Second Skin

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Second Skin (2015), Esmay Wagemans. All images courtesy to the artist.

Instagram itself is quite clear about it: nudity is in no way allowed. Yet there’s still a lot of discussion going around this policy. A question that often arises, for example, is: Why are male nipples allowed while female ones aren’t?’ Last year, the #freethennipple movement unexpectedly took surface. Woman from all around the globe took to Instagram and Facebook, and shared selfies of their nude bodies. They still got censored, but the motivation was clear. Advocates of the movement accused the Western world in general (and the platform itself) of a sexist double-standard. Instagram subsequently defended their policy by stating they wanted their platform to be suited for all age groups (the app has a 12+ rating in the App Store). And children, so it seems—according to their general opinion—shouldn’t see any female nipples.

If it’s up to Esmay Wagemans, a fourth year at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, this will soon change. For her project Second Skin, she worked out a way to bypass Instagram’s nudity censorship. By using a self-developed special kind of latex, she actually managed to show her nipples without showing any skin.

I spoke to Wagemans about the creation of Second Skin, how people reacted on it, and why she thinks it’s important to revolt against any patronizing platform.

[…]

Why do you think it’s important to put your breasts on Instagram?

To me, Instagram is a very important platform to share my work as an artist. And I’m not going to change the essence of my work just because it would be too shocking for other people, or because it wouldn’t fit the social norms. Sure, I get that pornographic images shouldn’t be on it, but then again Instagram should focus on creating a different, less sexist and more refined nudity and censorship policy. Apart from all of this though, I do think Instagram’s strict nudity policy is sustaining the idea of a woman’s body as a sexual object.

How do you mean, “sustaining the idea of a female body as sexual object?” Don’t you think it’s a good thing children are restricted from seeing naked breasts?

I myself don’t think nudity should be such a taboo, because it feeds objectification. Look, if you’re not portraying breasts in an erotic or pornographic way, I think everyone should be able to see them, even children. By withholding those kinds of “normal” nudes from young teenagers, you’re still presenting the female body as something sexual. That’s simply not beneficial for anyone. Within that abstinence, the idea of the body starts being seen as something separate from the woman. It’s right there, where the objectification starts.

Sunday Facepalm

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Wikimedia Commons.

Christians Sue State over ‘Abortion Mandate’.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Pushing back against the state’s notoriously liberal stance on abortion, a number of New York’s Christian organizations served the Department of Financial Services with a lawsuit, claiming the agency obscured regulatory language which forces employers to cover abortions.

The 44-page filing in Albany County Supreme Court uses terms like “moral evil” and “unspeakable crime” to describe abortion. It highlights a section of the “model language” used by DFS over the last two years — a standard state form which dictates how insurance companies operating in-state should present their coverage to clients.

According to the lawsuit, Section 6 of the “model language” includes a subsection dealing with “Interruption of Pregnancy.” The language states: “We cover therapeutic abortions. We also cover non-therapeutic abortions in cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation.”

“Practically speaking, ‘therapeutic’ would include abortions for emotional health, fetal health, fetal malformation,” said Mary DeTurris Poust, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. “Really, we’re talking about any abortion.”

The Diocese of Albany is one of 13 plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which also includes Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, a nursing company and a general contractor in Plattsburgh. Their document goes to significant lengths to outline core beliefs on the “sanctity of every life,” including a number of paragraphs dealing with the concept of life beginning at conception in the mother’s womb.

The group claims the model language was “known only to DFS and the health insurers, and never disclosed to plaintiffs.” They go on to say they were caught unaware when their respective insurance companies informed the group that “they had been separately covering abortions under the service category of ‘medically necessary’ surgery.”

“There is a possibility that we could have already been forced to pay for an abortion,” DeTurris Poust said on Friday.

The full story is here. I will be forever grateful that when I had an abortion back in the 1970s, no one thought that was any of their business. Mine was quiet and professional, and there were no screaming, hateful people anywhere, thinking they had an absolute right to interfere with a private decision to have a medical procedure.

Six Amazing Moms

It’s Mother’s Day. This is not a day which affects me personally, in either direction. That said, I want to thank all those women who are also mothers, and are doing an amazing job at raising up thoughtful, accepting, inclusive children. Here are some of those moms, via HRC.

1. Michelle: Michelle is just your average mom in Northern California. She is the mother of three children, including her transgender daughter, Malisa. “Malisa is your typical pre-adolescent girl,” Michelle said in a video for HRC. “She loves to craft and sing.” Michelle and her father, Congressman Mike Honda, have both been open about their undivided support for Malisa and equality for the transgender community.

2. Annie: Annie always knew there was something special about her grandchild, Kaycee. “I knew it was something different about Kaycee,” she said in a HRC video. “Kaycee didn’t have to tell me. I knew it.” While Kaycee was worried about coming out to her family as transgender, her grandmother stood by her side every step of the way.

There are four more wonderful moms, check them out at HRC.

Rape Pregnancies A Silver Lining From God

Ugh. I can’t even suppress the nausea induced by this mess of a person.

via YouTube Republican State Rep. Tila Hubrecht held a press conference Thursday to defend her views on rape pregnancies.

During an intense Tuesday floor debate on the measure, Hubrecht made the case that women should not be allowed to abort pregnancies caused by rape.

“When God gives life he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what,” she said. “Sometimes bad things happen, horrible things, but sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child.” Because, yeah, rape sucks, but there’s nothing like nine months of living with your rapist’s baby growing inside you to help you get over it!

Full Story Here.

Fetal Idolatry

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

Anti-abortion activists were met head-on in Detroit by the city’s chapter of the Satanic Temple, who trolled them by dressing up in baby gear and decrying “fetal idolatry.”

According to the Temple’s Detroit chapter leader, Jex Blackmore, “the anti-choice movement’s obsession with, and mischaracterization of the fetus obscures medical reality and a woman’s constitutional right to choice.”

Full Story Here.

 

Much Ado Over…

Women on 20s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced on April 20 that Andrew Jackson will be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 Federal Reserve Note.

Women on 20s
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced on April 20 that Andrew Jackson will be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 Federal Reserve Note.

Indigenous people have an interest here, to say the least. Before I get to that, the mere fact that a woman might end up on a piece of paper is apparently cause for outrage. Add to that fact it will be a black woman, and oh my, there goes the internet again, all blowed up, and you see things like this:

Bigots

hey all I know is she stole property. Jackson gave Indians a new home. Tubman was a criminal.

Jackson gave NDNs a new home? There are times the stupid is utterly infuriating. I know that most people don’t know anything at all about Indigenous peoples in uStates, but this is beyond the pale. You’re on the ‘net, you know. Take five minutes out and fucking learn something. As for Tubman being a criminal? Point me to one past uStates president that hasn’t been one. Oh, but they were white, so it was okay. Ms. Tubman saved lives. Jackson was a murderer. A bit of a difference there. But for those preaching #whitegenocide, this heralds the beginning of the end. I would have preferred Chief Wilma Mankiller to be on the $20, but I’m very happy with the choice of Ms. Tubman, assuming this actually happens.

Women on 20s organized to get a woman on U.S. paper money to celebrate the centennial in 2020 of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women. They picked Jackson as their target in furtherance of another goal in their mission statement: “Removal of symbols of hate, intolerance and inequality…”

I learned something at that point that was highly gratifying. I know Cherokees who put 20s in their wallet in a manner that avoids looking at Jackson’s face. I know Cherokees who identify as Republicans because Jackson was a Democrat and are highly offended at Democrats having annual “Jefferson-Jackson dinners.” What I did not know is that Indians generally despise Jackson almost as much as Cherokees do.

Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, released a statement reacting to the decision to replace Jackson with Tubman:

Andrew Jackson defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and forced the removal of our Cherokee ancestors from homelands we’d occupied in the Southeast for millennia. His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history. Jackson’s legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives…

The Cherokee Nation applauds the work… to replace his image with the image of Harriet Tubman, whose legacy represents values everyone can be proud of.

Harriet Tubman to Replace Indian Killer and Slave Dealer Andrew Jackson on $20 Bill.

Back to Jackson.

Courtesy Whitehouse.gov Andrew Jackson took office in 1829 with one goal set firmly in his mind: Indians must be moved “beyond the great river Mississippi.”

Courtesy Whitehouse.gov
Andrew Jackson took office in 1829 with one goal set firmly in his mind: Indians must be moved “beyond the great river Mississippi.”

[Read more…]

Judo Jesus and The Spitter

I’ve often written about the Red River Clinic  in the comments at Pharyngula. It’s the last clinic standing in ND, and they always have anti-choicers hanging about. (Any and all pennies you might have to contribute to keep the clinic open would be more than appreciated). Then there’s Jesus, but for a change, he’s on the right side…

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Nik Severson

In this Forum file photo, Fargo police responded to a disturbance between Tyson Kuznia, left, and Nikolaus Severson, right, outside the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo, N.D. on Sunday, October 25, 2015.

FARGO – A judge has ordered a Fargo man to pay a $400 fine for fighting someone outside the downtown Red River Women’s Clinic last year.

In October, Nikolaus Severson was goading anti-abortion protesters picketing outside the only clinic that performs abortions in North Dakota when a passer-by spit in his face.

Severson “grabbed the victim, threw him to the ground and sat on him,” prosecutor Ian R. McLean said in Municipal Court on Thursday, April 14.

[…]

Tyson Kuznia, who spit on Severson before being tackled, was also ordered to pay $400 and granted a deferred imposition of sentence when a Municipal Court judge found him guilty Jan. 14 of a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Kuznia said he felt compelled to spit on Severson because Severson was harassing anti-abortion protesters.

[Gosh, those anti-choice protesters, not harassing anyone, no, not at all, nope.]

Severson irritated the anti-abortion protesters for several days, holding up signs like “F— these haters.” In an interview late last year, Severson said he has no stance on abortion because he is not a woman. But he said, “I just don’t like people using God to shame women.”

Full Story Here.

Punishing Planned Parenthood

Supporters of Planned Parenthood (EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com)

Supporters of Planned Parenthood (EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com)

Missouri, again. Anyone surprised? I am so sick of these sanctimonious idiots insisting on sticking their nose into every uterus on the planet, looking to punish women people for having the nerve to think they are full, autonomous human beings. Sanctity of life my arse.

Senators in Missouri are moving to hold the president of a St Louis-area Planned Parenthood affiliate in contempt of court – under threat of jail time – for refusing to submit private medical documents.

The move comes after the state general assembly’s committee on the sanctity of life subpoenaed documents from Mary Kogut, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, in an investigation into her organization.

[…]

A lawyer responded on behalf of Planned Parenthood that the committee did not have the authority to subpoena these documents, and that handing them over would violate federal privacy law.

Despite these legal objections, the Missouri senate will begin a hearing Tuesday to introduce a bill determining whether Kogut should be found in contempt.

Kogut now faces a potential indictment on contempt charges. If charged, she faces up to 10 days of jail time as well as a fine of $300 for, as the subpoena itself states, is the right of the general assembly to “punish”.

Full Story Here.