dangerous river, connecting the village with a major road.
Qazizadah also sponsored the building of Naw Abad’s first mosque. Unlike most mosques in the country, it is designed so that men and women pray together.
“When people saw the work I was doing on these projects, they would start to join in,” she says.
“Now people can pray in their own village and the local boys don’t have to go so far to learn how to read the Koran.”
All this is a profound achievement for a woman who was married at 10 years old – and just 15 when she became a mother.
For much of her young adult life, she lived in a very remote village with her husband’s family where, she says, she was little more than a servant.
During Taliban rule, she moved to the regional capital, Mazar-e-Sharif, with her husband, where she had her first taste of community work, volunteering to help parents get their children vaccinated. Covertly, she helped teach young girls to learn to read.
Now aged 50, with 36 grandchildren, she is head of the local women’s council, as well as village head, and hosts large meetings of local women in her home, encouraging them to follow her example.
“I was just a housewife like you,” she told a group of 50 women at one of her recent gatherings.
“But today I can have a meeting with 1,000 people. I can meet and discuss issues with authorities. In Western countries, women can become presidents. These women are brave and they can achieve a lot.”
Zarifa Qazizadah spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.
Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon
MAY 24 2012, 10:47 AM ET 12
Both male and female subjects in a recent experiment perceived near-naked men in sexualized ads as human beings, but could only see attractive women as objects.
PROBLEM: Women’s bare bodies are on display in billboards, movie posters, and many other kinds of ads. Though plenty of studies have looked at the ramifications of this pervasive sexual objectification, it’s unclear if we see near-naked people as human beings or if we really do view them as mere objects.
Women Are Much Happier When Men Feel Their Pain
Older Women Need More Sex Education Too
Why ‘Titanic’ and Other Tragic Movies Make Us Happy
METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Philippe Bernard presented participants pictures of men and women in sexualized poses, wearing a swimsuit or underwear, one by one on a computer screen. Since pictures of people present a recognition problem when they’re turned upside down, but images of objects don’t have that problem, some of the photos were presented right side up and others upside down. After each picture, there was a second of black screen before each participant was shown two images and was asked to choose the one that matched the one he or she had just seen.
RESULTS: The male and female subjects matched the photos similarly. They recognized right-side-up men better than upside-down men, suggesting that they saw the sexualized men as persons. On the contrary, the women in underwear weren’t any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.
CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.
SOURCE: The full study, “Integrating Sexual Objectification With Object Versus Person Recognition: The Sexualized-Body-Inversion Hypothesis,” is published in the journal Psychological Science.
I’m in the process of writing a response post to a feminist who objects to “transgender” though not to transgender people… Unlike the hateful radfems, she has an honest desire to learn and understand, which I deeply respect and so am willing to engage and put forth the effort. This very week I discovered this amazing post, which largely corresponds with what I have already written. I’ll be using some of it’s ideas and providing a link to it. Any more good posts on Trans 101 for Feminists/Cis Folk are appreciated!
This week, a Facebook friend published a record of how she was detained by Israeli security, held, and questioned for hours. Her crime? Political activism on behalf of Palestinians and against Israel’s occupation of that nation. Not surprisingly, some of the responses she got were belittling ones, “boo hoo, you’re quite the martyr, having spent three whole hours in security!”, blatantly ignoring the fact that she was being intimidated, threatened, sexually harassed, her freedom curtailed… Also (as she alluded to in her article) she has had other more intrusive run-ins with Israeli security.
As a matter of fact, she is well-known to Israeli security forces because of her activism, but as long as her politics are on the “wrong” side, she is to be belittled, and reduced to a whining little girl, rather than the intelligent, political woman she is.
Well, this story has moved me to do a little whining of my own.
I must admit that while I am also an outspoken, strong, intelligent, and political woman, I have never been arrested for it, or threatened, or tear gassed. I’ve had shouting matches with police, been shoved by them, threatened as part of a group… But so far, I’ve escaped their notice as a focal point. Until, that is, the dreaded FACEBOOK police.
This week, the Tel Aviv Pride Parade campaign kicked off. Lo and behold, it is entirely based on nationalistic ideas and imagery. Homonationalism is a problematic concept anywhere, but in Israel it takes on special significance, given the sharp divides between Jews and Arabs (whether citizens or not) and the treatment of other marginalized groups.
The reproduction of hegemonic power structures into the “LGBT” community is an ongoing issue. I am fond of calling the LGBT center the “gay-white-man center”, that’s how obvious and blatant the marginalization is. All the men in positions of power there are quick to deny it, and point at the one or two women in the room (somehow, never named, never quoted, never heading up any important projects…). But even the two token white lesbians, does NOT an “LGBT” community make. Nor does it encourage any idea of commitment to equality when Ethiopians, Palestinians, any non-Jews (unless they are cute European gay guys), trans folk of any ethnicity, and others are continually made to feel unwelcome.
So back to the Pride campaign. Based on and inspired by the ultra-nationalist idea of celebrating Israel’s independence, just using the rainbow flag… A white-Jewish-male-gay-guy-spokesman felt obliged to note that “this is not meant to promote nationalist sentiments, and community members from minority sectors are included and invited to participate in the parade.”
Well, um. Yeah. Minority sectors = Arabs, right? How kind of you!! I mean, it doesn’t really matter how unfriendly you make it for Arabs, as long as you then add a disclaimer in the small print.
(To put this in context, Arab supreme court justice Salim Joubran was excoriated by Knesset (parliament) members and the public recently for not singing the national anthem (which calls for the *Jewish* national state), and as this is being written, the latest outrage around Arabs (and other minorities) being entirely excluded from Israel’s upcoming Independence Day ceremonies.)
So, back to me, and Facebook. I made a poster/caricature of the Gay Center similar to this one:
It’s not about the WHITE, it’s about the PRIDE, dummy!
Having gotten carried away with my own annoyance at the Center, and my desire to point out the ridiculousness in their assertions of inclusion, I disregarded the fact that Facebook runs bots on your pictures, and can pick out certain symbols. They immediately flagged the klansman, and blocked me indefinitely, putting a dent in my political activism as well as my social life!
So now I know what it feels like to be singled out by the police for my activism for social justice. And just for kicks, here is another draft of the idea.
Don’t you just hate when “real life” takes over? Of course, my real real-life is right here… But time is short, so this one is quick and dirty 🙂
Today is all about the ongoing war on women — in advertising, on the street, and in politics. In short, everywhere.
Shall we start off with some patriarchal misogyny in an advertisement? (Shocking, right?)
Amy Tennery, in The Jane Dough, writes about this one:
That’s so weird. I had no idea Reebok had zero female customers.
At least it would appear that way.
In a move of promotional wizardry, Reebok has released an offensive ad targeted at men, which reads “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.” It’s the kind of ad you might see on “Mad Men” — if the executives on “Mad Men” were subjected to sensitivity training from Larry The Cable Guy.
It isn’t clear if the ad is in Germany, or has wider distribution. But a big “Boooo!” to whoever approved it at Reebok.
I am so proud that THREE SlutWalks are scheduled in Israel’s three major cities: The Tel Aviv SlutWalk is today, Haifa tomorrow, and Jerusalem in late April.
Which doesn’t prevent the media — ostensibly covering the issue of women’s rights and freedoms — from jumping in and objectifying the women. Ansamed, for example, warns that “A horde of half-naked women is about invade the streets of Israel, first in Tel Aviv (on Friday), then Haifa, and finally, even in the holy city of Jerusalem.” Nice, guys. (Nice GuysTM?)
War on Women
It’s impossible to round up all the woman-hating statements, legislation, videos, speeches, etc. coming out of the United States lately, whether laws allowing doctors to hide health information from pregnant women if they think she might terminate her pregnancy, to enabling employers to fire employees who use birth control, rape by ultrasound, to personhood amendments, to anything Mitt Romney has to say. (No need to mention Rush Limbaugh, right?)
Made me glad to find this:
And Doonesbury gets a special mention here, with a week-long series of the comic strip on the rape-by-sonogram and general humiliation the GOP wishes to visit on women and our bodies.
Today, a different round-up. Gender violence is a “pet” topic of mine, so I always want to post about it. But I usually don’t like treating it in a shallow manner, which means a great deal goes unsaid. Recently, there have been lots of discussions about this in my life again, which led to another 30 tabs being open in my browser… So rather than an in-depth post on one topic, I’m including several. Because they were all good enough to stay open on my desktop until I gave in and posted them.
Rap, I mean, rape culture and Black women
In January, rapper Too Short appeared on XXL, where he gave various bits of advice to boys, regarding girls – including pushing a girl up against a wall and inserting a saliva-wetted finger up her vagina.
Inundated with protests, XXL eventually removed the video from their site, and both XXL and Too Short issued very minimal apologies (too little too late), neither of which actually took any responsibility for statements encouraging violence against girls, or acknowledged the danger of the attitudes underlying Too Short’s statement.
Professor, activist, and blogger Mark Anthony Neal writes that
In a society that continues to assert its familiarity with the bodies of Black women and girls… Too Short advising boys to “take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens… is, unfortunately, not all that surprising; seems more like the status quo for Black women and girls.
He adds that girls and women are not the only ones harmed by perpetuating this attitude:
And this is not simply about political correctness; besides advocating rape and sexual violence against Black women and girls, diatribes like Shaw’s also further criminalizes Black boys, within institutions—our schools—in which Black boys are always, already criminalized.
Neal calls for new strategies other than protest/petition/outrage leading to minimal, too-late apologies and content removal after the damage is done. I’m not sure he has found that alternate solution yet – I’ll be waiting.
Meanwhile, I just found this song — Your Revolution — by Sarah Jones and I found it stunning and somehow appropriate:
Feminist Looking Glass says,
This song is a really clever take-off on Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Sarah Jones sings that “your revolution will not happen between these thighs,” and invokes just about every famous sexist hip hop lyric of the past decade to make her point. → lyrics
UK’s Uni Lad Promotes Rape
Yes, it was a busy week for rape proponents… Huffington Post reports this story from the UK:
The National Union of Students (NUS) has called for the website UniLad, which claims to be the “number one university student lad’s magazine and guide to getting laid” to be pulled down over the article.
In an article titled “Sexual Mathematics” it stated:
“If the girl you’ve taken for a drink… won’t ‘spread for your head’, think about this mathematical statistic: 85% of rape cases go unreported.
“That seems to be fairly good odds.”
The writer then adds at the bottom of the piece: “Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying ‘surprise’.”
Though the article has been removed, the battle is still ongoing on twitter, where women daring to criticize Unilad are verbally abused, including lesbophobic use of the term “dyke”.
Critics point out that the issue is far greater than this one article; that Unilad is filled with misgynistic content that reflects, and contributes to, a corresponding misogynistic attitude on UK university campuses, and largely unreported and unpunished violence against women in the UK as a whole.
And still – the Twitter campaign has made waves, and provided critics of Unilad with a great deal of support. (I found this illuminating article via Twitter: Laurie Penny writes how Uni Lad’s “banter” is based on exclusion. And Another Angry Woman wrote them this open letter, and provided the image below, so funny )
Which just goes to show we need to keep our voices out there. All the time. As frustrating as it often is.
Victim blaming is still all too common. When questioned about who gets raped women answer that women that dress a certain way, act a certain way, drink, are out late, or… are those who get raped. Their assumption is that it is women who are directly or indirectly responsible for the violence perpetrated against them. There are also indications that men are even more likely than women to blame the victim.
See for example the case of the Pennsylvania Liquor Board campaign, which first blames the victim (because she was drinking), then her friends (because “Calling the shots starts with you. What if you didn’t watch out for your friends during a night of drinking?”), and at no point blames the rapist.
Feministing wrote this powerful post about why victim blaming is not a good way to prevent binge drinking. Some of the points to think about include:
- These campaigns are aimed at women, and limiting women’s behavior. That is more palatable somehow than limiting men’s behavior.
- However, a third of sexual assault perpetrators are intoxicated at the time of assault, so clearly there is a case to be made for redirecting attention – away from women, and onto the attackers.
- The use of sexual assault as a scare tactic to prevent binge drinking demeans both the very real dangers of alcoholism, and the issues faced by survivors of sexual assault.
- These types of campaigns reinforce rape culture. “We’re basically telling rapists they can get away with it when the lines of consent are hazy, that they should target drunk people.”
Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan wrote of the ad, “Rape is not just a bad thing that happens to someone after drinking too much. It’s a deliberate act on the part of the rapist, a violation of another person committed solely because the rapist wanted to rape. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we’ll be rid of stupid, finger wagging ads like these.”
Ebony magazine, for one, thinks that enough is enough – that public service ads aimed at women telling them how to prevent rape are misguided and harmful, and that men should be better educated instead.
Holding women and girls accountable for preventing sexual assault hasn’t worked and so long as men commit the majority of rapes, men need to be at the heart of our tactics for preventing them. Let’s stop teaching ‘how to avoid being a victim’ and instead, attack the culture that creates predators in the first place.
And in Salon.com, Tracy Clark Flory injects some reality into the dialog in How to Prevent Rape Without Blaming the Victim.
Here’s an ad campaign that gets it:
And then there’s this public service ad from Scotland:
This is one of the most amazing, emotional, difficult, painful, and necessary projects I have ever seen.
In October of last year, Grace Brown began a photography project called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers. Rape survivor and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, Yvonne Moss, describes the project as a way for victims to take the power back of the words that were once used against them.
Grace plans on photographing survivors for as long as she possibly can. Her goal is to spread light, awareness, and healing for those who have been affected.
If you are interested in participating by either being photographed or sending in your own image, you may send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Photograph Me” or “Submission”, depending on the circumstance.