Amy Goodman talks to Anita Sarkeesian

Democracy Now did a segment on Anita Sarkeesian and #GamerGate yesterday.

Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent feminist critic of video games, was forced to cancel a speech at Utah State University last week after the school received an email threatening to carry out “the deadliest shooting in American history” at the event. The email sender wrote: “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge.” The sender used the moniker Marc Lepine, the name of a man who killed 14 women, most of them female engineering students, in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989. Sarkeesian canceled the talk after being told that under Utah law, campus police could not prevent people from bringing guns. We speak to Sarkeesian about the incident, the “Gamergate” controversy, and her campaign to expose misogyny, sexism and violence against female characters in video games despite repeated physical threats. “Online harassment, especially gendered online harassment, is an epidemic,” Sarkeesian says. “Women are being driven out, they’re being driven offline; this isn’t just in gaming, this is happening across the board online, especially with women who participate in or work in male-dominated industries.”

Sadly, or pathetically, the comments have filled up with the familiar misogynist dreck.

Very far away

People at schools in various parts of the US are freaking out about Ebola because of a very flawed knowledge of geography, basic geography, as in, Africa is bigger than Rhode Island.

For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle. [Read more...]

Sommers v “hardline feminism”

More provocations by former philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers. She obviously does them to provoke, because she knows it teases, so I’m being very kind and generous to her by calling attention to them. Or, if you prefer, I’m taking her bait like a damn fool. Whichever. But I just keep being fascinated by the trashiness of it all.

There are two sides, she says.

Christina H. Sommers @CHSommers · 21 minutes ago
Why is Wash Post taking sides rather than offering readers honest account of both sides of #Gamergate? @caitlindewey [Read more...]

Pioneering work

Here is Efua Dorkenoo’s page at Equality Now.

Efua Dorkenoo

Efua Dorkenoo became the Senior Advisor to Equality Now on the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) in February 2014, after having served as the Advocacy Director, FGM programme in Equality Now’s London office. She is also a trained  bio-social scientist in public health and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Health Sciences at City University, London. Starting in the early 1980s, her pioneering work on FGM has contributed to the international recognition of FGM as a public health and a human rights issue. From 1995-2001, she worked as the WHO’s first technical expert at their Geneva headquarters and assisted the organization in introducing FGM onto the agendas of the Ministries of Health of WHO Member States. Ms. Dorkenoo was awarded the British State Honours – OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the British Queen in recognition of her work as the founder of the UK NGO FORWARD in 1983 and for her campaigning work against FGM. In 2000, along with Gloria Steinem, she received Equality Now’s international human rights award for her lifelong activism on the issue of women’s rights. Ms. Dorkenoo’s  book, Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation, The Practice and its Prevention (Minority Rights Publications 1994), was considered a first on FGM and was selected by an international jury for inclusion on the 2002 prestigious book list, “Africa 100 Best Books for the 20th Century.”

Someone to think of when we’re feeling pessimistic.

Efua Dorkenoo

Another big loss.

Efua Dorkenoo, widely seen as the mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation, has died after undergoing treatment for cancer, her family have confirmed. She was 65. Dorkenoo – known affectionately to many as “mama Efua” – was a leading light in the movement to bring an end to FGM for more than 30 years, campaigning against the practice since the 1980s. [Read more...]

Between a bad thing and another bad thing

Pragna Patel on the difficulty of human rights work between conservative views of economics and law on the one hand and religious fundamentalism on the other.

First, we are compelled to challenge the state for removing legal aid from a huge range of civil and criminal matters which impact not only on individual rights but also on our demands for institutional accountability in the face of abuses of power that seem to be growing rather than diminishing. The government’s ‘reforms’ on legal aid are strongly located in a fiscal context that reiterate some of the key overarching aims of the present government: localism, alternative dispute resolution strategies, deficit reduction and deregulation. Taken together these measures are destroying one of the great pillars of the welfare state. [Read more...]

Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh

Tolu Ogunlesi reports on another everyday hero.

Last month, the Nigerian government released the 2014 National Honours award list: more than 300 people, many of them serving government officials, seemingly recognised simply because of the public office they hold, not for anything particularly honourable or heroic. An outcry followed, largely due to the absence of one name: Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh. A government spokesman was forced to explain that the awards are never given posthumously. [Read more...]